Am I my brother’s keeper – Part 1

AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER

(Genesis 4:1-16)

An exegetical writing by: Christopher Flees

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………….    Part 1

            ORIENTATION AND CONTEXT……………………………….      Part 1

                        SIGNIFICANCE OF TEXT………………………………      Part 1

                        HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL SETTING…………………   Part 1

                        LITERARY CONTEXT……………………………………     Part 2

PRESENTATION OF TEXT……………………………………..      Part 2

                        SCRIPTURE PASSAGE……………………………………     Part 2

                        TEXT CRITICAL NOTES ………………………………..     Part 3

OUTLINE OF PASSAGE…………………………………     Part 3

WORSHIP PRACTICES OF CAIN AND ABEL……………………….…     Part 4

THE REPENTANCE OF CAIN………..……………………………………     Part 5

CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………..       Part 6

            SUMMATION…………………………………………………………     Part 6

            APPLICATION………………………………………………………..     Part 6

WORKS CITED………………………………………………………………..      Part 6

 

INTRODUCTION

ORIENTATION AND CONTEXT

Significance of Text

The first impressions of Genesis 4:1-16 that this passage talks about the heartbreak of the first murdered child. Abel, as everyone knows, was murdered by his brother. Because of the heinous nature of the crime in today’s society, the focal point of this scripture has become the act of murder. The fact is the actual focus of the narrative of Cain and Abel is worship and repentance.

To come to the proper understanding of the focus of the narrative one must look deeper than Genesis 4:8 “Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (NASB).  This verse is an effect, of the condition of Cain’s heart in worship. The theme of the Pentateuch keys off of worship and repentance for the nation of Israel. This is the first narrative after the fall of man which addresses these two issues. It addresses these issues in a very vivid way. There are many sub-themes to this narrative which will be among them jealousy, anger, and murder but they are a result of worship.

The theme of repentance will also be examined within the boundaries of our text we will look at the two times God prompted Cain to repent from his sin and Cain’s refusal to do so. This refusal in cooperation to his response to this chastisement by God is what lead to him being cast out and told he would wander the earth and not have good soil in which to plant. It was not God’s original intent for Cain to become permanently separated from God but due to Cain’s lack of response to the promptings of God he was sent away, sealed for protection against retribution and cast into the world to roam, with no promise of an inheritance. Sentenced to a life of a vagabond, Cain’s disobedience, pride, and ego cost him his ability to be happy and safe.

Historical and Social Setting

The authorship of Genesis is not clear. Genesis has traditionally been accredited to Moses. The reason for this is “it is a fact that throughout the Pentateuchal narratives it is Moses who is most closely associated with the writing of the material contained in the Pentateuch” (Gaebelein, 5).  Moses was the one who recorded the details of the battle with the Amalekites (Exo 17:14),  Moses wrote down most of the laws that were contained in the Pentateuch as they were given to him by God. One must take into consideration that “Critical scholars, however, deny the Mosaic authorship of both Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch. This is not a recent view; early in the Christian era theologians vacillated between Moses and Ezra as the author of the Pentateuch. But the modern view that the Pentateuch was compiled from various sources seems to be the product of rationalistic skepticism. Benedict Spinoza (a.d. 1632-1677) believed that the Pentateuch was written by Ezra, who utilized a mass of traditions (including some by Moses)” (Walvoord). With this in mind and after examining the Pentateuch as a whole, which the book of Genesis is a part of one can only conclude that the book of Genesis, although traditionally thought to be written by and accredited to Moses by most, and accredited to Ezra by more strict and text critical scholars, does not openly identify who the author is. Donald Flemming declares authorship of Genesis in this way “Age-old tradition, both Hebrew and Christian, recognizes Moses as the author of the Pentateuch (2 Chr 35:12; Neh 8:1; 13:1; Dan 9:11; Mark 12:26; Luke 16:29–31; Acts 15:21), though the Pentateuch itself does not say who wrote it. Nevertheless, it mentions Moses’ literary activity. He wrote down the law that God gave to Israel (Exo 24:4; 34:27; Deu 31:9, 24), he kept records of Israel’s history (Exo 17:14; Num 33:2) and he wrote poems and songs (Exo 15:1; Deu 1:22, 30) (Flemming).

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To read the other parts in this series click any of the links below:

Am I my Brother’s keeper part 1
Am I my Brother’s keeper part 2
Am I my Brother’s keeper part 3
Am I my Brother’s keeper part 4
Am I my Brother’s keeper part 5
Am I my Brother’s keeper part 6

 

Author: Chris Flees

I am an artist, art promoter, and art marketing professional who specializes and blogs primarily about art topics and the "behind the scenes" of my subject and images. Occasionally I blog about Christian topics.