Cain’s Wife – Where Did He Get Her?

This is a very simple question to answer. His wife was one of his sisters. We can see, by comparing the story of Cain to that of Seth in terms of time-frame, that this is Biblically plausible. Seth was 105 when Enos was born, and Enos was 90 when Cainan was born. The 4th verse of chapter five says that Adam lived 800 years after the birth of Seth and begat sons and daughters. Apparently Adam and Eve had quite a few children and at least some of them were daughters. It is interesting that the Bible rarely if ever records the birth of women.

My Sister, My Wife

It is very possible, then, seeing that Cain and Abel were grown when their conflict is recorded, that daughters had been born to Adam and Eve in the intervening years. One of them may have sided with Cain in his feud with Abel and with God and followed him into the land of Nod. Or perhaps Eve sent one of her daughters to Cain so that he would not be alone in the world. From the early verses of chapter five it is more likely, given as long as people lived in those days and as old as men were before they began to have children, that his wife was one of the daughters that was born after the birth of Seth; one who went looking for her brother for whatever reason.

”Scientific Problems” is a Begged Issue

Anthropologically speaking, it is altogether acceptable-indeed it is inevitable- that the first sons would have married sisters. There would have been no one else for them to marry. A race could not begin with an original pair and propagate if brothers and sisters did not mate. And let it be clear that one would not avoid this consideration if he adopted some other idea of origins. Somewhere the original pair of humans had to appear. In order for them to multiply there would have to be domestic cohabitation between brothers and sisters.

No Genetic Problems

Genetically speaking, there is no problem here, since the specialization in inbreeding that leads to genetic problems of a physical and mental nature does not develop until a family has been in existence for a good long time.

Morals Not an Issue

What does this concept do to Biblical morality and the Commandments of God? It does nothing, of course. The rules governing intermarriage were not given in those days since they had no meaning until there were alternatives. The mating of brother and sister does not involve a moral wrong on the functional level. The moral issue is a matter of respect for ones parents: ”The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover (Lev. 1:9).”

When there were alternatives and sons could make choices, then these rules had meaning that related to character. Had intermarriage been inherently immoral God would have forbidden it from the start, but then He would have had to start the race out with more than one created pair, which of course He did not. Obviously God, Who has a greater concern for morality than any theological gainsayer, was not concerned with this imaginary problem.

Cohabitation

Physiologically speaking there were no problems either. A sister is just as much a woman as a non-relative, she is just as capable of being a wife and mother, and she is (or at least she can be) just as attractive and appealing as any other woman. As to biology, anatomy, morphology, cytology, histology and any other related discipline of physiology, a sister stands in the same relationship to a brother as any woman to any man. We do not consider it appropriate to find our sisters sexually attractive today because we are taught not to. This is a prohibition that is from antiquity. Good men recognize this and, out of character, make it an inalienable part of the personality. But before these prohibitions were made, and when there were no alternatives, these kinds of moral rules could not be, and were not made.

And so Cain’s wife was one of his sisters. Is there any reason at all that this is a wrong or that it should be considered a legitimate Biblical problem? No; there is none whatsoever. It may be dismissed entirely as another of the dishonest, ill-thought, and desperate attempts of detractors to see problems where none exist. This is what we would naturally expect; this is the only way it could have been under any consideration; and there was nothing anthropologically, genetically, physiologically, ethically, socially, theologically, or morally wrong with that.

© Daniel Earl Cripe, December 26, 2008