Cain and Abel (Genesis 4 and Moses 5)
The narrative of Cain and Abel is often recognized as one of the more difficult narratives in the Bible. Introducing as it does the first instances of interpersonal violence, it is never referenced or alluded to again explicitly anywhere in the Old Testament; thus the purpose of this narrative within the larger context of the book of Genesis is not altogether clear. Because of this, it is often relegated to the genre of “folklore.” Restoration scripture though, as Andrew Skinner demonstrates in this chapter, adds new understanding to the narrative, noting the role of Cain in the institution of those societies similar to, yet diametrically opposed to, the concept of Zion. —DB and AS
The story of Cain and Abel is one of the most famous in our biblical repertoire, rousing us to a sense of our social responsibility with the immortal line “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). It is situated in that earliest portion of the Bible (Genesis 1–11) that modern scholars generally label “primeval history,” pointing out that this section has significant parallels in the literature of the ancient Near East. Since a good deal of this literature is shown to be older than the usually accepted dates for the book of Genesis, it is sometimes assumed that portions of Genesis are dependent on the older ancient Near Eastern material. Such an assumption “implies that the primeval history is actually only primeval mythology.” Thus, the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis is often classified as “folkloric” material, like the Garden of Eden narrative (Genesis 2:4–3:24) and the rest of Genesis 4–11. As a prime example, the Cain and Abel episode is discounted as a real occurrence because it is truncated, lacking important details, and it appears (to some) to be based on an ancient Sumerian tale of the contest between Dumuzi, the shepherd-god, and Enkimdu, the farmer-god. However, other scholars have shown that the equation of Cain and Abel with Dumuzi and Enkimdu is flimsy and that the biblical story “must once have existed as an independent, full-bodied tale.”
In contrast to the shortage of details in the Genesis 4 account, Latter-day Saints possess a greatly expanded version of the Cain and Abel episode in the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis, which provides information too specific, detailed, and context-appropriate to dismiss as fiction. In addition, Cain and Abel are presented in other passages of the standard works as authentic figures, including in the Book of Mormon, and by living prophets (see below). All of this persuades us of the reality of the characters and the story’s overall veracity. In this chapter we will examine the Hebrew text of Genesis 4:1–17, compare it with Joseph Smith’s revised version of the Cain and Abel story in the Book of Moses, and consider the importance of the episode for modern readers.
Characteristics of the Story
The Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) presents the story of Cain and Abel in seventeen succinct verses and assumes several “firsts” in the earth’s temporal history, or history after the Fall of Adam and Eve:
- the first act of mortal procreation (Genesis 4:1)
- the first son (Cain) born to Eve and Adam (4:1)
- the first set of brothers (4:2)
- the first clear differentiation of vocations (4:2)
- the first mention of offerings or sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible (4:3)
- the first rejection, by God, of an offering made to him (4:5)
- the first of many examples of God favoring the youngest son over the eldest, even though the rule of primogeniture was established early on (4:5)
- the first case of family antagonism (4:6)
- the first murder in human history (4:8)
- the first case of trying to deceive God (4:9)
- the first fugitive (4:14)
- the first sign or mark of identification placed on a mortal by Deity (4:15)
- the first grandchild of Adam and Eve (4:17)
- the first construction of a city (4:17)
This list of firsts is impressive. However, Nahum Sarna has described the Hebrew text of this periscope as “tantalizingly incomplete,” even obscure in places, leading several modern commentators to label portions of the text as corrupted. It certainly raises many questions. For example, why does the text omit crucial details? Why does Jehovah (Yahweh) accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s? Why does God favor the younger son over the elder? Where does Cain’s murderous impulse come from? How do two brothers, born of the exact same righteous parentage into the same environment uncorrupted by an as yet nonexistent society, turn out with such differing views and behavior? As the firstborn, where did Cain get a wife? With the building of the first city, doesn’t this assume a large population already in existence? How does the Masoretic text of the story differ from other versions: Greek or Septuagint (LXX hereafter), Latin Vulgate, Syriac, and Samaritan Pentateuch? We will explore some of these issues in the following discussion.
The story begins with Eve’s conception and birthing of Cain (4:1). The name Cain (Hebrew, qayin) probably derives from a root word meaning, “metal worker, artificer.” Cain’s descendant, Tubal-cain, became a metalworker, forging tools out of bronze and iron (4:22), which scholars associate with the etymology of the name Cain because (qayin) is the identical word for “smith.” It is also the probable root of the name of a nomadic group called the Kenites who interacted with the Israelites and whose activities included metallurgy.
The name Cain also sounds like the Hebrew word for “acquired” (qanah) and is likely a purposeful play on words, “I have gotten a man from the Lord” or “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 4:1 NIV). This last phrase conveys thanksgiving for God’s providence in providing a son. This sentiment underpins a fundamental value of Old Testament society reflected later in the Psalmist’s expression of God’s involvement in providing the blessing of posterity: “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). The opposite condition, the curse of barrenness, was also ascribed to the Lord. For example, “the Lord had shut up [Hannah’s] womb” (1 Samuel 1:5).
Another son was born to Adam and Eve, how long after Cain we do not know. His Hebrew name, Abel (hāvel), is a form of the Hebrew root hevel, meaning “breath, vapour.” One interpretation infers his name was a play on words because a “breath” is short, like Abel’s tragic life. The Assyrian cognate, ablu, simply means “son,” and may be the etymology of Abel’s name. Without any discussion of his or Cain’s upbringing, an immediate differentiation of vocations is made: Abel is a roʿēh tsoʾn, shepherd of sheep and goats, while Cain is a ʿobēd ʾadāmāh, worker or tiller of the ground (Genesis 4:2). Throughout the Bible, God often shows a preference for the lifestyle of the shepherd over the farmer, and two of the most notable leaders chosen by the Lord were shepherds: Moses (Exodus 3:1) and David (1 Samuel 16:11; 2 Samuel 7:8).
In the course of time, Cain brought an offering (Hebrew, minkhah) from the fruit of the ground to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering from the firstlings (first born sheep) of his herd as well as their fat, which Jehovah regarded with favor or acceptance (4:3–4). But Jehovah did not look favorably or with acceptance on Cain and his offering. Therefore, Cain’s anger burned greatly (wayyihar leqayin me’od) and his countenance (literally “face”) fell (4:5).
No reason is given in the Hebrew text as to why Cain’s offering was rejected and Abel’s accepted, nor even a comment as to why sacrificial offerings were instituted at that time. Specific regulations governing offerings are absent here. Later sections in the Bible tell us that firstlings of the flock were the most valuable and important. Only the firstlings of the flocks should be dedicated to Jehovah (Leviticus 27:26). Deuteronomy 15:19 is unequivocal: “All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep.” Based on these criteria, it might be implied that because Abel offered firstlings of his flock, while Cain offered only the fruit of the ground, the latter was rejected. The fat of sacrificial animals is also attested as the highly prized portion of the sacrifice, in Jehovah’s view (1 Samuel 15:22), and this awareness seems to be missing in Cain’s consciousness.
By New Testament times, Abel’s acceptance and Cain’s rejection by the Lord had become illustrations of faith or lack of it. The author of the book of Hebrews wrote, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). Jude 1:11 pronounces strong judgment upon those who “have gone in the way of Cain,” leading others into sin or even murder.
After Cain became angry, the Lord spoke directly and personally to him and asked why he was angry and why his face was fallen or downcast, referring, as we suppose, to either disappointment or offense taken because he was being snubbed by Jehovah (4:6). The text does not make this clear. Cain was told that if he did well (or better) his countenance would be lifted. But if he did not do well, sin was lying, stretching out, or couching (Hebrew, rovēts) at the door. And, in an even more difficult Hebrew passage to make complete sense of, Cain was further told, “To you is its desire, and you will rule over it” (4:7, author’s translation).
Something seems to be missing in this passage, creating a translation problem of some “complexity.” In this pericope, sin is spoken of as desiring to have or possess Cain, to control him. Sin seems to possess complete volition, with feelings of desire and the ability to act. While there is no doubt that sin is a powerful influence among mortals and operates in all our lives, sin is not an independent agent or a sentient entity. As implied by God’s early commands to Adam and Eve, mortals do have agency, the power to choose, and to control sinful impulses (Genesis 2:16; compare Moses 3:17; 7:32). We get some interpretive help with this passage from an Akkadian cognate. The Hebrew word translated as “lieth” (KJV) or “crouching” (NIV) at the door “is the same as an ancient Babylonian [Akkadian] word used to describe a demon lurking behind a door, threatening the people inside.” Thus sin is not the volitional agent, but a demon promoting sin, which, as we will see, comports better with the story as told in the Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:23, where Satan is the controlling agent. Significantly, and of great interest to Latter-day Saints, E. A. Speiser translates Genesis 4:7 as “Surely if you act right, it should mean exaltation. But if you do not, sin is the demon at the door, whose urge is toward you; yet you can be his master.” Therefore, the most important meaning of the passage, as Jehovah tells Cain, is that he can do better and be exalted by God if he chooses to do right ethically (Hebrew, hêtib), implying that he had not done so.
In the Masoretic text, the scene immediately changes. “Cain spoke to Abel his brother and while they were in the field Cain rose up against Abel his brother and he killed him” (4:8). An expanded reading is provided in the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Samaritan Pentateuch version: “And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go out into the plain; and it came to pass that when they were in the plain Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” This addition lends an air of premeditation to Cain’s act of murder, whereas its absence from the Masoretic text leaves open the possibility that Cain’s action was spur of the moment.
After Cain’s deed, the Lord asked him the whereabouts of his brother, Abel. Because the Lord knows all things (Moses 1:6), it seems the question was intended to elicit a confession of guilt. This also was the judgment of the great medieval Jewish biblical exegete Rashi. Cain’s answer is the origin of the world-famous brush-off, “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?” (4:9). Of course, Cain’s response, to answer the Great Jehovah so insolently and at the same time renounce any sense of family connectedness, is not only dishonest but disrespectful.
The Lord responded to Cain with an exclamation of shock, not a question, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (4:10, author’s translation). The word “blood” in the Hebrew is plural, “bloods,” which is sometimes interpreted to mean that Cain also slew Abel’s unborn descendants. The book of Hebrews takes a different approach to the Lord’s words, saying that Abel (not mentioning his blood) continues to speak, though he is dead, through his example of offering his sacrifice in faith. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which [faith] he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4).
As also recorded in the New Testament, Jesus Christ used the image of Abel’s spilled blood to chastise the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, especially their antagonism toward him and their personal private disloyalty to prophetic messages. As he was speaking to these Jewish leaders during the last week of his mortal life, he referred to them repeatedly as hypocrites and then declared they would have a lot to answer for: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar” (Matthew 23:33–35; also Luke 11:50–51). Jesus uses the memory of Abel as a symbol here to summarize something of the history of martyrdom in the Old Testament, Abel being the first whose life was taken in innocence and righteousness.
Abel’s death had actually become a powerful symbol in much earlier Old Testament times as recounted in the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of Genesis 17. In describing the covenant Jehovah made with the patriarch Abraham, the JST adds a fascinating insight about Abel’s memory among those of Abraham’s generation: “And God talked with him, saying, My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers; and they have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them; but have turned from the commandment, and taken unto themselves the washing of children, and the blood of sprinkling; and have said that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins; and have not known wherein they are accountable before me” (JST Genesis 17:4–7). Apparently, those who had not kept God’s laws in Abraham’s day, and labored in ignorance regarding the true nature of Messianic redemption, began to believe that Abel was a messianic figure, whose shed blood was a propitiatory offering for sin. A profound human similitude of the Messiah, Abel, began to be looked upon as though he were the real Savior. Abel’s mistaken identity is a remarkable witness to the power of similitudes to teach as well as to mislead when viewed without the Lord’s Spirit to provide correct interpretation. Furthermore, we see that Cain’s act of shedding his brother’s blood influenced several future dispensations, and Abel’s blood continued to speak from the ground, so to speak, as mentioned in Genesis 4:11.
As the story of Cain continued in Genesis 4, the Lord placed a curse on him for his murderous deed, a curse involving the ground: “And now you are cursed from the earth (min ha–ʾadamah), which has opened her mouth to receive the blood of your brother from your hand. When you till the earth it will not give to you her strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth” (4:11–12). It appears that Cain was cursed by Jehovah in terms of the amount of produce the earth would yield for him specifically. Perhaps it is implied that Cain’s curse associated with the land was greater than the curse over the land previously pronounced upon Adam and Eve, because that curse was for their sakes (Genesis 3:17), whereas there is no hint of Cain’s curse being for his sake. Whenever and wherever Cain tilled the ground it would not yield anything for him. Cain was also condemned to be a fugitive, wandering the earth, the underlying Hebrew terms implying a homeless, wandering soul.
It has been argued that this description was “not a description of nomadism, for the nomad was no fugitive or aimless wanderer. Rather, it describes a completely cultureless existence from which Cain’s descendants began to rise again only some generations later.” One is not quite sure what this means, exactly. Culture may be defined in its simplest aspect as learned behavior. Thus, every person possesses a personal culture. Perhaps it would be more helpful to describe Cain’s life after the curse was pronounced as a rootless existence, socially and materially, out of which he began to rise only sometime later as he married and had children.
In response to the curse, Cain told the Lord that his punishment was greater than he could bear. “Behold, You have driven me out today from upon the face of the earth; and from Your face I will hide myself, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and it will happen that all who find me will kill me” (4:13–14). The Targum renders verse 13 as “mine iniquity is too great to be pardoned.” The niphal form of the Hebrew verb ʾasāthēr (from the root meaning “to hide”) is reflexive, suggesting that Cain hid himself from God’s face precisely because he recognized his culpability in an act of premeditated murder. In other words, Abel’s death was not accidental, but thought out ahead of time. This further fits with the earlier phrase that Cain spoke to Abel, “Let us go out to the field,” omitted in the Masoretic text, but included in the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Samaritan Pentateuch. Cain planned for his brother’s death; therefore, he hid himself from the face of God, implying he cut himself off from God, thus seeking to forfeit divine acknowledgement, interaction, and protection from that time forth. And it is clear that Cain feared death at the hands of some blood avengers on the earth, saying, “Whoever finds me will kill me” (4:14). This statement also presumes that there are already people on the earth even though the Hebrew text implies that Cain was the firstborn of Adam and Eve. This inconsistency is resolved in the Book of Moses version, as we will see below.
In answer to Cain’s complaint, Jehovah declared that for any who killed Cain, vengeance would be taken on him sevenfold. Therefore, “the Lord put on Cain a sign [or mark] lest any finding him would smite him” (4:15). The number seven is highly symbolic, indicating a large number or amount. Thus Cain’s killer would incur God’s wrath and experience a punishment much greater than Cain’s (see Leviticus 26:28; Proverbs 24:16). The sign put on Cain was unspecified. According to rabbinic interpretation, it was a sign of a repentant sinner, but this does not seem likely for reasons explained below. So Cain went forth from the presence (literally “face”) of the Lord in the neighborhood of Eden and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden (4:16). Nod is derived from the same Hebrew root for “wanderer,” means “wandering,” and is undoubtedly symbolic, an etiology playing off of Cain’s declared punishment.
At this juncture in the narrative Cain’s wife is introduced, but she remains nameless in the text. She conceived and bore Enoch. Cain is described as “building a city,” which he called after his son, Enoch (4:17). Perhaps Cain did not complete the city, but he is nonetheless depicted as the first city builder and originator of urban civilization, according to interpreters of the Masoretic text. Cain’s wife would also had to have been a descendant of Adam and Eve, perhaps even a sister of Cain’s, such marriages being common and acceptable in very early biblical times. After the Exodus, however, such practices became expressly forbidden under the Mosaic Code (Leviticus 18:9). One of Cain’s direct descendants, Lamech, introduced polygamy by marrying two women who gave rise, on the one hand, to a generation of those who lived in tents and raised livestock, and, on the other hand, a line of metalworkers—the meaning of the name “Cain” in Hebrew being, as we have said, “smith” or “metalworker”—thus, tying Cain’s descendants back to him (Genesis 4:19–22). With that the Masoretic version of the story of Cain and Abel comes to an end but sets the stage for the rest of Genesis’s focus on the ancestors of the nation of Israel.
In terms of the compositional history of the Cain and Abel story in Genesis 4, premodern Judeo-Christian tradition considered the prophet Moses to be the author of everything in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, Genesis through Deuteronomy, also called the books of Moses, the Torah, or the Pentateuch. However, during the Middle Ages, problems began to be recognized with this strict notion. For example, did Moses write about his own death and burial in Deuteronomy 34:5–12? Then, beginning in about the seventeenth century, new, more thought-critical ways of approaching the biblical text became acceptable. Over time, different theories challenged the traditional view of strict Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch in dramatic ways until a German professor, Julius Wellhausen, was able to summarize the conclusions of his predecessors in what came to be the classic statement of the “Documentary Hypothesis” of Pentateuchal authorship.
Wellhausen argued that the Pentateuch is composed of four independent, relatively intact, sources or compositions or documents, whatever one chooses to call them, that were woven together by ancient editors or redactors. The original basis for recognizing or separating out these different sources was the different names used for God in each source. Thus, biblical exegetes ascribed Genesis 4 to a strand of authorship labeled J, because of the consistent use of the term Lord or Jehovah (Yahweh) throughout that portion of Genesis. The Documentary Hypothesis was refined and today holds that the four originally independent compositions are labeled J, E, D, and P. The first or earliest of these documents was the Yahwist or Jahwist (J) source, followed by the Elohist (E) because that name of Deity (Elohim) is used, then the Deuteronomist (D) source used almost entirely in the Book of Deuteronomy, and the Priestly (P) composition, which emphasizes religious observance and rituals. The J source has been dated to the mid-tenth century BC, which means, according to the Documentary Hypothesis or model, that Genesis 4 cannot be dated any earlier than that.
Challenges to the Documentary Hypothesis arose almost from its inception for a variety of reasons. One is the perceived attack that the documentary model levels against the divine authority and composition of scripture. Another is the way scholars have further divided the sources into “a bewildering variety” of more sources. Yet another type of challenge is the dating of the sources, and on and on. Such debates make us all the more grateful for living prophets and divine revelation in modern times.
Joseph Smith Translation
The Book of Moses is part of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. It comprises an introduction to Genesis under the heading of Moses 1, followed by a revision of the first six chapters of Genesis, under the headings Moses 2–8. The Book of Moses was put with other selected documents by Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to produce the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price in 1851. The narrative in which the Cain and Abel story sits (Moses 5) was completed, except for later editorial details, by the Prophet Joseph Smith between June and October, 1830. In June 1830, Oliver Cowdery became Joseph Smith’s scribe for a second time, writing dictation for what would become known as Moses 1:1 to Moses 5:43. Then a new scribe was called—John Whitmer. Between October 21 and November 30, 1830, Joseph Smith dictated from Moses 5:43 through Moses 6:18. In a revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in December 1830, the Lord said of the Prophet’s efforts to produce the new inspired version or revision of the Bible, “the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine elect” (Doctrine and Covenants 35:20). This endorsement is significant as we consider the placement of the Cain and Abel narrative in the Prophet’s inspired revision of the Bible: the Lord wanted it in the scriptures for our benefit—to learn the lessons to be gleaned from orthodox doctrine. It also invites us to consider its authenticity—the narrative constitutes part of the scriptures “as they are in [the Lord’s] own bosom.”
Of course, the Joseph Smith Translation did not have just one purpose, but attempted to do several things. Perhaps three of the most important, emphasized generally by the Prophet Joseph himself, include (1) correcting false doctrine and inaccurate information, (2) restoring original texts that had been lost or taken from the earliest editions of the Bible, and (3) revealing texts or concepts that never made it into the Bible, perhaps even oral traditions that may have circulated for a time, but which the Lord wanted his sons and daughters to have in written form for the benefit of their salvation. The Cain and Abel narrative presented in Moses 5:16–42 probably contains all three of these types of additions and corrections. Indeed, the much more detailed story of Cain and Abel in Moses 5, compared with the one found in the Masoretic text or King James Version, argues for a richer, more expansive, original narrative of the episode.
As we have seen, our current Hebrew version raises questions because of the probable omissions and corruptions it contains. Moses 5:16–42 answers these questions because it is a superior reading, constituting material coming directly from a prophet. Something Joseph Smith said seems to fit here: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” Earlier translators such as Latin Church Father and producer of the Vulgate, St. Jerome recognized the inherent problems with their current editions of the Bible. In AD 382 he became secretary to Pope Damasus and formulated a plan to produce a more trustworthy version of the Bible, correcting problems in the existing Old Latin manuscripts of the Bible. In 383 he sent a letter to the pope: “For if we are to pin our faith to the Latin texts, it is for our opponents to tell us which; for there are almost as many forms of texts as there are copies. If, on the other hand, we are to glean the truth from a comparison of many, why not go back . . . and correct the mistakes introduced by inaccurate translators, and the blundering alterations of confident but ignorant critics, and further all that has been inserted or changed by copyists more asleep than awake?” The JST would change and rectify this condition.
By comparing the King James Version (KJV) with the JST, we can gain tremendous illumination that helps clarify obscure passages in the King James narrative and teaches significant theological and doctrinal lessons for the benefit of our salvation—as the Lord intended. At the beginning of Moses 5, readers immediately notice that, unlike the KJV, the JST provides a detailed context for the Cain and Abel story. Adam and Eve labored together, tilling the earth and caring for the beasts of the field. Cain and Abel had a model before them. Eve gave birth to sons and daughters and began to replenish or “fill” (Hebrew, maleʾ) the earth. The Hebrew used in KJV (Genesis 1:28) supports the substantially enhanced version of the story in the JST. These “sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, to till the land and tend flocks, and beget sons and daughters” (Moses 5:3). Thus, we see that Cain was not the first child nor the first son born to Adam and Eve. There were others populating the earth and establishing families before Cain and Abel appeared on the scene. Marriage between Adam’s and Eve’s descendants was approved by God.
We also learn that the practice of offering animal sacrifices to the Lord was first revealed to Adam and Eve before Cain and Abel participated in this important ordinance (Moses 5:5–9). The brothers were not the first to make offerings, as the Masoretic text implies. Again, they had a template to follow—the commandment that was obeyed by our first parents to “offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord” (5:5). The Book of Moses makes clear that Adam and Eve “made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (5:12). All the children of Adam and Eve were raised in an environment of righteousness. They were oriented by their parents toward the Lord but given agency to choose what they would do.
With that as backdrop to subsequent events, Satan came among them trying to persuade them to renounce their faith, “and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish” (5:13; emphasis added). This background is significant because it helps us to understand the environment in which Adam’s and Eve’s children made their decision to follow the Lord or Satan, and the influences that affected their interactions with each other, including Cain and Abel. It is this kind of contextual information that answers questions raised in the Masoretic text, fills in gaps, and revises the details of the biblical record.
The phrase used to describe those who love and follow Satan—“carnal, sensual, and devilish”—is an extraordinarily descriptive one that is not found in the Masoretic text. It summarizes the essence of a person under Satan’s influence, not inclined to follow the Spirit of God but the spirit of worldliness, not inclined to seek the will of God but the instincts of self. This pattern developed in Moses 5. Such a person, said President Spencer W. Kimball, lives without divine refinement, but “is the ‘earthly man’ who has allowed rude animal passions to overshadow his spiritual inclinations.” This became the natural state of many of Adam’s and Eve’s posterity after Satan came among them early on, according to the modern revealed text of the JST. This brings us to the actual story, comparing the verses of the KJV and JST in parallel columns, which immediately highlights the amount of additional material revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith as well as its theological profundity.
1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
16 And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God. And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said: I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words. But behold, Cain hearkened not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him?
|2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.||17 And she again conceived and bare his brother Abel. And Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.|
|3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.|
18 And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord.
19 And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
|4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:||20 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering;|
|5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.||21 But unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.|
|6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?||22 And the Lord said unto Cain: Why art thou wroth? Why is thy countenance fallen?|
|7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.|
23 If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him;
24 For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world.
25 And it shall be said in time to come—That these abominations were had from Cain; for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.
26 And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord.
27 And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren.
28 And it came to pass that Cain took one of his brothers’ daughters to wife, and they loved Satan more than God.
29 And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.
30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret.
31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
|8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.|
32 And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him.
33 And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands.
|9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?||34 And the Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel, thy brother? And he said: I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?|
|10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.||35 And the Lord said: What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground|
|11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;||36 And now thou shalt be cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.|
|12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.||37 When thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.|
|13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.||38 And Cain said unto the Lord: Satan tempted me because of my brother’s flocks. And I was wroth also; for his offering thou didst accept and not mine; my punishment is greater than I can bear.|
|14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.||39 Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the Lord, and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that he that findeth me will slay me, because of mine iniquities, for these things are not hid from the Lord.|
|15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.||40 And I the Lord said unto him: Whosoever slayeth thee, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And I the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.|
|16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.||41 And Cain was shut out from the presence of the Lord, and with his wife and many of his brethren dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.|
|17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. . . .||42 And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bare Enoch, and he also begat many sons and daughters. And he builded a city, and he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. . . .|
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
47 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah: Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech; for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
48 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech shall be seventy and seven fold;
49 For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam;
50 Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oath’s sake.
51 For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.
52 Wherefore the Lord cursed Lamech, and his house, and all them that had covenanted with Satan; for they kept not the commandments of God, and it displeased God, and he ministered not unto them, and their works were abominations, and began to spread among all the sons of men. And it was among the sons of men.
53 And among the daughters of men these things were not spoken, because that Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion;
54 Wherefore Lamech was despised, and cast out, and came not among the sons of men, lest he should die.
55 And thus the works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men.
The story of Cain’s birth in the JST is different from the KJV from the start. In a phrase not attested in the Hebrew Bible, we learn that Adam and Eve had “ceased not to call upon God” before Cain’s conception. This was undoubtedly because of Satan’s influence among their other children, as Moses 5:13 indicates. For after Cain’s birth and Eve’s expression of joy over a new son from God, she pronounces a kind of hopeful maternal blessing upon Cain, “wherefore he may not reject his words” (5:16). However, Cain’s rebellious nature was soon frightfully manifest in direct opposition to his mother’s hope and blessing, as the wording makes clear: “But behold, Cain hearkened not [to his mother], saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him?” (5:16). This statement, not found in the KJV, greatly enhances our understanding of Cain’s orientation. It would be roughly repeated centuries later during the Exodus by Pharoah, a man who possessed the same kind of arrogance as Cain (Exodus 5:2). Fortunately, Eve bore another son, Abel, who “hearkened unto the voice of the Lord” (Moses 5:17). This phrase, again absent in the Bible, sets forth another fundamental difference between the brothers, in addition to their vocations. Their vocations influence their spiritual orientations. “As a keeper of sheep, Abel seems to see the earth as a source for his animals, a source that can be influenced by God for good or ill. Cain, however, believes that he owns the land and that God, though the creator of the land, has nothing more to do with it.”
The KJV describes how, in the course of time, Cain brought an offering to Jehovah of the produce of the earth. Arrestingly, Moses 5 prefaces its similar report of this offering by describing Cain’s real reason for making his offering in the first place, and the true object of his loyalty—Satan. Cain offered his sacrifice because Satan commanded him to do so, thereby entering into an implied covenant with the adversary and not the Lord. In this odd twist in the story, we are presented with Cain’s motivation for all he will do—to please Satan (5:18–19). The narrative that follows in both the KJV and the JST, a description of Abel’s offering of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof, declares that the Lord looked favorably upon Abel’s offering (Genesis 4:4; Moses 5:20). But the text describing the Lord’s rejection of Cain’s offering shows a significant variant, noting that Satan knew of the Lord’s rejection of Cain’s offering and that it pleased him! Satan could then exploit the wedge developing between Cain and the Lord.
In the ensuing dialogue, the Lord reminded Cain that he could be accepted if he did well, as both the KJV and the JST report. But at this point, the text of the KJV becomes confusing. If Cain does not do well, sin lies at the door, “And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Whose desire is being spoken of here, sin’s desire? And was Cain being told that if he did not do well, he would rule over sin? Only the JST provides the clarification that makes theological sense out of the whole story. The antagonist is clearly Satan; he desires to have Cain as a follower, it will be to Cain according to Satan’s desire, and ironically Cain will come to rule over Satan, demonstrating that a person possessing a physical body holds power over one who does not possess a body (5:23).
Everything from Moses 5:24 through 5:31 is narrative material revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, not found in the Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, or Samaritan Pentateuch. The theological treasures contained therein include Cain’s designation by the Lord from that time forth as the father of Satan’s lies, as Perdition (from the Latin perditus, meaning “lost” or “destruction”), and as the inaugurator of the “abominations” (Moses 5:24–25). Cain’s designation as Perdition followed Lucifer’s path (Doctrine and Covenants 76:26). Just as Lucifer had basked in the heights of the divine presence as an angel in authority (Doctrine and Covenants 76:25) and had subsequently descended to the depths and lost all, so had Cain.
From this point on, Cain’s anger moved him to cease listening anymore to the voice of the Lord, which caused his parents to mourn—an authentic, realistic, and empathy-evoking comment. Unlike the Masoretic biblical text, the JST provides background information for Cain’s marriage to his niece as well as her own mindset—she also loved Satan more than God (5:28).
Moses 5:29–31 describe the origins of secret combinations, which were created and administered by Satan. They were established through oath taking to “murder and get gain” (Moses 5:31). Though Satan initiated the first of these agreements by having his partner Cain swear by his life (represented by the throat, a vulnerable part of the body to the ancients), and ensured Cain’s secrecy by threatening death if he did not keep the great secrets, Cain quickly took control of these secret conspiracies and exulted in his newfound leadership: “Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness” (Moses 5:31). At that moment the Lord’s warning was fulfilled that if Cain did not do well Satan would have control and that Cain would end up ruling over Satan! (5:23). The meaning of Cain’s new title, Master Mahan, is unknown. Presumably, the language being spoken at that time was the Adamic language, which “was pure and undefiled” (Moses 6:6, 46). Hugh Nibley proposed that Mahan might have meant “great” and that Master may have meant “keeper (of secrets),” and thus Master Mahan meant “great secret keeper.” But the etymology remains uncertain.
At that point it was also a foregone conclusion that when Cain went into the field with Abel, the latter would be murdered. Satan had pledged to Cain to deliver his brother, Abel, into his hands in exchange for Cain’s sworn loyalty as well as those who followed him, including his wife who, remember, loved Satan more than God (5:28). Immediately afterward, “Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands” (5:33). How wrong Cain was; Free he was not, on a number of levels. Certainly, his bondage to Satan was now unbreakably cemented and his eternal destiny irrevocably determined by his actions of embracing Satan, ignoring the Lord, and murdering to get gain. Cain’s entire experience was filled with irony. In addition to never being free, though he declared himself to be, Cain became controlled by commandments—he bridled against the Lord’s but kept Satan’s (5:18). Cain was required by Satan to swear unto him (Satan) that he would keep the great secret, but, in an odd twist, was commanded by Satan to swear by the living God (5:29). “Irony brims in these words, for ‘the living God’ is invoked as a witness of these deadly, satanic pledges. It seems plain that Satan’s oaths gain credibility not through his name but only through the divine name and, possibly, by mimicking genuinely sacred covenants made in God’s name.”
All these issues highlight the contrast between the KJV and the JST. They illustrate the challenges of interpretation that arise when working with a text that has suffered losses and deletions over time, such as the KJV. Because they have been working with a deficient biblical text, some exegetes have promoted skewed interpretations, asserting, for example, that Cain was not a “wholly bad” man or that “there is no indication that Cain intended to commit murder” or that he was “a repentant sinner.” The JST adds much to our understanding, and, in this context, it would be hard to overstate the corrective value of the Book of Moses.
Many verses in the KJV and JST that describe events after Abel’s murder, especially the verbal exchange between Cain and the Lord, closely parallel each other. Moses 5:38 reports a portion of Cain’s response not found in the biblical record: “Satan tempted me because of my brother’s flocks.” This demonstrates again the fundamental principle of Satan’s secret combinations—murder to get gain. The KJV implies that Cain went out from the Lord’s presence of his own volition and dwelt in the land of Nod, whereas the JST states he was “shut out from the presence of the Lord, and with his wife and many of his brethren dwelt in the land of Nod” (compare Genesis 4:16 and Moses 5:41). Moses 5:42 discloses that before Cain built the city that he named after his son, Enoch, he fathered “many [other] sons and daughters,” which is a detail the biblical record does not contain.
Finally, both the biblical record and the JST describe how the lives of one of Cain’s descendants, Lamech, and Cain himself each parallel the other. Lamech killed a man, and “if Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold” (Genesis 4:24). However, it is the JST again that fills in a huge gap left in the KJV by linking Lamech with the same Satanic covenant entered into by Cain. “For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam” (Moses 5:49). It was after Lamech entered into this covenant that he murdered a man, but not to get gain like Cain. Rather, he committed the atrocity solely “for the oath’s sake” (5:50), having sworn to Satan by his own life to maintain secrecy because, like Cain, he loved Satan more than he loved God. Secrecy was such a powerful cornerstone of the Satanic covenant that it would remain so throughout the earth’s temporal history.
Reflections on the Cain and Abel Story
The story of Cain and Abel is an invaluable part of the “primeval history” presented in Genesis. Cain and Abel represent an eternal archetype, going all the way back to our premortal existence when two spirit brothers also clashed with each other (Moses 4:1–4; Abraham 3:27–28; Doctrine and Covenants 76:26–29). They were born into the same environment, but one remained righteous, while the other rebelled and turned thoroughly wicked. Both had agency and both made their own choices. One was accepted of God; the other was not. One remained in God’s presence; the other was driven out. The wicked brother was lost, and heaven wept over him. The righteous brother became the Messiah, and heaven rejoiced over him (Doctrine and Covenants 76:26–29). In truth, Cain and Abel represent in several ways the story of Jesus Christ and Lucifer. Cain was wicked just as Lucifer was wicked. Cain chose Satan over the Lord and was irretrievably lost. Cain was cast out of his father’s presence just as Lucifer was cast out of his Father’s presence for rebellion. Abel carried out his father’s will just as Jesus Christ carried out his Father’s will. The parallels are powerful didactic models.
The story of Cain and Abel we have examined is told in two textual traditions, the second based on the first, but diverging from it in the main with the appearance and extensive involvement of Satan and his efforts to take Adam’s and Eve’s posterity away from God. “The entire story exhibits dissimilarities with Genesis because of Satan’s interfering allure, particularly on Cain, whom he will come to serve (see Moses 5:23, 30).” This element of Satan becoming the second major moving force in human history, God being the first, is largely absent in the KJV account of Cain and Abel. An examination of some of the early Church fathers of Christianity (down to AD 325) indicates that they may have possessed a version of the story closer to the JST than the KJV or may have had more interpretive material to draw from. For example, Theophilus writes a letter to one Autolycus, saying, “Satan, . . . being carried away with spite, . . . wrought upon the heart of [Abel’s] brother Cain, and caused him to kill his brother Abel.” In addition, it seems that the Church fathers usually followed the Septuagint reading, which in some cases added text, as in the case of the First Epistle of Clement adding to Genesis 4:8, “Let us go into the field,” which does not appear in the Hebrew.
Perhaps the greatest theological contribution of the Book of Moses version of the story to our understanding of the Father’s plan of salvation is its discussion of the origin and perpetuation of secret combinations—Satan’s major work. A secret combination (Moses 5:51) is one bound together by oaths made with Satan, who first commanded Cain to make an oath of secrecy to murder to get gain. Lamech made such an oath, and others besides him and Cain were part of this secret work of evil (Moses 5:52). However, “among the daughters of men these things were not spoken,” because after Lamech “had spoken the secret unto his wives, . . . they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion” (Moses 5:53).
The Book of Mormon is another witness to the accuracy of the JST record regarding the origin and perpetuation of secret combinations:
Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit—
Yea, that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should not be known unto the world. And he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth. . . .
And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men. (Helaman 6:26–27, 30)
Third Nephi and the book of Ether are other witnesses to the origins of the covenant “which was given by them of old, which covenant was given and administered by the devil, to combine against all righteousness” (3 Nephi 6:28; Ether 8:15). Many scriptural witnesses attest to the authenticity, accuracy, and superiority of the Book of Moses as a textual witness to the veracity of the Cain and Abel story.
Value in the Cain and Abel story is also found in its presentation of the origins of the decline of moral resolve among the human family. Cain’s killing Abel was an example of that declining moral resolve that should not have accompanied the offering of sacrifice. Just the opposite should have prevailed. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland notes, “The moral resolve that should have accompanied [sacrifice] didn’t last long enough for the blood to dry upon the stones. In any case, it didn’t last long enough to preclude fratricide, with Cain killing his brother Abel in the first generation.” It strikes me that the Cain and Abel story tells us why we’re in the situation we’re experiencing today and points to the future. “Once the shedding of human blood has begun, . . . humanity’s condition deteriorates rapidly, . . . establishing a culture of violence that leads to humanity’s destruction.”
In one sense, the story of Cain and Abel revolved around the offering of animal sacrifice, which foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is at the heart of Cain’s animosity. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this with clarity:
By faith in this atonement or plan of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith; he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man, for this was the plan of redemption, and without the shedding of blood was no remission. And as the sacrifice was instituted for a type by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared, to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts.
The story of Cain and Abel may serve as a template as well as something of a little salve to comfort parents who torture themselves with questions about what more they could have done for wayward children. Sometimes no matter what righteous parents do, they cannot change the course of children who exercise their agency in heartbreaking ways. Cain caused great anguish to Adam and Eve, as any like-minded son would do to faithful parents. Cain spoke directly with God yet was guilty of premeditated murder, was in league with Satan, suffered spiritual death, and was a son of perdition. He held the patriarchal priesthood. He was not ignorant. It is impossible to imagine a more horrific situation, except for the one Satan himself lives in.
What must Adam and Eve have felt, knowing with certainty their son was lost? Yet, our first parents provide for us an example in working through their sorrow, as “Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord” (Moses 5:27), but “ceased not to call upon God” (5:16). Adam is the great patriarch and head of all dispensations; Eve the great mother of all living and the nurturer of her faithful daughters (Doctrine and Covenants 138:38–39). From them we take strength.
Additionally, Abel provides a thought-provoking model of the way mortality sometimes treats the righteous—the very most righteous. Though he “walked in holiness before the Lord” (Moses 5:26), he had to face the brutality of his brother, becoming “the first martyr” in the world of spirits but possessing the reward of the righteous (Doctrine and Covenants 138:40).
 Michael D. Coogan, The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 31; Stephen L. Harris and Robert L. Platzner, The Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2003), 106.
 Genesis chapters 1–11 “freely borrow and adopt” preexisting “parallel materials from the ancient Near East.” Coogan, Old Testament, 31.
 Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 80; Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine, The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011), 128, refer to the Cain and Abel story as “part of the mythic prehistory of Genesis 1–11.”
 Coogan, Old Testament, 31.
 Walter C. Kaiser, The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 59–60. Samuel Noah Kramer, Sumerian Myths, rev. ed. (New York City: Harper Torchbooks, 1961), 101–3.
 Kaiser, Old Testament Documents, 60.
 Nahum M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (New York: Schocken Books, 1966), 29.
 Sarna, Understanding Genesis, 28.
 George Arthur Buttrick, commentary editor, The Interpreter’s Bible, 12 vols. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1978), 1:518; Richard S. Hess, “Cain,” Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman, 6 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 1:807.
 Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 883–84.
 Richard S. Hess, “Cain,” 1:806; Coogan, Old Testament, 32.
 Brown et al., Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 888.
 The NIV translation attempts to acknowledge more directly God’s role as the one responsible for giving all life and breath, as mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:25.
 Brown et. al., Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 211.
 J. H. Hertz, ed. The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Hebrew Text, English Translation and Commentary, 2nd ed. (London: Soncino Press, 1967), 14.
 Brown et al., Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 211.
 Literally, “small cattle.”
 Coogan, Old Testament, 32.
 See E. A. Speiser, The Anchor Bible: Genesis—Introduction, Translation, and Notes (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964), 33.
 Speiser, Anchor Bible: Genesis—Introduction, Translation, and Notes, 32.
 Study note to Genesis 4:7 of the New International Version Archaeological Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 9. The Old Babylonian or Akkadian word is rabitsum. Speiser, Anchor Bible: Genesis—Introduction, Translation, and Notes, 33.
 Speiser, Anchor Bible: Genesis—Introduction, Translation, and Notes, 29.
 Brown et al. Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 406.
 Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton, ed., The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, reprint (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995), 5.
 J. H. Hertz, ed. The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Hebrew Text, English Translation and Commentary (London: Oxford University Press, 1951), 14.
 Hertz, ed. Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 14.
 For further discussion, see Andrew C. Skinner, Prophets, Priests, and Kings: Old Testament Figures Who Symbolize Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 15–20.
 Brown et al., Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 627.
 Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, 1:520.
 Translation in Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 15.
 Brown et al., Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 711.
 Translation in Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 15.
 David Noel Freedman, ed., Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2000), 971, s.v. “Nod.”
 Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, 1:521; Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 15.
 Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 15. Moses 5:3 makes it quite clear that the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve paired off and “begat sons and daughters” of their own.
 Harris and Platzner, Old Testament, 113.
 See the excellent summaries in Coogan, Old Testament, 21–27; and Harris and Platzner, Old Testament, 90.
 Richard D. Draper, S. Kent Brown, Michael D. Rhodes, The Pearl of Great Price, A Verse-by-Verse Commentary (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 413–14.
 Coogan, Old Testament, 28.
 For a fuller explanation, see “Introductory Note” of the Pearl of Great Price of the Church’s standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price).
 Draper et al., Pearl of Great Price, 13.
 Earlier in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord had defined his “elect” as those who “hear my voice and harden not their hearts” (29:7).
 Robert J. Matthews, A Plainer Translation: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, a History and Commentary (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1985), 12.
 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007), 207.
 James Stevenson, ed., Creeds, Councils, and Controversies: Documents Illustrating the History of the Church, A.D. 337–461 (London: SPCK, 1989), 183.
 Marriage between Adam’s and Eve’s children should not offend modern sensibilities, though such a practice today is forbidden. As Joseph Smith once taught in a letter to Nancy Rigdon, “That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another. . . . This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till [sic] long after the events transpire.” See “Discourse, [January 5, 1841] A,” page 1, The Joseph Smith Papers.
 Spencer W. Kimball, “Ocean Currents and Family Influences,” Ensign, November 1974, 112.
 Draper et al., Pearl of Great Price, 65.
 Draper et al., Pearl of Great Price, 65–66.
 “Discourse [January 5, 1841] A,” The Joseph Smith Papers.
 Hugh Nibley, “Lecture 19, Adam and Eve,” Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1986), 12.
 Draper et al., Pearl of Great Price, 68.
 E. A. Speiser’s work can be used as an example of such omissions and deletions when he asserts, “The original text [of Genesi 4:8] must have contained Cain’s original statement, but text was accidentally omitted in MT [Masoretic text]. The Anchor Bible: Genesis—Introduction, Translation, and Notes, 30; or when the commentary to Genesis 4:1–17 in the Interpreter’s Bible repeatedly makes such references as the material of Genesis 4:1–26 being “not in its original order,” or “The text is corrupt,” or “the verse is truncated,” and so forth. Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, 1:516, 518, 519.
 Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 15; John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, rev. ed. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925), 108; Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, 1:516.
 Skinner, Prophets, Priests, and Kings, 15–20.
 Draper, et al., Pearl of Great Price, 70.
 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, vol. 2: The Fathers of the Second Century (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, repr., 1986), 2:105.
 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, vol. 1, 1:6.
 Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold the Lamb of God,” Ensign, May 2019, 45.
 Harris and Platzner, Old Testament, 112.
 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 48.