Adah and Zilla: The Named Women of The Bible Which Time Forgot

Adah and Zilla: The Named Women of The Bible Which Time Forgot July 19, 2023

Adah and Zilla Created with Bing Image Creator By Rebecca Keene
Adah and Zilla

Few women were named in The Bible. For this reason, we know most of their names. If I say, Eve, Sarah, Miriam, or Esther, you instantly know who I am speaking of, but two named women in Genesis often get forgotten. Adah and Zilla were both married to a descendant of Cain. Their story, which is not often told, gives us a lot of important information about life before the flood.

Who Are Adah and Zilla

Genesis 4:16-17 tells us how Cain was cast out of the land and went to live in the land of Nod, where he makes love to his wife. How did Cain get a wife? Up till this point in the story we had been led to believe that all humans were born of Eve. Yet, Cain finds a wife in the land of Nod and has descendants. So, where did this wife come from?

There are a couple of theories. The first theory states that people existed outside of the garden who were not related to Adam and Eve. In this scenario, Adam and Eve are only the first Jewish humans, not the first humans. Most people, only having read the canonical texts, would assume this theory is the most likely. In this theory, Adah and Zilla may just be women of another race.

However, there is a story in the non-canonical texts which gives us another theory.  I and II Enoch talks about a group of angels called the Watchers who fall in love with mortal women. They have children with these women and teach the women forbidden knowledge such as science, astronomy, magic, and ironworking. Might there have also been female angels who fell in love with mortal males? Might this be who Cain wed?  If this scenario is true then Adah and Zillia like Cain’s wife may have been an angel. It is also possible they were one of the half-breeds created by the mating of angels and man. While this may sound far-fetched, the text in The Torah and Enoch gives us reason to believe this may be so.

What Does Their Story Teach US

Genesis 4:20-22  tells us that the descendants of these women had some very advanced skills for the time. Adah’s son Jabal is said to be the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother Jubal was the father of those who play musical instruments. Zilla’s son,  Tubal-Cain, forges tools out of iron and bronze. Where did they get this knowledge? Is it possible they got the knowledge from their mothers who were either full or half-blooded angels? Since the book of Enoch tells us this knowledge, specifically the iron and bronze working, was given to men by angels called The Watchers, this seems to be the best explanation.

However they achieved their knowledge, this small often forgotten text tells us that before the flood mankind had agriculture, music, and metalworking. We never talk about this lost knowledge. We skim right over this section of the text. Why? I suspect that religious organizations have chosen to ignore this because it gives the non-canonical text of Enoch credence.

Further Proof

Further proof that these women may have been Watchers or their children lies in verse 22.  The verse names one more woman, Zilla’s daughter Naamah. All we know of her is that she is Tubal-Cain’s sister. This is very odd, indeed. Very few women in The Bible are named, and those that are usually have rich stories. The named women are named because they are of great importance. Yet, here in this very short chunk of text, we encounter three named women, one who we are told very little about. Why were they named? What is the significance, especially of Naamah who is barely mentioned? Are they mentioned because they were not human and taught men things they should not know? I believe so.

In conclusion, regardless of the humanness or lack thereof of Adah and Zilla, their small three-verse story tells us that the world was a civilized place before the flood. This tiny story so often looked over, begs us to remember that man lost great knowledge when the flood occurred. The story reminds us that modern-day humans have only rediscovered what was once lost.

So, let us remember the named women that time has forgotten. Far too many of us went unnamed for us to allow the named to disappear from history.

Please stay tuned for the continuation of the Women in the Bible series. Click here and subscribe to the newsletter to be alerted when a new article is published.

About Rebecca Keene
The author, Rebecca Keene, has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Religion. She graduated from the University of Pikeville as Religion Honor Student in 2014. Currently, she is studying for a MA in Women, Gender, Spirituality, and Social Justice at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Also, Rebecca is the author of FAITH UNDER THE RAINBOW: RECLAIMING THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE BIBLE.  In addition, she founded and independently runs the social media community, Reclaiming the Truth.  Therefore, you should visit Rebecca's author page and purchase her books at: Amazon Author Page or: Publication Page Rebecca is currently in her 3rd year of Kabbalah study. She is ordained to perform LGBT weddings and is certified in Hypnotherapy. Rebecca lives in Kentucky with her two adult children. She practices Non-Denominational Judaism. She is passionate about social justice and fiercely advocates for the marginalized in society and religion.  When not with her children or writing, Rebecca enjoys spending time in nature, with G-d, or in a good book.  She also enjoys making and selling art which you can find at Art by Rebecca. Author, Rebecca Keene,  is always happy to hear from readers. You may contact her through the Reclaiming the Truth page on Facebook, or you can email Rebecca will try to answer all correspondence, but please be patient, as life is busy for us all. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives