Many commentators note that the lineage of Cain in Genesis 4 is followed by a genealogy of Seth in Genesis 5 and compare the two lines, treating Cain's line as godless and Seth's line as godly. This particularly appears, for example, in some discussions of Genesis 6:2 and the nature of the sons of God and the daughters of men.

Of course the narrator is silent in making explicit comparisons of the two, but are there exegetical reasons to see (or not see) an implicit comparison between the line of Cain and the line of Seth?


Not between Cain and Seth, but between Adam and Enosh. R. Sacks (The Lion and the Ass, page 79) points out that Adam and Enosh both mean 'man' in the Hebrew language. This allows us to create the following parallel enter image description here

In this comparison, we see that the descendants of Man (Adam) and Enosh form parallels, except for the precise crossover of three sets of names. Sacks says we can see that the crossover is intentional, because both Enoch (column 1) and Mahalaleel (column 2) were 65 years old at the birth of their first sons.

Leon R. Kass says, in The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, page 157, that "Some evidence can be adduced that it is the line of Cain that are the sons of God." On page 157, Kass says "There is equal if not greater evidence on the other side" - the line of Seth.

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  • Alice C. Linsley sees in the various common names shared between the two clans proof of a certain Afro-Asiatic pattern, supported by anthropological data, wherein the tribe leader takes two wives, a half-sister and a cousin, settling them on a north-south axis (in imitation of the sun, whose two wives are the east and the west), the latter (almost) always naming her first-born after her father. – Lucian Aug 9 '17 at 11:46

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