Cain and Abel: Behind the scenes

God and obedience go together, and so the priest class is also the ruling class. But the best brief label would be information processors. They were record keepers, mathematicians, historians, culture codifiers and—later—readers and writers. When reading and writing develop, the brain expands. The known expands beyond What Is Experienced and What Is Heard to include what has been written. Reading adds the the brain an auxiliary brain proportional to all the writings that have so-far accumulated.

Priests prefer meat to vegetables. Yet vegetable sacrifices are officially allowed. Here’s what happened …

A: Oy! We need to get them people to stop giving grain and start giving meat. More meat!

B: That’s right. But not just any meat mind ya. We want lots of meat. Rabbits are OK, but with cows we get larger portions.

A: Alright it’s settled then! We going to make a rule. God says he wants meat and no veggies.

C: Slow down. I don’t want to make veggies illegal. If there’s no meat around we still ought to get something for our services of read, writing, and lounging all day.

A: I’ve got an idea. Let’s tell as story about two brothers offering sacrifice who are the same in every way … except that one gives veggies and the other meat. We’ll have Got get angry at the veggies brother but not the meat brother. And then … and then we’ll change the subject. Here:

Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:1–7)

B: That’s great!

A: Ha ha. Thanks.

C: That is quite good. But I’m still worried about a possible chilling effect. We don’t want the poor to stop giving just because you guys are on the Paleo Diet.

A: Ok. How about this then:

When you realize your guilt in any of these, you shall confess the sin that you have committed. 6 And you shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, a female from the flock, a sheep or a goat, as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for your sin.
7 But if you cannot afford a sheep, you shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. 8 You shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering, wringing its head at the nape without severing it. 9 He shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. 10 And the second he shall offer for a burnt offering according to the regulation. Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.
11 But if you cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, you shall bring as your offering for the sin that you have committed one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour for a sin offering; you shall not put oil on it or lay frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 You shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall scoop up a handful of it as its memorial portion, and turn this into smoke on the altar, with the offerings by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering. 13 Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for whichever of these sins you have committed, and you shall be forgiven. Like the grain offering, the rest shall be for the priest. (Leviticus 5:5–13)