Genesis 4:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 4:14, NIV: "Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.'"

Genesis 4:14, ESV: "Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”"

Genesis 4:14, KJV: "Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me."

Genesis 4:14, NASB: "Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and I will be hidden from Your face, and I will be a wanderer and a drifter on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.'"

Genesis 4:14, NLT: "You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!'"

Genesis 4:14, CSB: "Since you are banishing me today from the face of the earth, and I must hide from your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, whoever finds me will kill me.""

What does Genesis 4:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After Cain killed his brother Abel, God cursed Cain from the ground. The earth would no longer yield crops for him. Cain's life as a farmer was over. God also banished Cain from his home, sending him out as a fugitive and wanderer on the earth. In the previous verse, Cain began his protest, saying the punishment was more than he could bear. Now Cain lists back to God what he's about to lose: crops from the ground, home, and a relationship with God. Cain will be unprotected in the world as others try to find him and kill him, apparently in retribution for what he did to Abel.

Who was Cain afraid of specifically? So far in the text, the only people specifically mentioned in Scripture are Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel who is now dead. The most reasonable interpretation is that the murder of Abel took place decades—perhaps many decades—after Cain and Abel were born. This would have allowed ample time for Adam and Eve to have other sons and daughters and even for those children to begin having children of their own. As we'll see in the next chapter, the lifespans of the first generations of humans after the garden lasted hundreds of years. It's not impossible that Cain had quite a number of siblings, nieces, and nephews by this time. Many of them would be understandably indignant about the murder of Abel.

God's response in the next verse will show that Cain's fear was not unfounded, but also that God's provision for Cain would be merciful.