Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Consequences for a Murderer (Genesis 4:16-18)

       1.     Wandering.
Yahweh intervenes, not to punish Cain like a judge but rather, like a midwife, to prepare him to face the labor which human creativity demands. Yahweh teaches Cain that he will survive in the land of Nod (foraging and scavenging) to supplement farming. Cain will farm, but not without difficulty. Labor, Yahweh teaches, is life, not a life sentence.
Cain protests. Hunters kill human scavengers like animal predators. Yahweh concedes. Cain must continue to scavenge, but the mark or tattoo on Cain warns hunters that he is under divine protection.
      2.     Producing a family,
Cain had marital relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.
     3.     Building a city.
Cain built a city, and he named the city after his son Enoch.

       God’s treatment of Cain is a demonstration of mercy. Even though he wandered and had a hard life, Cain did produce a family and he even provided an inheritance for his son – a city! The mercy of God is something wonderful. It goes far beyond the mercy that mankind sometimes shows to a murderer, but not always.