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Everything about sibling rivalry in The Bible

Everything about sibling rivalry in The Bible

The first documented murder in human history was an act of sibling rivalry. Both sons of Adam and Eve; the murderer was Cain, the first human to be born, and the victim was his brother Abel, the first human to die.

Hostility and competition among siblings is generally termed as sibling rivalry. The sibling relationship is a complex kinship, massively shaped by factors such as birth order, parental supervision, and personality clashes. The rivalry is most volatile in siblings of the same gender, and when either sibling or both, are intellectually brilliant or athletically talented. Sadly, there is a high percentage of abuse, accidental deaths, disappearances, and murders, among siblings, half siblings, and siblings-in-law.

The book of Genesis discloses that; Jacob tricked his brother Esau out if his inheritance. Joseph’s brothers, out of jealously, sell him into slavery in Egypt. Leah and her sister Rachel vied for the love of Jacob. And Cain, envied is brother so intensely, that he led Abel to a secluded area to slaughter him.

Christian education honours the concept of ‘brotherly love’ as a naturally occurring bond that develops within the familial values of peace and love. However, parents must continually teach their children to coexist in peace because the natural sibling bond can be broken. Scripture does not overlook family conflict and rivalries; in fact, it insists parents be watchful of sibling rivalry.


“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity”.    (Psalm 133:1)


* Sibling Rivalry also exists in animal species. E.g., With spotted hyenas, rivalry begins when another cub is born. 25% of cubs are killed by their siblings as they compete for food.


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Everything about sibling rivalry in The Bible
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Everything about sibling rivalry in The Bible

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