Acceptable Sacrifice: Cain and Abel

By Peter Brown –

The account of Cain and Abel as recorded in Genesis 4:1-7 has long been considered a puzzling and potentially problematic portion of Scripture, albeit a well positioned one, with the vigorously debated narratives of creation and the fall of man immediately preceding it in Genesis 1-3.

A great variety of factors including theological, interpretive, translational, and source critical issues are at play, along with the participation of the passage in its immediate context, both preceding and following, and later interpretation provided by no less than five New Testament writers. All of the interwoven difficulties affecting this passage must be considered and addressed in order to produce a well founded exegesis.

Historical positions on this passage must also consider these things, and some can be invalidated due to their failure to deal with a particular issue, or because of a yet undiscovered error in their source material, as will be the case with many authors who referenced the Septuagint translation exclusively. The question that will be considered here regards the reason or reasons for the Lord’s acceptance of the sacrifice of Abel, and rejection of the sacrifice of Cain.

Due to the sheer number of interpretive difficulties the discussion of this question raises, there are a plethora of interpretive options offered throughout history by both the Christian and Jewish academic communities. However, when the many interconnected issues attached to Genesis 4:1-7 are considered together, along with the immediate context of the passage, interpretation provided by New Testament writers, and various historical interpretations, a satisfactory exegesis can be reached.

Historical Interpretations

A primary issue presented in the text of Genesis 4:1-7 is the basis on which the sacrifice of Abel was accepted, and the sacrifice of Cain was rejected. When a review of historical interpretations was conducted the options found included, and are not limited to, the following:

  1. God acted capriciously or arbitrarily;
  2. Cain failed to divide his sacrifice rightly;
  3. God sought to encourage a pastoral rather than agricultural culture;
  4. Blood was required in the sacrifice;
  5. Cain delayed in offering his sacrifice;
  6. Firstfruits were required;
  7. Difference in the internal condition of the worshipers.

Each of these options will be explored briefly as presented above, for the purpose of identifying those that may be disregarded due to various textual, theological, or interpretive problems, before moving on to more thorough consideration of the remaining options in light of a detailed study of the text.

God Acted Capriciously or Arbitrarily

For scholars including Westerman, Brueggemann, and Huffmon, the choice of the sacrifice of Abel rather than the sacrifice of Cain was entirely capricious or arbitrary.[1] This position is defended through an appeal to the choice by the Lord of Jacob over Esau, as stated in Romans 9:11, “God’s purpose of election” may have been the only basis for the decision.[2]

This understanding of the text however is rather limited, as the narrative of Jacob and Esau clearly indicates the choice of the Lord before the twin sons of Isaac were even born, when the Lord reveals to Rebekah during her pregnancy that “the older shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23). In contrast to this, nothing is revealed in the narrative of Cain and Abel to distinguish them before the Lord until they go together to offer their sacrifices. Additionally, the writer of Hebrews reveals that it was Abel’s “more acceptable sacrifice … through which he was commended as righteous” (Heb 11:4), certainly not capriciousness on the part of the Lord.

Finally, this is incoherent with the concern of the Lord in explaining his sin to Cain.[3] As this position maintains an ignorance of narrative clues regarding the basis of the choice of the Lord, is a minority view among historic scholarship, and neglects the interpretation provided in the New Testament, it will not be discussed further.

Cain Failed to Divide His Sacrifice Rightly

Another possible interpretation, that Cain’s sacrifice was rejected due to his failure to divide it “rightly,” is well represented in the early patristic writers, and is based upon study of the passage as translated in the Septuagint (LXX).[4] In the LXX, there are two noted discrepancies in the translation which caused bias towards this interpretation.

First, the offerings are described as the θυσίαις (Greek: sacrifices) of Cain and the δώροις (Greek: gifts) of Abel, contrary to the modern translation and best manuscript evidence, which uses the word מִנְחָת֖וֹ (Hebrew: sacrifices) in both places. Second, the question of the Lord in 4:7, translated in the ESV as “if you do well, will you not be accepted?” is rendered “though you offer rightly, yet, if you do not divide rightly, have you not sinned?” by the LXX.[5] These textual issues colored the interpretations at least in part of many early scholars, including Iraneaus, Tertullian, and Ambrose.[6]

Based upon the textual distinction between the gifts of Abel and sacrifices of Cain, these writers advocate that what Abel brought was preferred by the Lord in its substance. Further, they argue that Cain either made some sort of ritualistic error by failing to divide his sacrifice, or that in dividing his sacrifice he kept a portion for himself, based upon the LXX rendering of 4:7.[7]

The positions of these notable writers regarding the failure of Cain to “divide rightly,” or difference between a sacrifice and gift, although defensible based on the text they had available, cannot be considered further due to the dtextual errors contained in the LXX.

God Sought to Encourage a Pastoral Rather than Agricultural Culture

A position noted, although not often held by various scholars argues that God viewed Abel’s sacrifice with favor for the purpose of directing the people towards nomadic pastoralism rather than sedentary agriculturalism.[8]

This view depends heavily on inference, such as pastoralism being favored by the Lord based on the pastoral culture of the patriarchs of Israel, a desire of the Lord for his people to be transient rather than stationary, or the greater dependence on his blessing of shepherds than farmers, but lacks any substantial foundation in this text in particular and Scripture in general, and therefore does not require additional consideration.

Blood Was Required in the Sacrifice

Another position held by a minority of scholars states that blood was required for an effectual sacrifice, and as Cain’s sacrifice was of the fruit of the ground it contained no blood, and was therefore rejected.[9]

There are a number of unexplained challenges with this view however, primarily from elsewhere Scripture. Defenders of this view refer to Hebrews 9:22, which states that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.” Additionally, some refer back to the provision of clothing made of skins for Adam and Eve by the Lord as the first sacrifice, possibly setting a precedent that blood was required.[10] However as Lewis notes, there is no indication that the sacrifices brought here have any connection with prior sin of Cain and Abel, and even in the yet to be instituted sacrificial system of Leviticus, non-blood sacrifices are effectual in particular situations.[11] Additionally, the provisions of clothing for Adam and Eve is described very simply in the text, that “the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them,” there is no additional detail or explanation given which requires that the provision of clothing is subsequent to a sacrificial act. Due to the incongruity of this view with Scripture, it will not be discussed further.

Cain Delayed in Offering His Sacrifice

The last position to be discussed here argues that Cain’s sacrifice was rejected because he delayed in offering it, based upon the phrase in 4:3 that Cain brought his sacrifice “in the course of time,” whereas Abel brought his sacrifice without any noted passage of time. This position is not held exclusively by any scholars found in this research, but is included by Philo, Didymus, and Ambrose, who all list a series of reasons why the sacrifice of Cain was rejected.[12]

The deficiency of this view is well noted by Lewis, in that the “course of time” is most often understood to be in reference to the event of the sacrifices being brought by both Cain and Abel, and not exclusively referring to the actions of Cain.[13] With this understanding of the passage, which is clear in most English translations, the argument that Cain delayed but Abel did not, does not bear up under scrutiny and so will be disregarded.

Two Remaining Views

The two remaining views, namely that the acceptable sacrifice was set apart because of its substance as the firstfruits or because of the internal condition of the worshiper, are held most commonly by scholars, cannot be quickly dismissed due to a lack of evidence, textual consideration, or theological issue, and best explain the question at hand as will be seen below.

Detailed discussion of Genesis 4:1-7, its relation to the immediate context, and interpretation provided by New Testament writers will be considered with the two remaining positions in view, in order to arrive at an understanding that satisfactorily addresses the interpretive concerns, and provides a faithful exegesis of the passage.

Genesis 4:1-7

Having completed a brief survey and evaluation of various interpretations offered throughout history, a detailed study of the passage in question will now be completed, in order to come to a faithful exegesis of the text. This will be carried out according to a conviction of the plenary-verbal inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit, the unity and accuracy of the narrative of Genesis, and intentionality of the inspired narrator in their description of the events.

The narrative resumes following the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, which resulted in the fall of mankind into sin, introduction of the mortality of man and the consequences of the curse, and banishment of man from the garden of Eden. It is at this tragic juncture that hope is introduced through the birth of a son to Adam and Eve. The promise of 3:15 created expectation for a coming redemption, through the defeat of the serpent by the seed of mankind.

As the first seed of mankind, Cain is the first chance for this redemption, and the expectation of Eve for Cain is clear as she declares that she has borne him “with the help of the Lord” (Gen 4:1), yet she does not bear such expectation for Abel, who is born without special celebration or declaration, simply appearing in the text in relation to the firstborn Cain, when Eve “bore his brother Abel” (Gen 4:2).[14]

Even from the declaration of Cain’s birth in 4:1, the narrator works to identify a growing separation between the two sons of Adam, using the announcement of their births, etymology of their names, structure of the narrative, and description of their offerings, to do so.

The etymology of their names takes this comparative element of the narrative a further step. Most scholars take Cain (קַ֔יִן) to mean  ‘to produce or acquire,’ largely because it sounds similar to the word used when Eve proclaims “I have gotten (קָנִ֥יתִי) a man with the help of the Lord” (Gen 4:1, emphasis mine). Abel ( הֶ֙בֶל֙) conversely, who receives no recorded declaration at his birth, sounds like a Hebrew word meaning breath, vapor, or vanity (הֶ֥בֶל). Although the etymology of Abel’s name is a source of debate among scholars, it seems to bear some significance given that his name not only sounds like the word for vapor, something that will be gone in a moment, but the text also does not provide any explanation of his name whatsoever, as if he will also be gone in a moment.[15] Although the meaning of their names does not clarify the regard of the Lord for Abel’s sacrifice, it does serve to set up the remainder of the narrative.

The dichotomy between Cain and Abel only begins in the etymology of their names, and  continues throughout the section, with the narrator working actively to make this clear to the reader. The entire section, with the exceptions of the participation of Eve at the beginning and the Lord at the end, focuses on Cain and Abel exclusively, and is written in a repeated chiastic pattern (ABB’A’) where Cain (A) surrounds Abel (B) figuratively, as he does in the narrated events. The pattern is present in 4:1-2, and repeats in 4:3-5a, as the text seems to be structured to anticipate the coming action of Cain from 4:5b-8.[16]

The first chiasm in 4:1-2 describes the birth of Cain (A) followed by Abel (B), and their occupations, Abel (B’) as a “keeper of sheep,” and Cain (A’) as a “worker of the ground.”[17] The second chiasm in 4:3-5b describes Cain (A) bringing an offering of the “fruit of the ground,” Abel (B) bringing an offering of the “firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions,” the Lord having “regard for Abel (B’) and his offering,” but not for “Cain (A’) and his offering.” The chiastic pattern anticipates Cain continuing as the subject in 4:5b followed by Abel, unless the cycle is broken by an unparalleled action. All of this serves to demonstrate that the narrator is leading the reader to see Cain surrounding Abel in the narrative, and to think of them comparatively through the chiastic pattern until it is broken by the anger of Cain described in 4:5b.

At the beginning of the second chiasm in 4:3, Cain and Abel bring their offerings to the Lord, and it is here that evaluation of our principal question can begin in earnest, as the seemingly circumstantial comparisons of the preceding two verses become immediately less so. The sacrifice of Cain is described as “an offering of the fruit of the ground,” a logical choice being Cain was just identified as a “worker of the ground” (Gen 4:3). Immediately following in 4:4 the offering of Abel is described as “the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions,” also an obvious choice as Abel was a “keeper of sheep.” As has already been established, the legitimacy of either sacrifice is not dependent on the occupation of either brother, and it is natural that they would choose to bring an offering of the fruits of their labor.[18]

As is observed by many writers, what is noteworthy in 4:3-4a is not a comparison of the sacrifices quantitatively, but qualitatively.[19] While Cain’s sacrifice is merely identified in 4:3 as the “fruit of the ground,” the narrator explicitly elevates Abel’s sacrifice by describing it in 4:4 as not only being “of the flock,” but as the “firstborn” and “their fat portions.”[20] This distinction clearly marks a difference in how Cain and Abel sought to worship the Lord. Whether this contrast is identified negatively – perhaps that Cain brought a sacrifice only out of duty, carelessly without thought of the quality, or for the purpose of appeasing God – or identified positively – that Abel brought his sacrifice seeking to please the Lord, carefully selecting the firstfruits – or both, the presence of this contrast and it’s connection to the acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice is undeniable.[21]

What remains to be seen however, is if the qualitative difference between the brothers sacrifices alone determined the regard of God for the sacrifice of Abel, or whether it was perhaps indicative of a larger issue.

With the offerings presented before the Lord, the narrator proceeds to describe the response of the Lord in 4:4. In the order of the chiasm, it is first recorded that the Lord “had regard for Abel and his offering,” followed by his older brother, “but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (Gen 4:4-5). It is the regard or disregard of the Lord first for the worshiper, followed by their sacrifice that provides further clarification of the passage.

Commentators including Luther, Calvin, and Augustine, attach such importance to the regard of the Lord for the worshiper that the role of their tangible sacrifice in determining the regard of the Lord is all but ignored.[22] Calvin well represents this view, and argues that “God will regard no works with favour except those the doer of which is already previously accepted and approved by him,” to which Augustine adds, “God had not regard for the hands, but saw in the heart.” [23] Its seems as though one must identify whether the worshiper or the sacrifice determined the regard of the Lord, as these commentators leave little room for much else.

Interpretation from New Testament writers is helpful at this point. Matthew, Luke, and John all ascribe the characteristic of righteousness to Abel.[24] The writer of Hebrews goes even further in Hebrews 11:4, beginning the well known list of the faithful with Abel, stating that Abel’s sacrifice was offered by faith, and the Lord commended Abel as righteous by accepting his gifts. The New Testament writers confirm what was posited by Calvin and others; clearly it was not the material gifts of Cain and Abel alone that determined the regard of the Lord, but rather their faith or lack thereof. As is made clear in particular by the writer of Hebrews, the internal state of the worshiper is the determining factor in the acceptance or rejection of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. As advocated by Waltke, there is a balance to be found however, in recognizing that although it was the faith of Abel that led to his sacrifice being accepted as the writer of Hebrews made clear in 11:4, “God commended him by accepting his gifts,” Abel did indeed offer to the Lord a “more acceptable sacrifice then Cain.”[25] His sacrifice was made more worthy by his faith, but independent of his faith it was more acceptable than the sacrifice of Cain.[26] It was the faith of Abel, evidenced by his offering of a more acceptable sacrifice of firstfruits, that led to the Lord having regard for Abel and his gift.

This understanding is made all the more clear by observing the contrasting actions of Cain in the passage immediately following the primary text. Here, Cain reacts rather unreasonably to the disregard of the Lord for his sacrifice, with anger and despair. Many regard the interaction between Cain and the Lord in 4:6-7 as an opportunity for Cain to right his wrong, to “do well” that he and his sacrifice might “be accepted.” Following the warning of the Lord to be wary of sin, which he fails to heed, Cain meets his brother out in a field, and kills him. Through this act of fratricide Cain completes his domination of Abel in the narrative, cements the contrast between the brothers, confirms his sacrifice ought to have been disregarded, and in so doing verifies the claim of the New Testament writers that Abel was the brother of righteousness, and Cain the brother who became “cursed from the ground.”[27]

Conclusion

Having considered various factors affecting a discussion of the account of Cain and Abel, along with the immediate context of the passage, New Testament interpretation, and historic interpretation, a well founded exegesis that satisfactorily considers all of the interconnected difficulties affecting the passage can be found. The sacrifice of Abel was accepted because of the earnest faith of Abel evidenced by his sacrifice of the firstfruits of his labor, and the sacrifice of Cain was rejected because of his lack of faith, manifested in his provision of an inferior gift and murder of his brother. This sets the stage for the intent of the sacrificial law of Leviticus, expectations for sacrifices by the people of Israel under the Old Covenant, and for followers of Christ under the New Covenant.[28] As exemplified by Abel, when we offer worship to the Lord through the sacrifice of the fruits of our labor, we ought to offer our firstfruits in faith.

Bibliography

Allen, John J. “The Mixed Economies of Cain and Abel: An Historical and Cultural Approach.” Conversations with the Biblical World 31 (2011): 33-52.

Ambrose, Cain and Abel, The Fathers of the Church, A New Translation, vol. 42. Translated by John J. Savage. New York: Fathers of the Church Inc., 1961.

Augustine, Homilies on the First Epistle of John. Translated by Rev. H. Browne. Edited by

Philip Shaff. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, vol. 7. Buffalo: Christian Literature, 1888; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995.

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982.

Calvin, John. Commentaries on the Book of Genesis. Translated by Henry Beveridge. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009.

Craig Jr., Kenneth M. “Questions Outside Eden (Genesis 4.1-16): Yahweh, Cain, and their Rhetorical Interchange.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 86 (1999): 107-128.

Didymus. Commentary on Genesis. The Fathers of the Church, A New Translation, vol. 132. Translated by Robert C. Hill. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2016.

Greenberger, Chaya. “Cain and Abel: (Mis)managing Rejection and Unmet Expectations.” Jewish Bible Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 2 (2016): 116-124.

Hamilton, V.P., The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1–17. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.

Hobbs, Hershell H. The Genesis Debate. Edited by Ronald Youngblood. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1990.

Huffmon, H.B. “Cain, The Arrogant Sufferer.” Biblical and Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1985.

Irenaeus. Against Heresies: Book IV. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Compiled by Cleveland Coxe. Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. Buffalo: Christian Literature, 1885; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary, New Testament, 2nd ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014.

Lewis, Jack P. “The Offering of Abel (Gen. 4:4): A History of Interpretation.” Journal of the Evangelical Society, 37 no. 4 (1994): 481-496.

Oden, Thomas C. ed. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Old Testament, vol. 1. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001.

Ross, Allen. Genesis. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, vol. 1. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2008.

Rydelnik, Michael, and Michael Vanlaningham, eds. The Moody Biblical Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 2014.

Skinner, John. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis. The International Critical Commentary, vol. 1. New York: Scribner, 1910.

Tertullian. An Answer to the Jews. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Compiled by Cleveland Coxe. Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3. Buffalo: Christian Literature, 1885; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995.

von Rad, Gerhard. Genesis. Translated by John H. Marks. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972.

Waltke, Bruce K., and Cathi J. Philips. Genesis: A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

Westermann, Claus. Genesis 1-11. Continental Commentary, vol. 1. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984.

Yeo, John J. “Genesis 4-5: The Two Lineages Compared.” Classroom lecture, OLDTS 4503, 16 October 2017. MP3.

[1] Claus Westermann, Genesis 1-11, Continental Commentary, vol. 1 (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984), 296; Walter Brueggemann, Genesis (Atlanta: John Knox, 1982) 56; H.B. Huffmon, “Cain, The Arrogant Sufferer.” Biblical and Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1985), 109-113.

[2] ESV translation has been used throughout, unless otherwise noted.

[3] Bruke K. Waltke and Cathi J. Philips, Genesis: A Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 97.

[4] Jack P. Lewis, “The Offering of Abel (Gen. 4:4): A History of Interpretation,” JETS 37, no. 4 (1994): 496.

[5] Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 486.

[6] Irenaeus. Against Heresies: Book IV, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, comp. Cleveland Coxe, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1 (Buffalo: Christian Literature, 1885; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 485; Tertullian, An Answer to the Jew,  ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, comp. Cleveland Coxe, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3 (Buffalo: Christian Literature, 1885; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 153; Ambrose, Cain and Abel, The Fathers of the Church, A New Translation, vol. 42, trans. John J. Savage (New York: Fathers of the Church Inc., 1961), 419.

[7] Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 488.

[8] John J. Allen, “The Mixed Economies of Cain and Abel: An Historical and Cultural Approach,” Conversations with the Biblical World 31 (2011): 35; Ambrose, Cain and Abel, 397; Kenneth M. Craig Jr., “Questions Outside Eden (Genesis 4.1-16): Yahweh, Cain, and their Rhetorical Interchange,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 86 (1999): 112; V.P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1–17 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), 224.Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 491; John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, The International Critical Commentary, vol. 1(New York: Scribner, 1910), 105.

[9] Hershell H. Hobbs, The Genesis Debate, ed. Ronald Youngblood (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1990), 130-142; Gerhard Von Rad, Genesis, trans. John H. Marks (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 101; John J. Yeo, “Genesis 4-5: The Two Lineages Compared,” classroom lecture, OLDTS 4503, 16 October 2017, MP3.

[10] Hobbs, The Genesis Debate, 138; Allen Ross, Genesis, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, vol. 1 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2008), 58.

[11] Ross, Genesis, 58; Leviticus 1-2; Michael Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds, The Moody Biblical Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 2014), 51.

[12] Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 488; Didymus, Commentary on Genesis, The Fathers of the Church, A New Translation, vol. 132, trans. Robert C. Hill (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2016), 117;  Rydelnik, Moody Biblical Commentary, 117.

[13] Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 488.

[14] Calvin, Genesis, 190; Ross, Genesis, 59.

[15] Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 481. Calvin for instance, argues that Eve was reflecting on the miseries of the human race following the birth of Abel, and his name is not to be compared with that of Cain (Calvin, Genesis, 191).

[16] Craig “Questions Outside Eden,” 112-113.

[17] Having been dealt with in the previous section, a comparison between their occupations will not be considered further here.

[18] Rydelnik, Moody Biblical Commentary, 51.

[19] Ross, Genesis, 59; Ambrose, Cain and Abel, 425; Thomas C. Oden, ed., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament, vol. 1 (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 104; Craig “Questions Outside Eden,” 111; Didymus, Commentary on Genesis, 117;  Rydelnik, Moody Biblical Commentary, 51;

[20] Chaya Greenberger, “Cain and Abel: (Mis)managing Rejection and Unmet Expectations,” Jewish Bible Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 2 (2016): 117.

[21] Calvin, Genesis, 196; Ross, Genesis, 60; Rydelnik, Moody Biblical Commentary, 51; Oden, Ancient Christian Commentary, 104; Craig “Questions Outside Eden,” 111; Didymus, Commentary on Genesis, 117.

[22] Calvin, Genesis, 194, Augustine, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, trans. Rev. H. Browne, ed. Philip Shaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, vol. 7 (Buffalo: Christian Literature, 1888; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 491; Lewis, “A History of Interpretation,” 492.

[23] Calvin, Genesis, 194; Augustine, First Epistle of John, 491.

[24] Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; 1 John 3:13; Jude states that blaspheming false teachers have “walked in the way of Cain,” although this does not directly refer to Abel as righteous, it certainly extends the contrast between Cain and Abel (Jude 1:11).

[25] Waltke, Genesis, 97.

[26] Hebrews 11:4.

[27] Genesis 4:11.

[28] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary, New Testament, 2nd ed.. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014), 57.

 

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