|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:16-18 Cain cast off all fear of God, and attended no more on God's ordinances. Hypocritical professors, who dissemble and trifle with God, are justly left to themselves to do something grossly scandalous. So they throw off that form of godliness to which they have been a reproach, and of which they deny the power. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and we never find that he came into it again, to his comfort. The land Cain dwelt in was called the land of Nod, which means, 'shaking,' or 'trembling,' and so shows the restlessness and uneasiness of his own spirit, or 'the land of a vagabond:' they that depart from God cannot find rest any where else. Those on earth who looked for the heavenly city, chose to dwell in tabernacles or tents; but Cain, as not minding that city, built one on earth. Thus all who are cursed of God seek their settlement and satisfaction here below.
Verse 16. - And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord. Not simply ended his interview and prepared to emigrate from the abode of his youth (Kalisch); but, more especially, withdrew from the neighborhood of the cherubim (v/de on ver. 14). And dwelt in the land of Nod. The geographical situation of Nod (Knobel, China?) cannot be determined further than that it was on the east of Eden, and its name, Nod, or wandering (cf. vers. 12, 14; Psalm 56:8), was clearly derived from Cain s fugitive and vagabond life (vide Michaelis, 'Suppl,' p. 1612; and cf. Furst, 'Lex.,' sub voce), "which showeth, as Josephus well conjectureth, that Cain was not amended by his punishment, but waxed worse and worse, giving himself to rapine, robbery, oppression, deceit" (Willet).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord,.... Either from the place where the Lord was talking with him; or from the place where his glorious Majesty usually resided, where was some visible token of his presence, some stream of light and glory which showed him to be there, and which was at the east of the garden of Eden; from whence Cain was obliged to go, not being suffered to appear any more before God, or among his worshippers: there was a place near Tripoli in Syria, near where Mount Lebanon ends, called , "the face of God", made mention of by Polybius (e), and Strabo (f): and was near those parts where some place the garden of Eden; and it is possible might have its name from some tradition that this was the place where the face of God was seen, or his presence enjoyed by our first parents after their ejection from Eden, and from whence Cain went forth:
and dwelt in the land of Nod; so called, not before he went there, but from his wandering up and down in it; continuing in no one place in it, as well as his mind was restless and uneasy; Jarchi mentions another reason of its name, that in every place where he went the earth shook under him, and men said, Depart from him, this is he that slew his brother:
on the east of Eden; further east from the place where his father Adam and his other children dwelt; not being allowed to continue any longer with them, or converse with them, after he had been guilty of so horrid a crime.
(e) Hist. l. 5. p. 260. (f) Geograph. l. 16. p. 519.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. presence of the Lord—the appointed place of worship at Eden. Leaving it, he not only severed himself from his relatives but forsook the ordinances of religion, probably casting off all fear of God from his eyes so that the last end of this man is worse than the first (Mt 12:45).
land of Nod—of flight or exile—thought by many to have been Arabia-Petræa—which was cursed to sterility on his account.
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