Cain’s Punishment and Vagabonds & Human Branding

Thinking e1539012817663That’s something else.  Cain killed his brother just because You rejected his offering and accepted Abel’s.  From what You told, me about the devil one would think that Cain was in cahoots with him. 

What did You do, did You sentence him to life in prison or execute him or what?

“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is   greater than I can bear. 

Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him” (Gen 4:11-15).

At this time, as far as we know, the only other people alive are Adam and Eve, so Cain must have known that he would live for many years (Gen 5:14).

Cain’s Punishment 1. Cains Punishment

God said that He made man in his own image after His own likeness (Gen 1:26), and that Adam and Eve were the first, so how could Cain meet anyone else? 

Some believe that God created a race of humans who lived on the Earth before He created Adam, and He may have.

This hypothesis has been promoted by various scholars at various times throughout history.

2. The Gap Theory
During the Age of Enlightenment, a theory made popular by a Scottish theologian named Thomas Chalmers. The Gap Theory was formed to help make sense of the supposed millions of years of Earth’s existence while also believing in the Bible. The Gap Theory proposes that in between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 there are millions or billions of years of unrecorded history. During this time, there was an event called “Lucifer’s Flood” where Satan and 1/3 of the angels fell from heaven after an act of rebellion. During that flood, the waters caused catastrophic damage to the Earth thus resulting in the geological formations we see today. Also during this time, the dinosaurs were buried and fossilized in the sedimentary rock.

One of them was Isaac de La Peyrère (1596-1676) and his idea takes in the “Gap Theory,” (also known as the Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation) i.e., there was a space between Gen 1:1 and 1:2 where God did things that are not in the Bible.

“According to La Peyrère, God created the Gentiles on the sixth day when He said, “Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26).

He did not create the Jews until after the seventh day, His day of rest. At some point after the seventh day, God created Adam, the father of the Jews.

To read more about this you can go here.

God gave us intelligent minds and it is not a sin to investigate.  It isn’t as long as we remember that the only thing that is important is that we obey God’s commandments.

Vagabonds & Human Branding


A vagrant or vagabond is a person, often in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a homeor regular employment or income.

3. Pastoral nomads
Pastoral nomads camping near Namtso in 2005. In Tibet, nomads constitute about 40% of ethnic Tibetan population.

Other synonyms include “tramp,” “hobo,” and “drifter”.

A vagrant could be described as being “a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging”.

Both “vagrant” and “vagabond” ultimately derive from Latin word vagari “wander.”

The term “vagabond” is derived from Latin vagabundus. In Middle English, “vagabond” originally denoted a criminal.

As God forced Cain to become.


Many world religions, both in history and today, have strong vagrant traditions.

In the Bible, Jesus teaches compassion for beggars, prostitutes, and the disenfranchised, Himself telling his followers that the best way to worship Him is by giving away their possessions and becoming wanderers themselves.

These traditions dominated early Christian movements and were encouraged by notable figures such as St. Paul.

4. Beja nomads
Beja nomads from Northeast Africa.

Many still survive in places like Europe, Africa, and the Near East, as preserved by Gnosticism, Hesychasm, and various esoteric practices.  

In some East Asian and South Asian countries, the condition of vagrancy has long been historically associated with the religious life, as described in the religious literature of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Muslim Sufi traditions.

Examples include sadhus, dervishes, Bikkhus and the sramanic traditions generally.

Vagrancy under the Law

Germany – In Germany, according to the 1871 Penal Code (§ 361 des Strafgesetzbuches von 1871), vagabondage was among the grounds to confine a person to a labor house.

Tsardom of Russia – Russian law recognized one as a vagrant if he could not prove his own standing (title), or if he changed his residence without a permission from authorities, rather than punishing loitering or absence of livelihood. 

Soviet Union – In the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (1960), which came into force on 1 January 1961, systematic vagrancy (that which was identified more than once) was punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment (section 209).

5. Starting fire
Starting fire by hand. San people in Botswana.

This continued until 5th December 1991, when Section 209 was repealed and vagrancy ceased to be a criminal offence.

Modern Russia – At present, vagrancy is not a criminal offence in the Russian Federation, but it is an offence for someone over 18 to induce a juvenile (one who has not reached that age) to vagrancy (CC of RF, section 151).

United Kingdom – The first major vagrancy law was passed in 1349 to increase the workforce following the Black Death by making “idleness” (unemployment) an offense.

By the 1500s the statutes were mainly used as a means of controlling criminals.

In the 16th and 17th century in England, a vagrant was a person who could work, but preferred not to (or could not find employment, so took to the road in order to do so), or one who begs for a living.

Vagrancy was illegal, punishable by branding, whipping, conscription into the military, or at times penal transportation to penal colonies.

Vagrants were different from the impotent poor, who were unable to support themselves because of advanced age or sickness. 

However, the English laws usually did not distinguish between the impotent poor and the criminals, so both received the same harsh punishments.

In 1824, earlier vagrancy laws were consolidated in the Vagrancy Act 1824 (UK) whose main aim was removing undesirables from public view.

6. A Sami Lapp family
A Sami (Lapp) family in Norway around 1900. Reindeer have been herded for centuries by several Arctic and Subarctic people including the Sami and the Nenets.

The act assumed that homelessness was due to idleness and thus deliberate, and made it a criminal offense to engage in behaviors associated with extreme poverty.

The Poor Law was the system for the provision of social security in operation in England and Wales from the 16th century until the establishment of the Welfare State in the 20th century.

United States – In colonial America, if a person wandered into a town and did not find work, he/she was told to leave town or be prosecuted.

In the U.S., vagrancy laws were vague and covered a wide range of activities and crimes associated with vagrants, such as loitering, prostitution, drunkenness and associating with known criminals.

Under the vagrancy laws, police arrested people who were suspected of crime, but who had not committed a crime. Eventually, punishments were changed to a fine, or several months in jail.

After the U.S. Civil War, the South passed Black Codes, laws that tried to control freed black slaves. Vagrancy laws were included in these codes.

Usually, the person could not afford the fine, and so was sent to county labor or hired out to a private employer.

In the U.S. of the 1960s, vagrancy laws were found to be too broad and vague, and in violation of the due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as citizens were not informed of which behaviors were illegal.

7. Romani nomads
Romani nomads in Hungary, 19th century.

Police had too much power in deciding whether or not to arrest someone. Vagrancy laws could no longer violate Freedom of Speech, such as when police use them against political demonstrators and unpopular groups.

U.S. vagrancy laws became clearer, narrower, and more defined. Since then, the status of being a vagrant is punished by the vagrancy laws, while other actions are punished under other laws.

In Papachristou v. Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156 (1972), the U.S.Supreme Court ruled that a Florida vagrancy law was unconstitutional because it was too vague to be understood.

Nevertheless, new local laws in the U.S. have been passed to criminalize aggressive panhandling activities by vagrants. 

In recent years [vague] there has been an increase in laws criminalizing vagrancy and related activities in the United States, some under the rubric of sit-lie ordinances.

In the U.S., some local officials encourage vagrants to move away instead of arresting them.

The word vagrant has been replaced by homeless person. Prosecutions for vagrancy are rare, being replaced by prosecutions for specific offenses such as loitering.

Human Branding

Branding Irons

Human branding or stigmatising is the process in which a mark, usually a symbol or ornamental pattern, is burned into the skin of a living person, with the intention that the resulting scar makes it permanent. This is achieved using a very hot or very cold branding iron.

In criminal law, branding with a hot iron was a mode of punishment by which marking the subject as if goods or animals, sometimes concurrently with a reduction of status.

8. Black and WhiteBrand marks have also been used as a punishment for convicted criminals, combining physical punishment, as burns are very painful, with public humiliation, especially if marked on a normally visible part of the body, providing an indelible criminal record.

The punishment was adopted by the Anglo-Saxons, and the ancient law of England authorized the penalty.

By the Statute of Vagabonds (1547) under King Edward VI, vagabonds and Gypsies were ordered to be branded with a large V on the breast, and brawlers with F for “fraymaker”; slaves who ran away were branded with S on the cheek or forehead.

This law was repealed in England in 1550.

From the time of Henry VII, branding was inflicted for all offences which received Benefit of clergy (branding of the thumbs was used around 1600 at Old Bailey to ensure that the accused who had successfully used the Benefit of Clergy defence, by reading a passage from the Bible, could not use it more than once), but it was abolished for such in 1822.

In 1698 it was enacted that those convicted of petty theft or larceny, who were entitled to benefit of clergy, should be “burnt in the most visible part of the left cheek, nearest the nose.” This special ordinance was repealed in 1707.

James Nayler, a Quaker who in the year 1655 was accused of claiming to be the Messiah, convicted of blasphemy in a highly publicised trial before the Second Protectorate Parliament and had his tongue bored through and his forehead branded B for ‘blasphemer’.

9. Slave Brand
Slave Brand

In the 16th century, German Anabaptists were branded with a cross on their foreheads for refusing to recant their faith and join the Roman Catholic Church.

In the North-American Puritan settlements of the 17th century, men and women sentenced for having committed acts of adultery were branded with an “A” letter on their chest (men) or bosom (women).

Canon law sanctioned the punishment, and in France, in royal times, various offences carried the additional infamy of being branded with a fleur de lys. In Germany however, branding was illegal.

In the Lancaster criminal court a branding iron is still preserved in the dock. It is a long bolt with a wooden handle at one end and an M (malefactor) at the other; close by are two iron loops for firmly securing the hands during the operation.

The brander would, after examination, turn to the judge and exclaim”A fair mark, milord.” Criminals were formerly ordered to hold up their hands before sentence to show if they had been previously convicted.

In the 18th century, cold branding or branding with cold irons became the mode of inflicting the punishment on prisoners of higher rank.

10. Slave Branding
Slave Branding

“When Charles Moritz, a young German, visited England in 1782 he was surprised at this custom, and in his diary mentioned the case of a clergyman who had fought a duel and killed his man in Hyde Park.

Found guilty of manslaughter he was burnt in the hand, if that could be called burning which was done with a cold iron” (Markham’s Ancient Punishments of Northants, 1886).

Such cases led to branding becoming obsolete, and it was abolished in 1829 except in the case of deserters from the army, which were marked with the letter D, not with hot irons but by tattooing with ink or gunpowder.

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