The Genealogy of Cain

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What is the genealogy of Cain? What made him and his lineage both unique and creative? What is their link to the Jubilee year? How does his descendants compare with those of Seth found in Genesis 5?

Genealogy Fast Facts

William Whiston is known for his translation of the entire works of Jewish historian Josephus. In his translation he states that one particularly old tradition says that Adam and Eve produced not only Cain, Abel and Seth, but also 30 other sons and 23 daughters (Footnote on Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Section 3).

The genealogy of Cain, Adam's firstborn, is delineated in Genesis 4. Genesis 5, in contrast, lists the firstborn sons from Seth, Adam's third son. Although Genesis 4 reveals six generations that sprang from Cain, Genesis 5 records nine generations that can trace their genealogy to Seth.

Cain's genealogy found in Genesis 4 is the first of at least twenty-four found in the Bible! Twenty-two of these are recorded in the Old Testament, such as those for Japheth (Genesis 10:1 - 5), Ham (verses 6 - 20), Shem (verses 22 - 31), Abraham (Genesis 25:1 - 4, 12 - 18) and others.

The Genealogy of Cain Chart

The only two genealogies in the New Testament reveal Jesus' legal lineage through Joseph (Matthew 1) and his descendants by blood through Mary (Luke 3).

Genesis 5 lists, for each son that represents a generation, how old their father was when they were born. It also reveals how long the father lived after their birth and his age when he died. Genesis 4, however, for Cain's lineage only lists the name of the firstborn sons with the exception of Adam and Lamech.

And Cainan lived seventy years and begat Mahalaleel. And after he begat Mahalaleel, Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years. And he begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years. And he died (Genesis 5:12 - 14, HBFV).

And Irad was born to Enoch. And Irad begat Mehujael, and Mehujael begat Methusael, and Methusael begat Lamech (Genesis 4:18, HBFV).

The Restless Murderer

Cain, after being cursed by God for becoming humanity's first murderer, fled east of Eden into the land of Nod.

And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and lived in the land of Nod, to the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:16 - 17, HBFV).

Nod, in Hebrew, means "wandering" or "vagrancy" (Strong's #H5113). The land of Nod received its name due to Cain wandering within it (Genesis 4:11 - 12). This restless wandering and inability to experience internal peace, caused by unrepentant sin, was first suffered by Lucifer after he rebelled (see Job 1:7, 2:2, 1Peter 5:8).

Cain built the first city recorded in the Bible and named it after his son Enoch (Genesis 4:17). Interestingly, even though he built the first city, it is God who will build the last one! After God completes his awesome and wonderful plan of salvation he will create a magnificent New Jerusalem and place it on a renewed earth (Revelation 21)!

It was Cain, according to Josephus, who first created various weights and measures (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Section 2).

Cain's name is recorded 20 times in 17 King James verses. Of these occurrences he appears three times in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:4, 1John 3:12, Jude 1:11).


Lamech is the first polygamist mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:19). This behavior, where one man is married to more than one woman at the same time, was usually indulged in only by the wealthy or powerful.

And Lamech took two wives to himself: the name of the first one was Adah, and the name of the other was Zillah. And Adah bore Jabal . . . And his brother’s name was Jubal . . . And Zillah also bore Tubal-Cain (Tubalcain) . . . And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah (Genesis 4:19 - 22, HBFV).

Lamech, Adam and Noah are the only three men, in Genesis 4 and 5's genealogies, where one or more of their non-firstborn children is recorded.

According to Josephus, Lamech ultimately produced seventy-seven children through his two wives Adah and Zillah (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Section 2).

Sons of Lamech

Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp (kinnor) and flute (ugab). Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron . . . (Genesis 4:20 - 22, NIV).

The kinnor, translated as "harp" above, was created by Cain's distant descendant Jubal. It has the distinction of being the first musical instrument recorded in the Bible. This instrument, sometimes referred to as King David's harp, had strings and was small enough to be played while walking (1Samuel 10:5).

Ugab is erroneously translated as "organ" in the King James version of Genesis 4:21. It was a wind instrument, with possibly a double or manifold pipe, which was similar to a flute.

Whiston's footnotes on Josephus' writings links Jubal to the Jubilee year that ancient Israel was, much later, commanded to observe.

"From this Jubal, not improbably, came Jobel, the trumpet of jobel or jubilee; that large and loud musical instrument, used in proclaiming the liberty at the year of jubilee." (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Section 2).

Tubal-Cain was the first person to work with bronze and iron. Josephus states he was also the first one to work with brass (an alloy of copper and zinc, ibid.).

Tubal-Cain not only made domestic utensils out of metal but also implements of war (Adam Clarke's Commentary and John Gill's Exposition of Genesis 4:22). His weapons were used to fuel humanity's indulgence in violence that would ultimately lead to the flood.

"They (the posterity of Cain) were intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies; and if any one were slow to murder people, yet was he bold in his profligate behavior, in acting unjustly, and doing injuries for gain." (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Section 2).

And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast . . ." (Genesis 6:5 - 7, see also verses 11 - 13).

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