Historical Genesis

From Adam To Abraham

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Chapter 7 - Cain’s Lament: Don’t Let Them Kill Me!

Genesis 4:14. Cain slew Abel and lamented before the Lord, "... from Thy face I shall 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."

Genesis 4:15. God responded to Cain's plea, "Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

Who was the "whosoever" to whom the Lord was referring? Cain had just eliminated his only brother. Adam and Eve have had no other children at this point. Cain could not have known whether more children would come from his parents or not. From Cain's point of view, the entire human race would have reached a dead end at that point - unless, of course, there were other human beings about.

Cain's lament proves the point. Cain's words, after the Lord banished him from Eden, were out of fear that someone would kill him. God gave him a sign. Thus we have God's confirmation that Cain's worry was valid. Cain's fear must have been aroused at the unhappy prospect of approaching a settlement of people, perhaps hostile, without the Lord's protection. They would have seen Cain was a stranger, and would have sought to kill him. The Lord's action alludes to that.

Cain should not have needed any "mark" to approach his own family. So the mark of Cain must have given him some kind of identity or safe passage. His concern that a premature demise might come from human hands makes no sense, unless he was aware of other human beings, and feared them. His lament and the Lord's response suggest co-existence with other human populations living in the same vicinity. Quoting Van Amringe:

Adam, at the time Cain slew Abel, had only these two children; consequently, Abel being slain, Adam and Cain were the only two men in the world, if Adam was the first and only creation of human beings. If such were the case the fear of Cain "that every one that findeth me shall slay me," must have been wholly groundless: and the reply of the Lord, that "whosoever slayeth Cain vengeance shall be taken on him seven-fold," was at least unnecessary. Nor could there be any necessity for putting a mark upon him, "lest any finding him should kill him." For if there were no human beings then in the world but Adam, Eve, and Cain, would he not be sufficiently known to them without a mark? And would he not have been sufficiently protected from them, and their future descendants, by being driven out a "fugitive and a vagabond?"

Genesis 4:16: "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden."

Throughout the Bible the "land of Canaan" or the "land of Egypt" refers to an area populated by those particular peoples. Why Bible interpreters have not considered that the "land of Nod" might well have been populated is a mystery. In Hebrew, nod means "wandering." This would be an apt designation for nomadic herdsmen in the area at the time, nod being simply a form of the word "nomad." A suitable translation would have been: "… and Cain dwelt in a land of nomads." Suitable, that is, had Bible translators considered Cain's populated surroundings.

When Cain left the presence of the Lord and journeyed to the land of Nod - note carefully - two things happened: (1) Cain left the Lord's presence, and (2) Cain departed Eden. Next, Cain took a wife, but from where?

Josephus indicated Cain left Eden with a wife in tow, but left her origin a mystery. He named no wives and inferred no sister/wife relationships. He did weigh in with an opinion as to non-Adamic populations in the area

And when Cain had traveled over much ground, he, with his wife, settled in a place called Nod, where he made his abode; and also had his children born there. However, he did not take his punishment as a warning, but only became the wickeder, studying only his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors.

And what "neighbors" might Cain have had?