Daily Word

First murder | Genesis 4:6-8

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why is your face gloomy? 7 If you do well, will your face not be cheerful? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain talked to his brother Abel; and it happened that when they were in the field Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 4:6-8 (NASB)

God knows

The first thing we notice about this passage is that God knew Cain was angry. He also knew that he was contemplating a greater sin. God even knew that Cain would indeed kill Abel. He also knew He had to continue to demonstrate His decision to let man have free will and to stay faithful to that. So how does the Lord respond to Cain? 

God responds

“God graciously questioned Cain, as He had Adam and Eve (v. 6; cf. 3:9, 11), to elicit Cain’s admission of sin with a view toward repentance, not simply to scold him. Had Cain corrected his attitude and repented, he would not have proceeded to kill his brother. God gave him the opportunity and the encouragement to ‘do well’ (v. 7)” (planobiblechapel.org

The Lord warned Cain that he was being strongly tempted to sin but that he needed to (and could) master the temptation. 1 Cor 10:13 tells us that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. So Cain could handle this temptation. That scripture also says that God provides the way of escape so we can resist the sin. It’s one of the classic “but God” passages where the situation is hopeless… but God gets involved. 

Cain gives in

Alas, Cain gives into the temptation. He allowed his feelings to control his actions, to overwhelm him. Cain committed the first murder. He killed his brother in the field, maybe where he worked. Some think that this showed not only it was premeditated but that he hoped it could be shown to be an accident – no witnesses. But of course there is no escaping the ever-present God.

We understand that Cain sinned by murdering his brother. God confirmed in the 6th commandment which clearly states murder is sin. But killing is not necessarily sin. You may think it is semantics but there are two different Hebrew words. God even instructed the Isratlites to kill the inhabitants of the Promised Land so it can’t always be sin. For more on this subject, click here.


  • The Lord doesn’t just tell us, “don’t sin”, He protects us from temptations we cannot handle and gives us the way out. I encourage you to memorize and meditate on 1 Cor 10:13 and apply it.
Cain killing Abel. Image from Pxfuel.com

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