Sibling rivalry is a predominant theme throughout all of Genesis. Of course every family is different; some siblings may have an amazing relationship, while others despise each other. There is always more to any story; the underlaying causes of sibling rivalry. Why does this happen? Can this rivalry be prevented? In this paper I am going to examine a few stories, some worse than others, and try and go behind the scenes.
If the story of Cain and Abel took place today, it may be referred to as ‘The Crime of the Century.’ They were the first siblings on this earth, and their story may possibly be the most tragic case of sibling rivalry of them all. Their parents were the first humans, they had to learn almost everything on their own. The only one guiding them was G-d, and that was all they knew. When they had their children they were absent from their lives much more than they should have been. They were still exploring life and all the earth had to offer. Two offerings were made by the children, G-d only accepted one. According to Elie Wiesel, Cain was the first one to think of doing something nice for G-d by bringing him a gift, and Abel followed his brother. When Cain’s offererings were rejected, he became so upset, he went and murdered his brother. This story is filled with questions; the slaughter happened so quickly and only basic background information was provided.
Abel (a keeper of the sheep), offered G-d an animal sacrifice, while Cain (a tiller of the soil) offered fruit. Why did G-d only accept Abel’s offering and was He in any way responsible for the crime? Wiesel wonders if G-d thought that Abel’s offerings were better than that of his brothers. But almost turns down that idea because he believes the value of a gift does not really matter to G-d. Nahum N. Sarna has a slightly different outlook regarding if G-d did in fact accept what Abel brought him. It seemed like Able took the time to chose the best of his flock, while Cain just simply offered him fruit.
“By contrasting the details the Bible is saying that Abel demonstrated a quality of the heart and mind that Cain did not have” (Sarna, 29).
Before the offerings were made Cain and Abel were on the same playing ground. Like his brother, Cain just wanted to make G-d happy. Instead he receives a rejection from G-d, a rejection that G-d probably could have gone about differently. Rather than G-d comforting him, He ridiculed Cain in a sense. G-d only made him more upset and lost, he did not know how to deal with those feelings. Therefore, he went to the most extreme measure and killed his brother. G-d knows exactly what happened and he asks Cain, maybe as a test, where his brother is. He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (4.9) Clearly Cain did not understand who G-d really is and what He is capable of, because if he did he would not have lied.
“The Bible wishes to establish emphatically the moral principle that man is indeed his
brother’s keeper and that all homicide is at the same time fratricide” (Sarna, 31).
Cain and Abel are brothers, they should have been always looking out for each other. Once Cain realized that G-d does know all, he immediately lost his arrogance. He accepts his fate and is cursed to wander.
Any normal person who knows the story of Cain and Able wonders about what Adam and Eve were doing, or rather, not doing. They deserve a little slack because they were the first people on this universe, and pretty much had no idea what they were doing. Both parents were absent from their children’s lives more than they should have been. They were aware that Cain was the problem child, and they should have watched him more closely. Perhaps, even take some time to explain to them what a family is all about; loyalty, love, togetherness...etc. The theories on why they may had been fighting could have easily been resolved with some education from their parents. They may have been...
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