Why Did Cain Kill Abel?

"And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." (Genesis 4:8)

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:8)

Last time, we saw that Genesis 4:7 left Cain with a decision to make: to obey God or to disobey God. In verse 8, we see which decision he made. It would seem that Cain’s problem was really with God; after all, it was God Who had rejected him. Why did he turn his anger, then, toward Abel?

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

There is a definite correlation between how a person views God and how they treat those around them. One simply cannot revere God while abhorring the people whom God has created. When we truly love and extol the Lord, we will be compelled to love our brethren. As is exhibited by Cain, we see that the opposite of this is also true.

People with disdain for God have always hated those who love Him. Wherever there is repudiation of God’s righteousness, there is invariably contempt toward those who honor it. The arrogant despise the humble. For what great crime did the religious authorities in the Lord Jesus’ day desire that He be put to death? No crime that He committed, but because their own deeds were wicked (John 3:19). Those who walk in darkness yearn to extinguish any light that illuminates their own sinfulness.

“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12)

Genesis 4:8 is quite remarkable, not only for what it says, but what it does not say. Cain talked with Abel. He had already decided in his heart what he was going to do after God had so graciously reached out to him. He had already rejected God’s offer of reconciliation. But there is no outburst toward Abel after God meets with Cain, no assault on him at the time. No, he talked with him. I am of the opinion Cain never even mentioned his conversation with God to Abel. Cain went on as if nothing was wrong and pretended that he harbored no ill will.

“And it came to pass…”

There was no immediate reprisal made against Abel. Instead, Cain bode his time, waiting for the perfect opportunity. They were in the field together, away from others. Cain wanted no witnesses to his horrific act. Abel trusted him, he went with Cain into that field, never suspecting the fate that would befall him that day.

Isn’t this the way that it so often happens in our lives today? Our greatest harm comes not from those who stand in declared opposition against us, but from those who claim that they stand by our side. It is usually our “friends” and “brothers” who give the greater cause for concern than those who assert that they are our enemies. The most insidious attacks made against the children of God have not come from those who never set foot inside a church; they come from those who sit in the pew beside them.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,


[This post was originally published September 16, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]


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