Jun 21 2013

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Sin Offering or Sin?

Gen 4:7  If  thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.  KJV

Sin Offering or Sin?

by David Roberts

 lambThis is God’s first dealing with the second generation of Adam and Eve. Cain, the first born son to Eve, had become a tiller of the soil (a farmer) who basically produced grain. He had decided to bring the fruit of his hands to the LORD as an offering,  which the LORD  ignored. (Geneses 4:5)  Cain became full of wrath (blazed up with anger and even grief), to which the LORD responded in verse 7. This is the first time the word “sin” appears in the Bible – so, as some people believe, there might be an important lesson to be learned because of what they call “the law of the first mention.” As you can see in this verse above, the translators used the word “sin” for the Hebrew words,  “çèÌàú    çèÌàä” (pronounced khat-taw-aw’, khat-tawth’.)  Strong’s Concordance lists this word as H2403, and it is defined in part as “punishment, purifying for sin, sin, or sin offering.

During the 19th  century, a self-taught biblical scholar named Robert Young came on the scene. He was a trained printer who taught himself a number of Asian languages and used this knowledge to write and publish several Christian books, including Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible.  In this version, the word, “sin” has become “sin offering.” Since this possibility exists, I decided to do a mini-study in order to try to determine for myself which scholars were right.

In the more than 300 examples in the Bible when “sin” and “offering” occur together, the Hebrew word used is the word under consideration. What if Young is right? The way he translates the verse is :

Gen 4:7  “Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.”

If Robert Young is correct, then the first mention of this important Hebrew word is rooted firmly in God’s grace! He is saying, “Cain, if you do well, you will be accepted, if not, there is an acceptable sin offering right outside your door waiting for you.” The LORD knew Cain’s heart and recognized the extent of his hatred for his brother, yet in love, He provided a remedy for all that. You see, God was not willing that even Cain should perish. But Cain must have allowed his great anger to increase and overtake him as he stepped over the lamb provided for him and stormed away to find and kill Abel.  If he had  taken the LORD at His word and offered this lamb to Him, Cain would have been the first type of a Christian in the history of the world. How many people today still “step over” the Lamb of God to continue in their sinful plans, rejecting so great a salvation, such wonderful grace? How much better for Cain would have been the lamb’s blood crying out to God for mercy than Abel’s blood crying out for justice?

David Roberts

David Roberts is a retired teacher who loves to study the Bible in order to write about and teach the meaning of the Scriptures.

He is also the husband of the editor of this blog, Karen Roberts!








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