The Curse of Cain
Vs 11, 12: The result of Cain’s sin - Cain is cursed from the ground. This is the first time God curses a mortal (Cain). He will work and get nothing and he will forever be wandering the land; never finding a place to settle. Cain would be a restless wanderer and the ground would not yield to him. This was pretty harsh but if you think about it Cain gets off pretty easy. Cain should have received death (for God’s law will eventually say, “whoever sheds blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed”). As is common in the early writings of Genesis God’s mercy is always present alongside his judgment
Vs 13 - 15: Cain thought his punishment was more than he could bear. He believed it was unfair! I think if he knew the other option (death) he may not have been so quick to speak. Unfortunately this is a common response of the unrepentant sinner caught in the act of rebellion and disciplined for it. He may say, “It’s not fair! My punishment is too great!”
Yet again we see God’s mercy in placing a mark on Cain so he will not be killed; his life will be spared. We are unsure of the mark placed on him. Twice we have seen God’s grace and mercy present. He does not kill Cain and he protects him. Did he deserve this? No more than you and I deserve the grace and mercy God pours on us.
Vs 16: Cain went away from the presence of the Lord. This sentence says much about Cain. Once again we see the separation sin causes in the relationship between man and God. He is pushed farther away from God and his presence… He eventually goes to a land called Nod (which means wandering).
Vs 17: Cain and his wife (no name mentioned) have a son and they name him Enoch. Many of his children (great/grandchildren) are credited with making many cultural advances in society. Enoch built a city. Jabal was a farmer. Jubal was a musician and Tubal Cain was a forger of all instruments bronze and iron. These people were making technological advances in culture. However with all these advances we also see in the life of Lamech (the son of Enoch) that the heart remained dark. Lamech was quite a character. He was the first man to marry two wives (polygamy) Adah (Jewel) and Zillah (Melody). God clearly established monogamy as the rule for a man and woman in Eden and now Lamech cheapens this beautiful gift by having two wives. He was also a man with a bloodlust for revenge. I think it would be safe to assume he was a prideful and boastful man who thought more highly of himself than he ought. He informs his wives that he killed a man for wounding him and a young man for striking him. Lamech was not going to be pushed around. He was ready to crush anyone who got in his way. If anyone dares stop him or attempt to kill him revenge would not just be seven fold as his great great great great grandfather was promised but a self declared seventy sevenfold. He has no regard for justice because in his mind he was the judge and jury. He was like the comic book character Judge Dredd who let everyone know, “I am the law.”
I think it is safe to assume that since Cain walked away from the presence of God that his children had no instruction or care for God as well. Cain essentially establishes the first godless society.
From this point on Cain is no longer part of the picture. Both the sons of Adam and Eve have perished in more ways than one. Abel was murdered by his brother and Cain was cursed and walked away from the presence of God.
Adam and Eve have another son named Seth. Adam and Eve clearly were hopeful for this son since his name means “appointed”. God in his mercy sent another child who was appointed by God to carry on the lineage of the first man created by God. Seth, unlike his brother Cain, walked with God and at this time people began to call on the name of God.