Adam – The Second Patriarch Part 2 – A Patriarch’s Fall

Note: the text is silent on whether or not the man was standing next to the woman during the exchange between the woman and the serpent. The following presupposes that the man was with the woman the entire time.

The man knew the command was “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” and since the woman was not yet in existence, it was his responsibility to communicate this command to her. Let’s see what the woman said in response to the serpent’s temptation.

The woman said to the serpent,

“From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

– Genesis 3:2-3

The woman made two changes: (a) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was changed to “the tree which is in the middle of the garden” and (b) she added “touch it” to “you shall not eat from it or touch it”. This was the man’s second mistake in not correcting her immediately. His first mistake was that he should have stopped the serpent right after he questioned YHVH. Then,

[w]hen the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate.”

– Genesis 3:6a

That was mistake number 3, in not stopping her from eating the fruit which he would have known meant death, though not necessarily knowing what death meant. Mistake number 4 and the worst one of all,

“and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate”

– Genesis 3:6b

What happened as a result of this cascading chain of mistakes by the man? We know nothing good happened because YHVH had said that death would occur upon eating of the fruit. Here’s the investigation by YHVH who retains ultimate authority for His creation.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

– Genesis 3:7-13

It is now time to explore further the two Hebrew words translated into English as “naked” and their relationship to covering as “naked” and “covering” are used together in Genesis 3:7. The first word translated as “naked” in Genesis 2:25 is ערום H6174 which means “naked, bare”. This word is used in Isaiah 20:2-4 and Micah 1:8. The word translated as “naked” in verses Genesis 3:7,10,11 is עירם H5903 which means “naked, nakedness”. This word is generally used in a negative context as in Deuteronomy 28:48 and Ezekiel 16:22,39 and 23:29. Note, however, must be taken of positive contexts as in Ezekiel 16:7 and 18:7,16. A third word translated as naked is ערוה H6172 which has the given meanings as:

nakedness, nudity, shame, pudenda
(a) pudenda (implying shameful exposure)
(b) nakedness of a thing, indecency, improper behaviour
(c) exposed, undefended (fig.)

This word is translated as “indecency” or “uncleanness” in Deuteronomy 24:1. We’ll return to this later.

Covering is the Hebrew word חגור H2290 which means girdle or apron.

Returning to YHVH’s investigation, we see the man blaming the woman, and the woman blaming the serpent. The man made four mistakes but did not take ownership of them. The woman did describe accurately what happened and acknowledge that she was deceived and she did not blame the man, but rather the deceiver, the serpent.

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