(ay' buhl) HEBREW: HEVEL
"breath" or "vapor"

The second son of Adam and Eve bore a name that matched his shortened life. Unlike his father and elder brother, Cain, who were farmers, Abel became "a keeper of sheep" (Gen. 4:2). In time, the brothers brought offerings to God, Cain's being some of his crops and Abel's being the fat portions of the firstborn lambs, in ancient times considered the very best kind of sacrifice. Somehow it became clear to the brothers that God had accepted Abel's offering but not Cain's. Cain was enraged and, luring his brother into the fields, he struck and killed him. Thus Abel, the first to offer an animal sacrifice, also became the first victim of violence in a religious controversy.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}