Question: Any ideas why Cain’s line in Genesis chapter 4 ends with a female: “Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah” (Gen 4:22)? Was she famous for something?
Answer: “Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron” (Gen 4:22).
From Tubal-Cain’s name, we seem to get the ancient god Vulcan. The omission of the Tu leaves us with Bal-Cain and by turning the b into v, a change sometimes made by the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, we are left with Vulcan, the god of metalworking, fire, and forge. Vulcan’s consort was Venus. The juxtaposition of Tubal-Cain and Naamah reminds us of Vulcan and Venus.
Naamah (meaning “pleasant”) was indeed Tubal-Cain’s sister, and when we read the history of southern Mesopotamia we will not read too far before we come across the goddess Inanna, the most prominent female deity of the area. Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk, a city which may be associated with Cain’s city of Enoch, according to Professor Sayce, Oxford University’s Professor of Assyriology in 1887, which he suggested when the area’s cuneiform tablets were first being deciphered.
The Sumerian female deity Inanna came to be thought of as the goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, procreation. The Akkadians called her “Ishtar.” She was the Phoenician “Astarte” and the Greek “Aphrodite.” Inanna was also compared to the bright planet Venus, who we know in Roman mythology was the goddess of love.
These other names for Inanna reveal her stunning beauty and sensuality. Inanna seems to be characterized as a youthful female, not as a maternal mature woman or faithful wife. She understands her power and uses it to her full advantage.
In the Mesopotamian story “The Epic of Gilgamesh” Ishtar (Inanna) attempts to seduce Gilgamesh, but he, being aware of her history as a sexual predator, reminds Ishtar how her former lovers have met with various calamities once she had discarded them, and he does not want to be among their number.
The Venerable Bede (born in AD 673) speaks of a goddess who was celebrated in the Old English “Month of Ēostre,” a month corresponding to April, which he says, “was once called after a goddess named Ēostre.” The Phoenician “Astarte” may be a match for what the Venerable Bede was speaking of, if so, we seem to get our word modern “Easter” from Ishtar.
We know that Adam and Eve’s female offspring were attractive. “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful” (Gen 6:2 nasb). The word “men” in Hebrew is Adam. So in Hebrew the verse would read, “The sons of God saw that the daughters of Adam were beautiful.” We see the “beauty” trait throughout Adam’s later offspring:
So, it is probable that Cain’s offspring were also beautiful. Cain’s genealogical line ends with naming “Tubal-Cain’s sister as Naamah” (4:22), which makes us wonder, why is Naamah mentioned?
Her brothers all seem to have important jobs, we see that Jabal raised livestock and was an authority on sojourning with tents, Jubal was a master musician, and Tubal-Cain had his metalwork, so for what reason is Naamah listed? Females did not often make it into biblical genealogical records unless there was some reason of note.
Naamah means “pleasant,” as in “pleasing to the eye.” We suppose that Moses thought it worthwhile recording Naamah’s name because we would be aware of her.
Naamah herself held onto her beauty for many years because she was from a line that lived long. Men of that era, with a regular lifespan, would see themselves grow older while Naamah appeared to remain in the prime of her youth. Stories, legends, and myths would not be in short supply when Naamah finally died, succeeding generations would tell stories that they had heard about a beautiful woman who held onto her looks while many around her lost theirs.