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Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

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  • Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

    Genesis 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
    3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
    4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
    5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
    6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
    7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
    8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
    9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
    10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
    11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
    12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
    13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
    14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
    15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
    16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
    17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
    18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
    19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
    20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
    21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
    22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
    23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
    24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
    25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.


    Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

    1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

    Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above are from the KJV, just in case anyone is wondering, since not everyone uses the same translations. This is pretty much what we find written about Cain. If anyone knows any more passages relating specifically to Cain, then by all means, share them.


    So why did God have it out for Cain? He did present an offering to Him, right? This topic has always puzzled me, thus the reason for the thread.

  • #2
    Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

    Cain was the first one that introduced the concept of "I dit it my way". It was not Frank Sinatra. A lot of people worship God their way. It has to be HIS way or no way.

    God had shown Adam and Eve that when they sinned, their works could not cover for their sins (they put leaves together and fabricated clothes for themselves). God slained an animal and covered them with the skin of the animal, signifying the wages of sin is death (first time someone died) and only the blood can cover that sin. Even thou it does not say it, it is implied that Adam and Eve gave that story/message to their kids. Abel offered a lamb (he got the point), but Cain offered to God that which came out of the land which the Lord had cursed. Religion has to be God's way, not our way. Additionally, God could see the heart of Cain and it was full of evil.

    Shalom

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    • #3
      Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

      I don't believe that God "had it out for Cain".

      Your answer lies in the Hebrews scripture that you pointed out. Abel's sacrifice was accepted because it was done by faith. There was nothing wrong with a grain sacrifice. I'm sure that Cain was proud of his work and there is no sin in being a agriculturalist or a simple farmer. Someone has to grow the fruit and vegetables.

      That same verse says that it was Abel's "faith that witnessed to his own righteousness".

      Cain didn't come to God in faith. He didn't present his offering "by faith." It says that immediately Cain was jealous of Abel. I think that's a pretty good indicator of where his heart lay in the first place.

      God HATES an offering made with a wicked heart.

      Look at this testimony by God, Himself, from Isaiah 1.

      "You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah! So listen to the LORD God: "Your sacrifices
      mean nothing to me. I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don't like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats.
      "Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple! Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can't stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship. I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying. No matter how much you pray, I won't listen. You are too violent. Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need." An Invitation from the LORD. I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter
      than snow or wool.
      God's people were doing exactly what He said to do in terms of offerings. But they were also living wickedly. God asked them to repent and come and reason with Him

      Cain did not make an offering from the place of worship nor faith. And he did NOT come and repent and reason before God. He murdered his brother and shrugged God off.

      King David said, after Nathan called him on the carpet about his victimizing Bathsheba, in his great psalm of repentance that "Offerings and sacrifices are not what you want. The way to please you is to feel sorrow deep in our hearts. This is the kind of sacrifice you won't refuse."

      Whether offering the best of yourself in service, money, time, talent, or whatever God compels you to offer, it must be done with a humble heart and in faith.

      Cain, according to Hebrews was not faithful nor righteous. He proved that in his documented jealousy, murder, and refusing to repent.
      sigpic
      ".....it's your nickel"

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

        Originally posted by divaD View Post
        Genesis 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

        So why did God have it out for Cain? He did present an offering to Him, right? This topic has always puzzled me, thus the reason for the thread.
        In verse 17 of chapter 3 God cursed the ground. Cain's offering was from the ground.

        Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

          Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
          In verse 17 of chapter 3 God cursed the ground. Cain's offering was from the ground.

          Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
          But then you have to consider that there were sacrifices that came from the ground such as grain offerings. So maybe it wasn't that it came from the ground... but as someone posted already... it just wasn't done in faith.


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          A.W. Tozer said,
          "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.

          GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

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          • #6
            Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

            Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
            In verse 17 of chapter 3 God cursed the ground. Cain's offering was from the ground.

            Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
            As grain offerings were later perfectly acceptable the above argument fails. Remember that the lambs were fed on the product of the cursed ground.

            God in fact tells us why Cain's offering was unacceptable. It was because 'sin lies at the door' and he did not 'do well'. He was informed hat he would have been accepted had he 'done well'. (Gen 4.7)

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            • #7
              Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

              Originally posted by petepet View Post
              As grain offerings were later perfectly acceptable the above argument fails. Remember that the lambs were fed on the product of the cursed ground.

              God in fact tells us why Cain's offering was unacceptable. It was because 'sin lies at the door' and he did not 'do well'. He was informed hat he would have been accepted had he 'done well'. (Gen 4.7)
              Exactly right!


              Visit our new website
              ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

              A.W. Tozer said,
              "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.

              GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                He tried to offer God a 'fruit basket'...

                We are his body, We are his representative, We are the extension of God to the earth. Every action should be a extension of God's love.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                  Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
                  In verse 17 of chapter 3 God cursed the ground. Cain's offering was from the ground.
                  The curse was to make it difficult to grow food. It doesn't mean the food from it was cursed.

                  Originally posted by ProjectPeter View Post
                  But then you have to consider that there were sacrifices that came from the ground such as grain offerings.
                  Originally posted by petepet View Post
                  As grain offerings were later perfectly acceptable the above argument fails. Remember that the lambs were fed on the product of the cursed ground.
                  Noah means rest
                  Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

                  Gen 5:29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.

                  Gen 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
                  But I digress, seeing it's not the topic.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                    Places Cain and Abel are mentioned in the Biblical Text (after Gen. 4)

                    According to the search tools I used, there is no further mention of Cain, in NT or OT, beyond those you've listed, after Genesis 4. There is a city named Cain (at Joshua 15:57), spelled the same in Hebrew, but it does not seem to be associated with Cain. The Kennites (the tribe from which Jethro, Moses' father in law came) have a name that's etymologically related; but no association seems to be intended.

                    Abel, like Cain, is listed as a place name -- a city or a stone -- thrice in II Samuel and once in I Samuel, but that is spelled differently in Hebrew, and in any case seems to have no relation to Abel Adam and Eve's son. Abel is mentioned in Matthew and Luke, who quote Jesus saying that "upon you" (Matt 23:25) or (Luke 11:51) upon this genea (γενεά) -- variously translatable as generation, or family, or race, or set of people -- shall come "all the righteous blood shed from righteous Abel to Zacharias the son of Barachias." Beyond that, Abel's spoken of in the verse (11:4) in Hebrews which speaks of Cain, and in Hebrews 12:24 which says that the "blood of Jesus speaks things more gracious" than the blood of Abel.

                    What does the Genesis Text say about how God responded to them, and Why?

                    In my opinion, it's hard from the Genesis text alone to come to a conclusion about whether Abel's sacrifice was better than Cain's. We know that God looked at (or had regard for) Abel, and and his sacrifice, but not Cain and his. It's hard to know whether this was due to some fault, or lesser action on Cain's part, or simply a kind of test, or choice of God's to act favorably toward Cain for some other reason. Again, if this was due to some fault of Cain's it's hard to know, from the Genesis text, whether this was due to some imperfection in the sacrifice itself -- as physical sacrifice -- or in its materials, or in its execution, OTOH, or rather OTOH, a fault of some sort in Cain's attitude.

                    What does seem evident -- and I think this is quite important -- from the Genesis text is that God does not seem to think that any fault in Cain, if there was any, was something that was serious enough that it was hard to recover from. For we're told that Cain gets angry, and his face falls, and that God then tells him not to get angry: "If you do well, you'll be accepted, won't you? And if you don't do well, then sin lies at the door. Sin's desire is for you, but you must master sin." That is, God is reasoning with Cain, telling him not to get too upset, because he still has an opportunity for all to go right. God does not tell Cain that he has sinned, even in getting upset, but He does warn him that sin "lies at the door" and that Cain must overcome the temptation to sin -- must master it. Sin "lying at" the door (rabats) seems to be the word used for lying down or stretching out, and sin's "desire for" Cain is a word (H. tĕshuwqah) that can be used of sexual desire, or of a beast seeking to devour (although that latter usage seems not to occur in Scripture). Thus, the general feeling is that sin is there either to seduce or to devour Cain, and that Cain needs to govern, or rule over, or have dominion over, (H. mashal) the impulse to sin. In any case, God is in dialogue with Cain, trying to help him, and telling him not to let his anger or jealousy lead him into something really bad. The situation is just fine, God seems to be saying: you have great prospects, Cain, just hold steady to what you are supposed to do, and don't give way to temptation arising from jealousy, hurt, and the fear that you have been slighted. Unfortunately, as we know, Cain pays no attention, but acts on his anger and kills his brother.

                    Why (and in what way, or in what sense) God looked more favorably toward Abel and his sacrifice than Cain and his, then, we don't know; but we do know that God was still in dialogue with Cain, making promises to him that all could be well, warning him and guiding him, and seeking to help him and bring him to a good end. I myself, then, would be slow to say that God has an unfavorable attitude or posture toward Cain, at this point. (Even after Cain has ignored God's good counsel, and acted very destructively and wrongly -- killing Abel -- God still speaks with him, protects him, and seems to have concern for him.)

                    What does the NT tell us about the situation, then?

                    Jude speaks unfavorably of the way of Cain; while I John 3:12 (somewhat parallel) speaks of Cain as wicked. However, what I John faults Cain for is for slaying his brother -- and John's whole point in this latter part of chapter 3, which he also takes up in chapter 4, is that we must love one another, and in fact give of our substance for the good of others who are in want. Not to do so, John says, is to be a murderer, and no murderer has eternal life in him. Thus John is holding up Cain as an example of destructiveness not because the initial sacrifice was flawed, but because Cain's reaction to the favor Abel received was destructive. (Perhaps there is even more to explore there!) Thus neither Jude nor John seem to be comparing the sacrifices of Cain and Abel.

                    Hebrews says, however, that "by faith Abel offered to God a greater sacrifice" than Cain. Jesus also, as quoted in Luke and Matthew, refers to "righteous Abel". Hebrews seems to be saying that God's looking with favor on Abel and his sacrifice was a witness or testimony God gave Abel of his righteousness, and presumably this means, or at least includes, his faith in God; however there may be alternate ways to interpret the end of v. 4. However, even if we take the text as saying that God looked on Abel because the (initial) sacrifice was greater, giving Abel a testimony to his righteousness thereby, that does not actually state that Cain's sacrifice was bad, or that God looked with disfavor upon him. It might be just that Cain's faith, though there and valid, wasn't quite as good as Abel's. That, it seems to me, is most consistent with the subsequent dialogue between God and Cain (before the murder). (And when Hebrews says "by it, he being dead yet speaks to us" I assume that the "it" in "by it" -- parallel to the "by faith" with which the verse began, and which is the oft-repeated theme of the whole passage -- is referring to Abel's faith, principally, not his sacrifice. And in a sense, the failure of Cain to heed God's warning, and God's promise that all can yet be well for Cain, is indeed a failure of faith, of trust in God's assurance.)

                    Summary

                    In sum, at a first reading, I'm not sure that there's anything defective about Cain's sacrifice as such. I think that God is commending Abel for his faith, and warning Cain, gently and lovingly, not to be jealous because Abel received notice that he did not. I don't think God is down on Cain: I think Cain fails to grasp God's concern and love for him, and thus profoundly injures himself, as well as Abel.

                    The story, to be more fully appreciated (that is, more precisely and fully understood) should be placed in the context of the many two-brother stories in Scripture (including the Prodigal Son, and Jacob and Esau), and in light of how Adam and Eve fell, and in light of the universal tendency of human beings to jealosy (including sibling rivalry). At the core of these things, I'd venture, is the problem of not believing that God wants the best for us, and will give us what is good for us, and this tends to lead to animosity, thinking that others are getting better stuff than we are. I intend that observation as speculative -- unlike the earlier analysis in the post, which is more closely tied to the immediate Scriptural context -- but I think it can find strong support in a reading of the Bible as a whole; however I don't have time to go down that path now, I'm, afraid!


                    Thanks for raising this important question for us to talk about!!
                    Last edited by Scruffy Kid; Oct 24th 2010, 09:57 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                      A clue to the proper interpretation of this circumstance is what the author records concerning Abel's offering.
                      4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

                      Abel brought "the firstlings of his flock, and the fat thereof", it says. As Scruffy Kid points out, there isn't anything said about Cain's offering good or bad. For this reason, the issue doesn't seem to be a comparison between meat and vegetables or the essentials of the offering except for the fact that Abel brought firstlings and fat. Knowing what I know now about God, I suspect that God was looking to the heart attitude of each man, and that firstlings and fat indicated something about Abel's state of mind and his feelings and affection for God. Offering the choicest parts of the flock and the choicest parts of the meat to God, says something about how Abel thinks about God. In my mind, this is why God regarded Abel's offering.

                      Since the situation is set up as a contrast between the two brothers, the author invites us, I think, to assume that Cain's heart attitude and thoughts toward God were different than Abel's in a significant way.

                      Scruffy, I like your observations that while God gave no regard to Cain's offering, he didn't reject Cain but gave him opportunity to change his mind.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                        Originally posted by Scruffy Kid View Post
                        For we're told that Cain gets angry, and his face falls, and that God then tells him not to get angry: "If you do well, you'll be accepted, won't you? And if you don't do well, then sin lies at the door. Sin's desire is for you, but you must master sin." That is, God is reasoning with Cain, telling him not to get too upset, because he still has an opportunity for all to go right.
                        Exactly! But this was after the fact tho. It was after God had no respect for Cain's offering, that Cain then became angry. I can understand the after facts. What I can't understand is why God had no respect for his offering in the first place. I also loved Jayne's replies to the OP. She hit the nail on the head in more ways than one. With that in mind, since Hebrews 11:4 tells us by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain....

                        By faith in what? Faith seems to be linked to the type of sacrifice offered. And as Servant89 pointed out, it appears the 1st animal sacrifices were made by God Himself in Genesis 3. Which BTW, that's pretty much the way I've always seen also.

                        I would like to say to everyone...very good answers so far. Very insightful.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                          Originally posted by divaD View Post
                          Exactly! But this was after the fact tho. It was after God had no respect for Cain's offering, that Cain then became angry. I can understand the after facts. What I can't understand is why God had no respect for his offering in the first place. I also loved Jayne's replies to the OP. She hit the nail on the head in more ways than one. With that in mind, since Hebrews 11:4 tells us by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain....

                          By faith in what? Faith seems to be linked to the type of sacrifice offered. And as Servant89 pointed out, it appears the 1st animal sacrifices were made by God Himself in Genesis 3. Which BTW, that's pretty much the way I've always seen also.

                          I would like to say to everyone...very good answers so far. Very insightful.
                          I disagree with Servant89's proposal that God was making a sacrifice offering. The purpose of killing the animals was utilitarian, i.e. clothing, not religious. Abel's faith seems to be the simple knowledge that God deserves to be treated with honor and respect.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                            Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
                            In verse 17 of chapter 3 God cursed the ground. Cain's offering was from the ground.

                            .

                            I've thought this very thing. It indeed seems like a logical answer. But as ProjectPeter pointed out, one would then have to explain why God found grain offerings to be acceptable at a later time?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Why did God not have respect for Cain's offering?

                              Originally posted by BroRog View Post
                              I disagree with Servant89's proposal that God was making a sacrifice offering. The purpose of killing the animals was utilitarian, i.e. clothing, not religious. Abel's faith seems to be the simple knowledge that God deserves to be treated with honor and respect.


                              I guess it depends on how you look at it. I mean God wouldn't be making a sacrifice to Himself. It's what it represented that would be the point, I would think.

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