9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
K.J.V. Bible Text
When the Lord comes to Cain and asks the whereabouts of Abel, Cain asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We hear people paraphrase this today by saying something like, “Since when is it my job to fill the ice bin?”
Of course, the Lord already knew what had happened to Abel and he was disappointed that, rather than rule over the sin that lay in wait for him, Cain had chosen to give it to it. Cain will now be punished by having to move on to a harsher environment and struggle with ground that does not easily yield up its crops. He will also be sent a little further away from the land of Eden.
Cain feels his punishment is too great. He fears being killed as he wanders the earth. Yet the Lord places a mark on Cain that will protect him so no one will kill him.
Here I wonder if the Lord wanted Cain to live out his punishment. Had he been swiftly killed, he would not have endured the full penalty. It would seem that even though Cain had sinned greatly, the Lord had hope for his redemption.
– Betty Killebrew
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