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This representation of things would lead us to suppose, that Eve was not formed on the sixth day, but some time after, because her formation is here related after the living creatures had been shown to Adam. Nevertheless, as before hinted, that argument is not conclusive. Here we have only a more distinct account of what was before related in general. This may be strongly argued from the seventh verse of this chapter before taken notice of, concerning the formation of Adam, who, certainly, was created on the sixth day.
It follows at ver. 21. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept. And he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof." By this "sleep," as is supposed, all pain was prevented. It is needless to multiply words here, or nicely to weigh objections. It seems most probable, that in the first formation there was somewhat superfluous in Adam. It has been supposed, that he had a superfluous rib on each side, and that God took away one pair, with the muscular parts adhering to them, and out of them made Eve.
Ver. 22. "And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." Ver. 23. "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.'
It has been thought not improbable, that Adam had an ecstasy, during the time of his deep sleep, showing him what was done upon him: which enabled him to speak so properly, when Eve was brought to him.
Ver. 24. Therefore shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they shall be one flesh."
This is sometimes called Adam's prophecy. For certain, if these are the words of Adam, he must have been inspired. For he could not at this time, in an ordinary way, have distinct ideas of the relations of father and mother. But many good interpreters think, that these should rather be understood as words of Moses, who by divine direction here inserted this law.
Ver. 25. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife. And they were not ashamed." This, certainly, must have been the case in a state of innocence. And therefore was proper to be mentioned.
And thus concludes the account of the formation of the first pair.
2. The next point in order is the trial, upon which Adam was put in Paradise.
Ch. ii. 9. "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree, that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
Of what kind, or for what use "the tree of life" was, we cannot certainly say: though the name of it might lead us to think, it would have been of use upon occasion of eating any thing noxious, or for restoring decays, and preserving the vigour of life.
"And the tree of knowledge of good and evil." It is doubted, why this tree was so called: whether it received its denomination from the event or whether it was at first so called from the design, for which it was made and instituted, that it might be a trial of man's virtue.
In the 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 verses is the description of Paradise, which I pass over.
Ver. 15. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it." Not that he was made out of Paradise, and then brought into it. But, when made, he was placed therein, to keep it in good order.
Ver. 16. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat." Ver. 17. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it. For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Adam, as a rational creature, was subject to the law and will of God. He was necessarily bound by all moral laws and rules, and thereby obliged to love, honour, worship his Creator, and to love every creature of the same species or kind with himself, and to be merciful and tender of inferior beings, in subjection to him. But God was pleased to try him also by a positive law. And this would be likewise a trial of his virtue. For there can be no doubt but he was obliged to respect this law and restraint of his bountiful maker. And if he should disobey this law, it must be owing to some defect or failure of virtue. There cannot be conceived any reason, why he should transgress this command, unless some wrong temper, or evil thought, or irregularity and exorbitance of desire, (which, certainly, is immoral and sinful) first arose in him.
"In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Literally, in the original, "dying thou shalt die." Which our translators have well expressed, "thou shalt surely die."
Hereby some expositors have understood death spiritual, natural and eternal. But I do not see any good reason they have for it. We seem rather to be justified in taking it in the sense of natural death only, or the dissolution of this frame, the separation of soul and body. We are led to this by the words of the sentence pronounced after the transgression: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou salt surely die." By which may be meant, that very day thou shalt become mortal, and be liable to pains and diseases, which will issue in death. Or, that very day thou shalt actually die. Which last sense may be as probable as the other.
That is the trial, upon which man was put in Paradise, and in his state of innocence.
3. The next point, the third in order, is the temptation which he met with the account of which is at the beginning of the third chapter of the book of Genesis. How long it was after the creation of Adam and Eve, before this happened, is not said. But it is likely, that some days had passed. The serpent found Eve alone, and attempted her in the absence of the man. Nor would his insinuations have been received, we may suppose, if he had suggested disobedience to a command, that was but just then given.
Chap. iii. 1." Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, which God had made." It is generally allowed, that here was the contrivance and agency of Satan. But Moses speaks only of the outward appearance: and therein, as I apprehend, refers to, or intends the winding, insinuating motion of serpents. "And he said unto the woman: Yea has God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ?" This is somewhat abrupt, and, possibly, some other discourse had preceded. However, it is very artful: not denying what was most true and certain: but insinuating, that it was very strange, if such a prohibition had been delivered to them. And, possibly, Eve concluded, that she was now addressed by some angel, who wished them well.
Ver. 2. "And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden." Ver. 3. "But of the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it: neither shall ye touch touch it, lest ye die." By which we perceive, that the woman was well apprized of the command, and the strictness of it. And, probably, she was by, when it was delivered: though Adam only be particularly mentioned.
Ver. 4. "And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die." Ver. 5. "For God does know, that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Which last words may be thought to imply, that Eve was not without an apprehension of other intelligent beings, distinct from God the creator and man, and of an intermediate order between both.
In this discourse the serpent insinuates a wrong and disadvantageous opinion of the Deity, as envious of the high happiness and dignity which they might attain to. And Eve was much to blame, for admitting suspicions of the benevolence of him that made them.
4. I proceed immediately to our first parents' trangression, the accounts of that and the temptation being closely connected.
Ver. 6. " And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat." This is indeed strange. But from the serpent's insinuations she had admitted a dishonourable and disrespectful thought of the Deity, and then soon lost a just regard to the command he had given. She views this dangerous and deadly fruit with complacence. She looked upon this prohibited fruit, till she had an appetite to it, conceived of it as good food, and was taken with its beautiful colour, and possessed with a persuasion, that her curiosity would be gratified with an increase of knowledge. And according to the Mosaic account, which is concise, when Adam came up, and Eve presented him with some of the same forbidden fruit, he took it at her hand, and did eat of it. The account, I say, is concise. is concise. But it was needless to be more particular, after the clear account before given of the strict prohibition. Which sets Adam's fault in a conspicuous view. Possibly, the woman gave Adam an account of what the serpent had said to her, and represented it to him, with tokens of her approbation. He could have no temptation beyond what had been
presented to the woman, beside the addition of her offer of it. Which, as it seems, was no small inducement to compliance, and to do as she had done, and whatever should be the event to share as she did.
Ver. 7. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked: and they sewed [or twisted] fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons." Upon reflection, their eyes were opened in a different sense from what the serpent had said, and they were filled with shame, not knowing what to think of themselves, or how to act. But they soon contrived a slight garment as for a covering.
Ver. 8. "And they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden, in the cool of the day." They perceived a brisk motion of the air coming towards them, with an increasing sound, that was awful to them. Or, in the words of Bishop Patrick: They heard the sound of the • majestic presence, or the glory of the Lord, approaching nearer and nearer to the place where they were.'" And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." They who before had had converse with God, which was delightful, now retire into the closest, and most shady coverts, to avoid the Divine appearance.
Ver. 9." And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where art thou?" God summoned Adam to appear before him, and to attend to what he should say. Ver. 10. "And he said, I heard thy voice in the midst of the garden. And I was afraid, because I was naked. And I hid myself." Ver. 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? Intimating, that doubtless that was the occasion of all this confusion and disorder of mind, and of his shyness of the Divine presence.
Ver. 12. “And the man said, The woman, whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." He cannot deny his guilt; but he puts it off, as much as he can, upon the woman. And the more to excuse himself to God, he says, "the woman, whom thou gavest to be with me
Ver. 13. "And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." She too endeavours to cast the blame upon another. And though it was not a full vindication (far from it,) yet it was an alleviation of the fault. It would have been much worse, if she had eaten of her own accord, without a tempter.
Ver. 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." Ver. 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."
It is an observation of an ancient Christian writer, in Patrick upon ver. 14. That though • God inflicted punishments upon Adam and Eve, yet he did not curse them, as he did the serpent, they standing fair for a restitution to his favour.' Undoubtedly, it must have been comfortable to Adam and Eve, to see the displeasure of God against the serpent that had seduced them. Nor were they presently cut off, as the threatening, annexed to disobedience, seemed to import. Yea God speaks of the woman's seed. Therefore they were not to die immediately, but were to have a posterity: meaning by her seed men in general, or the Messiah, and good men, who should prevail against the tempter and adversary, though they would suffer some injuries through his means: and calling it the "woman's seed," as some expositors think, to mollify Adam, and prevent his displeasure against her, who had led him into wrong conduct.
Ver. 16. "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth thy children:" that is, I will add to the pain and sorrow of child-bearing. "And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Thy will shall be subject to thy husband's. So it was before: but now his authority might be more rigorous and severe than otherwise it would have been. The punishment inflicted on Eve is suitable to the condition of her sex.
Ver. 17. "Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife (where we see what was his chief temptation, and what was the nearest and most immediate inducement to him to transgress :) 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." Ver. 18. "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field." Ver. 19. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
This part of the sentence, " returning to the dust," or dying, must be supposed common to both the man and the woman. And so far the first sentence takes place. They did not die immediately. But an irreversible sentence of death passes upon them, which would take place in a term of years, when God saw fit.
The rest of the sentence or punishment inflicted on Adam, is suitable to the condition of his sex, as the woman's was to her's, whose province, as the apostle excellently describes it, 1 Tim. v. 14. is to "bear children, and guide the house:" whilst the man has the charge of providing for himself and the family by his care, labour and industry. The punishment therefore laid upon Adam is, that his care, and toil, and labour, should now for the future be increased beyond what it would have been otherwise.
But here arise objections, relating to the execution of the several sentences pronounced upon the serpent, the tempter, and the two transgressors. The sentence upon the serpent was, "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.”
This is thought a difficulty. And it is asked: Did not serpents go upon the belly before? Was not that their ordinary motion always? How else should they be serpents, if they wanted that which is their proper nature? With regard then to this, and the two other sentences of punishment pronounced upon Eve, and upon Adam, I would observe. It seems to me probable, that God foresaw the event; and that though Adam was made innocent and upright, yet he would fall. This being foreseen, there were dispositions made in the original formation of things, which would be suitable to what happened. Therefore the alterations to be made upon the transgression of the first pair, were not very great and extraordinary. That is, there needed not any great alteration in the form of serpents, nor in the woman's make and constitution, nor in the temper of the ground to accomplish what is mentioned as a punishment upon each.
Serpents there were before the fall, as is manifest. And their winding, insinuating motion is referred to. Nor did God now, after the fall, create any new species of plants, as "thorns and thistles," to exercise Adam's patience. There were already formed plants and herbs, that were not immediately useful for food, and would occasion an increase of labour and toil. And doubtless there were also lions, and tigers, and other like creatures: all originally made within the compass of the six day's creation, and all good and wisely designed, as a restraint upon man, according as his temper and circumstances should prove: to humble him, and to render him sensible of his weakness in himself, and his dependence upon God: and to make him thankful for all his distinctions, that he might be induced to give the praise of all his prerogatives and pre-eminences to him from whom they came: who had made him to differ, with advantage, from the rest of the living creatures of this earth: but had also shown, in a proper measure, his wisdom and power in them, as well as in him, and indeed, is wise and holy, great and admirable in all his works.
Nor does it appear that the whole earth though fitted for great fertility, was made paradisaical. For, according to Moses, paradise was a garden, a spot of ground which God planted, a certain district or territory, designed for the accommodation of man, and the living creatures with him, in a state of innocence. When Adam therefore was turned out of paradise, he would find a difference.
It follows at ver. 20. “ And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living."
When this was done, is not absolutely certain. Moses does not say when. And as he seems not always to keep the order of time, it may be questioned whether this was done very soon after the sentence had been pronounced upon them; or not till after the woman had brought forth, and was the mother of a living child.
Ver. 21. "Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them."
It is very likely that this is not mentioned in the order of time. For it precedes the account of expelling Adam and Eve out of paradise: whereas it cannot be easily supposed that it was
done so soon. It must be reckoned probable, that immediately after the transgression of our first parents, and pronouncing sentence upon them, they were driven out of paradise. But coats of skins could not be had till some time after the fall: for as all the brute creatures were made by pairs, some time must have been allowed for their increase, before any could be slain in the way of sacrifice, or otherwise.
Some of the Jewish writers indeed have understood this literally: "that unto Adam and his wife God did make coats of skins and clothed them:" that is, he created for them such garments. Then there would be no occasion to take from any of the beasts; but the more likely meaning is, that by Divine instruction and direction they made to themselves coats of skins: and it may be supposed, that they were but rough and unpolished.
Understand these words, as we generally do, that by Divine instruction, and with the Divine approbation, Adam and Eve clothed themselves with the skins of slain beasts, of sheep, or goats, or other living creatures: I should be much inclined to think that Moses inserted this particular, as evidence that God himself approved of clothing the body with proper and sufficient covering, as a ground and foundation of that decency, which is necessary to be observed by so sociable a creature as man, and in his present circumstances. And if the rough skins of beasts were used then, a more agreeable and more ornamental clothing would not be unlawful or sinful hereafter: when farther improvements in arts and sciences should be made by the wit and industry of man: provided it were but suitable to the ability and condition of persons. And, for certain, a great variety of circumstances was very likely to arise in a numerous race of beings.
I say, if this be the meaning of the words, as they are generally understood, I should be much disposed to think, that Moses inserted this particular, to prevent all scruples upon this head: for though a thing be in itself reasonable, and highly expedient; yet there is nothing that so effectually puts objections to silence, as a divine precept or precedent.
However, there is a very learned and diligent expositor of scripture," who explains this text in a different manner. He does not deny, that the original word is used for coat or clothing: but yet he thinks the word rendered coats, signifies tents or tabernacles: which would be more needful than clothing in that warm climate near paradise. Nor would the first pair, he thinks, need there so thick and heavy a clothing as that of the skins of beasts. Nevertheless, I do but just mention this sense: for that of our translation is generally approved of both by Jewish and Christian interpreters.
Ver. 22. “And the Lord God said: Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."
Calvin's remark upon this verse this verse is exactly to this purpose: Whereas," says he, many Chris• tians from this place draw the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the Deity, I fear the argument ⚫ is not solid.' So that great man. And indeed, though Moses gives no particular account of the creation of angels, yet their existence is supposed in several parts of this history: and what reason could there be for saying, upon this occasion, that man was become like one of the Divine persons? It may therefore be reckoned very likely that here is a reference to the angelical order of beings, supposed to be more perfect and more knowing than man.
Still ver. 22. "And now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and live for ever."
The expression is elliptical. Somewhat is to be supplied, and to this effect. Now care must be had, that he take not of the tree of life, and live for ever.' This seems to imply, what was formerly hinted, that the tree of life was salutary and healing, and might be useful in case of hurts, and injuries, and decays. But man having transgressed in eating of the fruit forbidden him, and having incurred the threatened sentence; (which too had been pronounced upon him :) it was by no means fit he should eat of the tree of life: the fruit of which might have rendered him immortal, or however prolonged his days to a period that was not suited to the circumstances into which he had brought himself by wilful transgression. There is an allusion to this design, or this virtue of the tree of life in Rev. xxii. 2. "And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side the river was there the tree of life And the leaves of the tree were for healing
Ver. 23, 24. “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the
a Vid. J. Cleric. Comm. in Gen. iii. 7, et 21.
b Quod autem eliciunt ex hoc loco Christiani doctrinam de tribus in Deo personis, vereor ne satis firmum sit argumentum. Comm, in Gen. iii. 22.