Reign over the sin: The First Commandment

Cain and Abel #7

This is the second post about Gen 4:7. In the previous one, we discussed whether doing good deeds guarantees a reward (at least in this world). Here, the verse continues to discuss the concept of sin, warn us from his lust, and gives us the commandment us to reign over it.  

The first commandment. The first commandment. Table which shows the English translation of Genesis 4:7, next to the original Hebrew Bible text. 7. "Sin is crouching waiting for opening, it lusts after you, and you have to reign over him."

Discussion

ืœึทืคึถึผืชึทื— ื—ึทื˜ึธึผืืช ืจึนื‘ึตืฅ

The most common interpretation for ืœึทืคึถึผืชึทื— is ‘at the door’ where the proposition ืœึท indicates that what comes after it is a place, and ืคึถึผืชึทื— means ‘door or a physical opening’. However, I want to offer a different interpretation. ืœึท in Hebrew often means โ€˜for the purpose ofโ€™, as we can see, for example, in Gen 1:17

ื•ึทื™ึดึผืชึตึผืŸ ืึนืชึธื ืึฑืœึนื”ึดื™ื, ื‘ึดึผืจึฐืงึดื™ืขึท ื”ึทืฉึธึผืืžึธื™ึดื, ืœึฐื”ึธืึดื™ืจ, ืขึทืœ-ื”ึธืึธืจึถืฅ
And God gave them, in the sky, to give light upon the earth

If we interpret in our verse ืœึท in this way, then the word ืคึถึผืชึทื— can be translated as opening, but not in the physical sense, but as an opportunity. That is, sin is crouching waiting for an opportunity to enter into you and take over you. By the way, in Hebrew every noun is either a male form or a female form – sin is clearly a male.

And why does he want enter into you? The next part of the verse gives us this answer.

ืึตืœึถื™ืšึธ, ืชึฐึผืฉืื•ึผืงึธืชื•ึน
he lusts after you

It is important to notice that in this verse sin is described as something that exists outside you, not something you are born with or grows inside you.

The verse does not tell us that we desire sin, rather it is the opposite. It is the sin that desires us.

And if you remember our previous post, it desires you whether you are an evil man or whether you are a righteous man. Sin does not distinguish.  

This verse is a strong warning from God to Cain and to all of us: it does not matter who you are or how righteous you might be, sin is patiently awaiting for the opportunity to enter you, the object of his desire.

So what makes a righteous man? The verse immediately gives us the answer

ื•ึฐืึทืชึธึผื”, ืชึดึผืžึฐืฉึธืืœื‘ึผื•ึน
And you shall reign over him

This is, arguably, the first commandment in the Bible. Sin had already been released into the world and our duty is to reign over him. There is no middle way. Because if we do not reign over sin, it will find a way to enter into us and reign over us.

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ron
ron
10 months ago

Do you not believe in the original sin and that we all born with it?

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  ron
10 months ago

Thank you Ron for your question. I am familiar with the concept of the original sin, but as hard I searched I am not familiar with any place that tells us that we are born with the sin. On the contrary, the Bible seem to limit generational punishment to 4… Read more »

ron
ron
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

What about Romans 5:12?

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

Thanks Ron, The main problem I have the the new testament is that I do not read Greek. As I know the issues with translation between Hebrew and English, I am convinced that similar issues exist, and that the translation is only one interpretation. But putting it aside, KJ translation… Read more »

ron
ron
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

So are you telling me that you dont believe in the church?

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

Ron, how can anyone believe in the church? First, which church, there are so many of them, each with their own agenda, and for centuries they not only did not agree with each other but went to kill each other. But more than that, what do you mean by believing… Read more »

Eleonora
Eleonora
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

I share your opinion. Churches and religions are made by people. Even if the people behind may have good motives, they are only people like you and me. I could never understand why a person, even if he is a priest, could relieve me of my sins in confession and… Read more »

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Eleonora
10 months ago

Thank you Elenora. This is the big catholic/ protestand debate that started with Martin Luther. It is a debate, a discussion, and a reason for lots of wars, fighting and killing. I am against ‘my faith is better than yours’ type of debates. I am only trying to understand the… Read more »

Eleonora
Eleonora
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
9 months ago

You are asking a difficult question, indeed. And it took me some time to contemplate. First, I read what manipulation means exactly. I found: โ€˜Manipulation or Emotional manipulation is the use of devious means to exploit, control, or otherwise influence others to oneโ€™s advantage โ€ฆAt the very least, manipulation is… Read more »

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Eleonora
9 months ago

Eleonora, I still have no clear opinion. If someone manipulate you to be happy for their own benefit, is it bad that you got manipulated?

Eleonora
Eleonora
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
9 months ago

In my opinion it is, so a clear yes from my side. I have experienced both, religious manipulation as well as personal, like many of us. While you think you are happy and confident you still feel at heart that something is wrong and the realization after you recognize the… Read more »

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Eleonora
9 months ago

Thank you Eleonora, it is not my place to comment about other people’s practices. I am very happy though, that you are enjoying and benefiting from what I am trying to do here, in my blog.

Eleonora
Eleonora
10 months ago

Amazing what an extremely important insight we can gain from knowing God’s words in that verse. Maybe a strange question, but as far as I know it is the first time in the Bible the word sin appears. And you said it is the male form of a noun. But… Read more »

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Eleonora
10 months ago

Thank you Eleonora for another insightful question. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer, and I have no idea where in the Bible I can find it. Many groups have an answer to this question, but all claim to have ‘outside of the bible’ knowledge. I do not have such… Read more »

Eleonora
Eleonora
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

Thank you, Ran, for an answer with wisdom. I prefer someone telling me honestly that the characteristic or personality of sin is not written in the Bible than getting explained any religious image about the sin, which can neither be proved nor can help us to be prepared against the… Read more »

Menteyvida
10 months ago

Thank you Ran for this great post, I think any time we entertain a negative thought we are getting caught in sin. I have not idea from where my thoughts come and seems I have not control over this process, but I can be alert and observe the process, Maybe… Read more »

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Menteyvida
10 months ago

Thank you Menteyvida. This is a very important insight. We rarely have control over the sin wanting to enter us, through our thouths. It is a very interesting way to view Cain and Abel are the two forces within us that pull us in two different directions. We all have… Read more »

Menteyvida
Reply to  Ran Fuchs
10 months ago

Thanks Ran, Well said. I didnโ€™t thought about the desires, and I like the way you put everything on place. It is very liberating to understand that the sin attacked us from the outside, so we do have a great work to during our life time. Your explanation gave me… Read more »

Ran Fuchs
Reply to  Menteyvida
10 months ago

Thank you so much for your comments. They force me to search and think, and I always discover new things as a result.

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9 months ago

[…] When Cain realises that his life as a farmer is over, he is not thankful for not getting a harsh punishment, nor for staying alive โ€“ he killed Abel, after all โ€“ his reaction is of fear and worry, not of gratefulness or looking forward into a new future,… Read more »

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7 months ago

[…] strive for a continuous moral awareness. Being righteous is about fighting your own temptations, as sin is craving all of us. Being righteous means to not follow the majority, not to yield to peer pressure. This is […]