Cain קין
(493 words)

I. Name

In Gen. 4.1 the name of the first son of Adam and Eve, Cain, is related in a popular etymology to the Hebrew verb qnh ‘to acquire’. More probably the name should be related to either the Ugaritic qn ‘reed; shaft’ and Heb. qayin ‘javelin’ or to Syrian and Semitic words for ‘smith’; e.g. Syr. qajnājā ‘(gold)smith’; Thamudic qjn; qn and qnt, ‘smith’ (HALAT 1025; Hess 1993). His name might be related to a Thamudic deity qayn. Besides, the story on Cain and Abel has been interpreted mythologically, Cai…

Cite this page
B. Becking, “Cain קין”, in: Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online, Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. van der Horst. Consulted online on 22 January 2019 <>

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