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

A Child’s Commentary on the Bible


It is inevitable that a work like this needs an introduction. Children are as different from one another as other people are, and they develop at differing rates. In addition, they belong to different sorts of families, with different moral and cultural backgrounds. It might seem wisest to leave this sort of thing alone.

However, Jesus told us that unless we come to the Kingdom like a little child we will never enter it. As a result, I believe that it is high time children were given a commentary of their own, to help them as they, too, enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Bible is full of God, but it is almost as full of people, and people are a sinful, depraved bunch of creatures. There is much in the Bible that people will want to censor when reading to a child. That is certainly the parent’s prerogative, and indeed, sometimes duty. However, while I will probably deal with things from a pietistic perspective (because of my own background) I believe children are much more resilient than we often give them credit for, and frequently are being exposed to many frightful things in the schools to which they are sent, or in the media which they consume. Allowing them to have God’s perspective on these things is a gift.

The Bible was written in Hebrew, among the ancient Jewish people, and in Greek, among slightly less ancient Jewish, Greek, and Roman people. Their culture was different than ours, and culture is inevitably expressed through language. I believe that the Bible is without error in its original autographs, but that doesn’t mean that I believe an English, American understanding is always correct. Sometimes the Bible expresses things in a way that sounds like one thing in a 21st Century ear, but would have sounded different in the ear of a 3rd Century BC Hebrew. I am not a scholar of these things, but I will try to be clear when my interpretation is based upon a supposition of this sort.

Finally, all Bible commentaries are presumptuous. You should really be reading the Bible! Cliffs Notes and summaries are popular, but there is a reason that courses are never taught about the Cliffs Notes version of Shakespeare’s plays, etc. The play is the thing, not the summary of it, and the Bible is the thing, not the commentary on it. It is my hope that you will be helped in understanding the Bible through this work, and that you will thereby come to know God more closely, but there is no substitute for reading His own work, the love letter written across millennia to His Bride.