Cainan can refer to either:

According to the Book of Jubilees, Cainan was taught to read by his father, and he found, carved on the rocks by former generations, an inscription preserving the science of astrology as taught by the Watchers, who had rebelled from God before the deluge. He is also stated to have married a daughter of Madai named Milcah.

The Sefer ha-Yashar describes Cainan, the possessor of great astrological wisdom, which had been inscribed on tables of stone, as the son of Seth and not of Arpachshad; i.e., the antediluvian Kenan.

In The Patriarchal Age: or, the History and Religion of Mankind (1854), George Smith writes[1]:

"It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the omission of the name of Cainan from the Hebrew text, and the consequent general rejection of him by historians, there are more traditions preserved of him than of his son Salah. 'The Alexandrine Chronicle derives the Samaritans from Cainan*; Eustachius Antiochenus, the Saggodians; George Syncellus, the Gaspheni; Epiphanius the Cajani. Besides the particulars already mentioned, it is said Cainan was the first after the flood who invented astronomy, and that his sons made a god of him, and worshiped his image after his death. The founding of the city of Harran in Mesopotamia is also attributed to him; which, it is pretended, is so called from a son he had of that name.' -Anc. Univ. Hist., vol. i, p. 96, note."

(* What the Latin Alexandrine Chronicle actually says is that "those who live east of the Sarmatians" were derived from Cainan)

Cainan (Hebrew: קֵינָן, Qeinan; "possession, metalsmith," or more likely "sorrow, dirge, elegy"[2]) (325 AM-1235 AM, or 3769 BC-2769 BC) was the son of Enos and the father of Mahalaleel. He was born when Enos was 90 years old, in 325 AM.[3]

Cainan had a son, Mahalalel, at age 70 (395 AM),[4] and died at the age of 910, in 1235 AM[5]

And Cainan lived seventy years and begat Mahalaleel: And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. Genesis 5:12-14 (KJV)


  1. Smith, p. 319
  2. Missler, Chuck. "Meaning of the Names in Genesis 5." Koinonia House Online. Accessed December 25, 2007.
  3. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pgh. 15
  4. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 16
  5. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 26
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Cainan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
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This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.

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