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Genesis 4:9 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother's keeper?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And the LORD said to Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother's keeper?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Jehovah said to Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then said Yahweh unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not, the keeper of my brother, am, I?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Jehovah saith unto Cain, 'Where [is] Abel thy brother?' and he saith, 'I have not known; my brother's keeper—I?'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And the Lord said to Cain: Where is thy brother Abel? And he answered: I know not: am I my brother's keeper?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And the LORD said vnto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And hee said, I know not: Am I my brothers keeper?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And the Lord God said to Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? and he said, I know not, am I my brother's keeper?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Yahweh said unto Qayin, Where [is] Havel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother's keeper?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
said 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
Kayin קַיִן, 7014
{7014} Prime
The same as H7013 (with a play upon the affinity to H7069); Kajin, the name of the first child, also of a place in Palestine, and of an Oriental tribe.
Where 335
{0335} Prime
Perhaps from H0370; where? hence how?.
[is] Hvel הָבֶל 1893
{1893} Prime
The same as H1892; Hebel, the son of Adam.
thy brother? 251
{0251} Prime
A primitive word; a brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance (like H0001)).
And he said, 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
I know 3045
{3045} Prime
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
not: x3808
(3808) Complement
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
[Am] I x595
(0595) Complement
A primitive pronoun; I.
my brother's 251
{0251} Prime
A primitive word; a brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance (like H0001)).
keeper? 8104
{8104} Prime
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 4:9

_ _ I know not — a falsehood. One sin leads to another.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 4:9-12

_ _ We have here a full account of the trial and condemnation of the first murderer. Civil courts of judicature not being yet erected for this purpose, as they were afterwards (Genesis 9:6), God himself sits Judge; for he is the God to whom vengeance belongs, and who will be sure to make inquisition for blood, especially the blood of saints. Observe,

_ _ I. The arraignment of Cain: The Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? Some think Cain was thus examined the next sabbath after the murder was committed, when the sons of God came, as usual, to present themselves before the Lord, in a religious assembly, and Abel was missing, whose place did not use to be empty; for the God of heaven takes notice who is present at and who is absent from public ordinances. Cain is asked, not only because there is just cause to suspect him, he having discovered a malice against Abel and having been last with him, but because God knew him to be guilty; yet he asks him, that he may draw from him a confession of his crime, for those who would be justified before God must accuse themselves, and the penitent will do so.

_ _ II. Cain's plea: he pleads not guilty, and adds rebellion to his sin. For, 1. He endeavours to cover a deliberate murder with a deliberate lie: I know not. He knew well enough what had become of Abel, and yet had the impudence to deny it. Thus, in Cain, the devil was both a murderer and a liar from the beginning. See how sinners' minds are blinded, and their hearts hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: those are strangely blind that think it possible to conceal their sins from a God that sees all, and those are strangely hard that think it desirable to conceal them from a God who pardons those only that confess. 2. He impudently charges his Judge with folly and injustice, in putting this question to him: Am I my brother's keeper? He should have humbled himself, and have said, Am not I my brother's murderer? But he flies in the face of God himself, as if he had asked him an impertinent question, to which he was no way obliged to give an answer: “Am I my brother's keeper? Surely he is old enough to take care of himself, nor did I ever take any charge of him.” Some think he reflects on God and his providence, as if he had said, “Art not thou his keeper? If he be missing, on thee be the blame, and not on me, who never undertook to keep him.” Note, A charitable concern for our brethren, as their keepers, is a great duty, which is strictly required of us, but is generally neglected by us. Those who are unconcerned in the affairs of their brethren, and take no care, when they have opportunity, to prevent their hurt in their bodies, goods, or good name, especially in their souls, do, in effect, speak Cain's language. See Leviticus 19:17; Philippians 2:4.

_ _ III. The conviction of Cain, Genesis 4:10. God gave no direct answer to his question, but rejected his plea as false and frivolous: “What hast thou done? Thou makest a light matter of it; but hast thou considered what an evil thing it is, how deep the stain, how heavy the burden, of this guilt is? Thou thinkest to conceal it, but it is to no purpose, the evidence against thee is clear and incontestable: The voice of thy brother's blood cries.” He speaks as if the blood itself were both witness and prosecutor, because God's own knowledge testified against him and God's own justice demanded satisfaction. Observe here, 1. Murder is a crying sin, none more so. Blood calls for blood, the blood of the murdered for the blood of the murderer; it cries in the dying words of Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:22), The Lord look upon it and require it; or in those of the souls under the altar (Revelation 6:10), How long, Lord, holy, and true? The patient sufferers cried for pardon (Father, forgive them), but their blood cries for vengeance. Though they hold their peace, their blood has a loud and constant cry, to which the ear of the righteous God is always open. 2. The blood is said to cry from the ground, the earth, which is said to open her mouth to receive his brother's blood from his hand, v. 11. The earth did, as it were, blush to see her own face stained with such blood, and therefore opened her mouth to hide that which she could no hinder. When the heaven revealed Cain's iniquity, the earth also rose up against him (Job 20:27), and groaned on being thus made subject to vanity, Romans 8:20, Romans 8:22. Cain, it is likely, buried the blood and the body, to conceal his crime; but “murder will out.” He did not bury them so deep but the cry of them reached heaven. 3. In the original the word is plural, thy brother's bloods, not only his blood, but the blood of all those that might have descended from him; or the blood of all the seed of the woman, who should, in like manner, seal the truth with their blood. Christ puts all on one score (Matthew 23:35); or because account was kept of every drop of blood shed. How well is it for us that the blood of Christ speaks better things than that of Abel! Hebrews 12:24. Abel's blood cried for vengeance, Christ's blood cries for pardon.

_ _ IV. The sentence passed upon Cain: And now art thou cursed from the earth, Genesis 4:11. Observe here,

_ _ 1. He is cursed, separated to all evil, laid under the wrath of God, as it is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, Romans 1:18. Who knows the extent and weight of a divine curse, how far it reaches, how deep it pierces? God's pronouncing a man cursed makes him so; for those whom he curses are cursed indeed. The curse for Adam's disobedience terminated on the ground: Cursed is the ground for thy sake; but that for Cain's rebellion fell immediately upon himself: Thou art cursed; for God had mercy in store for Adam, but none for Cain. We have all deserved this curse, and it is only in Christ that believers are saved from it and inherit the blessing, Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:13.

_ _ 2. He is cursed from the earth. Thence the cry came up to God, thence the curse came up to Cain. God could have taken vengeance by an immediate stroke from heaven, by the sword of an angel, or by a thunderbolt; but he chose to make the earth the avenger of blood, to continue him upon the earth, and not immediately to cut him off, and yet to make even this his curse. The earth is always near us, we cannot fly from it; so that, if this is made the executioner of divine wrath, our punishment is unavoidable: it is sin, that is, the punishment of sin, lying at the door. Cain found his punishment where he chose his portion and set his heart. Two things we expect from the earth, and by this curse both are denied to Cain and taken from him: sustenance and settlement. (1.) Sustenance out of the earth is here withheld from him. It is a curse upon him in his enjoyments, and particularly in his calling: When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength. Note, Every creature is to us what God makes it, a comfort or a cross, a blessing or a curse. If the earth yield not her strength to us, we must therein acknowledge God's righteousness; for we have not yielded our strength to him. The ground was cursed before to Adam, but it was now doubly cursed to Cain. That part of it which fell to his share, and of which he had the occupation, was made unfruitful and uncomfortable to him by the blood of Abel. Note, The wickedness of the wicked brings a curse upon all they do and all they have (Deuteronomy 28:15, etc.), and this curse embitters all they have and disappoints them in all they do. (2.) Settlement on the earth is here denied him: A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. By this he was condemned, [1.] To perpetual disgrace and reproach among men. It should be ever looked upon as a scandalous thing to harbour him, converse with him, or show him any countenance. And justly was a man that had divested himself of all humanity abhorred and abandoned by all mankind, and made infamous. [2.] To perpetual disquietude and horror in his own mind. His own guilty conscience should haunt him wherever he went, and make him Magormissabib, a terror round about. What rest can those find, what settlement, that carry their own disturbance with them in their bosoms wherever they go? Those must needs be fugitives that are thus tossed. There is not a more restless fugitive upon earth than he that is continually pursued by his own guilt, nor a viler vagabond than he that is at the beck of his own lusts.

_ _ This was the sentence passed upon Cain; and even in this there was mercy mixed, inasmuch as he was not immediately cut off, but had space given him to repent; for God is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 4:9

And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? — God knew him to be guilty; yet he asks him, that he might draw from him a confession of his crime; for those who would be justified before God, must accuse themselves. And he said, I know not — Thus in Cain the devil was both a murderer, and a liar from the beginning. Am I my Brother's keeper? — Sure he is old enough to take care of himself, nor did I ever take charge of him. Art not thou his keeper? If he be missing, on thee be the blame, and not on me, who never undertook to keep him.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Genesis 4:9

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: (h) [Am] I my brother's keeper?

(h) This is the nature of the reprobate when they are rebuke for their hypocrisy, even to neglect God and outrage him.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Where is:

Genesis 3:9-11 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou? ... And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
Psalms 9:12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

I know:

Genesis 37:32 And they sent the coat of [many] colours, and they brought [it] to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it [be] thy son's coat or no.
Job 22:13-14 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? ... Thick clouds [are] a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.
Psalms 10:13-14 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require [it]. ... Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy.
John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Acts 5:4-9 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. ... Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the door, and shall carry thee out.
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Gn 3:9; 37:32. Jb 22:13. Ps 9:12; 10:13. Pv 28:13. Jn 8:44. Ac 5:4.

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