A bloody cry

Strike 2

Cain, which means a possession or a spear, was first-born son of Adam and Eve, tiller of the ground, killer of brother Abel in an act of wanton jealousy. He was duly banished to the Land of Nod (metaphor, perhaps, for the “Land of Exile”).

To add insult to injury, he was marked by God with the equivalent of a “Danger: Do Not Approach” sign — perhaps on his forehead or his arm. The sign served as marker that he was both ‘unclean’ and that his life should not be taken in revenge. He was, rather, to serve as a living reminder of the consequence of sin — the sin of taking of the blood of another.

The name Cain, in Hebrew kayin, is said to have been given by Eve because she declared: “I have gotten [kaniti, from kanah, ‘to acquire’] a man from the Lord.”

Cain is also the name of a town of the Kenites, a tribe of the Midianites (Joshua 15:57) on the east edge of the mountain above Engedi; probably the “nest in a rock” mentioned by Balaam (Numbers 24:21 ).

It is identified with modern-day Yekin, just south-east of Hebron:

From the rock of Ziph David came down to “the wilderness of Maon.” Both names are still found in southern Judah. Conder (Israel Exploration) identifies Hachilah with a high hill bounded by deep valleys N. and S. on which stands the ruin Yekin or Harbin, facing Jeshimon on the right. The “trench” where Saul pitched tent is the flat low plot between steep cliffs, the head of a large wady with water. David crossed the valley, and from either of the hill tops called to the hosts. There is only one hill E. of Ziph overlooking the desert, the rest are rolling downs at a lower level; on this one is Yekin, which is “Hachil,” the liquids ‘l’ and ‘n’ being interchanged as often.

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Meaning of the word “yekin” in Malay [A Dictionary of the Malayan Language]
  • Yakin [I guess referring to a yak] is a

large Asiatic antelope (Budorcas taxicolor) native of the higher parts of the Himalayas and other lofty mountains. Its head and neck resemble those of the ox, and its tail is like that of the goat. Called also budorcas.  [1913 Webster]

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Featured Image: Cain flying before Jehovah’s Curse, Fernand-Anne Piestre Cormon (c. 1880) Musée d’Orsay, Paris [Wikipedia commons]


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