Alice C. Linsley
If Cain were born of Eve, the first mother, we would have to speculate that he produced offspring by a sister or perhaps a daughter of his brother Seth. If Eve is the original mother of all humanity, she and her children would have lived at least 3.2 million years ago since that is the age of the oldest human fossils. In this case, Cain's historicity is impossible to prove.
But what if Eve is the archetypical first mother, analogous to Mumbi among the Gikuyu? She then would represent the origins of a tribe of people (specifically Abraham's Nilotic ancestors), not the mother of all humanity.
This second approach enables us to consider Cain in historical time as the first ruler who established a territory for his son Enoch, born to him by a daughter of Enoch (Nok). In other words, Cain married a princess, probably a young woman to whom he was related.
The line of descent of Cain's princess bride is given in Genesis 4. She is not named, nor is her sister, the bride of Cain's brother, Seth. The line of descent from Seth's wife is given in Genesis chapter 5. Both Cain's wife and Seth's wife names theri first-born sons after their father Enoch/Nok, so we know their father's identity.
Most readers imagine that they are reading about the children of Adam and Eve when they read these begats in Genesis 4 and 5. However, analysis of this kinship pattern reveals that the blood line was traced through the wives. Cain and Seth's brides were the daughters of an African chief name Nok (Enoch in the Hebrew). Were we to diagram this, it would look like this:
Wife of Cain Wife of Seth
So Genesis 4 and 5 traces descent from Enoch/Nok and not from Adam and Eve. As we see from the diagram, the wives of Cain and Seth named their first-born sons after their father. This naming prerogative of cousin brides continues throughout the Bible. We may assume from this that Cain and Seth married patrilineal parallel cousins, as did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is also likely that Cain and Seth had second wives who would have been half-sisters, as did Nahor, Terah and Abraham.
Bloodline among Abraham's people was figured through the mother, but social status (caste) and livelihood (occupation) were inherited from the father. Tubal-Cain is said to have worked metal. He would have inherited this from his father.
The brides of Cain and Seth were of noble status. Their father was a ruler of great wealth who controlled the water systems of his region. During this time Africa was much wetter than it is today. The Chadic Sea was about 600 feet deep and sustained boating and fishing industries. The average fishermen used canoe dugouts, but nobles used boats constructed of marsh reeds lashed together and sealed with pitch.
The Nile and central Africa were once integrated. It took a long time for these water systems to shrink. The region was still wet in the time of Cain and Seth. The connection of the major water ways, controlled by rulers and chiefs, explains how the House of Nok (northern Nigeria) and the House of Set (Nubia) became the controlling houses of Kush. Ancient Kush would have included Egypt, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. Now there is evidence that these Proto-Saharan rulers also governed Chad and Niger where they built pyramids that are 1000 years older than the Giza pyramids in Egypt.
An Ancient River Civilization
On the west side, the Nile connected with the Chadic Sea, which in turn connected to the Benue and Niger Watershed in Nigeria. This is the region of Noah's flood. As a ruler, Noah probably had a fleet of boats constructed of reeds and pitch. The biblical flood likely took place during the late Holocene Wet Period in the only area on earth that claims to be Noah's homeland: Bor-No, the Land of Noah.
The western Nile watershed extended well into the Sudan. This explains why the Sudanese always have thought of the Nile as their river. The Sudanese-born BBC commentator, Zeinab Badawi, expresses the Sudanese view of the Nile:
"Ideologically, I wouldn't say that there are any huge differences between the Sudanese and the Egyptian governments certainly, and there is a huge affinity between the people. I think that the biggest source of friction and potential tension between Egypt and Sudan has been in the Nile, and how the waters of the Nile are used. The feeling that a lot of northern Sudanese might have is that the Nile actually in a sense runs much more through Sudan than it does through Egypt. Sudan is the biggest country in Africa. It's the tenth biggest in the world, the size of western Europe. It is the land of the Nile, and maybe there is a kind of brotherly resentment by the northern Sudanese that the Egyptians have in a sense claimed the Nile as their own, whereas the Sudanese in a sense feel they are the proper custodians of the Nile, because after all, most of its journey is through the territory of Sudan." (From here.)
The Ruling Houses Inter-married
It was the custom for the rulers of this region to have two wives. One was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the second wife, taken later in life, was a patrilineal cousin or niece. The second wife named her firstborn son after her father. This cousin-bride naming prerogative allows biblical anthropologists to trace the lineage of Jesus back to the earliest rulers in Genesis. It also explains why there are two named Esau, two named Joktan, two named Sheba and two named Lamech named in Genesis.
For example, Lamech's daughter Naamah (mentioned in Gen. 4) married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah and named their firstborn son "Lamech" after her father.
The intermarriage between the lines of Cain and Seth is paralled by the intermarriage between the lines of Ham and Shem and later between the lines of Eber and Sheba, and Abraham and Nahor. In fact, analysis of the Genesis genealogies reveals a consistent and unchanging marriage pattern among the Horite rulers before and after the time of Abraham.
It is very interesting to note that the Virgin Mary was Joseph's patrilineal cousin and that both were in the priestly lines.
Related reading: Cain as Ruler; When the Sahara was Wet; Water Systems Connected Nile and Central Africa; Abraham's Kushite Ancestors; Are the Names Enoch and Enosh Equivalent?; Cain and Seth: Sons of Nok