Brotherly Love

As soon as *he left the Garden of Eden for good*, Adam lay with Eve who conceived. To make a baby just after being expelled from their home with yet no place to go, was an act of impetuosity, which caused Eve much guilt. So she tried to put the best face on what she’d done, and said to God, “With the help of the Lord I have brought a man into being”.

It was wounding for Adam to hear this, for Eve was, in effect, impugning his masculinity by saying that she’d needed help from another man (God) to bring the child into being. Eve, in addition to feeling guilty about her co-irresponsibility, was also resentful of Adam for putting her in this position.

The child, a boy, that Eve bore was called Cain. Afterwards, she (Eve) had another son, who was called Abel.

Abel became a shepherd, and Cain a tiller of the soil. One day Cain presented to God some of the food he’d grown. Not to feel outdone, Abel presented God with the first-born of the sheep that he shepherded. God received Cain’s sheep with gratitude. He refused, however, the food from Cain. Cain was very angry and his face fell. God, seeing this, explained that He felt that Cain hadn’t done well enough, and that he could do better.

Cain said to Abel, “Let us go into the open country”. While there, Cain slew Abel. When Cain returned from the country, God, noting the absence of Abel, asked Cain where Abel was. Cain said he didn’t know, and petulantly added, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God said to Cain, “What have you done? The voice of your brother is crying unto me from the ground. You are henceforth cursed from the earth which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield you its wealth. You shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on earth.”

“My punishment is greater than I can bear” said Cain. “You are driving me from the earth, so that I must hide myself from You. I’m condemned to be a fugitive and vagabond. Everyone who sees me will want to kill me. This isn’t fair”.

However, God said to Cain, “No, if anyone kills you, you shall be avenged sevenfold.” Accordingly, God put a mark on Cain, so that anyone seeing him would know not to kill him. Cain then went away and settled in the land of Nod, to the east of Eden.

When in Nod, Cain found himself a wife and lay with her. She conceived and bore Enoch. Meanwhile, Cain was building a city which he named Enoch, after his son.

But, what had become of Cain’s father and mother, Adam and Eve, who had been so cruelly deprived of their younger son, Abel, because of what Cain had done? Well, Adam lay again with Eve, who bore a son whom she named Seth. Seth was Abel’s replacement. Eve said as much, for she said, “God has granted me another son in place of Abel, because Cain killed him”.

Seth, who was Cain’s new brother, later on had a son, whom he called Enosh, who was therefore the cousin of Enoch, Cain’s son.

Source: Genesis 4

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One Response to Brotherly Love

  1. Transferred Comments says:

    Richard said…

    That family is so disfunctional. What sort of chance do those kids have, I ask you? It’s not their fault. They need help, not punishment.

    We need the resources, but what do we get? Cuts.
    9:43 PM, February 26, 2011

    potsoc said…

    Nice transposition, Richard, biblical times are not over it seems.
    4:34 AM, February 27, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Richard, Paul – The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons, not only to the third and the fourth generation, but to the thirtieth and the fortieth too.
    11:08 AM, February 27, 2011

    jenny said…

    The very first siblings, and it’s a story of fratricide! Awesome.

    Sibling rivalry is a huge theme in this book, and the elder child never receives the blessing.

    I taught Hebrew school for a number of years. These are gruesome stories to read with elementary school kids. This isn’t cricket.
    5:10 AM, February 28, 2011

    Christopher said…

    While “fratricide” is a part of one’s basic vocabulary, “sororicide” isn’t.

    This means that sororicide must be far rarer than fratricide.

    Fratricide is such a guy thing.
    12:35 PM, February 28, 2011

    potsoc said…

    Brothers don’t kill sisters, they rape them. Which is better?
    2:16 PM, February 28, 2011

    Christopher said…

    There’s nothing men won’t do, it seems
    7:53 PM, February 28, 2011

    dafna said…

    really enjoying your telling of the bible Christopher.

    jenny, my mother is teaching the children of the children from my generation hebrew school, both reform and conservative – i don’t ever remember her teaching the gruesome parts.

    Christopher, in regard to a comparison of KJ bible to the torah, for purposes of your blog it’s probably a mute point.

    perhaps someone will correct me – but the torah (1st part of tanackh “the jewish bible”) has been copied word for word for 4000 years without change. the New Testament including the KJ bible has many different variations?

    if you make it to the end and wish to sell your version, will you take paypal? 🙂
    9:55 PM, February 28, 2011

    jenny said…

    @Dafna: Your mother is a better woman than I am, certainly more circumspect.

    @Paul and Philippe: And, yet, I’m often not so crazy about women either.
    5:56 AM, March 01, 2011

    dafna said…

    @ jenny – “circumspect” ha! my mother could insult you and you would think you had just gotten a compliment… she’s just that good 🙂

    (well, when she wants to be)
    6:32 PM, March 01, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Dafna – “…..the torah……has been copied word for word for 4000 years without change. the New Testament including the KJ bible has many different variations?…..”

    From what I’ve gleaned from my copy of the King James version, it was “….translated out of the original tongues: and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, by his majesty’s special command…….”

    This bespeaks that the King James version wasn’t based just on the Hebrew of the Torah, but on other sources too.

    The introduction to my copy of the New English Bible, which is in modern English, confirms this. Among the non-Hebrew sources was the Old Testament in Greek, called the “Septuagent”.

    There are differences from the traditional Hebrew text, “…..in a considerable number of small and mostly unimportant points…….”.
    1:50 AM, March 02, 2011

    dafna said…

    perhaps Christopher,

    from one lover of words to another…

    but the mistranslation of the word “horn” led to my first college roommate who had never met a jew to search me for horns. and worse…

    http://sumsekel.blogspot.com/2008/03/mistranslation-in-vulgate-gives-moses.html
    12:10 PM, March 02, 2011

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