וְהַנָּחָשׁ֙ הָיָ֣ה עָר֔וּם מִכֹּל֙ חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־הָ֣אִשָּׁ֔ה אַ֚ף כִּֽי־אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹ֣א תֹֽאכְל֔וּ מִכֹּ֖ל עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃
Now the snake was more cunning than all the animals of the field which YHWH God made. And he said to the woman, “Really that God spoke you shall not eat?”
Paraphrase: Now of all the animals which God had created, the snake was the most clever. One day, the snake addressed the woman. Has God given you some kind of command that you are not allowed to eat the fruit of all these beautiful trees?
Note אַף. Jouon writes that כִּי introduces a subject clause when it follows this particle (§157a). So we understand this: God says you may not eat, really is it? where the clause “God says…” is the subject of the implied “is” and אַף is an adverb. cf also Gesenius.
וַתֹּ֥אמֶר הָֽאִשָּׁ֖ה אֶל־הַנָּחָ֑שׁ מִפְּרִ֥י עֵֽץ־הַגָּ֖ן נֹאכֵֽל׃
and the woman said to the snake, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden, we may eat…
Paraphrase: “Not quite,” said the woman. “We are allowed to eat the fruit of any of these trees.
וּמִפְּרִ֣י הָעֵץ֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתֹוךְ־הַגָּן֒ אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים לֹ֤א תֹֽאכְלוּ֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְלֹ֥א תִגְּע֖וּ בֹּ֑ו פֶּן־תְּמֻתֽוּן׃
but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God said, “You shall not eat from it, you shall not touch on it lest you die.”
Paraphrase: …It’s only the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil the tree over there in the middle of the garden, that we are forbidden to eat. God has made a covenant with us that if we do not eat from the fruit of that tree, indeed, not even to touch it or to admire it, then we will love forever in this happy place. If we do eat from it, however, then we are cursed and will surely be punished with death.”
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הַנָּחָ֖שׁ אֶל־הָֽאִשָּׁ֑ה לֹֽא־מֹ֖ות תְּמֻתֽוּן׃
and the snake said to the woman, “You will surely not die.”
Paraphrase: When the snake heard this, he chuckled, lowered his voice and said, “Let me tell you something; it’s not true!“
כִּ֚י יֹדֵ֣עַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כִּ֗י בְּיֹום֙ אֲכָלְכֶ֣ם מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְנִפְקְח֖וּ עֵֽינֵיכֶ֑ם וִהְיִיתֶם֙ כֵּֽאלֹהִ֔ים יֹדְעֵ֖י טֹ֥וב וָרָֽע׃
for God is knowing that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be as God knowing good and evil.
Paraphrase: “Actually,” the snake continued “God knows this Himself. He knows very well that the if you eat the fruit of this tree, you will become like Him and will know good and evil. You can be sure of this; if you eat the fruit of this tree, your eyes will go open, your mind will be enlarged, and you will understand things that you never did before.”
Driver notes that the expression “your eyes will be opened” is used of any sudden, or miraculous, enlightenment as in Gen 21:19, 2Kings 6:17. source
וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י טֹוב֩ הָעֵ֨ץ לְמַאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ה֣וּא לָהַעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְיֹ֖ו וַתֹּאכַ֑ל וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּם־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ וַיֹּאכַֽל׃
and the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was desirable to the eyes and a valuable tree for causing one to have insight, and she took from its fruit and ate and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Paraphrase: Then Eve wandered over to the tree and looked it over. It was certainly was very beautiful fruit and would undoubtedly make for a very tasty snack. Furthermore, could it really be true that just by eating this fruit, she would gain all the insights and wisdom that the snake had promised? By this time, Adam too had joined her, and they admired the fruit of the tree together. Finally, Eve could take it no longer; she grasped some of the fruit hanging near her and took a bite. Then she handed it to Adam, and he too began eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of the good and evil.
The phrase עִמָּהּ implies that Adam was with Eve when the first sin was committed.
וַתִּפָּקַ֙חְנָה֙ עֵינֵ֣י שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּ֣דְע֔וּ כִּ֥י עֵֽירֻמִּ֖ם הֵ֑ם וַֽיִּתְפְּרוּ֙ עֲלֵ֣ה תְאֵנָ֔ה וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם חֲגֹרֹֽת׃
and the eyes of the two of them were opened and they recognized that they were naked, and they sewed leaves of fig trees and made for themselves loin-cloths.
Paraphrase: After eating this fruit, the truth of what they had done became clear to them. The first thing they noticed was their bodies; they were completely naked. Quickly, they grabbed whatever leaves they could and set about making some clothes to cover their private parts.
Note that it is not just their persons that Adam and Eve are trying to hide but their sexual organs. The fall into sin made their nakedness an “indecent exposure” where before it was perfectly innocent and acceptable.
וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־קֹ֨ול יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּהַגָּ֖ן לְר֣וּחַ הַיֹּ֑ום וַיִּתְחַבֵּ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם וְאִשְׁתֹּ֗ו מִפְּנֵי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּתֹ֖וךְ עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃
and they heard the sound of YHWH God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and the man and the woman hid themselves from the face of YHWH God in the middle of the trees of the garden.
Paraphrase: Then Adam and Eve heard a sound. It was a sound they had heard many times before, and it was a sound that they had so eagerly desired to hear. YHWH, the great king was strolling about in the garden enjoying the cool breezes which blew through the garden at this time of the day. Previously, they would run to meet their King and to have happy fellowship with Him. This time, however, they both grabbed for their newly made loin-cloths and ran for cover hiding behind the many trees in the middle of the garden. The memory and dread of their covenant-breaking was very fresh in their minds.
Skinner argues that the text is leading us to believe that מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּהַגָּן לְרוּחַ הַיֹּום was YHWH’s daily practice. source
וַיִּקְרָ֛א יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לֹ֖ו אַיֶּֽכָּה׃
and YHWH God called to Adam and said to him, “Where?”
Paraphrase: Then the voice they dreaded to hear broke through the peaceful quiet of the garden. “Adam, where have you gone? Are you here?”
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־קֹלְךָ֥ שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי בַּהַגָּ֑ן וָאִירָ֛א כִּֽי־עֵירֹ֥ם אָנֹ֖כִי וָאֵחָבֵֽא׃
and he said, “Your voice I heard in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.”
Paraphrase: Then Adam knew that he could not hide from YHWH, so he left his hiding place and went to Him. “Sorry,” Adam said, “I did hear your call; but when I saw how naked I was, I was ashamed, and I went and hid myself.”
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר מִ֚י הִגִּ֣יד לְךָ֔ כִּ֥י עֵירֹ֖ם אָ֑תָּה הֲמִן־הָעֵ֗ץ אֲשֶׁ֧ר צִוִּיתִ֛יךָ לְבִלְתִּ֥י אֲכָל־מִמֶּ֖נּוּ אָכָֽלְתָּ׃
and he said who caused you to know that you were naked? From the tree which I commanded you not to eat from it have you eaten?
Paraphrase: At this strange response, God was taken aback. He looked closely at Adam, now joined by Eve, and questioned him. “Why are you suddenly so concerned about your nakedness? It never seemed an issue before; has something changed? Is it possible that you have eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of the Good and Evil? Recall our covenant in which I stipulated that you were never to eat the fruit of that tree upon pain of death.
בִּלְתִּי is used (especially with לְ) to negate infinitive constructs, and is usually translated in English as “no” or “not”.
וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הָֽאָדָ֑ם הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָתַ֣תָּה עִמָּדִ֔י הִ֛וא נָֽתְנָה־לִּ֥י מִן־הָעֵ֖ץ וָאֹכֵֽל׃
and Adam said, “The woman who you gave with me; she gave to me from the tree and I ate.
Paraphrase: At this, Adam knew he was discovered. Desperately, he pointed at Eve and said, “It was she! She was the one who ate first and then asked me to try it too! I only ate because she asked me to!”
וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים לָהַאִשָּׁ֖ה מַה־זֹּ֣את עָשִׂ֑ית וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה הַנָּחָ֥שׁ הִשִּׁיאַ֖נִי וָאֹכֵֽל׃
and YHWH God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” and the woman said, “The snake deceived me and I ate.”
Paraphrase: Then Eve too began to wither under the the penetrating gaze of YHWH. “What have you done?” God said. “I was tricked by the snake!” Eve cried out. “I never would have done it if he hadn’t lied to me!”
וַיֹּאמֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֥ים׀ אֶֽל־הַנָּחָשׁ֮ כִּ֣י עָשִׂ֣יתָ זֹּאת֒ אָר֤וּר אַתָּה֙ מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה וּמִכֹּ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה עַל־גְּחֹנְךָ֣ תֵלֵ֔ךְ וְעָפָ֥ר תֹּאכַ֖ל כָּל־יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ׃
and YHWH God said to the snake, “Because you did this, cursed you are above all the beasts and above all living animals of the field. On your belly, you will go and dust you will eat all the days of your life.
Paraphrase: Then YHWH turned to the snake and said, “Because of this wicked treachery which you have done, I pronounce a curse on you. From now on, you are cursed above all the other animals which roam the fields. You will no longer walk on all fours, but you will slither about on your belly in the dust of the ground.
וְאֵיבָ֣ה׀ אָשִׁ֗ית בֵּֽינְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וּבֵ֥ין זַרְעֲךָ֖ וּבֵ֣ין זַרְעָ֑הּ ה֚וּא יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ רֹ֔אשׁ וְאַתָּ֖ה תְּשׁוּפֶ֥נּוּ עָקֵֽב׃ ס
and enmity I will cause to be made between you and between the woman and between your seed and between her seed. He will bruise you [in the] head and you will bruise him [in the] heel.
Paraphrase: Furthermore, you are also cursed in that I will put an abiding hatred and malice between you and the woman. Not only will this affect your relationship to the woman but all her descendants will share in this hatred toward you and your descendants. The result will be that you will succeed in bruising her heel in a severe and painful way, and she will suffer considerable pain as a result of this wound. It will not, however, be a fatal wound. You, however, will receive from her a fatal wound from which you will never recover.
Woudstra discusses the meaning of זֶרַע and what we are to understand by the seed of the serpent. He also discusses the הוּא; why is this masculine? What or who is the antecedent? Finally, he discusses the word שׁוּף. see here
אֶֽל־הָאִשָּׁ֣ה אָמַ֗ר הַרְבָּ֤ה אַרְבֶּה֙ עִצְּבֹונֵ֣ךְ וְהֵֽרֹנֵ֔ךְ בְּעֶ֖צֶב תֵּֽלְדִ֣י בָנִ֑ים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ וְה֖וּא יִמְשָׁל־בָּֽךְ׃ ס
To the woman, He said, “I will greatly multiply your hardship and your pregnancy in hardship; you will birth sons, and to your husband, your desire [will be], and he will rule over you.
Paraphrase: Then YHWH turned to the woman and pronounced this curse upon her. “I created you and designed you for raising children, but now I will make it so that you experience pain and hardship in this very thing. Pregnancy will be difficult, and childbirth will involve intense pain. Furthermore, the happy relationship which you had with your husband will also be subject to sinful pressures from both sides. You will often be led to resent his headship and to compete with him for control and power. From his side, there will be pressure to use his headship for purposes of domination and tyranny.
Be sure to understand the role of the infinitive absolute here.
Keil says תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ has the nuance of “a violent craving for a thing.” source
וּלְאָדָ֣ם אָמַ֗ר כִּֽי־שָׁמַעְתָּ֮ לְקֹ֣ול אִשְׁתֶּךָ֒ וַתֹּ֙אכַל֙ מִן־הָעֵ֔ץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר צִוִּיתִ֙יךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ אֲרוּרָ֤ה הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ בַּֽעֲבוּרֶ֔ךָ בְּעִצָּבֹון֙ תֹּֽאכֲלֶ֔נָּה כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ׃
and to the man, He said, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife and you ate from the tree which I commanded you saying, ‘You will not eat from it.’ Cursed is the land because of you; in hardship you will eat of it all the days of your life.
Paraphrase: Then YHWH turned to the man and pronounced this curse on him. “You listened to your wife when she took sides with the serpent. You knew that the serpent was in direct contradiction with Me. I told you that if you ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you would surely die. (Genesis 2:17) The serpent said that you would not die. (Genesis 3:4) How much clearer can it be that this serpent represents all that is contrary to My will and purpose? and yet, you chose to take sides with this wretched Satan and now you will face the consequences. I created you to subdue the land and to make it a beautiful place to live and a constant source of good food. From now on, this all changes. The earth will still be a source of food to you, but you are going to have to work hard for it. Every day, you will go out into the fields to toil and labor for the food you need to live; but instead of finding a plentiful crop, you will find…
וְקֹ֥וץ וְדַרְדַּ֖ר תַּצְמִ֣יחַֽ לָ֑ךְ וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ אֶת־עֵ֥שֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶֽה׃
and she will cause thorns and thistles to grow for you and you will eat the plants of the field.
Paraphrase: …masses of weeds and other noxious plants competing with what you planted and even choking out your crops. You will constantly be waging a battle against these weeds so that you can have a harvest and something to eat.
The subject of the feminine תַּצְמִיחַ must be הָֽאֲדָמָה which is also feminine.
בְּזֵעַ֤ת אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙ תֹּ֣אכַל לֶ֔חֶם עַ֤ד שֽׁוּבְךָ֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה כִּ֥י מִמֶּ֖נָּה לֻקָּ֑חְתָּ כִּֽי־עָפָ֣ר אַ֔תָּה וְאֶל־עָפָ֖ר תָּשֽׁוּב׃
In the sweat of your nose, you will eat food until your returning to the ground for from it you were taken and to the dust you will return.
Paraphrase: Your labor will be marked by hardship, toil, and sweat until finally you work grinds you down to the grave. You were created from dust and to this very same dust you will return.
וַיִּקְרָ֧א הָֽאָדָ֛ם שֵׁ֥ם אִשְׁתֹּ֖ו חַוָּ֑ה כִּ֛י הִ֥וא הָֽיְתָ֖ה אֵ֥ם כָּל־חָֽי׃
and Adam called the name of his wife Eva for she was the mother of all living.
Paraphrase: Then Adam turned to his wife and gave her the name, Eva. He gave her this name because he knew that she was going to be the mother of all people and the name “Eva” is closely related to the Hebrew word for “life.”
Peter Martyr, that most excellent interpreter of Scripture, saw and taught these things long ago: who thus comments on the place. “Adam, knowing that her seed would bruise the devil and death, justly and with propriety chose to call her by that name, by which this salutary promise of God might at all times occur to his mind. Now Adam had entertained hopes of life by Christ, and when he perceived that his wife was to be the mother of him, and of all those who were to be quickened by him, called her name Eve, because she was the mother of the living.” Fagius, in like manner: “We doubt not but Adam, by giving that name to his wife, had a view to the promise concerning the seed, that was to bruise the serpent’s head; by which he hoped that his wife was to be that person. Wherefore he named her חוה Chavah, which we call Eve, as if you would say an enlivener; because dead mankind was to be made alive by her offspring.” See also Pareus and others, all agreeing in the same thing. source
וַיַּעַשׂ֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים לְאָדָ֧ם וּלְאִשְׁתֹּ֛ו כָּתְנֹ֥ות עֹ֖ור וַיַּלְבִּשֵֽׁם׃ פ
Paraphrase: Your l
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר׀ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֗ים הֵ֤ן הָֽאָדָם֙ הָיָה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לָדַ֖עַת טֹ֣וב וָרָ֑ע וְעַתָּ֣ה׀ פֶּן־יִשְׁלַ֣ח יָדֹ֗ו וְלָקַח֙ גַּ֚ם מֵעֵ֣ץ הַֽחַיִּ֔ים וְאָכַ֖ל וָחַ֥י לְעֹלָֽם׃
and YHWH God said, “Behold mankind is as one of us to know good and evil and now lest he stretches out his hand and takes also from the tree of lifes and eats and lives forever…
Paraphrase: and YHWH, the Great King, said, “Look, the humans I created are now like one of us. Since they have chosen to break covenant with Me, they now see more clearly the evil of sin and the joy and sweetness of obedience to My will. We know it because our knowledge is perfect and comprehensive; they now know it by hard experience. In keeping with their choice, they must no longer have access to the fruit of the Tree of Life. Eating the fruit of this tree is a sign and seal to the eater that I will bring him or her into the joy of eternal life with Me in My house, this perfect garden. Before man made his dreadful choice, this fruit was meaningful to him and his wife. Things have changed, however. Their eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represents their choice and purpose to go their own way, to disobey My perfect will, and to break the covenant. Therefore, they must never again be allowed to take and eat the signs and seals of My covenant promise. I will not give these to covenant breakers. For his choice, he must suffer spiritual death and be cut off from fellowship with Me forever. Furthermore, I now sentence him to eternal death; and in due time, I will cast down him down to hell forever and ever. Now surely it can be said that humans know the difference between good and evil in a way that they never did before. Alas that it is so.
Who are meant by “one of us”? I assume these are the same persons as the “us” of Gen 1:26.
Vos writes: “the tree is called the tree of ‘knowledge of good and evil’, because it is the God-appointed instrument to lead man through probation to that state of religious and moral maturity wherewith his highest blessedness is connected.” Vos, Biblical Theology, 31.
Did Adam and Eve eat from the tree of life prior to the fall? I believe they did. This verse seems to imply that they did not and that if they had, they would have lived forever. I understand eating the fruit of the tree of life to be a visible sign and seal of God’s promise to give them eternal life upon successful completion of their probation. Eating this fruit after the fall would have been a contradiction of its meaning since no such promise existed for covenant-breakers; and therefore, Adam and Eve were barred from it.
Did Adam and Eve know the difference between good and evil before the fall? Yes, they did but not like they knew it after the fall. After the fall, they were given to taste the evil of sin and its results in a way that they never had before the fall. Had they kept the covenant, they also would have gained additional knowledge of good and evil only this time the sweetness and joy of obeying the perfect will of God. The question is then raised, how are we to understand that now man is like “one of us”? Has God sinned too and thus knows the great evil of sin? No, I would say that God knows the great evil of sin and the joy of obedience simply by reason of His perfect omniscience. Whitelaw writes:
The language seems to hint that a one-sided acquaintance with good and evil, such as that possessed by the first pair in the garden and the unfallen angels in heaven, is not so complete a knowledge of the inherent beauty of the one and essential turpitude of the other as is acquired by beings who pass through the experience of a fall, and that the only way in which a finite being can approximate to such a comprehensive knowledge of evil as the Deity possesses without personal contact—can see it as it lies everlastingly spread out before his infinite mind—is by going down into it and learning what it is through personal experience. source p73
וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֵ֛הוּ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים מִגַּן־עֵ֑דֶן לַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֻקַּ֖ח מִשָּֽׁם׃