Cainan and “Sorrow”

Genesis 5:1-32 continued…

“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).

At the time of the birth of Cainan Adam had reached the ripe old age of 325 years, and Seth was the young age of 195 years. I personally believe these are literal years, and not the length of family duration or however some try to explain it. The reason I mention that is; when I was a Freshman in High School at Cassville, Missouri we had a teacher who boldly proclaimed to us one morning, “The ages of those men in the early part of Genesis could not be their actual age, it had to mean something else”. I am not sure that is a word for word statement, it has been about 39 years since she made it, but it is pretty close. I did not agree with her then, and I certainly do not now.

The genealogy of the LORD God’s plan of redemption continues. God’s amazing grace is quite prominent, yet man is beginning to see the sorrow of sin more and more and its dark agony, and sorrow. Cainan means “Sorrow”. If only the people of the earth would open their eyes, and see their true and sad estate; maybe their sorrow would drive them to God; but then, maybe not.

When you see your sad estate in life, and that is that you are dying, that you have an eternity to spend somewhere in one of two places; one is where Jesus is, and the other is where only His wrath is.  To choose where Jesus is you must Choose Jesus, and trust His finished work on the cross, believing that He died for your sins, was buried, and that He bodily rose from the grave and is alive forever more. 

5 thoughts on “Cainan and “Sorrow”

  1. Most of the Hebrew meanings of the names of the generations from Adam to Noach can be found in a Strong’s Concordance or most books on Hebrew names. However, there are two names in Bere’shiyt (Genesis) chapter five that can only be found in a good Hebrew etymological dictionary. The name of Kenan is one of those. The name qeynan (קינן) can mean to possess and it can mean to mourn, lament or sorrow after.
    (Ezekiel) 27:32
    And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation [qiynah] for thee, and lament [qun] over thee, saying, What city is like Tyre, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?
    Amos 8:10
    And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; [qiynah] and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
    Qiynan and qiynah (קינה) both find their roots in the word qun (קון),
    I Imagine that this is one of those instances where the letters of a name change when translated from one language to another.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kenan

    Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)

    Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.6


  3. Hi 🙂

    In your post you state that Cainan means “sorrow”. I have found this stated many times over while trying to verify that definition (which is how I found this post) but not with any references to support it. Strong’s Concordance for example says that Cainan means “fixed”, and this name is connected to a word that means “nest” or “room”, both of which come from another word that basically means “to build”… I hope you can understand my confusion. I am posting here because I’m hoping you have a reference to the name Cainan meaning “sorrow” as stated in your post, or perhaps you could at least point me in the right direction?


    1. Siah, Thank you for your comment and the correction. I looked it up again, and you are correct. It has been many years ago that I heard this, and I thought I had researched it, but sadly, I guess I didn’t.
      So, thanks again for the correction.


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