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This chapter begins that subject, which all succeeding history hath been manifesting, of the distinction between the church and the world. Abel and Cain form the great head of each, and their generations preserve the evidence of the original stock, to mark the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between, him that serveth God, and him, that serveth Him not. We see, in this chapter, the truth of that awful sentence, of the enmity, which the seed of the Serpent bears, in all ages, to the Seed of the Woman. The sacred historian carries on the account, in this chapter, of the different branches of Adam's family, down to Enos, the son of Seth.
Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
If, by this expression, Eve meant to say that this was the God-man which was promised to bruise the Serpent's head, how sad the mistake!
And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
And if, by the name of Abel, which signifies vanity, Our first mother meant, that his birth was of little consequence, now she had gotten Cain; how strikingly was that Scripture fulfilled! Isaiah 55:8 .
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
Proverbs 15:8 ; Psalms 11:7 . See, also, particularly, Hebrews 11:4 , which, at once, proves that Abel knew under what character the promised Seed should come; and, therefore, by faith in that redemption, he brought his offering. Sweet and precious testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus!
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
Hebrews 12:24 . In the original, it is, thy Brother's bloods; as if, not only the death of Abel was concerned, but the cause of Christ included in the deed. See Revelation 6:10 ; Hebrews 12:24 .
And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Revelation 14:11; Revelation 14:11 . How striking a difference to Ezekiel 9:4 .
And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
Reader! observe, here, how little notice is taken of the posterity of Cain. 'This is all which is said of him and his race, until that they were all destroyed by the deluge. Compare Psalms 21:10 with Psalms 102:28
And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Enos signifying wretchedness; in allusion, perhaps. to the fallen state ()f nature, which even the children of gracious parents are born to, as well as others. Psalms 51:5 ; Ephesians 2:2-3 . By men calling upon the name of the Lord, is, perhaps, meant, calling themselves by his name. And if so, hence begun that distinction of character, which hath, ever since, marked the precious from the vile, in the character of the Lord's people; they, who, in the first ages, lived in the faithful expectation of the Lord's coming, and such as now are counted to the Lord for a generation. Psalms 22:30-31 .
THE honest employment of our fathers, in the patriarchal age, gives the highest sanction, both of antiquity, and right order, to the different labours of life. It was the saying of a good old saint, now with God. "Give your children a Bible, and an honest calling, and then leave them with God, for his blessing." From the offerings of the Sons of Adam, of their first-fruits to God, we learn how early the practice hath been, and how becoming it is to acknowledge the Lord, as the original Giver of all we have or enjoy. And is it not right that, as we are but tenants at will, we should be always ready to pay our rents, by way of acknowledging our holding. But what a sweet thought it is, that amidst all God's gifts, of which we are only stewards, he hath given us the Lord Jesus, to have and to hold forever! - Contemplate, my soul, with due self-abasement, the awful effects of our fallen nature, in the horrible view of the murder of Abel. Alas! what crime is there, that man is not capable of committing unless restrained by Almighty grace. Lord, keep me in the hour, and from the power, of temptation! Reader! remark, with me, that the first who tasted death, in consequence of the fall, died in the faith of Jesus. Blessed Redeemer! as thou art, thyself, the first-fruits in resurrection, so the first-fruits of the dust of the earth are thine! But, do I not see in Abel, a type of the blessed Jesus? Was not Jesus hated, and, at length, murdered by his brethren, when, as the great Shepherd of his fathers sheep, he came to seek and save that which was lost? But, Oh! how infinitely short, Abel falls, in comparison of Jesus. The blood of Abel cries for vengeance. The blood of Jesus pleads for mercy. Dearest Lord! in all things it behoves thee to have the pre-eminence. May it be my happiness, like Abel, to offer all my poor offerings, in faith, with an eye to thy blood and righteousness; then will God my Father have respect unto them, and I myself shall be accepted in the beloved.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13