What You May Not Know About The Land of Nod and Cain
By Joan Berry Copyright 2023
It has been said that the Bible is like an onion, layer upon layer. The more we peel back those layers, the more we realize that there was more to a passage than we realized at the time. In this article, the example is the Land of Nod that is mentioned in the Book of Gensis and the name ‘Land of Nod’ is mentioned in the Bible only once. God exiled Cain to Nod because he killed his brother, Abel: ‘You shall be a vagabond,’ God said. The etymology of the word ‘nod’ comes from the word ‘nud’ meaning to wander or to move to and fro.
The general consensus of biblical scholars is that Nod was not a place such as a settlement before Cain’s arrival; but a place for wandering fugitives, a wilderness, and apart from God. In Aramaic, Nod/Nud is used as a verb. The meaning of Nod depends on the circumstances. It could mean shaking of the head in sympathy, bemoan, wandering, remove, and to flee. Strong’s Hebrew Concordance lists the following references based on the meaning of Nod/Nud in different circumstances: Genesis 4:12. 4:14; I Kings 14:15; II Kings 21:8; Job 2:8, 42:11; Psalm 11:1, 36:11, 68:12, 69:20; Proverbs 3:2, 26:2, 21:20; Isiah 24:29, 51:19; Jeremiah 5:3, 24, 4:1, 15:5, 16:5, 18:15,16, 22:10, 31:18, 48:17, 18, 27, 49:30, 50:3, 8; Nahum 3:7; II Samuel 7:8, 15:25; I Chronicles 17:7; Exodus.
The Bible tells us about the eviction of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. In their new abode, their first son, Cain, was born and later, Able, the second son. Cain followed his father into farming; Able became a shepherd. When the time came for a sacrifice to God, Able gave the first and best sheep from his flock. Cain gave “some” of his grain crop; a proper sacrifice at that time also included grain. When God refused Cain’s offering, he became very angry. The offering was not accepted because it was not the best of the crop – it was just “some of it.” Cain’s attitude toward his sacrifice was not respectful. Cain’s anger turned to jealousy that led to him to kill his brother. When God confronted Cain and gave him a chance to repent, Cain was arrogant. Then God exiled him to the Land of Nod as punishment. The account of Nod in Gensis places it east of Eden. God exiled Cain to a life of a vagabond that was Cain’s Nod [Separation from God in an infertile area. God told Cain his crops would not be fruitful as before his exile to Nod]. Today this general area is occupied by Bedouins.
We know Cain took his family with him because he fathered Enoch by his wife, Awan, who had a sister, Azura. They are recorded in the ancient Book of Jubilees. Historian Flavius Josephus (CE 93) recorded in his Antiquities of the Jews that Cain continued his wickedness.
He resorted to violence and robbery, established weights and measures that transferred human innocence into craftiness and deceit. He also established property lines and built a fortified city. Cain’s name means possessor of a spear; Cain and Enosh are also known as human.
A genealogy from Adam to Noah is provided to help remove the name confusion. This list is in Gensis 6. Adam and Eve begat Able who was killed by Cain; Cain begat Enoch (not the one who was holy); Enoch begat Irad; Irad begat Methujael; and Methujael begat Methushael who begat Lamech; Lamech begat Jabal and Jubal; Jubal begat Jubal who had two wives and the first one to have more than one wife. By Adah he begat brothers Jabal and Jubal; by Zillah, he begat Tubal-Cain and Naaman. Adam and Eve generated a second line of descent when they begat Seth who begat Enos. Enos begat Kenan (Cainin); Kenan begat Mahalalel; Mahalalel begat Jared; Jared begat Enoch who wrote the Book of Enoch; Enoch begat Methuselah; Methuselah begat Lamech; Lamech begat Noah who begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. With the arrival of Noah, the flood, and the destruction of the Earth, prehistoric humans had run their course.
Name meaning (Often named according to character)
Enoch: The first son born to Cain and Awan. His name means disciplined one;
Irad: The fugitive and wild ass;
Methujael: He wanted to blot out the name of God and wanted to bring God down to the level of man;
Methushael: They died who are of God, meaning they could be their own god and not die;
Lamech: (son of Methushael:) Skill and strength, arrogance, vengeance and boastfulness. “I killed a man,” he boasted to his wives. Furthermore, he planned to magnify vengeance by himself, and he would take vengeance on anyone who attacked him. Other meanings to this Lamech were made low unto bringing low;
Jabal and Jubal were brothers: Jabal means a river flows forth. Jubal means to bring forth. Both names are related to the word jubilee. Jabal was the progenitor of tent dwellers and herders. Jubal was the progenitor of all who played the flute and the long flute;
Tubal-Cain: He was a smith and progenitor of every artisan who makes copper and iron tools, and he is generally known as the father of metallurgy;
Naaman: She was Tubal-Cains’ sister;
Seth: Appointed (to replace Able); he walked with God. With Abel dead and Cain exiled, there was no male to continue the blood line to Jesus. Adam and Eve generated a second line of descent when they begat Seth. He selected a human wife rather than one with Nephilim blood lines.
Enos: Mortal, miserable, frail, human.
Kenan: Sorrow, dirge.
Mahalalel: Blessed, praise.
Jared: Shall come down (This may be a reference to heavenly beings or Jesus’ return).
Enoch: Teaching, first of four generations of preachers. He received a prophecy that the flood of Noah would be withheld until the death of Methuselah. He named his son to reflect his prophecy.
Methuselah: Walked with God. His death shall bring. His mother was Edna/Elna.
Lamech: Skill and strength, arrogance and vengeance, despairing. Son of Methuselah.
Noah: Rest or Comfort.
Shem: Breath or character. He is the ancestor of all Semites.
Ham: Hard worker, hot or warm, concerned with main importance.
Japheth: Enlargement; his descendants occupied coastal lands of the Mediterranean Sea including Ionian Greeks.
Awan means somebody. Cain’s wife.
Zillah means shade. Lamech’ wife
Adah means ornamental (having to do with beauty, advance, pass on or away. She was the mother of Jabal and Jubal. Wife of Lamech.
Azura means sky blue. She was the daughter of Adam and Eve and the sister of Seth.
Naaman was Tubal-Cain’s sister. This name was also used for males. For females it means beautiful, delightful, agreeable and sweet herbs. For males it means good man and delightful.
Edna/Elna: Edna means pleasure; Elna means my God is Yahweh.
This article gives a glimpse of the antediluvian world of the first seven generations of mankind. One of the first questions asked is who did Adam and Eve’s children marry? One of the explanations given is as follows: God created a perfect man and woman and placed them in a perfect environment. Because of these perfections, the children would have inherited the traits of their parents. And therefore, there would be no genetic problems. Cain married his sister, Awan. When there was an abundance of offspring, from Cain’s siblings, there would be a pool of cousins to intermarry.
Lamech, Enoch, and Jubal are some of the names repeated in these prehistoric families. Names were chosen due to character, events, after friends, or family member, someone famous, just as we do today. I listed the fathers where there were duplicated names. Problems that persist are that some people have more than one name or the name is written differently in another language.
Asimov, I. (1981). Asimov’s Guide to the Bible – the Old and New Testaments. NY, NY: Wings Books.
Book of Enoch. (1922). Trans. By George H. Schodde from the Ethopic. Lld.UK: Designate Publisher
Book of Jubilees. (2015). Trans. By George H. Schodde from the Ethiopic. Lld.UK: Andesite Publisher
Byron, J. (2011). Cain and Able in Text and Tradition: Jewish and Christian Interpretation of the first Sibling Rivalry. Leiden: Brill.
Delaney, D, K. (1996). The Seven-fold Vengeance of Cain: Gensis 4 in Early Jewish and Christain Interpretation. PhD Dissertation accepted May 1996 at University of Virginia
Jones Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names. (1990). Grand Rapids MI: Kresge Publishers
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The Apologetics Study Bible: Christain Standard Bible. (2017). Ted Cabal, general editor. Nashville TN: Holman Bible Pub.
Flavius, J. (CE 93). Antiquities of the Jews. Quoted in Delaney’s dissertation 1996.
Stedman, Ray C, (1978). The Beginnings Word Books. Waco TX.
Torah: The First Five Books of Moses. (1999). Jewish Publication Society