Who Was the Wife of Cain?

A closer look at one of the most enigmatic women in Genesis

Mary Joan Winn Leith explores the identity of the wife of Cain.

While there are many examples of strong and inspiring men and women in Genesis, the book is also packed with stories of dysfunctional families, which is evidenced from the very beginning with the first family—Adam, Eve and their two children, Cain and Abel. In no short amount of time—just 16 verses after announcing the birth of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4—Cain has murdered his younger brother and is consequently exiled from the land. In theory, this would have dropped the world’s population from four down to three. The narrative continues in Genesis 4 with Cain settling in the land of Nod and having children with his wife. Who did Cain marry? Where did she come from? Are there other people outside of Eden? In the November/December 2013 issue of BAR, Mary Joan Winn Leith addresses these questions and explores the identity of the wife of Cain in “Who Did Cain Marry?”

Given that the wife of Cain is only mentioned once in the Old Testament, she would not be counted among the famous women in Genesis. Nevertheless, her identity is still worth investigating. Who did Cain marry? Mary Joan Winn Leith first explores the traditional Jewish and Christian answers that contend that the wife of Cain was another daughter of Adam and Eve. According to this reasoning, Cain would have married his sister—one of Abel’s twin sisters no less, according to the Genesis Rabbah.
 


 
In the free eBook Exploring Genesis: The Bible’s Ancient Traditions in Context, discover the cultural contexts for many of Israel’s latest traditions. Explore Mesopotamian creation myths, Joseph’s relationship with Egyptian temple practices and three different takes on the location of Ur of the Chaldeans, the birthplace of Abraham.
 

 
A different answer emerges when Leith turns from the traditional responses about the wife of Cain and delves into modern scholarship. Looking at recent work done by sociologists and anthropologists, she notes that when forming a group identity, we tend to define ourselves by how we differ from other groups. In the ancient Near East, sometimes those outside of a particular group or society were considered less “human” by those inside of the group. An important factor that contributes to this mindset is geography. People in the ancient Near East typically stayed close to home, which affected their perception of the world. Surely they knew that other groups of people—potential enemies or allies—existed far away, but if they never came into contact with these groups, what did they matter?

Mary Joan Winn Leith suggests that while the Israelite storyteller knew that other men and women in Genesis existed outside of Eden, they did not matter to him or factor into his account. He was concerned with Adam and Eve and their progeny—not those outside of this group.

Who did Cain marry? There are many answers. For Leith’s explanation of the identity of the wife of Cain—one of the often-overlooked women in Genesis—see her full column.

BAS Library Members: Read the full column “Who Did Cain Marry?” by Mary Joan Winn Leith in the November/December 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Sign up today.
 


 
In the BAS DVD Bible Stories: How Narratives Work and What They Reveal, professor Ziony Zevit’s engaging lectures examine the art of storytelling and will have you reading the Exodus, the ten Commandments, the Book of Ruth and so much more in a whole new way.
 

 

Learn more about “Otherness” in the BAS Library

Mary Joan Winn Leith, “Biblical Views: Of Philistines and Phalluses,” BAR, November/December 2008.

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  1. Ben says

    People make great jumps from assumption to conclusion, perhaps we can start with the grammar in the question. What is being asked in, “Who did Cain marry”? That is a convoluted question if you follow the grammar. If I get what you are after the question you are actually asking is,” Whom did Cain marry?”

  2. Jesse says

    Sounds like a lot of assumptions in her article which denigrate the Biblical record into a biased account of one of, in the author’s eyes, just many people on the earth. This article implies, perhaps states, that Adam and Eve were not the first or only people created by a special act of God. The assumption is that the genealogical record of the births of Cain and Abel is complete and that there were no other children born at that time. However, it appears that Ms. Leith’s article dovetails nicely with current evolutionary ideology.

  3. Edoardo Shmuel says

    In Genesis 1:24, God orders the earth (in Hebrew Aretz) to produce “living creatures of all kind” and with a careful reading we can understand that it includes also human being. These are the people that Cain was afraid to meet, after having killed Abel and as a consequence of his act.
    How could we imagine that animals could punish Cain? (Gen. 4:14) Only human being are capable of inflicting a punishment! Then God creates Adam from as totally different raw materiale, from earth (in Hebrew adama) which is the soil of Gan Eden. Therefore it is right to say that God was interested in Adam made in His own image with a different material. Whomever Cain marries becomes much less important

  4. Dan says

    “Whom did Cain marry” that is not the important part of this question. The important part is that BAS seems to be quite liberal in what they print. If this is a biblical question then use biblical answers. There is no where in the bible that says there were other groups of people on earth in the beginning with Adam and Eve, but it was common to marry brother and sister before and after the flood. If you would study the bible and not some sci fi novel then you would understand that for times sake you can’t fit every detail of creation into the bible. But the writer of the bible did assume that we could figure out that there were more children born to Adam and Eve, that is why when the lifespan verse of the Christ lineage male’s always say (and they begat son’s and daughters; and they died). So the real problem is that too few people want to read the bible and believe it literally.
    I hope that BAS will stop printing science fiction and start using people that read and believe the bible, not obscure theologians.

  5. BHD says

    I can’t get worked up over this question. When I’m in Heaven I’ll know the answer to all the things I don’t know here. I can wait. Revelation 22:20 Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly.

  6. Matt says

    It’s a real shame that the writer chose to ignore several items in the Bible.
    1. Gen 2:20 No suitable helper was found
    2. The Fall
    3. Gen 3:20 Adam named his wife Eve because she would be the mother of all who live
    4. The worldwide flood

    1. God brought all creatures to Adam to name, but none of them were a suitable helper for him, so God created the first woman.
    2. The fall is important in this argument because if death and suffering existed before Adam’s sin, then why did Christ have to come and die? All descendants not of Adam’s line would not have been eligible for forgiveness, but they would have still been subject to the condemnation of creation. They would not have been blood relatives.
    3. The Bible is pretty explicit in saying that Eve is the mother of all humanity. Modern mitochondrial eve experiments confirm the timeframe of the biblical Eve.
    4. The worldwide flood destroyed everyone as confirmed in 2 Peter 2 and 3, so comparing the pre-flood civilizations to modern near east cultures that ignore distant settlements is in either disingenuous or ignorant.

    It is important that Cain married a sister for the biblical narrative to make sense.

  7. Daniel says

    Cain married his wife. That was the key relationship between them, not their kinship. And why not—only some of us are married, but we’re all related.

  8. Menashe says

    This is an obvious question to anyone who looks at the Bible with non-fundamentalist open eyes. Any inquisitive child asks the same question. Where did all these people in Nod come from if Adam and Eve are the original people created? The answer is however very simple. Just as the editor/compilers of the Bible had no problem weaving two separate creation stories together they had many other traditions and legends to work with, They wove a story explaining the origin of homicide into the narrative of creation myth, to flood/destruction myth, to renewal and the story of Abraham and his descendents, the Israelites, whose destiny is of course is the primary purpose for the narrative being composed.
    One should also understand that what we see as written scripture to be read and studied was in ancient times often oral traditions that were recited to the main population who were most often illiterate in early ancient times. These oral traditions were blended with well know stories and written material borrowed from the region’s dominant Mesopotamian culture. Like today’s Torah service in a traditional Jewish Shabbat service the text was read aloud at an auience. The audience understood the cultural cues and were unconcerned about narrative contradictions and inconsistencies as they had an entirely different way of thinking than us moderns do. Only when later generations inherited these material did they think that they need the glitches to be explained or interpreted.

  9. CB says

    One of the factors, in addition to the total disregard for the Biblical narrative as a whole, that appears to have been omitted is the time scale. My understanding is that, since Adam and Eve had “other sons and daughters” (Gen.5:3) after their first three sons. Cain ‘married’ his own (younger) sister!

    Of course, there was no formal marriage ceremony; there was no law against ‘incest’; the gene pool was still so pure that there was no requirement for any incest regulation.

    As others of Adam’s and Eve’s siblings would have, similarly, ‘married’, the population would undoubtedly have expanded in exponential terms. It was these near relatives of whom Cain was afraid. After all, why, at such an early stage in the history of mankind, would some alleged tribe, with no direct connection, have the slightest interest in the murder of an unknown person?! The name “Nod” was not necessarily used by Cain and his contemporaries, but may simply have been the name of the area as known to the original readers of ha Torah.

    As someone else has commented, it would be good if this site stuck to its title. There is no problem with bringing in a sceptical argument – but to throw such theologically liberal material at us as the ‘main diet’ is not going to encourage me to remain with the site!

  10. Ken says

    This is an absurd question – to whom did a mythical character in a mythical story get married? Who cares? It’s all fiction/myth (the creation story), so the answer, if there is one, doesn’t even matter. Why is anybody studying questions like this?

  11. Menashe says

    The fundamentalists commenting here complain about “theologically liberal materials” and that people are not taking the bible literally and that they are denigrating it. This is utter nonsense. People like myself love and are fascinated by T’Na’Kh and that is why we want to truly understand it using the best of modern science, literary analysis, history and of course archaeology. We don’t blind ourselves to indisputable facts. I study T’Na’Kh with enthusiasm and wonder as I engage the text not with fear and limitation.In my opinion to look at the text like a fundamentalist does actually denigrates the Bible and makes this wonderful and complex source seem simply stupid. If you don’t want your precious closed minded, preconceived and superstitious notions and beliefs challenged only read publications put out by your own church.

  12. kenny says

    CB,
    You nailed it. Everyone seems to ignore Genesis 5:3-4 (more sons and daughters) and the fact that no time scale is given. We do not know how old Cain was when he murdered Abel or his age at marriage.

    Genesis 4:14 presupposes that someone, knowing what had happened, would be looking for Cain, “whoever finds me.” Why would anyone outside the land of Eden (his family) know about him killing his brother? His family quickly figured it out (Genesis 4:25), so he was likely afraid of what other siblings may try to do.

    Genesis 4:16-17 does not say that Cain married his wife after leaving Eden. It seems to suggest they were already married and that they began having children after settling in Nod. It is likely that Cain married a sister.

  13. Mervyn says

    WHY DID MARY LEITH ASK SUCH A POINTLESS QUESTION WHEN THE ANSWER IS CLEARLY IN GENESIS 5; 3-4?
    HAS SHE NEVER READ THE hEBREW BIBLE?
    MERVYN

  14. ra'ah says

    Take off your denominational glasses and reread this section of Genesis with eyes wide open instead of wide-shut. In the Hebrew, Man, “Adam” with no Hebrew article before the name, was created on the 6th day and was given dominion. (It was from this line that Cain took his wife from the land of Nod. After all, a day is as a thousand years in G-d’s sight.) G-d rested on the 7th Day–the first Sabbath. On the NEXT day G-d created Eth HA Adam who was THE Man/Adam from which the line of Christ comes. (The number 8 always means “New Beginnings.) THIS man and his wife Chavah “Eve” were LIVING souls. Eve became the mother of all living souls. Man without Christ is not a living soul. That’s why he must be born again/born from above.

  15. Krzysztof says

    Greetings Ken. Yeh, the first historical figures in Bible are from 8th century B.C (Before Christ)
    Adam, Cain, Abraham, Moses- all nicknames.

  16. kenny says

    ra’ah,
    It is clear from Genesis 1:26-27 that used adam to mean mankind.
    26 …”Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let THEM rule….”
    27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created THEM.”
    Singular male and singulare female, just like Genesis 2.
    Genesis 5:1-3 shows that Genesis 1 and 2 are talking about the same two people.

    Nowhere does the Bible say that a day IS a thousand years. It says it is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day or even a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). The creation days are long periods of time and we are still in the 7th day (Hebrews 4; John 5:16-17). The eigth day or beginning of the new week is when God creates the New Heavens and the New Earth.

  17. kenny says

    Genesis 1:1 introduces the creation of the universe and 1:2 focuses in on the earth in its initial state. Genesis 1:3-31 gives us an overview of some important steps in the formation of earth and its atmosphere.

    Genesis 2 focuses in on day six and the creation of humans. It centers on the Land of Eden. This land seems to have been where the Persian Gulf is now. Between 20,000 and 120,000 years ago there was no Persian Gulf. The sea levels were too low. This was a lush oasis. Radar shows that it was fed by four large river systems: The Tigris and Euphrates from the North, a large river system “Pishon” from the west (Arabia) and another large system “Gihon” from the South, which flowed from Cush (Yemen and Oman) . All four came together in what is now the middle of the Persian Gulf. Guess what we find in the area of the Arabian river system: gold, bdellium and onyx. Somehow Moses knew what the land looked like at least 16,000 years before he was born. This is history, not myth.

  18. Mervyn says

    Waiting for a reply from Mary Leith.
    Mervyn

  19. Mervyn says

    Why all the speculation when we already have the answer – long before the question?
    Mervyn

  20. Mervyn says

    By the time of Abraham, his birthplace, the advanced city of Ur in Chaldea, was a river port. The Gulf has receded since then leaving Ur well inland.

    After Adam and Eve left Eden, Cain wandered and his progeny scattered throughout the world, thereby populating it, but Cain still took to wife one of his sisters or perhaps a neice or daughter, because there were no other women at the time.

    There is a saying that ” if it ain’t broke. don’t fix it.” Why question something we know?
    Mervyn

  21. George says

    First of all, there was no Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, or Cain and Abel, so the question is mute. The two Genesis creation stories are simply tribal creation myths. Why do people, even scholars, try to make them more than that?
    Would we be asking these kinds of questions about the thousands of other creation myths that are just as fantastical as those in Genesis?

  22. Mervyn says

    The history (not stories) of Adam, Cain and other early characters is replicated THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AND WERE KNOW LONG BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN MISIONARIES TAUGHT IN THOSE COUNTRIES. THAT ALL BUT PROVES DISSEMINATION FROM ONE ORIGINAL SOURCE. POOR GEORGE BELIEVES THAT GENESIS IS “CREATION MYTHS”. WITHOUT ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE HWATSOEVER, YET DEBUNKS ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THE SPARCE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE. SCIENCE IS BELIEVING WHAT EVIDENCE IS AVAILABLE RATHER THAN THE PERCEIVED ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE. DOUBTING IS PERMISSIBLE BUT DENIAL IS FOOLISHNESS.
    Mervyn

  23. George says

    Poor Mervyn,
    Insults will get you nothing but return in kind. Are your uppercase letters supposed to lend credence to your intoxication and cultism brought on by your deep gulping of ancient Judaic mythology? The Kool-aid always works, doesn’t it? Consult professional and neutral Biblical historians and consider their views on the subject.
    Your claim that the “history” of Adam, Cain, and … etc” are replicated throughout the world is nothing more than complete “BS.” It is Genesis creation and accompanying myths, written in the 6th century BCE, that were inspired by earlier similar creation myths, for example, the Sumerian creation and flood myths.
    You have drunk deeply of the Kool-aid laced with literalism, and unfortunately reason cannot penetrate your cult-colored worldview.
    I feel very sorry for you, for you live in darkness and will likely do so until the day you die.

  24. KKS says

    Oh George my heart breaks for you, that your eye are so blinded to the truth that God breathed the words of the Bible for us to have to encourage us until He returns so we will not be in darkness.

  25. Adrian says

    Menashe hit the nail on the head.

    “Like today’s Torah service in a traditional Jewish Shabbat service the text was read aloud at an auience. The audience understood the cultural cues and were unconcerned about narrative contradictions and inconsistencies as they had an entirely different way of thinking than us moderns do. Only when later generations inherited these material did they think that they need the glitches to be explained or interpreted.”

    Though I dislike people in enagged in Jewish worship being thought of as “audience.”

  26. George says

    Has anyone considered that when it is said that Adam sought for a help meet among the animals, he may have gone into animals. When you say Adam, if Cain was indeed first or he may have been Cain who is considered as the Father.

    If Abel was Cursed, then if this meant when you say curse, then perhaps he was cursed.

    If Cain was told to leave the garden, this in some cultures can mean family.

    They were tree gatherers at first and if this cursing of Cain meant that all things hanging from a tree is why Jesus had to be crucified, in order to save us from that curse on all tree fruit.

    Has anyone considered that the Story, a source of Legend saying that the land between Lake. Urmia & the alleged plain of Edin, right before a land seeming to sound like the Angel guarding the opening from Edin on the East could have been The Garden

    If that was where the Garden of Eden was, then there is a place sounding much like Nod after that narrow exit from that area.

    If so, it’s remarkably near to A section. Near China.

    If so, the Chinese do Nod when they greet you, could that be the source of the name, the Land of Nod.

    Further, Cain was told to leave the family, after being told, he’d be no longer able to take the fruit of the earth from the ground nor the strength of the earth from the Earth.

    He had cursed everyone and all sources of food, now I suspect Adam took his privelege of cursing the people in the family she they ate food. So he was himself cursed for cursing his brethren and family.

    If you look at the naming of men, with different names, you may find a different way of she among men and women so that you can find. Cains wife’s name in a more sure manner. The names Cain and Cainan indicate a possible system for surnaminv children or wives.

  27. kenny says

    George,
    I’m sorry, but I do not understand most of what you wrote.
    The land of Eden had four major rivers converging into one which then flowed into the garden.
    Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden into greater Eden. The garden was localized within the Land of Eden. Then Cain was kicked out of Eden.
    Cain was a farmer, but Abel was a rancher.
    Cain was told that when he farmed, nothing would be produced.
    Where do you find a Lake in the text?
    What did you mean by a land sounding like the Angel (cherub).
    What are you saying about the relationship of Adam and Cain. Please show me in the text where you are getting your ideas.

  28. kenny says

    Assuming that Adrian and Menashe are still talking about Genesis 1 and 2, there are no “glitches.”

  29. ROBERT says

    I find it amazing that people get so caught up in religious teachings that they don’t even want to hear what someone else has to say or accept solid scientific facts. DNA and genes can tell alot about living and dead organisms. Radio carbon studies can tell alot also. Organized religion can make millions of people believe the earth is flat and kill those who disagree. Organized religion can change the orbit of the earth,sun and other planets. Organized religion was 100% sure man couldn’t clone animals,geneticly modify genes and make an atomic bomb. They also had boats falling off the edge of the earth if you sailed too close the the edge, when their world was flat. And don’t forget all those ghosts,and other scary creatures.Depending on where and when you lived things can be very different .Humans have been commiting mass murder of those who have different beliefs and are still murdering to this day.Tens of Millions of people have been murdered in the name of Christainity based on the hate they learned from clergy. Some of the people making comments are pissed off at the author and even this web site because they hate a different perspective. I think the mentally ill need to stay away from religion if it makes them hostile .

  30. kenny says

    Hello Robert,
    I agree that false teaching has lead to some murder and hate.
    I agree that we can learn from Genetic studies and radiometric dating.
    Neither the Bible nor the church has not taught that the earth was flat. There were a very few individuals in history that did. Neither the Bible nor the church taught that you would fall off the edge of the world.
    The church did not change the orbit of the solar system, science did. The Bible did not say how the orbits worked. It only gave the motions from an earth bound point of view. This is exactly what your local weatherman does every day. Greek scientists like Aristotle gave us the wrong motions. These were later corrected by Christians like Copernicus and Galileo.
    I have not heard of Christianity stating that no one could clone animals, geneticly modify genes or make an atomic bomb. Where did you get this information?
    Christians started most of the sciences. Even the Big Bang theory was fathered by a preist.
    By the way, the fundamentals of the Big Bang are taught in the Bible: constant laws of physics, a beginning of space and time and an expanding universe.

  31. Derek says

    Where did Cain get his wife? Simple, accounting for the Biblical record that Eve is the mother of all the living, Cain (prior to the ban of marrying a close relative which is due to our mutating DNA) married his sister. When the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense (most of the time).

  32. Eburk says

    @robert The Bible, at Job 26:7, speaks of God as “hanging the earth upon nothing.” Science says that the earth remains in its orbit in space primarily because of the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force. These forces, of course, are invisible. Therefore the earth, like other heavenly bodies, is suspended in space as if hanging on nothing.

    The prophet Isaiah wrote under inspiration: “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers.” (Isa 40:22)

    The Bible says: “He [God] has described a circle upon the face of the waters.” (Job 26:10) The waters are limited by his decree to their proper place. They do not come up and inundate the land; neither do they fly off into space. (Job 38:8-11)

    The Flat Earth model is an archaic belief that the Earth’s shape is a plane or disk. Many ancient cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period (early centuries AD) and China until the 17th century. It was also typically held in the aboriginal cultures of the Americas, and a flat Earth domed by the firmament in the shape of an inverted bowl is common in pre-scientific societies.

    The modern misconception that educated Europeans at the time of Columbus believed in a flat Earth, and that his voyages refuted that belief, has been referred to as the Myth of the Flat Earth.[6] In 1945, the misconception was listed by the Historical Association (of Britain) as the second of 20 in a pamphlet on common errors in history.

    The Bible describes many other scientific areas such as, the water cycle, the classifying of animal life into kinds, the complexity of the universe. Although the Bible is not a scientific book, it is scientifically accurate.

  33. Eburk says

    As for religions being blood guilty, I fully agree. Far too many wars have been fought in the name of religious intolerance. But we would be ignorant to think that wars are fought only on the backs of religous thinkers. Consider the post Darwinian age. By enhancing Socialism with Darwinism, Communism emerged as a powerful movement led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, later wrenching control of Russia in the Revolution of 1917. All land, materials, and biological (including human) resources became property of the state. Lenin implemented social programs and began starving and slaughtering whole societies whom he regarded as herds of animals. He was encouraged by the deaths of millions and believed people would lose faith in God and turn more to socialism. To survive the famine, many turned to cannibalism. Lenin’s ideology was inspired by Darwin’s Origin of Species: “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of higher animals, directly follows” (Darwin 1886). As Darwinism spread throughout Europe, violence was legitimized under the “struggle for existence” theory. As Austro-Hungarian chief of staff, Franz Baron Conrad von Hoetzendorff wrote in his post-war memoirs: “It is in accordance with this great principle that the catastrophe of the World War came about as the result of the motive forces in the lives of states and peoples

  34. Paul says

    It’s fascinating how opposing views collide, producing sparks like atoms smashing together in a particle accelerator, putting an end to darkness (Job 28:3). Of particular interest is the debate between Ra’ah #14 and Kenny #16 over whether the Adam of Genesis 2:7 (Jehovah tradition, first temple period) and Adam of Genesis 1:26 and 5:1 (Priestly tradition, second temple period) are the same species of humanity.
    Genesis 1 mentions the emergence of the mammals on the 6th day following the demise of the dinosaurs (who are none other than the dragons of the 5th day mentioned in Genesis 1:21). “God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth every kind of living soul (nephesh)…’” (Genesis 1:24). The human race also evolved with this soul, or nephesh, like the animals.
    According to Isaiah Tishby in his “Wisdom of the Zohar”, the “nephesh is attached to the body, preserving it and satisfying its needs. It is the instinctive power of feeling and action needed to sustain the body” (“Essential Papers on Kabbalah”, by Lawrence Fine, p.120). This sounds like the genetic code inherent in each creature from birth, enabling its survival through instinct. Tishby points out the view of the kabbalists that the ultimate goal for humanity is to attain to the Adam in the Garden of Eden and comprehend God’s mysteries through the agency of the neshamah, which is the breath of life that God blew into Adam’s nostrils in Genesis 2:7. It is this neshamah/breath that is “a spiritual-religious force that draws man near to God and preserves the bonds between them,”
    These terms for soul and breath are used interchangably in the Old Testament, and in the Canaanite “Tale of Aquat” , Aquat’s murder at the hands of a drunken soldier is described in similar terms as Genesis 2:7: “His breath escaped like wind, his soul like vapor, like smoke from his nostrils.” The Adam of Genesis 2 represents our human potential before the fall, of which Jesus refered to when he said, “He that excersizes faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father” (John 14:12). .
    .

  35. tim says

    Why do people who don’t even believe that there was a literal person name Cain care about who he married? These same people mock the Faith of billions of people by pretending to be open minded.
    The great majority of “open questions” that we have from ancient Biblical history were not open questions when they were written. Oral tradition was critical to honoring a family legacy. Written text was like gold. If we are incapable of understanding cultural and historical context, then its better to remain silent.
    If the Bible is silent on a topic it was either know by everyone and was insignificant to pass on or God deemed it unimportant to reveal to His prophets. I for one do not take lightly mocking God.

  36. Paul says

    The ancient peoples would have understood the antagonisms that would have at times occured between settled farmers dwelling in cities and semi-nomadic herdsmen dwelling in camps; since prehistoric times. The fact that Cain was religious like his brother Abel reminds us that this tale is still revelant due to the fratricide occuring presently between people of the same race adhering to diverse religious beliefs. The Lord counsels Cain and warns him, ” but if you don’t do right, sin is crouching at the door; its urge is toward you, yet you can be its master” (Genesis 4:7). Indeed, it is in some people’s interests to emphasize the differences of other religions or sects rather than the similarities between them. Often neglected are the mystical traditions of medieval times that linked together Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which arose from the revival of philosophical thought developed from the schools of Plato and Aristotle
    The 13th century work of Jewish mysticism, the Book of Zohar, contains theories based on the philosophical doctrine of the soul that often contradict one another. The modern commentator, Isaiah Tishby, in his “The Wisdom of the Zohar, vol. 2″, attempts to streamline this reservoir that combines philosophy with scripture. In the earliest part of the Zohar, humans have an animal soul (nephesh) whose desires are the source of sin, and and intellectual soul (neshamah) that functions to serve as a stimulus to religious activity.
    “The nephesh hayyah (soul of the living), the lesser of the two, was formed from the earth when Adam was created, and it has a terrestrial, physical origin in every man” (p.708). This is also called the vital soul, since the Hebrew word for vitality is “hiyyut” is akin to the word for beasts, “hayyot”.
    “In contrast to the lowly and coarse nature of the vital soul we have the neshamah (breath), a holy force, whose principle function is to guide man along the right path and to draw him near to God. By following its instructions man will acquire life in the future world.” (p. 709). It is this future world that is the source of the breath of life, existing beyond the limitations of this world, and comprises of both past and future.
    “Rabbi Isaac said: In respect to the soul (neshamah) that He provides, for [the wicked man] goes and clings to the power of the beasts. This is the meaning of ‘But man does not remain in honor. He is like the beasts that perish’ (Psalm 49:13)” (p.780). This statement was extracted from the section of the Zohar Hadash, Bereshith, 16a-16c, also known as the Midrash ha-Ne’elam. Since Tishby’s book is an anthology, he was careful to omit one detail of which I have been unable to find an English translation of: “the intriguing reference to cannabis in the context of a fleeting comprehension of the knowledge of God” (Zohar; The Book of Enlightenment, by Daniel Matt. 226). In other words, this is something one might briefly comprehend while high, but quickly forget.
    In the Sumerian poem “Lugalbanda and the Mountain cave,” the hero, Lugalbanda, is acompanying his seven brothers on a military comapain against “Aratta ,the mountain of the holy divine powers.” While his brothers are noblemen who command troops, Lugalbanda is a virtual nobody who is introduced only as “their eighth one.” But like David in 1 Samuel 17, he would prevail over his brothers and become king of Unug (Uruk). Along the way he becomes ill and his brothers leave him in a cave supplied with provisions until he should recouperate. Upon recovery he leaves the cave and embarks on a kind of vision quest: “The rolling rivers, mothers of the hills, brought life-saving water. He bit on the life-saving plants, he sipped from the life-saving water … Like a lone wild ass of Sakkan he darted over the mountains .Like a large powerful donkey he raced; a slim donkey, eager to run, he bounded along.” This recalls Ishmael as being “a wild donkey of a man” (Genesis 16:12), and when his mother Hagar left Ishmael under one of the shrubs (Genesis 21:15), this calls to mind the fact that the word for shrub, (siyach, Genesis 2:5), is related to meditation, as in “May my meditation (siyach) be pleasing to Him (Psalm 104:33,34). It has been suggested that the vicinity of Beer Lachai Roi (Well of the Seeing One) where the angel appeared to Hagar, had become a shrine to which Isaac visited when he was “meditating (suach) in the field” in Genesis 24:62 (Meditation and the Bible, by Aryeh Kaplan, p.101).
    Like Lugalbanda, Ishmael had revived his vitality, with the Sumerian god Sakkan being responsible for the fertility of “all the beasts on land” (Genesis 1:30). Lugalbanda may have also discovered the foretelling of future events through dreams, as the poem describes him making a bed out of “the pure herb of the mountains,” where he “lay down not to sleep, he lay down to dream – not turning back at the door of the dream, not turning back at the door-pivot. To the liar it talks in lies, to the truthful it speaks truth. iT can make one man happy, it can make another man sing, but it is the closed tablet-basket of the gods.” A waking dream, like the kind mentioned in “The Matrix.”
    “I dot not know of dust to dust
    I live from breath to breath
    I live to climb that mountain
    to the fountain of Lamneth.
    Yet my eyes are drawn toward
    the mountain in the east
    fascinates and captivates
    gives my heart no peace.”
    “Fountain of Lamneth”, by Rush

  37. Eburk says

    Many like to look beyond the truth of the bible, and peer into “artfully contrived stories” of Jewish mystics and story tellers. This is not in line with the scriptural thought of “keeping hold to the healthful pattern of words”. (2Tim. 1:13) Paul in fact warned the congregation in Crete of such stories (Titus 1:14) he told the Cretans to avoid the Jewish Fables. Why? Because these stories were the stories of “old women” (1Tim 4:7) and had no place being taught in the first century congregation. Consider one such story that Paul, being a student of Jewish oral and scriptural tradition would have been familiar with.

    The apocryphal story of Tobit written over two hundred years prior to Paul tells of a pious Jew named Tobit who had the dung of a bird land in his eye and blind him. He sends his son Tobias to collect a debt. On the way Tobias is directed by an angel to collect the Heart, Liver, and Gall of a fish. He then encounters a widow who is still a virgin because , although being married seven times her husbands were all killed by an evil spirit on the wedding night. Tobias is prompted by the angel to marry the widow and uses the heart and liver to drive off the wicked spirit and later uses the gall to restore Tobit’s sight. This tale is truly not truthful but a Jewish fable. It is steeped in occultic practices that the Israelites were warned against practicing, and is full of superstitious teachings. Further at Tobit 1:4,11, 14:1 we see the historical inaccuracies. Tobit is said to have been witness to both the revolt of the ten tribe kingdoms of Israel and the deportation to Nineveh. These events are separated by 257 years according to biblical and secular historians such as Josephus. This is just one of the examples of Jewish fables that were prevalent in Paul’s day.

    It is no wonder then that those who search for the truth of the bible are warned repeatedly in the scriptures not to fall prey to the empty deceptions of human thinking. These artfully contrived stories do nothing but pull people away from the true teachings of Jesus. So we should heed Paul’s counsel to Timothy (1 Tim 6:3-5) do not be teachers of things contrary to the Christ.

  38. JAY A TOMPKINS says

    Getting back to the original article, the tradition is that Cain married Abel’s twin sister, as commanded by Adam. Abel was commanded also, to marry Cain’s twin sister. The early 19th century commentator, Adam Clarke reasoned that both Cain and Abel raised families well before the birth of Seth. The interpretation is that after Cain killed Abel, Cain took Abel’s widow as his wife which is recorded possibly in Gen 4:17. The Jewish commentary suggests that Cain was the author of the genocide of Abel’s “potential” family although I believe that Adam Clarke was correct.

    The idea that Cain married his sister flies in the face of modern practice plus the Mosaic law. But traditions still vary from society to society. For example in the northern US it is considered immoral to marry a first cousin but it is not in British society and in some places in the southern US (there are many jokes about this). However, my grandparents, from well respected English families, were married in 1917 in England and they were first cousins.

  39. Benth says

    Mrs Leith is on to something. If you look up Gen 4 you’ll see that Cain, as some of you have found out, after Abels death feared that other men would kill him. But if Adam and Eve – his parents – were the only ones left besides Cain (Abel was dead, remember), did he fear his parents then?

    Nope, he feared the descendants of the ones in Gen 1 v.26. The old text uses the word “adam” about these people, too. Not as a spesific person, but as a lot – as men and women in plural. These were “bara” (created/produced), while Adam – the single man – was “yatsar” (formed). The men and women as a part of the creation, but Adam the man, as a part of the great divine plan of salavation.

    As a man with a mission – as the first son of God. Made from dust, not inside Eden, but outside and before Eden (yep, that’s right. Read your Bible again). In 2 Cor 15:22/45 Paul makes it clear that Jesus came as no.2 – as the second Adam. Why? Because the first one failed his task. Failed to stand up against the serpents temptation.

    So sin – and death, ‘cos death is a reaction to action, a consequence of sin – must be older than Adam, because the serpent must have fallen first. Not according to the law in Eden, but according the law God made for the heavens. He created heavens – “shamayim” – first, remember. And then the created “erets” – translated as “Earth”. So the serpent came crawling because the angels free will was tested first. And because some of them, including the devil in shape of the serpent, failed.

    And suddenly it all makes sense, right? Including Cains marriage in a nearby town etc. Btw: The 6000 years often referred to as the time since creation, is in fact the age of Adams bloodline. The Bible says nothing about the age of the creation as a whole. Regards.

  40. Sebastian says

    Our Readers Ask . . .

    Where Did Cain Find His Wife?

    ▪ “If Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel, where did Cain’s wife come from?” Although this is often asked as a trick question by Bible skeptics, the Bible does provide sufficient detail to give a satisfactory answer.

    Genesis chapters 3 and 4 present the following information: (1) Eve was “the mother of everyone living.” (2) Time elapsed between the birth of Cain and his offering the sacrifice that was rejected by God. (3) Following his banishment to become “a wanderer and a fugitive,” Cain worried that ‘anyone finding him’ might try to kill him. (4) God set up a sign to protect Cain, indicating that either his siblings or other relatives might try to kill him. (5) “Afterward,” Cain had intercourse with his wife in “the land of Fugitiveness.”—Genesis 3:20; 4:3, 12, 14-17.

    From the above, we can rightly conclude that Cain’s wife was a descendant of Eve born on an unknown date. Genesis 5:4 acknowledges that during his 930 years of life, Adam “became father to sons and daughters.” Of course, the Bible does not specify that Cain’s wife was Eve’s daughter. Indeed, the fact that she is mentioned after Cain’s banishment indicates that enough time had passed that she could even have been one of Adam and Eve’s granddaughters. Hence, The Amplified Old Testament describes Cain’s wife simply as “one of Adam’s offspring.”

    Nineteenth-century Bible commentator Adam Clarke speculated that God’s establishing a sign as a result of Cain’s fear came about because several generations of Adam’s descendants already existed—enough “to found several villages.”

    That Cain married his sister or a later female descendant of Adam through the marriage of any of Adam’s sons or daughters is viewed by some societies today as unthinkable. This is usually because of societal taboos or fear of genetic defects. Nevertheless, F. LaGard Smith comments in The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order: “It is altogether likely that these first brothers and sisters enter into marriages with each other, despite the sense of inappropriateness which would be felt should that occur in following generations.” Also, it is noteworthy that it was not until Moses received God’s laws for the nation of Israel in 1513 B.C.E. that intercourse between such close relatives was specifically forbidden.—Leviticus 18:9, 17, 24.

    Today, we are millenniums away from the perfection once possessed by our original parents. The effect that genetics and heredity have on us might not have been a factor for them. Furthermore, recent studies, such as one published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling, show that unions between first cousins face lower risks of having children with birth defects than is widely perceived. Reasonably, such issues would not have been a serious concern during Adam’s life span or even prior to Noah’s day. Thus, we can conclude that Cain’s wife was one of his female relatives.
    http://m.wol.jw.org/es/wol/dsync/r4/lp-s/r1/lp-e/2010649#h=0-1&selpar=0
    also
    http://m.wol.jw.org/es/wol/dsync/r4/lp-s/r1/lp-e/1101989257#h=0-1&selpar=0

  41. Veli says

    I think Adam lived about 2000 BC among other humans in Southern Mesopotamia. Gen 2:4-11:32 is the origins of Adam’s tribe, not the whole humankind. The Giants and the Sons-of-God were simply neighboring tribes. Gen 2:21-3:24 is a prophetic dream, where Adam saw who is a suitable wife for him, and also received a promise about the Messiah in the same prophecy

  42. Eugene says

    Cain is a mythical figure. He did not exist.

  43. Seikanyo says

    This Is Great! Glory Be To Our GOD!

  44. deano says

    The lack of respect in evidence-based science in favor of stories passed along generations trying to figure out the origin of all things is incredible. How would anyone know and be able to pass on an accurate description of what happened so many generations before there was a written word? Our oldest mitochondrial relatives go back a minimum of 100,000 years and that is only the female. The male line could predate that number. Open your minds to the evidence that is all around you. Your holy book is filled with stories that are just that: stories. Paul Bunyan is just as real.

  45. Carl says

    Mrs. Cain

  46. jeff says

    I would follow the Biblical account , that would make the most sense. Cain married his sister. Who else would he have married ? THERE IS NO other conclusion one can come to. If you don’t believe the biblical narrative,as another replier has mention ‘ it is open to any assumption or presupposition’. Sometime in the beginning someone had to have sexual relations with his sister for pedigree sake. The normal literal sense of scripture is always the best way to understand scripture unless the text in question otherwise demands .

  47. Michael says

    I believe science and God can exists together. That being said, Noah and Adam can be, but do not have to be all. Adam may have been the first to know God. Noah the person God choose to save man on earth. But there is most possible, Adam was not the first humanoid, or that all the diversities of animals fit into one small place not very long ago. These are interesting theories to text. All written by man. Only two or three times has God wrote to man. So it is faith we must go by. Science is able to help support these things. As in the order of earth being as it is now, and the Sun and Moon.

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