Mikhail Samsonov: Why did God reject Cain’s sacrifice?

In the 4th chapter of Genesis we read the famous story of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. And in the synodal translation, which is used by many, it is written:
“After some time, Cain brought from the fruits of the earth a gift to the Lord, and Abel also brought from the firstborn his flock and from their fatness. And the Lord looked upon Abel and on his gift, but on Cain and on his gift he did not look. Cain was greatly distressed, and his face drooped. And the Lord [God] said to Cain: Why are you grieved? and why is your face drooped? If you are doing good, will you not raise your face? but if you do not do good, then sin lies at the door; he attracts you to him, but you dominate him. ” (Genesis 4: 3-5)

After looking at the interlinear translation and some traditional interpretations, I saw the following here. The first three words “after a while” practically do not tell us anything – it is just clear that some time has passed. But in fact, the following is written here: “at the end of days” (מִקֵּץ יָמִים / Mikets yamim, where yamim – “days”, and Mikets – “after, later”, word is derived from קֵץ – “end” – ed.). Let’s take a closer look at this.

First, there is a contrast here: at the end of days, Cain brought a gift to the Lord from fruits, and Abel brought his flock from the firstborn. The clarification “from the firstborn of his flock” is absolutely not accidental: the way Abel made the sacrifice, and what exactly he brought, is a clear opposition to what Cain did. But Cain brought it! What’s wrong here?

I think the secret is in the words “at the end of days.” At the end of what days? Tradition tends to regard this remark as follows.

At the end of some period, most likely agricultural, he brings from the fruits of the earth a gift to God. And the interpreters draw attention to the fact that not “at the beginning of time”, not with a sacrifice, he began his work, but he finished this work with a sacrifice. We can say: good, because there is a sacrifice everything is fine.

But it means that worship of God, gratitude to God is the last thing for Cain. In the case of our second hero, Abel, he brought the firstborn from his flock from. As you know, animals can give birth throughout the year, unlike agriculture, where there is time to sow and time to reap. Therefore, the agricultural situation is more tied to the calendar and seasons. And it is shown that Cain, when he had already done everything and gathered for himself, then brought something to God there. And Abel brought from the firstborn, from the best. And here it becomes clear that in the case of Cain, God is not the main thing. Unlike Abel, for whom the Almighty, to whom he gives the best, is the most important.

Let’s take another look at Cain from the point of view of what is written about him in the Scriptures. Does Cain believe in God? Obviously, yes – he made a sacrifice to Him. He knows about God, remembers Him, brought something to Him as a gift – a sacrifice, on which he worked so hard. Is Cain praying, that is, talking to God? Of course yes, he also hears God! There is a conversation between God and Cain: Cain answers something to God, God objects to him, calls for something, expects something from him. They have a relationship!

It turns out that we have a person who believes in God, who sacrifices to Him, who has a prayer life, who hears God. Yes, this is generally an advanced believer, according to modern ideas! But the interesting thing is that the Lord did not respond to His sacrifice. This is generally outrageous! Such a spiritual believer, he has so many qualities that many modern believers do not have!

But the most important thing here is the reaction of God: He does not accept this sacrifice, it does not please Him. And of course, if we imagine that he gave something to God in the last place – we admit this, we do not see this directly in the text – then it is clear that God, knowing the heart of Cain, cannot be pleased with this heart.

This is a person who balances between rebellion and loyalty to God. He has dual thoughts. On the one hand, he knows that God needs this and that, he turns to Him, and on the other hand, his attitude shows that he does not quite understand the greatness of the Almighty. We can say that He does not really love Him, but simply in the mode of religious duty gave Him something without respect, without worship.

We must always remember that God looks inside our thinking. With what heart do we put this bill in the basket? Do we start any business with a request for a blessing and are not even in a hurry to start, if we intend to first wait for a blessing? And if this is not the case, then will we still pray, wait and maybe refuse? Do we always put God ahead, do we consult with Him, do we rely on Him?

By Mikhail Samsonov, Rabbi of the Messianic Zerem Hai Community, Rishon LeZion, Israel / ShomerTV

Source: https://ieshua.org/mihail-samsonov-pochemu-bog-otverg-zhertvu-kaina.htm