Genesis 4:5

But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Since Abel made his offering with a proper attitude and pure intention, "God took notice," the text saysÐthat is, he accepted, he was satisfied, he approved of them; but it called the offerings gifts, by this means dignifying the attitude of the offerer. "And whereas to Cain and his offerings he paid no heed." Notice the precision of Sacred Scripture: by the phrase "he paid no heed" it shows us the rejection of what was offered, and by calling what was offered from the soil offerings he teaches us something else again. I mean, see how he shows us through the very events and terms that the Lord wants all these things to be done by us so that the kind of intention we have should be made clear through the actions we take, and so that we may be in a position to know that we are subject to a Lord and Creator who brought us from nothing to being. In other words, in naming the sheep gifts and calling the things from the earth offerings, Sacred Scripture teaches us that neither the herding of sheep nor the collection of fruits of the earth is what is looked for by the Lord but simply the disposition of one's attitude. Hence in this case, too, one man proved acceptable with his gift on this score, whereas the other was rejected along with his gift on that account. The verse, "God took notice of Abel and his gifts, whereas to Cain and his offering he paid no heed," let us take in a sense befitting God. I mean, the intention in the words is that he communicated to them the awareness that while he was satisfied with one man's choice, he took umbrage at the other's attitude. Such, however, is the way God does things; let us now see what follows. "This annoyed Cain very much and his face fell." What is the meaning of the words, "This annoyed Cain very much"? There were two reasons for his annoyance, not just that he alone had been rejected, but also that his brother's gift had been accepted. "This annoyed Cain," the text says, "and his face fell." What was it that annoyed him? Both things annoyed him, the Lord's ignoring his offering and his brother's gift being welcomed. So it was necessary that he recognize his guilt and adjust the error of his ways. After all, our Lord is loving, and when we err he does not turn away from us because of our error as if we continued in the error on the contrary, he keeps no record of it. In order that you may learn this with precision and see the indescribable magnitude of the loving kindness, consider in these present events the exceeding degree of his goodness and the extent of his longsuffering. I mean, when he saw Cain annoyed unreasonably and, so to say, at the point of drowning in the waves of his annoyance, he did not ignore him; instead, that love which he had shown for his father in giving him the opportunity for excuse and opening the way to renewed confidence in the words, "Where are you?" despite that damaging fall the very same love he now demonstrates towards the man who had proved so ungrateful, and stretches out his hand to this person who was at the point of tumbling down the cliff, as you might say, desirous as he was of offering him the opportunity to adjust the error of his ways. So he says to him,

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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