Jan. 2 Reading: Genesis 4-7 Commentary

Below is our Genesis 4-7 commentary for Jan. 2nd of the Beginning to End Bible reading program. You can find an email link at the end of this page to share your thoughts or comments with us.

Key Verse(s):

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Gen. 6:5-6)

Genesis 4 – Cain and Abel

commentary

Life did not end for Adam and Eve after the incident in the Garden of Eden. In fact, God was with them and continued to bless them. How? With the birth of two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel raised livestock and Cain tilled the ground (vv. 1-2).

At some point, both Cain and Abel brought an offering to worship the Lord. This is the first instance in the Bible where sacrifice is connected with worship. Cain brought a portion of his fruit of the ground while Abel brought a firstborn animal from his flock. We are told that God was pleased with Abel’s offering but that He did not respect Cain’s offering.

Some have suggested the reason behind God’s displeasure with Cain is that it was not an animal sacrifice. Animals would be at the center of the sacrificial system God established later in the book of Exodus. But even then grain offerings were a thing. So here, it’s more likely that God was disappointed 1) that Cain brought something that was less than the best of his grain, 2) that Cain had a poor heart attitude for some reason about the sacrifice or 3) a combination of both.

Cain’s Reaction

Cain is angry that God does not accept his offering. It is interesting how God warns Cain regarding his anger. He says in verse 7, “…if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” This is a warning of the devastating effects sin can have when we let it take hold in our life. 

Cain’s response is to give in to his anger. And in a dramatic and unprecedented move, he kills his brother. It’s the first recorded murder in human history.

God levies his third curse in the first four chapters of Genesis by cursing Cain’s livelihood as a tiller of the ground (“…the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you” – v. 12) and saying he would be a fugitive and a vagabond for the rest of his life. Interestingly enough, Cain shows more emotion and distress over his punishment than he did his crime. God places a mark on Cain so that no one who finds him will kill him.

God is all about second chances. Even when our sin grieves him, he is forgiving and patient with us, always providing a way for us (through repentance) to return to him.

God continues to remember Adam and Eve by giving them a third son, Seth. It was at this time that men began to call on the name of the Lord (v. 25-26).

Genesis 5 – Genealogy of Adam

Genesis five traces the family line of Adam to Noah. The longevity of life is what stands out in this section. The ages of life that are listed include:

  1. Adam – 930 years
  2. Seth – 912 years
  3. Enosh – 905 years
  4. Cainan – 910 years
  5. Mahalalel – 895 years
  6. Jared – 962 years
  7. Enoch – 365 years
  8. Methuselah – 969 years
  9. Lamech – 777 years

The one notably exception in this list is Enoch. Of all those mentioned, he is the only one where it is said that he “walked with God” (vv. 22-23), which implies that his relationship and fellowship with God stood out for its closeness. We also read that “God took him” (v. 23). That does not mean he died, rather that God took him into His presence before his physical death.

Genesis 6 – Wickedness and Judgment on Mankind

Over the course of time, mankind descends into wickedness. How bad did it get? Genesis 6:5 gives us a clue:  “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This behavior caused the Lord to be “…sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (v. 6). 

God’s decided at this point to start over by wiping away mankind. How would he do that? By bringing a worldwide flood to destroy every living thing on the earth. Mankind would not have long before God’s judgment would be carried out – 120 years according to Gen. 6:3.

That seems harsh but it speaks to the depth of depravity of mankind. Many believe there is evidence based on Gen. 6:2 that spiritual beings (“sons of God” = fallen angels) took on human form and married women. That demonic presence and influence in the world might explain why people had descended into evil so quickly and deeply.

One Found Worthy

There is one person though who “…was a just man, perfect in his generations” (v. 9). His name was Noah. God explains to Noah what is about to happen and instructs him to build an ark to protect himself, his wife, his three sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and their wives from the flood waters that are about to come.

It is powerful to see that Noah “…did according to all that God commanded him…” (v. 22). God stretched Noah’s faith by asking him to prepare for an event that had never happened before in the history of the world. He must have been mocked by those around him. Maybe, he or his family had their own doubts along the way. Yet, Noah obeyed and trusted that God had a plan for humanity.

Genesis 7 – God Brings a Flood

God made provision for humanity through Noah’s family to be on the ark, 8 people in all. He also instructed Noah to take animals and birds on the ark “…to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (v. 3). Some types of animals came in twos (a male and female) while others came in groups of seven. Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters came on the earth (v. 6).

How could a flood of the earth take place? We read that two things happened. For starters, it rained for 40 straight days. The “…windows of heaven were opened…” (v. 11) causing this to happen.

But the second thing that we also read about in verse 11 is that the fountains of the deep were broken up. The waters of the oceans and/or ground were raised. This water converging with the 40 days of rain lifted the ark off the ground. The water would eventually cover all the mountains by over 15 cubits (around 22 ft.) (v. 20). Consequently, every living thing was destroyed.

Only Noah and his family remained in the ark. They would be in there for 150 days while the waters prevailed on the earth (v. 24).

Questions to Consider: In what ways have you seen your emotions lead you into deeper sin? What impresses you about Noah’s faith to follow God’s instructions? How is God stretching your faith today?

What other points would you want to know about in our Genesis 4-7 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.