Adah & Zillah: Chav-ah’s (Eve’s) Genealogy

Adah Zillah Genealogy Arabia
Map: What is happening in Arabia in 1000BCE? Up until around this date, most of Arabia has been entirely uninhabited. Nomadic groups live on the margins, where grasslands allow their herds of sheep and goats to graze, but the barren interior has not allowed any peoples to establish a foothold. At around this time, however, the camel is domesticated. These hardy animals allow nomads to travel long distances in the desert. Trade routes across the Arabian peninsula begin to be pioneered, and oases begin to be populated. The classic “bedouin” lifestyle begins to take shape. Perhaps related to these developments, a new civilization is emerging in southwest Arabia, based on large-scale irrigation systems which bring the dry but fertile soil of the region to life. Credit: Timemap


In the first post in this series, we looked at Chav-ah (Eve), the first woman and the beginning of her matrilocal Mother House, situated East of Eden.  Eve gave birth to three named sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth.  Cain murdered Abel, his brother. From Cain come the Kenites 1.

The Semitic languages 2 respectively. For those tribes to develop there had to be women’s seed (ovum) which brings us now to the Mothers.

The Mothers: Ad-ah, Zill-ah, and Naam-ah

There are three Mothers in Cain’s patriarchal genealogy and none recorded in Seth’s linage. These three Cainite Mothers, Ad-ah, Zill-ah, and Zillah’s daughter, Naam-ah, stem from Eve’s Mother House. They are very important players in God’s plan for future Israel.

The Cainites (Kenites) play an important role in Israel’s future. Pleas watch for the paper ‘Kenites’ in the near future. We do not encounter women in Seth’s linage until Sarah and her sister Milcah are named after the flood.

The women built up their own Mother Houses in Eve’s matriline: it was ‘in the way of women’ to do so. It was in keeping with the ancient system of kinship and land ownership and land inheritance through the Mother. 3

Matrilineal kinship through women-only

In ancient times, matrilineal kinship through women-only prevailed throughout the earth. In this way individuals related through a common female relative. Husbands and wives had different kinship affiliations. Children were of the same kinship group as their mother. In matrilineal systems, the mother’s brother (maternal uncle to his sister’s children) played a vital role, since a child often inherited from his mother’s brother. 5

When we read Genesis chapters 4 and 5, the children are recorded as Adam’s offspring. These genealogies are overwhelmingly made up of men’s names. In many cases the gender or genuineness of those names cannot be proved.

According to female kinship, the names recorded there are ‘kin’ in the truest sense of the word: all of one Mother’s House. Therefore, listed under their mother’s names they are all of one blood. The Hebrew Scriptures identify these kin as: ‘bone of bone and flesh of flesh’.

We now begin our journey to trace the building of the Mother’s matrilines as they continue through daughters born to them. 6.

To date I have not read any bible commentary on sisters marrying by deciding to take the same man into their tents for the sake of siring children. This is the opposite of the patriarchal record always showing the (proactive) man marrying the (passive) woman. However, there are two instances that cannot be ignored here in early Genesis which shows that this may have been practiced.  Here, the sister’s, Adah and Zilpah’s marriage relationship with Lamech appears to reflect that motif 7 to Lamaech shows the first breakaway from the model of one woman and one man in a monogamous relationship. According to patriarchal interpretation, however, they are the first women to suffer the fate of polygamous marriage. This patriarchal interpretation suggests Lamech their husband instigated this polygamous arrangement. But to do so presumes the women were subservient, passive, and passionless. It also advances the idea that the sisters readily left or were stolen from their Mother’s House.

It suits patriarchal interpretation to hypothesise the notion that the sisters were stolen away or willingly left their kin to marry Lamech. In leaving their kin, it then follows that they dwelt in and produced children in a patrilineal household. However, a plain reading of the text does not show that. The women are listed in Eve’s linage under her son, Cain. My argument here challenges the patriarchal interpretation as one of an exogamous marriage and a male instigated polygamous relationship with Lamech as the head of the house.

To interpret as a polygamous relationship fits the patriarchal social model of exogamy resulting in a patrilineal household. It also constitutes violence against women. Rather, the evidence shows that the marriage arrangement of the two sisters with Lamech, all recorded in Chav-ah’s  line, through Cain, was an endogamous one. 8

In summarising the above, and just as the patriarchal interpreters do, let’s allow the speculation. That is, it is possible the women entered into an arrangement acceptable to them, that satisfied them. It is entirely possible the sisters were satisfied with just one man to sire their children. Perhaps this was common 9. Certainly, it was paramount to the continuity of the family structure of the Mother’s House that the land was not broken up. (E/n [iii]).

This means, the members of the mother’s house identified themselves as close kin (today we would say, ‘extended maternal side of the family’). This included the mother’s brothers, sisters,  cousins,  aunts, and uncles. Marriage between aunt and nephew is recorded where a woman named Jochebed, a daughter of Levi, the mother of Miriam, Aaron and Moses.

Jochebed married Amram, her nephew, of the same mother’s house and also a Levite. Jochebed is Amram’s aunt (Ex 6:20). Both spring from the unnamed wife of Levi, albeit different generations. This account offers both matrilineal and patrilineal  descent from Levites. The general comment on this is it may be in order to magnify the religious credentials of Miraim, Aaron and Moses.

As the kinship units grew, they became households. From these maternal clans formed: (a larger group of sisters and brothers, cousins and distant cousins). Finally groups of rural villages clustered together, spreading and more established.

They only identified as tribes, while all still relating to the one mother, when collectively they united under the name of the one patriarch. This is seen in the instance of  internal and external disputes threatened Israel. Internally, Israel’s tribes gathered together under one mother’s house or where an external war threatened they gathered as tribes under one father.  Hence those long male genealogies.

Later, in the matter of violence toward women we do find violence accompanied the stealing of mother’s daughters from their land and house. One particular case stands out. That is the unique case of the daughters of Benjamin. 10

In the case of external wars outside, the tribes of Israel certainly practiced stealing foreign women. It was impossible to stamp out, Moses had no option but to provide laws to restrain such practice which went against the social order of endogamy.

Further, the endogamous household and kin had no daughters-in-law or sons-in-law. This is a more recent invention of patriarchy to accommodate their social system. 11


Ad-ah and Zill-ah

The only women named in Eve’s linage are three mothers: Ad-ah, Zill-ah, and Naam-ah. It is accepted generally that two of the women Adah and Zillah were sisters. These two, through Cain, are the first in crucial matters concerning a change in marriage in the early kinship of women. 12

‘And Ad-ah and Zill-ah married Lamech’ (Gen 4: 19)  [Paraphrased by Patricia].

AD-AH and her two sons: Jabal and Jubal


Adah gave birth to her first son Jabal. Jabal was the originator of those who dwells in tents and has livestock (a condition characterising the later Kenites (Gen 4: 20).

Tents and Livestock


Tents and Livestock: a condition characterising the later Kenites (other than the Rechabites). Cain himself was sedentary. He built and lived in a city. However, the murderer’s descendants were landless.

Cain’s line: Bedouins

The first bedouins, unlike nomads, who lived in tents only during certain seasons, lived in tents, thus continually moving following their livestock. A famous Kenite Bedouin woman named Jael lived in her tent. 13 When we look at the Kenites as a tribe, however, we will find some others were not nomadic.

The Bedouin way of life, moving with the flocks and living in tents signals a new social order arising out of a need for stock and pastures. It appears  their wives accompanied them on their wanderings, but living in their own tents.

On the other hand, Abraham was nomadic. He wandered with his flocks in Beersheba. Sarah did not wander with him. She lived in her tents with her flocks and servants atop Hebron’s plateau and did not move around.


Jubal was the originator of all those who plays the lyre and pipe. (Gen 4: 21).  [Paraphrased by Patricia]


Jubal’s maternal aunt was Naam-ah, of whom we learn more about in the next paper. Several Jewish traditions associate Naam-ah with singing, others with teaching. It means Naam-ah had a strong influence on Jubal, her maternal nephew.

Zill-ah and her two children: Tubal-cain (son) and Naam-ah (daughter)


Tubal-Cain was the ‘forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron (Gen 4: 22a , also Ezk 27: 13).

Cutting instrument of brass and iron

A condition characterising the later Kenites. Lamech the father of Tubal-cain appears as if he may have had a strong influence on Tubal-cain, his son. Given his swaggering words, Lamech is associated with violence and murder. 14

The Kenites were important in the spiritual development of early Israel (see my paper ‘Kenites’ published late December 2020). This famous tribe spring from Adah and Zillah’s sons and their unnamed wives (presumably their maternal aunts and / or cousins). 

Continued next time …  Zillah’s daughter: Naam-ah (Gen 4: 22b).

Hope to meet up next time when we take a closer look at Naam-ah.

Much love,




Thinking about Adah and Zillah …

We may have read these two women previously and thought of them as used and abused. Yet looking at them in a new light allows hope to shine through.

Consider …

Have you previously read the bible and thrown it away from you or skipped over certain passages due to patriarchal interpretation as those readings only added to your pain and disappointment in your experience of patriarchal Christianity?

Have you cried out to God for answers and largely due to lack of scriptural evidence your hope was deferred, and you grew sick in heart?

Do you plan to stay in that state now that you have found a new source of hope?

Will you not turn back from your backsliding ways and renew your vows to your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

If so, pray this prayer with me:

Almighty Everlasting Eternal God …

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done

I put everything I am, and own, on your altar

I give to you all that I am, all I shall ever be.

Make me as one that serves.

Lead me, show me your will,

Take away anything that is holding me back

from knowing Jesus

the face of the HOLY MYSTERIOUS ONE, the Great I AM, the Almighty God,

Take away that which prevents me from becoming who I am becoming.

I forgive …. Please forgive me.

Please supply my daily needs.

Give me the personal conviction I lack

to live these days in embodied prophetic action






[i] Says Prof. Robertson Smith of Cambridge: ‘In Genesis, marriage is (defined as implying that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. This is quite in accordance with what we find in other parts of the patriarchal story. Mr. McLennan has cited the marriages of Jacob, in which Laban plainly has the law on his side in saying that Jacob had no right to carry off his wives and their children; and also the fact that when Abraham seeks a ‘wife for Isaac, his servant thinks that the condition will probably be that Isaac shall come and settle with her people. All these things illustrate in Genesis 2:24 as the primitive type of marriage.’

Bushnell comments: In this case, Abraham would not consent, because Sarah had requested she come to take her place as Chief in her tent in Hebron to continue building her house and also knowing God had expressly called them away from practicing idolatry. Joseph’s children by his Egyptian wife became Israelites only by adoption: and so in Judges 15, Samson’s Philistine wife remains with her people and he visits her there. And we might ask, what does that primitive form of language mean,–‘cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh,’ but that he shall become of the same kin as his wife? The same writer says: ‘Mother kinship is the type of kinship, common motherhood the type of kindred unity, which dominates all Semitic speech.’

J.P. Peters, D.D., writing of this same passage in Genesis says: ‘In the relation which man is here represented as holding towards woman, we have, apparently, another of that incidental evidence of the great antiquity of this story. It is not the woman who leaves father and mother and cleaves to the man, but the man who leaves father and mother, and cleaves to his wife. It would seem as though we had a survival of the old matriarchate, that relation of the marriage of which we have an example in the Samson story, where the woman remains with her tribe, or clan, or family, and is visited by the man. The offspring in such a case belongs to the woman’s family, not the man’s’ (Bushnell. Early Hebrew Story, p. 223). Para 57.)

[ii] Katharine C. Bushnell (1856-1946) Free download. “Can’t recommend this book enough”! Patricia

[iii] The word in its purest form, polygamía, is a ‘state of marriage to many spouses’: the practice of marrying multiple spouses. Patriarchal interpretation only allows for one outcome: When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, sociologists call this polyandry. In contrast to polygamy, monogamy is marriage consisting of only two parties.

My research shows polyandry was/ is more prevalent where land fragmentation means dividing up the land between men, thus lessening the bargaining power of blood brothers, the sons of one man/ sons of the man’s chief wife. When we consider my argument that the women-owned the land it is entirely possible sisters of one mother chose to marry only one man and had the siring rights to him.

In beginning, Adam was a murderer bringing death into the world through sin. The Hebrew scriptures show no Israelite murderer owned land. Men are the sons of Adam. The greed for land ownership exhibited by the majority of men and history records it. It still resonates in the male psyche today. This seems to me to echo a fear associated with landlessness. The Creator knew land ownership was/ is critical for women. Today the need has not abated. Below, India is an example.

The crucial point made here is, that although women in India have the legal right to own land, very few actually do as a result of the patriarchal practices which dominate the nation. Up until recently, Indian women have been left out of laws regarding the distribution of public land and were forced to rely on the small possibility of obtaining private land from their families. Inheritance laws that cater to men are one of the key issues behind inequality in land rights.

According to Bina Agarwal, land ownership defines social status and political power in the household and in the village, shaping relationships and creating family dynamics. Therefore, the inheritance of land automatically puts men above women both in the household and in the community. Without political pull in the village, and with limited bargaining powers within the household, women lack the voice to advocate for their own rights.

Another issue with land rights in India is that they leave women completely dependent on the lives of their husbands. A study by Bina Agarwal found that in West Bengal, prosperous families turn destitute when the male head of the household dies, as women are not permitted to take over their husband’s land. Also, due to cultural tradition, the higher the status of the woman, the less likely she is to have any developed skills that would be useful in finding work. These women are forced to beg for food and shelter once their husbands die because they have not been allowed to gain work experience (Kanakalatha Mukund).

Bina Agarwal argues that land ownership significantly decreases the chance of domestic violence against Indian women. Owning property elevates women to a higher status within the household, allowing more equality and bargaining power. In addition, owning property separately from their husbands allowed women an opportunity to escape from abusive relationships. Agarwal concluded that the prospect of a safe shelter outside of the main household decreases the longevity of domestic violence.


Reading the Bible As a Woman – The Matriarchal Bloodlines

The genealogies of women in the Hebrew text show the matriarchal bloodlines. The promise of a Messiah was given to Eve, the first woman. The woman’s biological seed was already in Eve’s womb when she was directly given the promise of the eternal life-giving “seed of the woman”.  This was the first divine prophetic word with promise. That divine prophecy was then passed on through speech as the woman’s biological seed was carried forward through the woman’s menstrual flow from one generation to another.

Therefore, the biological seed is traced through the divine seed of God’s Word. The matriarchal mitochondrial bloodlines of chosen Jew and Gentile women who, like Mary, the mother of Jesus, were in the same divine covenant given to Eve: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.”
Just as a woman’s biological seed is fertilised by the semen of men so the divine seed the Word of God is fertilised by faith to bring it into existence. Hence, the sons of Sarah, sons of Abraham, were men in covenant with Sarah and Abraham’s God.

This bloodline of the woman’s menstrual flow starts with Eve and ends with Mary, though not women descendants of the matriarch, Leah, and the tribe of Judah, son of Leah, sired by Jacob, whose name was changed to  ‘PrInce’ /  Israel – in keeping with his grandmother’s name change, Sarai/ Sarah , ‘Prince’. Jacob’s mother was Rebekah, his maternal cousin whose mother was Milcah’ Sarah’s sister. He was sired by his father, Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham. These relationahips were endogamous and all sprang from Sarah and Milkah’s unnamed mother’s seed, one of the wives of Terah, Abraham’s father. Abraham and Sarah therefore having the same father, nevertheless, had different mothers.

Sarah, who is likened to the mother of us all: the Freewoman, the City of God. Sarah, the daughter of Terah and the half sister of Abraham and his brothers Haran and and Nahor;  aunt of Lot, Milcah, and Iscah, (who is Sarah) by blood and marriage: This would make Sarah the daughter of Terah and the half-sister of not only Abraham but Haran and Nahor. She would also have been the aunt of LotMilcahIscah, and Bethuel, by both blood and marriage. By her union with Abraham, she had one child, IsaacThis would make Sarah the daughter of Terah and the half-sister of not only Abraham but Haran and Nahor. She was also the aunt of LotMilcahIscah, and Bethuel, by both blood and marriage.

Jewish and Christian interpretations of Genesis chapters one to three vary. My proposition above arises from a literal interpretation of the scriptures; that the biblical characters are actual persons belonging to Israel’s history. Others believe that the early chapters of Genesis are allegorical; a myth telling a powerful story. In some instances, I also show that they can be interpreted allegorically, acting as symbols of spiritual concepts to inform and develop our understanding.

Interestingly, a literal interpretation of creation among classic rabbinic commentators is as uncommon as it is common among Christian believers. Either way, the way this text is interpreted is especially significant for women. Then there is the translation from the original languages. Finally, the patriarchal translation and interpretation imposed on the Hebrew scriptures by both Jewish and Christian translators and commentators have marred the image of Christ and his relationship with his bride (the Church.

The promise regarding the ‘seed’ of the woman was spoken to the serpent in the garden.

“And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring (seed) and hers;

he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3. 14-15

 This continuity of the woman’s seed through the women’s line springing from Sarai, whose name was changed to Sarah, supports and is evidence of the practice of endogamous marriage. That is the practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste, or ethnic group, rejecting those from others as unsuitable for marriage or other close personal relationships. Endogamy is common in many cultures and ethnic groups. Endogamy is the social norm prescribed in Genesis 2: 24: ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh’.

Such marriage ties rely on female kinship and the women’s knowledge of their children. Those faithful women knew of the prophecy, passed on by oral tradition to each generation. Each woman’s menstruation was a continual reminder both physically and spiritually that the promised Messiah would come. through one of them. 

The faith of these women is shown by their actions, and their determination to take hold of the hope given to humankind in the garden following Adam’s disobedience. Their faith in the promise kept them and through them, Israel, on its divinely intended, ordained and prescribed course.

In the fullness of time, Miriam (Mary) whose matriarchal lineage was Leah, from whose tribe, Judah, the Messiah was to come, was that chosen one. No doubt Mary was surprised by a stranger at her doorway but not surprised by the messenger’s announcement. It is plain she understood that a child is conceived through sexual intercourse, but shows no surprise that she is the chosen one and, in her case, it will be a different conception. Like other women of Israel, Mary readily agreed.

Finally, in the fullness of time,  the Messiah was born into this world, born of Mary’s seed, born under the law of sin and death, and miraculously, and mysteriously, born without man’s intervention. Mary of the tribe of Leah’s son, Judah, sired by Israel, son of Rebekah, Sarah’s granddaughter, gave birth to  Israel’s Messiah: and they called him Jesus.  His mission was to reverse what the first Adam brought upon all humankind through his disobedience. 

To fulfil the Creator’s word in Genesis regarding the seed of the woman, the first hint of the gospel, God came in the form of a human being; as a man, Jesus laid aside his glory and humbled himself. God in the form of Jesus, lived on this earth as a human. Jesus was tempted on all points of the law as we are and learned obedience through the things that he suffered. Jesus the man who though tempted, never sinned. He was put to death, nailed on a common cross. Jesus died and was resurrected by the power of God. 

He returned from whence he came but before He left He promised to return again. He sent to us the Holy Spirit, another Comforter, the spirit of Jesus present with us, the church, for all time, until Jesus returns as the ‘bridegroom for his bride – the church.  The apostle Paul describes the man of dust, as the first Adam and Jesus as the last Adam.

The above outlines my teaching. It is my hope that by putting aside constricting, inaccurate, and stale patriarchal interpretations of this ancient text we can rediscover the bloodline of faithful women together with faithful men, who by God’s grace have been instruments in his purpose to bring redemption in which we stand. 

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Course Subjects (continued)

The course has 3 basic requirements

  1. Payment at the start of the course unless other arrangements are agreed upon.
  2. Regular class attendance and participation are required. Class participation means both answering questions and making relevant comments in the context of our in-class discussion. Roll is taken every class session; if you are not present during the taking of attendance, you will still be required to pay for that day’s class, unless extreme circumstances apply and agreed upon beforehand.
  3. Be counted absent unless you speak with Patricia before that session. If you are absent 3 (three) or more classes certificate is withheld until work is completed.

Completion of the primary and secondary readings prior to class goes hand in hand with class participation and thus is as important.  Students are expected to bring any and all readings to class on the days scheduled for discussion.

    • To be awarded a Certificate of Distinction, full class participation is required. High Distinction awards require students to write two essays x  250 words each. Each student is required to meet with me at an agreed-upon time to discuss these proposals.
    • The KJV is used as a primary source in studies of the Old Testament
    • The Source New Testament: with Extensive Notes Dr A. Nyland is used as a primary source in studies in the NT. It contains extensive notes on word meaning with documentary attestations and separate verse numbers. It is available to purchase available through the RWVM website. 

Dr Nyland writes…

Taken from Extensive notes on the meanings of the Greek words can be found in The Source New Testament: with Extensive Notes on Word Meaning.

‘To consider the biological gender in each verse studied following the Greek text.  For example, the Greek word meaning all people by the English word “humanity”.

The Greek word for a human being, means a person of either gender, by the English word “person” rather than “man” or “mankind”. this is a preference within the English language and has nothing to do with the original Greek

Further, the Greek word ‘adelphoi’ is usually translated as “brothers” in most Bible versions. However, this word refers to both genders and has a range of meanings. It can mean “fellow believer”, “member of an association”, “associate”, or “siblings” (“brothers and sisters”). To say a translation that has “brother and sister” has added the word “sister” is a basic error, for the Greek word actually means “sibling”.In fact, in the Bible, the word mostly occurs in its meaning “fellow believer”. A single word in one language often needs to be translated by several words in another language.

I have chosen to translate rather than transliterate many words, not following the usual tradition of Bible translation. “Transliteration” is the putting of Greek letters into the English language, and “translation” is the rendering of their meaning into the English language. For example, “Angel” results from putting Greek letters into English letters, but the actual translation is “Messenger”. In the same way, the word “Satan” is the transliteration, but “Adversary” is the meaning, the translation.

I have used “they” as the third person generic singular rather than “he or she”. This is now accepted English language usage,

For centuries, the meanings of numerous New Testament words remained unknown, and translators simply made educated guesses. In the late 1880s and again in the mid-1970s, large amounts of papyri written in New Testament times were discovered. (No, these were nothing to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls!) These impacted our knowledge of word meaning in the New Testament to such a degree that scholars labelled the finds “sensational” and “dramatic.” Words found in the New Testament now appeared commonly in everyday private letters from ordinary people, contracts of marriage and divorce, tax papers, official decrees, birth and death notices, and business documents. Many mysteries of word meaning were solved.

However, nearly every New Testament translation of today follows the traditional translations of words of the earlier versions. These were published centuries before the evidence from the papyri and inscriptions revealed to us the meanings of numerous New Testament words.

Theological bias can influence Bible translators to err from translating correctly. For example, the straightforward Greek sentence of 1 Cor. 11:10 which simply states that a woman ought to show her own authority on her head has been completely altered in most Bible versions to state that a woman must wear a covering (the word “veil” does not appear in the Greek) to show she is under a man’s authority. The Greek sentence does not mention a man or husband.

The King James Version changed the female names Junia and Nympha to masculine names, reversed the order of “mother and brothers”, reversed the order of Priscilla (woman) and Aquila (man) when the couple was presented in a teaching context, and added the words “a man” to a sentence about a woman being in a position of responsibility. It is then not surprising that their social context, that is, the way in which women were viewed in their culture, impacted upon the way they chose to translate. Of course, this applies to bias in all areas and not only to those passages about women.

The translations of most New Testament versions are based to a large degree on the mistranslation of Greek word meanings. Most available translations do not regard the abundant evidence for word meaning supplied in recent years by the papyri and inscriptions; thus in many cases present a far from accurate translation of the New Testament.’

Dr A. Nyland: taken from Introduction, The Source New Testament with Extensive Notes