Jealousy in the Book of Genesis
Jealousy in the book of Genesis
The first book of the Pentateuch is rife with Jealousy . It seems a peculiar obsession of those writing in the Lord ‘s name . After all , such sins as murder , adultery and slothfulness seem so much more damaging to our communities and our selves . Why are the jade eyes of jealously given so much attention in the bible ‘s leadoff book , especially in the story of the second and third men , Cain and his brother Abel . I suspect that jealousy , being a universal human emotion , one which human [banner_entry_middle]
beings so easily find themselves sinking into , and one which is so obviously coarse and negative , inspired the of the bible to bring attention to it ‘s dangers very early on in their text . Although the instances of jealousy found in the later narratives of Genesis , perhaps those of Noah and Abraham , present more nuanced and complex manifestations of this all too human frailty , the visceral nature of Cain ‘s crime and the ambiguity of his atonement must first be addressed as well as the fundamental differences between jealousy among men and man ‘s jealousy of God
Cain is assigned to be the tiller of the ground (Genesis 4 :2 – NKJV ) in the garden of Eden . Abel , his younger brother , the second son of Adam and Eve , was given the more genteel task of tending to flocks of sheep . Both made offerings to the Lord , Cain in the form of the fruit of the ground (Genesis 4 :3 ) and Abel the firstborn of their flock and his fat (Genesis 4 :4 ) which God respected . However the next verse 4 :5 , reveals that God did not respect Cain ‘s offering . Why
The Biblical , men knowing nothing at all of God ‘s motivations (not to mention his existence , don ‘t feel the need to indulge us with God ‘s motives or criteria for respecting an offering . We do know that he took unkindly to Cain ‘s countenance , which fell ‘ following his rejection . One could easily see how being rejected by God , who hints at some criteria when he says in 4 :7 If you do well , will you not be accepted ? And if you do not do well , sin lies at your door . And its desire is for you , but you should rule over it ‘ Of course , in the very next verse , Cain , after a brief conversation with his brother of which we are told nothing about , kills Abel . Sin came to his door , in the form of jealousy toward his brother and he acted upon it in the most despicable way possible . The biblical are trying to dramatize an emotion and its consequences as effectively as possible . Did Cain feel that his offering was superior to his brothers and that he being unfairly judged by God ? That God would not accept his offering regardless of the quality of his fruit ? Without more detail , it ‘s hard to erect any sort of value judgment , within the… [banner_entry_footer]
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