Am I My Brotherís Keeper?


(Gen 4:1-9 NIV)Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." {2} Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. {3} In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. {4} But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, {5} but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. {6} Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? {7} If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." {8} Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. {9} Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"


*†† Was Cain his brotherís keeper? Should he have been?

*†† What is a keeper anyway? What does it imply?

*†† A keeper has responsibility for something.

*†† Responsibility implies authority to match the responsibility.

*†† Authority implies control over something.

*†† If Cain was his brotherís keeper wouldnít it also be true that Abel was his brotherís keeper as well?

*†† Doesnít this lead to a contradiction?

*†† Why would Cain ask God a question that would cause Cain to be condemned by his own words?

*†† Would you submit to being ďKeptĒ by another person?

*†† Would you want to be another personís keeper?


If we are not each otherís keepers then what responsibilities do we have to one another?


Consider the last seven of the Ten Commandments

4.      Remember the Sabbath.

5.      Honor your Father and Mother.

6.      You shall not murder.

7.      You shall not commit adultery.

8.      You shall not steal.

9.      You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10.  You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.


And what does that all amount to?

  1. (Lev 19:18 NIV)"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
  2. (Mark 12:29-31 NIV)"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. {30} Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' {31} The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
  3. (1 Tim 5:8 NIV)If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
  4. (James 1:27 NIV)Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
  5. (Lev 19:10 NIV)Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.
  6. (John 13:35 NIV)By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
  7. (Isa 58:6-7 NIV)"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? {7} Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
  8. (Mat 7:12 NIV)So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
  9. (Mat 25:34-40 NIV)"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. {35} For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, {36} I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' {37} "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? {38} When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? {39} When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' {40} "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
  10. (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" {26} "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" {27} He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" {28} "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." {29} But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" {30} In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. {31} A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. {32} So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. {33} But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. {34} He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. {35} The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' {36} "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" {37} The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
  11. (Mat 18:21-22 NIV)Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" {22} Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
  12. (Psa 121:5 KJV)The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
  13. 1Corinthians 13

American Heritage Dictionary

keep∑er (kēpər)


1. One that keeps, especially:

a. An attendant, a guard, or a warden.

b. One that has the charge or care of something: a lion keeper; the keeper of the budget.

c. Sports A goalkeeper.

Hebrew Keeper

8104. shamar, shaw-mar'; a prim. root; prop. to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc.:--beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).


(1 Sam 17:20-22 KJV)And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. {21} For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. {22} And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.

Greek Keeper

(Acts 16:36 KJV)And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.