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Who was Cain's wife?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Cain and Abel were both born with twin sisters.

King David writes,1 "The world was built with kindness." Our sages interpreted this to mean that G-d kindly allowed Cain to wed his sister in order for humankind to be founded.2

Footnotes

  • 1. Psalms 89:3.
  • 2. Rashi on Leviticus 20:17.

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COMMENTS

cain and abel's twin sisters

Posted by: DavidT, London on Oct 27, 2005

that's an interesting rashi.

I have quite a bit of time on my hands this evening, so i'll add this.

Gen 4:1 "..she conceived and bore "et" Cain"

Gen 4:2 "vatosef (And she increased) giving birth to "et" achiv (his brother) "et" hevel (hevel-abel)"

Rashi quotes a Midrash - a tradition, sourced from sinai, that says that Abel had 1 twin sister. And Cain had 2. And this is ***hinted *** (i wouldn't say sourced or logically derived. Since hte source is a midrash, and these are just hints in the text), there are very strong hints in teh text that something else is going on.

Hint in the text-

the superflus use of the word Et, the word Et occurs once with Cain and twice with Abel.

and also of the strange word vatosef "she increased" in relation to her baring abel.

You will see all this with a) Rashi b) a commentary on rashi to see what rashi's sources probably were. In this case, it's very clear.

I may be wrong, i'm just a layman with some time on his hands


Cain's sister/wife

Posted by: Jamie Gordon on Feb 03, 2006

Wow!!! That is very interesting.

I know this to be true. Cain did marry his sister. Even though the bible doesn't mention other siblings than Abel and Seth. Obviously Eve had to have bore daughters as well.

As for his sister being a twin... Although its not in the standard canon of scripture I did read in an apocryphal work (The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden) and it confirms the claim that Cain and Abel were both born with twin sisters and that Cain took Abel's twin to wife and Abel would have taken Cain's twin to wife had he not been murdered. I think (but not sure) Seth took Cain's twin to wife and I don't remember if Seth had a twin or not. Its been to long since I've read it. Lol

Jae

i want to ask:

Posted by: bar, jerusalem, israel on Jan 03, 2007

It makes sense that the first persons on earth had to marry their sisters. But why did the shvatim marry their sisters? Sometimes it seems to me like an easy solution to the problems which could accure have they marry non-jewish girls. I know I mastn't think so, but I really can't get it!

Editor's Comment

See "How were the tribes permitted to marry their sisters?" (http://www.askmoses.com/article.html?h=195&o=2106169).

RELATED CATEGORIES

History

Abel
Second son of Adam and Eve, born on the Sixth day of Creation. Murdered by his older brother Cain.
Cain
Eldest son of Adam and Eve, born on the sixth day of creation. When his brother Abel's sacrificial offering was accepted in place of his own, he killed him. He was exiled for this deed.
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.