Troublesome Topic: Qayin and Habel

Qayin (“Acquired from God”) was the oldest son and Adam (“The red man made from dirt”) taught him how to gain a living from the soil. At this time this was primarily vegetables, grains and herbs. As the family grew, everyone had to help in the fields when the busy times came such as planting and harvesting.

Habel (“He has breath from God”) was a bit younger than “Acquired from God” and was trained to raise livestock. “The red man made from dirt” had gained some expertise in each of these areas, but he wanted his sons to go beyond what he had learned. Because everyone was a vegetarian until after the world-wide flood, the livestock that “He has breath from God” raised and cared for was used for things like wool, skins, and bone tools such as needles, but not for food. His livestock was also used for – sacrifices. Don’t forget about the sacrifices. They also used animals to test plants they had never eaten before.

“The red man made from dirt” placed first priority on providing food but followed that up with an equal emphasis on having the animals needed for sacrifices.

“Acquired from God” thought that his job was more important than that of “He has breath from God” and was bothered by the emphasis being placed on domesticated animals. “What good are they if you can’t eat them?” In so doing he was minimizing the importance of the sacrificial system God had set up by His own example. It is apparent from the way God addressed “Acquired from God” that His desire for sacrifices to be made with the blood of animals was clear to “The red man made from dirt” and his children. As time went on, “Acquired from God” convinced himself that his produce was just as good as the animals raised by his brother, even though they didn’t have any blood that could be shed. “Acquired from God” focused only on his effort rather than focusing on the lessons God wanted to teach them through blood sacrifices. “The red man made from dirt” tried to tell him that providing animals for sacrificing to God was just as important as providing food to eat, but “Acquired from God” refused to agree with that. “Acquired from God” became resentful about God not accepting his vegetables as sacrifices. After all, food was important, so why could it not be offered as a sacrifice. His resentment grew until he had to eliminate “He has breath from God” from the equation; he would not have his brother getting praise for work that was obviously inferior to the work he did with the plants that provided food.

“Acquired from God” plotted and killed “He has breath from God.” He ignored the fact that only God can give the breath of life and only God has the right to take it away. He chose to remove the breath of God from his brother whose name reminded everyone of where that breath came from.

As a result “Acquired from God” was sent away by God.

In a single day “The red man made from dirt” and “The one through whom God gives life” lost both of their sons. They had daughters as well, for Cain took one of his sisters with him as a wife, but the parents were devastated by the loss.

“So this is what death is.”

“I feel empty.”

“I feel like something inside me is broken and will never be right again.”

“I feel a hole inside of me that nothing can fill.”

“I don’t think I can go on like this.”

Decades later, death entered their lives again when one of Adam and Chavva’s daughters died in childbirth. After that at least one or more granddaughter died during childbirth. Adam wondered if delivering a child would hold that kind of risk for all of human existence. By the time Adam and Chavva died they had experienced the death of several people they loved. Each of those losses was heartbreaking beyond what any of us have experienced because they knew that they had brought this reality into existence by their sin.

The next lesson in this study is Shayth.