Comments on the second Cainan in Luke 3.
Luke 3:36-37: which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,Luke 3. v. 36
This insertion of the name of a second Cainan, (besides the Cainan in verse 37,) is one of the hardest things to explain and account for, in the Holy Gospels; for the name does not occur in Genesis xi. 12, between the names of Arphaxad and Salah, where we should, of course, expect to find it; nor indeed elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. It is found, however, in a Greek Translation of the Pentateuch, which was made before the time of our Lord; and which (because it was commonly read in the Synagogues, and therefore familiarly known to the people,) the Evangelists and Apostles are found to have freely used and quoted.
The humble student of the Gospels will do well to believe, on the testimony of St. Luke, that there actually was such a person as Cainan,—-the son of Arphaxad and father of Sala; while, at the same time, he may cheerfully admit that, as yet, he sees not how the fact is to be reconciled in a satisfactory manner with the particulars (of age and of descent) which Moses was divinely moved to record. It does not, of course, prove, that when he has occasion to reason concerning the early generations of mankind, he need in the least degree distrust the statements which the Hebrew text supplies. The “Spirit of Truth, ;”(q) by whom Moses and St. Luke were alike inspired, may well be deemed his sufficient guarantee on this head.
(q) St. John xvi. 13.
John William Burgon, A Plain Commentary on the Four Holy Gospels, Intended Chiefly for Devotional Reading, p. 427