Cain and Abel: The Case and Judgment
Welcome to the court case of Cain for the murder of his brother Abel.
The Omniscient, Omnipresent, Sovereign God is the Judge. The blood of Abel stands as witness and prosecutor.
How will Cain plead? What will be the finding of the Judge? What will the verdict be?
Verse 9: The Arraignment
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)
Once again, God questioned Cain already aware of the answer; giving him one last chance to confess, repent, and beg for forgiveness. As God gave his parents the opportunity to confess their sin, He gave Cain the same opportunity.
Cain, like his parents, tried to hide & deflect.
“God knew him to be guilty; yet he asks him, that he may draw from him a confession of his crime, for those who would be justified before God must accuse themselves, and the penitent will do so.” ~ Matthew Henry
God, as Judge, asked Cain how he would plead. Cain plead “not guilty.”
As Adam and Eve attempted to hide their sin with fig leaves, Cain tried to hide his guilt by claiming ignorance. Cain lied to God. He added one more charge to his list of crimes before the Judge.
“See how sinners’ minds are blinded, and their hearts hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: those are strangely blind that think it possible to conceal their sins from a God that sees all, and those are strangely hard that think it desirable to conceal them from a God who pardons those only that confess.” ~ Matthew Henry
Cain not only lied to God and showed no remorse for killing his brother, but, when God asked him where Abel was, he got sassy with God. He implied that God’s question is foolish and impertinent. Cain was just digging a bigger hole for himself.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Matthew Henry, in his commentary, makes a point of taking an aside at this moment in the passage to address what Cain asks: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I agree that this is a “lesson within a lesson” opportunity.
The word “keeper” in Hebrew is “shamar.” It means to keep, guard, observe, give heed, protect, to save a life, to be watchman.
This is the duty of all Christians for their brothers and sisters in Christ. We are each others guards and protectors. We should desire to be a watchman for each other and we should rejoice when others are watching out for us. We do not always see the pitfalls we are walking toward. It is a beautiful thing when a loving and caring brother or sister in Christ recognizes a danger we are headed for and brings it to our attention. Just as Proverbs 27:6a says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
“A charitable concern for our brethren, as their keepers, is a great duty, which is strictly required of us, but is generally neglected by us. Those who are unconcerned in the affairs of their brethren, and take no care, when they have opportunity, to prevent their hurt in their bodies, goods, or good name, especially in their souls, do, in effect, speak Cain’s language.” ~ Matthew Henry
Verse 10: The Conviction
He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. (Genesis 4:10)
God ignored Cain’s insolent response.
Another side lesson we can take away: sometimes it is best to ignore questions that are obviously arrogant attempts to blaspheme God.
God ignored Cain’s question and went straight to the matter at hand, “What have you done?” God knew what Cain had done. He is omniscient and omnipresent. He was telling Cain that He knew exactly what had happened and found him guilty of the crime.
Cain murdering Abel also flew in the face of God’s command to “multiply.” Not only had Cain caused death to come early but he also reduced the number of children that may have been fathered by Abel.
In the original the word is plural, thy brother’s bloods, not only his blood, but the blood of all those that might have descended from him; or the blood of all the seed of the woman, who should, in like manner, seal the truth with their blood.” ~ Matthew Henry
Abel’s blood was crying out from the earth. This blood was witness and prosecutor of Abel.
This is an analogy similar to the one in Romans 8:22 where it says, “creation groans.” In Revelation 6:10, it describes the martyrs as crying out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Our God is Judge and is just. There will not be a single drop of blood that is not satisfied in its demands for justice. Either that justice will be served in the casting out of the guilty or it will be satisfied by the sacrifice of the Christ.
We cry out for justice but we must be patient. God will judge every crime every committed. God is a just God and His judgment will be right. The wicked will receive a fair and just condemnation and the saints will receive a merciful and gracious reward. It may feel, for a time, as though justice will never come but God’s timing is perfect. We must wait on Him.
When we hate or have anger toward someone, we are guilty of murder. Not because we have physically killed that person but because that is the end result of anger and hatred. The only reason a person does not physically murder a person they hate or are angry at is because of the restraining hand of God.
Thankfully, Eve’s Seed has come and His blood is a covering for our sin.
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24)
We, like Cain, stand on trial before our Judge. We are guilty of every crime. Our accuser, Satan, is correct, we are guilty of them all. However, the blood of Christ cries out, not for retribution, but for mercy. His blood has atoned, has paid for in full all the sins of His children.
“How well is it for us that the blood of Christ speaks better things than that of Abel! Abel’s blood cried for vengeance, Christ’s blood cries for pardon.” ~ Matthew Henry
Matthew, Henry. 2017. “Chapter 4 – Matthew Henry’s Commentary – Bible Gateway”. Biblegateway.Com. Accessed September 6. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Gen.4.1-Gen.4.26.