Only after they disobey God’s commandment, does the dissonance of shame and insecurity begin to characterize the first couple. We read about the new kind of relationship with the Maker that was characterized by disconnect, fear and shame.

וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת־קוֹל יהוה אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן לְרוּחַ הַיּוֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּא הָאָדָם וְאִשְׁתּוֹ מִפְּנֵי יהוה אֱלֹהִים בְּתוֹךְ עֵץ הַגָּן׃

They heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the Garden at the breezy time of day; and the man and his wife hid from the LORD God among the trees of the Garden. (Gen 3:8)

וַיִּקְרָא יהוה אֱלֹהִים אֶל־הָאָדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אַיֶּכָּה׃

The LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9)

וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת־קֹלְךָ שָׁמַעְתִּי בַּגָּן וָאִירָא כִּי־עֵירֹם אָנֹכִי וָאֵחָבֵא׃

He replied, “I heard the sound of You in the Garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” (Gen 3:10)

וַיֹּאמֶר מִי הִגִּיד לְךָ כִּי עֵירֹם אָתָּה הֲמִן־הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לְבִלְתִּי אֲכָל־מִמֶּנּוּ אָכָלְתָּ׃

Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?”  (Gen 3:11)

וַיֹּאמֶר הָאָדָם הָאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּה עִמָּדִי הִוא נָתְנָה־לִּי מִן־הָעֵץ וָאֹכֵל׃

The man said, “The woman You put at my side—she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen 3:12)

Part of the reasoning here is to give you simple way to grasp the basics of how the words function in a Hebrew sentence. These insights are meant to provoke in you a commitment and desire for more serious study. So in this section, I am going to show you how Hebrew attaches suffixes and prefixes to expand the meaning of a word into a phrase. For example, in verse 6, we see that Eve, after violating God’s command, gave the forbidden fruit to her husband to eat. The phrase “also to her husband” גַּם־לְאִישָׁהּ (gam le-ishah) has letter הּ (hey) after the word אִישׁ (ish)- “husband” making it “her husband”. The word also begins with preposition לְ (le) – “for”. So we see that just one word in Hebrew לְאִישָׁהּ (le-ishah) translates into no less than four English words “for husband of her”. In fact this is a normal occurrence in the family of ancient Semitic languages such as, Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew.

When God enters the Garden in order to spend time with his final creation, He encounters something “unexpected”. (Because the Biblical story is told in fully anthropomorphic terms we should continue reading and talking about it in the same terms). Suddenly Adam and Eve feel uncomfortable in God’s presence. It is very interesting to observe how the author describes this encounter. Giving literal translation to the beginning of the sentence וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת־קוֹל יהוה אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן he brings out this fascinating phrase: “and they heard the voice of the LORD God walking around the Garden” (vs. 8). It is usual to speak of hearing people walking around, or hearing someone’s voice, but to speak of the voice walking around is most unusual. How could they hear “the voice walking”? Without addressing the blame-shifting games of Adam (Eve was to blame), God questions Eve, only to get a similar response from her (the Serpent was to blame). Upon hearing this, the LORD pronounces a permanent curse upon the serpent in reverse order from the progression of blame-shifting he just heard from the humans.

כִּי עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת אָרוּר אַתָּה מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה עַל־גְּחֹנְךָ תֵלֵךְ וְעָפָר תֹּאכַל כָּל־יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ׃

…“Because you did this, More cursed shall you be than all cattle and all the wild beasts: On your belly shall you crawl and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. (Gen 3:14)

וְאֵיבָה אָשִׁית בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵב׃

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They shall strike at your head, And you shall strike at their heel.” (Gen 3:15)

The Hebrew word אָרַר (arar) is usually translated as “curse” and hence, in our mind, it carries an uncertain, though certainly negative, meaning. Many uses indicate that it should be defined along the lines of “binding”, “thwarting” or “restricting” someone or something. (Gen. 3:14; Ex. 22:28; Job 3:8) This matches the content of the serpent being cursed (limited and restricted) more than any other animal life. The Hebrew Bible never identifies the serpent with Satan. The well-known story that is thought to actually place Satan in the Garden of Eden (Ezek. 28:13-15), certainly does not place him there in the form of a serpent, but in the form of an archangel. It was not until the late first century Jewish Anti-Roman document, which we call the Book of Revelation, that the “ancient serpent” is clearly identified with the presumed head of the demonic powers – ο οφις ο αρχαιος (ho ofis ho archaios) “the ancient serpent” ος εστιν διαβολος και ο σατανας. (hos estin diabolos kai ho satanas) “he is the devil and Satan” (Rev. 20:2). The Lord did not truly curse Eve, but instead issued a strong disciplinary measure. We read in Genesis 3:16:

אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה אָמַר הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה עִצְּבוֹנֵךְ וְהֵרֹנֵךְ בְּעֶצֶב תֵּלְדִי בָנִים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ וְהוּא יִמְשָׁל־בָּךְ׃

And to the woman He said, “I will make most severe your pangs in childbearing; In pain shall you bear children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16)

There are two things that will significantly affect the woman. First, she “will suffer greatly in childbirth” הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה עִצְּבוֹנֵךְ (harabba arbeh itzvonech). Secondly, she will have a special longing for her husband (presumably one that he will not have for her), as “he will rule over her” יִמְשָׁל־בָּךְ (yimshal bach). This is a confusing text which few have made much sense of, especially as we try to understand it from the standpoint of our modern egalitarian values. Adam did not receive personal disciplinary action, as did Eve. However, he did not escape painful consequences of his disobedience. God announces that the He is cursing the ground because of the Adam. It is clear that God holds Adam accountable for everything that took place. The fall of humanity from God’s full favor is caused ultimately, not by the serpent, nor by Eve, but by Adam himself.

וּלְאָדָם אָמַר כִּי־שָׁמַעְתָּ לְקוֹל אִשְׁתֶּךָ וַתֹּאכַל מִן־הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לֵאמֹר לֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ אֲרוּרָה הָאֲדָמָה בַּעֲבוּרֶךָ בְּעִצָּבוֹן תֹּאכֲלֶנָּה כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ׃

To Adam He said, “Because you did as your wife said and ate of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ Cursed be the ground because of you; By toil shall you eat of it All the days of your life… (Gen 3:17)

וַיִּקְרָא הָאָדָם שֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ חַוָּה כִּי הִוא הָיְתָה אֵם כָּל־חָי׃

The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. (Gen 3:20)

The English word “Eve” is not the original name of the first human female. Her name was the Hebrew חַוָּה (chava) which has a Hebrew root connection with a verb לִחְיוֹת (lichyot) “to live”, and words such as חַי (chai) and חַיִּים (chayim) communicating the idea of “life”. In Hebrew, therefore, it makes perfect sense to call to call Adam’s woman חַוָּה (chava), because she will one day become the mother of “all the living” כָּל־חָי (kol chai). God’s accusation against Adam has to do with Adam preferring the voice of God’s beautiful and gracious creation (Eve) over the voice of his Creator, in spite of the explicit commandment not to eat of the forbidden tree. However, in great mercy to his final creation, God does not curse Adam himself, but only the ground אֲרוּרָה הָאֲדָמָה (arurah haadama). This curse will later be removed because of the faith and sacrifice of Adam’s descendant, Noah – but more about this later. The LORD’s further actions were far from a whimsical judgment. Instead they were already directed towards the restoration of humanity and everything that humanity was supposed to nurture and protect.

וַיַּעַשׂ יהוה אֱלֹהִים לְאָדָם וּלְאִשְׁתּוֹ כָּתְנוֹת עוֹר וַיַּלְבִּשֵׁם׃

And the LORD God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (Gen 3:21)

The Hebrew word for the garments God made for Adam and Eve should probably be translated “tunics”. In this case they were not tunics made of fabric, but of “skin” or “fur” – כָּתְנוֹת עוֹר (katnot or). It stands to reason that, once the first human (Adam) disobeyed God’s only commandment thus thwarting His purposes for his creation and role in the world, animals had to die; blood needed to be shed. We understand that because we read that God “clothed” Adam and Eve יַּלְבִּשֵׁם (yalbishem) with the tunics made of animal skin, thus laying the foundation for the future animal sacrifice practices of Israel.

וַיֹּאמֶר יהוה אֱלֹהִים הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ לָדַעַת טוֹב וָרָע וְעַתָּה פֶּן־יִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָם׃

And the LORD God said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and bad, what if he should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever!”  (Gen 3:22)

וַיְשַׁלְּחֵהוּ יהוה אֱלֹהִים מִגַּן־עֵדֶן לַעֲבֹד אֶת־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר לֻקַּח מִשָּׁם׃

So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he was taken. (Gen 3:23)

וַיְגָרֶשׁ אֶת־הָאָדָם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן מִקֶּדֶם לְגַן־עֵדֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִים וְאֵת לַהַט הַחֶרֶב הַמִּתְהַפֶּכֶת לִשְׁמֹר אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ עֵץ הַחַיִּים׃

He drove the man out, and stationed east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:24)

The Hebrew word translated “banished” is גָרֶשׁ (garesh). In Modern Hebrew, this is the very root that is used to form a variety of Hebrew words connected to the divorce of a married couple. In a very real sense the LORD God “divorced” Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (and from Himself), because of the clear and immediate danger that the Tree of Life now presented to them. In spite of what is traditionally thought, God did not judge Adam and Eve by sending them away from the Garden of Eden. Exiling them from the Garden of delight was not disciplinary, but protective and merciful. Now that they were exposed to the knowledge of good and evil, the well-founded fear of God was that humanity may remain in that state of misery and death forever, if they also continued to eat of the “tree of everlasting life” עֵץ הַחַיִּים (etz hachayim), which was also located in the same Garden. Thus it was for their own safety, hope and redemption that God now barred them from the Garden.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

37 COMMENTS

    • That’s a great question, let me know if you find out. Some say it was transplanted somewhere since it will reappear in Revelation, while others say it was destroyed in Noah’s flood.

  1. Dear Sir,

    This was fascinating to read. Thanks for posting it.
    I do have a question. You mentioned Satan as the head of the demonic powers. Did Satan also become a Demon, too, even though he was an archangel to begin with?

    Thanks so much,
    Janice

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        • True, the Bible doesn’t say it specifically, but it is supported by several scriptures as a whole: Luke-10:18, Rev.12:8-9, Isa-14:12-15 and Ezek-28:12-19. Simply because he was able to gather a large following of other angels and by his description in Ezekiel, Satan was likely a very high ranking angel before his fall from heaven.

        • Satan and his minions are all fallen angels, yes. But throughout the New Testament, demon/s refer to general evil spirits, not HaSatan, the diabolical fallen archangel who rules demons.

        • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Leviticus and The New Testament and The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  2. So happy to read you see and talk about the animal sacrifice connected to the skin-tunic. Abel….God accepted and Cain killed. Referring tree of life: God could take eternal life from them if they would eat. So its not fear. Rather man cannot receive God’s life and nature (so tree of life meaning!) now – only after redemption. And that needs time for all the steps between. Indwelling sin (some nature of Satan ?) and need for reconciliation is reason behind “garesh” . And Satans chance being extended…..and exposed for a reversal choice of man (universal conflict behind)…Be blessed

  3. I have a theory. GOD layed on my heart that the garden was physicle and spiritual. When they ate the fruit they lost the spiritual part and after exile their decendants could not see the garden. Adam and his wife was created and not born,they could most probadly returned.

    • Maybe. Rabinic sources actually speculate that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the fig tree. Nobody can know for sure.

    • 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 Exodus and The New Testament or Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

    • Metaphorically, sure. He even says that He is the Vine and we are the branches. Who ever is not attached to Him dries up and withers.

  4. Could it be the Garden of Eden is referred as heaven and The Tree of Life is God’s gift for his children he loves?
    Really God, moves in mysterious ways, even his WORDS can be difficult and uncertainty to man’s thoughts and
    ways of life.

    • The “Garden” is a picture of the paradise to come on earth through our Messianic King and the Tree of Life will be in the New Jerusalem. So absolutely, great connection!

    • 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 Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  5. Enjoying these short lessons so much and grateful for what i learn. not able to enroll at this time, will there be an opportunity at a time in the future?

  6. Wow!!! “Giving literal translation to the beginning of the sentence וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת־קוֹל יהוה אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן he brings out this fascinating phrase: “and they heard the voice of the LORD God walking around the Garden”.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jo1:1

  7. This is so fascinating; I look forward to reading these items you post each day, thank you so much. I ordered your “Gospel of John” book and look forward to reading it. Yours in Christ – Ken

  8. Possibly the skins Yaweh clothed Adam and Eve refers to the fact that their original covering had already been created: their skin (and glory they were originally encased in), because the word for the skins He “created” to cover them is Bara: meaning created something from nothing.

    • Scholarship is recognizing that bara carries the idea of “separating” because of how passive forms of the same verb are used elsewhere in the Bible. With this in mind, the skins could have been “separated” rather than created ex-nihilo.

    • 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 Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I 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!

  9. I thought before the creation satan already existed.. does it mean that satan existed after the exile of adam and eve? As per Ezk28:1-5

    • Satan was a heavenly angel and is a created being. Jewish tradition says that angels were created either on the second or fifth day of the creation week. He did not exist prior to the creation week.

      • Agree; ha’satan means “the adversary.” Before the fall he was described as lucifer, the light bearer, which was an office not a name. In fact, w are not given a proper name for him. I think God removed his name, which was the worst insult for someone, especially a powerful person in the mid and near east. To remove someone’s name is to say it is like they never existed. That is why I refer to him as ha’satan. I will not give him back what God took from him. He became ha’satan, the enemy.

  10. Dear Dr., Isaiah 14 says from the beginning of his prophecy that what is next to prophesy is permeated with irony , As far as I think it refers only to the king of Babylon not to Ha Satan

  11. Ironic why? Because, in the case of the king of Babylon (and maybe in the case of the king of Tire as well), he believed himself great, glorious … divine!

  12. This irony is very similar to the one that appears in Psalm 82 where the psalmist criticizes the unjust judges of Israel and who also believed themselves divine. In an ironic tone the poet calls them “gods”, but immediately adds: “as men you will die” (salm 82: 7) .

  13. In the Book of Enoch chapter 69 the names of the fallen angels are listed first the leaders then the chiefs. The one who led astray Eve and taught man about weapons name is not Satan or Lucifer and is listed as only one of the chiefs not one of the 21 leaders. How is this book with such rich detail recorded not relative to scripture being taught today? It is as if it is fictional yet many times I hear it referenced to make a point within scripture. I can say with absolute certainty you do offer thought provoking teachings as I now have many questions regarding these scriptures. I look forward to discovering the answers through your courses. Thank you.

  14. The Bible says that there were numerous “giants” before God destroyed them by the deludge during Noah’s time. Those giants are known as the nephilims. Some say that after they were destroyed, they become demons working for Satan. Is this correct?

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