Adam was given a holy duty to work the ground. In Hebrew, we see that Adam himself was created from the very ground he was now commissioned to work.

In Hebrew, the word “ground” is אֲדָמָה (adamah) and the name of the first human is אָדָם (adam) because he was taken from the ground. (You can hear the connection adam/adamah).

There are several different words in Hebrew that communicate the idea of worship. One interesting word that appears in Genesis, when God commands Adam to work the ground in Garden of Eden, is the Hebrew word עֲבודָה  (avodah). This word is often translated as “work”, but it also can be understood as “service”. In fact, it was used to describe the work Israel’s priests.

So, was it work or worship? Well… both. Serving God is work, but there is a reason that it also means “service”. When God tasked Adam with working the ground in the Garden of Eden, it was not yet something affected by sin and death. Adam’s work of taking care of God’s creation was both his job and his worship.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. That’s very interesting you’ve explained this way; because as the ancient peoples were predominantly agricultural society’s that lived of the produce if the land, then the giving of the tithe, returning the first portion from the fruits of the land and the service that comes out of this to raise our families becomes worship and honour before God Himself.

    As you explained this was before sin; after the original sin Adam’s (our work) was intensified (Gen 17-19). In the same way when Cain slew Abel it was because of the offerings of the fruits of their labour (work) that brought disrepute and dishonour to fall upon Cain and consequently suffer the curse of the land that was imposed upon him (Gen 4:10-15).

    Then the work we do, the service we provide, and the returning of the first fruits in our lives back to the Father through these areas is “Worship” and “Praise” before and unto God Himself.

    Shalom,
    Nicholas Sunol.

    • That would perhaps explain why God rejected Cains offering. To offer his labour or work for his sin is unacceptable as our own work can never remove sin, the animal, on the other hand, grew due to no work by man only by Gods handiwork, plus only its blood can be a sin-covering. Our own works, no matter how much can never redeem us.

    • Nicholas Sunol, I respect your opinion, but I find contentious in your phrases ”… : ” As you explained this was before sin; after the original sin Adam’s (our work) was intensified (Gen 17-19). In the same way when Cain slew Abel it …”

      It seems I have never encountered any congruous thoughts as you are trying to portray … ? It is lucid, so clear in Genesis 3: 17-19 Adam started work only after the fall (banishment from Eden) and begat sons … thereon.

      Dr Eli might intervene over the question, bvksh.

      • I would only point out that one of God’s first commandments was to “fill the earth, and subdue it,” and also it doesn’t make much sense that God wanted Adam to have a helper if there was nothing to help him do. After the fall, the ground was cursed, and instead of the land abundantly producing food for the first couple, Adam would live from the “sweat of his brow.” So, maybe.

      • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Leviticus and The New Testament or The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  2. Shalom. Thank you for this explanation. Yeshua said, ” in as much as you do it unto the least of these my brothers you do it unto me” I believe my helping Israel and the Jewish people is a form of worship also.

    • I agree. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Also, the so-called “Palestinians” are not native to the land of Israel. They were originally brought in by Great Britain, after they kicked out the Jews. Their home countries will not allow them to repatriate, using them as a buffer against Israel.

  3. Having worked in the health field most od my life, I have considered my work an act of worship to my God. I understood that all we do is to be seen as doing for Heavenly Father! Thanks for all the wonderful teaching…blessings, strength and peace to all who help provide this service

  4. I actually chose my present profession of counseling and psychology for the very purpose of ministry, and for the expansion of the work that I already do as my active worship, or service, to the LORD.

    Thank you for this excellent piece. The etymology and scriptural history are always so helpful to our understanding.

  5. Our daily activities we do to help God’s other people is our Worship unto God.
    I get it now.

    No wonder the epistle says, whatever you do, do it as unto God but not unto man.
    God bless you more.
    Shalom!

  6. It’s very inspiring to learn that we are worshiping God as we work. This would incentivize us to work not just for salary or income but for the praise and glory of God. Wonderful insight. Shalom.

  7. I think that the first Christian monks in Europe – towards the end of the Roman Empire and the start of the Middle Ages – had a Latin saying “laborare est orare”, meaning “to work is to pray”. Is this similar to what you are saying?
    God bless you all!

  8. at the creation of man God does not say human beings are “not dead”. how do you think Adam’s assignment of working the ground was not influenced by “death”.

  9. Though I can not afford the Studies I Thank You for the above lesson and the comments that followed. I Love all things that told from the Bible, and of Israel. Thank you Dr. Eli God Bless you and your Staff and Israel with all her People Much Love To Everyone

    • If a man works hard on his wife’s birthday, will she be satisfied because he does it for her? No, but rather she wants him to spend that time close with her. Likewise, God set a weekly appointment on the sabbath for rest. Working on it, even for a good intention is still transgressing the commandment.

      • 🙂 I am pretty sure no man is gone stop working when is his wife birthday and vice-versa but my point was something else. If we can classified work as worship to our Creator can we classified Shabbath work as worship too? I respect Sabbath day and I not working as much as I can in this day but from my knowledge doing good in Sabbath day is not against Him. When I say doing good I mean as a doctor to treat a patient or as a firefighter try to put a fire out, etc.

  10. the word I know is used to say for there was no man to TILL (abad) the soil. Abad I believe also means worship, service. So in New Testament which says offer your bodies as a living sacrifice which is your reasonable worship some version use service.

    • I want to admit that if our work is worship then every thing we do should have a dimension of worship to it. That calls for carefulness in the way we live our lives. Thanks doctor for the explanation given , it is a very helpful hints.

  11. The. Great. Thing. About. Growing. Old. . Is. You. Can. Always. Labor. In. The. Spirit. Praying. Fasting. For. The. Salvation. Health. Of. Others. Rather. Your. Disabled. Or. Elderly. Until. The. Day. We. Die. Ageing. Is. The. Best. Part. Of. Life. I. Love. IT LOVELIFEINJESUSCHRIST!

  12. For the motto of his religious order, St. Benedict chose “Ora et Labora”: “Pray and Work”. He meant that they could be done together. But this is not the frantic work of the person trying to escape genuine leisure, where we take time to enjoy creation and Creator.

  13. Thank you all so much for this web site. I love learning the Hebrew terms, it intense intensifies my studies.
    Regards,
    Tamre
    Kentucky USA

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