The Words of the Haines Family

Who did Cain marry?

William Haines
March 16, 2011

One of the commonest questions readers of the Bible ask is, 'who did Cain marry?' The answer is quite simple. One of his sisters. You see according to Jewish and Muslim traditions Eve always gave birth to twins. A boy and a girl each time. So Cain, Abel and Seth were all born with twin sisters. So who married whom?

One day Eve had a dream in which her oldest son Cain killed his brother Abel. Sweating and trembling she woke up Adam up and told him. Adam said he had also been thinking about it and that maybe a solution was for the two boys to take over different parts of the farm. Cain could tend the crops and fruit trees while Abel could look after the sheep and cows. This way they wouldn't see each other so often and hopefully wouldn't fight as much.

Some years later Adam and Eve were discussing which son should marry which daughter. They decided that Cain should marry Abel's twin sister, Jumelia, and Abel should marry Cain's twin sister, Aclima. At breakfast the next day they told the two boys. Abel was happy with the idea of marrying Aclima. But Cain was very upset.

"I want to marry my sister," he said.

Adam remonstrated with him that this wasn't fitting but Cain refused to agree.

"It's not fair. Why should Abel marry her? She is more beautiful than Jumelia. And it's up to me to decide as she is my sister," he said.

As they couldn't agree Adam said to his sons, "OK, we'll let God decide. Next Sabbath both of you should bring God an offering, The one whose offering is accepted will marry Aclima."

On the morning of the Sabbath Abel woke up early, got washed and put on his best clothes. He went out into the field to pick up the finest lamb that he had chosen the day before. He took it to the family altar, carefully and gently cut its throat, placed it on the altar and prayed, "Heavenly Father, please accept this gift as an expression of my love for you and please show Cain and me which one of us should marry Aclima." Immediately he felt that God had accepted his offering and he was very happy. As he went home he heard angels singing and started laughing and dancing with joy.

Much later that morning Cain woke up. He had overslept. He put on his usual work clothes and had his breakfast. When he had finished he remembered that he was supposed to have woken up early and brought God an offering. So he looked around to see what he could take. He found some cereal grains in the larder, wrapped them in a rag and set off for the family altar. He placed the offering on the altar and waited. After a few minutes some crows flew down and ate up the grains. Cain felt rather empty and let down. He went home feeling depressed. On the way he met Abel who was still singing and dancing.

"What are you so happy about Abel?" he asked grumpily.

"Oh," exclaimed Abel, "I feel so happy. God accepted my offering and I can hear the angels singing all around me."

"Why should God accept your offering and not mine? You're no better than me. God isn't fair. In fact I am not even sure I believe in God," said Cain sullenly.

"God only accepts gifts from people who are pious Cain and I'm afraid to say you aren't very pious," said Abel rather insensitively.

"Don't think just because God accepted your offering you're going to marry my sister. I'll kill you before I let you marry her," replied Cain.

Later that day Cain heard a voice inside him asking him why he was so angry and upset. "Don't you realize," the voice said, "that if you do well you will be accepted by God but if you don't control yourself you will lose your temper and do something terrible. So be careful." But all Cain could think about was how unfair it was and how he was determined that Abel would not marry his sister. Every day he nursed his grudge and his hatred for his brother grew.

A couple of months later Cain woke up early. It was warm autumn morning and he was going to harvest some of his crops. But when he went out into the field he saw it was full of animals. There were goats in his vegetable garden, cows in the wheat field and sheep all over the place. His whole year's work had been destroyed. He was furious. He stormed off to Abel's house and banged on the door.

"Good morning Cain. You're up early. What's the matter?"

"Why have you let all your animals into my field. They have destroyed all my crops. My whole year's work has been ruined. I am going to kill you for this."

"I don't know what you're talking about brother. Let's go and have a look."

They walked over to the field and lo and behold it was as Cain said. There were Abel's animals trampling down everything and munching through his crops.

"There," said Cain, "Now what have you got to say for yourself?"

"OK. Let's have a look and see how they got in," said Abel and the two of them walked round the field. After a while they came to a place where the fence was broken. "Look," said Abel. "It wasn't my fault they got in. It's all your fault. You haven't been mending your fence you lazy bum."

At this Cain saw red. He realized his wretched younger brother was right as usual. He was going teach him a lesson and a grabbed him by the throat and started choking him. Abel though was the stronger of the two and soon wrestled him to the ground.

"I submit, I submit," said Cain. So Abel stood up and walked away. Cain also picked himself up but as he did so he reached for a large rock. He ran after his brother and smashed the rock into his head over and over again until he stopped breathing.

Cain felt no remorse. "Ha," he said to himself. "That taught him. He got what he deserved that arrogant little upstart who always thought he knew what was best." So Cain took his sister and they went away.

(Freely based on stories from the Talmud and commentaries on the Qur'an) 

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