Genesis 4:7
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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."

New Living Translation
You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master."

English Standard Version
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

New American Standard Bible
"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

King James Bible
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If you do what is right, won't you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

International Standard Version
If you do what is appropriate, you'll be accepted, won't you? But if you don't do what is appropriate, sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. Now as for you, will you take dominion over it?"

NET Bible
Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it."

New Heart English Bible
If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you do not do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If you do well, won't you be accepted? But if you don't do well, sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it."

JPS Tanakh 1917
If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.'

New American Standard 1977
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
If thou doest good, it shall certainly be accepted; and if thou doest not good, sin lies at the door. And his desire shall be unto thee, but thou must rule over him.

King James 2000 Bible
If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And you shall be its desire, and you must rule over it.

American King James Version
If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.

American Standard Version
If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If thou do well, shalt thou not receive? but if ill, shall not sin forthwith be present at the door? but the lust thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.

Darby Bible Translation
If thou doest well, will not [thy countenance] look up [with confidence]? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

English Revised Version
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Webster's Bible Translation
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And to thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

World English Bible
If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don't do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it."

Young's Literal Translation
Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.'
Study Bible
Cain and Abel
6Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." 8Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.…
Cross References
Romans 6:12
Therefore do not let sin control your mortal body so that you obey its desires.

Romans 6:16
Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness?

Numbers 32:23
"But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.

Job 11:14
If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents;

Job 11:15
"Then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect, And you would be steadfast and not fear.

Jeremiah 3:12
"Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, 'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD; 'I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,' declares the LORD; 'I will not be angry forever.

Micah 7:18
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
Treasury of Scripture

If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.

If thou doest well.

Genesis 19:21 And he said to him, See, I have accepted you concerning this thing …

2 Samuel 24:23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give to the king. And Araunah …

2 Kings 8:28 And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael …

Job 42:8 Therefore take to you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to …

Proverbs 18:5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the …

Ecclesiastes 8:12,13 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, …

Isaiah 3:10,11 Say you to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they …

Jeremiah 6:20 To what purpose comes there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet …

Malachi 1:8,10,13 And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if …

Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is …

Romans 2:7-10 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and …

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you …

Romans 14:18 For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and …

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering …

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted …

1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to …

1 Peter 2:5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy …

be accepted. or, have the excellency.

Job 29:4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was on my tabernacle;

Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he …

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, …

sin.

Genesis 4:8-13 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when …

Romans 7:8,9 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, worked in me all manner …

James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when …

unto thee, or, subject unto thee.

Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your …

(7) If thou doest well.--This most difficult verse is capable of a satisfactory interpretation, provided that we refuse to admit into this ancient narrative the ideas of a subsequent age. Literally, the words mean, If thou doest well, is there not lifting up? It had just been said that his countenance fell; and this lifting up is often elsewhere applied to the countenance. (Comp. Job 10:15; Job 11:15.) "Instead, then, of thy present gloomy despondent mood, in which thou goest about with downcast look, thou shalt lift up thy head, and have peace and good temper beaming in thine eyes as the result of a quiet conscience." The second half of the verse is capable of two meanings. First: "if thou doest not well, sin lieth (croucheth as a beast of prey) at the door, and its desire is to thee, to make thee its victim; but thou shalt rule over it, and overcome the temptation." The objection to this is: that while sin is feminine, the verb and pronouns are masculine. There are, indeed, numerous instances of a verb masculine with a noun feminine, but the pronouns are fatal, though most Jewish interpreters adopt this feeble explanation. The other interpretation is: "If thou doest not well, sin croucheth at the door, that is, lies dangerously near thee, and puts thee in peril. Beware, therefore, and stand on thy guard; and then his desire shall be unto thee, and thou shalt rule over him. At present thou art vexed and envious because thy younger brother is rich and prosperous, while thy tillage yields thee but scanty returns. Do well, and the Divine blessing will rest on thee, and thou wilt recover thy rights of primogeniture, and thy brother will look up to thee in loving obedience." (Comp. the loving subjection of the wife in Genesis 3:16.)

We have in this verse proof of a struggle in Cain's conscience. Abel was evidently outstripping him in wealth; his flocks were multiplying, and possibly his younger brothers were attaching themselves to him in greater numbers than to Cain. Moreover, there was a more marked moral growth in him, and his virtue and piety were more attractive than Cain's harsher disposition. This had led to envy and malice on the part of Cain, increased, doubtless, by the favour of God shown to Abel's sacrifice; but he seems to have resisted these evil feelings. Jehovah would not have remonstrated thus kindly with him had he been altogether reprobate. Possibly, too, for a time he prevailed over his evil tempers. It is a gratuitous assumption that the murder followed immediately upon the sacrifice. The words of the Almighty rather show that repentance was still possible, and that Cain might still recover the Divine favour, and thereby regain that pre-eminence which was his by right of primogeniture, but which he felt that he was rapidly losing by Abel's prosperity and more loving ways.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?.... That is, either if thou doest thy works well in general, doest good works in a right way and manner, according to life will of God, and directed to his glory, from right principles, and with right views: so all the Targums,"if thou doest thy works well;''for it is not merely doing a good work, but doing the good work well, which is acceptable to God; hence that saying,"that not nouns but adverbs make good works:''or particularly it may respect sacrifice; if thou doest thine offering well, or rightly offereth, as the Septuagint; or offers not only what is materially good and proper to be offered, but in a right way, in obedience to the divine will, from love to God, and with true devotion to him, in the faith of the promised seed, and with a view to his sacrifice for atonement and acceptance; then thine offering would be well pleasing and acceptable. Some render the latter part of the clause, which is but one word in the original text, "there will be a lifting up" (k); either of the countenance of the offerer, and so, if Cain had done well, his countenance would not have fallen, but have been lifted up, and cheerful as before; or of sin, which is the pardon of it, and is often expressed by taking and lifting it up, and bearing it away, and so of easing a man of it as of a burden; and in this sense all the Targums take it; which paraphrase it,"it or thy sin shall be forgiven thee:"

and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; if thou dost not do good works, nor offer an offering as it should be offered, sin lies at the door of conscience; and as soon as that is awakened and opened, it will enter in and make sad work there, as it afterwards did, Genesis 4:13 or it is open and manifest, and will be taken cognizance of, and punishment be inflicted for it; or else the punishment of sin itself is meant, which lies at the door, is at hand, and will soon be executed; and so all the Targums paraphrase it."thy sin is reserved to the day of judgment,''or lies at the door of the grave, reserved to that day, as Jarchi. Some render the word a sin offering, as it sometimes signifies; and then the sense is, that though he had sinned, and had done amiss in the offering he had offered, nevertheless there was a propitiatory sacrifice for sin provided, which was at hand, and would soon be offered; so that he had no need to be dejected, or his countenance to fall; for if he looked to that sacrifice by faith, he would find pardon and acceptance; but the former sense is best:

and unto thee shall be his desire; or "its desire", as some understand it of sin lying at the door, whose desire was to get in and entice and persuade him to that which was evil, and prevail and rule over him. The Targum of Jonathan, and that of Jerusalem, paraphrase it of sin, but to another sense,"sin shall lie at the door of thine heart, but into thine hand I have delivered the power of the evil concupiscence; and to thee shall be its desire, and thou shalt rule over it, whether to be righteous, or to sin:''but rather it refers to Abel; and the meaning is, that notwithstanding his offering was accepted of God, and not his brother Cain's, this would not alienate his affections from him, nor cause him to refuse subjection to him; but he should still love him as his brother, and be subject to him as his eider brother, and not seek to get from him the birthright, or think that that belonged to him, being forfeited by his brother's sin; and therefore Cain had no reason to be angry with his brother, or envious at him, since this would make no manner of alteration in their civil affairs:

and thou shall rule over him, as thou hast done, being the firstborn.

(k) "elevare", Montanus; "erit sublevatio", Fagius, "elatio", Drusius, "elevatio erit", some in Vatablus, Mercerus; so Aben Exra; "remissio", Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt; "venia erit", Pagninus; so Ainsworth. 7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?—A better rendering is, "Shalt thou not have the excellency"? which is the true sense of the words referring to the high privileges and authority belonging to the first-born in patriarchal times.

sin lieth at the door—sin, that is, a sin offering—a common meaning of the word in Scripture (as in Ho 4:8; 2Co 5:21; Heb 9:28). The purport of the divine rebuke to Cain was this, "Why art thou angry, as if unjustly treated? If thou doest well (that is, wert innocent and sinless) a thank offering would have been accepted as a token of thy dependence as a creature. But as thou doest not well (that is, art a sinner), a sin offering is necessary, by bringing which thou wouldest have met with acceptance and retained the honors of thy birthright." This language implies that previous instructions had been given as to the mode of worship; Abel offered through faith (Heb 11:4).

unto thee shall be his desire—The high distinction conferred by priority of birth is described (Ge 27:29); and it was Cain's conviction, that this honor had been withdrawn from him, by the rejection of his sacrifice, and conferred on his younger brother—hence the secret flame of jealousy, which kindled into a settled hatred and fell revenge.4:1-7 When Cain was born, Eve said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. Perhaps she thought that this was the promised seed. If so, she was wofully disappointed. Abel signifies vanity: when she thought she had the promised seed in Cain, whose name signifies possession, she was so taken up with him that another son was as vanity to her. Observe, each son had a calling. It is the will of God for every one to have something to do in this world. Parents ought to bring up their children to work. Give them a Bible and a calling, said good Mr. Dod, and God be with them. We may believe that God commanded Adam, after the fall, to shed the blood of innocent animals, and after their death to burn part or the whole of their bodies by fire. Thus that punishment which sinners deserve, even the death of the body, and the wrath of God, of which fire is a well-known emblem, and also the sufferings of Christ, were prefigured. Observe that the religious worship of God is no new invention. It was from the beginning; it is the good old way, Jer 6:16. The offerings of Cain and Abel were different. Cain showed a proud, unbelieving heart. Therefore he and his offering were rejected. Abel came as a sinner, and according to God's appointment, by his sacrifice expressing humility, sincerity, and believing obedience. Thus, seeking the benefit of the new covenant of mercy, through the promised Seed, his sacrifice had a token that God accepted it. Abel offered in faith, and Cain did not, Heb 11:4. In all ages there have been two sorts of worshippers, such as Cain and Abel; namely, proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method of salvation, who attempt to please God in ways of their own devising; and humble believers, who draw near to him in the way he has revealed. Cain indulged malignant anger against Abel. He harboured an evil spirit of discontent and rebellion against God. God notices all our sinful passions and discontents. There is not an angry, envious, or fretful look, that escapes his observing eye. The Lord reasoned with this rebellious man; if he came in the right way, he should be accepted. Some understand this as an intimation of mercy. If thou doest not well, sin, that is, the sin-offering, lies at the door, and thou mayest take the benefit of it. The same word signifies sin, and a sacrifice for sin. Though thou hast not done well, yet do not despair; the remedy is at hand. Christ, the great sin-offering, is said to stand at the door, Re 3:20. And those well deserve to perish in their sins, that will not go to the door to ask for the benefit of this sin-offering. God's acceptance of Abel's offering did not change the birthright, and make it his; why then should Cain be so angry? Sinful heats and disquiets vanish before a strict and fair inquiry into the cause.
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