The Story: "Am I My Brother's Keeper?"

So the man and the woman knew one another, and she gave birth to Cain, saying, “I have created a man with YHWH.” She then gave birth to Abel, who became a shepherd, while Cain became a servant of the ground. And it happened over time that Cain brought fruit of the soil to YHWH. Abel brought the best of his flock, and YHWH regarded Abel and his offering, but not Cain and his offering.

 

Cain was incensed; his face fell. And YHWH said to Cain, “You are angry with him and for what? Why is your face fallen? For whether you do well to lift up an offering, or do not do well, at the opening sin waits, and it’s impulse is for you, but you may yet rule in it.”

 

But Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out into the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose against Abel and killed him.

 

YHWH said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?”

 

And Cain replied, “I do not know.” Then uttering the first question a human being asks of God, Cain continues, “Am I brother’s keeper?”

 

God said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil. The soil will now curse you, and it will no longer give you its strength. Rather you will be a restless

wanderer on the earth.”

 

Cain said to Yahweh, “My punishment is too great to bear! Not only am I driven from the soil, but also from your presence, and as I wander on the earth whoever finds me will kill me!”

 

Yahweh assured him, “Any who kill you will suffer vengeance sevenfold.” And Yahweh set a mark on Cain so that whoever found him would not slay him.

 

Like his father before him, Cain went out from YHWH’s presence and dwelt in the land of the wanderer, Nod, in the east of Eden. Cain knew his woman and she gave birth to a son. Cain built a city and named it after his son, Enoch. And so begins the lineage, first Enoch, then Irad, then Mehujahel, then Methusael, then Lamech.

 

And Lamech took two women called Adah and Zillah. Adah’s sons were Jabal, the first of the wandering tent-dwellers with livestock, and Jubal, the first musician. Zillah’s children were Tubal-Cain, the first forger of iron and copper tools, and Naamah. Her work has since been erased.

 

Lamech bragged to his women Adah and Zillah that he killed a man for insulting him and a boy for bruising him, but that we would be protected even more so than Cain should anyone try to hurt him. “For sevenfold Cain is avenged, and Lamech seventy and seven,” he said.

 

 

In the meantime, Adam and Chava, or Eve, had another son. Eve called him Seth, as to say, “God has granted me other seed in place of Abel, for Cain has killed him.”

 

Seth had a son named Enosh, who invoked Yahweh’s name. Enosh had a son Kenan, who had a son Mahalalel, who had a son Jared, who had a son, Enoch. Enoch walked with God. Enoch had a son Methuselah, and Methuselah had a son, also named Lamech. This Lamech had a son, Noah. And all these here mentioned had daughters, whose names have since been erased. Noah was so named for the hope that, “This one will console us for our hands’ grief from the soil which Yahweh cursed.” Noah gave birth to Shem, Ham, and Japheth. All these, too, had daughters, whose names have since been erased.

 

But this is just one interpretation.




*Alternatively, “at the opening sin reclines, and it is longing for you, and*

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