4:1 The Hebrew name "qayin" (Cain) and the term "qaniti" (I have produced) is another play on words that would be recognized in the original Hebrew, but is lost in translation.
4:4-5 Origin of sacrifice & various meanings: see below
4:15 The mark put on Cain was probably a tattoo. Tattooing of tribal marks has always been common among inhabitants of the Near Eastern deserts.
4:16 The land of Nod does NOT refer to a specific geographical location, instead it means "land of nomads" or "land of wanderers." Nod is play on the Hebrew word "nad" (line over a), which is the participle of "to wander."
The original beginnings of the practice of sacrificing to God are much debated, though in the rest of the Bible much of the practice relies on Genesis 4:4-5 as the foundation for sacrifice being an appropriate behavior. One of the major questions is: was sacrifice a direct command of God -or- did man come up with the concept out of religious instinct?
It is important to note that the offerings themselves weren’t the source of God’s rejection or acceptance. God doesn’t have a preference for meat over grain. It was the “spirit” in which it was given, aka- was the sacrifice given out of the spirit of faith or was it a mere "superstition"? Other scholars put forth the premise that Abel offered the first-born of his flock, the best part, and that Cain's offering was not of the best part of his crop.
In today’s day and age, we don’t offer meat and grain to the Lord. However, we can offer a “proper” spirit and behavior.
Can you name some examples of “proper” spiritual feelings or behavior that the Lord would “accept as an offering”?
Due to the sin of killing his brother, Cain receives punishment from God. However, Cain complains that it is too great to bear. We receive trials and tribulations (as part of life and for God’s own reasons; not because we murdered someone). It is important to note that God will help us through those trials as long as we display faith in his all-knowing wisdom.
Name one trial or tribulation that you have gone through. Did God help give you strength? In retrospect, did you gain any spiritual benefit from the trial/tribulation?
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong