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The second son of Adam and Eve, slain by his brother, Cain, who was jealous because Abel's offering to God was more acceptable than Cain's. Abel was a shepherd and his brother a farmer (Genesis 4:2, 4:8). During his ministry Jesus made references to Cain's offense when he warned the Scribes and Pharisees, "...you will draw down on yourselves the blood of every holy man that has been shed on earth, from the blood of Abel the Holy to the blood of Zechariah..." (Matthew 23:35).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.