The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have gotten a man with Yahweh’s help.” Again she gave birth, to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground. Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of its fat. Yahweh respected Abel and his offering, but he didn’t respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell. Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen? If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don’t do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.” Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go into the field.” It happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.
So, Eve had two sons and it didn’t take long for the sin of the parents to be revealed in the children. Adam’s own son committed the first murder.
We know that God knew that Cain wouldn’t like it, but God was honest with Cain about the fact that his offering was not good. We aren’t even told what it was about Cain’s offering that wasn’t right. Some have considered that it was because one of them was an animal sacrifice and the other was a plant sacrifice. That point isn’t very well taken because God accepted both kinds later in Israel. What we can tell from this story is that God was patient with Cain because He warned him about his wrong attitude and told him that he could “do well” and he would be happy. Evidently, Cain knew what he was supposed to do. Instead of taking God’s advice, Cain stayed angry and plotted the death of his brother.
There are good lessons to learn from this. One thing we see is that it is unwise to stay angry. Cain’s anger ended the life of another person. Had he let it go and simply done what God wanted, he would have been happy again. We also see that it is God’s intent for mankind to “rule over” sin. We also see something about morality. God didn’t waver in his judgment about the sacrifice because of how it could be taken. Instead, He told Cain the truth and tried to encourage him to do what was right. We shouldn’t give in to bad people and allow bad actions because of what people might do to us or each other. Just because a bad person may cause an act of terror if we tell the truth, is not a reason to avoid the truth. We are to stand up for what is right just like God does.
One thing that I used to wonder about was why animals were tended when mankind was vegetarian. I realized that animals were still needed for clothing. Evidently, they were also farmed for “fat.” Perhaps it was used for burning as a fuel or for the many other uses of oil.