Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

1 John 3:12


not like Cain 1  who was of the evil one and brutally 2  murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, but his brother’s were righteous.


Ge 4:4-15,25; 1Sa 18:14,15; 1Sa 19:4,5; 1Sa 22:14-16; Ps 37:12; Pr 29:27; Mt 13:19,38; Mt 23:35; Mt 27:23; Lu 11:51; Joh 10:32; Joh 15:19-25; Joh 18:38-40; Ac 7:52; 1Th 2:14; Heb 11:4; Heb 12:24; 1Pe 4:4; 1Jo 2:13,14; 1Jo 3:8; Jude 1:11; Re 17:6

NET © Notes

sn Since the author states that Cainwas of the evil one (ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ, ek tou ponhrou), in the immediate context this imagery serves as an illustration of 3:8a: The person who practices sin is of the devil (ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου, ek tou diabolou). This is similar to John 8:44, where Jesus told his opponents “you people are from your father the devil…[who] was a murderer from the beginning.” In both Jewish and early Christian writings Cain is a model for those who deliberately disbelieve; Testament of Benjamin 7:5 looks forward to the punishment of those who “are like Cain in the envy and hatred of brothers.” It is not difficult to see why the author of 1 John used Cain here as a model for the opponents in light of their failure to “love the brothers” (see 1 John 3:17).

tn For the Greek verb σφάζω (sfazw) L&N 20.72 states, “to slaughter, either animals or persons; in contexts referring to persons, the implication is of violence and mercilessness – ‘to slaughter, to kill.’” As a reflection of this nuance, the translation “brutally murdered” has been used.

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