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Cain and Abel : Smarting for his outraged ‘rights’, Cain lost his reason — but not God’s pity and love.
Cain and Abel

Based on Genesis 4:1-16.

Abel and his brother Cain were the sons of Adam and Eve. Theirs is a universal tale of what long-nursed envy and a sense of outraged ‘rights’ can lead us to do; but it is also an allegory of the deteriorating relationship between Judah and the ten tribes of northern Israel in the 8th century BC.

CAIN and his brother Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, were both farmers. Cain grew crops, whereas Abel was a herdsman.

Abel made an offering to God from among his best animals, but Cain’s offering was rejected because he used crops that were no good for anything else.*

God urged Cain to be calm, and learn from his mistake; but instead, Cain lured his brother out into the fields, and killed him.

God now came looking for Abel, and asked Cain where he was. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Cain protested wildly.

But God could hear Abel’s voice, crying to him from the blood-soaked fields. The earth itself would neither forget nor forgive what Cain had done: nothing would grow for this farmer again.

God himself, however, felt only pity for Cain. He even laid a mark on him, for his protection, as a warning to anyone who might show less mercy.

* This is the reason given by St John Chrysostom, based on the ancient Greek text of the Old Testament.

Based on Genesis 4:1-16.

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