Archive for the ‘Cain’ Category

Where did Cain find a wife?

March 18, 2009

Cain is the first born of the first humans, Adam and Eve. His story is familiar to most. He offers an unworthy sacrifice to God and is chastised, while his brother Abel offers an acceptable one and is praised. In a jealous rage Cain murdered his brother. As a consequence he was punished by God, sent away and “knew” (had sex with) his wife.

There have been all sorts of crazy theories about where Cain’s wife came from, and most of them come from an improper reading of the scripture. Genesis 4:16 states that after Cain was punished by God, he left and dwelt in the land of Nod and there the Bible states in Genesis 4:17 that Cain “knew” his wife and she bore a son named Enoch. The assumption that most people make is that there were only 3 people on the earth at that time, Adam, Eve, and Cain, but this may not be the case at all.

According to Genesis 5:4 Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters and it does not specify when these children were born. Obviously the most logical answer from scripture is that Cain’s wife was one of his sisters or one of his sisters or a niece. As weird as that sounds to us now, keep in mind that God did not pronounce that as sin until the time of Moses. Genetic flaws began to bring about severe birth defects when the parents are too closely related. There are other reasons as well, but I won’t get into those here. The fact of the matter is that for humans to have continued as a species inter-marriage with close relatives was necessary.

In closing, to add to a previous point, the Bible does not say that Cain found a wife, only that he had sex with the wife he already had, who must have been a descendant of Adam and Eve.