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When God cursed Cain for killing Abel, did that curse extend to Cain's offspring, to Cain alone, or to everyone? God tells Cain:

"And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Genesis 4:11-12 ESV

Later in Genesis, when tracing the genealogy of Cain's younger brother Seth, this next verse seems to indicate that the ground was cursed for everyone, not just Cain or his direct descendants?

"When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Genesis 5:28-29

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You are correct. The ground was cursed for Adam's sin, but Cain received a mark for his own sin. –  Narnian Mar 25 at 20:19

3 Answers 3

I think you're talking about two separate curses in your question.

The first curse, the curse on the ground, God inflicted on the entire earth because of Adam's sin:

  • Genesis 3:17-19 And to Adam he said,“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Whereas before Adam and Eve were meant to be alive forever and till the beautiful garden, now they must work the ground with sweat and toil. This is the first curse and applies to the entire earth.

The second curse is the one meant for Cain when God says that the ground will never produce food (strength) for him

  • Genesis 4:10-12 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

It's important to note how God describes Cain's new forced way of life as one of a fugitive or wanderer, the Hebrew being nuwa and nuwd which both mean a kind of aimless wanderer. If the ground that he would toil would never bring forth food for him then he will be forced to wander endlessly for sustenance.

Regarding the reference to the cursed ground in Genesis 5:

  • Genesis 5:28-29 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”

It's natural to assume that Lamech is referring to first curse brought forth by Adam, not the curse that God had applied specifically to Cain.

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I wanted to say this too but it wasn't really a part of your question. To me, Lamech's statement is a clear foreshadowing of the Gospel. The real painful toil of our lives is the burden of sin and Christ is the one that brings us relief. Noah relieved the earth of man's burdens only temporarily, but Christ relieves man's burdens forever ☺ –  LCIII Jun 5 at 19:20

I agreed with most of what LCIII said, so to add to the answer, I would suggest that the curse that Cain received doesn't matter anymore since all of his decendants are dead. They died in the Flood. I've had to explain that to a few people since they don't realize the flood killed everyone but Noah and his family. All of us are decendants of Noah. Canaan was cursed for his offense with Arphaxhad (see Luke). Most Bibles translate this incorrectly as Ham is not the youngest son of Noah. (Drives me crazy when I have to explain this).

Anywayd (long story) I believe this curse wasn't limited to Cain (and his decendants) but it comes upon people who choose the same path in life. The law is clear that breaking the Law brings a curse. Karma was derived from observable coincidence. God explained it to Cain. Then in the Law, and Solomon expounds on it. Jesus lifted that curse when he died and allowed the sins of the father to no longer rule over the children. - so in short: The curse can exist from actions we take, but it will not be an eternal curse. (Although I'm not certain for people who murder - considering the letters of John).

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. This answer needs more support. It needs sources and citations, if necessary, to support what you are saying. Otherwise, it just looks like your opinion. Please add more to it to make a truly academic answer. Thank you. References: Guidelines for writing effective answers and What is a well-sourced, dispassionate answer? –  fredsbend Oct 10 at 20:36
    
It is not my opinion that Cain's decendants died in the flood. It's a Biblical fact. There is no citation needed. I quoted Luke, although I didn't give the exact chapter and verse. What's with the Citation-Nazi style comments? –  user2366911 Oct 13 at 20:18
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@user2366911: Please see this post. We don't deal with "facts" here or "truth." We address how various Christian groups study scripture and theology. Not all Christians agree that Cain even existed, or that the flood happened. So while we respect that the letter of the Bible is enough evidence to convince you, as a site that is welcoming to all Christian perspectives, we aren't able to accept that as "a fact", per se. For this reason, when discussing such "facts", citations are required, by the guidelines of our site. –  Flimzy Oct 13 at 21:17

Although we do not know for sure exactly what mark God put on Cain, but whatever it was it was readily apparent.

All Scripture is quoted from the King James translation.

Genesis 4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Cain's descendants apparently had some identifying mark on them also; since they became the ungodly line.

Genesis 4:16 through 24

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

The descendants of Cain, and the descendants of Seth, lived separated up until:

Genesis 6:1 through 4

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

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Even though Lamech was bad, that doesn't mean his other descendants were bad (although everyone was by the time of Noah), and there's no reason to think that the curse applied to them. Cain's mark didn't make him bad, it was to protect him! –  curiousdannii Mar 25 at 21:37
    
@curiousdannii I agree, and did not say they were bad only that they became the ungodly line. That's not my name for them I got it out of the Bible itself. I know a lot of very good law abiding and generous people who are ungodly.(without God). That someone does not dedicate themselves to serving God as others do; does not make them bad. –  Bye Mar 25 at 22:22
    
I can accept that Cain's descendents were ungodly, but where do you get the idea that they had an identifying mark? I only see that for Cain himself. –  outXast Jun 6 at 2:52
    
@outXast that there must have been some mark upon the descendants of Cain is gained from these two scriptures; Gen 4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. and Gen 4:24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. In order for Lamech to make that claim there had to be some mark to warn people of the penalty. since no further guidance is in the Bible and the descendant line of Cain ended at the flood; we do not know. –  Bye Jun 9 at 19:56
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@Bye In Gen 4:15, God is speaking, proclaiming that Cain would be avenged seven fold if any man slew him. In Gen 4:24, Lamech is speaking, boasting to his wives about having killed two men. There is no reason that he had to have any mark in order to be boastful about his deeds. Lamech was an unrepentant murderer and his words do not have the same authority as God's. –  outXast Jun 12 at 4:26

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