Some thoughts on Sowing and Reaping

In Genesis chapter 4 we read that Eve named Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with Yahweh’s help.” [1]Genesis 4:1. All quotes from the Unlocked Literal Bible She was perhaps thinking about the promise given in chapter 3, where Yahweh had said to the serpent, “[I will put hostility] between your seed and [the woman’s] seed. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”[2]Genesis 3:15

In any case, she was proud of what she had sown, and perhaps reasoned that if God had promised, surely the first seed would be the one. (It’s even possible that she was pregnant with Cain when the two ate of the fruit. You know how pregnancy cravings can be.)

Clarke believes that Abel was born of the same pregnancy, a twin, because it is not noted that Eve conceived again.[3]Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible Whether this is the case or not, certainly his designation by his mother was less lofty. Abel means “a breath”, or “vanity”. [4]Darby Translation Notes

It is our way that we sin (eating of the forbidden fruit) and then look to God to get us “back to normal” as quickly as possible. We don’t imagine that there will be other fruit to reap from what we have sown.

Cain and Abel grew into men, and they both worked with their hands. Cain, the man produced with Yahweh’s help, was incensed that Yahweh looked more favorably on his brother than on himself. [5]Genesis 4:4-5 So often, our desire is to be like God in power, glory, and honor, but we neglect being like him in humility, gentleness, and kindness. This is, after all, what was sown in Eden. [6]Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So Cain killed his brother, and we see the second instance of death being reaped from the sin of Adam and Eve (the first being of the animal(s) used for the clothing that God made for them.)[7]Genesis 3:21 Abel returned to God, and Cain went out from the presence of Yahweh.[8]Genesis 4:16

Adam slept with with his wife again, and she bore another son. She called his name Seth and said, “God has given me another son in the place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” – Genesis 4:25

Seth, we know, is the promised seed who will lead to the promised seed. This time, “God has given” is what she says.

The line of Cain is instructive, for it shows us the natural state of man. We exalt ourselves, when we should be humbling ourselves. We say, “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for bruising me,” and we pile up women and possessions.[9]Genesis 4:23 However, all the works of Cain were lost, buried under the mud of the flood, while Abel, the breath of vanity, still speaks.[10]Hebrews 11:4


1 Genesis 4:1. All quotes from the Unlocked Literal Bible
2 Genesis 3:15
3 Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
4 Darby Translation Notes
5 Genesis 4:4-5
6 Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
7 Genesis 3:21
8 Genesis 4:16
9 Genesis 4:23
10 Hebrews 11:4