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The First Sin and Its Punishment


Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the L ord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ ” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when 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 also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

8 They heard the sound of the L ord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the L ord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the L ord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the L ord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14The L ord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,

cursed are you among all animals

and among all wild creatures;

upon your belly you shall go,

and dust you shall eat

all the days of your life.


I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;

he will strike your head,

and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;

in pain you shall bring forth children,

yet your desire shall be for your husband,

and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to the man he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,

and have eaten of the tree

about which I commanded you,

‘You shall not eat of it,’

cursed is the ground because of you;

in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;


thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;

and you shall eat the plants of the field.


By the sweat of your face

you shall eat bread

until you return to the ground,

for out of it you were taken;

you are dust,

and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21And the L ord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

22 Then the L ord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the L ord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

20. And Adam called , etc. There are two ways in which this may be read. The former, in the pluperfect tense, ‘Adam had called.’ If we follow this reading, the sense of Moses will be, that Adam had been greatly deceived, in promising life to himself and to his posterity, from a wife, whom he afterwards found by experience to be the introducer of death. And Moses (as we have seen) is accustomed, without preserving the order of the history, to subjoin afterwards things which had been prior in point of time. If, however we read the passage in the preterite tense, it may be understood either in a good or bad sense. There are those who think that Adam, animated by the hope of a more happy condition, because God had promised that the head of the serpent should be wounded by the seed of the woman, called her by a name implying life.’210210     “Vocasse eam vivificam.” This would be a noble and even heroic fortitude of mind; since he could not, without an arduous and difficult struggle, deem her the mother of the living, who, before any man could have been born, had involved all in eternal destruction. But, because I fear lest this conjecture should be weak, let the reader consider whether Moses did not design rather to tax Adam with thoughtlessness, who being himself immersed in death, yet gave to his wife so proud a name. Nevertheless, I do not doubt that, when he heard the declaration of God concerning the prolongation of life, he began again to breathe and to take courage; and then, as one revived, he gave his wife a name derived from life ; but it does not follow, that by a faith accordant with the word of God, he triumphed, as he ought to have done, over death. I therefore thus expound the passage; as soon as he had escaped present death, being encouraged by a measure of consolation, he celebrated that divine benefit which, beyond all expectation, he had received, in the name he gave his wife.211211     It is probable, however, that more than this is here meant. The Hebrew word חוה, (chavah,) Eve, is in the Septuagint rendered ζωή, life ; and, as Fagius observes, Adam comforted himself in his wife, because he should, through Eve, produce a posterity in which (as parents in their children) they should be permanently victorious. — Pol. Syn. — Ed

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