Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Who Was Cain’s Wife?

Cain killed his brother Abel at the dawn of human history.

Joel Kontinen

The identity of Cain’s wife is an issue that keeps on coming up. Recently, a brief article in Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) addressed this question.

Traditionally, scholars have concluded that Cain must have married his own sister, as Genesis records that Adam and Eve had several children, including daughters.

At that time, the number of harmful mutations in the human genome was probably very small, so marrying a close relative would not have been as disastrous as it would be in our time.

After all, Cain and his sister’s parents were once perfect, without any defects. There was no time for disease-bringing mutations to accumulate in their genome.

Actually, God forbade marriages between close relatives at the time of Moses.

However, the BAR article opts for a very different kind of solution. Disregarding the biblical statement that Eve was the mother of all humans, Ms. Leith suggests that in Cain’s days there must have been other people in addition to Adam’s family, but as they were not of “us”, i.e. the group that gave rise to the Hebrews, they were not counted.

She believes that Cain married one of these outsiders.

There is absolutely no scriptural support for this conjecture. The Bible says unambiguously that all people are the descendants of the first human parents (Gen. 3:20; Acts 17:26).


Leith, Mary Joan Winn. 2013. Who Did Cain Marry? Biblical Archaeology Review 39 (6), 22, 82, 84.