The land of Nod was where Cain settled after he was punished by God for the murder of his brother, Abel (Genesis 4:8). The Bible reads, “Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16). No one knows where the land of Nod was located, only that it was east of Eden. The Bible does not mention the land of Nod again.
Cain’s settling “east of Eden” implies that he was further removed from the garden than Adam and Eve were. His fate was to live the life of an outsider. The fact that Cain left God’s presence suggests that he lived the rest of his life alienated from God.
The word Nod, in Hebrew, means “wanderer, exile or fugitive.” This corresponds to God’s word to Cain that he would “be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth” (Genesis 4:12). Some Bible scholars have suggested that Nod is not an actual place; rather, the Bible simply means that, wherever Cain went, it could be called the “Land of the Wanderer.”
Though God had driven Cain from his home, it was Cain’s choice to live outside the presence of God. Essentially, Cain’s punishment in becoming a wanderer and a fugitive was to lose all sense of belonging and identification with a community. Living in the “land of Nod,” Cain lived without roots in isolation. For his sin, Cain was made a castaway and later became a godless, hollow person “in the land of Nod.” Upon separating himself from God, Cain built a society totally detached from God. The Bible tells us that the children of Cain followed in his path and established a godless civilization (Genesis 4:16-24).