The patrilineal lineage of Noah is, according to Genesis, descendant from Seth. However, Genesis doesn't mention anything about the wives of those fathers, nor does it mention anything about the lineage of Noah's wife and his sons' wives.

According to Genesis, Cain is the forefather of tent-dwelling pastoralists (nomadic herders?), lyre/pipe players and bronze and iron smiths. Some also say that the descendants of Cain account for the sin and evil found in humanity. However, for this to have been passed along, some of Cain's descendants must have survived the flood. According to my understanding of the scripture, the only breathing survivors of the flood were those present on the Ark. So, does this mean that Noah and/or his family had some level of descendance from Cain? Or, did descendants from Cain possibly survive the flood somehow, without being saved by the Ark?

Something that may be relevant to this is the fact that there are two pairs of name-brothers in Cain and Seth's lineages; Enoch and Lamech.

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    It's possible, but how could anyone say for sure? You can read Genesis - it just doesn't give the ancestors for any of the women. Of course the idea that Cain is responsible for sin and evil being in humanity is just patently false. That would be Adam and Eve!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 23:17
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    @curiousdannii Of course no-one can say for sure; just like no-one can say for sure that there even is a creator. In cases like this, when the question regards the interpretation of inherently ambiguous texts, the only objective answers are those providing insight into relevant interpretations. What are the main interpretations of this questions? What options are traditionally considered possible, and which of those options are most commonly believed in? I suspect this differs between different denominations, but whatever info anyone has, even if specific to their branch, is valuable to me.
    – A. Kvåle
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 23:56

1 Answer 1


Was Noah and/or his family fully or partially descendant from Cain?

Yes it seems possible, perhaps not provable, but how could anyone say for sure? Genesis - it simply does not give the ancestry for any of the women. Of course the idea that Cain is responsible for sin and evil being in humanity is just patently false. That would truly have been Adam and Eve!

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Genealogies of Genesis

The genealogies of Genesis provide the framework around which the Book of Genesis is structured.1 Beginning with Adam, genealogical material in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 22, 25, 29-30, 35-36, and 46 move the narrative forward from the creation to the beginnings of Israel's existence as a people.

Adam's lineage in Genesis contains two branches: Chapter 4 giving the descendants of for Cain, and Chapter 5 that for Seth that is then continued in later chapters. Chapter 10 gives a Table of Nations that records the populating of the Earth by Noah's descendants, and is not strictly a genealogy but an ethnography. Genesis 5 and 11 include the age at which each patriarch had the progeny named as well as the number of years he lived thereafter. Many of the ages given in the text are implausibly long, but could have been considered modest in comparison to the ages given in other works (for instance, the Sumerian King List). The ages include patterns surrounding the numbers five and seven, for instance the 365 year life of Enoch (the same as the number of full calendar days in a solar year) and the 777 year life of Lamech (repetitional emphasis of the number seven). Overall, the ages display clear mathematical patterns, confirming that number symbolism was used to construct them.

Nevertheless, since Genesis 5 and 11 provide the age of each patriarch at the birth of his named descendant, it also appears to present a gapless chronology from Adam to Abraham, even if the named descendant is not always a first-generation son.

Enumerated genealogy

Three versions of the Genesis genealogy exist: the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Greek Septuagint, and the Samaritan Pentateuch. Translations from the Masoretic Text are preferred by Western Christians, including Roman Catholics and Protestants and by followers of Orthodox Judaism, whereas the Greek version is preferred by Eastern Christians, including Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Ethiopic, Jacobite and Armenian. The Samaritan version of the Pentateuch is used mainly by the Samaritans.

Cain and Seth

Genesis gives Adam and Eve three children, named Cain, Abel and Seth. A genealogy tracing the descendants of Cain is given in Genesis 4, while the line from Seth down to Noah appears in Genesis 5. Scholars have noted similarities between these descents: most of the names in each are variants of those in the other, though their order differs, with the names of Enoch and Mahalalel/Mehujael switching places in the two pedigrees. It is "as if they were different versions of the same underlying tradition." This has led to speculation that a single original genealogical descent had diverged during independent transmission, only to be brought back together and put to different uses when the Book of Genesis was compiled from its Jahwist and Priestly sources.

Yes there are in fact two pairs of name-brothers in Cain and Seth's lineages; Enoch and Lamech. But that proves nothing more than some names are more popular than others. Nevertheless, there will always be diverse manners of translation to explain this seemingly awkwardness away.

Lamech is a person in Cain's genealogy in the fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis. He is a sixth-generation descendant of Cain (Genesis 4:18); his father was named Methushael, and he was responsible for the "Song of the Sword". He is also noted as the first polygamist mentioned in the Bible, taking two wives, Adah and Zillah (Tselah). Coincidentally this Lamech is distinguished from the other Lamech mentioned subsequently in Genesis (5:25 - 5:28) who was a descendant of Adam's third son Seth.

There is no historical proof or biblical evidence of who was Noah’s wife, but some Jewish traditions names her as Naamah. Thus we can see how the persons of some commonly name biblical personages adds to much confusion when tradition comes into the mix.

While there are many examples of strong and inspiring men and women in Genesis, the book is also packed with stories of dysfunctional families, which is evidenced from the very beginning with the first family: Adam, Eve and their two children, Cain and Abel. In no short amount of time—just 16 verses after announcing the birth of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. Cain had murdered his younger brother and is consequently exiled from the land. In theory, this would have dropped the world’s population from four down to three. The narrative continues in Genesis 4 with Cain settling in the land of Nod and having children with his wife. Who did Cain marry? Where did she come from? Are there other people outside of Eden?

Given that the wife of Cain is only mentioned once in the Old Testament, she would not be counted among the famous women in Genesis. Nevertheless, her identity is still worth investigating. Who did Cain marry? Mary Joan Winn Leith first explores the traditional Jewish and Christian answers that contend that the wife of Cain was another daughter of Adam and Eve. According to this reasoning, Cain would have married his sister—one of Abel’s twin sisters no less, according to the Genesis Rabbah. - Who Was the Wife of Cain?

The following may be of interest:

  • But what about Cain being the forefather of tent-dwelling pastoralists, flute and pipe players and bronze and iron smiths? If there's no-one in Noah's family that are descendant from those last sons, how can Cain then be the forefather of the aforementioned professions and lifestyles?
    – A. Kvåle
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:25
  • @A.Kvåle Most information is lost to history and one can an interpretation in a multitude of ways.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 23:39
  • Yeah, but what's the usual interpretation had regarding the answer to this question? Do most priests and old testament scholars think that Noah's family had some descendance from Cain, or do most of them not think this? If you don't know, what is your interpretation, and what is the reasoning behind this interpretation?
    – A. Kvåle
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 0:01
  • A @A.Kvåle Made an edit, but not sure if it is helpful or not, please let me know!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 1:34
  • It was helpful in the sense that it opened up another possibility; that some of his descendants survived the flood without necessarily being a part of Noah's family. However, what I'm looking for is the authoritative opinions on the matter. What does notable scholar a say, and notable religious figure b say, and so on. Maybe even the pope has an opinion?
    – A. Kvåle
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 23:40

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