Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who was Cain's Father?

Alice C. Linsley

Many wonder who was Cain's father? If Adam was the first created man on earth (something the Bible does not support), Cain would have lived at least 3.8 million years ago because that is the age of the oldest human fossils. Yet the Bible tells us that Cain was a city builder, a ruler, and his descendants worked metal. Clearly, Cain could not have lived before the emergence of metal work. 

The Bible says that Cain and Seth were the sons of the historical Adam and Eve, the founding parents of the Hebrew lines that descended from Cain and Seth. These were rulers and priests.

When Eve gives birth in Genesis 4:2 she declares kan-itti. E.A. Speiser noted that Qany(ty) or Qanitti shows close affinity to the Akkadian affix itti, as in itti šarrim, which means "with the king." Akkadian was the language of Nimrod's territory (c. BC 2290-2215). 

Genesis 10 tells us that Nimrod was a Kushite kingdom builder, so it is not surprising to find that Akkadian shares many roots with Nilotic languages. Among the Oromo of Ethiopia and Somalia, itti is attached to names. Examples include Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti and Dimashqitti. That itti is associated with Nilotic rulers is evident in the name Nefertitti.

The Nilotic Oromo

The kinship data

Analysis of the Genesis 4 and 5 king lists reveals that Cain married a woman who named their first-born son Enoch. Enoch is not a name, but rather a royal title that means "ruler-to be" or "heir to the throne." Enosh (Seth's firstborn son) is the linguistic equivalent of Enoch. The first-born sons of Cain and Seth were named by their mothers after their royal father, according to the cousin bride's naming prerogative, a distinctive trait of the marriage and ascendancy structure of Abraham's Hebrew ancestors.

Enoch appears to be a variant of the names Ha'nock (Reuben's first born son) and Anak. Anak was a ruler among the Anakim of Hebron. Enoch is a royal title related to the word anochi which means "one who replaces or succeeds", as in heir to the king.  

What is the significance of Cain's wife naming their first-born son Enoch after her father? It was the cousin wives who named their first-born sons after their fathers. This would mean that Cain's father-in-law was called Enoch. Cain's first-born son by his cousin bride belonged to the household of his maternal grandfather.

Cain as warrior and metal worker

Shalom E. Holtz (Yeshiva University, New York) believes that itti can mean "against" as is evidenced from its appearance in numerous cases of adversarial relationships in the Old Testament. Since Cain and his descendants, the Kenites of Canaan, are associated with metal work, we have a line of evidence to investigate. Early metal work was done in the service of kings, priests and high-ranking warriors.

Metal work places Cain in history between 4600 and 3500 B.C. This corresponds to the beginning of the Copper Age (3500-2300 B.C.) During the Copper Age the warriors were of high social rank. Copper mining and the fabrication of copper tools and weapons gave rise to new a social hierarchy. At the top, were the warriors who protected their communities.


Who was Cain's father? The historical Adam, one of the founders of the red people. Adam is to the word Edom (land of red people) as Enoch is to the word Anak. 

Related reading: The Adam and Eve of History; The Hebrew Were a Caste


Unknown said...

When Eve gives birth in Genesis 4:2 she declares kan-itti.

Alice I don't see any mention of "kan-itti".

Alice C. Linsley said...

It is not evident in the English translations. Translations vary. The idea is this: She conceived and gave birth to Cain (which means ruler), and said "I have added/ acquired literally "qaniti" (Akkadian) in assonance with Cain. See footnote on page 29 of E.A. Speiser's Anchor Bible Commentary on Genesis. Also see Iv under NOTES on page 30.

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