BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 5, Day 2: Genesis 4:1-5

Summary of passage:  Eve gave birth to Cain and then Abel.  Abel was the shepherd and Cain was the farmer.  Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to God. Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock as an offering to God. The Lord favored Abel’s offering but not Cain’s.  Cain was angry and downcast because of this.


3a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Because God demands the best.  Cain only brought some of the fruits of the soil.  Abel brought the best (fat) portions AND they were from the firstborn of his flock (think venison versus veal).  Abel brought the choicest cuts.  Cain only brought hamburger meat (analogy here).

The verses point to how Jesus was a perfect, unblemished sacrifice.  God sets the example.  He demands the best since He gave the best.

Hebrews seems to point to how Abel had more faith in God than did Cain.  God knows the heart.  And Cain’s heart was not right that day.

It could have been attitude as well.  Abel came with a cheerful heart; Cain not so much–begrudging maybe.

b)  He wants our faith in Him and we show that by giving Him the best of us.  Then we shall be righteous before Him.  If we have faith in God, we will be accepted.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Just based off of these verses (Genesis 4:1-5) and pretending I don’t know what happens I would answer Yes.  Genesis 3:15 is God’s promise to put enmity or distrust between the devil and man and how the devil will eventually be defeated.  His promise of a Savior.  No man had ever been born before so why wouldn’t Cain be the deliverer in Eve’s mind?

What mother ever thinks her son is evil or will be tempted by the devil?  I think Eve thought Cain would defeat the devil and could even be God’s promised Savior.  Here, in this offering, for all we know Cain is just in a bad mood or it’s his first sacrifice ever and he’s not for sure what to bring.  He’s learning.  We don’t know.  But I would say the devil does not have Cain yet here.

5a)  Seriously?  What’s your attitude?  We have a total of 2 verses here that talk about Cain, his offering, and his reaction.  Sometimes I wonder how much speculation, interpretation, and deduction BSF wants.  We know nothing of Cain’s life in-between his birth and this offering.  For all we know this offering made him snap.

His attitude is not good.  Maybe resentful of even having to offer a sacrifice since he did not bring the first fruits.  He probably grew up hearing stories from his mom and dad about how great Eden was before the Fall so he’s pining for that and resenting his parents for his toil of the land.

To Abel he obviously resents and is jealous (but we don’t know this until he kills him).  He’s just been shown up by his younger brother.  How would you feel?  Anger and downcast we are told.

To life?  Speculation:  Who knows?  Maybe resentful.  Maybe happy.  We just don’t know enough here.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He was angry because he was felt not good enough by his offering and his brother showed him up.  His pride was wounded.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Constant comparison to others.  It’s easy in this world where we do feel not good enough even though God says we are.  It’s tough to believe sometimes.

We all like to be the best and our human pride does get wounded often, which makes us unhappy or angry.  Also, if God is not our center, it’s easy to get off-kilter and be angry and unhappy.  We must keep Him our focus in the midst of the daily drudges.

6)  Sacrifice of praise and to do good and share with others.  Try to praise God every chance I get and do good and share with others.  Not sure on specifics.  Have to see what God presents first.

Conclusions:  Seemed to me to be a lot of speculation in this lesson.  We don’t know anything about Cain’s life after his birth up until this sacrifice.  We don’t know how old he is either.  He could be 12, 18, 22, 32, 102, 402…

Seems unfair to me to speculate about Cain’s life based off of one sacrifice (pretending we don’t know he’s about to murder his brother since the verses today do not include that–nor God’s reprimand and warning to Cain).  He could have had a great childhood, loving relationship with Abel, his parents and God, and just snapped in the moment.

It’s all speculation unless the Bible says and it doesn’t.

One could argue, “Well, he brought the crap which indicates he didn’t have faith and was resentful.”  True.  But it could have been a bad day or he didn’t know any better.  We are not told the REASON Cain brings the crap (except in Hebrews that he lacks faith).  But there are days my faith isn’t as strong as others and I’m in a bad mood.

I would like to think of the good in Cain.  Yes.  He failed this test miserably and God himself reprimanded him.  But saying his whole life up until the sacrifice was miserable and lacked faith is something I’m just not going to say or believe.

God wants us to be happy and have a good life.  And I think Cain did too.

3 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 5, Day 2: Genesis 4:1-5

  1. Agree with AtoZ that BSF is requiring alot of speculation on the 2nd day. My thoughts on question 3a is that God would not have included this episode in His Word to teach us faith and obedience if Cain was just having a “bad hair day.” Cain is certainly not a happy camper, but I feel that God is teaching that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God(Rom 10:17). Cain had plenty of time in his life to know what a proper sacrifice and worship to God included. Adam and Eve would have instructed their boys in proper worship that is acceptable to God. The accepted sacrifice in this case would have been an animal sacrifice with the shedding of blood. In question 5a, if one takes Jude 11 with the Hebrew passage of 11:4, I feel that the Bible is telling us that Cain in general lived to do his own thing(Jude 11: Way of Cain). Cain felt his offering of fruit was as valuable an alternative and as useful as Abel’s animal sacrifice. BUT that is not what God had required in faith and obedience. I think Cain felt Abel was a spoiled, self-righteous “brown-noser”. Then in 5b Cain is unhappy and angry because he has sinned against God and his heart and attitude are not right. Anytime you sin and are separated from God’s fellowship, unhappiness and anger can result unless one confesses and repents. His sin of pride led to jealousy, then intense anger, followed by murder! I am being tougher on Cain than AtoZ but she is a kinder,gentle person who is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Gen 4: states that “Cain brought the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord”.
    In contrast, as for Abel, the bible says “he brought of the firstlings of his flock”.
    This indicates to me that maybe Cain DID NOT bring of the first fruits, but just ANY fruits (or maybe even leftovers). God always wants our best.
    In my opinion, the difference bertween Cain and Abel was not a character difference at all, but the difference was in the offerings which they brought. These two boys had the same background, they had the same heredity, they had the same environment. There was not a difference bertween them, they were both sons of Adam and Eve (they had no bloodstream that reached way back on both sides)

  3. Glad you made the comment about speculation. There is waayyy too much unnecessary conjecture required in this lesson; if we needed to know, God would have included it in the text. Plenty to focus on and learn from without going off on unanswerable tangents.

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