Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech. Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah,
Listen to my voice,
You wives of Lamech,
Give heed to my speech,
For I have killed a man for wounding me;
And a boy for striking me;
If Cain is avenged sevenfold,
Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”
Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.
The human race advances quickly and in particular when to comes to evil. I mean the taking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil was kind of akin to taking a cookie out of the cookie jar. By the time the first two brothers come of age, one of them will become a murder. ‘That escalated quickly’ does not begin to even describe this change in the human race that will take place in the next few years. We will as a race at this time have the knowledge of good and evil but we will explore the path of evil with far more energy and vigor than the good.
Cain becomes the poster child for this. He gets angry that his offering is not accepted and when he listens to God he considers his options he chooses not to master the evil but let the evil master him. he kills his brother. He then tries to disguise it by lying to God. He then cries out against his punishment and oddly enough God protects him. Cain legacy is human civilization as his descendents create cities, music, agriculture, smithing, commerce and trade but they are now no longer pursing God on God’s terms as is evidence by Lamech and his belief that his murder would be more covered by God’s vengeance that Cain’s. There is an arrogance to Cain’s line that they do not need God’s help and a complete abandonment of redemption. This opinion does not change in the vast majority of humanity very often.
The one bright spot is Eve’s third mentioned son – Seth. Her statement is that he replaces Abel starts another line of dependency apart from Cain’s. One that honors the commitment to work with god to redeem the human race. Even it will ultimately fall prey to the dire to follow evil with one lone exception at the end. The only way to stop this escalation of evil will eventually be judgment.
If there is a lesson here it is to understand that knowing good and evil like we do gives us a very present and constant choice. We alone are responsible for this choice and the blessings or consequences that result. We cannot be like Cain and seek some substitute for being back in God’s will and on the path to redemption. This choice faces each and every one of us each day.