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Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Cain_slaying_Abel,_1608-1609

Image: Cain Slaying Abel (1609)

Painter: Peter Paul Rubens

The story of Cain is known to most people who go to church and read the Bible. What is not so familiar to most Christians is the prayer Cain prayed to God after the Lord confronted him with the killing of his brother.

The story of Cain is found in Genesis 4. According to the narrative in Genesis, Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain a tiller of the ground (Genesis 4:2). The story of the struggle between the two brothers is placed in the context of the conflict between two occupations, the conflict between shepherds and farmers that was so common in antiquity.

In the course of time both brothers brought offerings to the Lord. The text does not explain how or when the brothers became aware they needed to bring an offering to God.

Since Cain was a…

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