New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

The Serpent In Eden Genesis 3:4-5

The Promise In Eden

What Happened In Eden?

The Intention And Context Of Genesis 1-3


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CHAPTER 3 Jan. 2 
The Serpent and the Temptation of Adam and Eve
Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’ 2The woman said to the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, 3but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’. 4The serpent said to the woman, You won’t surely die, 5rather God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. 7The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves loincloths. 8They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.
The Punishments for Sin 
9But Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, Where are you? 10The man said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11God said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? 12The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. 13Yahweh God said to the woman, What is this you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate. 14Yahweh God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.  16To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bear children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. 17To Adam He said, Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18It will yield thorns and thistles to you; and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return. 20The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them. 22Yahweh God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever… 23Therefore Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24So He drove out the man; and He placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.


3:1 The serpent was an animal, created by God. The words ‘satan’, ‘lucifer’ and ‘devil’ don’t occur in the entire book of Genesis. Adam, and not the serpent, was the means by which sin entered the world (Rom. 5:12). The Bible doesn’t teach that the satan exists as a personal being who sinned in Heaven and came to earth. 
3:3 Eve had been told by Adam that they must not even touch it, although this is not what God had told Adam (Gen. 2:16,17 cp. 3:2,3). Adam turned to Eve and as it were wagged his finger at her and said 'Now you see that tree over there in the middle, don't you even touch it or else there'll be trouble, O.K.'. She didn't understand, he didn't explain that it was forbidden because it was the tree of knowledge, and so she was deceived into eating it- unlike Adam, who understood what he was doing (1 Tim. 2:14). Why didn't Adam tell her more clearly what God had said? Maybe he was disillusioned with the wife God gave him; he didn't have intercourse with her as he had been asked, he separated from her so that she was alone with the snake. Gen. 3:12 seems to reflect more than a hint of resentment against Eve and God's provision of her.  
3:15 The descendant of the woman was to be a specific individual- Jesus. He was literally “made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). He was the son of Mary, although God was His Father. Thus He was the descendant of the woman but not the descendant of a man, as He had no human father. This descendant of the woman was to be temporarily wounded by sin, the serpent - “you shall bruise his heel”. A snakebite on the heel is normally a temporary wound, compared to the permanence of hitting the snake / sin on the head, which Jesus did in His death.
3:21 Sin results in death (Rom. 6:23), i.e. a pouring out of the blood, which carries the life. For this reason the Israelites were expected to pour out blood each time they sinned, to remind them that sin resulted in death. ”... according to the law (of Moses) almost all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). Because of this, Adam and Eve's covering of themselves with fig leaves was unacceptable; instead, God killed a lamb (Rev.13:8) to provide skins to cover their sin (Gen. 3:7,21). Similarly, Abel's sacrifice of animals was accepted rather than Cain's offering of vegetables, because he appreciated this principle that without shedding blood there could be no forgiveness and acceptable approach to God (Gen. 4:3-5). 
3:24 The cherubim have Angelic associations. They were to keep “the way” to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24), whereas the keeping of the way is later said to be in the control of Angels- e. g. in Gen. 18:19 the Angels decide Abraham will keep “the way of the Lord”, implying they were the ones guarding it.