Problem Child: Murderer
Cain was every parent’s worst nightmare.
When he was sixty-eight years old and should have known better, he murdered his younger brother, according to Genesis.
Why? Because his brother followed the rule for sacrificing to God: give the first of your harvest. Abel went further: he sacrificed the fatty potions from the best of his flock. His sacrifice was accepted.
Cain offered some of his produce, which implies that he kept the best for himself. This man was selfish, greedy, and he had a bad attitude! There’s no way I would do business with him.
Of course, Cain’s sacrifice was rejected. He was furious, and he pouted.
God wanted to re-establish a relationship with Cain and fix his attitude. He said, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it.” (NIV)
Here’s problem solving for you: Cain said to Abel, “Let’s go to the field.” (That’s where Cain feels most comfortable.) There Cain killed his brother. That’ll show the little twerp to upstage him!
God is back. “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” What a lying, snotty response!
“What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground.” God tells Cain that as a result of his sin, the ground will no longer respond to his farming and he will become a restless wanderer.
Stubborn Cain tries emotional sabotage. “Today you are driving me from the land. (Not true: he just isn’t able to farm it.) I will be hidden from your presence. (Not true: the Judeo-Christian God is omnipresent. We’ll see that Cain doesn’t care about this anyway.) I will be a restless wanderer on the earth. (True.) And whoever finds me will kill me. (God never said this. Even so, doesn’t he deserve it?)
God puts a mark or seal on Cain to prevent his murder. This is the beginning of what will later become writing. It is probably the source of the early practice of a personal seal with which to “sign” documents.
So Cain and his wife “went out of the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” East of Eden covers a large area. However, if Eden is, as I proposed, the eastern section of the Turkish plateau, then Cain traveled beyond the mountains.
The Bible does not tell us where “Nod” was, but the important thing may be that it means “away from the presence of God.” As pointed out earlier, this is impossible with the Judeo-Christian God. Therefore, this must refer to where Cain connected with God: his parents, the angel with the flaming sword blocking the way to the Garden of Eden, and his own judgement.
In other words Cain not only “went out from the Lord’s presence” but he also lived there. He never repented, never returned.
Genesis says Cain built a city and named it after his son Enoch. We have no idea where that city was. There are educated guesses, but no proof.
My guess is that traveling east instead of south indicates that he followed the Tigris River instead of the Euphrates River into what is today called Mesopotamia. There, he built the city. In my opinion, it no longer exists, but I could be proven wrong!
Since he was “a wanderer,” he probably did not remain there, but continued to travel along the Tigris.
Suggested reading: Genesis 4:1-17
Photo credit: Alex Mihai C on Unsplash