Nov 24, 2014

Did God Say You Are Your Brother's Keeper?

Common Sense Commentary: God's word teaches us to love one another, forgive our brother, have compassion on people, assist where and when we can and be generous to those in need, but it does not say we "are our brother's keeper." This misquoted scripture was not spoken by God or a prophet or a disciple of Christ. It was spoken by a belligerent, liar and murderer in the form of a question, not a statement. After Cain, in a rage, murdered his brother Abel, with God looking on, God spoke to Cain, knowing what he had done, but giving him an opportunity to confess his crime and repent. God asked him, where his brother Abel was. Instead of confessing his guilt in repentance, Cain lied and angrily answered God,  "I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"  God did not say he was his brother's keeper and did not expect him to take responsibility for his brother.  Abel was taking care of himself and faithfully serving and obeying God and Cain was jealous and angry with his brother because Abel obeyed and pleased God and Cain didn't. Cain's answer to God's question, "Where is thy brother" was an angry, sarcastic response to God, whom he knew to be God.
"....when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Rom.1:21.

Besides love and mercy and generosity, the Bible teaches self reliance, personal responsibility and taking care of one's self when we are physically and mentally able to do so. We are also responsible to help those who cannot work and earn their own bread, but not those who are too lazy or negligent to pay their own way. We are responsible for ourselves, and able bodied others are responsible for themselves. Both Cain and Abel were well able to supply their own needs. Abel was a shepherd or rancher and Cain was a farmer.  They were both responsible for themselves and responsible to give an account to God for themselves. They were not "their brother's keeper".

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Ezek.18:20. 

"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden." Gal.6:4-5.

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Rom.14:12. 

"Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." 2 Thess.3:12. 

The Brothers, Cain and Abel:

"And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 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. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." Gen.4:6-10. 

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