What does Genesis 4:13 mean?
ESV: Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.
NIV: Cain said to the LORD, 'My punishment is more than I can bear.
NASB: Cain said to the Lord, 'My punishment is too great to endure!
CSB: But Cain answered the Lord, "My punishment is too great to bear!
NLT: Cain replied to the Lord, 'My punishment is too great for me to bear!
KJV: And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Verse Commentary:
God has cursed Cain for the murder of his brother Abel. Cain's response shows that he is not repentant. Instead of acknowledging his sin and receiving the consequence, he complains that it is too much. He claims that he can't bear it. Not only has he lost his relationship with God and with his family, but God has removed Cain's livelihood. In the following verse, Cain will reveal that part of his objection is being driven from God's presence, losing that relationship and God's protection from harm. Even rebellious Cain understood he needed God's help to survive in the world.

And yet, there is no sense of repentance, remorse, or apology in Cain. As noted, this part of the Bible is extremely light on details. However, there is nothing suggesting that Cain is actually sorry for what He has done. All of his comments, and all of his actions later in this chapter, suggest selfishness and rebellion. Rather than asking God for forgiveness, Cain's only response worth recording is to moan that he is being punished beyond his ability to stand.
Verse Context:
Genesis 4:1–16 tells the beginning of human history in the wake of Adam's and Eve's sin and separation from God. This passage details the murder of Abel by his older brother Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel work the ground and tend sheep. They worship God, but Cain kills Abel in a fit of envy over God's rejection of Cain and his offering. The first human born on earth becomes the first murderer. God forces Cain to leave his family and wander the earth, but God also marks Cain with a promise of great vengeance on anyone who would kill him.
Chapter Summary:
The consequences of sin become apparent in chapter 4: envy, arrogance, rebellion, murder, punishment, separation from family, and separation from God. Adam and Eve's firstborn son, Cain, jealously murders his brother Abel and loses everything. Adam and Eve lose them both. Cain's descendants amplify his sinfulness. Still, God provides help for Eve in childbirth and even provides protection for Cain in his wandering. Eve remains a woman of faith, even in her loss. And the sons of Seth, born after the murder of Abel, become a people who proclaim the name of the Lord.
Chapter Context:
The first three chapters of Genesis explain the creation and loss of paradise, as Adam and Eve are separated from God both physically and spiritually. Their relationship with Him does not end, however. Eve recognizes His help in bearing her son Cain and later Seth. Cain and Abel both worship God until Cain kills Abel. God provides protection for Cain, whose descendants become innovative, artful, arrogant, and violent. The descendants of Seth, however, begin to call on the Lord's name. This chapter bridges the story of Genesis from our ultimate origins to the story of Noah, introduced in the next chapter.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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