In Bereishit 4:2-4 we read that Hevel was a keeper of sheep and that he offered from the firstlings of his flock. How did he come to acquire the flock? Did he have to trap them and domesticate them or did they naturally gather to him?

  • There really wasn't much competition with other owners at the time. Sheep are very docile animals. I've worked with them, for a while. They tend to follow humans relatively easily.
    – DanF
    Jun 1, 2018 at 16:43
  • 2
    The domestication of animals happens from being bred under human control for multiple generations. So, I guess a secondary question would be: Were certain animals "domesticated" from creation or were they trapped and domesticated over generations of breeding?
    – Yaakov_P
    Jun 1, 2018 at 19:20

1 Answer 1


See Midrash Rabba Besraishis 22:7

וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹתָם וגו' (בראשית ד, ח), עַל מָה הָיוּ מִדַּיְּנִים, אָמְרוּ בּוֹאוּ וְנַחֲלֹק אֶת הָעוֹלָם, אֶחָד נָטַל הַקַּרְקָעוֹת וְאֶחָד נָטַל אֶת הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין,

“And Cain spoke to Abel his brother, and it came to pass when they were in the field…” (Genesis 4:8) What were they arguing about? They said: come let’s divide up the world, one will take the land and one will take the moveable property.

By this division Hevel became the sole owner of all the sheep in the world.

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