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Spencer Tracy helps us out with a mystery in the Land of Nod

 
Australian fires. African locusts. Worldwide plague. Do we live in Biblical times or what? If the world really is ending, we thought it was time to prepare properly for Armageddon. By, you know, reading the damn thing. The Bible, that is. (Go back to the beginning here.)

 
Cain went off to make a life for himself last time, let’s see what happened to him…

Genesis 4 King James Version (KJV)

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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. 18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. 19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. 21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. 22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. 23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. 24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. 25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. 26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

Genesis 4 New International Version (NIV)

17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” 25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.

 
Well, you probably know where our thoughts went after those first words, that Cain “knew his wife.”

Yes, this memorable scene from one of our favorite movies of all time, Inherit the Wind, and Spencer Tracy asking a perfectly reasonable question about Cain’s wife: “Where the hell did she come from?”

 

 
It might shock you to know that some divines today say the answer to that question is that Cain and Abel must have had sisters, and Cain chose one for holy matrimony. (Ew, right?) But we have another question, regarding the timeline here.

If Cain begat Enoch begat Irad begat Mehujael begat Methusael begat Lamech begat Jabal and Jubal and Tubalcain and Naamah, then that’s a lot of begats and consequently a lot of generations and a long passage of time. Five generations at, say 25 years each or so, we’re talking about 125 years. And then Adam and Eve got busy again and begat Seth?

Help us out here. Are we to assume that Eve was fertile after more than a century? Were the narrators of this assuming that their audience would accept that without question? Chime in.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on April 7, 2020 at 12:00

 

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