Exegesis Genesis 3: 1-7 Essay, Research Paper
Translation 1-The New International Version Rainbow Study Bible.
The serpent?s deceit leads to the fall of Adam and Eve.
3. (1)Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ?Did God really say, ?You must not eat from any tree in the garden???(2)The woman said to the serpent, ?We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, (3)but God did say, ?You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.??
(4)?You will not surely die,? the serpent said to the woman, (5)?For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.?
(6)When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (7)Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Translation 2-New King James Version
3. (1)Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord
God had made. And he said to the woman, ?Has God indeed said, ?You shall not eat of every tree of the garden???
(2)And the woman said to the serpent, ?We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
(3)?but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ?You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.??
(4)Then the serpent said to the woman, ?You will not surely die.
(5)?For God knows that in the day you eat of it you eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.?
(6)So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
(7)Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Translation 3-Revised Standard Version
3. (1)Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature the Lord God
had made. He said to the woman, ?Did God say, ?You shall not eat of any tree of the garden???
(2)And the woman said to the serpent, ?We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
(3)but God said, ?You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you will die.??
(4)But the serpent said to the woman, ?you will not die.
(5)For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.?
(6)So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
(7)Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
Translation 4-My Version
3. (1)Now the serpent was smarter than the other creatures that God had made. He
said to the woman, ?Did God say , ?Do not eat from any tree in the garden???
(2)and the woman said, ?We may eat the fruit from the trees;
(3)but God said, ?You shall not touch or eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of
the garden, or you will die.??
(4)But the serpent said to the woman, ?You will not die.
(5)God knows that when you eat the fruit, you will become like him and know
good from evil.?
(6)So when the woman saw that the tree looked nice, had fruit to eat, and would
make one smarter by eating it, she took the fruit and ate it and gave some to her
husband and he ate too.
(7)Then they both became aware of what they had done and realized they were
naked; and they made drapes of fig leaves to cover themselves.
Commentary 1-Barnes Notes
According to Barnes, the serpent is called ?a beast of the field?; that is ?neither a domesticated animal nor one of the smaller sorts.? It is not the wisdom, but the wiliness of the serpent that is intriguing. The serpent has no arms or legs by which to escape danger. Therefore, the mode of attack that he chose, conversation, is very interesting. ?No startling proposal or disobedience is made, no advice or persuasion to partake of the fruit is employed. The suggestion or assertion of the false only is plainly offered; and the bewildered mind is left to draw its own false inferences, and pursue its own misguided course. The tempter addresses the woman as the more susceptible and unguarded of the two creatures he would betray. He ventures upon a half-questioning, half-insinuating remark: ?It is so, then, that God hath said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden.? This seems to be a feeler for some weak point, where the fidelity of the woman to her Maker might be shaken. It hints at something strange, if not unjust or unkind, on the part of God.? The serpent would insinuate, ?Why was any tree withheld?? Barnes goes on to say, ?The woman gives the natural and distinct answer of unaffected sincerity to this suggestion. The deviations from the strict letter of the law are nothing more than the free and earnest expressions of her feelings. The expression, ?Neither shall ye touch it?, merely implies that they were not to meddle with it, as a forbidden thing.? The serpent denies the life threatening consequences of partaking from the tree by affirming that ?God was aware that on the eating of it their eyes would be opened, and they would be like himself in knowing good and evil.? Keep in mind, this was the first lie that Eve had ever heard. Barnes states, ?Her mind was infantile as yet, so far as experience was concerned. The opening mind is naturally inclined to believe the truth of every assertion, until it has learned by experience the falsehood of some.? By eating from the tree, ?it was not really life-threatening, and it really did issue a knowledge of good and evil. It did not make them know good and evil altogether, as God knows it, but in an experimental sense, as the devil knows it. In point of knowledge, they became like God; in point of morality, like the tempter, or Satan.? Barnes states, ?She saw the tree with the eye of fancy, highly excited by the hints of the tempter.? Appetite, taste, and philosophy, or the love of wisdom are ?the great motives in the human breast which fancy assumes this tree will gratify.? This tree, not only was exceptionally pleasing to the senses but also to reason. I find it interesting that she did, indeed attach some credit to the bold statement of the serpent, that ?the eating of the fruit would be attended with the extraordinary result of making them, like God himself, acquainted with good and evil, especially as it did not contradict any assertion of God, and was countenanced by the name, ?the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.?? She can see nothing though other than that the tree is good for food and pleasant to the eyes, as if there were no other trees in the garden to choose from. However, she desires to be wise like God, as if there were ?no other way to this wisdom but an unlawful one, and no other likeness to God but a stolen likeness-and therefore takes of the fruit and eats, and gives to her husband, and he eats!? Certain effects of the act are immediately known, the most notably being the consciousness of guilt. They feel that every creature has a condemning eye and a great feeling of shame comes over them both. Accordingly, ?they sewed the leaves of the fig, which we may suppose, they wrapped around them, and fastened with the girdles they had formed for this purpose.? The primitive sewing, ?was some sort of tacking together, which was not more particularly described.?
Commentary 2-Keil & Delilitzsch
I found it very interesting that Keil & Delilitzsch describe the serpent not only as a beast, but also as a creature of God, and therefore must have been good like everything else that God had made?They state that ?subtilty was a natural characteristic of the serpent which led Satan to select it as his instrument.? K & D describe the subtilty as ?the craft of a tempter to evil, in the simple fact that it was to the weaker woman that it turned.? They go on to say that Satan used an interrogative yet cunning approach by his statement, ?Hath God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of all the trees of the garden?? The serpent belittles the personality of the living God by calling him by the name, Elohim. K&D state that by Satan doing this, it would exaggerate the prohibition, or God?s demand, in the hopes of achieving a distrust of God?s word in the woman?s mind. Satan?s words were listened to. ?Instead of turning away, the woman replied, ?We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye will die.?? ?She was fully aware of the order not to eat, but she added, ?neither shall ye touch it,? and proved by this very exaggeration that it appeared too stringent even to her, and therefore that her love and confidence towards God were already beginning to waver.
Here is the beginning of her fall. This is where K&D really bring to light a good point. They say in response to Satan?s words, ?God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and ye will be like God, knowing good and evil.? ?It is not because the fruit of the tree will injure you that God has forbidden you to eat it, but from ill-will and envy, because He does not wish you to be like Himself.? They state, ?This is a truly Satanic ploy in which an agreement between truth and untruth is secured!? By eating the fruit, man did obtain the knowledge of good and evil, and in this respect became like God. ?This was the truth which covered the falsehood, ?Ye shall not die,? and turned the whole statement into a lie, displaying its author as the father of lies, who abides not in the truth.?
?The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a pleasure to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate, and gave to her husband and he did eat.? K&D state ?that by Satan planting a distrust of God?s command in the woman?s head, it lead to a disregard of it, and the longing for a false independence excited a desire for the seeming good that had been prohibited; and this desire was fostered by the senses, until it brought forth sin.? ?The more trifling the object of their sin seems to have been, the greater and more difficult does the sin itself appear; especially when we consider that the first men ?stood in a more direct relation to God, their Creator, than any other man has ever done, and their hearts were pure, their discernment clear, their intercourse with God direct, that they were surrounded by gifts just bestowed by Him, and could not excuse themselves on the ground of any misunderstanding of the divine prohibition, which threatened them with the loss of life in the event of disobedience.? Yet not only did the woman yield to the seductive wiles of the serpent, but even the man allowed himself to be tempted by the woman.? Very powerful!
?Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.? The discovery of their nakedness brought on shame, which they sought to conceal by a covering of some sort. ?They sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons.? K&D explain, ?It was here that their consciousness of nakedness suggested the need for a covering, not because the fruit had poisoned the fountain of human life and through some inherent quality had immediately corrupted the reproductive powers of the body, nor because any physical change ensued in consequence of the fall; but because, with the destruction of the normal connection between soul and body through sin, the body ceased to be the pure abode of a spirit in fellowship with God. So the man and the woman stood ashamed in each other?s presence, and endeavored to hide the disgrace of their spiritual nakedness, by covering those parts of the body through which the impurities of nature are removed.?
This is where the origin of shame is first recorded. ?Not in the sense of physical corruption, but in the consciousness of guilt or shame before God, and it was this consciousness that was really at work. This is evident form the fact that they hid themselves from God among the trees of the garden, as soon as they heard the sound of His footsteps.?
Commentary 3-Wycliffe Bible Commentary
?Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden??Wycliffe states that the narrative presents the seducer as one of the animals, which was much more subtil than the others. ?He had the power of speech and talked freely with his victim. He was wily, insidious, and crafty.? These are definitely characteristics of which Satan possesses, which is exactly who Wycliffe identifies the serpent as. The method of deceit the serpent chose to use was to distort the meaning of God?s prohibition and then hold it up to ridicule in its new form. ?The tempter, Satan, feigned surprise that God should be guilty of issuing such a command.? So, he sought to break down the woman?s faith by planting in her mind doubts, suspicions, and false pictures of God and His motives.
?And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.? Unconsciously, the woman was revealing a willingness to come to terms with the tempter. ?She was innocent, guileless, and unsuspecting, and no match for the wily antagonist. She was unwilling to stand by and see God misrepresented, and so she courageously attempted to correct the serpent?s statement. But she quoted God?s prohibition inaccurately, adding the word touch.? I found this interesting, for I have never seen a commentary that had this particular perspective of this part of the passage.
?For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.? Now that Eve had entered into conversation, the seducer advanced his more powerful argument. ?He quickly suggested that man?s desire to be on par with and truly like God had been deliberately thwarted by divine command.? He implied that God was selfish and a liar, presenting him as envious and unwilling for his creatures to have something that would make them like the ?omniscient One.?
?And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.? Wycliffe states, ?The strong verbs tell the story vividly and clearly.? Something happened in the thinking of the woman. Gradually the fruit took on new significance. It was attractive to the eye, desirable to the taste, and powerful to give new wisdom. Wycliffe goes on to say, ?She took a new step into the field of self-deception. She not only wanted food that was delicious and attractive, but she desired power as well.? She needed to hear nothing more. She then took of the fruit and she ate. Wycliffe says, ?The tempter was no longer needed after that moment. Eve took up his work and presented the well-recommended fruit to her husband, and he did eat.?
?And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.? The promise of the tempter was fulfilled quickly. Instant perception was given. Wycliffe states, ?They saw and they knew, but what they saw was far different from the rosy picture painted by the serpent.? They saw their nakedness, spiritually as well as physically. And then shame and fear were born. ?When Adam and Eve realized that they were out of touch with God, a terrible loneliness overwhelmed them. Their loss of faith subjected them to the eyes of all creatures of God, so they quickly made aprons to provide some measure of concealment as they sought a remedy for their bewilderment, loneliness, and guilt.?
Commentary 4-My own words
In doing this research and writing this paper, I have learned a great deal about how we, as people came into being. I liked the distinction of the serpent being one of God?s creatures and the fact that he was once good before Satan put his evil twisted effects on him.
I was especially intrigued by the type of coercion, or method of evil that Satan chose to manipulate Eve into performing his evil doings. One would think that a physical force would be to his liking instead of mental coercion. It shows just how resourceful and crafty Satan can be into achieving his ultimate goal. Satan tells Eve that she should have nothing to fear; that she will not die by simply eating the fruit when, in fact, the opposite is what is at stake. Manipulating her mind into making her think that she would be ?God-like? by partaking in the fruit is just incredible to me. In today?s times, putting myself into this situation, I feel that I would make the right choice. However, one of the commentaries made a good point that I had never quite given thought to before. The people of that time were as close to God as any people has ever been and I believe that made their minds, and their thinking a little na?ve. If you think about it in those terms, I think one could understand the dilemma that Eve was presented with. I also believe that it was even more pathetic that Adam, after Eve had already sinned, allowed himself to fall into the same trap of deceit that Eve was responsible for originating. I think that if you look hard at today?s society, you can see some of that surfacing as well. Mental manipulation is prevalent all over the world. Look at politics. Is there any need for further explanation?
Finally, the fact that after they ate the fruit, and it was immediate to both of them what they had done, they became shameful and embarrassed. I am amazed that the mind could transform that quickly. That, itself, shows the power of God?s presence. They made fig leave aprons as quickly as they possibly could because of the overwhelming feeling of shame that had been realized by the both of them. Fearing all of God?s creatures would bear witness to their selfish and sinful acts, was more than enough, to do whatever they could do, to downplay the situation at hand. I believe a lot of our humanistic characteristics and qualities were derived from this act of disobedience and we will forever pay for our first mother and father?s straying away from God, the Lord Almighty.