Genesis 2:15-17 & 3:1-7

Genesis 2:15-17 & 3:1-7
Lent A14


15 The LordA GodB took the manC and put him in the gardenD of EdenE to tillF it and keepG it. 

Notes on verse 2:15

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “God” = Elohim.
C “man” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
D “garden” = gan. From ganan (to put a hedge around – generally, protect or defend; to cover or surround). This is a garden in that it is fenced in. It can also be an enclosure.
E “Eden” = eden. 16x in OT. Perhaps from the same as eden (luxury, delight, pleasure); from adan (to luxuriate). This is the garden of Eden and also the name of a Levite.
F “till” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage
G “keep” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eatH of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledgeI of goodJ and evilK you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”L

Notes on verses 2:16-17

H “freely eat” = akal + akal. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.” This is eat in a literal or figurative sense.
I “knowledge” = daat. From yada (to know, be aware, see and so understand – includes observation, care, recognition; can also be used as a euphemism). This is knowledge, unawares, cunning, wittingly.
J “good” = tob. This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
K “evil” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
L “die” = mut + mut. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. See note H above. This can be die in a literal or figurative sense.

1 Now the serpentM was more craftyN than any other wild animalO that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman,P “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 

Notes on verse 3:1

M “serpent” = nachash. Perhaps from nachash (to practice divination, learn by experience; to hiss as in whispering a spell). This is a serpent or snake.
N “crafty” = arum. 11x in OT. From arom (being shrewd or crafty, cunning; properly, being or making bare). This is crafty, shrew, or prudent. It is cunning, but usually in a negative way.
O “wild animal” = chay + sadeh. Literally “animal of the field.” Chay is from chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
P “woman” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touchQ it, orR you shall die.’” 

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die;S for God knowsT that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Notes on verses 3:2-5

Q “touch” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
R “or” = pen. Perhaps from panah (to turn, which implies to face, look). This is if or lest.
S “die” = mut + mut. Infinitive Absolute. See note H above.
T “knows” = yada. Related to “knowledge” in v2:17. See note I above.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,U and that it was a delightV to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desiredW to make one wise,X she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband,Y who was with her, and he ate. 

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;Z and they sewed fig leaves together and made loinclothsAA for themselves.

Notes on verses 3:6-7

U “food” = maakal. Related to “eat” in v2:16. From akal (see note H above). This is food or fruit, something edible.
V “delight” = taavah. From the same as avah (to desire, incline toward, crave, long, wish for, lust after). This is something that is desirable – a longing, delight, desire, favorite. It can be satisfaction or a charm.
W “desired” = chamad. This is desire, delight in, lust, take pleasure in, covet, or attract.
X “to make one wise” = sakal. This is being circumspect, which implies intelligent. It is to consider, be prudent, deal prudently, to instruct, or prosper. In the Piel form (not here), it can mean to lay crosswise.
Y “husband” = enosh. There is a word ish, meaning man or husband, which corresponds with ishshah, woman or wife.
Z “naked” = erom. Perhaps related to “crafty” in v3:1. 10x in OT. From ur (be exposed, be made naked) OR from arom (see note N above). This is nakedness or nudity.
AA “loincloths” = chagor. 7x in OT. From chagar (to gird, wear, restrain, be armed). This is an apron, belt, girdle, loincloth, or armor.

Image Credit: “Adam and Eve” by Christian Rohlfs, circa 1916.

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