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Posts Tagged ‘death penalty’

And what was the curse on Cain: the very ground from which he had labored all of his life would no longer yield to him, would no longer produce, would no longer be his safety. He wandered because he found no rest in the land (Nod means “wandering”). He became the first nomad.

Genesis 4:11, 15-16
Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. . . Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,east of Eden.

And why the mark? And what was the mark? Most commentators don’t really know. Cain received the mark after complaining that he would be killed as a wanderer, that he would be outside of the clan (I’m guessing) and seen as a stranger and therefore suspect. And, perhaps a nomadic life was not the norm in that time.

What I find interesting is that everyone refers to the mark as protection. I believe the mark was equally part of the curse. Cain was destined to suffer and possibly, in the norm of that time, forever or nearly forever. After all, Adam and Eve, if counted just by generations and who was alive when, lived over 800 years. I assume this came as a result of their tastings of the Tree of Life (Creator stopped that practice when he cast them out of the garden of the two trees).

But death would have been release for Cain and I’m guessing, like Groundhog Day, when life is a drudgery, when hope is snatched away, then death seems like the best route out. The mark of Cain prevented him from dying.

What is the application for me, however? In general, I would say that I should not make assumptions about the intent of God who is ultimately sovereign. Based on subsequent laws that came down through Moses, death deserved death. But God did not destroy Cain. He had another purpose that was higher. I cannot judge why some live and some die. I cannot judge why some suffer and some do not. I cannot know who carries the Mark of Cain, for this is not a mark I can see, only God.

 

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