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The question, “where did Cain get his wife,” is asked by both skeptics and believers. There is an answer and it’s found in the Bible.

Adam’s Family

Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. He was born after they were cast out of God’s perfect Garden because of their sin (Gen 3:24).  Another son, Abel, was also born to Adam and Eve (Gen 4:1-2).  

The story is well known that Cain killed his brother Abel and that the Lord put a curse on him and drove him out from the land of his family (Gen 4:8-15)

Gen 4:16  And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.  {17}  And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Since there were no other people groups on earth, it’s very reasonable to ask where Cain found a woman to marry.

The Answer

The Bible does not say that Cain found a wife in the land of Nod. Scripture only says that Cain “knew his wife” (“knew” means: had sexual relations with her) and  they conceived a child. 

The Bible does tell that Adam and Eve had other children:

Gen 5:3-4  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

Cain, Abel, and Seth are the only children of Adam and Eve mentioned in the Bible. But there were other siblings, both male and female.  

Cain Married Adam’s Daughter

That’s the answer.  Because there were no other people groups on earth, Cain had to have married one of Adam’s daughters, who would have been one of his sisters. So early in human history, intermarriage was acceptable, permissible, and necessary.  It wasn’t until many generations later that God prohibited marriage between close relatives:

Leviticus 18:6 None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness. 

Leviticus 20:11 The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. 

Deuteronomy 27:20 Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.

You might be wondering why that which was clearly forbidden by God later was acceptable at the time of Cain.

Why God Forbid Close Intermarriage 

The reason God forbid close intermarriage was because of the introduction of genetic defects into the human race. This began in the Garden when Adam sinned, his physical body began to die and genetic mutation began to appear in that which God had created perfect — the human body.   With each passing generation, these genetic mutations increased and God’s prohibition of intermarriage, many generations later, was given to protect His people.  However, when Cain married one of his sisters, their genetic makeup was still pure enough that intermarriage would not have been a problem.

Who Was Cain’s Wife?

We don’t know her name.  The Bible does not tell us who she was or when he took her to be his wife.  There are extrabiblical stories that try to name her, but they should not be considered reliable.  All we know is that the population of the human race would have been very small at the time Cain lived and that Adam and Eve had both sons and daughters at this time.  So we can reason that Cain’s wife was his sister, unnamed to us — so she has become known as simply “Cain’s wife.”

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