Cain The Wanderer
A wanderer has no home; a fugitive is running from home; a stranger is away from home; but a pilgrim is heading home. Cain made the wrong choice, and instead of being a pilgrim in life, he became a stranger and a fugitive, wandering the land.
Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.”
New Living Translation (NLT)
Cain had defiled the ground with his brother’s blood, and now the ground wouldn’t work for him. The curse pronounced on the murderer, involved banishment from food-producing soil to the unproductive desert. The ground, God said, would be hostile to the murderer, so that he could not derive sustenance from tilling the soil. In his search for subsistence, he would become a Bedouin of the wastelands, wandering about in weariness and despair. Insecurity, restlessness, hard struggle, guilt, and fears, were to be his constant “companions.”
Cain: My punishment is more than I can bear! Today You have banned me from the soil and hidden me from Your presence! I will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me will want to kill me!
The Voice (VOICE)
God has never been unjust in His judgment. This might have been greater than Cain thought he could bear, but it was not unjust.
Cain never repented of his sins; his words reveal only remorse and regret. He didn’t say, “My guilt is more than I can bear.” He was concerned only with his punishment, not with his character. If he wandered from place to place, he would be in danger; but if he stayed in one place, he would starve. The earth had turned against him, God had turned against him, and people would turn against him. The only people alive on the earth were Cain’s close relatives, yet he was certain that they would seek to kill him for what he had done. The first family on earth had major problems. I wonder how Adam and Eve felt about Cain.
What could he do?
The Lord didn’t tell Cain that he would be hid from His presence. Cain inserted this. God didn’t turn away from Cain, but Cain left the presence of the Lord.
By hating and murdering his brother and refusing to repent, Cain created for himself an intolerable life. He opened the door to temptation and closed the door on his family, God, and his future. No matter where he lived or what he did, Cain would always be a restless man for whom there was no remedy.
The Lord replied, “No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him.
New Living Translation (NLT)
God did a strange thing: He put a mark on Cain that would protect him from the assaults of people who wanted to kill him. We don’t know what this mark was or why people would recognize it as God’s protective seal; but it worked. This was purely an act of mercy on God’s part.
Why would God allow a diabolical murderer like Cain to go free?
In His mercy, God doesn’t give us what we do deserve; and in His grace, He gives us what we don’t deserve. That’s the nature of God. God spared Cain’s life, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Eventually Cain died and “after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). The entire civilization that he built was destroyed in the Flood, and the record of his life is left in Holy Scripture as a warning to anybody who pretends to worship, plays with sin, and doesn’t take temptation seriously. “The way of Cain” (Jude 11) is not the narrow way that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14).