38 Question 3

This question comes up from time to time and I am happy to try to give you the scriptural answer.  We do know from the Bible that Cain killed his brother, Abel.  Isn’t it sad to realize that the first person ever born was the first murderer?  It speaks directly to man’s hard heart.  We also know that after killing Abel, Cain dwelt in the land of Nod.  We read in Genesis 4:16-17, “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.”  So, we know that Cain had a wife.  Who was she?  Where did she come from?

Let’s read Genesis 5:4-5 which says, “And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.”  Of all the children that Adam and Eve had, we only know three of them by name: Cain, Abel, and Seth.  Living 930 years, it’s easy to assume that Adam and Eve had many, many children.  As strange as it may seem, it is logical to think that Cain’s wife was his sister.  Scripture is very clear that Adam was the only man that the Lord formed from the dust of the earth.  Eve was formed from a rib out of Adam’s side.  All humankind came through these two.

It wasn’t until the Lord gave the law to Moses that marrying one that was closely related was forbidden.  Leviticus 18:6-10 says, “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.  The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.”  If you read further in this chapter, you’ll see other close relations that were forbidden.

Let’s back up a little and read Genesis 20:11-12, “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.”  Abraham married Sarah.  She was Abraham’s half-sister.

So, I think we can readily see that Cain must have married his sister.  Looking at the life of Abraham and others, we can see that it wasn’t uncommon in the time that they lived.  (38.3)