corner graphic

Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

(Hebrews Keyinan', קֵינָן, derivation ambiguous, as in the case of "Cain" [q.v.], and signifying either possessor [so Furst] or forgeman [so Gesenius]; Sept. Κα Þ νᾶν, but Κα Þ νάν in Chron. and N.T.; Josephus Κα Þ νᾶς , Ant. 1:3, 4), the name of one or two men.

1. The fourth antediluvian patriarch, being the (oldest) son of Enos (who was 90 years of age at his birth), B.C. 3846. He was himself 70 years old at the birth of his (first) son Mahalaleel, B.C. 3776, after which he lived 840 years, and died B.C. 3031, aged 910 (Genesis 5:9-14). (See LONGEVITY). The rabbinical tradition was that he first introduced idol- worship and astrology a tradition which the Hellenists transferred to the postdiluvian Cainan. Thus Ephraem-Syrus asserts that the Chaldees in the time of Terah and Abram worshipped a graven god called Cainan; and Gregory Bar HIebraeus, another Syriac author, also applies it to the son of Arphaxad (Mill, Vindlca. of Genea!ogies, p. 150). The origin of the tradition is not known; but it may probably have been suggested by the meaning of the supposed root in Arabic and the Arammean dialects, just as another signification of the same root seems to have suggested the tradition that the daughters of Cain were the first who made and sang to musical in the Auth. Vers. at 1 Chronicles 1:2.

2. The son of Arphaxad, and father, of Sala, according to Luke 3:35-36, and usually called the second Cainan. He is also found in the present copies of the Sept. in the genealogy of Shem, Genesis 10:24; Genesis 11:12-13 (where his history is given in full like the rest: "And Arphaxad lived 135 years, and begat Cainan, And Arphaxad lived after he begat Cainan 400 years, and begat sons and daughters.. And he died. And Cainan lived 130 years, and begat Salah, And Cainan lived after he begat Salah 330 years, and begat sons and daughters. And he died"), and 1 Chronicles 1:18 (though he is omitted in 1 Chronicles 1:24), but is nowhere named in the Hebrew text, nor in ally of the versions made from it, as the Samaritan, Chaldee, Syriac, Vulgate, etc. As the addition of his generation of 10 years in the series of names is of great chronological importance, and is one of the circumstances which render the Septuagint computation of time longer than the Hebrew, this matter has engaged much attention, and has led to great discussion among chronologers. (See CHRONOLOGY).

Some have suggested that the Jews purposely excluded the second Cainan from their copies, with the design of rendering the Septuagint and Luke suspected; others that Moses omitted Cainan, being desirous of reckoning ten generations only from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to, Abraham. Some suppose that Arphaxad was father of Cainan and Salah of Salah naturally, and of Cainan legally; while others allege that Cainan and Salah were the same person under two names. It is believed by many, however, that the name of this second Cainan was not originally in the text even of Luke, but is an addition of inadvertent transcribers, who, remarking it in scmi copies of the Septuagint, added it (Kuinol, ad Luke 3:36) Hales, though, as an advocate of the longer chronology, predisposed to its retention, decides that we are fully warranted to conclude that the secondCainan was not originally in the Hebrew text, at least, nor in the Septuagint and other versions derived from it (Chronology, 1:291). Some of the grounds for this conclusion are,

1. That the Hebrew and Samaritan, with all the ancient versions and targums, concur in,the omission;

2. That the Septuagint is not consistent with itself; for in the repetition of genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1:24, it omits Cainan and agrees with the Hebrew text; John of Antioch, and by Eusebius; and that, while Origen retained thename itself, he, in his copy of the Septuagint, marked it with an obelisk as an unauthorized reading.

It certainly was not contained in any copies of the, Bible which Berosus, Eupolemus, Polyhistor, Theophilus of Antioch, Julius Africanus, or even Jerome, had access to. Moreover, it seems that the intrusion of the name even into the Sept. is comparatively modern, since Augustine is the first writer who mentions it as found in the O.T. at all. Demetrius (B.C. 170), quoted by Eusebius (Proep. Evang. 9:21), reckons 1360 years from the birth of Shem to Jacob's going down to Egypt, which seems to include the130' years of Cainan. But in the great fluctuation of the numbers in the ages of the patriarchs, no reliance can be placed on this argument. Nor have we any certainty that the figures have not been altered in the modern copies of Eusebius, to make them agree with the computation of the altered copies of the Sept. 4. That the numbers indicating the longevity, and paternity of this patriarch are evidently borrowed from those immediately adjoining, as is the name itself from that of the antediluvian patriarch. See Heidegger, Hist. Patriarch. 2:8-15; Bochart, Phaleg, lib. 2, cap. 13; Mill's Vindic. of our Lord's Geneal. p. 143. sq; Rus, Harmon. Evang. 1:364 sq.; Michaelis, De Chronolog. Mosis post dillue. (in the Commentat. Soc. Gott. 1763 sq.; translated in the Am. Bib. Repos. July,1841, p. 114 sq.); Vater, Comment. zum Pent. 1:174 sq. (See GENEALOGY (OF CHRIST).)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cainan'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

Prev Entry
Cain (2)
Next Entry
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology