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Genesis 3:6-11

Context

3:6 When 1  the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, 2  was attractive 3  to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, 4  she took some of its fruit and ate it. 5  She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. 6  3:7 Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

The Judgment Oracles of God at the Fall

3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about 7  in the orchard at the breezy time 8  of the day, and they hid 9  from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard. 3:9 But the Lord God called to 10  the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 11  3:10 The man replied, 12  “I heard you moving about 13  in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 3:11 And the Lord God 14  said, “Who told you that you were naked? 15  Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 16 

1 tn Heb “And the woman saw.” The clause can be rendered as a temporal clause subordinate to the following verb in the sequence.

2 tn Heb “that the tree was good for food.” The words “produced fruit that was” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

3 tn The Hebrew word תַּאֲוָה (taavah, translated “attractive” here) actually means “desirable.” This term and the later term נֶחְמָד (nekhmad, “desirable”) are synonyms.

sn Attractive (Heb “desirable”)…desirable. These are different words in Hebrew. The verbal roots for both of these forms appear in Deut 5:21 in the prohibition against coveting. Strong desires usually lead to taking.

4 tn Heb “that good was the tree for food, and that desirable it was to the eyes, and desirable was the tree to make one wise.” On the connection between moral wisdom and the “knowledge of good and evil,” see the note on the word “evil” in 2:9.

sn Desirable for making one wise. The quest for wisdom can follow the wrong course, as indeed it does here. No one can become like God by disobeying God. It is that simple. The Book of Proverbs stresses that obtaining wisdom begins with the fear of God that is evidenced through obedience to his word. Here, in seeking wisdom, Eve disobeys God and ends up afraid of God.

5 tn The pronoun “it” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied (here and also after “ate” at the end of this verse) for stylistic reasons.

sn She took…and ate it. The critical word now discloses the disobedience: “[she] ate.” Since the Lord God had said, “You shall not eat,” the main point of the divine inquisition will be, “Did you eat,” meaning, “did you disobey the command?” The woman ate, being deceived by the serpent (1 Tim 2:14), but then the man ate, apparently willingly when the woman gave him the fruit (see Rom 5:12, 17-19).

6 sn This pericope (3:1-7) is a fine example of Hebrew narrative structure. After an introductory disjunctive clause that introduces a new character and sets the stage (3:1), the narrative tension develops through dialogue, culminating in the action of the story. Once the dialogue is over, the action is told in a rapid sequence of verbs – she took, she ate, she gave, and he ate.

7 tn The Hitpael participle of הָלָךְ (halakh, “to walk, to go”) here has an iterative sense, “moving” or “going about.” While a translation of “walking about” is possible, it assumes a theophany, the presence of the Lord God in a human form. This is more than the text asserts.

8 tn The expression is traditionally rendered “cool of the day,” because the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruakh) can mean “wind.” U. Cassuto (Genesis: From Adam to Noah, 152-54) concludes after lengthy discussion that the expression refers to afternoon when it became hot and the sun was beginning to decline. J. J. Niehaus (God at Sinai [SOTBT], 155-57) offers a different interpretation of the phrase, relating יוֹם (yom, usually understood as “day”) to an Akkadian cognate umu (“storm”) and translates the phrase “in the wind of the storm.” If Niehaus is correct, then God is not pictured as taking an afternoon stroll through the orchard, but as coming in a powerful windstorm to confront the man and woman with their rebellion. In this case קוֹל יְהוָה (qol yÿhvah, “sound of the Lord”) may refer to God’s thunderous roar, which typically accompanies his appearance in the storm to do battle or render judgment (e.g., see Ps 29).

9 tn The verb used here is the Hitpael, giving the reflexive idea (“they hid themselves”). In v. 10, when Adam answers the Lord, the Niphal form is used with the same sense: “I hid.”

10 tn The Hebrew verb קָרָא (qara’, “to call”) followed by the preposition אֶל־ or לְ (’el- or lÿ, “to, unto”) often carries the connotation of “summon.”

11 sn Where are you? The question is probably rhetorical (a figure of speech called erotesis) rather than literal, because it was spoken to the man, who answers it with an explanation of why he was hiding rather than a location. The question has more the force of “Why are you hiding?”

12 tn Heb “and he said.”

13 tn Heb “your sound.” If one sees a storm theophany here (see the note on the word “time” in v. 8), then one could translate, “your powerful voice.”

14 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent (the Lord God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

15 sn Who told you that you were naked? This is another rhetorical question, asking more than what it appears to ask. The second question in the verse reveals the Lord God’s real concern.

16 sn The Hebrew word order (“Did you from the tree – which I commanded you not to eat from it – eat?”) is arranged to emphasize that the man’s and the woman’s eating of the fruit was an act of disobedience. The relative clause inserted immediately after the reference to the tree brings out this point very well.



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