Who is…

Hebrew: קַ֔יִן qyn —transliteration: Qayin or Kain or Cain —meaning: a possession; or possessed; or a spear[-Bearer]

Greek: Καὶν

also known as: Kain or Qayin

This is the name of a biblical man and a Kenite town near Hebron.

  1. Cain—first human born, born sinful, and soon became the world’s first murderer

    Born in what most would consider near-paradise, Cain killed his younger brother Abel in an outrageous fit of rage. He is Exhibit “A” for the true fallen nature of mankind.

    Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4). He became a tiller of the ground, while his brother Abel followed the pursuits of pastoral life.

    Cain was “a sullen, self-willed, haughty, vindictive man; wanting the religious element in his character, and defiant—even in his attitude towards God.”

    Cain’s first recorded sins

    It came to pass “in process of time” (marginal note: “at the end of days”), i.e., probably on the Sabbath, that the 2 brothers presented their offerings to the Lord. Abel’s offering was of the “firstlings of his flock and of the fat,” while Cain’s was “of the fruit of the ground.”

    Abel’s sacrifice was considered “more excellent” by God (Hebrews 11:4) than Cain’s, and was accepted by the LORD. Cain responded by becoming very angry and cherished feelings of murderous hatred against his brother.

    His outrage led him to murder his brother (1 John 3:12) and then to lie to God.

    Cain’s punishment

    For this crime, from that day on he led the life of an exile, bearing upon him some mark which God had gave him in answer to his cry for mercy. This may have served as a protection from the wrath of his fellow-men, or it may be that God only gave him some sign to assure him that he would not be slain (Genesis 4:15). Doomed to be a wanderer and a fugitive in the Earth, he went forth into the “land of Nod,” i.e., the land of “exile”, which is said to have been in the “east of Eden,” and there he built a city, the first we read of in Scripture.

    Descendants of Cain

    Cain named this city his son Enoch. Enoch’s wife is not named in the Bible, nor are any of his close female relatives, except Eve and 2 wives of his great-great-great-grandson Lamech (Adah and Zillah) and Zillah’s daughter Naamah. This is not unusual; relatively few wives or women are named or mentioned in the Biblical record, as, for brevity, the emphasis is on listing patriarchs.

    6 generations of Cain’s descendants are listed in the Bible. They gradually degenerated in their moral and spiritual condition till they became completely corrupt and depraved before God. Eventually, God responded with judgment—a global Deluge that prevented the final global triumph of total evil. A virtually total restart of humanity and society began with the 8 sole survivors—Noah and wife, and their 3 sons and 3 daughter-in-laws.

    The names of Cain’s descendants were almost entirely lost with that Great Flood. The Bible does not claim to name all of Cain’s children. It mentions only his son Enoch (not the godly one), presumably Cain’s most significant male heir. He is the first patriarch in the line of Cain’s named pre-Flood descendants.

    Presumably, Cain had no post-Flood descendants, as all were wiped from the face of the Earth by the Flood judgment. Noah and his sons are listed as descendants of Adam’s son Seth—the line of greater godliness, so probably their wives were also descendand from Seth. But without much more complete pre-Flood geneaologcal records, that cannot be proved. If true, then, of course, today there are no descendants of Cain in the entire world. His line was cut off completely.

    Relatives of Cain

    • Father: Adam
    • Mother: Eve
    • Brothers: Abel, Seth, and there may have been others—likely many others
    • Sisters: not named or numbered in the Bible
    • Sons: Enoch, and presumably many others
    • Daughters: not named or numbered in the Bible
    • Grandson: Irad, others not named or numbered
    • Great-grandson: Mehujael
    • Great-great-grandson: Methusael
    • Great-great-great-grandson: Lamech
    • Other notable pre-Flood descendants of Cain include:
      Jabal—“the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle
      Jubal—“the father of all such as handle the harp and organ
      Tubalcain—“an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron” (Genesis 4:22)
      Naamah—sister of Tubalcain
  2. Kain, a town

    Hebrew: קין —transliteration: usually Kain or Ken, although it is exactly the same name as that of the man, Cain

    Kain (Cain) was the name of a post-Flood town at the time of the Israelites. It belonged to the Kenites (pronounced: Kaynites), a branch of the Midianites (Joshua 15:57).

    It was located on the east edge of the mountain above Engedi—probably the “nest in a rock” mentioned by Balaam (Numbers 24:21).

Related names

More information

Article Version: June 4, 2019