Understanding Sin and Evil #2: Cain and Abel – An Oracle of Sin

In this podcast, I will discuss the meaning of the Cain and Abel story in Genesis 4, both in terms of its plain meaning and in later (Rabbinic) interpretation.

  • Why is Cain upset?
  • What is the meaning of God’s statement to him that “sin couches at the door”?
  • What does Cain say to Abel before he kills him?

Note: In this podcast, I focused on sin, and so I did not spend much time on the meaning of “do good” or “do well” (תיטיב) in the oracular statement to Cain. The word תיטיב really means to “do well” with someone or to act appropriately. What does it mean to act well or appropriately? Hard to know, but we can be pretty sure that it doesn’t include murdering your brother.

In our next episode, we will discuss the early interpretations of the Adam and Eve story (and to a lesser extent, of the Cain and Abel story) during the Second Temple period and immediately after the Second Temple’s destruction.

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