Old Testament

The Pentateuch

Why did God reject Cain’s offering?

The Bible does not say specifically why God rejected Cain’s offering. “And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.’” (NRSV, Genesis 4: 4–7) Some readers of the Bible take this to mean that the actual offering Cain gave was not the issue. God was not making a preference of shepherds over farmers. Perhaps Cain’s motivation for offering the sacrifice or his attitude in general did not please God.


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