Emails & Questions
Cain and Abel --
Q: Where did Cain get his wife, did he marry his sister?
A: This is a question the experts and the lay person has been asking for millennia and more. The answer is multiple choice. First, it is suggested he married his sister. While the Genesis story begins with the two sons, Cain the oldest and Abel the younger, there is no mention of daughter, not until later, but this in no way means that Adam and Eve only had two grown boys/men. ZIn fact, we are intorduced to Cain and Abel as grown men, already making their way in the world, on a rancher and the other a farmer. They could have had several sisters by this time.
But, when it comes time for the crime of murder and Cain being confronted by YaHWeH all Cain thought about was himself. His parents had already been driven from the Garden, but they must have all been living in close proximity to the Garden area, so they were not within the protection of the Garden, yet Cain feared for his life if he were to be driven from the "presence" of YaHWeH. Apparently they all lived in a geographically protected area that YaHWeH kept to Himself. We know this because of Cain's reaction to having to leave and go on out into the world at large. And what was Cain't fear? That those outside of this "presence" of additional protection, Cain feared for his life, he express a fear of others who might kill him. YaHWeH reassured him by telling him He would put a mark on him, the Mark of Cain, and that no one would bother him, but rather be afraid of him. Yes, YaHWeH outlined a curse on the head of anyone that might think to kill Cain, but this, in effect, is the protection of fear. To kill Cain would like killing God. It is possible that people did not go around saying that you had better not go around that guy with the Mark or you might kill him by accident and then you will receive a double curse, no, in more of a phyical application -- the people in the land of NOD, outside of the protection and presence of YaHWeH would see Cain as someone specail, after all, he was able to build a city, not a town, or a villiage, or a camp, but a city and this would require labor, and lots of it. Why would savage man,say, in the outside of the presence of YaHWeH join up with a man like Cain unless they saw him as something more than themselves, a god even.
The Egyptian Pharaohs were marked in this way, so maybe Cain was the first man to be seen as a son of the gods. Cain's mark may have been more inspiration than an actual branding, and this person, Cain, having come from the land of the gods, that area of YaHWeH's presence, must be one himself. This, then, would give Cain all the influence he needed to get others to build a City for him. Look what the Egyptians did for a man god and family? They built monuments that people travel to see. Cain was the first city builder and unless the people in the land of Nod saw him as something more than a mere man, why would they go to such lengths, when they had not done anything like this themselves? Out of this city came the fine arts, the construction of musical instruments, the developement of smelting iron -- that is when the real iron age began.
(Gen 4:9) And the YaHWeH said unto Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?(Gen 4:10) And he said, What have you done? the voice of your brother's blood cries unto me from the ground.(Gen 4:11) And now are you cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand;(Gen 4:12) When you till the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto you her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall you be in the earth.(Gen 4:13) And Cain said unto the YaHWeH, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Poor Cain, he had just murdered his own brother, but as you will read, he is actually requesting a special compensation.
Cain is given a stay of execution. According to Torah, a life for a life, especially in the case of murder. But, the Civil covenant for the nation Israel had not been written yet. Just and observation, the real point here is that we can see the self-centered Cain is not remorseful of his brother's death but only concerned about his own wellfare. And the merciful YaHWeH give Cain specail protection, a protection that Cain will put to good use.(Gen 4:14) Behold, you have driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from your face 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 findeth me shall slay me.(Gen 4:15) And the YaHWeH said to him, "Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the YaHWeH set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
We need to note that the land of Nod is "east" of the land of Eden and within this Eden territory was located the Garden -- the Garden of Eden. This land of Eden is where YaHWeH's presence was known to be, so all of the children of Adam and Eve were living in this special place, this land of Eden, from which Cain was forced to leave. Because Cain feared for his life, not from people in Eden, but for those living outside of the Eden territory. Perhaps the people of Nod saw the land of Eden as the land of the gods? Think about some of the ancient myths, the gods of the ancients all seem to be very human, with all the short coming and faults of humans but with godly powers, then they aways lived in a high place, like a mountain or in the clouds. Cain comes down from the moutain area of the gods and lives among the people of Nod, who, perhaps, see him as a god. This would not be the last time that humans would be worshiped as gods, our human history is full of Cains, with seemingly special protection.(Gen 4:16) And Cain went out from the presence of the YaHWeH, and lived in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
Some have suggested that the land of Nod is a wordplay because Nod means vagabond so they immediately connect this to Cain because YaHWeH said that he would be a vagabond in the land, while totally ignoring that this place is given a place, east of Eden. Perhaps, and this is what I have come to believe, Nod is the place east of Eden where the vagabond life and this it what Cain was afraid of when he said, "...everyone that finds me...", showing a concern for those who are in the land of Nod killing him.
According to the Strong's Hebrew Dictionary and the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Difinitions, this word Nod is pronounced, Nud, Nuwd, or Nood and it means to move to and fro, to wander. The land of Nod is the land wandering -- it would seem that those living in the land of Nod move about with no real purpose, that is until Cain showed up, then he gave them purpose, building cities and becoming a people of industry. In Geneisis 4:10-4, we read about Lamech, son of Cain, who has three sons that come to be the builders of what we call, civilization. Through these men musical instruments are created and the working of metals is developed. What is interesting is that this is the only place in the narative were other women are named, that is, other than Eve the mother of all. Why? It is my opinion, speculating, of course, that because the wives of Lamech are mentioned is, perhaps, to signify the first polygaymist marriage and at the end of this narrative there is the mention of one of Lemech's son's wife. Staying with my theory this would mean the first time a brother married his own sister. If this is a consideration and a real possibility then all of the speculations about who the sons married would move from sisters to other women. Enter the story about the sons of god marrying the daughters of men (common men) -- Genesis 6:1-4.
This is the first mention about Cain's wife. He could have married a sister but the context suggest he went to the land of Nod and there found a wife and started a family. However, Cain is not the only one to begin having children. After he left we are told about his parents, Adam and Eve, having more children, sons and daughters -- Genesis 5:4.(Gen 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.
Cain goes out into the land of the vagabounds, that is wanders, and begins to circumvent the judgment pronounced upon him. Instead of becoming a wanderer, like the rest of those living outside of YaHWeH's presence, he build a city and this had to have taken place very soon after leaving Eden, because he has a son, Enoch (not the Enoch of the Seth line) and Cain names his city after his first born, Enoch. Then we are given a genealogy of those who followed. There must have still been some communication with his family in Eden, and the reasoning for this is in the genealofy tables following the birth of his parents next son, Seth, from Enoch on down the names of those born are very similar, on both sides. People naming new born after people aready living, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. My personal take on this is that for Cain to continue to present himself as a god to the wanderers of Nod his children would have to have the names, or very similar names to the gods. If the wanderer of Nod already believed those living in the Eden were gods, then to speak of any god or gods living in Eden would be to speak the names of the children of Cain as well. Cain, by naming his children after the gods living in Eden would be to perpetuate the idea among the people of Nod that they, that is the family of Cain are gods too and come from the land of Eden, where the gods live.
Cain goes into the land of the wanderers and takes a wife, this would give this god-man a real connection with the people and from this Cain organizes the people and begins the building of a city. We find that later his sons begin the sciences of music and metallurgy, becoming a civilized, modern society of construction, weaponry and the musical arts.