Bible Study Moment – Cain & Abel

From time to time one of my Facebook friends will share a meme saying “Cain killed Abel with a rock. Hate is the problem”. My reaction is to ask does the Bible say Cain had a rock? So I looked at Genesis 4:8 in various translations. Some say Cain rose up, others that Cain attacked and one that Cain set on Abel and killed him. None mentioned any weapon.

I’ve also heard some try to explain why Cain’s offering was not accepted by God while Abel’s was. First question, how do we know Cain’s was not accepted? Because the narrator of the story tells us? How does he know? Does Cain feel his offering is not accepted?

Many of those offering explanations have said it was because Cain did not offer a blood sacrifice, citing the animal sacrifices instituted by Moses. Of course, Moses lives many hundreds of years after this, and that system of offerings and sacrifices includes grain offerings.

I as well as others have noticed that in verses 3 & 4, the descriptions of the offerings seem to indicate that Abel chose from the first and best of his flocks, while Cain just presented some of his land’s crop with no indication that his was among the first or best.

It could be just what is there in the story; Cain feels resentful but hasn’t sinned yet. The problem isn’t the emotions we feel but what our reactions are to what we are feeling. God warns him to avoid sin but we know the rest of the story.

Mark Phillips