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Author: Hee-Sook Bae

The reason underlying God’s divergent actions towards the offerings of Cain and Abel has been highly disputed. It has been often assumed that the reason mainly lies in the two offerers’ differing dispositions and attitudes or in the quality and character of their offerings. However, the close relationship between YHWH and Cain and the differences between the text’s descriptions of Cain and of Abel provide a more concrete rationale for God’s action: Through the seemingly unjust rejection of Cain’s offering, YHWH calls on him to recognize his relationship and responsibility for his inferior brother. That the relation to others is inseparable from the relation to God becomes evident once more in the punishment.

In: Vetus Testamentum