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The degeneration of the first man and woman was transmitted, the firstborn being manifestly an inheritor of the fallen nature of his parents. His mother named him Cain, intimating a hope that the seed had come which should bruise the head of the serpent. How little she knew of the nature of her own sin. Thus from the beginning sin manifested a wayward rebelliousness which ever tends to break the heart of fatherhood and motherhood; and experimentally some of the consciousness of the pain of God over their own sin would be revealed to these first parents. Abel means vanity, and suggests the disappointment which had come to Eve.
Sin is seen at once, breaking up the family ideal in the story of Cain and Abel. Death, the penalty of sin, is first executed by the hand of a sinner.
Jehovah intervenes, dealing with Cain in strict justice. His going out from the presence of God was a willful severance of himself from the divine government and from response to its claims.
The chapter records with perfect fidelity the story of human progress, notwithstanding its godlessness. Here begins a history which continues until this hour-marriage, and children, and the building of a city without God. The origin of colonization and commerce is seen in Jabal, who "was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle." The initiation of what we may speak of as the fine arts was revealed in Jubal, "the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe." Here, too, we find the beginning of mechanical skill, as Tubal-cain was "the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron." In Lamech we have the portrait of a man at the pinnacle of such success. He repeated Cain's sin, but now evidently without any remorse, for in poetic language he is heard defending himself and boasting in his safety.
A third son is born to Adam and Eve, Seth; and the new line commences. Through Abel there is no succession. The posterity of Cain will ultimately be swept away in the Flood. Through Seth the seed of the woman will be preserved toward the ultimate victory.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Genesis 4". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany