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All the Twins in the Bible

There are several sets of twins in the Bible.

1. Jacob and Esau – Jacob and Esau, sons of Isaac and Rebecca, are the first twins mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 25:19-28). The story of Jacob is told in Genesis 25:19-37:36 and 42:1-50:3. The story of Esau is found in Genesis 25:19-28:9, 32:1 -33:20, and 35:27-36:43. From Jacob the twelve tribes of Israel descended. Esau became the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:19,43; Obadiah 1:6; Malachi 1:2-3).

All the Twins in the Bible

2. Perez and Zerah – Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar, was widowed and did not want to be childless. Wrapping her face in a veil and disguising herself as a prostitute, she intercepts Judah on the road and he sleeps with her. The result of their union was Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38:12-30). From Perez would come the family of David (Ruth 4:18-22).

3. Ephraim and Manasseh –The Bible does not directly state that the two sons of Joseph and Asenath were twins, but there is good reason to believe they were. First, Genesis mentions they were both born “before the year of famine came” (Genesis 41:50). Second, two conceptions are not mentioned in the text. Third, if they are twins they fit nicely into the pattern seen in the lives of Isaac and Judah: both their younger twins inherited the birthright, just as the younger Ephraim was blessed first by Jacob (Genesis 48:19). Jacob promised that both Ephraim and Manasseh would become patriarchs of a multitude, which began a traditional blessing said in Israel: “God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh” (Genesis 48:20).

4. Thomas and his unnamed sibling – Thomas was one of the twelves apostles (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). His name means “twin.” His surname was Didymus (John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2), meaning “double,” or “twofold.” Thomas is perhaps best known as “Doubting Thomas” because of the resurrection story in John 20:24-29, but other stories in the Gospel of John reveal Thomas to be a man of great devotion of to Christ (John 11:16; 14:5).

5. Castor and Pollux – This probably shouldn’t make the list, but I’ll include it to be thorough. In Acts 28:11 we read that Paul sailed aboard an Alexandrian ship with the figureheads of Castor and Pollux on it. In Greek mythology these were the twin sons of Zeus and Leda, and were the patron deities of sailors.

Identical or Fraternal 6. Were Cain and Abel Twins? – Some Bible scholars believe Cain and Abel were twins. Genesis 4:1-2a states, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel.” The word “again” is the Hebrew term yacaph can also mean “add” or “increase,” giving the impression that Abel was born directly after Cain. This is a possibility, but because the text moves very quickly through time (in the very next statement Cain and Abel have grown up and engaging in their respective occupations), one can’t be dogmatic about it. There is no early Jewish or Christian tradition supporting this claim.

Comments

  1. Cain & Abel are the first twins of the Bible. It states in Gen. 4 that Eve gave birth to Cain then later gave birth to Abel. The Hebrew phrase for a continued act is used when read in Hebrew and let’s not forget that before hand the sexual relation is noted. It is only,noted once before Eve gave birth to Cain then Abel . The next time sexual relations are mentioned again between Adam & Eve was to give an account for the birth of Seth.

    • Luke Gilkerson says:

      Thanks for the pointers on Hebrew. I’ve never read that interpretation before. I’ll have to do a little more research on that.

      • NP God,bless. I was blown away with it too when it was taught to,me. I had always believed that 1st twin rivalry was between Jacob & Esau but when you go back and read it, knowing that they were twins you realize just how and sutil that crafty old serpant was/is.

  2. Yacaph – Yaw-saf is in the Strong’s Concordance H3254
    again- to continue to do a thing
    Twins of different Fathers!
    Cain’s father is the Serpent (Satan)
    Abel’s father is Adam
    Cain is not in Adam’s genealogy (Genesis 5:1)
    Kenites – Claiming to be Jews (Rev 2:9, 3:9)
    Oppressing the children of light (Luke 16:8)

    • thanks for the read… but it was Cain that was born to Adam after he had relations with his wife and she became pregnant. Then Eve gave birth to another son Abel (not mentioning that Adam and Eve may or may not have had relations to conceive this child. Genesis 4:1 clears that up. Cain and Abel were both not mentioned (as well as other children of Adam and/or Eve) in Genesis 5:1. Some people call this the account of Adam to Noah, therefore they would not be mentioned. Which makes Noah the descendant of Adam through Seth. The other descendants of Adam, if still alive, would have died in the flood. Have a great weekend!

  3. Jacob’s wives, Leah and Rachel, were also twins – identical twins. That’s why Jacob didn’t notice that Laban had deceived him when Laban gave Leah to Jacob to wife. Jacob should have noticed that he was given the wrong daughter on his wedding night, don’t you think? It took him a while to recognize he was tricked. Leah was the first born of the two, so she had to be given in marriage first, according to Laban.

  4. Genesis 29:16 – Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.

    I don’t see the mention of twins…and I definitely do not see where they were “identical.” Laban tricked Jacob by giving Leah to him on the night he was expecting Rachel. Even though Rachel was more beautiful in “form” and “appearance,” their bodies may have been similar. I believe Leah may have had a veil over her face or sent into his tent with no candlelight (Thomas Edison didn’t come into the picture until much later). Jacob may also have had too much vino.

    • Luke Gilkerson says:

      The theory that Leah and Rachel are twins is only really supported by the idea that Jacob confused them, but this, as you point out, could be explained by other factors.

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