If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee shall be its desire; but do thou rule over it.
And Cain told 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.
And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?
And he said, I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.Genesis 4:7-10 ASV
“If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee shall be its desire; but do thou rule over it.”
This is one of the most difficult and disputed verses in Genesis, the problem being the identity of what is referred to in “sin lieth at the door.”
The word for “sin” in this passage means “sin offering, a common meaning of the word in Scripture, as in Hosea 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and Hebrews 9:28.
This understanding of the passage is ancient. Clement of Rome, quoting the Septuagint (LXX) (which of course is incorrect), nevertheless correctly concluded that something was wrong with the sacrifice.
The fact that many “moderns” deny this is no problem at all; the glaring evidence is right here.
I have observed more than a hundred places in the O.T. where the word here is used for sin offering and there is positively no reason whatever for understanding it differently here.
To paraphrase of what God said, “An animal proper to be offered as atonement for sin is now couching at the door of thy fold.”
THE FIRST INNOVATOR
It is not accidental that the first innovator was the first murderer and that he founded the wicked generation that eventually corrupted the whole world.
The innovators, or changers, of God’s instruction always attempt to justify what they do.
With all the specious logic of modern innovators, Cain might have tried to justify his action thusly:
If God wants smoke, my haystack has that fuzzy lamb beat a hundred ways.
If God wants value, my wheat will buy fifty lambs.
And all that messy blood; I never liked that anyway!
God can save us if we never go near a drop of blood.
Surely, God doesn’t care about a thing like that;
It’s the spirit of the thing that counts anyway!
One may say that Cain would never have spoken like this, but his descendants do.
And there is every reason to suppose that he fortified his disobedience with the same sort of rationalizing that men today use to defend their sinful tampering with the laws of God.
“And Cain told 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.”
This is another disputed text, and the older version to the effect that “Cain talked with his brother,” would appear to be preferred.
Under the guise of brotherly familiarity, he concealed his premeditated purpose until a convenient time and place for the murder.
The tragedy of this event is emphasized by the seven-fold repetition of the word “brother” in the passage.
“And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?”
When the original parents were caught in their rebellion, they admitted it reluctantly, but Cain told an outright lie about his sin, showing the growing power of sin’s grip over the human race.
AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?
What a brutal and selfish response was this!
All men are obligated to one another, and no man has the right to seek his own selfish ends without regard to what the effect may be upon others. Did not our Saviour teach us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven!”
There is a community of interest in the welfare of humanity that makes it incumbent upon all to be concerned and thoughtful for the well-being and prosperity of others as well as themselves.
The utter depravity and selfishness of sin appear here in a very ugly light.
“And he said, What has thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
“What hast thou done … ?” This is a similar thought to that expressed in Genesis 3:13.
“The voice of thy brother’s blood …” This is a figurative expression showing that God would avenge the type of heartless and brutal sin that Cain had committed.
The idiomatic statement of this, as here, has captivated the attention and imagination of the men of all generations.
The writer of Hebrews mentioned, “The blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24).
WHAT DOES THE BLOOD OF ABEL SAY?
“Abel … he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4).
The blood of Abel says that God will one day avenge the crimes perpetrated against the innocent (Romans 12:19).
The blood of Abel says that the righteous are hated without cause (1 John 3:11-13).
The blood of Abel says that it DOES make a difference how men worship Almighty God.
The blood of Abel says that faith is the only key to winning approval of God (Hebrews 11:6).
The blood of Abel says that the only righteousness is in obeying the Word of the Lord (Romans 1:16,17).