I recently saw and read something on FaceBook with the same vague reasons for Abel’s sacrifice being acceptable and Cain’s rejection by God. Also, no real reason why Cain becomes jealous and kills his brother. Finally no explanation as to who and where Cain gets a wife when he runs off and starts a tribe of his own. Since we have indeterminate, unclear, hazy reasons based on what the author of Genesis presents we need to examine the details more closely. 

Most theologians would present that Abel was a keeper of folk of sheep, while Cain was a farmer. They both sacrifice the first fruits of what they had. At this point, we have no information that Adam sacrificed anything we can suggest that Adam was also a farmer since God’s curse involved the land. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life.” This brings us to the question of what made Abel a shepherd and why he choose to sacrifice the fat portion of his firstborn? Another question comes to mind how many sheep did Abel have. As you can see these are only a few questions that theologians seldom answer. 

Let’s examine Genesis 4: “In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” Notice the fat portion of some of the firstborn of the flock is what Abel sacrificed. In order to get the fat portion you first must kill the animal then separate the fat from the meat of the muscle. 

The question here is did Abel eat or cast away the fat. While Cain brought the fruits of the soil. Cain sacrifices that which was edible to God. Theologians often make their readers believe that Abel sacrificed a lamb to God, but here we read the fat portion. The suggestion here is that the meat was not sacrificed therefore the better portion was not sacrificed to God. Yet God accepts Abel’s offering. 

God provides a clue why it was not acceptable: Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 6-7 NIV) What sin is crouching at Cain’s door? God asks Cain why are you angry? God rejected Cain’s offering not because there were few fruits or bad fruits since Abel’s sacrifice was not the meat but the fat. It was rejected because he was angry. Why was Cain angry? This is the question that theologians fail to answer and is at the heart of why God warns Cain by first rejecting his offering. It isn’t the offering that is rejected, but Cain’s attitude while presenting the offering. In Matthew 5:24 Jesus provides the clue; “Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” There is a conflict between Cain and Abel but also possibly with his parents. 

What could be the possible reason why the firstborn son is angry? We have read that the fat portion was sacrificed. So what was done with the meat? Abel provided the meat of the lamb to be eaten, roasted over a fire as the fat was sacrificed. Like a shepherd he sat and watched his sheep graze, while Cain work hard to till the soil, watering the crops. Perhaps Adam and Eve praised Abel for the meat of the lamb, giving him more attention; as Jacob later does with Joseph. The climax of Cain’s jealousy comes with a decision of marriage for Abel, and himself. 

In a non-Canon document, both Cain and Abel had twin sisters. Cain’s twin was beautiful, and he was handsome and strong due to his hard work. Abel and his sister were more homely. Adam and Eve were inspirited to crossbreed the two couples Cain’s twin to Abel and Abel’s twin to Cain; this arrangement only increased Cain’s anger causing his sacrifice to be rejected. Having his brother praised for meat and now rewarded with his sister was the last straw. Cain’s sister also desired him over Abel. A meeting was agreed upon between brothers. Cain rejects the idea of marriage with Abel’s twin. The conflict increases and Cain is in anger as God had warned fails to rule over his anger. As the result, Cain kills Abel and runs off with his twin turning his back on God and his parents. 

Now you ask why isn’t a part of the Genesis story. The reason being was the notion of incest is present and therefore rejected, as Canon. However, Adam and Eve were in reality twins. Eve was created from a portion of Adam’s body, therefore sharing the same DNA. Since there were no other humans on the earth procreation would have been necessary with brothers and sisters breeding. God-given inspiration provided Adam and Eve to decide to crossbreed, a sign of moving away from inbreeding. When we add the rejected accounts to the history the reactions become more clear, that the death of Abel is over a woman. The desire and jealousy for knowledge of a woman brought sin into the world and the desire and jealousy over a woman brings about the first murder. The desire for a woman and murder occurs often in history. David takes a friend’s wife and later has him killed. The Bible has many reoccurring themes.