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Crime And Punishment Genesis 4:8–10

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Chapter Summary

If one has to consider the dialogue between God and Cain in Gen 4:9–10 as the trial scene, then 4:11–16 represents the sentencing phase. It is here that God declares Cain's fate. In Gen 4:11, God declares that Cain has been cursed as a result of his murderous act. The fact that Cain has been cursed represents an important development in the Genesis story. Genesis 4:12 introduces the specific curse put on Cain which has two parts. The first is Cain's inability to successfully perform his occupation as a farmer since the ground is cursed and will no longer yield to him. The second part of the curse directly affects Cain by making him a fugitive and wanderer on the earth (NRSV). In Gen 4:13, Cain laments his punishment in a way that resembles a plea for mercy.

Keywords:Cain's punishment; curse; Genesis 4:11–16; God



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