Genesis 4
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1  And the man knew Chava his wife; and she conceived and bore Kayin, and said: ‘I have gotten a man with the help of Hashem.’

א  וְהָאָדָם יָדַע אֶת חַוָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד אֶת קַיִן וַתֹּאמֶר קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת יְהוָה.

2  And again she bore his brother Hevel. And Hevel was a keeper of sheep, but Kayin was a tiller of the ground.

ב  וַתֹּסֶף לָלֶדֶת אֶת אָחִיו אֶת הָבֶל וַיְהִי הֶבֶל רֹעֵה צֹאן וְקַיִן הָיָה עֹבֵד אֲדָמָה.

3  And in process of time it came to pass, that Kayin brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Hashem.

ג  וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ יָמִים וַיָּבֵא קַיִן מִפְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה מִנְחָה לַיהוָה.

4  And Hevel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Hashem had respect unto Hevel and to his offering;

ד  וְהֶבֶל הֵבִיא גַם הוּא מִבְּכֹרוֹת צֹאנוֹ וּמֵחֶלְבֵהֶן וַיִּשַׁע יְהוָה אֶל הֶבֶל וְאֶל מִנְחָתוֹ.

5  but unto Kayin and to his offering He had not respect. And Kayin was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

ה  וְאֶל קַיִן וְאֶל מִנְחָתוֹ לֹא שָׁעָה וַיִּחַר לְקַיִן מְאֹד וַיִּפְּלוּ פָּנָיו.

6  And Hashem said unto Kayin: ‘Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

ו  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל קָיִן לָמָּה חָרָה לָךְ וְלָמָּה נָפְלוּ פָנֶיךָ.

7  If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.’

ז  הֲלוֹא אִם תֵּיטִיב שְׂאֵת וְאִם לֹא תֵיטִיב לַפֶּתַח חַטָּאת רֹבֵץ וְאֵלֶיךָ תְּשׁוּקָתוֹ וְאַתָּה תִּמְשָׁל בּוֹ.

8  And Kayin spoke unto Hevel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Kayin rose up against Hevel his brother, and slew him.

ח  וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹתָם בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיָּקָם קַיִן אֶל הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַיַּהַרְגֵהוּ.

9  And Hashem said unto Kayin: ‘Where is Hevel thy brother?’ And he said: ‘I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?’

ט  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל קַיִן אֵי הֶבֶל אָחִיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא יָדַעְתִּי הֲשֹׁמֵר אָחִי אָנֹכִי.

10  And He said: ‘What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.

י  וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה עָשִׂיתָ קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן הָאֲדָמָה.

11  And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.

יא  וְעַתָּה אָרוּר אָתָּה מִן הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר פָּצְתָה אֶת פִּיהָ לָקַחַת אֶת דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ מִיָּדֶךָ.

12  When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth.’

kee ta-a-VOD et ha-a-da-MAH lo to-SAYF tayt ko-KHAH lakh na v’-NAD tih-YEH va-A-retz

יב  כִּי תַעֲבֹד אֶת הָאֲדָמָה לֹא תֹסֵף תֵּת כֹּחָהּ לָךְ נָע וָנָד תִּהְיֶה בָאָרֶץ.

4:12   A fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth

R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch distinguishes the word ‘na,’ a fugitive, from ‘nad,’ a wanderer. A ‘na’ can find no physical resting place on Earth, whereas a ‘nad’ is severed from mankind. Cain’s punishment isolated him from the land, as well as all of mankind; he was cursed to find no homeland or society, and subsequently his sin was too much to bear. A homeland with a society of people that share a common lineage is no small matter. After thousands of years of exile, the return of Jewish sovereignty to its Biblical homeland, the Land of Israel, is truly a mark of God’s hand in this world.9 comments

13  And Kayin said unto Hashem: ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל יְהוָה גָּדוֹל עֲו‍ֹנִי מִנְּשֹׂא.

14  Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the land; and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me.’

יד  הֵן גֵּרַשְׁתָּ אֹתִי הַיּוֹם מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה וּמִפָּנֶיךָ אֶסָּתֵר וְהָיִיתִי נָע וָנָד בָּאָרֶץ וְהָיָה כָל מֹצְאִי יַהַרְגֵנִי.

15  And Hashem said unto him: ‘Therefore whosoever slayeth Kayin, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And Hashem set a sign for Kayin, lest any finding him should smite him.

טו  וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ יְהוָה לָכֵן כָּל הֹרֵג קַיִן שִׁבְעָתַיִם יֻקָּם וַיָּשֶׂם יְהוָה לְקַיִן אוֹת לְבִלְתִּי הַכּוֹת אֹתוֹ כָּל מֹצְאוֹ.

16  And Kayin went out from the presence of Hashem, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

טז  וַיֵּצֵא קַיִן מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה וַיֵּשֶׁב בְּאֶרֶץ נוֹד קִדְמַת עֵדֶן.

17  And Kayin knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch; and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son Enoch.

יז  וַיֵּדַע קַיִן אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד אֶת חֲנוֹךְ וַיְהִי בֹּנֶה עִיר וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם הָעִיר כְּשֵׁם בְּנוֹ חֲנוֹךְ.

18  And unto Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael; and Mehujael begot Methushael; and Methushael begot Lamech.

יח  וַיִּוָּלֵד לַחֲנוֹךְ אֶת עִירָד וְעִירָד יָלַד אֶת מְחוּיָאֵל וּמְחִיָּיאֵל יָלַד אֶת מְתוּשָׁאֵל וּמְתוּשָׁאֵל יָלַד אֶת לָמֶךְ.

19  And Lamech took unto him two wives; the name of one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

יט  וַיִּקַּח לוֹ לֶמֶךְ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֵׁם הָאַחַת עָדָה וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית צִלָּה.

20  And Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle.

כ  וַתֵּלֶד עָדָה אֶת יָבָל הוּא הָיָה אֲבִי יֹשֵׁב אֹהֶל וּמִקְנֶה.

21  And his brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe.

כא  וְשֵׁם אָחִיו יוּבָל הוּא הָיָה אֲבִי כָּל תֹּפֵשׂ כִּנּוֹר וְעוּגָב.

22  And Zillah, she also bore Tubal-cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

כב  וְצִלָּה גַם הִוא יָלְדָה אֶת תּוּבַל קַיִן לֹטֵשׁ כָּל חֹרֵשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת וּבַרְזֶל וַאֲחוֹת תּוּבַל קַיִן נַעֲמָה.

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 for wounding me, and a young man for bruising me;

כג  וַיֹּאמֶר לֶמֶךְ לְנָשָׁיו עָדָה וְצִלָּה שְׁמַעַן קוֹלִי נְשֵׁי לֶמֶךְ הַאְזֵנָּה אִמְרָתִי כִּי אִישׁ הָרַגְתִּי לְפִצְעִי וְיֶלֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִי.

24  If Kayin shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

כד  כִּי שִׁבְעָתַיִם יֻקַּם קָיִן וְלֶמֶךְ שִׁבְעִים וְשִׁבְעָה.

25  And Adam knew his wife again; and she bore a son, and called his name Seth: ‘for God hath appointed me another seed instead of Hevel; for Kayin slew him.’

כה  וַיֵּדַע אָדָם עוֹד אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ שֵׁת כִּי שָׁת לִי אֱלֹהִים זֶרַע אַחֵר תַּחַת הֶבֶל כִּי הֲרָגוֹ קָיִן.

26  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enosh; then began men to call upon the name of Hashem.

כו  וּלְשֵׁת גַּם הוּא יֻלַּד בֵּן וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ אֱנוֹשׁ אָז הוּחַל לִקְרֹא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה.

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Comments ( 14 )

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  • God was pleased with Chava – Eve as she brought forth sons, for continuation of the world for God’s Glory. Kayin was tiller of the ground while Hevel was keeper of sheep. I see favoritism by God because His purpose was to cleanse with Blood. Therefore God preferred Hevel’s offering which was the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof, while Kayin’s offering of the fruit of the ground God did not respect. Maybe God’s purpose was the Blood being the produce of life and not the produce of Earth. Thus Kayin was offended and became angry which resulted in jealousy, ending up in killing of the accepted one – Hevel. For the 2nd time God showed His disapprove towards mankind and punishment was that again he was thrown out of society this time, and Caine cried out for Mercy to God saying “My punishment is greater than I can bear” and he went out from the Presence of God and lived in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. Man has since been a fugitive and wanderer and Samson one of the last judges too shows this. History repeats and the process of purifying goes on.

    • Very good point but I would still like to hear from the Rabbi’s why the offering of Kayin was not acceptable. Actually, I would like to hear from the Father on this. For me, this is a bit of a conundrum.

      • I share your feelings in this matter. Here is a possibility for consideration. Abel’s offering was the best of something he did not toil to make. Hashem made the animal. Abel only cared for it. Even though the seed was made by Hashem, Cain had to toil to create the final product. That labor was not a sin, but was inferior as a sacrifice to Elohim. It’s like the Altar of the Temple. It can’t be made of stones hewn by man. Only those made by Hashem and unaltered in any way by man makes an acceptable Altar. Those are just my thoughts. Like you, I’m still praying for deeper revelations.

      • I, like others, agree with you. This seems, on the most basic level, so unfair. Even if God requires the blood sacrifice that ultimately is fulfilled in the Messiah, my conundrum involves what Kayin was expected to do – if he tilled the ground, where would he get the sacrifice? It seems that this is where the Israelis tended to go off in "buying" the blood sacrifices that were not really sacrifices to them – just a purchase.

        Either way, with respect to my God who is beyond my understanding, please help us understand your ways.

    • I think Hashem really likes first of all for Him as thank giving.Adam give from first,but KAYIN in process of time…

    • We can not blame the Creator Almighty for our weaknesses. Kayin's offering was not right and he knew how to make it right that is to follow his brother's way. Instead he kill his brother because of jealousy and pride. The situation is all around us among ourselves we are Kayin and we are about to fall like him if we allow ourselves to not look what is right in the sight of YHWH. If we knew the Messiah and what he did for us all that we may humble ourselves and follow him. Instead we are more ready to kill our brother!

  • I am reminded by the rabbi’s commentary above of the lyrics to a song that was popular in the 1960s. “There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy, and he did wander very far over land and sea”. At the end of his wandering, at the end of the song, we are told the greatest thing the boy ever learned was just to love and be loved in return. It seems that Cain never learned this repentance. The Jewish People, however, who also have wandered, have ceased to wander and may be well on the way to becoming an example to the nations of the lessons of repentance and love

  • For all that Cain was virtually exiled, from his seed came one of my favourite men Enoch. This was the first time God showed that he would take what seemed to be unclean and use it as he built the Nation of Israel. We live in a world where success is often the goal, winning is all, where weakness is looked down on. But here we see God taking a man who had killed and his seed becoming an important feature/a stepping stone, so to speak, in the lineage of David.
    *
    One day we will see the full picture, like that of a tapestry, now we see the knots and ties and the changing of colours, but not the full and perfect picture. Hashem sees all and intertwines all that are important in his master design.

  • What is the significant of Verses 23 and 24 where Lamech tells his wives: If Kayin shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

  • Perhaps it's simpler than the fruit of the ground verses the blood. Perhaps Kayin's sacrifice was not the best of what he had to offer? He may have had abundance, but instead of sorting thru his abundance to find the best without blemish, he just grabbed a bunch of his produce and offered that?

  • Wouldn't it be the words:"My punishment is greater than I can bear", Cain uttered to HaShem. Wasn't his thinking of HaShem too small, too small his idea of the love of our G-d. Moreover , Chawa's thoughts about her son Hevel were as if he was to be the promised Massiach (Gen.3:15). Then maybe Jealousy played a distinct role in the thinking of Cain. And also his words can be read in a different perspective: his sin was greater than could be forgiven, than he could bear. He killed Massiach !

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Genesis 4