Genesis 4 discusses the descendants of Cain:

"Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah." Genesis 4:17-22

Why are we given details about what the descendants of Cain did? Is there some special significance to these details?

  • See the answer to christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/26802/…
    – BYE
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 20:36
  • @CecilBeckum, but why even tell us all the information about a lineage doomed to die in the flood? It makes it seem as though there's some importance to who they were and what they did.
    – RW-S
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 16:07
  • Because it teaches that there is no unblemished humanity, and even though Seth began a line dedicated to serving God, the intermarrying between the descendants of Seth and Cain had blemished all humanity even as had Adam and Eve. That imperfection was even handed down after Noah. Noah was declared righteous, but not the rest of his family.
    – BYE
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


To me, it sounds like a recounting of early civilization: domestication of animals, music, metallurgy, city building. A secular anthropologist would tell a story of hominids evolving over millions of years culminating with emergence of homo sapiens in Africa. Then the story shifts into high gear as humans migrated all over the world and culture, technology and cities grew.

The first 11 chapters of the bible explain how we came to be and why we are the way we are. There are lots of similarities between the story the bible tells and what anthropologists think happened.


Yes, there is a special significance to these names. As far as I know, the descendants of Cain did not die as did the descendants of Seth . . . Whereas of the descendants of Seth it is said "And all the days of x were xxx years: and he died" (Gen 5:8,11,14,17,20,27,31), no such words are used for any of Cain's descendants, see Gen 4:17 ff.

The significance of these names is not in what "they" (the imaginative people with those names) have done. It is in what these names by themselves represent. Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve represents a living representative of the Tetragrammaton. The second son (Abel) died, not because Cain killed him, but because he could not stand the truth which Cain tried to tell him (Gen 4:8 "Cain talked with Abel"). Abel represents a weak container of that which is poured into it, whereas Cain is a blueprint for the kind of man who could carry the human seed into the future. Abel is the dogmatic person, who believes that he needs to appease a God with animal sacrifice (very much a pagan ritual), while Cain is immersed with God's very nature of life, death and rebirth and does not need approval. God protects Cain, but Cain is being judged for what nobody understands.

Seth is the "natural" line after Cain and Abel, of whom it is said that his descendants "began to call upon the name of the Lord" (Gen 4:26). Most read into it the "worship of God". But why then doesn't it say "began to call upon the Lord"? Note that "Lord" and "God" are different words in Hebrew. And "Lord" stands for the Tetragrammaton, God's name. And even though the descendants of Seth know how to write this name, they only refer to it indirectly, unlike Cain. See Gen 4:1, which shows what Eve says when she has delivered Cain into the world, which is translated as "I have gotten a man from the Lord", but in Hebrew there is no "from" and it is at least strange that she doesn't say "infant boy" but a full-grown "man". This verse just plainly says "This perfect image (Quph) of YHVH which was possible to form within me (Nuwn-Yuwd) and which I have delivered (Tav-Yuwd), this man (Aleph-Yuwd-Shiyn), is totally YHVH". And note that Eve was the first person to pronounce God's name. She knew its meaning, but did not call upon it.

This truth is further codified by the "mark" that God set on Cain. The Hebrew word for "mark" is spelled Alaph-Vav-Tav: this mark is the knowledge of the Hebrew Alphabet, signified by the Aleph and Tav, the first and the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.

Cain's descendants are recorded up till the seventh generation, mimicking that God "rested" on the seventh day. This number seven indicates the possibilities that come from the mindset which unites opposites (Aleph and Tav, light and darkness, life (Cain) and death (Abel)), which make the two one.

More revelations about the Hebrew and how without it you can never understand the Bible, can be found here http://TheEndOfReligion.weebly.com


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