Today, after our church service to which I preached on the ministry of reconciliation found in 2nd Corinthians 5:19, I was confronted with a question from one of our brother in the church. His question was “who was Cain’s wife?”
I knew that Cain’s wife could be his sister or a relative but I couldn’t remember the verse but my wife explained that it was so. My wife Leia also stated that during those times, intermarriage or incestuous marriages were still permitted. I supplemented her statement that such practice was eventually prohibited when the law or the Decalogue was given to Moses.
But I wanted verses to backed it up that Cain’s wife is most likely Adam and Eve’s children or even grandchildren as my wife reminded us that in the days of old, they used to live hundreds of years (Adam was 930 years, plenty of time to make more babies) so there could be more children born after Cain killed Abel.
So here is the verse regarding Adam and Eve’s many children after Abel and Cain…
The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. (Genesis 5:4)
The Bible did not mention how old was Cain when he killed Abel but most likely they were both already in their adulthood as both were farmers. Cain was even afraid for his life after he killed Abel that he even said “whoever finds me shall kill me!” It could be Abel’s children or both their siblings that wants to avenge Abel’s death. Here is the verse that states Cain’s fear from God and the threat of revenge:
God even stated that he will put a mark on Cain as warning to those who might want to kill. Here is that verse:
But the Lord said to him, “Not so[e]; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,[f] east of Eden. (Genesis 4:15-16)
Who would want to kill Cain? Adam and Eve his parents? The answer could be the other children of Adam and Eve found in (Genesis 5:4)
In regards to incestuous prohibition that was later instituted in the Mosaic law, here is the verse:
6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.
7 “‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.
14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter.Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living. (Leviticus 18:6-18)
So in a nutshell, Cain’s wife was his relative, a sister maybe or a niece or even a grand niece.
I also read that before there were too many people (times of Genesis) the human genetic code doesn’t have that much defect hence it was safe to intermarry during those time especially in the time of Adam and Eve. As centuries or even millenniums progressed, that genetic pool became increasingly polluted which made incestuous marriage dangerous.
Imagine this: the years between Adam to Jacob alone was 2,255 years. Jacob had a son named Joseph who became a governor in Egypt. After the generation of Joseph died there came a king who had no regard of Joseph and his good deeds to Egypt.
This was the time Moses was born. That is probably over 2,500 years that finally God decided to prohibit intermarriage among direct siblings or direct relatives to avoid defects.
p.s. the women named after Eve were Lamech’s wives: Adah and Zillah. I thought before that after Eve, there was no women names mentioned until the time of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Of course I realised I was mistaken. It is also noted by bible scholars that Lamech a descendant of Cain was the first one to broke the law of marriage: that two shall be of one flesh (Mark10:8)