Photo by Courtauld Institute Galleries, London/Princes Gate Collection

ON THE COVER: Cain bludgeons his terrified brother in Cain Slaying Abel by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). Although the Bible implies a lapse of time between Cain and Abel’s offerings and the slaying, Rubens telescopes events for dramatic effect by placing a blazing fire on an altar in the background. The apparent injustice of God’s unexplained rejection of Cain’s offering has troubled readers for centuries. Ronald S. Hendel looks at four explanations that scholars have offered for the episode and addresses the question, “When God Acts Immorally—Is the Bible a good book?”