Introduction to Chapter 2

chapter 2 intro (2)

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For one of Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History click here: 8.5×11″; A4 paper



Adam and Eve enjoyed a deep personal involvement and intimacy which culminated in a sexual relationship.[1]

Whether that occurred before or after the fall remains unknown.[2]

As a result of that act, Eve “acquired (qanah) a man” (Gen 4:1). She appears to have ironically alluded to Adam’s statement, “She will be called woman because from man she was taken” (Gen 2:23). Now a man had come from a woman (Cf. 1 Cor 11:11–12).[3]



She then bore Abel, and gave him a name which means “vapor, breath, or futility.”[4]

In God’s words of judgment against the serpent after the fall, he declared that people would align themselves either with the serpent or with the Lord as his “seed” (Gen 3:15).

The battle between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman began with Cain and Abel. As frequently occurs in Genesis, God granted the favor expected by the firstborn son to the younger brother. [5]



Despite the fall, both sons worked to fulfill the cultural mandate of Gen 1:26–28 by stewarding the planet’s natural resources.[6]

Cain continued in the profession of his father as “a servant of the ground,” while Abel shepherded domesticated animals (Gen 4:2).[7]

At one point, they brought gifts of thanks to God for his generosity to them (Gen 4:3–4).[8]

Moses’s original readers would have likened this to a vassal king bringing tribute as a sign of deference and respect to his suzerain overlord.[9]

According to the author of Hebrews, Abel made his offering by faith, while his brother did not (Heb 11:4).[10] Therefore, the Lord rejected Cain’s gift.



When God exposed his failure, Cain burned with anger against Abel (Gen 4:5).[11]

The Lord gave Cain an opportunity to confess his error,[12] but he left God’s questions unanswered.  Then, the Lord informed Cain that sin was lying in wait for him.[13] He needed to prepare himself to face temptation and rule over it (Gen 4:6–7).[14]

Nevertheless, Cain chose the way of the serpent (John 8:44).[15]

Moses portrayed his premeditated act as an outrageous result of consuming jealousy.[16]

While they were in the field, Cain killed his brother. He vented his anger toward God on the most likely scapegoat by destroying the one whom the Lord accepted (Gen 4:8).[17]



When God confronted him, Cain’s reply belied a heart much harder than those of his parents. He denied any awareness of Abel’s situation,[18] sarcastically responding, “Should I be shepherding the shepherd?” (Gen 4:9).[19]

In only one generation, people had gone from tending paradise to denying an obligation to a family member (Gen 2:15).[20]

The Lord responded with outrage,[21] saying, “What have you done? The voice of the blood of your brother is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:10).



As a result, God cursed Cain from the ground, banishing  him from places where he could cultivate the land.[22] Cain became a restless wanderer in his quest to find food.[23]

No longer would he enjoy community. He would become a man without a sense of belonging, a fate worse than death (Gen 4:11–12).[24]

Cain feared that he would be subject to the same treatment he delivered to Abel. Surprisingly, the Lord granted him a pledge and a protective action.[25]

Although God did not promise Cain that he would live, the Lord would render perfect judgment against anyone who killed him (Gen 4:13–15).[26]

Then, the Lord marked Cain with a sign and exiled him (Gen 4:16).

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Go to Cain Dedicated a City (Gen 4:17)

[Related posts include Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); The Blessing of Fruitfulness (Gen 1:28); Serving and Keeping (Gen 2:15); An Equal and Adequate Partner (Gen 2:21–23); The First Good News (Gen 3:15); Thorns and Thistles (Gen 3:17–18); Driven Out (Gen 3:23–24); Eve Acquires a Man (Gen 4:1); A Servant of the Ground and a Shepherd of a Flock (Gen 4:2‒5); Sin Lies Stretched Out (Gen 4:6‒7); Cain Arose against His Brother (Gen 4:8); Misappropriated Blood (Gen 4:9‒10); Cursed from the Ground (Gen 4:11‒14); Banished from God’s Presence (Gen 4:15‒16); A Murderer from the Beginning (John 8:42–44); It is Good Not to Touch (1 Cor 7:1‒5); Interdependence (1 Cor 11:11–12); By Faith (Heb 11:4); Children of the Devil (1 John 3:10‒12); and Love or Death (1 John 3:13‒15)]

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History or to Chapter 2: The Descent of Humanity (Genesis 4:17–24)]


[1]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 96.

[2] Walton, Genesis, 260.

[3] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 96.

[4] Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “הֶ֫בֶל” (hebel), BDB, 210–1,

[5] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 96.

[6] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 97.

[7] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 222.

[8] Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Gen 4:7.

[9] Walton, Genesis, 262.

[10] Lane, Hebrews 9–13, 335.

[11]Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, 182.

[12] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 98.

[13] Walton, Genesis, 264.

[14] Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “מָשַׁל” (mashal), BDB, 605,

[15] Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 100.

[16] Walton, Genesis, 264.

[17] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 230.

[18] Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 106–7.

[19]Schlimm, From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Language and Ethics of Anger in Genesis, 338, Http://

[20] Walton, Genesis, 267.

[21] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 98.

[22] Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 107.

[23] Walton, Genesis, 265.

[24] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 232.

[25] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 233.

[26] Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, 165.