In Mass this morning I noticed a very interesting repetition in the early chapters of Genesis. (The reading was from Genesis 4.) Look at these two verses:
“…Your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master.” (Gen 3:16 NAB)
“So the LORD said to Cain: “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? (7)If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not sin is a demon lurking at the door:
His urge is toward you,
yet you can be his master.” (Gen 4:6-7 NAB)
The Hebrew is very similar in these two verses. Obviously, there is a lot of controversy over the first passage–but my interest is in the second. God tells Cain that he can rule over sin–he can be its master! But what does it mean that sin’s “urge is toward” him?
The LORD makes this statement right after he rejects Cain’s offering, but before Cain kills Abel. God is encouraging Cain. I would really like to know what “doing well” means in this context. But the idea that sin desires to be enslaved is interesting. I wonder if the author intended a sort of reversal. That is, maybe the woman’s desire for the man draws her into subordination to him but sin’s urge is toward Cain in that it desires to enslave him, yet he can enslave it and master it. I’ve never noticed this parallel before and I think it deserves good attention and could be the centerpiece of a very fruitful Bible study on sin.