Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!” Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” Cain replied to the Lord, “My punishment is too great for me to bear! You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!” The Lord replied, “No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him. So Cain left the Lord’s presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Adam had sexual relations with his wife again, and she gave birth to another son. She named him Seth, for she said, “God has granted me another son in place of Abel, whom Cain killed.” When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh. At that time people first began to worship the Lord by name.
Dear God, as I watched the musical Dear Evan Hansen a few days ago, I found myself focusing on the parents. They felt such despair and confusion. The very first song is called, “Anybody Have a Map?”
It made me think about parenting and how few people in the Bible are good role models for us. The I wondered if you don’t have something to teach me by looking at the mothers and fathers of the Bible. Obviously, I can’t look at every single one, but there are certainly some highlights. And it starts with Eve.
I wish we got more about Eve here–or Adam, for that matter. Talk about not having a map! There were no Growing Kids God’s Way or Sacred Parenting books for her to get off of Amazon.com. There weren’t any support groups or Sunday school classes to help teach her. To quote the song, “Anybody Have a Map” that I mentioned above: “I’m flying blind, and I’m making this up as I go.”
I wonder what it was like for he to see her two sons grow up into such different people. And I wonder how old Cain and Abel were when this story happened. Were they teenagers? Did it grieve her to see that Cain held back the best of his crops from God while Abel brought his best? Did she and Adam pray about the boys and talk to you about them? Did she learn some lessons from raising Cain that she applied to Abel? I’ve heard it said that no two children are born to the same parents, and I’m sure that is true for Cain and Abel.
And then one day Cain did it. His jealousy pushed him to kill his own brother. They had possibly never experienced death before. Did Cain understand what would happen? Did he understand that Abel would be gone forever. Did he know that was possible?
As for Eve, how devastated was she? How much a failure did she feel like? Was she inconsolable for a while? The only insight we are given into this is her joy in Seth’s birth and then, presumably, her grandchild’s birth. Cain had children, but we don’t know if Eve ever knew them. Did she ever speak to Cain again? One thing that is interesting to point out is that, according to verse 26, this is when people began to worship you by name. Was this a lesson that Eve learned from her experience? Did she do something different with Seth that taught him to worship you by name?
Father, I suspect that the ultimate theme in this series of mothers (and fathers) of the Bible is that all of them will have made a lot of mistakes, and most will experience tragedy. How foolish are we, then, to think that our mistakes will be small and our tragedies minimal? How foolish am I? So I give all of this to you and ask that you take my best attempts and my worst mistakes and redeem them beyond what they deserve.
In Jesus’s name I pray,