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Cain's wife

Query for the Month

of

August 2008

Next up-date: September 1st 2008 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.


Query:

Genesis 4:17

And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Where did Cain's wife come from?

 

Answer:

In the beginning, God said, “Be fruitful and multiply” Genesis 1:2, so once started Adam and Eve had many children. (I believe Jewish tradition says 97!) In the Bible we are only told of those we need to know about, namely, Cain, Abel and Seth.  The latter was born when Adam was 130 years old, so there was plenty of time for others to be born between the three named children.  

Assuming five years between births (and that could be generous for they were physically very fit), there could have been twenty-six altogether.  Many of these would have been girls, so the brothers had a lot of choice.  Therefore the short answer to the query is that Cain married one of his sisters. 

This was not a problem – after all, Adam married someone who had come from within him! 

The prohibition against marrying siblings did not come till the days of Moses.

About 500 years before this, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was his sister, but from another mother.  He concealed that fact from both the king of Egypt and the king of Gerar at different times because she was so beautiful and different that many men wanted her.  “And Abimelech said to Abraham, ‘What saw you, that you have done this thing?’  And Abraham said, ‘Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.  And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.  And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, This is your kindness which you shall show to me; at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is my brother’.”  Genesis 20:10-13.

But by the time of the exodus, and because of the family intermarrying which had taken place in the Egyptian sojourn, God said to Moses that the people should now look further afield for their mates.  “You shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments: which if a man do, he shall live [long] in them: I am the LORD [who knows best].   None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD [and this is My advice] .  .  .  The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or daughter of your mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad [from a previous marriage, a half-sister], even their nakedness you shall not uncover.  The nakedness of your son's daughter, or of your daughter's daughter [grandchildren], even their nakedness you shall not uncover: for theirs is your own nakedness” [they have your DNA].  Leviticus 18:5-6; 9-10.

This statute was given because of the increased risk of mental and physical problems which was now posed by such unions.

Our query also tells us that Cain had a grown-up son named Enoch.  (We should not confuse him with the righteous Enoch who was born to Jared five generations later.)  In fact, both Cain and Abel had married and produced children, which is why they came before separate altars to worship the LORD in their own right as heads of families. 

“And in process of time [quite a few years] it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering: but to Cain and to his offering He had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell”. Genesis 4:3-5.

Cain’s offering was bloodless and was the work of his own hands, while Abel’s showed his belief in the death of the Son of God – he offered a lamb as a symbol of He who had been “slain from the foundation of the world”.  Revelation 13:8.  Both of them had been educated in the ways of God and His salvation plan by their parents, but Cain had chosen to disregard them, which is why the LORD could not accept his offering.

Abel, “righteous Abel” as he is called (Matthew 23:35), exercised faith in his Saviour when he did his.  “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks”.  Hebrews 11:4.

By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain.  It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference.  That's what God noticed and approved as righteous.  After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice”. Heb 11:4.  (The Message translation.)

However, Abel was NOT looking forward to a Christ dying on a cross, but praising God for the FACT that he had already had an experience with Him who had died “at the foundation of the world”.  It is said of Abel, “he obtained witness [from God] that he WAS righteous [in Christ]”.

Then we come to another point:

there were enough people around for Cain and many others to move out to what was to become the plain of Shinar and build a city.  A city is not needed for one family, and requires quite a bit of manual labour to build and maintain.  This tells us that more than a few of his brothers had also married and produced children whom they wanted to protect.

Let’s look at this.

True to his nature, Cain blamed God for his situation, even though it was his own action that had precipitated the crisis.

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 4:

13  And Cain said unto the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.  14 Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from Your face [and care] shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that EVERY ONE that finds me shall slay me” [in revenge for Abel’s death].

15 And the LORD said to him, “Therefore whosoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him SEVENFOLD”.  And the LORD set a mark [of protection] upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

***************(End Quote)

So here we find that Cain believed that a murderer could be killed by any of the relatives of the dead man!  Naturally, those of his brothers and sisters who chose to leave home and set up house with him were not bothered by his action, so it must be those of his brethren who were following the LORD’s way that he means. 

That’s why God put that mark on his forehead – it was a warning to His people that they were NOT to take revenge for Abel – that was to be in God’s hands and would involve a seven-fold result.  Regarding that subject, He says, “To Me belongs vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste [by God’s reckoning]”.  Deuteronomy  32:35.

Although there were obviously those who believed God and followed Him, there was still the temptation for them to take the law into their own hands.  This He warned them against.

Thus we can see that the separation of humanity took place at that moment.  Those who chose to rebel against God’s laws left and established their own place and rules.  Those who remained loyal stayed where they were.  There has always only been two groups.

Then we are told; “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: ‘For God’, said she, ‘has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew’.  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.   Genesis 4:25-26.  The margin reads, “Then men began to call themselves by the name of the LORD”. 

Another translation puts it this way;  “And then Seth had a son whom he named Enosh. That's when men and women began praying and worshiping in the name of God”.  Gen 4:26 (The Message translation.)

All this happened within the one hundred and thirty years that we have already read about as occurring between creation and Seth’s birth, plus the one hundred and five years that Seth lived before the birth of his son.  Genesis 5:6.  So soon after two hundred and thirty-five years from creation the separation was obvious and the rebellion complete.  One group lived near the gates of the Garden of Eden, and the other in the “land of Nod, on the east of Eden [towards the sun rise].”  Genesis 4:16.  God’s people lived on the land, but the rebels lived in a city which they thought would give them protection – rather like some of the survivors of the Flood.  

It is written of these survivors “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech [after the Flood].  And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.  And they said one to another, ‘Go to [O.K.], let us make brick, and burn [cook] them thoroughly’ [to make them strong].  And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.  And they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’.” Genesis 11:1-4.

After Cain and his followers separated they made many changes to the laws of God – or at least they disregarded them and set up their own – but this is not the place to go into that.  What we have seen is that marriage between brother and sister was the norm in the early days, but that as time went on and the deterioration of human health accelerated, the LORD laid down principles of separation to  help slow down those effects.

Conclusion: 

Cain married one of his sisters because that was not an illegal action in those days.  We are not told anything of the births of the other children of Adam and Eve because that information is not relevant to the story of how the earthly rebellion began.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from September 1st, 2008.

If sin is the destroyer, and we are destroyed by being separated from God the life giver, why is it that the least wicked will perish in the lake of fire sooner than those more wicked?  You would think that those most wicked have sinned more and should therefore separate more from God and thus perish sooner . . .

This simple analogy might suggest that the question of whether God is or isn’t a destroyer is more complex than we have previously supposed.  If we say that the matter will at that time be completely out of God’s hands and the wicked will be at the mercy of the elements, why should one human perish sooner than another seeing that all are of the same flesh? . . .   

If God is so loving, why doesn’t He simply destroy all the wicked in an instant and thus limit their suffering?  Is this because He can’t, because they have separated themselves from Him?  If so then shouldn’t they die in an instant, or shouldn’t the least wicked outlast the most wicked? This brings us back to the initial question. 

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