3:22 And the Lord God said, “Now 1 that the man has become like one of us, 2 knowing 3 good and evil, he must not be allowed 4 to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
3:24 When he drove 5 the man out, he placed on the eastern side 6 of the orchard in Eden angelic sentries 7 who used the flame of a whirling sword 8 to guard the way to the tree of life.
1 tn The particle הֵן (hen) introduces a foundational clause, usually beginning with “since, because, now.”
3 tn The infinitive explains in what way the man had become like God: “knowing good and evil.”
4 tn Heb “and now, lest he stretch forth.” Following the foundational clause, this clause forms the main point. It is introduced with the particle פֶּן (pen) which normally introduces a negative purpose, “lest….” The construction is elliptical; something must be done lest the man stretch forth his hand. The translation interprets the point intended.
5 tn The verb with the vav (ו) consecutive is made subordinate to the next verb forming a temporal clause. This avoids any tautology with the previous verse that already stated that the
6 tn Or “placed in front.” Directions in ancient Israel were given in relation to the east rather than the north.
7 tn The Hebrew word is traditionally transliterated “the cherubim.”
sn Angelic sentries (Heb “cherubim”). The cherubim in the Bible seem to be a class of angels that are composite in appearance. Their main task seems to be guarding. Here they guard the way to the tree of life. The curtain in the tabernacle was to be embroidered with cherubim as well, symbolically guarding the way to God. (See in addition A. S. Kapelrud, “The Gates of Hell and the Guardian Angels of Paradise,” JAOS 70 : 151-56; and D. N. Freedman and M. P. O’Connor, TDOT 7:307-19.)
8 tn Heb “the flame of the sword that turns round and round.” The noun “flame” is qualified by the genitive of specification, “the sword,” which in turn is modified by the attributive participle “whirling.” The Hitpael of the verb “turn” has an iterative function here, indicating repeated action. The form is used in Job 37:12 of swirling clouds and in Judg 7:13 of a tumbling roll of bread. Verse 24 depicts the sword as moving from side to side to prevent anyone from passing or as whirling around, ready to cut to shreds anyone who tries to pass.