August 2, 2013

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe


PART: I A GENERAL HISTORY FROM ADAM TO ABRAHAM—Gen. 1:1-11:9.


Topic #B: The Primeval State of Man and His Fall. Gen. 2.8-3.4




Lesson I.B.5: The Parties Arraigned and Sentenced. 

   


Gen. 3.8-21 (KJV)


8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 


GOD ARRAIGNS ADAM AND EVE

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 

13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

 

THE SERPENT IS CURSED ABOVE ALL BEASTS

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 


THE PUNISHMENT GOD PROMISES FOR MANKIND

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 

20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 



Commentary


8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 


And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: 

There are at least two interpretations for the phrase IN THE COOL OF THE DAY. One opinion is that the literal meaning is “the breeze of the day," the evening. The divine Being appears on the scene as if He had been out for an evening stroll; uttering the well-known expressions of kindness that Adam and Eve loved to hear, walking in some visible form (not running, as one would who was motivated by angry feelings; nor can he be, as it says in Isaiah 27.4, “Fury is not in me.”). It is supposed by some that he came in a human shape, and that he was none other than the One who shall judge the world on the Great Day. He came in a manner that would appear fearsome only to those with guilty consciences. How beautifully expressive are these words of the informal and friendly manner in which He had so far interacted with the first pair. The other opinion is that what they actually heard was “the sound or voice of the LORD God as He passes through the Garden, as the ‘Spirit of the day.’” COOL is the Hebrew word for spirit. God was coming to them in judgment for their disobedience. A better rendering of the  word VOICE is “sound,” which is how it appears in Theophanies in the Old Testament—“The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals” (Psalms 18:13; NLT). His voice was a proper accompaniment for the flames of godly vengeance. How will men bear to hear it on the Great Day when it proclaims their doom, and He sends them to the Lake of Fire? It is no wonder that when they heard the sound of the LORD GOD passing through the garden looking for them, that they HID THEMSELVES from His presence!



The term VOICE is appropriately applied here, since God is an infinite Spirit, and cannot be confined to any form, so he can have no personal appearance, unless He should decide to appear in a particular form. It is very likely that God used to converse with them in the garden, and that the usual time for them to come together was in the evening, ‏in the evening breeze; and probably this was the time that our first parents devoted themselves to religious worship, and God was always present. The time worship has arrived, and God is in his place; but Adam and Eve have sinned, and therefore, instead of being in the place of worship, they are hidden among the trees! 



and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 

Guilt was an emotion unknown to our first parents, but immediately following the act of sinning their eyes of conscience are opened and their intimate fellowship with God was broken. Guilt produces fear, and fear makes us want to run and hide. The knowledge they now have judges everything from a false standpoint; it sees from a perverted position. Previously they were naked (2:25), but they were not ashamed. CONSCIENCE is a person’s inner awareness of conforming to the will of God or departing from it, resulting in either a sense of approval or condemnation.

Their own consciences accused them; they felt responsible for their wrongdoing, remorse because they could not undo their error, and fear because God would know what they had done.

Ordinarily, Adam and Eve would have run to meet God, but they had become sinners. Sinners cannot cover their sins by their own works, nor can they hide from God. Shame, remorse, fear -- a sense of guilt—feelings to which they had up till now been strangers confused their minds and led them to hide from Him whose approach they used to welcome. They wanted to hide themselves from God; AND ADAM AND HIS WIFE HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD GOD—what a sad change! Before they had sinned, if they had heard the voice of the Lord God coming towards them, they would have run to meet him, and with a humble joy welcomed his gracious visits



GOD ARRAIGNS ADAM AND EVE


9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?


And the LORD God called unto Adam, 

We have here the arraignment of these traitors before the righteous Judge of heaven and earth, who, though he dies not have to observe formalities, treats them with all possible fairness, so that he may be justified when he speaks.  The Father sought the lost sinners, as Jesus did when He was on earth—“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; KJV). If this was the chief objective of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it should surely loom large in our own set of priorities. Today, the Holy Spirit is the One doing the seeking, but He uses His people to present the gospel to “that which was lost.” We have a wonderful example of this method in our Bibles—“Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, PREACHED JESUS TO HIM. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, ‘I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD.’" (Acts 8:29-38; NKJV). God wants to use us to call men and women to salvation—“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 (NKJV).


 

Sin will separate you from God—and Adam is lost. Adam is lost, and it is God seeking him and not man seeking God.



and said unto him, Where art thou?

Man has disobeyed God, and now he is a lost sinner, but God will not leave him in his lost condition. This is the most astonishing thing about the Scriptures; God does not abandon men and women and leave them to their just deserts. God revealed His love for Adam in the question He asks; because the purpose of interrogating Adam is to cause him to see where his disobedience has brought him, to contemplate his present circumstance and give an account of why he is in the condition in which he finds himself. The first question that Gad asks him is WHERE ART THOU? It is not as if God did not know where he was; God always knows the condition of our heart and the state of our faith and it is impossible to hide anything from Him, let alone, to hide ourselves from Him, as our first parents attempted to do. "Where is this foolish man?’’ Some have said the question is an expression of grief: “Poor Adam, what has become of you?’’ You were my friend and my favorite, I have done so much for, and would have done so much more; have you now forsaken me? Has it come to this?’’ It appears to be a question concerning his conviction and humiliation: WHERE ART THOU? Not, in what place? But, in what condition? "Is this the result of eating forbidden fruit? You thought you would be able to compete with me, but now you run from Me and hide.” The lesson from this is that those who have gone astray from God by sin should seriously consider where they are; how far they are from His goodness, in bondage to Satan, and on the road to total ruin. 



His calling for Adam may be considered a gracious search done out of kindness and in order to bring him back into God’s favor. If God had not called to him, to regain him, his condition would have been as desperate as that of the fallen angels; this lost sheep would have wandered endlessly outside the Garden, if the good Shepherd had not sought after him, to bring him back where he could again be happy and content—If sinners would realize where they are, they would not rest until they return to God.



10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 


And he said, 

The answer Adam gave was couched in a trembling voice: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and I hid myself.



I heard thy voice in the garden, 

Here is the voice of the sinner; he is not straightforward, open, and aboveboard. All he is interested in is avoiding any blame for offending his Creator. He admits that he heard the Lord calling him; ADAM…WHERE ART THOU? His mind was probably racing, as he attempted to come up with an excuse for what he had done. And what did his mind dream up?



and I was afraid, 

Sin makes man a coward and an equivocator and a liar; it leads him to seek refuge in half-truths, deceit, evasion and outright lies. What Adam says is partially true; but he is more concerned with avoiding the consequences of his sin than with the outrageous thing he had done. The immediate consequence of sin is:

1. SHAME, because of the ingratitude which is discernible in the rebellion, and because in aspiring to be like God they were now sunk into a state of great misery. 

2. FEAR, because they saw they had been deceived by Satan, and were now at risk of undergoing that death and punishment from which Satan had promised them an exemption. 



He does not admit his guilt, but by acknowledging his shame and fear he confesses he is aware he has disobeyed a command of God. This is the usual reaction of those that are foolish enough to have done such a foolish thing; when they are questioned about it, they admit only what is so obvious that they cannot deny it. 



It is appropriate to remark that SIN continues to produce the very same effects! Shame and fear were the first fruits of sin, and fruits which it has consistently produced, from the first transgression to the present time.



Instances of cowardess: Adam, in attempting to shift responsibility for his sin upon Eve, Gen. 3:12. Abraham, in calling his wife his sister, Gen. 12:11–19; 20:2–12. Isaac, in calling his wife his sister, Gen. 26:7–9. Jacob, in fleeing from Laban, Gen. 31:31. Aaron, in yielding to the Israelites, when they demanded an idol, Ex. 32:22–24.



because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Adam was afraid because he was naked (or so he says); he was not only defenseless, and therefore afraid to contend with God, but unclothed, and therefore afraid even to be seen by Him. We have good reason to be afraid of approaching God if we are not clothed and hedged with the righteousness of Christ, because nothing else will cover our sin and the shame of our nakedness. Let us therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and then draw near Him with humble boldness. 



The awareness of his nakedness was more keenly in Adam’s mind than the fact that he had broken God’s command. Sin causes us to think more about what may happen to us because of our sin than of the fact that we have disobeyed God. Why should he have been afraid because he was naked; it did not matter that he was naked before he sinned?



11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 


And he said, 

God is represented as coming down from heaven to conduct an investigation into the conduct of His human pair, because he is aware they have disobeyed His command not eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They are hiding somewhere in the tall grass or behind some bushes or among the trees; but their Maker knows where they are hiding. He will extort confessions from them, but they will attempt to make their sin appear less serious than it really is and to shift the blame away from them and onto another.



Who told thee that thou wast naked? 

Then God asked another question, but this one was in two parts; first He asks “WHO TOLD THEE THAT THOU WEST NAKED’, and the second part was ‘HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE?’” Adam must come to realize that the sin which he had committed was more serious than any personal consequences he may bare. He must have a deeper awareness of his sin and of its effects on the entire human race. The realization of his nakedness from a sinful perspective was directly related to his eating fruit from the forbidden tree. 



Hast thou eaten of the tree, 

This is a straightforward question that God put to the man—HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE? It would be easy for Adam to answer Yes or No. A simple, honest confession was what God wanted. Although God knows all our sins, he still wants us to admit that we are aware of them, and to confess them to Him; not so that He is informed, but so that we are humbled. 

We want to be forgiven, but He will not forgive us until we confess our sins to Him. Then He will “forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.”



whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

In this examination, God reminds him of the command he had given him: "I commanded thee not to eat of it, I thy Maker, I thy Master, I thy benefactor; I commanded thee to the contrary.’’ Sin appears the clearest and most sinful when seen through the lens of the commandment, therefore God sets before Adam, both the commandment and the breaking of it; and it would be helpful, if we would see our sin through the same lens. 



12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 


And the man said, 

Here are some additional proofs of the fallen state of man, and that the consequences of that low estate would extend to succeeding or future generations. Adam’s response reveals his refusal to take responsibility for his own actions. The woman will copy his response.



The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, 

When he answers the question, HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE? Adam is obliged to acknowledge his transgression; but he does it in a way that shifts the blame from him, and lays it first upon God and then upon the woman! This woman whom THOU didst give to be with me, ‏to be my companion, SHE GAVE IT TO ME, AND I DID EAT. You cannot blame me for this transgression; I did not pluck the fruit; she took it and gave it to me, and I ate it only to please her.” Adam not only shifts the blame to the woman, but also to God. The implication is that if God had not given him the woman, this act would not have taken place; it was the influence of the woman that caused him to sin. Sin has now divided the family, not only from each other, but from God. 



Blaming the woman was a silly thing for Adam to do. He ought to have taught her, not to have been taught by her; and it was an easy matter to determine which of the two should rule him; his God, not his wife. Let us learn from this, never be overcome by the urging of another to act against our consciences, or to ever displease God, in order to please the best friend we have in the world. But this is not the worst of it. He not only lays the blame upon his wife, but on God himself: "IT IS THE WOMAN WHOM THOU GAVEST ME for my companion; she gave me the fruit, and persuaded me to eat it. I was tricked, so I am innocent. This is how he insinuates that God was an accessory to his sin: he gave him the woman, and she gave him the fruit; so that he thought of it as if it came from God’s own hand. 



she gave me of the tree, 

Instead of acknowledging the sin and accepting the consequences, Adam lays the blame at the feet of his mate. Those who are willing to take the pleasure and profit of sin are seldom willing to take the blame and shame of it. The excuse Adam offers is, “The woman made me do it! I ate the fruit because I love her and want to please her.” 



and I did eat.

Adam could NOT plead not guilty; he was aware that God knew he did it, therefore he decided to “pass the buck.” His confession, I DID EAT, must be interpreted in that light. It is almost a bold challenge. Of course I ate. This WOMAN YOU gave to me persuaded me to eat. But this does not look like a confession at all since even though their guilt was visible in their countenances and testified against them, there is no true confession on Adam’s part.  Instead taking the shame on himself, he prefers to downplay the seriousness of his transgression and put the blame on Eve. Like Adam, Eve is also responsible before God



13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.


And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? 

The question God put to the woman was, WHAT IS THIS THAT THOU HAST DONE? "Will you admit your guilt and confess your sin? And will you agree with me that it was an evil thing you did?’’ This should indicate to us that those who have eaten forbidden fruit, and especially those who have enticed others to eat it, should seriously consider what they have done. By eating forbidden fruit, we have offended our great and gracious God, broken a just and righteous law, violated a sacred and most solemn covenant, and wronged our own precious souls by forfeiting God’s favor and exposing ourselves to his wrath and curse. And when we entice others to eat it, we do the devil’s work, make ourselves guilty of other men’s sins, and become an accessory to their downfall. What is this that WE have done?



Like Adam, Eve shows little or no distress over her guilt and she will pass the buck to the serpent.



And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

When the woman is questioned she lays the blame upon God and the serpent. THE SERPENT BEGUILED ME, AND I DID EAT. You made him much wiser than you made me, and therefore my innocence, simplicity, and ignorance were overcome by his superior wisdom and subtlety; I am not at fault here, the fault is his and yours for making him so wise and me so ignorant. This indicates that, while the eyes of their body were opened to see their degraded state, the eyes of their understanding were closed, so that they could not see the sinfulness of their sin; and at the same time their hearts were hardened because of its deceitfulness. And their posterity has followed their example in this. How few today sincerely confess their own sin! They do not see their guilt. They are continually making excuses for their crimes; they point to the strength and subtlety of the tempter, the natural weakness of their own minds, the unfavorable circumstances in which they were placed, etc. They make excuses for their sins, and therefore the possibility of repentance is prohibited; because until a man admits his sin to himself, until he acknowledges that he alone is guilty, he cannot be humbled, and consequently cannot be saved. 



BEGUILED  means cajoled by flattering lies. This sin of the first pair was heinous and aggravated -- it was not simply eating an apple, but a love of self, dishonor to God, ingratitude to a benefactor, disobedience to the best of Masters—a preference for the creature over the Creator.



The Apostle Paul was concerned that the Believers in the Corinthian Church my fall to temptation as Eve had: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor 11:3; KJV). Where Eve first gave way, was in mentally harboring for a moment the possibility insinuated by the serpent, of GOD not having her truest interests at heart, and of this "other" professing friend being more concerned for her than God. There are more temptations to sin around today than existed in the Garden. Sin is a brat that nobody is willing to acknowledge, which is a sign that it is a scandalous thing. Those that are willing enough to take the pleasure and profit of sin are reluctant to take the blame and shame of it. Eve’s main object is to shift the blame from herself. She at least acknowledges she had been deceived or BEGUILED as Paul states in II Corinthians 11:3. "The serpent, that subtle creature you made, which you permitted to come into paradise with us, he beguiled me.’’ There are two things to learn from this:

1. That Satan’s temptations are all beguilings, his arguments are all erroneous, his enticements are all frauds; when he appears sincere, do not believe him. Sin deceives us, and, by deceiving, it cheats us. It is by the deceitfulness of sin that the heart is hardened (See Rom. 7:11; Heb. 3:13). 

2. That though Satan’s subtlety drew us into sin, it will not justify our sin: though he is the tempter, we are the sinners; and it is our own lust that draws us aside and entices us—“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14; KJV). Every man is tempted when he allows his own lusts to lead and entice him. There can be no temptation unless something within us causes a sinful desire. 



We may be beguiled into it, but that should not lessen our sorrow and humiliation for our sin; but rather it should increase our self-indignation, since we have allowed ourselves to be beguiled by a known cheat and a sworn enemy. 



THE SERPENT IS CURSED ABOVE ALL BEASTS


As the result of Adam’s sin God pronounced curses which are referred to as the Adamic Covenant. It establishes the conditions under which fallen man must live—conditions which must remain until the kingdom age, when "… the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21; KJV).

The elements of the Adamic Covenant are:

1. The serpent, Satan's tool, is cursed (v. 14), and becomes God's illustration in nature of the effects of sin—the serpent is transformed from the most beautiful and subtle of creatures to a loathsome reptile!

2. The first promise of a Redeemer is proclaimed (v. 15). Here is where the highway that leads to the Savior of mankind begins—Abel, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, Immanuel—Christ: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8; KJV).

3. The changed state of the woman (v.16). In three essential ways: 

a. Multiplied pain in child birth.

b. Motherhood linked with sorrow.

c. The headship of the man (See Gen 1:26, 27). The entrance of sin, which is turmoil, makes a headship necessary, and it is vested in man—“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim 2:11-14; KJV).

4. The earth cursed (v. 17) for man's sake. It is better for fallen man to battle with a reluctant earth than to live without hard work.

5. The inevitable sorrow of life (v. 17)

6. The carefree occupation of Eden changed to burdensome labor (v. 18, 19).

7. Physical death (v. 19).


Although these curses are severe and inescapable, a wonderful promise of grace was also included in the Adamic Covenant. Genesis 3:15 is often referred to as the “Proto-Gospel” or “First Gospel.” Speaking to Satan, God says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The first reference to the coming of the Savior.



14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 


And the LORD God said unto the serpent, 

The man and woman having been found guilty by their own confession, as well as the personal and infallible knowledge of God, must now face the judgment of God, who immediately proceeds to pass sentence; and, in these verses, he begins (where the sin began) with the serpent. God did not examine the serpent, nor ask him what he had done or why he did it; but immediately sentenced him.



The effects of the Fall reached well beyond the man and woman. Man was appointed to rule over God’s creation; and as a result of man’s Fall, the animals suffered along with man through the Edenic Curse—“God said to Adam, “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread …” (Gen. 3:18–19). The curse of sin came upon man through Adam’s disobedience, but the physical world also came under the curse. “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Rom 8:20; KJV). Vanity means “failure, decay, something that is perishable.” “Not willingly” means not of its own will, but because of Him (God) who subjected man (and animals by virtue of their relationship with man) to the curse.



God’s judgment on the serpent was separate from, or in addition to, the general judgment of man and the world (all of creation).  The serpent is certainly not the slithering creature that we think of today. He was different at the beginning; charming but deadly and represents opposition to God, and now God has pronounced this judgment upon him. God also pronounces a judgment upon Satan which has a tremendous effect upon man; but, God does not distinguish between the serpent and Satan, who is later revealed as the animal’s motivating intelligence—“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev 12:9; KJV).



The tempter is not asked why he deceived the woman; he cannot roll the blame over on any other; and it is natural for him, because he is full of hate, to deceive and destroy all he can. He does not make any excuses for himself, and therefore God begins to pronounce sentence on him first. The Judge passes sentence: first, on the MATERIAL SERPENT, which is cursed above all creatures. From being a model of grace and elegance in form, it has become a creature that is odious, disgusting, and low; it is now branded with villainy and avoided with horror; next, on the SPIRITUAL SERPENT, the seducer. Already fallen, he was to be still more degraded and his power entirely destroyed by the offspring of those he had deceived.



Because thou hast done this, 

In order to show His anger against sin, and His resentment for the injured honor of Adam and Eve, God places a curse and disgrace upon the serpent (See Rom. 8:20). The devil’s servants must share in the devil’s punishments. That is why the bodies of the wicked, though only instruments of unrighteousness, must partake of everlasting torments along with the soul, the principal offending agent. Here we begin to see how much God hates sin, and especially how much he is displeased with those who persuade others to sin. 



thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; 

 The serpent was cursed “ABOVE” (more than) “ALL CATTLE” and every beast of the field. When God made them, they were blessed by him—“And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth” (Gen 1:22; KJV)—but sin turned the blessing into a curse. The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field (v. 1), and here it is cursed above every beast of the field—thou shalt be considered the most contemptible of animals; upon thy belly shalt thou go—thou shalt no longer walk erect, but mark the ground equally with thy hands and feet; and dust shalt thou eat—though formerly possessed of the faculty to distinguish, choose, and cleanse thy food, thou shalt feed henceforth like the most stupid and abject quadruped, all the days of thy life—through all the innumerable generations of thy species. God saw fit to manifest his displeasure against the agent employed in this sad affair; and this curse is due to the part which the intelligent and subtle serpent took in the seduction of our first parents. We see that he was capable of it, and have some reason to believe that he became a willing participant.



There were several effects of the curse:

1. The serpent will always be looked upon as a vile and despicable creature, and a fitting object of scorn and contempt: "Upon thy belly thou shalt go, no longer upon feet, or half erect, but thou shalt crawl along on thy belly,’’ an expression of a very hopeless and miserable condition; "and thou shalt not avoid eating dust with thy meat.”

2. He will be both feared and hated by man. His crime was that he tempted Eve to eat that which she should not; his punishment was that he was by necessity forced to eat that which he would not: Dust thou shalt eat. This denotes not only a vile and despicable condition, but a poor and pitiful spirit; it is said of those whose courage has departed from them that they lick the dust like a serpent—“They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee” (Micah 7:17; KJV).



upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

As a result of man’s sin, God said to the serpent, “UPON THY BELLY SHALT THOU GO, AND DUST SHALT THOU EAT ALL THE DAYS OF THY LIFE.” The serpent would crawl upon his belly for all time, having previously stood erect (Luther), or having been possessed of bone (Josephus), or being capable of standing upright and twining itself round the trees (Lange), or, at the very least, having undergone some external transformation with regard to form (Keil and Delitzsch). It is quite possible, however, that the language of this verse indicates nothing more than the humiliation of the serpent, once exalted as the most subtle beast of the field, it has been reduced to a position in which it must slither through the grass. It is to be forever looked upon as a vile and despicable creature, and a proper object of scorn and contempt: "UPON THY BELLY THOU SHALT GO,” no longer upon feet, or half erect, but thou shalt crawl along, thy belly cleaving to the earth, an expression of a very miserable condition, "and thou shalt not avoid eating dust with thy meat.’’ 



God cursed the serpent and the ground, but He did not yet curse Adam and Eve. The consequences of man’s fall are all around us, and we suffer because of them. The ultimate judgment is death. Man can overcome a difficult environment to some extent, but he can do nothing about “the last enemy,” death—“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26; KJV). The only way man can have victory over death is through faith in Jesus Christ—“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25–26). Christ is the resurrection (He raises those who are dead in sin) and the life (He gives to them eternal life). Those who believe in Christ, though they may die physically, shall live. Beyond that, those who really have Christ’s life shall never die. 



15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 


And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, 

He is to be eternally looked upon as a venomous deadly creature, and an object of hatred and loathing: I WILL PUT ENMITY BETWEEN THEE AND THE WOMAN. Since the inferior creatures were made for man, it was a curse upon any of them to be turned against man and man against them; and this is part of the serpent’s curse. The serpent is harmful to man, and often bruises his heel, because it cannot reach much higher. But man is victorious over the serpent, and bruises his head, that is, gives him a mortal wound, aiming to destroy any serpent he comes across. The effect of this curse upon the serpent is that, though that creature is subtle and very dangerous, it could not prevail (as it would if God wished it to do so) and destroy mankind. This sentence pronounced upon the serpent is fortified by that promise of God to his people, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder” (Ps. 91:13) and that promise Christ made to his disciples, “They shall take up serpents” (Mk. 16:18).



In this verse, God declares war on Satan and gives the first promise of the Redeemer. Satan would bruise Christ’s heel, but Christ would bruise Satan’s head and defeat him—“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31; KJV). The greatest curse is placed upon the serpent, that is, upon that old serpent, the devil. To Satan the Lord God promises, I WILL PUT ENMITY BETWEEN THEE AND THE WOMAN, AND BETWEEN THY SEED AND HER SEED; IT SHALL BRUISE THY HEAD, AND THOU SHALT BRUISE HIS HEEL. Here is the first messianic prophecy in the Bible. It is the first time the gospel is expressed in any known form. It recognizes the very important conflict between Satan and the Lord and indicates that this conflict will also involve the people of God and the followers of Satan, a conflict that is also mentioned in the following verses:

John 8:44 (KJV) “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” 

Acts 13:10 (KJV) “And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” 

1 John 3:10 (KJV) “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 



Notice that God is not addressing Adam and Eve, but Eve alone; the promise of the seed of the woman bruising the head of the serpent was fulfilled by Jesus Christ being born of a virgin, so he speaks to her alone because a man was not involved in His birth. Jesus Christ died to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and to destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. Thus he bruises his head—destroys his power and lordship over mankind, turning them from the power of Satan unto God—“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18; KJV).



and between thy seed and her seed; 

The woman plays a key role not only because she was approached and entrapped by Satan but also because she is “the mother of all living” (v. 20), since the Savior would come through her—“But when the fulness of the time was come , God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). He came directly from God, and was sent by Him, and He was made of a woman, according to the promise given in Genesis 3:15; produced by the power of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary without any intervention by man; hence he was called the Son of God. 



The seed of the woman is a clear reference to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, who came “to destroy the works of the devil”—“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn 3:8; KJV). The prophesy here is that Christ would deliver a death blow to Satan but in the process of doing so He would suffer death himself. The Hebrew word for “seed” is a collective noun in the singular sense, therefore it may refer to only one person or to many individuals. But, to whom was this promise made? It was made to Christ and all who are in Him. This is born out in a similar promise made to Abraham—“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator” (Gal 3:16, 19; KJV). The seed to whom this promise is given is a seed that comprises many, but is one. That seed is Christ (the head), and all who are in Christ (See 1 Cor. 12:12). The whole spiritual seed of Abraham is concentrated in Christ. The promise is to Christ and all who are in Christ. All of this should be understood in the light of the New Testament’s total revelation of the ramifications of this prophecy. Certainly, Adam and Eve were not aware of any of this future revelation.



Notice that it says “her seed.” It does not say the man’s seed. Here is at least the suggestion of the virgin birth of Christ. When God went into that garden looking for man, He said, “Where art thou?” Any anthology of religion tells the story of man’s search for God. Dear reader that is not the way God tells it. Let’s tell it like it is: Salvation is God’s search for man. Man ran away from Him, and God called to him, “Where art thou?” Dr. W. H. Griffith Thomas in his book, Genesis, A Devotional Commentary, makes the comment that “it is the call of Divine justice, which cannot overlook sin. It is the call of Divine sorrow, which grieves over the sinner. It is the call of Divine love, which offers redemption for sin.” We have all of that in the verse before us—the promise of the coming of the Savior.



it shall bruise thy head, 

The serpent's poison is lodged in its head; and a bruise on that part is fatal. Likewise, the blow which Satan shall receive from Christ will be fatal to him, although, at that time, he probably did not understand the nature and extent of his doom. By his death, our Lord gave a fatal and incurable blow to the devil’s kingdom, and the wound He made to the head of this beast can never be healed. As His gospel spreads, Satan falls [“He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Lu. 10:18; NIV).], and is bound [“He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:2; NIV).]. By his grace, he treads Satan under his people’s feet [“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you” (Rom. 16:20; NIV).], and will shortly cast him into the lake of fire [“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10; NIV).]. 



Satan had trampled upon the woman and insulted her; but the seed of the woman would be raised up in the fullness of time to avenge her for the harm he had done to her and her posterity, and to trample upon him, to abuse him, to lead him captive, and to triumph over him [“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15; KJV). Perhaps Satan, for a moment, thought that he had won at the cross. But Hell’s imagined victory was turned into a defeat that disarmed every spiritual enemy who fights against those living under the light and power of the cross. The death of Christ was not only a pardon; it also revealed power. It not only canceled a debt; it was a glorious triumph. Christ bruised his head, that is, he destroyed all his strategies and all his powers, and totally overthrew his kingdom and pursuits. Christ blasted Satan’s temptations, rescued souls out of his hands, and cast him out of the bodies of people.



and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

Here is a gracious promise regarding Jesus Christ operating as the deliverer of fallen man from the control of Satan. Although what was said was spoken to the serpent, yet it was said within the hearing of our first parents, who, no doubt, could glimpse a little of the grace that was given them, and saw a door of hope opened to them, because if they did not, they would have been crushed by what the Lord said next. What we have here was the dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. Here, in the beginning of the Bible, it is said of Christ, that he would do the will of God [“Then I said, 'Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God” (Heb 10.7; NIV). God did not will the sacrifices under the law, but he did will that a human victim of infinite goodness should be offered for the redemption of mankind. In order that there might be such a victim, a body was prepared for the eternal Son of God; and in that body he came to do the will of God, that is, to suffer and die for the sins of the world.]. We have reason to think that it was by faith in this promise that our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved.



Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness in an attempt to draw Him into sin; and some think it was Satan that caused his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and drove Him to despair. It was the devil that put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ, of Peter to deny Him, of the chief priests to prosecute Him, of the false witnesses to accuse Him, and of Pilate to condemn Him; by all this Satan aimed to destroy the Savior and ruin our salvation; but, on the contrary, it was the death of Christ that destroyed him that had the power of death [“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is , the devil” (Heb. 2:14; KJV).] Christ’s heel was bruised when his feet were pierced and nailed to the cross. Bruising the head was a fatal blow, but the bruising of the ’heel’ is not fatal; it is a reference to the Savior’s sufferings, which only served to prepare Him for His victorious resurrection [“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (see Is. 53:5). But He was wounded for our transgressions; for the crimes by which we had become guilty in the sight of God. He was bruised for our iniquities; for the debts which we had incurred.]



By his death he gave a fatal blow to the devil's kingdom, a wound to the head of this serpent that cannot be healed. As the gospel gains ground, Satan falls. And Satan bruises his heel—God had commanded it, that the salvation of man could only be brought about by the death of Christ; and even the spiritual seed of our blessed Lord have the heel often bruised, as they suffer persecution, temptation, etc., which may be all that is intended by this part of the prophecy.



THE PUNISHMENT GOD PROMISES FOR MANKIND


16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 


Unto the woman he said, 

The woman must now stand before the Judge and hear her sentence. Her doom is pain, chiefly the pain of child-bearing, and a position of subjection to and dependence on man. There is abundant evidence in human nature of the close connection of sin and suffering, though our Lord warns us against unsympathetically arguing that all suffering is due to previous sin, [“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:1-3; NIV). Also see Luke 13:1-5, and the whole book of Job]   . In the case of child-bearing, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the pain and danger connected with it have been increased by the accumulated wrongdoing of mankind. Among the lower animals the process of birth is much easier.



The woman receives her sentence next, after the serpent, and before the man, because she was more deeply involved in the transgression, and was the means of drawing her husband into it. The sentence pronounced on Eve was twofold. 



I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; 

The meaning may be clearer if “thy” is changed to “of” so that it reads "thy sorrow of thy conception", or rather "of thy pregnancy." since pleasure not pain is usually felt during conception, and besides, it is a blessing; but the meaning here is all the grief and sorrows, sicknesses and pains, from the time of conception or pregnancy until the birth of a baby; such as nausea, a loathing of food, dizziness, pains in the head, feet and teeth, fainting and collapsing, danger of miscarriage, and a variety miseries; besides the trouble of carrying such a burden, especially when it grows heavy.



God said, “I will greatly increase your pain, sickness, and sorrow during the period of your pregnancy and I will multiply it during the final hours.” And this curse has fallen on women more severely than on any other female. Nothing has been documented to be true more than this or witnessed more often, and yet there is certainly no natural reason why it should this way; it is a part of her punishment, and a part from which even God‘s mercy will not exempt her. 



in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; 

In Genesis, producing children is a duty, a privilege and a blessing, but now that duty, privilege and blessing will be accompanied by intense pain. It is only by the mercy of God that, in spite of what she has done, she will still be allowed the blessing of producing children. It is the punishment of God that this will be achieved through much pain.


 

The meaning here is “Your pain, especially in childbearing” is literally “your pain and your childbearing.” The word which has been translated “pain” (atsab) is not the usual one for pain in childbearing and is used in the next verse for man’s punishment in work. Therefore it refers to the more general misery of life. Life is to become more miserable. That will, however, include discomfort in child-bearing. It is significant that, in theory at least, child-bearing can be without pain. Some even achieve it. Thus prior to this event that would have been true for Eve. But now the stress and tension produced by sin will result in agony in child-birth: sharp pains, which are so very severe, that the pains of child-birth are often used to represent great tribulations and afflictions in Scripture [Why do you now cry aloud-- have you no king? Has your counselor perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor? Writhe in agony, O Daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued. There the LORD will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies” (Micah 4.9, 10; NIV).]. These pains are a continual reminder to all men of the fallen nature of the human race. It has been remarked by some naturalists that women bring forth their young with more pain than any other creature.  



and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

The meaning of this part can be seen in the lowly estate of woman in all nations for thousands of years. It is only in those nations where the Lord Jesus has found a place in men's hearts that her pitiful condition has been alleviated. Today, the degradation of women is alive and well in the Middle East, in the Muslim nations, where women are beaten if any part of their body is visible. What a brutal and terrible thing it was that Satan did to Eve. But she will not be able to avoid it even if she wants to, because God said, “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you”. She will not be able to avoid her punishment, because her craving for her husband will ensure that she seeks him out and his authority over her will guarantee her part in procreation. Today there is a Satan led movement called Women’s Liberation that has as its goal the equality of men and women. It is succeeding and the result is a clear loss of status for men, which has led to men and women living together in lieu of marriage, abortion on demand, and the destruction of the home. And men have lost respect for women; they no longer open doors for them, etc. Whenever a man does exert authority over a woman he is seen as overbearing.



This part of the verse is not merely a prophecy of woman's subjection, but an investiture of man with supremacy over the woman; or rather a confirmation and perpetuation of that authority which had been assigned to the man at the creation. Woman had been given to him as a helpmeet [“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18; KJV). By help meet  is meant one to help him in all the affairs of life, not only for the propagation of his species, but to provide things useful and comfortable for him; to prepare his food, and take care of the affairs of the family; one "like himself,” in nature, and disposition, in form and shape; or one that would be pleasing to his sight, and with whom he might pleasantly converse, and be in all respects agreeable to him, and entirely answerable to him, to his wants and wishes.], and her relation to the man from the first was represented as one of dependence. It was the reversal of this Divinely-established order that had led to the fall [See notes on Genesis 3.17]. From this time forth, therefore, woman was to be relegated to her proper sphere of subordination. On account of her subjection to man's authority a wife is described as the possessed or subjected one of a lord [“One night God appeared to him in a dream and said, "You are going to die, because you have taken this woman; she is already married." (Genesis 20:3; GNT). (Also see Deuteronomy 20:1-20 :22)], and a husband as the lord of a woman [“If he came in single, he will leave single. If he came in married, then his wife will leave with him” (Exodus 21:3; CEB).]. Among the Hebrews the condition of the female sex was one of distinct subordination, though not of oppression, and certainly not of slavery, as it too often has been in heathen and Muslim countries. Christianity places woman on the same platform with man in regard to the blessings of the gospel [“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28; NKJV), There is no distinction between male and female. Difference of sex makes no difference in Christian privileges. But under the law the male sex had great privileges. Males alone had circumcision, the sign of the covenant (baptism applied to male and female alike); they alone were capable of being kings and priests, whereas all of either sex are now "kings and priests unto God" (Re 1:6); only men had the right to inheritances. In the resurrection the relation of the sexes shall cease (Lu 20:35).Scripture explicitly teaches woman’s subordination to the man in the relationship of marriage (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1).].



Some understand “and thy desire shall be to thy husband” to refer to her desire to use the marriage bed; that she is entirely at the will and pleasure of her husband; that whatever she desired should be discussed with him, and whether she will have her desire or not should be determined by her husband and she must submit herself to his will. But subjection to the will of her husband is one only one part of her curse, the other being her sorrows and pains in child bearing. This was her punishment, because she did not ask her husband for advice about eating the fruit, but did it on her own, without his knowledge and consent, and tempted him to do the same. 



17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 


And unto Adam he said, 

The man was the last to participate in the transgression, therefore he is the last to receive his sentence.



Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, 

“Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife”—“You were not deceived, she only gave it to you and encouraged you to eat it; you should have resisted the temptation;” and the reason for his condemnation is because he did not do so.



What Adam did was not only despicable but sinful, since it was contrary to the voice of God. He should have listened to God; God is to be listened to and obeyed rather than man or a woman; to abide by the wiles of a woman, and neglect the command of God, is a great crime, and it calls for a severe penalty [“But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge’” (Acts 4:19; NAS). Their earthly government commanded them not to do what God had directed them to do. In a conflict of this kind there is only one course to take, that is, to obey God.]. The Lord paved the way for His sentence with this declaration of Adam’s guilt, which concluded with this, that instead of acting as his wife's defender prior to her disobedience, or as her counsellor following that act (in the hope of brining her to repentance), he became her guilty codefendant as a result of yielding himself to her encouragements. 



and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: 

Adam was guilty, he did not attempt to make a case for his innocence because he had eaten the fruit from the tree which God had obviously pointed out to him, and concerning which he had given a clear and specific command not to eat its fruit; and had communicated it to him in the strongest manner, and had most emphatically and strictly forbidden it, even adding the threat of death to it. He was silent before his Creator because there was no ground on which he could plead ignorance, or any vagueness in the law, and he could not pretend he did not understand what God meant. The righteous sentence, which is twofold is pronounced upon Adam. 



cursed is the ground for thy sake; 

This is the first judgment against the man. Work had already been established as the duty of men [“The LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden in order to have him work it and guard it” (Genesis 2:15; NIV). God would not allow man to be idle, even though there was no need to labor in the beginning.], but it was not hard. The change from innocence to sin is marked by the change in difficulty from the keeping of the garden to the tilling of the ground [“Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground “ (Genesis 3:23; KJV).] From now on work is to be done under adverse conditions. The connection between the sin of man and the productiveness of the earth is hard to define, but the conditions of labor are undoubtedly made harder by man's sin and selfishness. 



God imposed upon the ground limitations and penalties that would have a bearing upon the lives men, not merely for punishment which his disobedience deserved, but to provide a continual reminder of man's fallen estate, and as a means of controlling and limiting him and of securing his seeking after God. And we should not think that this account of what happened to the earth is by any means complete. The entire series of the trumpet visions in Revelation 8, etc., are clearly related to the primeval curse mentioned here. God simply rearranged (or remodeled) this physical world in such a way that man would never be able to make himself too cozy in his state of rebellion against his Creator. There was one more adjustment made to the earth by the Great Flood; and that would also appear to be an extension and development of the principle visible in these verses. Many Bible scholars believe that this curse reached much further, and that the writer has merely noted the most obvious factor. The expulsion of the sinful pair from Eden was also compassionate since God lovingly seals off any possibility of them eating from the tree of life by driving them out of the garden.


  

Just think of all that mankind lost because of this one sin by our first parents; the whole earth, which was made for man, and everything in it which he had possession of and dominion over, and might have enjoyed the use of throughout eternity, with comfort and pleasure; that which was man's greatest earthly blessing is now turned into a curse by sin, which is proof of the great sinfulness of it. 



in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 

 “Sorrow” refers to the hard work, troubles and anxiety that a person must endure to support themselves and their family. Man must now fertilize, cultivating the earth, plant seed, and harvest the crop; he would get his living from the produce it produces, though with great difficulty; and this would be his circumstance for as long as he lives. He must be concerned about the cold and the heat, the wet and the dry. How often are all the fruits of man‘s toll destroyed by wind and hail, by mildew, by insects, wet weather, drought and floods, etc.! Anxiety and trouble are the working man‘s lot in life.



18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 


Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; 

“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee,” but it will not be for his advantage, instead it will give him more trouble, and cause him more fatigue and sorrow to root them up: these include all sorts of harmful herbs and plants, and troublesome weeds, which added to man's labor, since they must be pulled up, so that the more beneficial crops can grow and flourish [“But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Heb. 6.8; KJV). The curse that God placed upon the land produced thorns and thistles. They may cut them down again and again; they may plow deep and seem to tear away all their roots; they may sow the ground with the choicest seed, but soon the briars and the thorns will appear again, and be as troublesome as ever. No amount of hard work will subdue them, or secure a harvest. This curse continued, or at least it was not entirely removed, until the times of Noah [“And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done” (Genesis 8:21; KJV)], which made it hard and difficult for our ancestors to get their daily bread. Instead of producing nourishing grain and useful vegetables, noxious weeds were markedly prolific and choked the good seed, and mocked the hopes of the first farmers. From now on, man will have to work hard for his food against ever increasing difficulties. He will have to contend with thorns and thistles, which will always be ready to prevent the growth of that which he would eat. It is the vegetation that tears at his hands and prevents him having food that will grow on its own, like the trees of the garden had grown on their own to provide him with food, before the fall. Seeking his food will be a constant struggle. The place to which he will be sent will not have sufficient trees to provide his food. It must now be sought amidst thorns and thistles, which will tear not only his hands, but his heart.



It is worth noting that God does not curse the man, as He cursed the snake, but he is on his own, and he is a weak creature compared to many of the beasts he must compete with for his food. Adam and Eve are alone; there is no one else deserving to be cursed. But from now on it is his daily provision that is cursed, something that will constantly remind him of his position and what he has done. The curse does not directly bear upon Adam, but it does have an indirect bearing on him by multiplying his labor. The snake is cursed as a representative of the evil power behind it, the ground is cursed as a representative of the man.



and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

“And thou shall eat the herb of the field;” not the fruits of the garden of Eden, but only the common herbs of the field, which is the same as that which the beasts of the earth fed upon. How low the man has sunk; the lord of the whole earth is reduced by sin to such a low condition that he must compete with the animals for his food. That man, who was not content with all the fruits of Eden, less the one forbidden by God, by eating the forbidden fruit is now deprived of them all. 



19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 


In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 

Although the whole body may be thrown into a profuse sweat by hard and prolonged labor, yet the face or forehead is the first place where beads of sweat begin to form, and from there they trickle down by the nose or into the eyes, which blurs the sight and causes the eyes to burn. Sweat is caused by the blood being forcefully propelled to the brain, partly through stooping, but principally by the strong action of the muscles. As a result the blood vessels located around the head become swollen through the great flux of blood; the fibers are relaxed, the pores enlarged, and the sweat pours out. In this way, every man‘s labor may put him in mind of his sin and its consequences. The labor used in cultivating the earth for the production of wheat and corn from which bread is made, requires various operations which cause men to sweat, such as ploughing, sowing, reaping, threshing, winnowing, grinding, sifting, kneading, and baking; and it may include all the methods and means by which men get their bread. It even happens, that work involving the brain is not exempt from producing a sweat due to the stress that the mind creates: so that every man, no matter what their station of life, is not exempt, more or less, from this sentence, and so it continues until he dies. From now on, man will be dependent on the uncertainties of rain and weather, and his life will be a constant and almost unendurable struggle.



You may notice I did not say anything about women sweating, which I omitted on purpose since I was told by my wife that women do not sweat, they GLOW instead.



till thou return unto the ground; 

When man dies he is committed to the ground that has been cursed, and in time he will become once more part of the ground, as his body disintegrates to become dust. This is the final effect of the curse—it will fully attach to him in the end. But by cursing the ground and not the man God is showing him mercy by delaying punishment. The man will die, but not yet. The life of man would be a life of toil and labor to the very end of it: and there is nothing else man can expect in it. 



It should be noted that the warning “in the day that you eat of it you will surely die” has not been literally carried out. Neither the man nor the power behind the snake will receive their just deserts as yet. Our God wants us to see that a new phase is beginning in God’s dealings with man. He wants us to know that the man has not fallen because he independently chose to rebel against God, but because another more sinister power dragged him down. Therefore, God will show him mercy, so that he, along with his descendants, can reverse the situation and bring down that evil power. He will yet bruise the head of “the snake.” Yet the sentence has only been delayed because, as God has already stated, one day the ground that has been cursed will receive him. He is only dust, and dust he will become.



The story does not assume that man was created physically immortal, but who knows what might have happened if Adam had not sinned. But the inevitable certainty of death is now seen to increase the sadness of his earthly life. It is sin which gives death its sting [“The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56; KJ 2000). The Apostle Paul explains that death could not have entered into the world if sin had not entered first; it was sin that not only introduced death, but has armed him with all his destroying force; the dagger used by death is sin; by this both body and soul are slain.]; and though the Redemption of Christ has not abolished physical death, yet it gives victory over death, by removing the guilt and fear that make it so appalling and hopeless [“Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, he himself also shared the same things, so that by his death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (that is, the devil)  and might free those who were slaves all their lives because they were terrified by death” (Hebrews 2:14, 15; ISV). One reason Jesus came was to destroy the power of him who first brought death on our race, that is, the devil. It was necessary for Him to be clothed with mortality in order to die, and He needed to die in order to deliver men from the power of sin and give them a glorious hope.]



for out of it wast thou taken: 

“for out of it wast thou taken” is not the reason for man’s disintegration into the original material from which he was constituted, but rather a reminder that in consequence of his transgression he had forfeited the privilege of immunity from death, and must now return to the soil from which he sprung.



for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 

God had said that in the day they ate of the forbidden fruit, dying they should die—sin would initiate their transformation into mortal beings, and place them under the influence of a great variety of unfriendly environments in the atmosphere and in their surroundings; from heat, cold, drought, rain, and humidity, until their spirit finds its earthly house no longer tolerable, and returns to God who provided it; and the body decomposes, and is reduced to dust. It is evident from this that man would have been immortal if he never transgressed, and that this immortality depended on his obedience to his Maker. The tree of life, as we have already seen, was intended to be the means of continual preservation. But since no being except God can exist without any assistance, man could not continue to live without a particular supporting instrument; and this supporting instrument under God appears to have been the tree of life.



Man’s body is composed of the same elements as the dust of the earth, and it would be reduced to those same elements by death, but this was not done for the purpose of annihilating man, but to bring him back to his beginning. This shows what a frail creature man is, and what little reason he has to be proud of himself, when he contemplates where he came from and where he must go [“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12.7). The body, which is made of dust, and is, in its present state, refined and enlivened dust; at death, returns to its original earth; it becomes immediately a clod of earth, a lifeless lump of clay. Now at death the soul, or spirit of man, returns to God, the Judge of all, who passes sentence on them, and orders those that are good to the mansions of heaven and happiness, and those that are evil to hell and destruction.]



20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 


 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; 

The first time he saw the woman Adam called her "Ishah", a woman, because she was taken from him the man [“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23).], and now he gives her a new name. “Adam called his wife‘s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living”—A man who does not understand the original manuscripts cannot possibly comprehend the reason for what is said here. What has the word Eve to do with being the mother of all living? Our translators often follow the Septuagint; it is a pity they did not do so here, because the Septuagint translation is literal and correct. “And Adam called his wife‘s name Life, because she was the mother of all the living.” This is the correct depiction of the Hebrew text, because we have corrupted the “Chavvah” of the original into Eve, a word which means the day, the evening and the night before, and does not have any application here. It is likely that God intended by this name to teach our first parents these two important truths:

1. That though they deserved immediate death, they received a reprieve, and the execution of the sentence was delayed for hundreds of years; thus they were spared to produce numerous children on the earth.

2. That though his descendants would have to go through a great deal of misery, and death would have a long reign and universal empire, yet One would in the fullness of time spring from the woman to destroy death, and bring life and immortality to light [“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). He has abolished death—taken away its sting, and turned it into a blessing. He has clearly revealed by the gospel that immortal life which he has purchased for us.] Therefore Adam called his wife‘s name “LIFE,” because she was to be the mother of all human beings, and because she was to be the mother of Him who was to give life to a world dead in trespasses, and dead in sins [“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).].



This verse also emphasizes that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth, and that all subsequent generations of the human family descended from them, a fact also inherent in the apostolic injunction that God "made of one," all the families of men that dwell on the earth [“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…” (Acts 17:26). That is, of one man's blood; of Adam, the first parent of all mankind, and who had the blood of all men in his veins.].



Arraigned, convicted, and judged, the guilty but pardoned pair prepare to leave their garden home—the woman to begin her life of sorrow, dependence, and subjection; the man to enter upon his life career of hardship and toil, and both to meet their certain doom, though it might be a long-delayed, death. 



because she was the mother of all living.

"Because she would be the mother of all living" became the ground of his belief that he and his wife would not die immediately for the transgression they had committed, but would live and propagate their species, as well as be partakers of spiritual and eternal life. There was also the hint that had been just given them, that there would be a seed spring from them; not only a numerous offspring, but a particular eminent person that would destroy the devil and his kingdom, and become the Savior of mankind. Therefore, Eve would not only be the mother of all men living in succeeding generations, but, above all, one of her descendants, would be the mother of Him that would bring life and immortality to light, and be the author of all life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; and who is called "the life", which is the same word by which the Greek version renders Eve in the preceding clause. It was with pleasure, no doubt, that Adam gave her this name; and it appears that the matter of her being seduced by the serpent, and of drawing him into the transgression, did not alienate his affection from her; but instead he must cleave unto her, and not forsake her, since her seed was to break the serpent's head, and procure life and salvation for them; and by means of her there would be a race of living men produced, which would propagate his species to the end of time. But the change of name also reflects the change in situation. She has previously been “woman” in relation to “man,” which suggests an idyllic relationship, now she becomes the “life” bearer who through pain and anguish will produce children. The renaming further stresses the woman’s new relationship to the man, “your desire will be to your husband and he will rule over you.” By renaming her the man is exerting his new authority. She is now not just subordinate, but in subjection.



The man recognizes that God has shown mercy to him and that, in spite of everything that has transpired, life will go on. And by revealing his willingness to carry out God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), he is making a statement of faith. Suddenly tragedy has been tempered by hope. All is not yet lost. Although they have lost everlasting life, they will live on in their children.



21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 


We are not to infer from this that before this they were only flesh and bone, and now God fashioned a skin over them, and covered them with it, or created a beast which was like a man, in order to have its skin stripped off, and put on him. Though it says the clothing was made by God, we should not conclude that God had been a furrier, or a servant that sewed the clothes (It is wrong to think God makes or does what he gives orders or instructions to be made or done.), or that he ordered them made by ministering of angels. It is very likely that the skins out of which their clothing was made were taken off animals whose blood had been poured out as a sin-offering to God. Since Cain and Abel offered sacrifices to God, we may reasonably presume that God had given them instructions in this matter; it is not likely that the notion of a sacrifice could have ever occurred to the mind of man without an express revelation from God. Therefore, we may safely conclude that since Adam and Eve needed this clothing as soon as they fell, and since death had not as of yet ravaged any of the creatures in the animal world, it is highly likely that the skins were taken off animals offered under the direction of God himself, and that the two sacrificers had faith in Him, who in the fullness of time was to make an atonement by his death. And it also seems reasonable to presume that this matter would be carried out in such a way that Satan and death could not triumph, when the very first death that took place in the world was an symbol and type of that death which should conquer Satan, destroy his empire, reconcile God to man, convert man to God, sanctify human nature, and prepare it for heaven.



The purpose of the sacrifices was to keep up and direct the faith of our first parents to the slain Lamb of God from the foundation of the world, and of all believers in all ages, and until the Messiah would come and die, and become a sacrifice for sin, the sacrifices of slain beasts were appointed. Here we have the first hint of actual deaths. No reader could fail to relate the provision of skins with the deaths of animals. And in this story it stands out dramatically, for death has been totally absent. Thus man receives his first lesson, that his disobedience has brought death. Already a substitute is required. Others die that he might be able to face God. Here we have the primitive beginnings of the idea of sacrifice, which will lead on to the final Sacrifice.



It is the opinion of some commentators that the mention of Adam and Eve individually indicates that God clothed them with two types of clothing, a conclusion that is based upon the prohibition given in Deuteronomy 22:5 against the interchange of raiment between the sexes. [“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God” (Deut. 22.5). It would be a good idea to recall this verse whenever addressing the issue of cross-dressing, homosexuality, or the transgendered]. 



It was an indication of God’s grace and favor to them, because they were now aware they were naked, and for the first time they felt ashamed. The skins though not rich, fine, and soft, were substantial, and sufficient to protect them from all inclement weather; and they also served to put them in mind of their fall, of their mortality, and of the sorry condition sin had wrought in them. So God now clarifies their new position. They can no longer walk naked before him, for they have made themselves feel vulnerable, inadequate and ashamed. Thus they must be covered to give them a feeling of security and acceptance. Their clothes will always be a reminder of the wonderful relationship with God that they have lost.


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