Genesis 3:8-21

Genesis 3:8-21
A Women’s Lectionary – Third Sunday in Lent


They heardA the soundB of the LordC GodD

Notes on verse 8a

A “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
B “sound” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
C “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.
D “God” = Elohim.

walkingE in the gardenF at the timeG of the evening breeze,H

Notes on verse 8b

E “walking” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
F “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.
G “time” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
H “breeze” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.

and the manI and his wifeJ hidK themselves from the presenceL of the Lord God amongM the treesN of the garden. 

Notes on verse 8c

I “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.
J “wife” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
K “hid” = chaba. This is to hide, hush, harden (like water freezing), or secret.
L “presence” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
M “among” = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.
N “trees” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.

But the Lord God calledO to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 

10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid,P because I was naked;Q and I hid myself.” 

Notes on verses 9-10

O “called” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
P “was afraid” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
Q “naked” = erom. 10x in OT. From ur (to be made naked, exposed, or bare) OR from arom (being shrewd or crafty, cunning; properly, being or making bare). This is nakedness or nudity.

11 He said, “Who toldR you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commandedS you notT to eat?”U 

Notes on verse 11

R “told” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
S “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
T “not” = bilti. From balah (to grow old, wear out, consume, waste, enjoy, fail, decay). This is nothing, not, lest, or except. From its root, it means “a failure of” – used for negative particles.
U “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.

12 The man said, “The womanV whom you gaveW to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”X

The woman said, “The serpentY trickedZ me, and I ate.” 

Notes on verses 12-13

V “woman” = ishshah. Same as “wife” in v8. See note J above.
W “gave” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
X “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
Y “serpent” = nachash. Perhaps from nachash (to practice divination, learn by experience; to hiss as in whispering a spell). This is a serpent or snake. Used for the Serpent in the garden of Eden.
Z “tricked” = nasha. 15x in OT. This is to deceive, lead astray, trick, or delude.

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you among allAA animalsBB
    and among all wildCC creatures;DD

Notes on verse 14a

AA “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
BB “animals” = behemah. This is animal or cattle. It is often used of large quadrupeds.
CC “wild” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It can be used to mean wild like a wild animal.
DD “creatures” = chay. 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.

upon your bellyEE you shall go,FF
    and dustGG you shall eat
    all the daysHH of your life.II

Notes on verse 14b

EE “belly” = gachon. 2x in OT. Perhaps from giyach (to break, gush like water, give birth). This is belly, used particularly for reptiles or other creatures.
FF “go” = halak. Same as “walking” in v8. See note E above.
GG “dust” = aphar. May be related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
HH “days” = yom. Same as “time” in v8. See note G above.
II “life” = chay. Same as “creatures” in v14. See note DD above.

15 I will putJJ enmityKK between you and the woman,
    and between your offspringLL and hers;
he will strikeMM your head,NN
    and you will strike his heel.”OO

Notes on verse 15

JJ “put” = shith. This is to place, set, bring, appoint, consider, bring, array or look.
KK “enmity” = ebah. 5x in OT. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is hatred or hostility.
LL “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
MM “strike” = shuph. 4x in OT. This is to gape, bruise, overwhelm, snape at, or cover.
NN “head” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
OO “heel” = aqeb. 13x in OT. This is heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, or usurper.

16 To the woman he said,

“I will greatlyPP increase your pangsQQ in childbearing;RR

Notes on verse 16a

PP “greatly increase” = rabah + rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc. 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.”
QQ “pangs” = itstsabon. 3x in OT– used of Eve’s curse of pangs in childbearing and of Adam’s curse of toil in his labor in Genesis 3; also in Genesis 5:29 of the relief that Noah will bring from the toil of humanity’s hands. From atsab (to hurt, grieve, displease; to carve, make, worry). This is pain, toil, or labor.
RR “childbearing” = heron. 3x in OT. From harah (to conceive or be pregnant – can be literal or figurative). This is conception, being pregnant, or giving birth.

    in painSS you shall bring forthTT children,UU

Notes on verse 16b

SS “pain” = etseb. Related to “pangs” in v16. 7x in OT. From atsab (see note QQ above). This is hurt, sorrow, work that causes pain, physical or mental pain, idol, a pot.
TT “bring forth” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
UU “children” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

yet your desireVV shall be for your husband,WW
    and he shall ruleXX over you.”

Notes on verse 16c

VV “desire” = teshuqah. 3x in OT– Eve’s curse that a woman’s desire will be for her husband in Genesis 3:16, God’s teaching to Cain that sin’s desire is for you, but you must master it in Genesis 4:7, & “I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me” from Song of Songs 7:10. Related to shuq (to overflow, run after). This is a longing or desire.
WW “husband” = ish. Related to “wife” in v8. See note J above.
XX “rule” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.

17 And to the manYY he said,

“Because you have listened toZZ the voiceAAA of your wife,
    and have eaten of the tree
about which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the groundBBB because of you;
    in toilCCC you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

Notes on verse 17

YY “man” = adam. Related to “man” in v8. 10x in OT. 10x in NT. From the same as adam (see note I above). This is Adam, the name, and also a city.
ZZ “listened to” = shama. Same as “heard” in v8. See note A above.
AAA “voice” = qol. Same as “sound” in v8. See note B above.
BBB “ground” = adamah. Related to “man” in v8 & “man” in v17. From the same as adam (see note I above). From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
CCC “toil” = itstsabon. Same as “pangs” in v16. See note QQ above.

18 thornsDDD and thistlesEEE it shall bring forthFFF for you;
    and you shall eat the plantsGGG of the field.HHH

Notes on verse 18

DDD “thorns” = qots. 12x in OT. Perhaps from quts (summer, clip off); from qayits (fruit, harvest, dry season). This is a thorn or thornbush.
EEE “thistles” = dardar. 2x in OT. From the same as deror (flowing quickly – hence flowing free, release, and liberty; pure or clear). This is a thistle or thorn.
FFF “bring forth” = tsamach. This is to sprout, grow, or spring up – literal or figurative.
GGG “plants” = eseb. Root may mean to be green or to glisten. This is grass or some other tender shoot.
HHH “field” = sadeh. Same as “wild” in v14. See note CC above.

19 By the sweatIII of your faceJJJ
    you shall eat breadKKK
until you returnLLL to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;MMM
you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

Notes on verse 19

III “sweat” = zeah. 1x in OT. From the same as yeza (to sweat, ooze; a thing that induces sweating like a sweating dress) OR from zuwa (to tremble, move, agitate, cause fear or anger). This is sweat.
JJJ “face” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
KKK “bread” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.
LLL “return” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
MMM “taken” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.

20 The manNNN namedOOO his wife Eve,PPP because she wasQQQ the motherRRR of all living.SSS 

Notes on verse 20

NNN “man” = adam. Same as “man” in v8. See note I above.
OOO “named” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
PPP “Eve” = Chavvah. Perhaps from chavah (show, tell, live, declare). This is Eve, meaning “life-giver.”
QQQ “was” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v8. See note C above.
RRR “mother” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
SSS “living” = chay. Same as “creatures” in v14. See note DD above.

21 And the Lord God madeTTT garmentsUUU of skinsVVV for the manWWW and for his wife, and clothedXXX them.

Notes on verse 21

TTT “made” = asah. Same as “done” in v13. See note X above.
UUU “garments” = kethoneth. Root may mean to cover. This is a tunic, coat, or other kind of garment.
VVV “skins” = or. Related to “naked” in v10. Perhaps from ur (see note Q above). This is skin, hide, or leather. It can also refer to a body.
WWW “man” = adam. Same as “man” in v8. See note I above.
XXX “clothed” = labash. This is to wrap around, which implies clothing oneself or someone else. This is wrapping around in a literal or figurative way.

Image credit: “The Tree of Life” by Mikhail Selishchev, 2001.

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