Genesis 4:16-24, Cain’s Descendants and Implications for Today

Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16, NASB)

Many Bibles read that Cain lived in a place called “Nod”. However, what many readers lose in translation is that nod means “wandering”, and that nod is used just earlier in the phrase often translated as “a fugitive and a vagabond will you be in the Earth” (cf. Gen 4:12).  That phrase should probably be translated as “you will be wavering and wandering [nod] in the Earth”, which would put vs. 16 in proper context: as Cain enters a “land of wandering”, thus living out his judgment.

Previously I suggested there was a prophetic undertone to righteous Abel’s murder, which was followed by Cain’s “desolation” from the “Presence of God” (in other words, a prototypical “holy land”).  I believe this is a prophetic forecast for future “desolations” which occurred in the days of Moses, Judges, Prophets, the Babylonian captives, and ultimately, when Rome destroyed Israel in accordance with the prophecies of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  Thus the pattern of desolation is imprinted here early in the Scriptures – as a prophecy of warning to future generations.

So Cain’s “desolation” begins in verse 16 – which is a glorious oxymoron.  How does Cain “settle” (Heb. yeshev) in a “land of wandering”?  Which is it – did he settle down or wander aimlessly?  Adding to this conundrum is what happens next:

Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17)

The Hebrew word for “city” is iyr, which can designate any fortified place. Given that Cain was preoccupied with “anyone who finds me will smite me” (vs. 14), he likely built some sort of fortress.  At the same time, he named his son “Chanokh” (anglicized as “Enoch”) which is the same Hebrew word used when “dedicating” or “establishing” a memorial – i.e. how King Solomon “dedicated” the Holy Temple (ref. 1 Kings 8:23).  Therefore, when Enoch was born, it appears Cain was intending to re-establish himself!

So Cain built a fortress, he had a new family, and thus he “settled down” …but only according to man’s standard.  Prophetically speaking, Cain was still nod-wandering …according to the Word of God.  So the answer to the riddle is hiding in plain sight: Cain went out from the Presence… and was in the land of wandering.   If you are separated from the Presence of God, you’re “wandering”.  It doesn’t matter if you have the tallest castle with the thickest walls, or married to the prettiest wife with ten sons to carry on your legacy!  It doesn’t matter how you re-establish yourself; without the Presence, it’s vanity.

Let’s consider that Cain and his descendants (cf. Genesis 4:18-24) had quite the accomplishments – specifically, three of Cain’s fourth-great-grandsons revolutionized agriculture, the performing arts, and metallurgy (vv. 20-22).  In fact, these three sons – along with their father Lemech – would yield tremendous power and influence over the rest of the world, for it is written of them that they were “fathers of” all those who followed their trade.  In fact, Methusaleh, who was the same generation as Lemech the descendant of Cain –might have named his own son “Lemech” (who turned out to be the father of Noah, see. Gen. 5:25-30) in honor of him.

Cain’s descendants were sons of a desolation, and I write about their accomplishments and influence because of a strange trend I’m witnessing in Christian churches and especially in the Messianic faith.  You see, there is another group of people who are sons of a desolation, and who are likewise highly influential and successful all over the world.

I speak of today’s Jewish community.

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood as anti-Semitic.  It’s not anti-Semitic to identify how disproportionately successful Jewish people are in today’s society when compared to the success of other cultures and communities.  I find zero fault in anyone capitalizing on opportunities.

The fault I find is actually with Christians and Messianics.  As Christians/Messianics, we believe that the last desolation of Jerusalem occurred for a reason, one which was specifically prophesied by Messiah Yeshua.  Like Cain, these men went into all nations – wandering you might say, and immediately built shtetls and communities, and “settled down” so to speak.  As the centuries passed, Jews were unfairly persecuted, but eventually, they began to be innovators in the sciences, arts, and various industries.

However, while no one claims the descendants of Cain were successful because of Providence, why are Christians and Messianics claiming that today’s Jewish community is successful because of God’s favor?  This type of success is only measureable in this life, and doesn’t have any bearing on the age to come.

Just ask Cain’s descendants.  Their success and influence couldn’t save them from the Great Flood; in fact, we could argue that it helped contribute to the Great Flood!  And the success of anyone today – Jewish or Gentile – will not him in the upcoming Yom haDin (Day of Judgment).

Therefore, we must stop calling “favor” what the world calls “success”.  They are not necessarily compatible.

Now, in future posts I’ll discuss how Cain’s descendants could’ve been saved from the flood, just as Jews are returning to Israel in preparation for end-time fulfillments.  For now though, let not sons and daughters of God be swayed by anyone’s success in this life.  For as the ancient world was swayed by the influences of Cain’s descendants and drowned, what would become of us if we falsely confused God’s favor with human success? ♦

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Genesis 4:10-15, Prophetic Patterns in the Cain and Abel Story

The story of Qayin and Hevel (Cain and Abel) offers practical knowledge about favor and jealousy, but perhaps more importantly, offers a great deal of prophetic revelation.

Perhaps no revelation is more apparent than “many who are first shall be last, and the last first.” (Matt. 19:30) This cornerstone teaching of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) was forecast long ago through the lives of these two brothers – not because Qayin was Hevel’s senior, but because Qayin had pride with an expectation to be “first”, compared to Hevel’s humility and servanthood as the “last”.

However, this is not the end of the “last shall be first” pattern.  The Scriptures soon show how Avraham is favored before his father Terah.  Then, Itzak (Isaac) is favored before Ishmael, followed by God judging Esau in favor of Ya’akov (Jacob), whose son Joseph is favored over his brothers, and so forth.  Through these examples a mystery is revealed to us: God’s favor does not come through entitlement.

The “last shall be first” is not the only prophetic pattern forecast in the Qayin and Hevel story. We also first witness the reoccurring pattern of  “wandering”.

During his judgment, Qayin was fearful that he would be “wavering and wandering” over the Earth (cf. Gen 4:14), but that particular word, “wandering” (Heb. nood) – is used elsewhere to denote how God “removes” Yis’rael in highly troubling times:

“ADONAI had told David and Shlomo his son… I will not have the feet of Isra’el wander any longer out of the land which I gave their ancestors — if only they will take heed to obey every order I have given them and live in accordance with all the Torah that my servant Moshe ordered them to obey.” But they did not take heed; and M’nasheh misled them into doing even worse things than the nations ADONAI had destroyed ahead of the people of Isra’el.Moreover, M’nasheh shed so much innocent blood that he flooded Yerushalayim from one end to the other..”. (2 Kings 21:6-9, 16 CJB)

By the time of King David, YHVH had already caused Yis’rael to “wander out of the Land” at the hands of Philistines, Assyrians, and other nations due to the breaking of her covenant.  By the time of M’nasheh, God’s prophets warned of the same fate for similar transgressions, and for the shedding of innocent blood.

Therefore, in the reading of Qayin and Hevel, YHVH shows that the punishment for Qayin’s refusal to listen to YHVH, and the shedding of Hevel’s innocent blood, is a “wandering from the land” – a foreshadowing of what the Prophets  call “desolation” (at least, how most Bibles translate various words to be “desolation”).  Moshe (Moses) saw and warned of Yis’rael’s future desolation to the nations just a few years after the Exodus (Lev. 26:33).  Yeshayahu (Isaiah) also saw that Yis’rael “would become without inhabitant” (Isa. 6:12).  There are dozens of other warnings in the Prophets but the highest example may be the desolation foretold by Daniel – due to the fact that Messiah reiterated it (cf. Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11; Matthew 24:15).

The long and short of it is that the desolation of Yis’rael is a common theme reappearing throughout the Scriptures. It’s warned of throughout the Prophets, witnessed in the times of Judges, and fulfilled in both the desolations of Shomron (Samaria) and Yahudah.  However, it’s greatest fulfillment came after the appearance of Messiah Yeshua, when Rome utterly destroyed Yerushalayim.

Thus we realize that the banishment of Qayin – who ignored the pleading of God and shed the innocent blood of Hevel – is a prophetic forecast of the desolations witnessed throughout time – occurring due to similar motivations as Qayin’s.  Yis’rael would ignore the pleadings of God through his prophets, and shed innocent blood, ultimately executing their own Messiah!

And of course, all this shedding of righteous blood comes with a price:

 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (Matt. 23:35)

So there were many desolations of Yis’rael, but one noteworthy point to mention is that even in His wrath, God never made a complete end of Yis’rael.  He wouldn’t excuse their guilt, but He also wouldn’t forget His mercy.  For these reasons He commanded that the nations whom He chose as the instruments of His wrath would treat Yis’rael well.

This decree of not harming Yis’rael began with Avraham, “by blessing will I bless those who would bless you; and cursing upon those who curse you” (Gen. 12:3), and in spite of God allowing Yis’rael to enter all her desolations, that same expectation of respect for Yis’rael never changed.  As the prophet Tzecharyah (Zechariah) declared, ““I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, but they added to the calamity”” (Zech. 1:14-15).

Previously I suggested that death was too good for Qayin, and while that may be true to his personal circumstance, I further suggest that Qayin was allowed to live in his isolation because it’s a prophecy of all the future times Yis’rael would be desolated – but not completely destroyed.  Hence, Qayin was allowed to live because Yis’rael would always be allowed to live.

In short, “Qayin and Hevel” is one grand prophetic revelation about all the times Yis’rael ignored the pleadings of God for repentance, killed its prophets and shed innocent blood, and entered into desolation, while at the same time, being allowed to live.  If we can grasp this concept, the rest of the Word of God will become much more compelling to us as readers as we will understand the prophetic patterns laid out for us to follow. ♦

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Genesis 4:10-15, Why Was Cain’s Life Spared?

There seems to be a lot of speculation and struggling with Qayin’s (Cain’s) punishment – or lack thereof – as some believe that Qayin should’ve lost his own life after murdering his brother Hevel (Abel), based on comments from skeptics and even some believers in Internet Land.  On the flip side is Christian flag-waving of the “Grace” extended to Qayin; according to Christians, this is one proof that Jesus was always the ‘God of the Old Testament’.

The way I see it, the problem is that both sides of the debate perceive an inconsistency between how God views premeditated murder in other parts of the Bible (i.e. the Torah or “Law”), versus how God allows Qayin to keep his life after such a blatant example of… premeditated murder!  However, I suggest both views are missing key points of information in what I call ‘The Curious Case of Qayin’.

First of all, nothing in the Law and its punishments for murder were applicable until Yis’rael made a covenant with God at Horev (cf. Exod. 24:7).  With respect to how God banished Qayin thousands of years earlier, comparisons to other parts of the Bible would be irrelevant, except that it does raise questions about the eternal nature of God, and how we’d expect His judgments to be uniform throughout time.  That’s an important question, and I will answer it shortly.

As for this being “Grace”, indeed there are many instances of grace in the Tanakh, but I  can’t include Qayin’s judgment among them.  Grace entails complete forgiveness and a restoration of the soul, but that is not what I see in Qayin.

So this leaves two questions: why was Qayin’s life spared and if it’s not grace, what is it?

I say the answer is in plain sight.

First, let’s clear up an assumption that many of us may have.

Where is Abel, your brother?  And Cain answered, “I don’t know! The keeper of my brother… is me?” (Genesis 4:9)

We read this dialogue and always assume that God and Qayin were alone.  But the text suggests there were witnesses.  For example, by the time she had Seth, Havah (Eve) knew Hevel’s fate , and seemed to be a bit hostile to Qayin (cf. Gen. 4:25).  If Qayin was banished immediately, how could Havah know this information?  Therefore, I suggest that the following dialogue makes much more sense… in the presence of witnesses, likely other “sons and daughters” birthed by Havah (cf. Gen. 5:4).

What have you made? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.” (vs. 10)

Even in death, God hears a righteous person more than the wicked who remains alive, because “YHVH is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32).  By listening to the voice of Hevel, God is advocating for the victim.  Thus everything hereafter should be understood as God honoring what the blood of Hevel spoke.

And now, you have been cursed from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand, because you would work the ground.  No longer will it yield its produce to you… (vs. 11-12)

Qayin knowingly buried his brother in the same grounds that he worked.  In doing so, God judged those grounds to now be Hevel’s final resting place – instead of a cultivated field. If the sinister Qayin remained, he would disrupt Hevel’s resting place for the sake of “produce” (the Heb. koach can mean “strength” but when used with soil it should be understood as “produce”) – even with his brother secretly buried beneath it!  Thus God obviously judged in favor of Hevel and dismissed Qayin from those lands.

A vagrant and a wanderer will you become in the earth.” (vs. 12)

“Fugitive and vagabond” is a seriously unhappy translation of two words that are almost the same, found in the obviously poetically Hebrew ‘na wa nad’.  In fact, this is the only place where “fugitive” and “vagabond” are used for each word, respectively.  Since there is no consistency in how each of these words are translated, the interpretation of na wa nad is open to suggestion.

I say that this term, obviously used to describe Qayin’s future, should be compared with his past.  Previously, he was “the man” and was stable, grounded, and secure.  Now, his future would be the exact opposite – unstable!  As long as we understand that it’s the exact opposite of him being “the man” alongside his parents, we understand the intent of Qayin becoming “na wa nad” – living life alone without the stability always provided for him.

Then Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to endure.” (vs. 13)

The real reason Qayin was allowed to live jumps right off the page… right here.

God – Who I think was deferring to the blood of Hevel for judgment – knew that Qayin would’ve preferred a coward’s death to facing a life filled with adversity.  In this respect I think Hevel knew his brother quite well!  Notice how much that fear of adversity is evident in Qayin’s response below:

“Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will smite me.” (vs. 14)

Ironically, Qayin would’ve lived a lot like someone else in the story – wandering to and fro, fearful of prey, living away from the cultivated fields… that sort of reminds me of how a shepherd would live, is it not?  It seems to me that Qayin’s judgment has an air of becoming like his brother Hevel was in life – who coincidentally is now crying out to God through his blood.  It’s nothing short of poetic justice that Qayin has to live as Hevel was. I believe that Hevel wanted his brother Qayin to see life as he’d seen it.

Notice how the Almighty never said anything about killing Qayin, and how that was purely Qayin’s invention?  Again, if we assume this exchange had witnesses, it makes more sense.  I say Qayin was subtlely inviting anyone – a witness per say – to find him and kill him, to alleviate the one thing Qayin couldn’t bear: adversity.  I think Qayin was so fearful of real life that he wanted to be ‘offed’.

Which is then why the Almighty ensured Qayin would live:

But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” And the LORD set a sign on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. (vs. 15)

The mysterious mark/sign of Qayin only makes sense if witnesses overheard these words.  It’s my opinion that this declaration is the mark of Qayin.  True, this is a protection of Qayin’s life, but this was not for Qayin’s benefit – it was done for Hevel.  I believe Hevel – as a righteous man – had compassion on his murderer.

This doesn’t mean he wanted his brother excused!  Up to this point, Qayin never laments his murderous act – he only laments its consequences!  Therefore, Qayin would not learn any remorse through death.  Thus Qayin was allowed to live to learn remorse, and perhaps humility for what he did.  This is the poetic justice the blood of Hevel wanted, which God honored.

So, Qayin was neither offered Grace, nor was he given murder.  Qayin was given the punishment that fit Qayin – which was exactly what he deserved. If anything, this is one indication that we all will get what we deserve. The question is, do we want God to listen to us, even in death? Or do we want God to set His face and dismiss us from His presence?  Ω

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Genesis 4:10-14, The Way of Qayin Was and Is the Way of the Serpent

The LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.   Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  From now on, when you till the ground, it won’t yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me out today from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. Whoever finds me will kill me.” (Genesis 4:10-14)

The majority of our Bibles translate YHVH’s words to Qayin (Cain) as “What have you done?” but I say we should interpret this as “what have you made?”  The verb in question is the Hebrew asah, which is used interchangeably with its synonym bara (to create) to describe God’s ordering of the heavens and the earth, as well as His creation of Mankind (ref. Genesis 1-2).

By design, YHVH also responds with “asah” to Havah (Eve) and the serpent after their transgressions at the Tree of Knowledge (cf. Gen. 3:13-14).  These responses indicate that we who were created in the image of God are creative in nature, but we can “make” (asah) acts of mischief that are foreign to YHVH.  When we create such evil, God asks, “What is this you made?” for this is not the handiwork He respects.  Selah.

So the question to Qayin after he murdered his brother Hevel (Abel), “what have you made?” is similar to God’s response at the Tree, but it’s the fates of the serpent and Qayin that are eerily similar.  However, before delving into this mystery, we must understand how similar paths led to similar fates.

At first, both Qayin and the serpent were “the man”.  We know that the serpent was the wisest among the animals and Qayin was the stronger son who learned his father’s trade.  They were as privileged as royalty until someone else came along who – in their eyes – stole their favor.  To them, it wasn’t supposed to go down that way!

“Dumb humans, who don’t have any knowledge of good and evil? How could they be favored before me, the serpent, who is the wisest of all the beasts!? I will make them as I am and conquer them, and regain my rightful place over all creation!”

“Hevel!? That runt!? How can he be favored instead of me, Qayin!? I’m the one who was born strongest, and followed in my father’s footsteps!  Now it looks as if my parents favor him, along with God!  Nonsense! I will eliminate this competition, and regain my proper place!”

Thus the similarities in motivations led to similar fates:

 The Serpent’s Fate (Gen. 3:14-15)
Qayin’s Fate (Gen. 4:10-14)
Because you have made (asah) this…  What have you made (asah)? 
Cursed are you… Now you are cursed…
From all the cattle and every beast of the field… From the ground, which opened its mouth to receive the blood of your brother by your hand.
Over your belly will you go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life. If you work the ground, it will not continue to give its produce to you. A waverer and a wanderer shall you become in the Earth.
And I will put enmity between your seed and her seed… he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel… It will come to pass, that anyone who comes upon me will kill me. 
X Rightly so. Whoever smites Qayin, seven times will I avenge him.  And YHVH set upon Qayin a sign, lest anyone come upon him to kill him.

Both the serpent and Qayin were judged by God for their mischief (what they made/worked), and cursed them from their previous, comfortable lives.  Both of them were informed of how they would experience life as a “wanderer”, and would have to rely on a new means of sustenance.  Both of them also knew of the enmity they would experience with Mankind in the future.

I’ve written before how at the Tree of Knowledge we became more like serpents than gods, and this seems to bring that theory home to roost.  Qayin’s motivations were like the serpent before him, which is why the shared similar fates. Thus we have our main takeaway:  God is showing us that we might all become like the snake. The serpent’s venom is within us. 

If we don’t control our lusts, we might go what the Apostle Yahudah (Jude) calls
“the way of Qayin” (Jude 11). Jude explains how this theme reoccurs throughout the Bible, and so we also have to expect it in our own lives.  We must constantly be on guard against politicians, pundits, predators, and false prophets who want to manipulate us, and subjugate us under an insatiable lust for power.

There is one and only thing that differs between the fates of the serpent and Qayin, and that is the mercy which is inexplicable to most of us.  We all struggle with Qayin’s “punishment” – or lack thereof.

I want to encourage you that there is always an answer for what we don’t understand in the Word of God.  The reasons for Qayin’s banishment are both practical and prophetic, and we will get to those answers soon, Lord willing! Ω








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Genesis 4:9, If You Can’t Love Your Brother, How Can You Love Your Brethren?

The LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)

Qayin (Cain) smites his brother Hevel (Abel), and then God interrogates Qayin with questions to which He certainly already knows the answer (I’ve already written about why God would do this here).

There is also much Internet clutter about how Qayin killed Hevel.  Apparently it’s something our inquiring minds want to know, but I think any investigation to uncover the murder weapon is following a red herring.  The truth is, it would’ve been included had it been something we NEED to know.  Though there is one process we can use to uncover lessons that YHVH, the King of the Universe, wants our little human minds to grasp.

If we read the text in Hebrew and identify what words are used in repitition  we can identify trends and reduce speculation.  It just so happens there is one word that sticks out like a sore thumb, not just in this highlighted verse but throughout the whole chapter.  That Hebrew word is “akhi”, the word for “brother”.  In the verses concerning Qayin and Hevel, akhi appears seven times (yes, there “seven” is again).  In fact, after YHVH asks, “Where is Hevel your brother (akhi)?” He ONLY refers to Hevel as “your brother”.

The simple answer is that God isn’t concerned with us identifying the murder weapon. What He appears to want us to understand is that Qayin targeted his akhi… his brother, his own flesh and blood.

In response to God’s question (which is literally “Where did Hevel your brother go?“), Qayin literally responds, “the keeper of my brother is… me?” (If he would have said ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’ as is traditionally translated we’d expect to see shamartiy or shamartiy-o, as in the literalDo I keep my brother?). In other words, from my chair it looks like he’s implying “you’re laying this on me?”  This is how I interpret it based on my understanding that Qayin was the epitome of a narcissist… who responds to adversity by eliminating “competition”.

Once his brother Hevel’s sacrifice was looked upon by God, Hevel – suddenly – became favored by his parents, too.  There is a big change in the backstory from the beginning of Hevel’s life to how he was perceived after his murder, as Adam and Havah (Eve) appear to view Hevel as the seed to carry out God’s favor after they were gone (cf. Gen. 4:25).  (Note: I will expand on why that was so important to them when the time comes.)

But when Hevel gained so much favor by his parents, Qayin – as a narcissist – probably assumed that he lost their favor.  Since the Bible hints at Adam and Havah beginning to think more highly of Hevel – as they should have all along – Qayin’s response might be understood with an underscore of jealousy and insidiousness. The bottom line is that Qayin’s response indicates that he thought everyone else was Hevel’s keeper… everyone except Qayin, that is: “the keeper of my brother… is me!?” (with the unspoken narrative of ‘You, O God, accept him, my parents favor him now… if they and You love him so much, why didn’t you all keep him, why are you looking at me?’)

What Qayin failed to understand is that there was no reason to be enraged, as God spoke to him (cf. 4:6).  The favor that comes from both God and parents isn’t a competition. Favor was meant to be a shared joy of the community, not an exclusive entitlement!  And that’s what I think is the parshat (simple) and foundational message of this early part of Scripture – a common truth that anyone who would read the Bible would see (and hopefully learn) right away.  If you don’t grow up with your brothers and sisters loving them – and preserving them – you won’t have a home to come home to.  You too will be like a wanderer in the earth. You will ruin your life, and set back the lives of your family as well.  As we continue to read this story, that’s exactly what we find.  Qayin ruined his life and set back what his parents were hoping to accomplish.

And now for the prophetic implications of this verse.

The crux of the whole of Scripture, and the crux of what Messiah taught is: you will not receive God’s favor if you are at odds with your greater “brethren”.  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ is well known throughout Scripture, but the spiritual implications is this: if you can’t love and shomer (keep/watch over/preserve/protect) your mother’s son who is your akhi, how could you love your neighbor who is also your “akhi”?  In other words, with the Qayin and Hevel story, God is preparing everyone to love his family that he may grow up to love his neighbors… even the brethren… who are our fellow believers in the Kingdom of God.

And we also come to yet another prophecy of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  In the Scriptures, the Messiah is also associated to the word akhi (brother) as David suggested that Messiah will come as One of Yisrael “in the great congregation” (meaning on one of the three major feasts when all Israel was to assemble at Jerusalem, cf. ). In Psalm 22, when Messiah is depicted as declaring the greatness of YHVH at the major feasts, being surrounded by the wicked, with pierced feet and hands, and with great thirst – you know, everything that occurred at Yeshua’s final Passover – we also see this word “akhi” to describe how Messiah would view the rest of Israel.

He was their akhi as the Scriptures say (cf. Psalm 22:22).

And like Qayin, remarkably, Israel was allowed to survive… into a period of wandering, without actually answering the question “Where did your akhi go?”

Which I suppose makes a great topic for another time. Ω

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Genesis 4:8, Outside the Camp

After God shows Qayin (Cain) how to regain His favor, and warns him about the marriage-like entrapment with sin, we read about Qayin’s response:

And Cain saith unto Abel his brother, ‘Let us go into the field;’ and it cometh to pass in their being in the field, that Cain riseth up against Abel his brother, and slayeth him. (Genesis 4:8, YLT)

About half of our Bibles follow the Masoretic text (Mst) omission of Qayin’s last words to Hevel, but the other half DO include the words which both the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and Septuagint (LXX) reveal: “let us go into the field”.  This may seem like a trivial point, but it’s anything but. Qayin’s words help shape a deep, mysterious secret (sod) that points to Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).

First of all, without this phrase the Masoretic text doesn’t make sense. It basically says “And Qayin said to Hevel his brother […] and it was, in their being in the field…” The Masoretic text leaves the reader to wonder ‘what did Cain say?’ and doesn’t make any grammatical sense without the omission.  However, the other two sources (DSS and LXX) make complete sense.  “A matter must be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.” (Deut. 19:15)

Qayin’s words are important to know, because his own words accuse him of premeditated murder. Without his words, the text looks like Qayin acted in a spontaneous fit of rage while in the field working alongside Hevel.  With them, the text proves that Qayin planned the murder for some time.  It’s the evidence we need for a first-degree murder verdict of “guilty”.

Qayin’s words are also important for uncovering prophetic patterns.  If you’ve studied “Cain and Abel” for any length of time you may have uncovered some allegories to the Messiah.  For example, “the last shall be first, and the first last” (cf. Matt. 20:16) is comparable to Qayin’s expectation of being the favored one.  ‘Hating his brother without cause’ (John 15:25) would be another.  There are several of these parallels embedded in this story, and Qayin’s words “let us go into the field” is yet another.

Messiah’s death outside Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) fulfills major prophecies.  The Torah is filled with symbolism of the scapegoat (the goat on whom all the sins of Yisrael were laid) being banished and eradicated from the Tabernacle every Yom Kipporim (The Day of Atonement).  Thus Messiah Yeshua fulfills the prophecy of becoming the scapegoat for all our guilt, shame, and transgressions.

Commenting on the Torah (sp. Lev. 16:27), Rav Shaul (Paul) also saw how Messiah Yeshua fulfilled the prophecy of dying “outside the camp”, as he wrote:

We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp. Therefore Yeshua also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate.  Let’s therefore go out to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach.  (Hebrews 13:11-14, WMB)

Yeshua Himself also emphasized his own death would be associated with the prophetic pattern of dying “outside the camp”:

There was a man who was a master of a household, who planted a vineyard, set a hedge about it, dug a wine press in it, built a tower, leased it out to farmers, and went into another country.  When the season for the fruit came near, he sent his servants to the farmers, to receive his fruit.  The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they treated them the same way.  But afterward he sent to them his son, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But the farmers, when they saw the son, said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?” (Matt. 21:33-40, emphasis mine)

We must understand that Qayin’s premeditated murder of his brother Hevel was an ancient foreshadowing of the murder of Messiah Yeshua.  Spawned by jealousy and an effort to eradicate the competition, the motives behind murdering both of these innocents were exactly the same.  The sign was also exactly the same, as both men were led away from the place of sacrifice and worship, and died outside the camp!

For whatever reason, Qayin’s words were not included in the Masoretic text.  However, when we read them in the two older witnesses we can be confident we are looking at a prophetic pattern.  We can be quite sure Qayin’s words point to the premeditated murder of Messiah Yeshua forced from the place of worship, recorded by God for eternity, that we might recognize the Messiah by the prophecies that foretold of Him. Ω








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Genesis 4:7, Sin Wants to Marry You

“But if you do not do good, sin rests against the gate. And toward you will be its attention, and you will rule among it.” (Genesis 4:7, my translation)

This is a difficult passage, and while I apologize for any offense caused by using my own translation, I wanted to record how I interpret this.

Sometimes we don’t always pick up God’s eloquence in Hebraic symmetries, but that’s exactly what’s occurring through the words of Genesis 4:7.  He is making a point we need to understand.

Many rightly interpret these words as a warning to Qayin (Cain) about the dangers of chatta’ah (sin)… and that’s true for the first half of the verse. “Sin” (Heb. chatta’ah) is portrayed like an animal that “rests” (Heb. rabats) right up against an entryway (Heb. pethach). In other scriptures, this “rest” describes flocks lying down in a well or in good pasture – because they know they will be watered or fed there (cf. Gen. 29:2, Eze. 34:14).  In other words, sin “rests” next to an “entryway” because it knows it will soon be well-fed there!

The question then becomes, what is the “entryway”?

All of this symbolism was likely familiar to Qayin. He likely saw, for instance, how Hevel’s (Abel’s) flocks lay in wait for his brother’s feedings at some pethach of an animal pen.  This pethach – likely a “gate” – guarded the animals from devouring Qayin’s fields.

In God’s words to Qayin, we perceive this “pethach” is a type of spiritual gateway that one “opens” – to sin!  God is saying is that when anyone refuses to “do good” (yatav) – which is to say, to do evil – he opens a gateway to his own ruin! Sin will destroy everything he wishes to protect!

And this spiritual gateway we know: it’s the heart.  It’s why all throughout Scripture we read things such as “these commandments I give you today will be on your heart” (Deut. 6:6) or “the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). The heart is the only thing YHVH sees in us: let’s make sure we’re pure in heart, and not open to the pollution of sin! For this reason this “gateway” appears at the very beginning – it establishes where sin actually occurs.

As for the second part of Genesis 4:7, most Bibles translate it something akin to “it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (i.e. the NIV). These translations cause the reader to see these words as a mitigation, but not so – it’s a consequence of opening up the gates to sin.

Before showing the extent of that consequence, we must first realize that the latter half of this verse is phrased exactly similar to an earlier verse. Transliterated from Hebrew, Genesis 4:7 reads:

w’eleykha t’shuqat-o w’atah tim’shal-b’o (“and toward you will be its attention, and you will rule among it”).

and this is the transliteration from Genesis 3:16:

w’el-iyshekh t’shuqat-ekh w’hu yim’shal-b’akh (“and toward your husband will be your attention, and he will rule among you”).

These are phrased the same for a reason, but God is not showing Qayin how to “mitigate” sin any more than he was showing women how they would be “mitigated” by husbands.

In Genesis 3:16, those words were indeed spoken to Havah (Eve), which showed her (and thereby all women) that after a long day with the children, she would turn her attention toward her husband. Due to her obligations (in child-rearing, breastfeeding, etc.) he would “rule among her” meaning that he would be responsible for providing for her, elevating her, and expanding their dominion “as one flesh” (cf. Gen. 2:24).  Meanwhile, she provides support, counsel and – at times – opposition, for her own benefit as “one flesh” with her husband.

In Genesis 4:7, God is showing Qayin that sin wants to attach itself as “one flesh” with human beings.  Thus man “rules” among sin – feeding, nurturing, listening to the counsel of… sin! Thus sin wants to expanding its dominion by influencing man, as “one flesh” walking away from the goodness of God.

What God told Havah was a consequence of life after the Fall – at a point when she could no longer do anything about it. What God told Qayin is a consequence of choosing sin. The difference is, Qayin could do something about it!  In fact, according to His own words, God was trying to bring Qayin into “exaltation”  (cf. 4:7a). He offered Qayin “exaltation” first by the way, even before showing Qayin the downfall of his choices.

That is so God. God always pleads with people first, even before showing them the consequence of their actions. In the future He would do the same with prophets, but at His core He wants as many people to be “exalted” as possible. This “God of the Old Testament” is not the vengeful tyrant He’s made out to be – He was always not desiring anyone should perish, as Messiah Yeshua said (in John 3:16). In his words to Qayin, we can even see that YHVH doesn’t even want anyone to even open the door to sin – and begin a “spiritual marriage” for obligations and dominions that only lead us further away from the dominion of the One True God. Ω

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