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Genesis 4Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Cain Murders Abel

[a]Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten[b] a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.”[c] And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so![d] If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod,[e] east of Eden.

Beginnings of Civilization

17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehu′ja-el, and Mehu′ja-el the father of Methu′sha-el, and Methu′sha-el the father of Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Na′amah.

23 Lamech said to his wives:

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say:
I have slain a man for wounding me,
    a young man for striking me.
24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold,
    truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.” 26 To Seth[f] also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 4.1 The story of Cain and Abel has the purpose of showing the effects of sin within society, the fratricide of Cain leading to the vengeance of Lamech and so to the Flood. We are, however, no longer in the first age of humanity, as can be seen from verses 14, 17, etc.
  2. Genesis 4:1 Heb qanah, get
  3. Genesis 4:8 Sam Gk Syr Compare Vg: Heb lacks Let us go out to the field
  4. Genesis 4:15 Gk Syr Vg: Heb Therefore
  5. Genesis 4:16 That is Wandering
  6. 4.26 Seth takes the place of the murdered Abel and is the ancestor of Noah. In Ex 3.14 and 6.2-3 we find another account of the origins of Yahwism.
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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