I read a comment that said the "brood of vipers" referenced in Matthew 12:34 refers to the children of Cain. It implied that Cain was the Father of the generation of men being referred to as vipers in the verse.

It is my understanding that the descendants of Cain were killed in the flood. Am I wrong?


3 Answers 3


This whole question is based on hearsay, not on scripture.
It really doesn't belong in the post:

I read a comment that said the "brood of vipers" referenced in Matthew 12:34 refers to the children of Cain. It implied that Cain was the Father of the generation of men being referred to as vipers in the verse.

As for the question itself though:

Were the descendants of Cain killed in the flood?

There were 4 possibly unrelated women on the ark.
Nothing says that any or all of them were not descendants of Cain. And perhaps even Noah himself could have had female ancestors that were descendants of Cain.

So the answer is, probably not, but it's definitely possible.

  • I upvoted this because I had not considered descendants of Cain in Noah's lineage and/or the spouses of the men in the ark. However, we should be aware that the Bible does not count women in this calculation even if we moderns do. Commented Apr 6 at 15:41

The Bible does teach that all the descendants of Cain were wiped out by the flood. So were all the descendants of Seth, except for Noah and his family.

Gen. 7:21

All creatures that moved on earth perished: birds, tame animals, wild animals, and all that teemed on the earth, as well as all humankind.

"Brood of vipers" is a figure of speech implying devilish conduct, not meant to be understood literally. John the Baptist used the term in speaking the Sadducees and Pharisees. (Matthew 3:7) Jesus used it twice. In Matthew 12:34 he uses it against Pharisees who accused him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. In Matthew 23:33 he speaks against the scribes and Pharisees who, although they are to obeyed because they represent the authority of Moses (23:2), in fact practice hypocrisy. Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes were all Jews and thus descendants of Shem. Thus, in every instance in the NT, "brood of vipers" refers to particular descendants of Seth through Noah and Shem, not to descendants of Cain. Jesus too was a descendant of Shem.

Conclusion: The epithet "brood of vipers" implies satanic conduct. It has nothing to do with being a descendant of Cain except in the sense of spiritual inheritance.

  • I appreciate your feedback and agree with your premise. Commented Apr 5 at 21:05

The descendants of Cain were all killed in the flood with a possible exception.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. – Genesis 3:1 ESV

Thus, serpents were also created male and female, and they were also commanded to reproduce.

Serpents were different than snakes or vipers. What Adam named “serpent” was the most intelligent animal that God had created. Serpents were more intelligent than orangutans, parrots and crows, tucuxi dolphins, and octopuses. Currently, tucuxi dolphins are considered the most intelligent wild animal on earth today. Serpents apparently could speak the language of humans, otherwise the passage wouldn’t bother to explain that the serpent was more crafty than all the other animals. One such serpent tricked humans into disobeying God's command.

It's likely that all but one serpent died in the flood. The one serpent that survived is “the fleeing serpent” mentioned in Isaiah and Job, and “the serpent of old” mentioned in Revelation, and also called Leviathan and “the Dragon.”

Before God cursed that particular serpent, it obviously did not crawl along the ground as snakes do, otherwise God’s pronouncement wouldn’t have been a curse. The imagery of eating dust may come from the lowly snake whose tongue flickers near the ground to pick up the scent of prey. An animal that actually eats dirt is the earthworm.

The motive of this serpent to deceive the humans is not stated. We do know that serpents were created before humans, but humans were given stewardship over the earth and all plant and animal life. Perhaps, this serpent under instigation of the devil became jealous as did Cain later on. With the death of humans, serpents could then take primacy over the earth. Or perhaps satan incarnated himself conveniently as a serpent, while Messiah would be incarnated as a human. This could be the seed of the serpent versus the seed of woman.

Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. – Genesis 6:11-13 ESV

Only Noah, his wife, and six others were spared of all humanity. So Cain and all his descendants perished in the flood. However, it’s possible that one or more of the wives of Noah’s sons, could have come from the line of Cain.

The epithet that Jesus used, an evil brood of vipers, in reference to Pharisees was in regard to their poisonous thoughts and words, and not their wisdom. They certainly didn’t seem to take it as a compliment.

In the betrayal of Jesus, it’ written

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. – Luke 22:3 ESV

Judas was not a descendant of Cain, but perhaps satan entering into Judas was similar to the unstated event of satan entering into the heart of the serpent.

  • Thank you for the time you took to respond. I am in agreement with you! Commented Apr 5 at 21:05
  • Thank you, @Apologetics. Your thanks more than makes up for the anonymous down votes that I often receive as a result. I don't see anything in my response that's not supported with hermeneutical evidence.
    – Dieter
    Commented Apr 5 at 21:33
  • I am new to BH. This is day two for me. I gave you an upvote but it doesn't count yet! I am still trying to earn reputation. It appears that it may be difficult to get upvotes? I am yet to get one for any of my responses or my first question. It seems that when it comes to the topic of the Bible and different beliefs that there is enough criticism to go around. Commented Apr 6 at 1:35
  • By the way, welcome to the forum, @Apologetics! I wouldn't worry about the seemingly obligatory down votes. Personal opinion shouldn't matter, nor should unsupported assertions. However, the value in BH comes with the scholarly content and solid references presented. The forum has also been valuable to me from the discipline of researching words, various translations including the DSS and LXX, cultural and conversational context, history, allusions to other scriptures, previous scholarship, and peppering the text with questions. New insights and blessings just seem to pop out as a result!
    – Dieter
    Commented Apr 6 at 7:06

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