Stones were more than likely the weapon of choice in the beginning. Cain murders his brother, Abel. Abel’s blood cries out from the ground, along with the blood of many more. We read of those angry at the words of Yeshua and they too pick up stones to cast at the Chief cornerstone.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” (John 8:58-59).
The Apostle Paul is stoned, and he sees the third heavens.
“But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead” (Acts 14:19).
After an attack on Ziglag, the wives and children of David and his men are taken captive along with all their belongings. The city is set on fire, and the Bible says the people wept until they could weep no more. Have you ever wept like that? The next thing we read is that the people are ready to stone David, their leader, over the tragedy.
“Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered (marah, meaning bitter and disobedient), each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (I Samuel 30:6).
Moses is a man who killed an Egyptian beating his people. Did he, too, use a stone? Later the people he brought out of Egypt want to stone him because they are thirsting for water.
“So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” (Exodus 17:4, NASB).
They wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. These were the men who spoke life and believed that Adonai would give them the good land and destroy the giants.
“But the entire congregation threatened to stone Joshua and Caleb. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the Israelites at the Tent of Meeting” (Numbers 14:10, BSB).
And one man named Stephen speaks truth so difficult for his audience that he is stoned to death and has a vision while being plummeted with rocks.
“When the council members heard Stephen’s speech, they were angry and furious. But Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked toward heaven, where he saw our glorious God and Jesus standing at his right side. Then Stephen said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!”
The council members shouted and covered their ears. At once, they all attacked Stephen and dragged him out of the city. Then they started throwing stones at him.” (Acts 7:54-58, CAV).
Stoning is a legal punishment in Iran, Pakistan, northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mauritania, and Yemen. We shudder at the thought of such a death! How barbaric. At times, women are buried with only their heads out, and they are pelted with stones until a bloody mass of unrecognizable flesh is the only thing left. Of course, that blood speaks, and so do the souls under the altar, but how many people have we thrown stones at? A friend explained it to me by using a boomerang. We may throw them, but they will come right back at us.
We envision Yeshua writing in the dust after they brought a woman forward with accusations of adultery. He calmly says, He who is without sin pick up the first stone. No man can. Not then and not now.
I have been tested in this area of stones, and I have picked up stones and thrown them at those I found guilty, yet they were innocent. Have you ever done such a thing?
This is a quote I have heard all my life: “There are two sides to every story.” Robert Evans said, “There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying.” I began to ponder what Cain’s side of the story was. What was King Saul’s side of the story as he hunted David every day? Contentions among leadership and fellow believers can teach us many things about ourselves. We react swiftly at times and pick up stones. Or we surmise a situation and think we know the truth about it when we don’t even know our own hearts.
Jeremiah explains that our hearts are deceitful and that we lack understanding.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else.
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
“I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the [f]results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
When we say there are two sides to every story, do we try and see our enemy’s side? Do we ask ourselves what part we had in it or what testing is being done? Take Joseph, for instance. A woman falsely accused him. But that woman was the very one that helped train him to oversee a nation during famine by his role in the prison.
Deuteronomy 1:17 (CSB) “Do not show partiality when rendering judgment; listen to small and great alike. Do not be intimidated by anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too difficult for you, and I will hear it.”
Bring me any case.
I bring Cain and Abel. We read of no witnesses to the crime except YHVH, Elohim, and that is enough.
“A lone witness is not sufficient to establish any wrongdoing or sin against a man, regardless of what offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a false witness testifies against someone, accusing him of a crime, both parties to the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD, before the priests and judges who are in office at that time.” (Deuteronomy 19:16-)
The scene is twin brothers in a field having a conversation.
The Father tells Cain something before he stones his brother to death.
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Mastering our sin nature takes great courage. Doing well is not always easy. David acted righteously in the face of death concerning Saul but later fell. When we go through intense battles, we scream out like David and say, ‘search me and know me!’ Show me any unclean thing in my heart. And He is faithful. We shudder at the thought of what lies hidden in the belly of the whale. If most of us were truthful, we really don’t want to see our condition. It’s like a mother who gets word that her child has been in a horrible car crash and is mangled and broken into pieces. She enters the scene and opens the hospital door in disbelief at her child’s condition. The Father wants us to look so we can become whole– healed. Bring out the things hidden and expose them to light. It’s hard to look at our bandage wounds oozing, our stiff necks in a brace, our right leg in a sling, our jaws wired shut, and yet, we must!
Ezra repented not just for himself but for a whole people.
The heart of the matter. What if we spent as much time on beautifying our insides as we do on our outward appearances?
Our beauty doesn’t come from a lack of wrinkles. Those lines are a photo of every experience imprinted on our souls. Inside every crease is a story. How quickly we forget that we are flowers. No one runs outside to a flower quickly fading and injects it or takes paint to brighten its colors that have faded in the sunlight. No one tries to wrap it next to a stick and make it stand at wilting. No, we let the flower die and go back to the earth from which it came. In this season of death, we often see what everyone else suffers from. We have a diagnosis and a prescription to give them, but what about us?
Cain was the first murderer. His victim was his own brother. It’s deeper and more tragic than that because now Abel’s seed is snuffed out from the earth. Cain had the opportunity to do what was right, and his whole being would have changed from anger and hostility to peace and joy, but he opted for a stone to throw at the one who had the favor of the Holy One. I think we can be both Cain (Kayin) and Abel (Hevel). Do both have a story? Are there two sides? Three?
Perhaps Cain looked at his offering as good. Maybe he was shocked to find that Abba favored his brothers over his. He now goes out in the field and converses with his brother, but we don’t know what was said. The Holy One was right there in the field when the murder took place. He is close by when we do well and when we mess up.
I read an interesting article by Jeff Benner about these two men and the hidden meaning behind their names that might make you rethink what you know about the story. Two sides—three.
“In Hebrew, Cain is קין (qayin), and Abel is הבל (havel).
The word קין (qayin, from the root QN) means to acquire or possess something, which is why Eve (chavah in Hebrew) said: “I have gotten/acquired (qanah, also from the root QN) a man” (Gen 4:1). The word הבל (havel) means to be empty, often translated as vain or vanity in the sense of being empty of substance.
The Hebrew word for “name” is shem and literally means breath or character. In Hebrew thought, one’s name is reflective of one’s character, and the Hebraic meanings of the names of “Cain and Abel” are windows into their characters. Cain is a possessor, one who has substance, while Abel is empty of substance.
This may seem odd to us, because we have always assumed that Abel was the good guy and Cain the bad, but this is an oversimplification of the facts, as according to their names, a reflection of their character, Cain is what we would call “a man of character,” but Abel is “vain.” More Here
Have you ever been rewarded for bringing a good offering and then allowed vanity to creep into the point that you were boastful? We don’t hear the conversation of these brothers. We weren’t there, and we don’t have the writings. We only have clues. Abel might have been like his name, vain—full of himself and puffed up with his favor from God over his offerings. He could have provoked Cain to the point of rage. I’m not justifying the blood on Cain’s hands, but we often only see one side of a story. The Father did not have Cain put to death. He even marks him with His tav. Cain builds a city, and he takes a wife, and his seed lives on.
Cain’s children sit around the dinner table and inquire, tell us of your brother Abel. What was he like? And what does he say at that moment? Does he describe his looks, his laughter, his shepherding skills, his passions, or his vanity and emptiness? Does he mention how his own hands became engulfed in rage, and the ground would not receive his brother’s blood but cried out?
Guess what David does when he is being pelted with stones?
“When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! “The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”
Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.” But the king said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?'” Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him. “Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him. The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary and he refreshed himself there” ( II Samuel 16:5-14, NASB).
David knows that he has gotten too big for his britches. He had grown accustomed to favor. He killed the lion, the bear, the giant, and conquered many territories. He had been given the throne, the crown, and the anointing. He sees a woman and decides to take her for himself and have her husband put to death. The Father will look the other way; he thinks to himself. He surmises that he is above the Torah, and yet he was to write it out.
“When he [the king] sits upon his royal throne, he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah on a scroll. . . . It shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life” (Deuteronomy 17:18–19).
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).
What have you done?” replied the LORD. “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.…(4:10).
What have you done, Cain?
Whose baby lamb did you take David?
The Father will have His day of throwing stones. Stones play a big part in Revelations, even hailstones that weigh 100 pounds. (Revelation,16)
Revelation six tells of the sixth seal and a great earthquake. The sky splits open, and men request Stones to be thrown at them to hide them from the presence of He who sits on the throne.
Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17).
Who is able to stand?
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim. Ephesians 6:13-18, TLV).
May we all pick up soap and not stones.