Are you thinking about getting “My brother’s keeper” tattoo or wondering about the meaning behind “My brother’s keeper” tattoos?
The phrase “I am my brother’s keeper” has a deep symbolic meaning. It may sound like that the significance of this phrase is only meaningful to families and siblings, but it is more deeper than that.
“I am my brother’s keeper” is a saying from the story of Cain and Abel narrated in the Bible, Genesis 4:9. After Cain murdered his brother Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain answered, “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?”
In 2008, Barack Obama (former president of United States of America) said in his Christmas day message that, “Now more than ever we must rededicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Americans, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am My Sister’s Keeper.”
The phrase “Am I my brother’s keeper” turns up everywhere and in many different permutations. But the famous ones are “I am my brother’s keeper,” and “My brother’s keeper,” which made their way onto the skins and became very popular.
Meanings of “My Brother’s Keeper” Tattoos
“My brother’s keeper” is a well-used phrase. When we are asked the question, are we our brother’s keeper? We want to show that we are community-minded peace lovers. So, we say, Yes, I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. But did you know that the world’s first murderer actually coined the phrase? And his answer to the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was an emphatic no.
The Story of Cain and Abel
In the book of Genesis, Cain and Abel are the sons of Adam and Eve and the very first humans according to these stories. God created Adam and Eve, which indicates that Cain and Abel are the very first humanely conceived beings. The oldest Cain grew up to become a farmer while his younger brother Abel became a shepherd.
One day Adam and Eve told their children to perform a worthy sacrifice to show gratitude to God. Something special that would please their Lord. Abel immediately chose one of his best newly born lambs to offer up to God. Though it was important to him, he believed that giving it over to God was far more important than keeping it for himself. On the other hand, Cain offered some old dried fruit that he was planning on getting rid of anyway.
In the book of Genesis, God is stated to have looked with favor upon Abel’s sacrifice but did not look with favor upon Cain’s. That made Cain very angry. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, then sin will be crouching at your door, and it desires to have you. You must rule over it.”
Cain couldn’t see the logic behind why God preferred Abel’s sacrifice over his. He grew angry and jealous of his brother. One day Cain took Abel out into the fields and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” I don’t know he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?
Cain’s jealousy turned him into a murderer. As a firstborn of the human race, there were such high hopes for Cain. But unfortunately, he became a slayer than a savior. As a responsible elder brother, Cain should have taken responsibility and answered, Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. He was the firstborn son, and the firstborns are meant to watch over the family. He meant to be his brother’s keeper. That’s what the elder brothers do, protect their family and siblings.
It is also a very patriotic tattoo. To improve our lives and protect what we love, we need to act like brothers. This tattoo tells everyone that you are not afraid to take responsibility, and reliable. This is also a popular tattoo among the soldiers. It shows their commitment to their fellow soldiers who they consider as their brothers and their determination to continually look out for one another.
“My brother’s keeper” tattoos represent courage, love, friendship, bravery, strength, commitment, and passion.
So as we ask the question, am I my brother’s keeper? Well yeah, we ought to answer the question yes I am my brother’s keeper and do better than Cain did.
Designs of “My Brother’s Keeper” Tattoos
The phrase, ‘I Am My Brother’s Keeper’ sends out a strong and powerful message. When you combine it with other elements and images, they give the tattoo even more dynamic meaning. Since this phrase derives from the bible, a lot of people incorporate angelic figures and objects like a dove, praying hands, angel wings, cross, etc. to the tattoo design.
Placements for “My Brother’s Keeper” Tattoos
It is most common to have a phrase/quote tattooed where others can easily see it. Again you can put your tattoo anywhere you like. It is definitely not a small tattoo. So ankle, wrists or hand probably won’t be the best places to get this tattoo.
One of the most popular spots to get a phrase tattoo is forearm. Forearm gives you the length where you can spread out the words with other images, and it is also a visible spot, but you can easily cover it up with a long sleeve shirt.
If you want to make it a larger piece, then back works pretty well.
The flow of this tattoo design also works well along the collarbone or on the chest. You can also have it on one side of your chest, specially over the heart. It adds to the symbolism, showing that your brother is always close to your heart.
Side of your body or along the rib cage also works well. It will give you a larger space to add other images like praying hands or an angel.