Day 32: Punishment

Genesis 4:9-15

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

He said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Yahweh said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. From now on, when you till the ground, it won’t yield its strength to you. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.”

Cain said to Yahweh, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me out this day from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. It will happen that whoever finds me will kill me.”

Yahweh said to him, “Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” Yahweh appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should strike him.

God’s punishment was swift and harsh against Cain. Cain used to be a successful farmer. Now, he would be unable to produce very much food from the ground. Evidently, he would now have to wander around looking for wild plants to eat.

What really stands out to me in this passage is that God protected a criminal. Although God’s punishment was very harsh, the one who was punished was still protected by God when he asked Him. Just because someone has done something wrong, doesn’t give license to other men to do whatever they want to that person.

Gang warfare is like this. It can start off with a single murder, then the opposing gang kills two people, only for it to start over again as it expands to become more and more harmful. Eventually, wars are being fought. God stopped this from happening by making it clear that if anyone were to kill Cain, God would give them seven times the punishment Cain got. This tells me that the way to stop the kind of crime that preys on those who have been punished, is to punish them far more severely than the original criminal. This also suggests that leaders and government officials who commit crimes against wrongdoers should be given worse sentences than those they abuse. God knows how to stop crime from happening so that it does the least damage and so that it doesn’t escalate out of control.