Friday, June 18, 2010

The Kingdoms of Cain and Seth

Alice C. Linsley

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's ancestors indicates that Cain and Seth married the daugthers of a chief named Nok/Enoch/Enosh. These brides named their first born sons Enoch/Enosh after their father, which is why both Cain and Seth have first born sons named Enoch/Enosh/Nok.

The naming prerogative of royal cousin brides permitted them to name their first-born sons after their fathers. This naming evidence indicates that Cain and Seth married patrilineal cousins. This prerogative did not pertain to half sister brides. 

If we read the first 5 chapters of Genesis chronologically, we might conclude that Adam and Eve are the parents of Cain and Seth. This is not what the text actually tells us, however.  Eve's declaration upon giving birth to Cain as that she has brought forth a ruler or king with the help of the Lord. Cain or Kain is a variant of the words kahn and king.

Genesis 4 and 5 material speak of the royal lines of Cain and Seth. Their first born sons were named for their maternal grandfather.  If we insist that Adam and Eve were Cain's parents, we must conclude that Enoch was a contemporary of Adam and Eve.  However, this is contrary to the biblical representation of Adam and Eve as "first parents" and therefore suggests that we have a patchwork of information. As the first created humans, Adam and Eve represent an event that must have taken place millions of years ago (the oldest archaic human fossils are about 3.8 million years). As such, Adam and Eve are ahistorical figures. On the other hand, the king lists of Genesis 4 and 5 represent historical persons who ruled over territories in a well-watered region called "Eden."

The ancients understood the difference between historical and ahistorical and often paralleled the two.  This is why the names Adam and Enosh are paralleled in Psalm 8, which in Hebrew reads:

                                        What is Man (Enosh) that you are mindful of him,
                                        the son of Man (ben Adam) that you care for him?

Bronze figure of a Napatan ruler
The parallelism suggests that both Adam and Enosh could be viewed as founding (eponymous) fathers. It is certain that Adam was not Cain's father, as Adam represents the first created human (c. 4 million years ago) and Cain lived during the relatively recent Neolithic period. Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors indicates that Cain's father was either Nok and he married his half-sister, or Cain's father was a brother (or sister) to Nok and he married his cousin.

Likely Enoch/Nok would have been the patrilineal cousin of a daughter of Set the Nubian.This means that Nok and Set were brothers and it suggests the 8th century B.C. Napatan rulers of Nubia who conquered Egypt. Set was a royal name among the Napatan Nubians.

Cain and Seth are listed as rulers and their royal lines are traced in Genesis 4 and 5. In fact, throughout the Bible Cain is posed as the archetype of the earthly ruler. He was a sent-away son who established his territory in the land of Nod/Nok "east of Eden" (Gen. 4:16).  This places Cain in the Nile Valley or in southern Arabia where the name Cain/Kain/Kayan/Qayan is commonly found. The name Set is found among peoples living in the Upper Nile or ancient Nubia.

There is evidence for this in 1 Chronicles 1:50 which mentions an important Horite bride - Matred - which is equivalent to Menmaatre, the throne name of Seti I.  Seti is a name associated with Piye which 1 Chronicles identifies with the "city of Pai" (1:50). Piye's son was called Hor. King Piye of Egypt installed a black granite falcon head image of Horus at his capital in Napata.

Related reading:  Who Did Cain Marry?; The Nubian Context of YHWH; Abraham's Habiru Ancestors; From Cain to Jesus Christ; Was the Land of Nod Enoch's Territory?; Genesis on the Ancient Kingdom Builders


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