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Ge 3:1-5. THE TEMPTATION.
1. the serpent--The fall of man was effected by the seductions
of a serpent. That it was a real serpent is evident from the plain and
artless style of the history and from the many allusions made to it in
the New Testament. But the material serpent was the instrument or tool
of a higher agent, Satan or the devil, to whom the sacred writers apply
from this incident the reproachful name of "the dragon, that old
Though Moses makes no mention of this wicked spirit--giving only the
history of the visible world--yet in the fuller discoveries of the
Gospel, it is distinctly intimated that Satan was the author of the
2. the woman said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden--In her answer, Eve extolled the large extent of liberty they enjoyed in ranging at will amongst all the trees--one only excepted, with respect to which, she declared there was no doubt, either of the prohibition or the penalty. But there is reason to think that she had already received an injurious impression; for in using the words "lest ye die," instead of "ye shall surely die" [Ge 2:17], she spoke as if the tree had been forbidden because of some poisonous quality of its fruit. The tempter, perceiving this, became bolder in his assertions.
4. Ye shall not surely die--He proceeded, not only to assure her of perfect impunity, but to promise great benefits from partaking of it.
5. your eyes shall be opened--His words meant more than met the ear. In one sense her eyes were opened; for she acquired a direful experience of "good and evil"--of the happiness of a holy, and the misery of a sinful, condition. But he studiously concealed this result from Eve, who, fired with a generous desire for knowledge, thought only of rising to the rank and privileges of her angelic visitants.
Ge 3:6-9. THE FALL.
6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food--Her imagination and feelings were completely won; and the fall of Eve was soon followed by that of Adam. The history of every temptation, and of every sin, is the same; the outward object of attraction, the inward commotion of mind, the increase and triumph of passionate desire; ending in the degradation, slavery, and ruin of the soul (Jas 1:15; 1Jo 2:16).
8. they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the
garden--The divine Being appeared in the same manner as
formerly--uttering the well-known tones of kindness, walking in some
visible form (not running hastily, as one impelled by the influence of
angry feelings). How beautifully expressive are these words of the
familiar and condescending manner in which He had hitherto held
intercourse with the first pair.
Ge 3:10-13. THE EXAMINATION.
10. afraid, because . . . naked--apparently, a confession--the language of sorrow; but it was evasive--no signs of true humility and penitence--each tries to throw the blame on another.
12. The woman . . . gave me--He blames God [CALVIN]. As the woman had been given him for his companion and help, he had eaten of the tree from love to her; and perceiving she was ruined, was determined not to survive her [M'KNIGHT].
13. beguiled--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 of the creature to the Creator.
Ge 3:14-24. THE SENTENCE.
14. And the Lord God said unto the serpent--The Judge pronounces a doom: first, on the material serpent, which is cursed above all creatures. From being a model of grace and elegance in form, it has become the type of all that is odious, disgusting, and low [LE CLERC, ROSENMULLER]; or the curse has converted its natural condition into a punishment; it is now branded with infamy and avoided with horror; next, on the spiritual serpent, the seducer. Already fallen, he was to be still more degraded and his power wholly destroyed by the offspring of those he had deceived.
15. thy seed--not only evil spirits, but wicked men.
16. unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow--She was doomed as a wife and mother to suffer pain of body and distress of mind. From being the help meet of man and the partner of his affections [Ge 2:18, 23], her condition would henceforth be that of humble subjection.
17-19. unto Adam he said--made to gain his livelihood by tilling the ground; but what before his fall he did with ease and pleasure, was not to be accomplished after it without painful and persevering exertion.
19. till thou return unto the ground--Man became mortal; although he did not die the moment he ate the forbidden fruit, his body underwent a change, and that would lead to dissolution; the union subsisting between his soul and God having already been dissolved, he had become liable to all the miseries of this life and to the pains of hell for ever. What a mournful chapter this is in the history of man! It gives the only true account of the origin of all the physical and moral evils that are in the world; upholds the moral character of God; shows that man, made upright, fell from not being able to resist a slight temptation; and becoming guilty and miserable, plunged all his posterity into the same abyss (Ro 5:12). How astonishing the grace which at that moment gave promise of a Saviour and conferred on her who had the disgrace of introducing sin the future honor of introducing that Deliverer (1Ti 2:15).
21. God made coats of skins--taught them to make these for themselves. This implies the institution of animal sacrifice, which was undoubtedly of divine appointment, and instruction in the only acceptable mode of worship for sinful creatures, through faith in a Redeemer (Heb 9:22).
22. And God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us--not
spoken in irony as is generally supposed, but in deep compassion. The
words should be rendered, "Behold, what has become [by sin] of the man
who was as one of us"! Formed, at first, in our image to know good and
evil--how sad his condition now.
24. placed . . . cherbim--The passage should be rendered thus: "And he dwelt between the cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden and a fierce fire, or Shekinah, unfolding itself to preserve the way of the tree of life." This was the mode of worship now established to show God's anger at sin and teach the mediation of a promised Saviour as the way of life, as well as of access to God. They were the same figures as were afterwards in the tabernacle and temple; and now, as then, God said, "I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims" (Ex 25:22).