After Cain kills Abel and God gives him protection, who is he being protected from?

Genesis 4:14

Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.

4 Answers 4


If we consider Genesis 5, we'll see the omission of Cain and Abel. It's at 130 years that Adam has a son named Seth. (v. 3) Either information about other offspring has been omitted, or prior to the birth of Seth, there were only Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel. Omission of other offspring is possible as this does occur in the Bible. If this is the case, then there were probably other offspring from Adam and Eve, whom Cain would have feared for his life.

In Genesis 4:16, it says Cain settled in the land of Nod. This is wordplay, since "Nod" means "wandering" (נוֹד), which Cain was punished to be a wanderer (נוּד). Whether or not the land of Nod was already a settlement, I don't know. Yet, in v. 17, Cain sleeps with an unnamed woman. The pseudepigrapha, the Book of Jubilees (or Lesser Genesis, an ironic name), Adam and Eve also have a daughter named 'Âwân (אָוֶן; "iniquity"), who ends up being Cain's wife.

And Cain took 'Âwân his sister to be his wife and she bare him Enoch at the close of the fourth jubilee. (Jubilees 4:10)


The KJV reads:

I shall be a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me (Gen 4:14)

Cain appears to be concerned about the future. As an outcast, he was afraid that future generations will come for him and slay him.


Your answer apparently lies in Genesis 6:1-2 (RSVCE) which says :

When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.

The Footnote attached to the verses state: “Sons of God could mean simply “divine beings,” as elsewhere in the Old Testament. The writer, however, may be using an old story or myth to point out the progressive degradation of mankind before the Flood and to warn against the evil effects of intermarriage either of the descendants of Seth with the Kenites or, more probably, of the Israelites with the native populations of Canaan.”


Who was Cain afraid of?

Ultimately we do not know and it remain s a question that can only be answered by with speculation. The particular person or persons thus remain unknown to historians.

It could possibly have been other brothers or sisters of Cain or even children of Able of their descendants? Scripture is silent on this issue.

Whom did Cain fear in Genesis 4:14, after he murdered Abel and was banished?

“A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture” gives a traditional explanation:

“The murder took place when there was already a large population. Seth was born after the murder when Adam was 130 years old. God had blessed the race and commanded them to increase and multiply, and Adam begot unnamed and unnumbered sons and daughters. As the story is told, therefore, in 130 years the number of men and women would have increased very considerably.”

Perhaps some commentary on the Commentary would be helpful: There is no reason to believe that Adam and Eve did not begin procreating soon after they were created. This makes nearly 130 years of child bearing. Given the nine months of gestation and some interval between pregnancies, let’s conservatively say that there were 60 pregnancies. The possibility of twins as Jewish tradition holds, we can say that Adam and Eve produced around 100 children by the time Cain killed his brother. From this group we should subtract the number of those too young to threaten Cain, about 20, years of children. Let us conservatively say that the remainder is 80 first generation children of Adam and Eve whom Cain could fear for killing their brother. But this is the beginning of the calculations: Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, etc., for 100 years of generations would produce thousands at the time of Abel’s death.

  • @jong ricafort The question is: Who was Cain afraid of? The post does not deal Adam's lack of family protection against Cain. For all we know Cain may have been married before he murdered Able.
    – Ken Graham
    Dec 10, 2021 at 6:38

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