What is the
MARK of CAIN?
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Bible students for years have wondered about the mark of Cain. What did God place on or give him so as to warn OTHERS not to kill him? The scriptures in question are found in the fourth chapter of Genesis. We will examine some of the verses leading up to the mark so that we have the proper context to answer our questions.
In verse 9 of Genesis 4 God asks Cain where is his brother Abel. His now well-known response is 'Am I my brother's keeper?' God then confronts him with his grievous sin.
'Why have you done this terrible thing? Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground, like a voice calling for revenge. 11 You are placed under a curse . . . (Genesis 4:10-11)
What did God spare the life of Cain instead of taking it? One reason is that God had not yet given man a command not to murder another human. Such a command will be given by God, however, right after Noah leaves the ark after the flood waters subside (Genesis 9:6).
Another, and likely more important reason, Cain was allowed to live is so that other humans would be warned of God's view and judgment on sin. If he was put to death as a punishment that death would soon be forgotten (Ecclesiastes 8:10) and the lesson of what happened lost. He is, instead, cursed to wander the earth with no permanent home. His constant wandering (due to being a fugitive), coupled with a mark he will soon receive, will be a living testament to others not to repeat the same mistake.
13 And Cain said to the Lord, 'This punishment is too hard for me to bear. 14 You are driving me off the land and away from your presence. I will be a homeless wanderer on the earth, and anyone who finds me will kill me.' 15 But the Lord answered, 'No. If anyone kills you, seven lives will be taken in revenge.' So the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who met him not to kill him. (Genesis 4:13-15)