Genesis 4:16
Society without the Lord. The banished Cain and his descendants.

I. MULTIPLICATION apart from Divine order is no blessing.

II. CIVILIZATION without religion is a chaos of conflicting forces, producing violence, bloodshed, working out its own ruin. Compare France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Arts of life may grow from a mere natural root. Music, mechanical skill, scientific discovery, and invention, in themselves contain no moral life. Luxury turns to corruption, and so to misery.

III. RELIGION IS THE BASIS OF SOCIAL PROSPERITY. It is the true defense against the "inhumanity of man." Lamech, with his artificial protection against violent revenge, suggests the true safety in the presence of the Lord and observance of his commandments. - R.

Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.

1. Here the future of the cursed life has some relief. Cain had his wife to share his sorrow, and, for all we know, to help him in it. The domestic relationship is a great relief and comfort to a sad life. When all goes wrong without, it can find a refuge at home.

2. The children of a cursed life are placed at a moral disadvantage. They are the offspring of a God-forsaken parent. It is awful to commence life under these conditions.

II. THAT A GOD-FORSAKEN MAN IS LIKELY VERY SOON TO SEEK SATISFACTION IN EARTHLY EMPLOYMENTS AND THINGS. Cain built a city. This would find occupation for his energies. It would tend to divest his mind of his wicked past. It would enrich his poverty. It might become the home of his posterity.

III. THAT OFTEN A GOD-FORSAKEN MAN IS DISPOSED TO TRY TO BUILD A RIVAL TO THE CHURCH FROM WHENCE HE HAS BEEN DRIVEN. If he has been driven from God, he will engage his energies to build a city for Satan. In this work some wicked men are active. And today the city of evil is of vast dimensions, is thickly populated, but is weak in its foundation, and will ultimately be swept away by the prayerful effort of the Church, and the wrath of God..


1. Earth cannot give the soul a true substitute for God.

2. Family relationship is unsanctified without Him.

3. Cities are useless without Him.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

It is an awful thought, that of the lost, to the sound of the dead march, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire," flocking away from the judgment seat. But scarcely inferior in horror is the sight of Cain going out from the presence of the Lord. He goes out alone, save for his poor weeping wife, for children as yet he had none. He goes out in silence, without venturing to utter one word of remonstrance or regret. He goes out withered and accursed, although not utterly crushed. He goes out bearing, and showing that he is conscious of bearing, his character burnt and branded on his brow. He goes out, preserved indeed, but preserved as the criminal on the scaffold is preserved from the guns of the soldiery and the missiles of the crowd, that he may abide the executioner's axe, or feel the hangman's gripe. He goes out alone, but you see in him the representative of the giant race of transgressors, who are yet in his loins as he goes forth. He goes out into a thinly peopled earth, but into an earth where he knows that every man is aware of his crime, and would kill him but for a mark which identifies and renders infamous while it secures him. He goes forth into the young world, a region as silent as it is vast; but hark! as he leaves the presence of the Lord a peal of harsh thunder behind proclaims the departure of the murderer, and worse than this still, the trembling hollows of his ear (like the sea shell by the sound of the deep) are filled with the cry, which he feels is forever his music, "Cain, Cain, where is thy brother?"

(G. Gilfillan.)

Like Judas from the presence of Jesus, so does Cain go out from the face of God, from the place where the visible glory of God, the Shekinah, had its abode. Partly troubled at his banishment, and partly relieved at getting away from the near presence of the Holy One, he goes forth, a banished criminal, whose foot must no longer be permitted to profane the sacred circle of Eden; an excommunicated man, who must no longer worship with the Church of God, round the primeval altar. He goes out, not like Abraham to the land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, but to the land of the threatening, the land where no divine presence was seen and on which no glory shone, and where no bright cherubim foreshadowed redemption, and proclaimed restoration to paradise, and the tree of life. He goes out to an unknown and untrodden land; a land which, from his own character as "the wanderer," received in after days the name of Nod. He goes out, the flaming sword behind him, driving him out of his native seat, and forbidding his return. A banished man, an excommunicated worshipper (the sentence of excommunication pronounced by God Himself) — one "delivered over to Satan" (1 Timothy 1:20), he takes up his abode in the land of Nod. There he "sits down," not as if at rest, for what had he to do with rest? Can the cloud rest? Can the sea rest? Can the guilty conscience rest? He sits down in Nod, but not to rest, only to drown his restlessness in schemes of labour. He went towards the rising sun. He and his posterity spread eastward, just as Seth and his posterity spread westward.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

The land of Nod.

Cain settled "in the land of Nod, in the east of Eden." It is evident that the name Nod expresses the nature and character of the locality; it signifies flight or exile; and the same root means, sometimes, grief and mourning. Nod is, therefore, the land of misery and exile. But, although this appellative signification of Nod is clear, it is not less certain that the historian intended to describe thereby a distinct country. He designates its position in the east of Eden, and he mentions a town which Cain built in that land of flight, Nod is, therefore, as little as Eden itself, a mere abstraction, or a fictitious name, invented for the embodiment of a myth. But, as it is only described by its relative position to Eden, its situation is, naturally, as disputed as that of paradise itself. It has been placed in Susiana, Lydia, and Arabia; in Nysa and China; in the mountains of the Caucasus and the vast steppes in the east of Cashmere; in Tartary, in Parthia, or any part of India. However, it appears that the whole extent of Asia eastward of Eden, was comprised under the name of Nod. Cain was expelled to the east of paradise, where the cherubim with their flaming swords forever prevented the access; we are, thus, expressly reminded that the murderer who with one audacious step ascended the whole climax of crime, was removed far from the seat of blessedness and innocence.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Genesis 4:16 NIV
Genesis 4:16 NLT
Genesis 4:16 ESV
Genesis 4:16 NASB
Genesis 4:16 KJV

Genesis 4:16 Bible Apps
Genesis 4:16 Parallel
Genesis 4:16 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 4:16 Chinese Bible
Genesis 4:16 French Bible
Genesis 4:16 German Bible

Genesis 4:16 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Genesis 4:15
Top of Page
Top of Page