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Answering The Atheist
May 11, 2003 / Volume 3, Issue 19

What became of Cain? Genesis 4:12 describes him as a fugitive and a vagabond, but in 4:17, we’re told that he and his wife had a son, and that he built a city. Is there a contradiction?

Can a man not be a fugitive and a vagabond and still have a wife? He was condemned as an outcast of society, and would spend the days of his life wandering, but that does not restrict him from having children. The questioner might reason that no woman would marry a man with such a curse. It is an assumption on the questioner’s part that Cain was not already married.

As to the city which he built, even wanderers settle in one place for a short time. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the nation Israel through their wandering years — they all settled in villages, etc. for a time every now and then. Notice, the name of the city was not “Cain”, it was “Enoch”. When he built it, it was not as a legacy to himself (he would always be known as a fugitive and a vagabond), but rather for his son. Did he live there a while? Perhaps. Did he leave and continue wandering the land? Likely. We’re not told. In fact, no further information is given about his life. But one thing is evident about that which is given....

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible