11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

After Cain had murdered his brother,God cursed the ground/earth for what he had done

Prior to this God had already cursed the land because of what Adam had done

Genesis 3:17 KJV

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Was Cain's curse an addition to what already existed?


2 Answers 2


New International Version Genesis 3:

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

This was a general curse on the ground. Adam himself was not the direct object of the curse. The ground was cursed and Adam suffered as a consequence.

On the other hand, Genesis 4:

10 “What have you done?” replied the LORD. “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11Now you [Cain] are cursed and banished from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When [whenever] you till the ground, it will no longer yield its produce to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

God cursed Cain directly. As a consequence, whatever ground he tilled, it would not be productive. Cain had to look for another occupation.

Why does God curse the land the second time in Genesis 4:11-12?

God didn't.

  • why was your account suspended? did you do something wrong?
    – 0000
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 23:10

You asked: "Was Cain's curse an addition to what already existed?" I think the answer is: Yes.

Now I'll explain my answer.

God created man from the dust of the ground. Genesis first describes the creation of the heavens and the earth, so the use of the word 'ground' implies it comes from the earth (or the planet that God created). The 'dust of the ground' includes elements and organic materials of the planet earth, therefore when God created man he created another 'earth'.

Just as the planet we live on has soil, so does man. Consider that our planet has a skin with all of its life and water on the outside, and we have a skin with all of our life and water on the inside. Our soil is internal. The use of the word 'soil' as related to people is highlighted throughout Scripture.

A close reading of Genesis shows me that man (Adam) was a child that was given everything and responsible for nothing. The only thing he had to do was name the animals and not 'eat the fruit' of a certain 'tree'. He had no concept of death, and he did whatever he wanted to do. Another way of describing Adam is that he was a spoiled child of great privilege.

It is possible that when Genesis first described Cain and Abel's interaction with God they were young and learning. Cain's life may have mirrored the life and actions of his father, while Able's life probably mirrored the life and actions of his mother. I have not found where Adam gave thanks to God for anything, while Eve did.

I suspect the soil Cain worked was a reference to his treatment of other people. My impression is that he was a harsh and cruel man who bullied and forced his family and others to get or do what he wanted. I feel this is the reason God was not pleased with Cain's fruit. Able, on the other hand, tended flocks. This describes a kind and loving relationship with people and animals.

The curse may have been that Cain carried guilt for his actions and the killing of his brother for the rest of his life.

Hebrews 11:4

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

1 John 3:12

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

As a side note: Again, imho, consider that when the words 'earth' or 'world' are used throughout Scripture, I understand they are directed to the person reading the passage. As an example: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world (you, me) ..."

  • You contend that: "Adam was a spoiled child" and "he was given everything and responsible for nothing" However, Genesis 1:28 says that Adam was given the following responsibility, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ That is responsibility. There is a lot of presupposition in your answer; "It is possible", "I suspect", "My impression", "I feel this", "imho". Please keep your answer to statements that can be supported. Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 5:12
  • I am sorry you do not approve of my answer to Collin ndhlovu. I am 69 years old, a father of 6 children (11 grandchildren), and I have drawn on the life experiences of my and other families to understand what I shared. I tried using the best words I could. I feel my observations are supported as Scripture is more than words; Scripture is filled with relationships. Thank you for your thoughts.
    – Ray
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 22:39
  • Hi @Ray, thank you for taking the time to share your life’s experience. I can see you put a lot of thought and effort into your answer. Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 5:00

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