Brother of Jabal and Jubal, sons of Lamech, who appear to have been the originators of several industries and arts. The correctness of the Masoretic text () of Gen. iv. 21-22, describing Tubal-cain, is in dispute. Holzinger and Gunkel maintain that was a marginal gloss to , and that, as in verses 20 and 21, there stood before originally . This would give Tubal-cain a position in metal industries comparable with those of his brothers in their lines. The Septuagint, however, omits any equivalent of . This fact is noted by Dillmann, Wellhausen, and others, who think that "Tubal" originally stood alone, and , being a later addition, was translated "smith."
Tubal is identified (by Dillmann, Schrader, and Delitzsch) with the Assyrian Tobal, a people living southeast of the Black Sea, and known in later history as the Aryan people, the Tibareni, with whom Phenicia (Ezek. xxvii. 13) traded for articles of bronze (A. V. "brass"). This fact would seem to point to the correctness of the view that "Tubal" originally stood alone and that the bearer of that name was the progenitor of a people whose chief industry was the production of vessels, instruments, and other objects of bronze and iron.
As stated above, the Septuagint text calls the inventor "Tobel" ("Tubal"). An apocryphal tradition adds "Ḳainan" to the name ("The Book of the Bee," ed. Budge, ch. xix.). This variance of tradition continues in later times. Philo of Byblus (in Eusebius, "Præparatio Evangelica," i. 10) names two brothers as the inventors, one of whom was called "Chrysor" (χρυσώς, perhaps from ). These brothers discovered enchantment and sorcery as well as the art of working in iron (comp. and ; also and ), and invented rafts and various fishing-implements.