Genesis 4:1-16

 |  February 15, 2018

Genesis 4:1-16

  1. Locate the passage

This passage records the first events after mankind was expelled from the garden. Some English translation complete this section in 4:15. However, the more logical pericope is 4:1-16. First, the break in the Hebrew text is after 4:16. Second, the events of Cain relocating to Nod fit the first section of chapter 4 more naturally than the subsequent because the relocation is a consequence of the events of 4:1-15. 4:16 begins a new section with a different subject.

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative. It records Eve’s excitement at the birth of her son; the conversation between the Lord and Cain. Note, while a conversation between Cain and Abel is referenced (4:8), none is recorded.

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

4:1-2 – God blessed Adam and Eve with children

4:3-5a – Cain and Abel both brought offerings to the Lord

4:5b-7 – The Lord’s prerogative

4:8 – Cain’s response to the Lord’s prerogative

4:9-12 – Cain’s judgment

4:13-16 – The Lord’s grace, even in judgment

  1. Exegete the passage

The alternating development of the text is rich

Cain’s birth                 => Abel’s birth

Abel’s occupation       => Cain’s occupation

Cain’s offering            => Abel’s offering

Abel’s acceptance       => Cain’s rejection

Cain’s anger                => Abel’s death[1]See Allen P. Ross. Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1996), 154.

4:1 – Adam knew Eve – the Hebrew verb, “to know” is often used in context of a sexual union (cf. Gen. 4:1, 17, 25, 19:5, 8; 24:16; 38:26; Judges 11:39; 19:22; 1 Sam.    1:19).

4:1 – “Cain” – the name means, “acquired,” or “possession”

4:1 – “whom I have acquired”

4:1 – “from the Lord”

4:2 – the name, “Abel” means “breath.”

4:2 – Abel was a keeper of sheep … Cain was a tiller of the ground

4:3 – Cain brought an offering

4:4 – Abel also brought

4:4 – The Lord respected

4:5 – He did not respect

4:5 – “Did not respect” (See above)

4:5 – “Cain and his offering”

4:5 – Cain was angry and his countenance fell

4:6 – The Lord questions Cain similarly as He did Adam and Eve in the garden

4:7 – If you do well, you will be accepted

4:7 – Sin lies at your door

4:7 – Sin desires you

4:7 – But you rule over it

4:8 – See Luke 11:50 – Jesus referred to Abel as “righteous” and a “prophet”

4:8 – Cain “talked” with Abel

4:8 – “His brother”

4:9 – “Where is your brother?”

4:9 – I do not know … Am I my brother’s keeper?

4:10 – “What have you done?”

4:10 – “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me”

4:11 – So … you are cursed

4:13 – “My punishment is too great”

4:14 – “Driven me out … hidden me from … fugitive and vagabond”

4:15 – The Lord said to him

4:15 – “The Lord set a mark on Cain”

4:16 – Cain went out

4:16 – the land of Nod

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

There are two foundational truths in this passage:

  1. Life is a gift from the Lord
  2. Worship is a gift to the Lord

Exp. Sin distorts these two truths
Exp. In the passage, Cain devalued worship and he devalued life
Exp. What happens in this passage is the consequence of the misunderstanding of these two fundamental truths

1. The failure to appreciate God’s gift of life makes it easier to devalue it
2. The failure to appreciate our gift of worship makes it easier to diminish it

Application:

References   [ + ]

Category: Sermon Structure
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