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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
The Epistles of Clement.: Chapter IV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IV.—Many Evils Have Already Flowed from This Source in Ancient Times.

For thus it is written:  “And it came to pass after certain days, that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice unto God; and Abel also brought of the firstlings of his sheep, and of the fat thereof.  And God had respect to Abel and to his offerings, but Cain and his sacrifices He did not regard.  And Cain was deeply grieved, and his countenance fell.  And God said to Cain, Why art thou grieved, and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou offerest rightly, but dost not divide rightly, hast thou not sinned?  Be at peace:  thine offering returns to thyself, and thou shalt again possess it.  And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go into the field.  And it came to pass, while they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” 4016   Ye see, brethren, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother.  Through envy, also, our father Jacob fled from the face of Esau his brother. 4017   Envy made Joseph be persecuted unto death, and to come into bondage. 4018   Envy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, when he heard these words from his fellow-countryman, “Who made thee a judge or a ruler over us?  Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst kill the Egyptian yesterday?” 4019   On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their abode without the camp. 4020   Envy brought down Dathan and Abiram alive to Hades, through the sedition which they excited against God’s servant Moses. 4021   Through envy, David not only underwent the hatred of foreigners, but was also persecuted by Saul king of Israel. 4022



Gen. iv. 3-8.  The writer here, as always, follows the reading of the Septuagint, which in this passage both alters and adds to the Hebrew text.  We have given the rendering approved by the best critics; but some prefer to translate, as in our English version, “unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”  See, for an ancient explanation of the passage, Irenæus, Adv. Hær., iv. 18, 3.


Gen. xxvii. 41, etc.


Gen. xxxvii.


Ex. ii. 14.


Num. 12:14, 15.


Num. xvi. 33.


1 Kings xviii. 8, etc.

Next: Chapter V

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