The Meaning of Genesis 4:7 Explained

Genesis 4:7

KJV: 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.

YLT: Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.'

Darby: If thou doest well, will not thy countenance look up with confidence? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

ASV: If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it.

What is the context of Genesis 4:7?

What does Genesis 4:7 Mean?

Study Notes

sin
Or, sin-offering. In Hebrew the same word is used for "sin," and "sin- offering," thus emphasizing in a remarkable way the complete identification of the believer's sin with his sin offering (cf) John 3:14 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21 .
Here both meanings are brought together. "Sin lieth at the door," but so also "a sin-offering croucheth at the tent door." It is "where sin abounded" that "grace did much more abound" Romans 5:20 .
Abel's offering implies a previous instruction (cf) Genesis 3:21 for it was "by faith" Hebrews 11:4 and faith is taking God at His word; so that Cain's unbloody offering was a refusal of the divine way. But Jehovah made a last appeal to Cain Genesis 4:7 even yet to bring the required offering.

Context Summary

Genesis 4:1-8 - Offerings By Cain And Abel
It was good that man should be driven from Eden. Soft comfort enervates. The natives of the South Sea Islands are moral pulp. Man goes forth from the Eden of innocence, of home, of the land of his birth, to create gardens out of deserts, and to become a pilgrim to the abiding City of God. Angels of Love forbid our return. Heaven lies before us, the City gleams with light on the far horizon. For the Tree of Life see Revelation 2:7. The inner motive of Cain's ruthless deed is supplied in 1 John 3:12. Abel, deeply conscious of sin, felt that a sacrifice was needed; therefore his faith saved him and links him with all who believe. See Hebrews 11:4. Cain had no sense of sin, and thought a gift of produce enough. But all the while sin was crouching at the door, like a hungry tiger, waiting for the chance to enter. Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation! "Thou shouldst rule." [source]

Chapter Summary: Genesis 4

1  The birth, occupation, and offerings of Cain and Abel
8  Cain murders his brother Abel
11  The curse of Cain
17  Has a son called Enoch, and builds a city, which he calls after his name
18  His descendants, with Lamech and his two wives
25  The birth of Seth,
26  and Enos

What do the individual words in Genesis 4:7 mean?

will not if you do well you be accepted and if not you do well at the door sin lies and for you its desire [is] but you should rule over it
הֲל֤וֹא אִם־ תֵּיטִיב֙ ؟ שְׂאֵ֔ת וְאִם֙ לֹ֣א תֵיטִ֔יב לַפֶּ֖תַח חַטָּ֣את רֹבֵ֑ץ וְאֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָת֔וֹ וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּמְשָׁל־ בּֽוֹ

הֲל֤וֹא  will  not 
Parse: Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
תֵּיטִיב֙  you  do  well 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: יָטַב  
Sense: to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad.
؟ שְׂאֵ֔ת  you  be  accepted 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: שְׂאֵת 
Sense: elevation, exaltation, dignity, swelling, uprising.
וְאִם֙  and  if 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Conjunction
Root: אִם  
Sense: if.
תֵיטִ֔יב  you  do  well 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: יָטַב  
Sense: to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad.
לַפֶּ֖תַח  at  the  door 
Parse: Preposition-l, Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: פֶּתַח  
Sense: opening, doorway, entrance.
חַטָּ֣את  sin 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: חַטָּאָה 
Sense: sin, sinful.
רֹבֵ֑ץ  lies 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: רָבַץ  
Sense: to stretch oneself out, lie down, lie stretched out.
וְאֵלֶ֙יךָ֙  and  for  you 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Preposition, second person masculine singular
Root: אֶל  
Sense: to, toward, unto (of motion).
תְּשׁ֣וּקָת֔וֹ  its  desire  [is] 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: תְּשׁוּקָה  
Sense: desire, longing, craving.
וְאַתָּ֖ה  but  you 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Pronoun, second person masculine singular
Root: אַתְּ 
Sense: you (second pers.
תִּמְשָׁל־  should  rule 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: מָשַׁל  
Sense: to rule, have dominion, reign.
בּֽוֹ  over  it 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine singular