Genesis 4:7

Hebrew Bible

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? 7 Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” 8 Cain spoke to his brother Abel.21 While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Neofiti Genesis 4:7


6 And the Lord said to Cain: “Why, I pray, are you displeased and why has your countenance changed? 7 Surely, if you make your work in this world to be good, you will be remitted and pardoned in the world to come; but if you do not make your work in this world to be good, your sin will be kept for the day of great judgment; and at the door of your heart your sin crouches. Into your hands, however, I have given the control over the evil inclination and you shall rule it, whether to remain just or to sin. 8 And Cain said to Abel his brother: “Come! Let the two of us go out into the open field.” And when the two of them had gone out into the open field, Cain answered and said to Abel: “I perceive that the world was not created by mercy and that it is not being conducted according to the fruits of good words, and that there is favoritism in judgment. Why was your offering received favorably and my offering was not received favorably from me?” Abel answered and said to Cain: “I perceive that the world was created by mercy and that it is being conducted according to the fruits of good words. And because my works were better than yours, my offering was received from me favorably and yours was not received favorably from you.” Cain answered and said to Abel: “There is no judgment, and there is no judge and there is no other world. There is no giving of good reward to the just nor is vengeance exacted of the wicked.” Abel answered and said to Cain: “There is judgment, and there is a judge, and there is another world. And there is giving of good reward to the just and vengeance is exacted of the wicked in the world to come.” Concerning this matter the two of them were disputing in the open field. And Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

 Notes and References

"... From the death of Abraham, who, being a righteous man, deserves to be rewarded in this world and to be granted a long life, Esau concludes that there is no retribution and no resurrection. To belie this view, Jeremiah 22:10 is explained in such a way that one should not so much weep the death of a righteous man (who will be restored to life) as the 'evildoer's' death (who will die for ever). A parallel in Pesiqta Rabbati 12, 48a, provides a further explanation of Jacob's motive: with this elaborate display of mourning he wants to impress the deceased, hoping that this will be to his advantage at the resurrection. Esau's reaction shows great skepticism: 'Fool! Do you really think that a man rotting away in his grave after death can live again?!' One is reminded of the cynical words spoken by Celsus (in Origen, Contra Celsum 5:14) ... H. A. Fischel rightly presumes that the Esau of the targumic text under discussion can be compared with another 'arch-sinner', namely Cain. In the Palestinian Targums of Genesis 4:8, the latter argues that in the future there will be no justice (judgment) or judge, no reward for the righteous, no punishment for the wicked, and no other world. (... compare the dispute of Cain and Abel in the Targumim of Genesis 4:7-8) It goes without saying that both disputes (Abel / Cain and Jacob / Esau) offer examples of contemporary debate on the doctrine of resurrection and retribution. According to H. A. Fischel, there are traces of anti-Epicuraean ideas in both disputes ..."

Sysling, Harry Teḥiyyat Ha-Metim: The Resurrection of the Dead in the Palestinian Targums of the Pentateuch and Parallel Traditions in Classical Rabbinic Literature (p. 121) Mohr Siebeck, 1996

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.