I’m reading the story of Cain and Abel, and after Cain killed Abel and God banished him from the land, Cain says, “Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight” (Genesis 4:14). What did it mean by Cain having to avoid God’s presence? Why would Cain not be allowed to be with God?
This story explains the origins of the Bedouin tribes who were nomadic and wore tattoos to identify the family they came from.
Notice that God’s actual curse is
Now you are banned from the ground* that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. If you till the ground, it shall no longer give you its produce. You shall become a constant wanderer on the earth.
It was Cain in his shame and guilt who could no longer bear the presence of God.
"God and Cain no longer saw each other. Their faces were hidden from each other. How graphically accurate is this image. The moment we choose badly, act stupidly, hurt one another, we blind ourselves not only to one another but also to all that the word Divinity might mean in our lives.’’
Soil and land in the Bible often represents our hearts.
In killing Able, Cain drove God from his heart and was no longer in a state of sanctifying grace.
But after Cain had been banished by God and marked with the tattoo, was God with him again? Or did he lose God forever since he killed his brother? Did he ever get back in God’s presence? I’m confused as to whether or not Cain ever got back in God’s grace, because this verse made it sound like Cain must avoid God’s presence for the rest of his life.
The literal sense of this reading is that God sentenced Cain to be banned from the ground, to wonder. No where does God take away His presence. It is Cain who declares:
I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, not God.
In the allegorical sense, Cain’s sin (like Judas’) has a damning effect not because his sin is unforgivable, but because Cain and Judas could not bring themselves contritely to the divine presence, to Jesus they have offended and betrayed.
The moral sense is critical: It’s not just about not killing but it’s also about reparations and humility before God. Cain tries to weasel out of his crime. God issues a judgment and Cain decides its not severe enough, so he’s not allowed in the Divine Presence. This story teaches humility when we have sinned.
Finally, in the judgment, the damned are not the sinners but the arrogant who reject God’s love and mercy.
Oh OK I get it now! Thank you so much.
I dont think the ‘mark’ was a tattoo, not sure anyone knows exactly what it was either, but there have been many theories on this, some quite out there too!
It is strange he said “anyone may kill me on sight”, I thought God said NO ONE could kill Cain, or they would suffer horribly? I also thought Cain was cursed to walk the earth until Jesus comes again (second coming)?
In the footnotes of my bible it said that the mark God placed on Cain might’ve likely been a tattoo since tattoos were used to differentiate between tribes back then, so that’s why I said tattoo. But like you said, we don’t know for sure.
And yes, right after Cain starts to despair is when God promises him that nobody would harm him, and if they did, he would be avenged sevenfold. I don’t know about him wandering until Christ’s second coming though! Where did you hear that?
Im trying to search for where I heard about this…Im thinking it was a statement of Jesus, something like “Verily I say to you, there are some among this group that should not taste death until the son of man comes again”…anyone recognize this?
I did find this just now tho, not sure it is Cain, but it is ‘someone’ apparently cursed to walk the earth and not taste death.
n 1835, as evening fell, missionary David W. Patten had spotted a figure walking near his mule in Tennessee. His tall, dark body was covered with hair, he wore no clothing, and…
...he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight.
Matthew 16, Mark 9, Luke 9
“The Wandering Jew” is a medieval urban legend, like the Flying Dutchman or the Vanishing Hitchhiker. Ahasuerus is usually the name associated with him, not Cain or anybody like that.
Wandering to and fro upon the earth isn’t Cain. It’s the Devil. It’s from Job 1:7 –
"And the LORD said unto Satan, “Whence comest thou?”
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
Cain’s sin was a rejection of God. All sin is a rejection of God in preference of self.
So who was this then? it cant be satan or a demon, as they dont seek death, they dont have bodies to die, so…??
**n 1835, as evening fell, missionary David W. Patten had spotted a figure walking near his mule in Tennessee. His tall, dark body was covered with hair, he wore no clothing, and…
…he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men.
I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight.**