Where did Cain get his wife? Many contend that Cain married his sister, for Genesis 5:4 affirms that Adam had sons and daughters. But I’m skeptical of this, for a variety of reasons:
1. After Cain killed Abel, God gave Eve Seth as a replacement for
Abel (Genesis 4:25). Eve was elated that God gave her other seed! In
my opinion, that makes more sense if Cain and Abel were her only
children prior to that point: she was sad that she lost both of her
children (Cain left and Abel was killed), and so she viewed God giving
her Seth as a consolation. But why would that be the case, if she had
other sons and daughters at that time?
2. Genesis 5:4 says (in the KJV): “And the days of Adam after he had
begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and
daughters”. That appears to me to be saying that Adam begot those sons
and daughters after he had begotten Seth. Is not Seth
mentioned in this genealogy because he is technically the firstborn,
after Cain left the family and Abel was killed?
(UPDATE: As I look at the genealogies in Genesis 10-11, my impression is
that genealogies do not necessarily focus on the firstborn. Rather,
they focus on the figure who can get them where they want to go.
Arpachshad was probably not the firstborn of Shem, for other sons of
Shem are mentioned before him in Genesis 10. But he is listed as the
son of Shem in Genesis 11 because he's the ancestor of Abraham, and the
genealogy wants to arrive at Abraham. Similarly, I think that the
people listed in Genesis 5 are not listed because they are the
firstborn, but rather because the genealogy aims to culminate with Noah,
and so it mentions his ancestors.)
3. Genesis 4:16 says that Cain left to go to the land of Nod. There
is no mention of a wife leaving with him. Then Cain is in the land of
Nod in v 17, and he has a wife!
TV preacher Arnold Murray, if I understand him correctly, teaches
that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 describe two separate creations: God
created one set of human beings in Genesis 1, and another set in Genesis
2. In this scenario, Cain went to the land of Nod and took a wife
there, and she was one of the offspring of the first creation. But I
have problems with this view for two reasons. First, Genesis 2:5 says
that, prior to Adam, there was no man to till the soil. Why would this
be, when God already created human beings in Genesis 1? Second, Genesis
5 essentially equates Adam—-the man of Genesis 2 who eventually begot
Seth—-with the man who was created in God’s image in Genesis 1.
Perhaps there are responses that can be made to my reasons for my
dissatisfaction with the argument that Cain married his sister. Maybe
Eve had a daughter (who married Cain) before Cain left, and she was the
only child Eve had at that time apart from Cain and Abel. When this
daughter left with Cain, Eve was bereft of seed. And Eve did not
mention her perhaps because Eve didn’t think that daughters were as
important as sons. Regarding my third reason, perhaps Cain’s wife was
not mentioned as departing with Cain because Cain was the head of the
family. Similarly, in the story of the akedah in Genesis 22, we read in
v 19 that Abraham came down from the mountain, and there is no
reference to Isaac coming down too.