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Cain And The Kenites

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the case for understanding the story of Cain in Gen 4 as being an aetiology of the tribe of the Kenites. The tribal name Seth is identical in spelling to the figure of Seth in Gen 4, but this has been concealed in English Bibles, which inconsistently follow the Greek spelling Seth in Gen. 4 but the Hebrew spelling Sheth in Num 24. It is clear from Num 24:17 that the "sons of Seth" are to be located in the area of Moab, and so a bit further north than the Kenites. In conclusion, a strong case can be made for assuming that the figure of Cain is to be regarded as the eponymous ancestor of the tribe of the Kenites, and that this is true as much of the final form of the text of Genesis as it is of the original story lying behind it.

Keywords: Cain; English Bibles; Kenites; Seth



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