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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

East of Eden



Genesis 4:2-25 NIV


2Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?

7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?

10The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

13Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

15But the Lord said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

16So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

17Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

19Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. 22Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

23Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;

wives of Lamech, hear my words.

I have killed a man for wounding me,

a young man for injuring me.

24If Cain is avenged seven times,

then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

25Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”

26Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.


East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952. Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories.

The story is primarily set in the Salinas Valley, California, between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of World War I, though some chapters are in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and the story goes as far back as the American Civil War.  In the beginning of East of Eden, before introducing his characters, John Steinbeck carefully establishes the setting with a description of the Salinas Valley in Central California.

Currently I live in the Salinas Valley, California.

 

Why Did Cain Kill Abel?

The stories of the first act of worship in human history and the first murder are recorded in Genesis chapter 4. This follows the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience to God, and the entrance of sin into the human race. Death, the judgment pronounced upon them by God, soon made its entrance in the first family.

Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, “in the course of time” brought offerings to the Lord (Genesis 4:3). Without doubt, they were doing this because God had revealed it to them. Some question, “How were Cain and Abel supposed to know what to sacrifice?” The answer is that God must have instructed them. It is clear that the offering was to be a substitutionary atonement, because we read in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.” When Abel came for worship, it was by faith that he brought his offering, the “fat portions from some of the first-born of his flock” (Genesis 4:4). The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, and it was accepted.


His brother Cain brought “some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord” (Genesis 4:3). But on Cain and his offering the Lord did not look with favor. We do not know how He expressed His rejection, but it was evident. In Jude’s epistle, verse 11, we read, “They have taken the way of Cain,” referring to lawless men. This may mean that they, like Cain, disobediently devised their own ways of worship; they did not come by faith. Cain’s offering, while acceptable in his own eyes, was not acceptable to the Lord. The result was that Cain became very angry, and later, in the field, he killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8).


Why did Cain kill Abel? It was premeditated murder, caused by anger, jealousy, and pride. John wrote, “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous” (1 John 3:12).

The evil in his heart was further revealed when the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). The Lord brought a curse on Cain, and he went out from His presence.


When Jesus Christ died upon the cross, He became the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He died in our place and arose from the grave that we might have everlasting life with Him. As Abel made his sacrifice by faith, we accept Jesus’ death by faith and are made right before Him. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” We “are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:22, 24).

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