October 31, 2009

The Man Who Can't Be Killed

Cain said to the Lord,
"My punishment is more than I can bear... I will be a restless wanderer... and whoever finds me will kill me"

But the Lord... put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
~Genesis 4:13-15
Why was this even necessary? Why does god want to protect Cain?

Is this the bible's way of showing us that god is forgiving and merciful?

And what was the mark that was so hideous that even potential Cain-murderers would shy away from taking his life?

And, without loudspeakers, e-mail or Twitter, how did "everyone" know & recognise that THIS was the mark of the man who can't be killed?

• There's a good explanation here, including how Cain's face was turned completely black. Racist uproars ensue, yes.
• Roger Kovaciny, professional bible translator, provides a pretty convincing answer here. There was no change in skin colour, apparently.


October 29, 2009

The Bit Where Cain Kills Abel

I admit I thought god was too much for playing favouritism with Abel.

I mean, they both brought stuff. Maybe Cain didn't have a particularly good harvest that year? All the bible says is:

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. ~Genesis 4:2

That's hardly enough information to determine the actual reason why Cain only brought "some of the fruits of the soil".

Did you think that maybe Cain, being the elder child, wanted to keep some of the fruits for his parents too?

• The Q'uran has a similar story of Adam & Eve's sons killing each other, but no names are mentioned.
• A few scholars suggest the periscope may have been based on a Sumerian story representing the conflict between nomadic shepherds and settled farmers.