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Cainan, (also Kenan[1]) was the son of Enosh and the grandson of Seth, making him a Sethite. He is first mentioned in the genealogies of the Book of Genesis (quoting the Book of the Generations of Adam) and then is mentioned in First Chronicles and Luke. When he was 70 years old his wife gave birth to Mahalalel.[2] He would live to be 910 years old.


Cainan (Hebrew: קֵינָן) seems to be derived from either קָנָה (to get, to possess) or קָנַן (to make a nest). It is likely that the two primitive roots are related to the idea of protection. Another primitive root related to this name is קָנָא (to be jealous, to be zealous). In naming a child Cainan parents would have indicated a special relationship desired for the infant. It is unlikely that Enosh would have named his son after Cain, the apostate son of Adam and founder of the rival tribe in Nod.


Family and Early life[]

Cainan was born 325 years after the creation of Adam, his great grandfather. In those three centuries, mankind had grown from a small family to two rival tribes. The tribe of Seth, favored son of Adam, had returned to at least an appearance of reverence for the Creator.[3] By the time of the birth of Mahalalel ("Praise of God") near the end of the fourth century after creation, a vibrant community of faith seems to have arisen.

Life and Legacy[]

The record, though sparse, shows the preservation of a remnant of faithful believers in the midst of growing apathy and even hostility to godliness. Cainan stood fast in the early years but nothing is known of his later years.However, in his later years he did live to see the rise of the prophets Enoch and Noah.


While not listed as a hero of the faith, it is notable that Cainan is listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.[4] This inclusion in an unbroken line from Adam to Jesus reveals both the humility of the Son of God and the mercy of His Father.


  1. 1 Chronicles 1:2 (Link)
  2. Genesis 5:12-14 (Link)
  3. Gen. 4:26 (Link)
  4. Luke 3:37-38 (Link)