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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Abel (â'bel), vapor, Genesis 4:2, was the second son of Adam and Eve, so called perhaps from the shortness of his life, as he was murdered by Cain. Hence to Eve the life of Abel seemed but "a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14. Abel was occupied as a keeper or feeder of sheep; and in process of time brought of the firstlings, or first-fruits of his flock, an offering unto the Lord, It is supposed that besides a thank-offering, Abel brought a sin-offering, and thus showed his sense of sin, as well as his faith in a promised Saviour. He did it by faith, Hebrews 11:4, founded no doubt upon some revelation from God. His offering was a type of Christ, the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Revelation 13:8; Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 1:6; John 1:29. "The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering," Genesis 4:4, and accepted it. Hebrews 11:4. Not so with Cain. Either his sacrifice, or the manner of presenting it, was offensive to God, and the offering was rejected. 1 John 3:12. Cain was angry, and filled with envy, and when he and his brother were in the field together, he took his brother's life. Genesis 4:3-8. Our Saviour distinguishes Abel by the title righteous, Matthew 23:35. He is also one of the faithful "elders" mentioned in the epistle to the Hebrews, ch. 11:4, and is justly called the first martyr.

Abel, meadow, grassy plain, as below. A name prefixed to several places. Instead of "the great stone of Abel," in 1 Samuel 6:18, the Septuagint, and Chaldee versions, and some Hebrew manuscripts, read "the great stone;" as in the margin, and the 14th and 15th verses. Most likely this "great stone" was a boundary mark, or an ancient monument, in Bethshemesh, on the confines of Judah, Dan, and Philistia.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Abel'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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