Monday, September 27, 2010

Genesis 4: A Tale of Two Brothers (There Must Be Blood)


Genesis 4 introduces us to two of Adam and Eve’s Kids Cain and Abel. We find out that Cain is into agriculture and Abel is a shepherd.

They both come before God to place an offering on the altar. Cain brought the best of his crops that he had grown and Abel brought the left over fat portions of some of his flock.

God rejects Cain’s offering while accepting Abel’s. In the story there is no explanation as to why God does this. There are several ideas floating around to explain why God would reject Cain’s best and accept Abel’s left over fat.

Some think God rejected Cain’s offering because it did not meet the blood shed requirements, because we all know there must be blood. God needs it. This a reflection of the sacrificial system later established in the story.

I think a good explanation is a reflection of the progression of humanity and their increasingly independence through that progression.

For as mentions in an earlier post, Adam and Eve lived completely off the land (in full dependence on God) while Able, being a herdsman, was still dependent on the land but had progressed passed his parents.

Cain, however, had brought the produce from HIS crop, which means he had land. He had settled down and accumulated possessions. And when you have possessions and land you must set boundaries to protect those possessions and that land. Cain was the least dependent upon God.

The story goes that Cain was angry his offering (that he had worked for and grown himself) was rejected and took his anger out on Abel. (In a field of all places)

Then God punishes Cain (but not too much) and sends him out into the world where he becomes a wanderer (dependent again) and has obtains wives, children, and even builds a city. (So he is a wanderer yet lived in Nod and built a city?) He also has a short listed genealogy at the end of the chapter!

So why do you think God rejected Cain’s offering and yet accepted Abel’s? What are some other details that you picked up on the story?

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