« Caillin, Saint, of Fenagh Cain, Kenites Cainites »

Cain, Kenites


The Kenites.

The Hebrew word Ḳayin occurs in the Old Testament as the name of a stock of nomads, associated with Midian, Amalek, and Israel, mentioned in Judges iv. 11 and Num. xxiv. 22, probably also to be read in I Sam. xv. 6b. More often the form Ḳeni, "Kenite," is met (Gen. xv. 19; Num. xxiv. 21; Judges iv. 11, 17, etc.). In the time of Moses this stock seems to have been dependent on the Midianites, since Hobab, Moses's father-in-law, appears (Judges i. 16) as the head of a Kenite family, and in Num. x. 29 is designated as a Midianite, as is Jethro in Ex. iii. 1 and Reuel in Ex. ii. 16. Midianites is most likely the larger term and includes the Kenites as one of the branches. The Kenites attached themselves to the Israelites during the wandering; at the time of Barak and Deborah the Kenite Heber was near the plain of Jezreel, detached from the rest of his tribe (Judges iv. 11). In Saul's time the Kenites were associated with the Amalekites. It is noteworthy that in I Chron. ii. 55 the Kenites are brought into connection with the Rechabites, who retained primitive customs, suggesting their adherence to a nomadic form of life and to the primitive Yahweh-religion of the desert (Jer. xxxv.).

Their Relation to Cain.

This stock of Cain was apparently intended to be brought into connection with the patriarchs of the race (Gen. iv. 1–16); the conclusion of Wellhausen, Budde, and Stade, however, is that originally the story of Cain had nothing to do with the Kenites for the following reasons: Gen. iv. 17 sqq. deals with the world at large (verses 17, 20–22); Gen. iv. 1-16 with the land of Israel and neighboring deserts. The Adhamah, "ground," of Gen. iv. 14 can be only the land inhabited by Israel from which Cain was banished. Gen. iv. 20 makes Jabal the ancestor of nomads, while Cain's nomadic condition resulted from his sin (iv. 14–16). Abel, too, was a shepherd of small cattle who dwelt in Yahweh's land. The story of Cain in this passage can not be understood to deal with the earliest ages of mankind because of the advanced civilization it implies. Its region is the southern part of Palestine; it explained the separation of a people whose God was the same as Israel's by the commission of murder which is named fratricide because of the close connection of Kenites and Hebrews. The mark for Cain, worn on the forehead, must have denoted adherence to the worship of Yahweh (cf. Ex. xiii. 9, 16; Isa. xliv. 6; I Kings xx. 38, 41), and implied the same limits in exacting blood-revenge as were obligatory on the Israelites.

Cain in Gen. iv.

The word Ḳayin also occurs as the name of an ancestor of a part of mankind. The name stands in J at the head of the so-called Cainite table, Gen. iv. 17. In its present form this includes seven generations, and in the seventh four branches appear—Jabal and Jubal, sons of Lamech by Adah, and Tubal-cain and Naamah, son and daughter of Lamech by Zillah. Cain built the first city and named it after his son Enoch; Jabal was the ancestor of nomads, Jubal of musicians, and Tubal-Cain of artisans. The table evidently is an account of supposed origins of civilization, so is to be related to Gen. ix. 20–27. Then Noah's earlier connection with the Cainite table through Lamech is probable, though in Gen. v. 28 (P) he is a Sethite. That the narratives are doublets appears on comparison (cf. Cain and Kenan, Methusael and Methuselah, Ired and Jared, as well as the fact that Adam and Enos both mean "man"). The Sethite and the Cainite tables are both traced to a single original, and the Cainite line of J is believed to have been originally a Sethite line, while Gen. iv. 25–26 originally preceded iv. 17.

The present form of the text is probably attributable to the editor of the work of J who inserted the flood story. He borrowed the material from an old Sethite table, and setting Cain at the head formed a Cainite table and inserted the Cain-story (Gen. iv. 1–16) and the sword-song of Lamech. He thus brought into juxtaposition the killing by Lamech and that by Cain, completed the identification of Cain [father of the Kenites and Cain brother of Abel] through Cain, founder of the city. Thus he secured a contrast between the godless Cainites and the pious Sethites on which was founded the ecclesiastical tradition that alienation from God was in the Cainite blood, while in the Sethite piety was instinctive.

Of the other names in the table little need be said. In II Sam. xxi. 16 Ḳayin means "a spear," in Arabic and Syriac "a smith," and possibly (Gen. iv. 1) is to be connected with the word to "make." Enoch (Hanokh) is the name of a Reubenite (Gen. xlvi. 9) and a Midianite (Gen. xxv. 4) stock (cf. the Annakus who was king of Phrygia, mentioned by Stephen of Byzantium). With Jubal should be connected the Hebrew for "ram's horn" (Joshua vi. 5). Tubal is the Tibareni of Asia Minor (Gen. x. 2), while the addition of Cain, "smith," goes well with their reputation for metalwork. A goddess Adah was worshiped by Babylonians, and one named Naamah by the Phenicians.

(H. Guthe.)

Bibliography: The subject is treated more or less adequately in the commentaries on Genesis, best in A. Dillmann's, Edinburgh, 1897, and in H. Gunkel's, Göttingen, 1902. Consult further: I. Goldziher, Der Mythos bei den Hebräern, Leipsic, 1876, Eng, transl., London, 1877; K. Budde, Biblische Urgeschichte, pp. 117 sqq., Giessen, 3371883; F. Lenormant, Les Origines de l’histoire d’aprés la Bible, vol. i., Paris, 1880, Eng. transl., Beginnings of History, London, 1883; J. Wellhausen, Die Komposition des Hexateuchs, pp. 10 sqq., 305, Berlin, 1889; H. E. Ryle, Early Narratives of Genesis, pp. 78–83, London, 1892; B. Stade, in ZATW, xiv. (1894) 250 sqq.; EB, i. 622–628, iv. 4411–17; DB, i. 338–339. On the later Jewish mythology, J. A. Eisenmenger. Entdecktes Judenthum, i. 462, 471, 832, 836, Frankfort, 1700.

« Caillin, Saint, of Fenagh Cain, Kenites Cainites »
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