Lent day 34: Who is Canain?

Lent day 34: Who is Canain?

Luke 3 v 36 “the son of Canain”

Luke records: “the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem”

But Genesis 11: 10-13 records: “Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah.13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.”

So who was Shelah’s father? Was it Canain or Arphaxad?

The name means ‘one who laments’.

  • If ‘the son of’ is merely ‘a descendent of’ then Canain is the father and Arphaxad the grandfather (still possible at 35yrs if he and Canain had fathered at 17 years of age).
  • There was a levirate marriage occurring and Arphaxad took Shelah as his own.
  • The Greek for Canain and Kenan (v37) are the same and a Gentile copyist of the New Testament made an error in copying. Canain is Kenan repeated in the wrong place.


Maybe Canain really existed and he is lamenting still today because no one knows who he was!

Are you grieving today? Mourning the loss of a loved one or a misunderstanding or even an error that has occurred that cannot now be fixed?

Sometimes that is all we have left. The book of Lamentations is a collection of poetry after the destruction of Jerusalem. It shows that even now in 2019 we can lament over the situation around us and who we have become.

We can be drained emotionally:  2 v 11 “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.”


We can struggle for words to say: 2 v 13 “What can I say for you? With what can I compare you, Daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, Virgin Daughter Zion? Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?”


We can have regret, knowing things could have and should have been different: 2 v 14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.”


We can be ashamed of our situation: 2 v 15-17 “All who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake their heads at Daughter Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?” 16 All your enemies open their mouths wide against you; they scoff and gnash their teeth and say, “We have swallowed her up.
This is the day we have waited for; we have lived to see it.” 17 The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.”


We can be crying constantly, 2 v 18-19 “The hearts of the people cry out to the Lord. You walls of Daughter Zion, let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest. 19 Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner.”


This is the condition. It can get as bad as it can get. Sometimes our only prayer is:

Look, O Lord, and consider …v20

And He will look and He will consider and whether there is error or whether you really existed and are incredibly overlooked or misunderstood, Canain is in the lineage of Jesus. He takes the errors and the inconclusive bodies who lament over their situation and works salvation through them!

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