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1 John 3:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 not as Cain, who was of the wicked one and violently slaughtered his brother. And for what reason did he slaughter him? Because his deeds were evil, and the ones of his brother were righteous.
Not as Cain. Not manifesting the spirit, which Cain did. His was a most remarkable and striking instance of a want of love to a brother, and the case was well adapted to illustrate the propriety of the duty which the apostle is enjoining. See Gen. 4:4–8.
Who was of the wicked one. Of the devil, that is, he was under his influence and acted from his instigation.
And violently slaughtered his brother. And for what reason did he slaughter him? Because his deeds were evil, and the ones of his brother were righteous. He acted under the influence of envy. He was dissatisfied that his own offering was not accepted and that his brother’s was. The apostle seems desirous to guard those to whom he wrote against the indulgence of any feelings that were the opposite of love, from anything like envy toward more highly favored brothers, by showing to what this would lead if fairly acted out, as in the case of Cain. A large part of the crimes of the earth has been caused, as in the murder of Abel, by the want of brotherly love. Nothing but love would be necessary to end the crimes and consequently to a large part of the world’s misery.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews