The Origin of Cain's Wife

Thomas C. Hickey Jr.
Owensboro, Kentucky

The question under consideration at this time is one which appears to have been troublesome to many a casual student of the Bible. The more sincere students of the scriptures seldom trouble themselves greatly over those matters, which do not appear to be especially relevent to eternal salvation. The atheist, however, loves this and similar questions because he thinks to have found a means of striking out at the word of God. Because of this we are willing to devote this article to answering the query. "Where did Cain find a wife?"

Elapsed Time

It is often believed that Adam and Eve began immediately to procreate the species upon their expulsion from the garden. Moreover, it is concluded that the rejection of Cain's offering occurred just shortly following the expulsion, i.e. within a few years.

The Bible does not date either of these events. We do find a statement in Genesis 4:3 which suggests elapsed time. Moses wrote. "And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." The marginal note reads "end of days." The Word QETS (Hebrew) meaning "end, extremity" is rendered process once, border twice, utmost border once, and end fifty-one times. Whether or not a special period is here implied, it is obvious that time had elapsed. We know not how much.

How old was Adam when Cain was born? How old was he when he left the garden? How old was Cain at the time of his offering? How old was he at his marriage? How old was his wife? And, was he older than his wife? If so, how much?

Before saying that Cain had no sister of marriageable age, one must answer the preceding questions.

A logical Conclusion

That Cain in fact married his own sister in the flesh is a very logical and reasonable conclusion and the one, which most students will reach, even apart from a serious study of the question. If his wife was not his own sister, who were her parents? Was she, or were her parents, the objects of additional specific creation? Hardly, I believe. And, if so, God did not see fit to reveal it. There is no record of God's ever having created anyone other than Adam and Eve.

Not An Animal

Some have erroneously concluded that Cain's wife was an animal. One verse (Genesis 4:17) will explode this theory. "And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: . . ."

While many may have lain with beasts, none has ever produced an offspring through this relationship. It is a well-known scientific fact that the sperm of the human male will not fertilize the ovum of a female animal. Neither can the reverse occur. Yet Cain's wife conceived and bore an intelligent son, the builder of a city.

Further, Cain had a wife. The word wife is from ISHSHAH (Hebrew) and means "wife, woman." It occurs in the Old Testament approximately 250 times, always refers to humans, and nearly always is rendered in the feminine gender. A few times it is neuter.

Who Was Adam's Firstborn?

It is usually thought that Cain was Adam's firstborn, but this is easier to assume than to prove. It is a conceded fact that the early part of Genesis is not in chronological order, but that various passages or paragraphs overlap one another. Who can know but that Cain may even have had sisters older than he? Of a truth, Adam begat sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4).

Mother of All living - Eve

Genesis 3:20 tells us that Eve was the mother of all living. We readily understand that this has reference only to humanity.

The name "Eve" is from CHAVAH (Hebrew) and means "life, lifegiving" according to Young's Analytical Concordance. This name was given to Eve because she was the mother of the entire human family, inch ding Cain's wife. Eve could not be called the mother of all living unless she was also the mother of Cain's wife.

Father of the Negro Race?

There are some who erroneously believe that Cain was the father of the Negro race One tradition has it that the mark of Cain was a dark band around the midsection which eventually grew so as to cover the entire body. Even if this were true there could have been no pure strain of the Negro race unless Cain's wife were also similarly marked, of which there is not even a hint. Further, it is unlikely that this mark would have induced a mutation in the progeny. Again, this theory would only account for two races, the black and white, and would leave unexplained the presence of the red and the yellow races.

Of course, the clincher is that all Cain's descendents died in the flood anyway. All people living now are the descendants of Seth.

Not Wrong to Marry a Sister

Some cannot conceive of Cain's having married his own sister, but bear in mind that there were then no prohibitions against such. It would be as wrong to judge Cain by a law that did not exist then as to judge our fellows by a law, which does not exist now. For more than 2500 years it was not wrong to marry one's sister. Every student of the scriptures must learn to rightly divide the word.

Truth Magazine VII: 2, pp. 18-19
November 1962