Jealousy in Cain & Abel

Topics: Cain and Abel, Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve Pages: 2 (661 words) Published: October 9, 2013
T/RS 121
September 2013

Within the grandiose land of Eden, Adam and Eve have just begun their lives together as the first couple of the world. All is well within God’s new divine creation. Eve has just given birth to baby boy whom she named Cain. Soon after, she has a second son, Abel. Even so, there is imminent trouble lingering for the boys. Cain grows up to be farmer, while Abel becomes a shepherd. Both of the sons frequently hand up offerings to their lord; Cain giving crops and Abel giving livestock. God however favors Abel’s offerings over Cain’s offerings. “So Cain was very angry and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:5) God observes Cain’s envy and forewarns him to not act upon the emotions he is feeling; Cain inconsiderately ignores him.

Cain discerningly invites Abel to go for a walk to the field with him. Abel is oblivious to what horrors are about to transpire. Out of his unwavering jealousy and angst, Cain murders his brother. Suddenly the Lord begins to speak to him, announcing that Cain is now cursed; his crops will no longer grow and is now a recluse. Cain expresses that he cannot bear the punishment and that he would rather be killed in return. God backfires saying that he must endure this guilt for the rest of his life. Cain becomes a wanderer, and winds up “East of Eden”. (Genesis 4:16)

Rein Nauta’s Cain and Abel: Violence, Shame and Jealousy clarifies the reasoning behind Cain’s betrayal. He explains in depth the origin of Cain’s envy. “The story of Cain and Abel demonstrates that there are no innocents. Every Abel needs his Cain in the struggle for recognition and admiration if he is to take pride in himself. Likewise, every Cain is aroused to anger by envy of the silent pageantry of the sanctimonious, self-effacing brother called Abel.” (Nauta, 2009, p. 68) Nauta’s excerpt deciphers the biblical story by indicating that Abel used Cain. Cain’s inferiority to him made Abel feel much more grand. Nauta explains why Cain feels...


Cited: Nauta, R. (2009). Cain and Abel: Violence, Shame and Jealousy. Pastoral Psychology, 58(1), 65-71. doi:10.1007/s11089-008-0146-x
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