What was the mark of Cain?

Hello S,

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There have been many speculations about the mark that God gave to Cain “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” (Genesis 4:15).

Special protection was granted Cain in harmony with the principle, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). The tares must grow together with the wheat; the fruits of sin must be permitted to reach maturity, in order that the character of its seed may be manifest.

The Hebrew word translated “mark” is ‘owth and refers to a “mark, sign, or token.” Elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, ‘owth is used 79 times and is most frequently translated as “sign.” So, the Hebrew word does not give us a clue to the exact nature of the mark God put on Cain.

Some commentators have seen in this mark an outward sign attached to Cain’s person that would warn people not to harm him, whereas others believe that he received a sign from God as a divine pledge that nothing would endanger his life. Whatever it was, it was not a sign of God’s forgiveness but only of temporal protection.

Others believed the mark on Cain was dark skin and that God may have changed Cain’s color to set him apart from other people. And since Cain was cursed some have used this idea to excuse the African salve trade and justify it. But the Bible does not support that for the following reasons:

1-The Hebrew Scriptures do not use the word ‘owth to refer to skin color.
2-Cain was the only one that received this curse and not His descendants.
3-Cain descendants were evil and probably all got destroyed by the flood. And the black skin would be extinct with the flood.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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