Genesis 3



How long the paradisiacal state of innocence and felicity continued the historian does

not declare, probably as not falling within the scope of his immediate design. Psalm

49:12 has been thought, though without sufficient reason, to hint that man’s Eden life

was of comparatively short duration. The present chapter relates the tragic incident

which brought it to a termination. Into the question of the origin of moral evil in

the universe it does not enter. The recta-physical problem of how the first

thought of sin could arise in innocent beings it does not attempt to resolve.

It seeks to explain the genesis of evil with reference to man. Nor even with

regard to this does it aim at an exhaustive dissertation, but only at such a

statement of its beginnings as shall demonstrate that God is not the author

of sin, but that man, by his own free volition, brought his pristine state of

purity and happiness to an end.


1 “Now the serpent was more subtile 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?”  Now (literally, and)

the serpent. Nachash, from nachash:


            (1) in Kal, to hiss (unused), with allusion to the hissing sound emitted by

                  the reptile;

            (2) in Piel, to whisper, use sorcery, find out by divination (ch.30:27);

            (3) to shine (unused, though supplying the noun nechsheth, brass,

                 ch. 4:22), referring to its glossy shining appearance, and in partitular

                 its bright glistening eye: compare δράκων drakondragon -  from

                 δέρκομαιderkomaito look or see; and ὅφιςophis  - snake from

                 ὄπτομαιoptomailook; perceive; see.

(4) from an Arabic root signifying to pierce, to move, to creep, so that

     nachash would be Latin serpens (Furst). The presence of the article

     before nachash has been thought to mean a certain serpent, but

    “by eminent authorities this is pronounced to be unwarranted”



Was more subtle.Arum:


(1) crafty (compare Job 5:12; 15:5);

(2) prudent, in a good sense (compare Proverbs 12:16), from ‘aram


(a) To make naked; whence atom, plural arumim, naked

     (ch. 2:25).

(b) To be crafty (I Samuel 23:22). If applied to the serpent in the

     sense of πανοῦργος  - panourgostrickery; sophistry;

     craftiness; subtlety -


it can only be either:


(1) metaphorically for the devil, whose instrument it was; or

(2) proleptically, with reference to the results of the temptation; for in

     itself, as one of God’s creatures, it must have been originally good.


It seems more correct to regard the epithet as equivalent to φρόνιμος phonimos

wise; subtle - (Septuagint), and to hold that Moses, in referring to the subtlety of

this creature, “does not so much point out a fault as attribute praise to nature”

(Calvin), and describes qualities which in themselves were good, such as

quickness of sight, swiftness of motion, activity of the self-preserving

instinct, seemingly intelligent adaptation -of means to end, with perhaps a

glance, in the use of ‘arum, at the sleekness of its glossy skin; but which

were capable of being perverted to an unnatural use by the power and craft

of a superior intelligence (compare Matthew 10:16: γίνεσθε οϋν φρόνιμοι ὡς

ginesthe oun phronimoi hosbe ye becoming then prudent as. Than any (literally,

was subtil more than any) beast of the field which the Lord God had made. The

comparison here instituted is commonly regarded as a proof that the tempter was

a literal serpent, though Macdonald finds in the contrast between it and all other

creatures, as well as in the ascription to it of pre-eminent subtlety, which is not

now a characteristic of serpents, an intimation that the reptile was no creature of

earth, or one that received its form from God,” an opinion scarcely

different from that of Cyril (100. Julian., lib. 3), that it was only the

simulacrum of a serpent. But


(1) the curse pronounced upon the serpent (ch. 3:14) would seem

     to be deprived of all force if the subject of it had been only an

     apparition or an unreal creature; and

(2) the language of the New Testament in referring to man’s temptation

     implies its literality (compare II Corinthians 11:3). We are perfectly

     justified in concluding, from this mention of the fall, that Paul spoke

     of it as an actual occurrence.


And he said. Not as originally endowed with speech (Josephus, Clarke),

or gifted at this particular time with the power of articulation (‘Ephrem.,

lib. de paradiso,’ c. 27, quoted by Willet), but simply as used by the devil

(Augustine, Calvin, Rosenmüller, et alii), who from this circumstance is

commonly styled in Scripture The serpent,” “the old serpent,” “that old

serpent” (compare Revelation 12:9; 20:2). Nor is it more difficult to

understand the speaking of the serpent when possessed by Satan, than the

talking of Balaam s ass when the Lord opened its mouth (Numbers 22:28-30).

Unto the woman. As the weaker of the two, and more likely to be easily

persuaded (I Timothy 2:14; I Peter 3:7). Compare Satan’s assault on Job

through his wife (Job 2:9). Milton’s idea that Eve desired to be

independent, and had withdrawn herself out of Adam’s sight, it has been

well remarked, “sets up a beginning of the fall before the fall itself”

(Lunge). Yea. אַפ כּי .  Is it even so that?  Is it really so that!  A question either


(1) spoken in irony, as if the meaning were, “Very like it is that. God careth

     what you eat!” or

(2) inquiring the reason of the prohibition (Septuagint — τί ὅτι εϊπενθεὸς

     ti hoti eipen ho Theoshas God really said - Vulgate, cur praecepit vobis

    Deus); or

(3) simply soliciting information (Chaldee Paraphrase); but

(4) most likely expressing surprise and astonishment, with the view of

      suggesting distrust of the Divine goodness and disbelief in the Divine



 The conversation may have been commenced by the tempter, and the question

thrown out as a feeler for some weak point where the fidelity of the woman might

be shaken; but it is more likely that the devil spoke in continuation of a colloquy

which is not reported, which has led some, on the supposition that already many

arguments had been adduced to substantiate the Divine severity, to render

“yea” by “quanto mary’s,” as if the meaning were, “How much more is this

a proof of God’s unkindness!”   Hath God said. “The

tempter felt it necessary to change the living personal God into a merely

general numen divinum  but the Elohim of ch.1.   Satan’s assault was directed

against the paradisiacal covenant of God with man. By using the name Elohim

instead of Jehovah the covenant relationship of God towards man was obscured,

and man’s position in the garden represented as that of a subject rather than a son.

As it were, Eve was first placed at the furthest distance possible from the supreme,

and then assailed. Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden. I.e. either accepting

the present rendering as correct, which the Hebrew will bear, — “Are there any trees

in the garden of which you may not eat?” “Is it really so that God hath prohibited

you from some?”  — or, translating lo-kol as not any — Latin, nullus

(Gesenius, § 152, 1) — “Hath God said ye shall not eat of any?”  According to the

first the devil simply seeks to impeach the Divine goodness; according to the second

he also aims at intensifying the Divine prohibition.  (Compare Romans 7:7 – CY –

2015)  The second rendering appears to be supported by the fitness of Eve’s reply.


2 “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of 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 hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

And the woman said unto the serpent. Neither afraid of

the reptile, there being not yet any enmity among the creatures; nor

astonished at his speaking, perhaps as being not yet fully acquainted with

the capabilities of the lower animals; nor suspicions of his designs, her

innocence and inexperience not predisposing her to apprehend danger. Yet

the tenor of the reptile’s interrogation was fitted to excite alarm; and if, as

some conjecture, she understood that Satan was the speaker, she should at

once have taken flight; while, if she knew nothing of him or his disposition,

she should not have opened herself so freely to a person unknown. The

woman certainly discovers some uuadvisedness in entertaining conference

with the serpent, in matters of so great importance, in so familiar a

manner. We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.


(1) Omitting the Divine name when recording His liberality, though she

      remembers it when reciting His restraint;

(2) failing to do justice to the largeness and freeness of the Divine grant

     (compare ch.2:16); — which, however, charity would do well not

     to press against the woman as symptoms of incipient rebellion.


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. An addition to the

prohibitory enactment, which may have been simply an inaccuracy in her

understanding of Adam’s report of its exact terms; or the result

of a rising feeling of dissatisfaction with the too great strictness of the

prohibition, and so an indication that her love and confidence

towards God were already beginning to waver; or a proof of her

anxiety to observe the Divine precept; or a statement of her

understanding that they were not to meddle with it as a forbidden thing.

Lest ye die. Even Calvin here admits that Eve begins to give way, leading

פֶן־, as forte, discovering “doubt and hesitancy” in her language; but:


(1) the conjunction may point to a consequence which is certain — indeed

     this is its usual meaning (compare ch.11:4; 19:5; Psalm 2:12);

(2) Where there are so many real grounds for condemning Eve’s conduct,

      it is our duty to be cautious in giving those which are problematical”


(3) she would have represented the penalty in a worse rather than a

      softened form had she begun to think it unjust.


4 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”

And the serpent said unto the woman. As God had preached

to Adam, so Satan now also preaches to Eve... The object of Satan was to

draw away Eve by his word or saying from that which God had said.

Ye shall not surely die. Lo-moth temuthun (the negative lo preceding the

infinitive absolute, as in Psalm 49:8 and Amos 9:8; its position here being

determined by the form of the penalty, ch. 2:17, to which the devil’s language

gives the direct negative.  Thus the second step in his assault is to challenge

the Divine veracity, in allusion to which it has been thought our Savior

calls Satan a liar (compare John 8:44: ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ

ὁτι ψεύστης ἐστιν καὶπατὴρ αὐτοῦ - hotan lalae to pseudos ek ton idion lalei

hoti pseustaes estin kai ho pataer autouwhen he speaketh a lie, he speaketh

of his own:  for he is a liar, and the father of it - Here, as far as we

know, is his first begottten lie.




                                    The Tempter’s Chief Weapon (v. 4)


Narrative of the fall is of interest not only as the record of how mankind

became sinful, but as showing the working of that “lie”  (II Thessalonians 2:11)

by which the tempter continually seeks to draw men away (II Corinthians 11:3).

Eve’s temptation is in substance our temptation; Eve’s fall illustrates our danger,

and gives us matter whereby to try ourselves and mark how far we “walk by faith.”


THE SUBSTANCE OF THE TEMPTATION was suggesting doubts:


(1) As to God’s love.

(2) As to God’s truth.


The former led to self-willed desire; the latter gave force to the temptation

by removing the restraining power. We are tempted by the same

suggestions. The will and unbelief act and react upon each other. Where

the will turns away from God’s will doubt more easily finds an entrance,

and having entered, it strengthens self-will (Romans 1:28). Unbelief is

often a refuge to escape from the voice of conscience. But mark — the

suggestion was not, “God has not said,” but, It will not be so; You have

misunderstood Him; There will be some way of avoiding the danger.

Excuses are easy to find: human infirmity, peculiar circumstances, strength

of temptation, promises not to do so again. And a man may live, knowing

God’s word, habitually breaking it, yet persuading himself that all is well.

Note two chief lines in which this temptation assails:


Ø      As to the necessity for Christian earnestness. We are warned

      (I John 2:15; 5:12; Romans 8:6-13). What is the life thus spoken of?

                        Nothing strange. A life of seeking the world’s prizes, gains, pleasures.

                        A life whose guide is what others do; in which the example of Christ

                        and guidance of the Holy Spirit are not regarded; in which religion

                        is kept apart, and confined to certain times and services. (This

                        is the idea that SECULARISM PROMOTES in our society!  CY –

                        2015)  Of this God says it is living death (compare I Timothy 5:6);

                        life’s work neglected; Christs banner deserted. Yet the tempter



o       times have changed,

o       the Bible must not be taken literally,

o       ye shall not die.


Ø      As to acceptance of the gift of salvation. God’s word is (Mark

                        16:15; Luke 14:21; John 4:10) the record to be believed (Isaiah

                        53:5-6; I John 5:11). Yet speak to men of the free gift, tell them of

                        present salvation; the tempter persuades — true; but you must do

                        something, or feel something, before it can be safe to believe;

                        God has said; but it will not be so. In conclusion, mark how the

                        way of salvation just reverses the process of the fall. Man fell

                        away from God, from peace, from holiness through doubting

                        God’s love and truth. We are restored to peace through believing

                        these (John 3:16; I John 1:9), and it is this belief which binds us to

                        God in loving service (II Corinthians 5:14).



5 “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.”

For (מא nam - γαρ – gar – for; because; assigning the reason


(1) for the devil’s, statement, and so,

(2) by implication, for the Divine prohibition)


God doth know. Thus the serpent practically charges the Deity with;                                                                                                                       ;


(1) envy of His creatures’ happiness, as if He meant to say, Depend upon it,

      it is not through any fear of your dying from its fruit that the tree has been

      interdicted, but through fear of your becoming rivals to your Master

      Himself; and

(2) with falsehood:

(a) in affirming that to be true which He knew to be false;

(b) in doing this while delivering His law;

(c) in pretending to be careful of man’s safety while in reality He

was only jealous of His own honor.


That in the day ye eat thereof. Compare the Divine prohibition (ch.2:17), the exact

terms of which are again used:


·         a mark of growing aggressiveness towards the woman, and

·         of special audacity towards God.


The prohibition employs the singular number, being addressed to Adam

only; the devil employs the plural, as his words were meant not for Eve

alone, but for her husband with her. Your eyes shall be opened. To open

the eyes,” the usual Biblical phrase for restoring sight to the blind

(II Kings 6:17, 20; Psalm 146:8; Isaiah 42:7), is also used to denote

the impartation of power to perceive (physically, mentally, spiritually)

objects not otherwise discernible (compare ch.21:19; Isaiah 35:5).

Here it was designed to be ambiguous; like all Satan’s oracles, suggesting

to the hearer the attainment of higher wisdom, but meaning in the intention

of the speaker only a discovery of their nakedness. The same ambiguity

attaches to the devil’s exposition of his own text. And ye shall be as gods.

Literally, as Elohim; not &c θεοὶ - theoigods - (Septuagint), sicut dii (Vulgate),

as gods (Authorized Version), ostensibly a promise of divinity (which Satan

did not have authority). Knowing good and evil. As they knew this already from

the prohibition, the language must imply a fullness and accuracy of

understanding such as was competent only to Elohim (vide on v. 22)


6 “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.” And (when) the woman saw. “An impure

look, infected with the poison of concupiscence” (Calvin); compare Joshua 7:21.

That the tree was good for food. “The fruit of this tree may have been neither

poisonous nor beautiful, or it may have been both; but sin has the strange power of

investing the object of desire for the time being, whatever its true

character, with a wonderful attraction” (Inglis). And that it (was) pleasant

Literally, a desire (Psalm 10:17), a lust (Numbers 11:4). To the eyes.  

ἀρεστὸν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖςApeston tois ophthalmois -  a delight to the

eyes - (Septuagint); pulchrum oculis (Vulgate); lust ye unto the eyes (Coverdale);

i.e. stimulating desire through the eyes (compare I John 2:16). And a tree to be

 desired to make (one) wise. לְהַשְׂכִּיל (from שָׂכַל


(1) to look at, to behold; hence

(2) to be prudent, I Samuel 18:30.




(1) to look at;

(2) to turn the mind to;

(3) to be or become understanding, Psalm 2:10)


being susceptible of two renderings, the clause has been taken to mean “a

tree desirable to look at” or, more correctly, as it stands in the English Version,

 the external loveliness of the tree having been already stated in the preceding

clause. This is the third time the charms of the tree are discerned and expressed

by the woman — a significant intimation of how far the Divine interdict had

receded from her consciousness. She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. Thus

consummating the sin (James 1:15). And gave also to her husband.

Being desirous, doubtless, of making him a sharer in her supposed felicity.

The first time Adam is styled Eve s husband, or man; perhaps designed to

indicate the complete perversion by Eve of the Divine purpose of her

marriage with Adam, which was to be a helpmeet for him, and not his

destroyer. With her. An indication that Adam was present throughout the

whole preceding scene? - which is not likely, else why did he not restrain Eve?

or that he arrived just as the temptation closed (Calvin), which is only a conjecture;

better regarded as a reference to their conjugal oneness. And he did eat. And so

involved himself in the criminality of his already guilty partner; not simply as being

“captivated with her allurements” (“fondly overcome with female charms”

Milton, Par. Lost,’ Book 10.), which I Timothy 2:14 is supposed to

justify’; but likewise as being “persuaded by Satan’s impostures,” which

doubtless Eve had related to him. This much is distinctly implied in those

Scriptures which speak of Adam as the chief transgressor (vide Romans

5:12; I Corinthians 15:21-22).



The First Sin (v. 6)



Ø      The fact. That sin is possible even in pure beings without the intervention

            of solicitation, at least ab extra, must be held to be the doctrine of   Scripture (vide James 1:14 and Jude 1:6). Hence man might have fallen,        even had he not been tempted. The fact, however, that he was tempted is       explicitly revealed; a circumstance which notes an important distinction      between his sin and that of the angels. Does this explain Hebrews 2:16

            and II Peter 2:4?

Ø      The author. Though ostensibly a serpent, in reality the devil. Besides being expressly stated in the inspired word, it is involved in the very terms of the Mosaic narrative. If the reptile possessed the malice to conceive and the skill to manage such an assault upon the first pair as this book describes, then clearly it was not a serpent, but a devil. It is doubtful if all man's temptations come from the devil, but many, perhaps most, do. He is pre-eminently styled "the tempter" (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). From the days of Adam downward he has been engaged in attempting to seduce the saints; e.g. David (I Chronicles 21:1); Job (Job 2:7); Christ (Luke 4:13); Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:3). At the present moment he is laboring to deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9).


Ø      The instrument. The serpent, which was a proof of Satan's skill, that

      particular reptile being specially adapted for his purpose (The devil can

      always find a tool adapted to the work he has in hand); and is an

      indication of our danger, it being only a reptile, and therefore little likely

      to be suspected as a source of peril; whence we may gather that there is

      no quarter so unexpected, and no instrument so feeble, that out of the one

      and through the other temptation may not leap upon us.


Ø      The nature. This was threefold. A temptation (compare the three assaults

       upon the Second Adam (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1), which were essentially

       the same.)


o       The first aimed a death-blow at their filial confidence in God;

o       the second removed the fear of punishment from their path;

o        the third fired their souls with the lust of ambition.


                   Separation from God, disobedience of God, opposition to or rivalry

                   with God—the devil's scala coeli.


Ø      The subtlety. That great art should have been displayed in the conduct

      of this campaign against the citadel of human holiness is what might

      have been expected from such a general. In these respects it was evinced.




Ø      Its guilty perpetrators. Not the serpent or the devil, but the first pair.

      The devil may tempt man to sin, but he cannot sin for man. A creature

      may be the unconscious instrument of leading man aside from the path

      of virtue, but it cannot possibly compel man to go astray. Men are

      prone to blame other things and persons for their sins, when the true

      criminals are themselves.


Ø      Its impelling motive. No temptation, however skillfully planned or

      powerfully applied, can succeed until it finds a footing in the nature

      that is tempted. (I Corinthians 10:13)  Unless the devil's logic and

      chicanery had produced the effect described in v. 6, it is more than

      probable that Eve would have stood. But first it wrought a change

      upon herself, and then it transformed the tree. First it created the

      need for sinful motives, and then it supplied them. So works

      temptation still. As with Eve, so with us. Sinful motives are:


o       demanded by the heart;

o       supplied by the evil which the heart contemplates; and

o       are generally as weak and insufficient as Eve’s.


Ø      Its essential wickedness, as consisting of:


o       unbelief, revealing itself in disobedienc;

o       selfishness, making self the center of all things;

o       desire, love of the world, gratification of the senses,


the fundamental elements in all sin, corresponding to the three

fundamental elements of man's being and consciousness:


o       spirit,

o       soul, and

o       body.


Ø      Its sad results.


o       A discovery of sin. “Their eyes were opened,” as the devil said,

      and as he meant. They felt that they had fallen, and that they had

      lost their purity.  It is impossible to sin and not to have this

      knowledge and feel this loss.


o       A consciousness of guilt. “They knew that they were naked.”

      Sin reports itself quickly to the conscience, and conscience

      quickly discovers to the guilty soul its true position as an

      unprotected culprit before the bar of God.


o       A sense of shame, which impelled them to seek a covering for their

                               persons. “They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves

                               girdles.” A picture of men’s fruitless efforts to find a covering

                               for their guilty souls.




Ø      The responsibility of man.

Ø      The duty of guarding against temptation.

Ø      The contagious character of moral evil.

Ø      The havoc wrought by a single sin.


7  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.”  And the eyes of them both were opened. The fatal deed

committed, the promised results ensued, but not the anticipated blessings.


(1) The eyes of their minds were opened to perceive that they were no

      longer innocent, and

(2) the eyes of their bodies to behold that they were not precisely as they

     had been. And they knew that they were naked.


a.       Spiritually (compare Exodus 32:25; Ezekiel 16:22; Revelation 3:17),


b.      corporeally, having lost that enswathing light of purity which

previously engirt their bodies (vide ch. 2:25). And they sewed.

Literally, fastened or tied by twisting. Fig leaves. Not the pisang

tree (Muss Paradisiaca), whose leaves attain the length of twelve

feet and the breadth of two; but the common fig tree (Ficus Carica),

which is aboriginal in Western Asia, especially in Persia, Syria, and

Asia Minor. Together, and made themselves aprons. Literally, girdles,

περιζώματαperizomataaprons - (Septuagint), i.e. to wrap about

their loins. This sense of shame which caused them to seek a covering

for their nudity was not due to any physical corruption of the body,

but to the consciousness of guilt with which their souls were laden,

and which impelled them to flee from the presence of their offended




The Moral Chaos before the Moral Restoration (vs. 1-7)


Hitherto the moral nature of man may be said to be absorbed in his

religious nature. He has held interaction with his Creator. He has ruled

earth as “the paragon of animals.” The introduction of a helpmeet was the

commencement of society, therefore of distinctly moral relations. It is in

the moral sphere that sin takes its origin, through the helpmeet, and as a

violation at the same time of a direct Divine commandment, and of that

social compact of obedience to God and dependence upon one another

which is the root of all true moral life. The woman was away from the man

when she sinned. Her sin was more than a sin against God; it was an

offence against the law of her being as one with her husband. There are

many suggestive points in the vs. 1-7 which we may call the return of

man’s moral state into chaos, that out of it may come forth, by Divine

grace, the new creation of a redeemed humanity.




            MAN that the evil principle is introduced into the world. The serpent’s

            subtlety represents that evil principle already in operation.


  • While the whole transaction is on the line of moral and religious


            NATURE FROM THE FIRST TEMPTATION. The serpent, the woman,

            the tree, the eating of fruit, the pleasantness to taste and sight, the effect

            upon the fleshly feelings, all point to the close relation of the animal and

            the moral. There is nothing implied as to the nature of matter, but it is

            plainly taught that the effect of a loss of moral and spiritual dignity is a

            sinking back into the lower grade of life; as man is less a child of God he is

            more akin to the beasts that perish.


  • THE TEMPTATION IS BASED ON A LIE; first soliciting the mind

            through a question, a perplexity, then passing to a direct contradiction of

            God’s word, and blasphemous suggestion of His ill-will towards man,

            together with an excitement of pride and overweening desire in man’s

            heart. The serpent did not directly open the door of disobedience. He led

            the woman up to it, and stirred in her the evil thought of passing through it.

            The first temptation is the type of all temptation. Notice the three points:


Ø      falsification of fact and confusion of mind;

Ø      alienation from God as the Source of all good and the only wise

      Ruler of our life;

Ø      desire selfishly exalting itself above the recognized and appointed

                        limits. Another suggestion is:




            Temptation is not sin. Temptation resisted is moral strength. Temptation

            yielded to is an evil principle admitted into the sphere of its operation, and

            beginning its work at once. The woman violated her true position by her

            sin; it was the consequence of that position that she became a tempter

            herself to Adam, so that the helpmeet became to Adam what the serpent

            was to her. His eating with her was, as Milton so powerfully describes it, at



Ø      a testimony to their oneness, and therefore to the power of that love

                        which might have been only a blessing; and


Ø      a condemnation of both alike. The woman was first in the

                        condemnation, but the man was first in the knowledge of the

                        commandment and in the privilege of his position; therefore the

                        man was first in degree of condemnation, while the woman was

                        first in the order of time.



      The knowledge of good and evil is the commencement of a

            conflict between the laws of nature and the laws of the human spirit in its

            connection with nature, which nothing but the grace of God can bring to an

            end in the “peace which passeth understanding.” That springing up of

            shame in the knowledge of natural facts is a testimony to a violation of

            God’s order which He alone can set right. “Who told thee,” God said, “that

            thou wast naked?” God might have raised His creature to a position in

            which shame would have been impossible. He will do so by His grace.

            Meanwhile the fall was what the word represents a forfeiture of that

            superiority to the mere animal nature which was man’s birthright. And the

            results of the fall are seen in the perpetual warfare between the natural

            world and the spiritual world in that being who was made at once a being

            of earth and a child of God. “They sewed fig-leaves together, and made

            themselves aprons.” In the sense of humiliation and defeat man turns to the

            mere material protection of surrounding objects, forgetting that a spiritual

            evil can only be remedied by a spiritual good; but the shameful

            helplessness of the creature is the opportunity for the gracious

            interposition of God.







Ø      Babylonian. “There is nothing in the Chaldean fragments indicating a

belief in the garden of Eden or the tree of knowledge; there is only an

obscure allusion to a thirst for knowledge having been a cause of man’s

fall”... The details of the temptation are lost in the cuneiform text, which

“opens where the gods are cursing the dragon and the Adam or man for

his transgression.”... “The dragon, which, in the Chaldean account, leads

man to sin, is the creature of Tiamat, the living principle of the sea and

of chaos, and he is an embodiment of the spirit of chaos or disorder which

was opposed to the deities at the creation of the world.” The dragon is

included in the curse for the fall; and the gods invoke on the human race

all the evils which afflict humanity — family quarrels, tyranny, the anger

of the gods, disappointment, famine, useless prayers, trouble of mind

and body, a tendency to sin (‘Chaldean Genesis,’ pp. 87-91).


Ø      Persian. For a time the first pair, Meschia and Mesehiane, were holy and

happy, pure in word and deed, dwelling in a garden wherein was a tree

whose fruit conferred life and immortality; but eventually Ahriman

deceived them, and drew them away from Ormuzd. Emboldened by his

success, the enemy again appeared, and gave them a fruit, of which they

ate, with the result that, of the hundred blessings which they enjoyed, all

disappeared save one. Falling beneath the power of the evil one, they

practiced the mechanical arts, and subsequently built themselves houses

and clothed themselves with skins. Another form of the legend represents

Ahriman as a serpent. So close is the resemblance of this legend to the

Scriptural account, that Rawlinson regards it not as a primitive tradition,

but rather as “an infiltration into the Persian system of religious ideas

belonging properly to the Hebrews” (‘Hist. Illus. of the Old Testament,

’ p.13).


Ø      Indian. In the Hindoo mythology the king of the evil demons, “the king

of the serpents,” is named Naga, the prince of the Nagis or Nacigs, “in

which Sanscrit appellation we plainly trace the Hebrew Nachash.” In the

Vishnu Purana the first beings created by Brama are represented as

endowed with righteousness and perfect faith, as free from guilt and

filled with perfect wisdom, wherewith they contemplated the glory of

Visham, till after a time they are seduced. In the legends of India the

triumph of Krishna over the great serpent Kali Naga, who had poisoned

the waters of the river, but who himself was ultimately destroyed by

Krishna trampling on his head, bears a striking analogy to the Mosaic

story (Kitto’s ‘Daily Bible Illustrations’).




Ø      The story of Pandora. According to Hesiod the first men lived wifeless

and ignorant, but innocent and happy. Prometheus (“Forethought”)

having stolen fire from heaven, taught its use to mankind. To punish the

aspiring mortals, Zeus sent among them Pandora, a beautiful woman,

whom he had instructed Hephaestus to make, and Aphrodite, Athena,

and Hermes had endowed with all seductive charms. Epimetheus

(“Afterthought”), the brother of Prometheus, to whom she was

presented, accepted her, and made her his wife. Brought into his house,

curiosity prevailed on her to lift the lid of a closed jar in which the

elder brother had with prudent foresight shut up all kinds of ills and

diseases. Forthwith they escaped to torment mankind, which they have

done ever since (Secmann’s ‘Mythology,’ p.163).


Ø      The apples of the Hesperides. These golden apples, which were under

the guardianship of the nymphs of the West, were closely watched by a

terrible dragon named Laden, on account of an ancient oracle that a son

of the deity would at a certain time arrive, open a way of access thither,

and carry them off. Hercules, having inquired his way to the garden in

which they grew, destroyed the monster and fulfilled the oracle

(ibid., p. 204).


Ø      Apollo and the Pythen. “This Python, ancient legends affirm, was a

serpent bred out of the slime that remained after Deucalion’s deluge,

and was worshipped as a god at Delphi. Eminent authorities derive the

name of the monster from a Hebrew root signifying to deceive.” As the

bright god of heaven, to whom everything impure and unholy is hateful,

Apollo, four days after his birth, slew this monster with his arrows.

“What shall we say then to these things? This — that the nations

embodied in these traditions their remembrances of paradise, of the fall,

and of the promised salvation” (Kitto, ‘Daily Bible Illustrations’ p. 67).



8 “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden

in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from

the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden."

And they heard the voice of the Lord God. Either:


(1) the noise of his footsteps (compare Leviticus 26:23-24; Numbers 16:34;

      II Samuel 5:24; or

(2) the thunder that accompanied his approach (compare Exodus 9:23;

          Job 37:4-5; Psalm 29:3, 9; or

(3) the sound of his voice; or

(4) probably all four.



                        The Working of the Sin-Stricken Conscience (v.8)


  • GOD THE JUDGE REVEALING HIMSELF. The voice of the Lord

            God represents to men the knowledge of themselves, which, like light,

            would be intolerable to the shamefaced.



            MEET HIM. While the darkness of the thick foliage was regarded as a

            covering, hiding nakedness, it is yet from the presence of the Lord God

            that the guilty seek refuge.


  • MAN’S SELF AGAINST HIMSELF. The instinctive action of shame

            is a testimony to the moral nature and position of man. So it may be said:


  • GUILT is itself God’s witness, comprehending the sense of

            righteousness and the sense of transgression in the same being. (Perhaps

            there is a reference to the working of the conscience in the description of

            the voice of God as mingling in the facts of the natural world; “the cool of

            the daybeing literally the “evening breeze,” whose whispering sound

            became articulate to the ears of those who feared the personal presence of

            their Judge.)


Walking in the garden. If the voice, then increasing in intensity (compare Exodus

19:19; if Jehovah, which is better - In the cool (literally, the wind) of the day.

The morning breeze; the evening breeze); τὸ δειλινόνto deilinon - (Septuagint);

auram post meridiem (Vulgate); cf. hom hayom, “the heat of the

day” (ch18:1). And Adam and his wife hid themselves. Not in

humility, as unworthy to come into God’s presence; or in

amazement, as not knowing which way to turn; or through

modesty, but from a sense of guilt. From the presence

of the Lord. From which it is apparent they expected a Visible



9  “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where

art thou?”  10 “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid,

because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And the Lord God called unto Adam.

Adam’s absence was a clear proof that something was wrong. Hitherto he had

always welcomed the Divine approach. And said unto him, Where art thou?

Not as if ignorant of Adam’s hiding-place, but to bring him to confession

(compare ch. 4:9). And I was afraid, because I was naked. Attributing

his fear to the wrong cause — the voice of God or his insufficient clothing;

a sign of special obduracy, which, however, admits of a psychological explanation,

viz., that his consciousness of the effects of sin was keener than his sense of the sin

itself” (Keil), “although all that he says is purely involuntary self-accusation, and

“the first instance of that mingling and confusion of sin and punishment which

is the peculiar characteristic of our redemption-needing humanity” (Lange).

And I hid myself.



                                    The Searching Question (v. 9)


We can picture the dread of this question. Have you considered its love —

that it is really the first word of the gospel? Already the Shepherd goes

forth to seek the lost sheep. The Bible shows us:


1. The original state of man; what God intended his lot to be.

2. The entry of sin, and fall from happiness.

3. The announcement and carrying out God’s plan of restoration.


THE GOSPEL BEGINS not with the promise of a Savior, but WITH

SHOWING MAN HIS NEED. Thus (John 4:15-18) our Savior’s

answer to “Give me this water” was to convince of sin: “Go, call thy

husband.” That first loving call has never ceased. Men are still straying, still

must come to themselves (Luke 15:17-18). We hear it in the Baptist’s

teaching; in the preaching of Peter at Pentecost; and daily in his life-giving

work the Holy Spirit’s first step is to convince of sin. And not

merely in conversion, but at every stage He repeats, “Where art thou?” To

welcome God’s gift we must feel our own need; and the inexhaustible

treasures in Christ are discerned as we mark daily the defects of our

service, and how far we are from the goal of our striving (Philippians

3:13-14). Hence, even in a Christian congregation, it is needful to press

“Where art thou?” to lead men nearer to Christ. We want to stir up easygoing

disciples, to make Christians consider their calling, to rouse to higher

life and work. Our Savior’s call is, “Follow me.” How are you doing this?

You are pledged to be His soldiers; what reality is there in your fighting?

How many are content merely to do as others do! What do ye for Christ?

You have your Bible; is it studied, prayed over? What do ye to spread its

truth? Ye think not how much harm is done by apathy, how much silent

teaching of unbelief there is in the want of open confession of Christ. Many

are zealous for their own views. Where is the self-denying mind of Christ,

the spirit of love? Many count themselves spiritual, consider that they have

turned to the Lord, and are certainly in His fold. Where is Paul’s spirit

of watchfulness? (I Corinthians 9:26-27). “Where art thou?” May the

answer of each be, Not shut up in myself, not following the multitude, but

“looking unto Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2)


11 “And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten

of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

12 “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,

she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”  And he said., Who told thee that

thou wast naked? Delitzsch finds in מִי an indication that a personal

power was the prime cause of man’s disobedience; but, as Lange rightly

observes, it is the occasion not of sin, but of the consciousness of

nakedness that is here inquired after. Hast thou eaten of the tree (at once

pointing Adam to the true cause of his nakedness, and intimating the

Divine cognizance of his transgression) whereof I commanded thee that

thou shouldest not eat? “Added to remove the pretext of ignorance”

(Calvin), and also to aggravate the guilt of his offence, as having been done

in direct violation of the Divine prohibition. The question was fitted to

carry conviction to Adam’s conscience, and halt the instantaneous effect of

eliciting a confession, though neither a frank one nor a generous. And the

man said (beginning with apology and ending with confession, thus

reversing the natural order, and practically rolling back the blame on God),

The woman whom thou gavest to be with me (accusing the gift and the

Giver in one), she gave me of the tree. Compare with the cold and unfeeling

terms in which Adam speaks of Eve the similar language in ch. 37:32; Luke 15:30;

John 9:12. Without natural affection” is one of the bitter fruits of sin (compare

Romans 1:31). Equally with the blasphemy, ingratitude, unkindness, and meanness

of this excuse, its frivolity is apparent; as if, though Eve gave, that was any reason why

Adam should have eaten. And I did eat. Reluctantly elicited, the confession of his sin

is very mildly stated. A cold expression, manifesting neither any grief nor

shame at so foul an act, but rather a desire to cover his sin” (White).


13 “And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou

hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I

did eat.”  And the Lord said unto the woman — without noticing the

excuses, but simply accepting the admission, and passing on, “following up

the transgression, even to the root — not the psychological merely, but the

historical: What is this that thou hast done? Or, “Why hast thou

done this?” (Septuagint, Vulgate, Luther, De Wette). “But the Hebrew phrase

has more vehemence; it is the language of one who wonders as at

something collossal, and ought rather to be rendered, ‘ How hast thou

done this?’ (Calvin). And the woman said (following the example of her

guilty, husband, omitting any notice of her sin in tempting Adam, and

transferring the blame of her own disobedience to the reptile), The serpent

beguiled me. Literally, caused me to forget, hence beguiled, from נָשָׁא;, to

forget a thing (to forget a thing Lamentations 3:17), or person (Jeremiah 23:39;

or, caused me to go astray, from כָשָׁה; (unused in Kal), kindred to;, to נָשָׁא; perhaps

to err, to go astray; ἠπατήσε aepataesedeceived -  (Septuagint), ἐξαπάτησεν

exapataesen - deludes; out-seduces  - (II Corinthians 11:3). And I did eat. A forced

confession, but no appearance of contrition. ‘It’s true I did eat, but it was not

my fault’”  (Hughes).


14 “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done

this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the

field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the

days of thy life:”  Confession having thus been made by both delinquents, and

the arch-contriver of the whole mischief discovered, the Divine Judge

proceeds to deliver sentence. And the Lord God said unto the serpent.

Which he does not interrogate as he did the man and woman, because:


            (1) in the animal itself there was no sense of sin, and

            (2) to the devil he would hold out no hope of pardon” (Calvin); “because

            the trial has now reached the fountain-head of sin, the purely evil purpose

            (the demoniacal) having no deeper ground, and requiring no further

            investigation’’ (Lange).


Because thou hast done this. I.e. beguiled the woman. The incidence of this curse

has been explained as:


            1. The serpent only

            2. The devil only.

            3. Partly on the serpent and partly on Satan.

            4. Wholly upon both.


The fourth opinion seems most accordant with the language of the malediction.

Thou art cursed. The cursing of the irrational creature should occasion no more

difficulty than the cursing of the earth (v. 17), or of the fig tree (Matthew 11:21).

Creatures can be cursed or blessed only in accordance with their natures. The reptile,

therefore, being neither a moral nor responsible creature, could not be cursed in the

sense of being made susceptible of misery. But it might be cursed in the

sense of being deteriorated in its nature, and, as it were, consigned to a

lower position in the scale of being. And as the Creator has a perfect right

to assign to His creature the specific place it shall occupy, and function it

shall subserve, in creation, the remanding of the reptile to an inferior

position could not justly be construed into a violation of the principles of

right, while it might serve to God’s intelligent creatures as a visible symbol

of his displeasure against sin (compare ch. 9:5; Exodus 21:28-36).

Above. Literally, from, i.e. separate and apart from all cattle .  All cattle, and above

(apart from) every beast of the field. The words imply the materiality of the reptile

and the reality of the curse, so far as it was concerned. Upon thy belly. Ἐπὶ τῷ

στήθει σου καὶ τῇ κοιλίᾳ - Epi to staethei sou kai tae koiliaOn your belly you

shall go - (Septuagint); meaning “with, great pain and, difficulty.”

As Adam s labor and Eve’s conception had pain and sorrow added to them

(vs. 16-17), so the serpent’s gait” (Ainsworth). Shalt thou go. “As the

worm steals over the earth with its length of body,” “as a mean and

despised crawler in the dust,” having previously gone erect (Luther), and

been possessed of bone (Josephus), and capable of standing upright and

twining itself round the trees (Lange), or at least having undergone some

transformation as to external form (Delitzsch, Keil); though the language

may import nothing more than that whereas the reptile had exalted itself

against man, it was henceforth to be THRUST BACK INTO THE

PROPER RANK,” “recalled from its insolent motions to its accustomed

mode of going,” and “at the same time condemned to perpetual infamy”

(Calvin). As applied to Satan this part of the curse proclaimed his further 

degradation in the scale of being in consequence of having tempted man.

“Than the serpent trailing along the ground, no emblem can more aptly

illustrate the character and condition of the apostate spirit who once

 occupied a place among the angels of God, but has been cast down to

the earth, preparatory to his deeper plunge into the fiery lake (Revelation 20:10).

(What is the spirit that occupies us today?  CY – 2015)  And dust shalt thou eat,

I.e. mingling dust with all it should eat. The great scantiness of food on which

serpents can subsist gave rise to the belief entertained by many Eastern nations,

and referred to in several Biblical allusions (Isaiah 65:25; Micah 7:17) — that

they eat dust. More probably it originated in a too literal interpretation of the

Mosaic narrative. Applied to the devil, this part of the curse was an

additional intimation of his degradation. To “lick the dust” or “eat the

dust” is equivalent to being reduced to a condition of meanness, shame,

and contempt; and is indicative of disappointment in all the aims of

being; denotes the highest intensity of a moral condition, of

which the feelings of the prodigal (Luke 15:16) may be considered a

type’ (compare Psalm 72:9). All the days of thy life. The degradation should be



15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between

thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise

his heel.”  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman.



            1. To the fixed and inveterate antipathy between the serpent and the human


            2. To the antagonism henceforth to be established between the tempter and



And between thy seed and her seed. Here the curse manifestly outgrows the literal

serpent, and refers almost exclusively to the invisible tempter. The hostility commenced

between the woman and her destroyer was to be continued by their descendants

the seed of the serpent being those of Eve’s posterity who should imbibe the devil’s

spirit and obey the devil’s rule (compare Matthew 23:33; I John 3:10); and the

seed of the woman signifying those whose character and life should be of

an opposite description, and in particular the Lord Jesus Christ, who is

styled by preeminence “the Seed” (Galatians 3:16, 19), and who came

“to destroy the works of the devil” (Hebrews 2:14; I John 3:8). This

we learn from the words which follow, and which, not obscurely, point to a

seed which should be individual and personal. It — or He; αὐτοςautos –

(Septuagint); shall bruise.


1. Shall crush, trample down — rendering שׁוּפ by torero or conterere.

2. Shall pierce, wound, bite — taking the verb as — שָׁפַפ, to bite.

3. Shall watch, lie in wait = שָׁאַפ; (Septuagint, τηρήσει  - taeraesei bruise.


 Wordsworth suggests as the correct reading τερήσειteraesei -  from τερέωtereo

The word occurs only in two other places in Scripture — Job 9:17; Psalm 139:11 —

and in the latter of these the reading is doubtful. Hence the difficulty of deciding

with absolute certainty between these rival interpretations.  Psalm 91:13

and Romans 16:20 appear to sanction the first; the second is favored by

the application of the same word to the hostile action of the serpent, which

is not treading, but biting; the feebleness of the third is its chief objection.

Thy head. I.e. the superior part of thee (Calvin), meaning that the serpent

would be completely destroyed, the head of the reptile being that part of its

body in which a wound was most dangerous, and which the creature itself

instinctively protects; or the import of the expression may be, He shall

attack thee in a bold and manly way. And thou shalt bruise His

heel. I.e. the inferior part (Calvin), implying that in the conflict he would

be wounded, but not destroyed; or the biting of the heel may denote the

mean, insidious character of the devil’s warfare.


See the wondrous mercy of God in proclaiming from the first day of sin,

and putting into the forefront, a purpose of salvation.


16 “Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy

conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy

desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Unto the woman He said. Passing judgment on her first who

had sinned first, but cursing neither her nor her husband, as “being

candidates for restoration” (Tertullian). The sentence pronounced on Eve

was twofold. I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. A

hendiadys for “the sorrow of thy conception,” though

this is not necessary. The womanly and wifely sorrow of Eve was to be

intensified, and in particular the pains of parturition were to be multiplied

(compare Jeremiah 31:8). The second idea is more fully explained in the next

clause. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children. Literally, sons,

daughters being included. The pains of childbirth are in Scripture

emblematic of the severest anguish both of body and mind (compare Psalm 48:6;

Micah 4:9-10; I Thessalonians 5:3; John 16:21; Revelation 12:2). The gospel gives

a special promise to mothers (I Timothy 2:15). By “bringing forth” is also meant

bringing up after the birth, as in ch.50:23” (Ainsworth). And thy desire shall be to

thy husband. תְּשׁוּקָה from שׁוּק to run, to have a vehement longing for a thing,

may have the same meaning here as in Song of Solomon 7:10; but is better taken

as expressive of deferential submissiveness, as in ch.4:7.  Following

the Septuagint (ἀποστροφή - apostrophae), Murphy explains it as meaning, “The

determination of thy will shall be yielded to thy husband.” According to the

analogy of the two previous clauses, the precise import of this is expressed

in the next, though by many it is regarded as a distinct item in the curse.

And he shall rule over thee. Not merely a prophecy of woman’s subjection,

but an investiture of man with supremacy over the woman; or rather a confirmation

and perpetuation of that authority which had been assigned to the man at the creation.

Woman had been given him as an helpmeet (ch.2:18), and her relation to

the man from the first was constituted one of dependence. It was the

reversal of this Divinely-established order that had LED TO THE FALL!

(here, v.17). Henceforth, therefore, woman was to be relegated to,

and fixed in, her proper sphere of subordination. On account of her

subjection to man’s authority a wife is described as the possessed or

subjected one of a lord (ch.20:3), and a husband as the lord of a woman

(Exodus 21:3). Among the Hebrews the condition of the female sex was

one of distinct subordination, though not of oppression, and certainly

not of slavery, as it too often has been in heathen and Mohammedan countries.

Christianity, while placing woman on the same platform with man as regards

the blessings of the gospel (Galatians 3:28), explicitly inculcates her subordination

to the man in the relationship of marriage (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18;

I Peter 3:1)  (One of my favorite scriptures is I Peter 3:7 – CY – 2015)



17 “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the

voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded

thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy

sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;”

And unto Adam He said. The noun here used for the first

time without the article is explained as a proper name, though perhaps it

is rather designed to express the man s representative character. Because

thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife. Preceding his sentence with a

declaration of his guilt, which culminated in this, that instead of acting as

his wife’s protector prior to her disobedience, or as her mentor subsequent

to that act, in the hope of brining her to repentance, he became her guilty

coadjutor through yielding himself to her persuasions. And hast eaten of

the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it.

For which a twofold judgment is likewise pronounced upon Adam. Cursed

is the ground. Ha adamah, out of which man was taken (ch.2:7);

i.e. the soil outside of the garden. The language does not necessarily imply

that now, for the first time, in consequence of the fall, the physical globe

underwent a change, becoming from that point onward a realm of

deformity and discord, as before it was not, and displaying in all its

sceneries and combinations the tokens of a broken constitution.  It simply

announces the fact that, because of the transgression of which he had been

guilty, he would find the land beyond the confines of Eden lying under a

doom of sterility (compare Romans 8:20). For thy sake. בַּעֲבוּרֶך.


1. Because of thy sin it required to be such a world.

2. For thy good it was better that such a curse should lie upon the ground.


Reading ד instead of ר the Septuagint. translate ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις  - en tois ergois

in toil - and the Vulgate, In operetuo. In sorrow. Literally, painful labor (compare

v. 16;  Proverbs 5:10). Shalt thou eat of it. I.e. of its fruits (compare Isaiah 1:7;

36:16; 37:30). “Bread of sorrow” (Psalm 127:2) is bread procured and

eaten amidst hard labor. All the days of thy life.


18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the

herb of the field;” Thorns also and thistles. Terms occurring only here and in

Hosea 10:8;  there are similar expressions in Isaiah 5:6; 7:23. Shall it bring forth to thee.

I.e. these shall be its spontaneous productions; if thou desirest anything else thou must

labor for it. And thou shalt eat the herb of the field. Not the fruit of paradise, but

the lesser growths sown by his own toil,  an intimation that henceforth man was

to be deprived of his former delicacies to such an extent as to be compelled to use,

in addition, the herbs which had been designed only for brute animals;” and perhaps

also “a consolation,” as if promising that, notwithstanding the thorns and thistles,

“it should still yield him sustenance” (Calvin).


19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto

the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto

dust shalt thou return.”  In the sweat of thy face (so called, as having there its

source and being there visible) shalt thou eat bread. I.e. all food (vide Job 28:5;

Psalm 104:14; Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:36). “To eat bread” is to possess the means

of sustaining life (Ecclesiastes 5:18; Amos 7:12). Till thou return unto the ground

(the mortality of man is thus assumed as certain); for out of it thou wast taken. Not

declaring the reason of man’s dissolution, as if it were involved in his original

material constitution, but reminding him that in consequence of his

transgression he had forfeited the privilege of immunity from death, and

must now return to the soil whence he sprung. Ἐξ η΅ς ἐλήφθης  - Ex aes elaephthaes

out of it you were taken - (Septuagint); de qua sumptus es (Vulgate); “out of which

thou wast taken” (Macdonald, Gesenius).



The First Judgment Scene (vs. 8-19)




Ø      It is the instinct of sinful men to flee from God. “Adam and his wife hid

                        themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (v. 8). So “Jonah rose                               up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3).


o       Through a consciousness of guilt. A perception of their nakedness

                              caused our first parents to seek the shelter of the garden trees

                              (v. 10).  Doubtless it was the burden lying on Jonah’s conscience

                              that sent him down into the ship’s hold (Jonah 1:5). So awakened                                       sinners ever feel themselves constrained to get away from God.


o       From a dread of punishment. Not perhaps so long as they imagine God to be either unacquainted with or indifferent to their offence,

      but immediately they apprehend that their wickedness is discovered                   

                              (Exodus 2:15). The sound of Jehovah’s voice as He came towards

                              our first parents filled them with alarm. How much more will the

                              full revelation of His glorious presence in flaming fire affright the                                       ungodly.


Ø      It is Gods habit to pursue transgressors. As He pursued Adam and Eve in the garden by His voice (v. 9), and Jonah on the deep by a

wind (Jonah 1:4), and David by His prophet (II Samuel 12:1), so

does He still in His providence, and through the ministry of His

word, and by His Spirit, follow after fleeing sinners:


o       to apprehend them (compare Philippians 3:12);

o       to forgive and save them (Luke 19:10);

o       if they will not be forgiven, to punish them (II Thessalonians 1:8).


Ø      It is the certain fate of all fugitives to be eventually arrested. Witness

                        Adam and Eve (v. 9), Cain (ch.4:9), David (II Samuel 12:1),

                        Ahab (I Kings 21:20), Jonah (Jonah1:6). Distance will not

                        prevent (Psalm 139:7). Darkness will not hinder (ibid. v.11).

                        Secrecy will not avail (Hebrews 4:13). Material defenses will not ward

                        off the coming doom (Amos 9:2-3). The lapse of time will not make it

                        less certain (Numbers 32:23).




Ø      God s questions are always painfully direct and searching. “Adam,

                        where art thou?” (v. 9). “Who told thee thou wast naked? Hast thou

                        eaten of the tree?”(v. 11)., “What hast thou done?” (v. 13).


o       Because He knows the fact of the sinner s guilt. The nature and

                                    aggravation, the time, circumstances, manner, and reason of the                                           sinner’s transgression are perfectly understood.


o       Because He aims at the sinner’s conviction; i.e. He desires to bring

                                    sinners to a realization of the sinfulness of their behavior                                                      corresponding to that which He Himself possesses.


o       Because He wishes to elicit a confession from the sinner’s mouth.

                                    Without this there can be no forgiveness or salvation                                                            (Proverbs 28:13; I John 1:9).


Ø      Mans apologies are always extremely weak and trifling.


o       As attempting to excuse that which must for ever be inexcusable, viz., disobedience to God’s commandment. Nothing can justify

      sin. God’s authority over man being supreme, no one can relieve     man from his responsibility to yield implicit submission to the Divine precepts. Jehovah’s question rests special emphasis on

      the fact that Adam’s sin was a transgression of his commandment   (v. 11).


o       As seeking to transfer the burden of guilt from himself to another.

                                    Adam blames his wife: Eve blames the serpent; and ever since,                                            sinners have been trying to blame anything and everything except                                       themselves — the companions God has given them; the                                                             circumstances in which God has placed them; the peculiar                                                        temperaments and dispositions with which God has endowed



o       As failing to obliterate the fact of transgression. Even Adam and Eve both discern as much as this. Beginning with apologies, they were obliged to end with avowal of their guilt. And if man can detect the worthlessness of his own hastily-invented pleas, much more, we may be sure, can God pierce through all the flimsy and trifling arguments that sinners offer to extenuate their faults.


o       As not requiring to be answered. It is remarkable that Jehovah does not condescend to answer either Adam or his wife; the reason being, doubtless, that any reply to their foolish speeches was unnecessary.


Ø      The Divine verdict is always clear and convincing.


o       Though in this case unspoken, it was yet implied. Adam and Eve did not require to be informed of their culpability. And neither will sinners need to be informed of their guilt and condemnation when they stand before the great white throne. It is a special mark of mercy that God informs sinners in the gospel of the nature of the verdict which has been pronounced against them (John 3:18-19).


o       It was so convincing that it was not denied. Adam and Eve we can

                                    suppose were speechless. So was the disobedient wedding guest

                                    (Matthew 22:12). So will all the condemned be in the day of                                               judgment (Revelation 6:17).




Ø      On the serpentjudgment without mercy.


o       Degradation on both the reptile and the tempter.

o       Hostility between the serpent’s brood and the woman’s seed.

o       Ultimate destruction of the tempter by the incarnation and

      death of the woman’s seed.


Ø      On the sinning pairmercy, and then judgment.


o       Mercy for both. Great mercy — the restitution of themselves

      and of their seed (or at least a portion of it) by the complete             annihilation of their adversary through the sufferings of a       distinguished woman’s seed. Certain mercy — the entire

      scheme for their recovery was to depend on God, who

                                    here says, “I will put… “ Free mercy — neither solicited

                                    nor deserved by Adam or his wife.

o       Judgment for each. For the woman, sorrow in accomplishing her

                                    womanly and wifely destiny, combined with a position of                                                   dependence on and submission to her husband. (How far from

                                    the ideal is the modern woman who aborts her child and despises

                                    man!  CY – 2015)  For the man, a life of sorrowful labor, a

                                    doom of certain death.


  • LEARN:


Ø      The folly of attempting to hide from God. It is better to flee to God than

                        to run from God, even when we sin (Psalm 143:9).

Ø      The expediency of confessing to God. It is always the shortest path to

                        mercy and forgiveness (Psalm 32:5).

Ø      The gentle treatment which men receive from God. Like David, we have

                        all reason to sing of mercy as well as, and even rather than, judgment

                        (Psalm 101:1).


20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the

mother of all living.”  Arraigned, convicted, judged, the guilty but pardoned pair

prepare to leave their garden home — the woman to begin her experience

of sorrow, dependence, and subjection; the man to enter upon his life

career of hardship and toil, and both to meet their doom of certain, though

it might be of long-delayed, death. The impression made upon their hearts

by the Divine Clemency, though not directly stated by the historian, may be

inferred from what is next recorded as having happened within the

precincts of Eden ere they entered on their exile. And Adam called (not

prior to the fall, reading the verb as a pluperfect (Calvin), nor after the

birth of Cain, transferring the present verse to ch.4:2 (Knobel),

but subsequent to the promise of the woman’s seed, and preceding their

ejection from the garden) his wife’s name Eve. Chavvah, from chavvah =

chayyah, to live (cf. with the arganic rent chvi the Sanscrit, giv; Gothic,

quiv; Latin, rive, gigno, vigeo; Greek, ζάωzao -  &c., the fundamental idea

being to breathe, to respire, is correctly rendered life) by the Septuagint, Josephus,

Philo, Gesenins, Delitzsch, Macdonald, &c. Lange, regarding it as an abbreviated

form of the participle mechavvah, understands it to signify “the sustenance, i.e.

the propagation of life; while Knobel, viewing it as an adjective, hints at woman’s

peculiar function — חִיָּה וֶדַע — to quicken seed (ch.19:32) as supplying the

explanation. Whether  appended by the narrator or uttered by Adam, the words

which follow give its true import and exegesis. Because she was the mother

(am — Greek, μαμμαmamma -  Welsh, mani; Copt., man; German and

English, mama – of all living.


(1) Of Adam’s children, though in this respect she might have been so

styled from the beginning; and


(2) of all who should truly live in the sense of being the woman’s seed, as

distinguished from the seed of the serpent. In Adam’s giving a second

name to his wife has been discerned the first assertion of his sovereignty or

lordship over woman to which he was promoted subsequent to the fall

(Luther), though this seems to be negated by the fact that Adam

exercised the same prerogative immediately on her creation; an act of

thoughtlessness on the part of Adam, in that, “being himself immersed in

death, he should have called his wife by so proud a name” (Calvin); a proof

of his incredulity (Rupertus). With a juster appreciation of the spirit of the

narrative, modern expositors generally regard it as a striking testimony to

his faith.


21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of

skins, and clothed them.”  Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God

make coats (cathnoth, from cathan, to cover; compare χιτώνchitoncoat –

Sanscrit,  katam; English, cotton) of skin (or, the skin of a man, from ur, to be

naked, hence a hide). Neither their bodies (Origen), nor garments of the bark of

trees (Gregory Nazianzen), nor miraculously-fashioned apparel (Grotius), nor

clothing made from the serpent’s skin (R. Jonathan), but tunics prepared

from the skins of animals, slaughtered possibly for food, as it is not certain

that the Edenie man was a vegetarian (ch.1:29), though more

probably slain in sacrifice. Though said to have been made by God, “it is

not proper so to understand the words, as if God had been a furrier, or a

servant to sew clothes” (Calvin). God being said to make or do what He

gives orders or instructions to be made or done. Willet and Macdonald,

however, prefer to think that the garments were actually fashioned by God.

Bush finds in the mention of Adam and his wife an intimation that they

were furnished with different kinds of apparel, and suggests that on this

fact is based the prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:5 against the

interchange of raiment between the sexes. And clothed them.


1. To show them how their mortal bodies might be defended from cold and

other injuries.


2. To cover their nakedness for comeliness’ sake; vestimenta honoris

(Chaldee Paraphrase).


3. To teach them the lawfulness of using the beasts of the field, as for food,

so for clothing.


4. To give a rule that modest and decent, not costly or sumptuous, apparel

should be used.


5. That they might know the difference between God’s works and man’s

invention — between coats of leather and aprons of leaves; and,


6. To put them in mind of their mortality by their raiment of dead beasts’

skins — talibus indici oportebat peccatorem ut essent mortalitatis indicium:

Origen” (Wilier).


7. “That they might feel their degradation — quia vestes ex ca materia

confectae, belluinum quiddam magis saperent, quam lineae vel laneae

and be reminded of their sin” (Calvin). “As the prisoner, looking on his

irons, thinketh on his theft, so we, looking on our garments, should think

on our sins” (Trapp).


8. A foreshadowing of the robe of Christ’s righteousness (compare Psalm 132:9,16;

Isaiah 61:10; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). Bonar recognizes in

Jehovah Elohim at the gate of Eden, clothing the first transgressors, the Lord Jesus

Christ, who, as the High Priest of our salvation, had a right to the skins of the

burnt offerings (Leviticus 7:8), and who, to prefigure His own work, appropriated

them for covering the pardoned pair.



                                                Covering (v. 21)


God’s chief promises are generally accompanied by visible signs or symbolical

acts; e.g.,


o       bow in the cloud,

o       furnace and lamp (ch.15:17),

o       the Passover.


The time here spoken of specially called for such a sign. Man

had fallen; a Deliverer was promised; it was the beginning of a state of

grace for sinners. Notice four facts:


            1. Man unfallen required no covering.

            2. Man fallen became conscious of need, especially towards God.

            3. He attempted himself to provide clothing.

            4. God provided it.


Spiritual meaning of clothing (Revelation 3:18; 7:14; II Corinthians 5:3).

And note that the root of “atonement” in Hebrew is “to cover.” Thus

the covering is a type of justification; God’s gift to convicted sinners (compare

Zechariah 3:4-5; Luke 15:22; and the want of this covering, Matthew 22:11).

With Adam’s attempt and God’s gift compare the sacrifices of Cain and Abel.

Abel’s sacrifice of life accepted through faith (Hebrews 11:4), i.e. because he

believed and acted upon God’s direction. Thus atonement, covering, through

the sacrifice of life (compare Leviticus 17:11), typical of Christ’s sacrifice,

must have been ordained of God. And thus, though not expressly stated, we may conclude that Adam was instructed to sacrifice, and that the skins from the animals

thus slain were a type of the covering of sin through THE ONE GREAT

SACRIFICE!   (Romans 4:7). We mark then:



            The natural thought of a heart convicted is, “Have patience with me, and I

            will pay thee all.” (Matthew 18:26)  Vain endeavor. The “law of sin”

            (Romans 7:21, 24) is too strong; earnest striving only makes this more clear            (compare Job 9:30-31; Isaiah 64:6). History is full of man’s efforts to cover

            sins. Hence have come sacrifices, austerities, pilgrimages, &c. But on all

            merely human effort is stamped FAILURE (Romans 3:20).


  • THE LOVE OF GOD FOR SINNERS (Romans 5:8). A common

            mistake that if we love God He will love us. Whereas the truth is,

            I John 4:10-19. We must believe His free gift before we can serve Him

            truly.  The want of this belief leads to service in the spirit of bondage.


  • THE PROVISION MADE BY GOD (John 3:14-17). That we

            might be not merely forgiven, but renewed (II Corinthians 5:21). The

            consciousness that “Christ hath redeemed us” is the power that

            constrains to willing service (I John 3:3).


22 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us,

to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and

take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:”

Ane the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us. Not

the angels, but the Divine Persons (compare ch. 1:26). It is

scarcely likely that Jehovah alludes to the words of the tempter

(ch.3:5). To know good and evil. Implying an acquaintance with

good and evil which did not belong to him in the state of innocence. The

language seems to hint that a one-sided acquaintance with good and evil,

such as that possessed by the first pair in the garden and the unfallen angels

in heaven, is not so complete a knowledge of the inherent beauty of the one

and essential turpitude of the other as is acquired by beings who pass

through the experience of a fall, and that the only way in which a finite

being can approximate to such a comprehensive knowledge of evil as the

Deity possesses without personal contact — can see it as it lies

everlastingly spread out before his infinite mind — is by going down into it

and learning what it is through personal experience.

And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life,

and eat, and live forever. On the meaning of the tree of life vide ch.2:9.



(1) lest by eating of the fruit he should recover that immortal life which he

no longer “it possessed, as it is certain that man would not have

been able, had he even devoured the whole tree, to enjoy life against the

will of God”; nor


(2) lest the first pair, through participation of the tree, should confer upon

themselves the attribute of undyingness, which would not be the ζωὴ αἰώνιος

zoae aionioslife eternal  of salvation, but its opposite, the ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον

olethron aionioneternal ruin, destruction - of the accursed; but either


(3) lest man should conceive the idea that immortality might still be

secured by eating of the tree, instead of trusting in the promised seed, and

under this false impression attempt to take its fruit, which, in his case,

would have been equivalent to an attempt to justify himself by works

instead of faith; or


(4) lest he should endeavor to partake of the symbol of immortality, which

he could not again do until his sin was expiated and himself purified (compare

Revelation 22:14). The remaining portion of the sentence is

omitted, anakoloutha or aposiopesis being not infrequent in impassioned

speech (compare Exodus 32:32; Job 32:13; Isaiah 38:18). The force

of the ellipsis or expressive silence may be gathered from the succeeding

words of the historian.


23 “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden,

to till the ground from whence he was taken.”  24 “So He drove out the

man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a

flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Therefore (literally, and) the Lord God sent (or cast, shalach in the Piel

conveying the ideas of force and displeasure; compare Deuteronomy 21:14

I Kings 9:7) him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground (i.e. the

soil outside of paradise, which had been cursed for his sake) whence he was

taken. Vide v. 19. So (and) He drove out the man (along with his guilty partner);

and He placed (literally, caused to dwell) at the east of the garden of Eden



1. Griffins, like those of Persian and Egyptian mythology, which protected

gold-producing countries like Eden; from carav, to tear in pieces; Sanscrit,

grivh; Persian, giriften; Greek, γρυπ, γρυφgrup, gruph - German, grip, krip,



2. Divine steeds; by metathesis for rechubim, from rachab, to ride

(Psalm 18:11).


3. “Beings who approach to God and minister to him,” taking cerub

karov, to come near, to serve


4. The engravings or carved figures; from carav (Syriac), to engrave;

from an Egyptian root (Cook, vide Speaker’s Commentary). Biblical notices

describe them as living creatures (Ezekiel 1:5; Revelation 4:6-7) in the form of

a man (Ezekiel 1:5), with four (Ezekiel 1:8; 10:7-21) or with six wings

(Revelation 4:8), and full of eyes (Ezekiel 1:18; 10:12; Revelation 4:8); having

each four faces, viz., of a man, of a lion, of an ox, of an eagle (Ezekiel 1:10; 10:16);

or with one face each — of a man, of a lion, of a calf, and of an eagle respectively

Revelation 4:7).


Representations of these chay athSeptuagint, ζωά - zoa - were by Divine

directions placed upon the Capporeth (Exodus 25:17) and curtains of

the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1, 31; 36:8, 35), and afterwards engraved

upon the walls and doors of the temple (I Kings 6:29, 32, 35). In the

Apocalypse they are depicted as standing in the immediate neighborhood

of the throne Revelation 4:6; 5:6; 7:11), and as taking part in the acts of

adoration and praise in which the heavenly hosts engage (ibid. 5:11), and

that on the express ground of their redemption (ibid. 5:8-9). Whence the

opinion that most exactly answers all the facts of the case is, that these

mysterious creatures were symbolic not of the fullness of the Deity,

nor of the sum of earthly life, nor of the angelic nature, nor of the Divine

manhood of Jesus Christ, but of redeemed and glorified humanity.

Combining with the intelligence of human nature the highest

qualities of the animal world, as exhibited in the lion, the ox, and the eagle,

they were emblematic of creature life in its most absolutely perfect form.

As such they were caused to dwell at the gate of Eden to intimate that only

when perfected and purified could fallen human nature return to paradise.

Meantime man was utterly unfit to dwell within its fair abode. And a

flaming sword, which turned every way. Literally, the flame of a sword

turning itself; not brandished by the cherubim, but existing separately, and

flashing out from among them (compare Ezekiel 1:4). An emblem of the

Divine glory in its attitude towards sin (Macdonald). To keep (to watch

over or guard; compare ch. 2:15) the way of the tree of life. “To keep

the tree of life might imply that all access to it was to be precluded; but to

keep the way signifies to keep the way open as well as to keep it shut.



                        The Word of God in the Moral Chaos (vs. 9-24)


These verses bring before us very distinctly the elements of man’s sinful

state, and of the redemptive dispensation of God which came out of it by

the action of His brooding Spirit of life upon the chaos.




            Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? Before

            that direct intercourse between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man

            there is no distinct recognition of the evil of sin, and no separation of its

            moral and physical consequences. The “Where art thou?” begins the

            spiritual work.





            CONVICTION AND CONFESSION. “I was naked,” “I was afraid,” “I

            hid myself,” “The woman gave me of the tree,” “I did eat;” so at last we

            get to the central fact — I broke the commandment, I am guilty towards

            God. Each lays the blame on another — the man on the woman, the

            woman on the serpent. But the main fact is this, that when once the voice

            of God deals with us, when once the Spirit of light and life broods over the

            chaos, there will be truth brought out, and the beginning of all new creation

            is confession of sin. After all, both the transgressors admitted the fact: “I

            did eat.” Nor do they dare to state what is untrue, although they attempt to

            excuse themselves for there may be a true confession of sin before there is

            a sense of its greatness and inexcusableness.


  • The transgression being clearly revealed, next comes THE DIVINE

            CONDEMNATION. It is upon the background of judgment that

            redemption must be placed, that it may be clearly seen to be of God’s free

            grace. The judgment upon the serpent must be viewed as a fact in the

            sphere of mans world, not in the larger sphere of the superhuman

            suggested by the later use of the term “serpent.” God’s condemnation of

            Satan is only shadowed forth here, not actually described. The cursed

            animal simply represents the cursed agent or instrument, and therefore

            was intended to embody the curse of sin to the eyes of man. At the same

            time, v. 15  must not be shorn of its spiritual application by a

            merely naturalistic interpretation. Man’s inborn detestation of the serpent

            brood, and the serpent’s lurking enmity against man, as it waits at his heel,

            is rightly taken as symbolically representing


Ø      the antagonism between good and evil introduced into the world by

                        man’s fall;


Ø      the necessity that that antagonism should be maintained; and


Ø      the purpose of God that it should be brought to an end by the

                        destruction of the serpent, the removing out of the way both of

                        the evil principle and of the besetments of man’s life which have

                        arisen out of it.


            This “first promise” as it is called, was not given in the form of a promise,

            but of a sentence. Are we not reminded of the cross which itself was the

            carrying out of a sentence, but in which was included the redeeming mercy

            of God? Life in death is the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice. It pleased the

            Lord to bruise Him (Isaiah 53:10). Through death He destroyed him

            that had the power of death,” (Hebrews 2:14). It must have been

            itself like a revelation of redeeming love that God pronounced sentence

            first upon the serpent, not upon man, thereby teaching him that he was in

            the sight of God a victira of the evil power, to be delivered by the

            victorious seed of the woman, rather than an enemy to be crushed and

            destroyed. The sentence seemed to say, Thou, the serpent, art the evil

            thing to be annihilated; man shall be saved, though wounded and bruised

            in the heel; the womans seed shall be the conqueror, — which was the

            prediction of a renovation of humanity in a second Adam, a dim forecasting

            of the future, indeed, but a certain and unmistakable proclamation of the

            continuance of the race, notwithstanding sin and death; and in that

            continuance it was declared there should be a realization of entire

            deliverance. The sentence upon the woman, which follows that upon the

            serpent, as she was the first in the transgression, is a sentence which, while

            it clearly demonstrates the evil of sin, at the same time reveals the mercy of

            God. The woman’s sorrow is that which she can and does forget, for “joy

            that a man is born into the world.” Her desire to her husband and her

            submission to his rule do come out of that fall of her nature in which she is

            made subject to the conditions of a fleshly life; but from the same earthly

            soil spring up the hallowed blossoms and fruits of the affections, filling the

            world with beauty and blessing. So have the law of righteousness and the

            law of love from the beginning blended together IN THE GOVERNMENT

            OF GOD!  In like manner, the sentence upon the man is the same revelation

            of Divine goodness in the midst of condemnation. The ground is cursed for

            man’s sake. To thee it shall bring forth thorns and thistles, i.e. thy labor shall

            not be the productive labor it would have been — thou shalt put it forth among

            difficulties and obstacles. Thou shalt see thine own moral perversity

            reflected in the stubborn barrenness, the wilderness growth of nature. Yet

            thou shalt eat the herb of the field, and depend upon it. With sweat of thy

            face all through thy life thou shalt win thy bread from an unwilling earth.

            And at last the dust beneath thy feet shall claim thee as its own; thy toil-worn

            frame shall crumble down into the grave. It was:


Ø      a sentence of death, of death in life; but at the same time it was


Ø      a merciful appointment of man’s most peaceful and healthy occupation

                        — to till the ground, to grow the corn, to eat the bread; and it was


Ø      a proclamation of welcome release from the burden “when the dust

                        shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God

                        who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)  There is no allusion in any of these                                   sentences to spiritual results of transgression, but that is only because

                        the whole is a representation of the fall, objectively regarded. Just as

                        the serpent is spoken of as though it were only an animal on the earth, so                            man’s sin is spoken of as though it were only his life’s error, to be paid

                        for in his life’s suffering; but as in the former case the deeper spiritual                                 meaning lies behind the form of the serpent, so in the latter the                                              condemnation which brings toil and suffering and death upon man’s                          bodily frame brings upon his whole nature that which the external                                               infliction symbolizes and sets forth. The life goes down into the dust,

                        but it is the life which by sin had become a smitten, cursed thing;

                        that hiding of it in the dust is the end, so far as the mere sentence is

                        concerned. We must, however, wait for the revelation which is to be

                        made in the new man, — the life coming forth again, — which, though                             but dimly promised, is yet suggested in the story of paradise. Adam

                        gave a new name to his wife when she became to him something more                                than a help-meet for him.” He called her, first, woman, because she was                           taken out of man.  He called her, afterwards, Eve,” as the life-producing,                               “because she was the mother of all living.” The coats of skin — which                          were not, like the fig leaves sewn together, man’s own device for hiding                             shame, but God’s preparation for preserving that reverence between the                             sexes so vital to the very continuance of the race itself — betokened again                            the mingling of mercy with judgment; for, apart altogether from any                                     theory as to the slain animals whose skins were employed, the Divine                                     origin of clothing is a most significant fact. When we are told that “the                               Lord God made them coats of skins, and clothed them,” we must                                      interpret the language from the standpoint of the whole narrative, which

                        is that of an objective representation of the mysteries of man’s primeval                              life. It would not be in harmony with the tone of the whole book to say in                                     what method such Divine interposition was brought about. To the

                        Biblical writers a spiritual guidance, a work of God in the mind of man,

                        is just as truly God’s own act as though it were altogether apart from any                           human agency. The origin of clothing was an inspiration. Perhaps it is

                        not putting too much into the language to see in such a fact an allusion to                           other facts. Man is directed to use skins; might he not have been directed                                  to slay animals? If so, might not such slaughter of animals have been first                               connected with religious observances, for as yet there is no allusion to the                                 use of animal food, save in the indirect form of dominion over the lower                            creation? In the fourth chapter, in the extra paradisiacal life, the keeping

                        of herds and flocks is mentioned as a natural sequel. Doubtless from the                             time of the fall the mode of life was entirely changed, as was its sphere.                                    Before sin man was an animal indeed, but with his animal nature in

                        entire subordination; after his fall he was under the laws of animal life,                               both as to its support and propagation. Death became the ruling fact of                                    life, as it is in the mere animal races. Man is delivered from it only as

                        he is lifted out of the animal sphere and becomes a child of God. The                                 expulsion from Eden was part of the Divine sentence, but it was part of

                        the redemptive work which commenced immediately upon the fall. The                              creature knowing good and evil by disobedience must not live forever

                        in that disobedience. He must die that he may be released from the

                        burden of his corruption. An immortality of sin is not God’s purpose

                        for His creature. Therefore THE LORD GOD SHUT UP EDEN!



                                    First Fruits of the Promise (vs. 20-24)


  • FAITH (v. 20). The special significance of Adam s renaming his wife

            at this particular juncture in his history is best discerned when the action is

            regarded as the response of his faith to the antecedent promise of the

            woman’s seed.


Ø      It is the place of faith to succeed, and not to precede, the promise.

      Faith being, in its simplest conception, belief in a testimony, the

      testimony must ever take precedence of the faith. “In whom ye also           trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your        salvation” (Ephesians 1:13).


Ø      As to the genesis of faith, it is always evoked by the promise, not the

                        promise by the faith. Adam’s faith was the creation of God’s promise;

                        so is that of every true believer. “Faith cometh by hearing, and

                        hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).


Ø      With regard to the function of faith, it is not that of certifying or

      making sure the promise, but simply of attesting its certainty,

      which it does by reposing trust in its veracity. “He that receiveth His          testimony hath set to his seal that God is true” (John 3:33). And this

      was practically what was done by Adam when he called his wife’s

      name Eve.


Ø      The power of faith is seen in this, that while it cannot implement, it is

                        able to anticipate the promise, and, as it were, to enjoy it beforehand,

                        in earnest at least, as Adam did when he realized that his spouse

                        should be the mother of all living. Even so “faith is the substance of                                   things hoped for”  (Hebrews 11:1).


  • ACCEPTANCE (v. 21).


Ø      In the Divine scheme of salvation acceptance ever follows on the

                        exercise of faith. See the language of the New Testament generally

                        on the subject of a sinner s justification. The covering of our first

                        parents with coats of skin, apart altogether from any symbolical                                           significance in the act, could scarcely be regarded as other than

                        a token of Jehovah’s favor.


Ø      According to the same scheme the clothing, of a sinner ever

                        accompanies the act of his acceptance. In New Testament theology

                        the Divine act of justification is always represented as proceeding

                        on the ground that in the eye of God the sinner stands invested with a                                complete covering (the righteousness of Christ) which renders him

                        both legally and morally acceptable. That all this was comprehended

                        with perfect fullness and clearness by the pardoned pair it would be                                    foolish to assert; but, in a fashion accommodated to their simple                                              intelligences, the germ of this doctrine was exhibited by the coats

                        of skin with which they were arrayed, and it is at least possible that

                        they had a deeper insight into the significance of the Divine action

                        than we are always prepared to allow.


Ø      In the teaching of the gospel scheme the providing of a sinner with such

                        a covering as he requires must ever be the work of God, Though not

                        improbable that the coats of skin were furnished by the hides of animals,

                        now for the first time offered in sacrifice by Divine appointment, the                                  simple circumstance that they were God-provided, apart from any other

                        consideration, was sufficient to suggest the thought that only God could

                        supply the covering which was needed for their sin.


  • DISCIPLINE (vs. 22-24). Rightly interpreted, neither the language

            of Jehovah nor that of Moses warrants the idea that the expulsion was

            designed as a penal infliction; but rather as a measure mercifully intended

            and wisely adapted for the spiritual edification of the pardoned pair. Three

            elements were present in it that are seldom absent from the discipline of



Ø      Removal of comforts. The initial act in the discipline of Adam and his

                        wife was to eject them from the precincts of Eden. And so oftentimes

                        does God begin the work of sanctification in His people’s hearts by the                              infliction of loss. In the case of Adam and his spouse there were special                          reasons demanding their removal from the garden, as, e. g.,


o       its non-suitability as a home for them now that their pure

      natures were defiled by sin; and


o       the danger of their continuing longer in the vicinity of the tree of life.


                        And the same two reasons will frequently be found to explain God’s

                        dealings with His people when He inflicts upon them loss of creature

                        comforts; the non-suitability of those comforts to their wants as spiritual

                        beings; and the presence of some special danger in the things removed.


Ø      Increase of sorrow. Besides being ejected from the garden, the first pair

                        were henceforth to be subjected to toil and trouble. Adam in tilling the

                        ground, and Eve in bearing children. And this, too, was a part of God’s

                        educational process with our first parents; as, indeed, the sufferings of

                        this present life inflicted on His people generally are all commissioned

                        on a like errand, viz., to bring forth within them the peaceable fruits of

                        righteousness, and to make them partakers of HIS HOLINESS!


Ø      Sentence of death. The words “whence he was taken” have an echo in

                        them of “dust thou art,” &c., and must have extinguished within the                                  breasts of Adam and his wife all hope of returning to Eden on this side

                        the grave;  perhaps, too, would assist them in seeking for a better

                        country, even an heavenly. To prevent saints from seeking Edens on

                        the earth seems to be one of the main designs of death.


  • Here (v. 24). Though excluded from the garden, man was not

            without cheering ingredients of hope in his condition.


Ø      The Divine presence was still with him. The cherubim and flaming

                        sword were symbols of the ineffable majesty of Jehovah, and tokens

                        of His presence. And never since has the world been abandoned by

                        the God of mercy and salvation.


Ø      Paradise was still reserved for him. The cherubim and flaming sword

                        were appointed “to keep the way of the tree of life;” not simply to

                        guard the entrance, but to protect the place. So is heaven a

                        RESERVED INHERITANCE (I Peter 1:4).


Ø      The prospect of readmission to the tree of life was yet before him. As

                        much as this was implied in the jealous guarding of the gate so long as

                        Adam was defiled by sin. It could not fail to suggest the idea that when

                        purified by life’s discipline he would no longer be excluded (compare

                        Revelation 22:14).


Ø      The gate of heaven was still near him. He was still permitted to reside in

                        the vicinity of Eden, and to commune with Him who dwelt between the

                        cherubim, though denied the privilege as yet of dwelling with Him in the

                        interior of His abode. If debarred from the full inheritance, he had at least

                        its earnest. And exactly this is the situation of saints on earth, who, unlike

                        those within the veil, who see the Lord of the heavenly paradise face to

                        face, can only commune with Him, as it were, at the gate of His celestial



  • LEARN:


            1. To believe God’s promise of salvation.

            2. To be grateful for God’s gift of righteousness.

            3. To submit with cheerfulness to God’s paternal discipline.

            4. To live in hope of entering God’s heaven.



                                    The Dispensation of Redemption (v. 24)




  • THE MERCY WITH JUDGMENT. He did not destroy the garden; He

            did not root up its trees and flowers.


  • HE “DROVE OUT THE MAN” into his curse that he might pray for

            and seek for and, at last, BY DIVINE GRACE,  obtain once more his

            forfeited blessing.




            WAY, emblems of His natural and moral governments, which, as they

            execute His righteous will amongst men, do both debar them from perfect

            happiness and yet at the same time testify to the fact that there is such

            happiness for those who are prepared for it. Man outside Eden is man

            under law, but man under law is man preserved by DIVINE MERCY!



            redemption is more than deliverance from condemnation and death; it is

            restoration to eternal life. Paradise lost is not paradise destroyed, but

            shall be hereafter paradise regained.”


  • There is a special significance in the description of “THE WAY OF

            THE TREE OF LIFE” as closed and guarded, and therefore a way

            which can be afterwards opened and made free.


  • Without pressing too closely figurative language, it is impossible,

            surely, to ignore in such a representation the reference to a POSITIVE


            AND RESTORATION. The whole of the Scripture teaching rests upon

            that foundation, that there is a way, a truth, and a life (John 14:6) which

            is Divinely distinguished from all others. Gradually that eastward gate of

            Eden has been opened, that road leading into the center of bliss has been

            made clear in “THE MAN JESUS CHRIST!”



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