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blood brothers

May 11, 2011

“Jehovah looked with favor on Abel and his offering , but on Cain He did not look with favor.”

Abel gave the best of what he had and the Lord looked with favor on him because of it. Cain, however, did not give his best. He was holding out on God, and in the end we see what was truly in his heart. Jehovah is ever merciful and gives Cain a warning, just as he gave Cain’s mother and father a warning in the garden:

“Jehovah 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.” 4:6,7

But Cain does not master it. In the verse directly after this warning, Cain lures his younger brother out to the field and kills him in cold blood. And then, Jehovah comes to Cain.

“Where is your brother Abel?” 4:9

Perhaps Cain was too cold to take the brunt of a question, but I don’t think he was. I think Jehovah was very specific when he reminded him that Abel was his brother. Cain responds bitterly with:

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”  4:9

Jehovah’s response (v 4:10) pushes past this retort and cuts straight to the heart of the sin, the murder, and the soul of Cain, in words that are simply chilling:

“What have you done?


Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

These are the first of many strange and impressive words about blood, but by far some of the most personal. The Jehovah who, in mercy, warned him, must now issue the curse He so longed to keep him from:

“Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” 4:11,12

But Jehovah is merciful, and though Cain is forced to wander the earth, his life is saved, and he is fruitful and multiplies.

Remember now the mother of the brothers, Eve:

Eve, has just lost her son to the Death she invited to this world.

Yet Jehovah is faithful.

He grants her another son.

“she… named him Seth, saying ‘Elohim has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.'”

Once again, the name of God used in this place is significant. She lost her son to murder, but Elohim – her creator, the Judge – has brought forth life and administered justice.

Redemption, yet again.

And not just for Eve.

“When Elohim created man, he made him in the likeness of Elohim. He created them… and blessed them…and called them “Adam” … When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.”

Through Seth, Elohim revealed himself to Adam, and let Adam partake in His divine nature. Remember, one of the definitions of Elohim is “divine being”.

Seth was living symbol for Adam of what Adam was to God.

But it doesn’t stop here. Jehovah Elohim brings this all around to His glory, His good, and to draw his people closer to Himself:

“Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

At that time

men began to call

on the name of Jehovah.”


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