"My Punishment Is Greater Than I Can Bear"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 134

Context: The sons of Adam and Eve, Cain, a farmer, and Abel, a shepherd, make separate offerings to God from the fruit of their labor. Cain, angry that God should find the sacrifice of Able acceptable, while his own offering is rejected, slays his brother. As punishment, God puts a curse upon Cain's efforts to till the soil and condemns him to the life of a vagabond and fugitive. In response:

And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

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