“Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch.
He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch”.
Pin-pointing a geography for the antediluvian patriarch, Cain – the “Land of Nod” and the City that he is said to have built in honour of his son, Enoch (Genesis 4:16-17) – has turned out to be quite a challenge.
Firstly, I was drawn to the idea that the ancient cities of Sumer (southern Iraq) were Cain-ite cities. David Rohl seemed to have a point when proposing, in his book The Lost Testament, that ancient Eridu was called after Cain’s grandson, Irad; Uruk (Sumerian Unuki) and Ur (Sumerian Unuki) after Cain’s son, Enoch; Badtibira (“City of the Metal Worker”) after Tubal-Cain.
Moreover, the Babylonian ‘Noah’, Ziusudra, is associated with Shuruppak.
All ancient cities of Sumer with possible biblical connections.
“The Land of Nod” could then be the region “beyond the Euphrates”, which tended to have sinister connotations in the Bible (e.g. Jeremiah 2:18; Revelation 9:14).
My interest in Sumer waned somewhat, however, when I came to realise that – thanks to an article by Creationist, Anne Habermehl – Sumer was not the biblical “land of Shinar”.
See my subsequent:
Second attempt. I, now thinking that ancient Jericho – one of the oldest cities in the world – must rank as a prime candidate for Cain’s city, found that Roy Schulz had indeed argued for Jericho’s “Pre-Pottery Neolithic” (PPN) phase to have been what he called “Cain’s Famous Walled City” (http://www.churchofgoddiaspora.com/pre-flood_world.htm).
But I later rejected PPN Jericho as being stratigraphically far too recent for the era of Cain.
Thirdly, the view of Dr. Ernest L. Martin about the Land of Nod is the one that I now accept and intend to build upon in this series. Dr. Martin embraced – as do I – the traditional view that the Garden of Eden was located at the site of Jerusalem. For him, the Land of Nod was the region beyond the eastern perimeter of the Garden. He wrote about it, e.g., in “The Temple Symbolism in Genesis” http://askelm.com/temple/t040301.htm
Further Temple Teaching
Cain was sent into the land of Nod, East of Eden, away from the presence of God. He became cut off from the Eternal. God then gave him a “mark” to show that Cain was not completely forgotten and that a measure of protection would be afforded him and his descendants. Cain became a representative of all Gentiles. They were reckoned as being in Nod (wandering — without a fixed spiritual home). And while they could approach the East entrance to Eden, they could not go in. A barrier was placed around Eden. The altar which Cain and Abel constructed in the area of Eden near the East gate (door) of the Garden was out of bounds to those who lived in Nod.
This condition existed throughout the antediluvian period. But with the great flood of Noah, everything was destroyed — the Garden, the altar, the barriers, etc. When Noah and his children began to repopulate the earth, none of these former things were retained — except in the memory of man, and only in symbol. In the time of Moses, however, God selected the Israelites to be His nation — in favored status to Him. Moses was ordered to build a tabernacle which resembled the condition that existed in the pre-flood age. Outside the tabernacle was represented the land of Nod. The court on the inside of the tabernacle (the court of Israel) was Eden. The Holy Place was the Garden. The Holy of Holies was the center of the Garden. The tabernacle not only represented Eden and the Garden, but it was also a physical type of God’s heavenly abode.
The Israelites were reckoned as being in Eden like Adam and Eve were. However, even the privileged nation could only go to the East entrance to the Holy Place — which represented the Garden. Into the Holy Place (the Garden) only the Aaronic priests could go at the time of the morning and evening (the cool of the day) sacrifices. And even the priests were barred from entering “the midst of the Garden” — the Holy of Holies. They were only able to get close to the curtain that separated the outer Garden from its midst.
Only once in the year was anyone allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest, after many ceremonies of purification, and after he clouded the entire inner chamber with incense so that the mercy seat would be hidden from view, was able to push the curtain aside and briefly step into the inner sanctum. After he did his required duties, the curtain came down once again, and the Holy of Holies (the midst of the Garden) became closed for another year. This showed that while the tabernacle stood, God still reckoned barriers between Himself and mankind. 12
While Adam and Eve before they sinned were able to witness God’s presence, their sins caused them to be sent from the Garden (the Holy Place). Cain and his descendants were sent further East — they were expelled from Eden and went to Nod. But when the Flood came the Garden, the altar, Eden, etc. all disappeared from earth. Mankind now found itself without any physical area on earth in which God dwelt. That’s why the early descendants of Noah wanted to build a tower “to reach to heaven” (Genesis 11:1–9). They wanted to reach God, to have access to His heavenly presence. But God would not allow it. He had been angry with man for his ways, so He changed their languages and scattered them into all the earth. He sent all mankind into a condition of “Nod.”
Finally, God selected Abraham to be the father of a nation which would be responsible for leading man (in a step-by-step way) back to God. By the time of Moses, the Abrahamic family had now reached nationhood. Moses built the tabernacle, and Israel was brought back into Eden once again. A middle wall of partition was erected, however, that kept all Gentiles out. God even put restrictions on Israel. Even they were told to stay out of the Holy Place (representing the Garden). The Aaronic priests were allowed to go in. But no one was permitted in the Holy of Holies except the High Priest on the Day of Atonement — and even then he (the holiest man on earth, symbolically) was not allowed to see the mercy seat. All of this shows that God still had several barriers which kept many sections of mankind away from an intimate association with Him.
[End of quote]
This estimation greatly limits the geographical boundaries so that any search for Cain’s city of Enoch in far away Sumer, or even in much closer Jericho, is doomed to failure.
Our attention must now turn rather to the region directly to the east of the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem itself.