|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:6-8 Observe the steps of the transgression: not steps upward, but downward toward the pit. 1. She saw. A great deal of sin comes in at the eye. Let us not look on that which we are in danger of lusting after, Mt 5:28. 2. She took. It was her own act and deed. Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down, Mt 4:6. 3. She did eat. When she looked perhaps she did not intend to take; or when she took, not to eat: but it ended in that. It is wisdom to stop the first motions of sin, and to leave it off before it be meddled with. 4. She gave it also to her husband with her. Those that have done ill, are willing to draw in others to do the same. 5. He did eat. In neglecting the tree of life, of which he was allowed to eat, and eating of the tree of knowledge, which was forbidden, Adam plainly showed a contempt of what God had bestowed on him, and a desire for what God did not see fit to give him. He would have what he pleased, and do what he pleased. His sin was, in one word, disobedience, Ro 5:19; disobedience to a plain, easy, and express command. He had no corrupt nature within, to betray him; but had a freedom of will, in full strength, not weakened or impaired. He turned aside quickly. He drew all his posterity into sin and ruin. Who then can say that Adam's sin had but little harm in it? When too late, Adam and Eve saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness they fell from, and the misery they were fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and favour forfeited. See her what dishonour and trouble sin is; it makes mischief wherever it gets in, and destroys all comfort. Sooner or later it will bring shame; either the shame of true repentance, which ends in glory, or that shame and everlasting contempt, to which the wicked shall rise at the great day. See here what is commonly the folly of those that have sinned. They have more care to save their credit before men, than to obtain their pardon from God. The excuses men make to cover and lessen their sins, are vain and frivolous; like the aprons of fig-leaves, they make the matter never the better: yet we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam. Before they sinned, they would have welcomed God's gracious visits with humble joy; but now he was become a terror to them. No marvel that they became a terror to themselves, and full of confusion. This shows the falsehood of the tempter, and the frauds of his temptations. Satan promised they should be safe, but they cannot so much as think themselves so! Adam and Eve were now miserable comforters to each other!
Verse 7. - And the eyes of them both were opened. The fatal deed committed, the promised results ensued, but not the anticipated blessings.
(1) The eyes of their minds were opened to perceive that they were no longer innocent, and
(2) the eyes of their bodies to behold that they were not precisely as they had been. And they knew that they were naked.
(1) Spiritually (cf. Exodus 32:25; Ezekiel 16:22; Revelation 3:17), and
(2) corporeally, having lost that enswathing light of purity which previously engirt their bodies (vide Genesis 2:25). And they sewed. Literally, fastened or tied by twisting. Fig leaves. Not the pisang tree (Muss Paradisiaca), whose leaves attain the length of twelve feet and the breadth of two (Knobel Bohlen); but the common fig tree (Ficus Carica), which is aboriginal in Western Asia, especially in Persia, Syria, and Asia Minor (Kalisch, Keil, Macdonald). Together, and made themselves aprons. Literally, girdles, περιζώματα (LXX.), i.e. to wrap about their loins. This sense of shame which caused them to seek a covering for their nudity was not due to any physical corruption of the body (Baumgarten), but to the consciousness of guilt with which their souls were laden, and which impelled them to flee from the presence of their offended Sovereign.
TRADITIONS OF THE FALL.
1. Babylonian. "There is nothing in the Chaldean fragments indicating a belief in the garden of Eden or the tree of knowledge; there is only an obscure allusion to a thirst for knowledge having been a cause of man's fall"... The details of the temptation are lost in the cuneiform text, which "opens where the gods are cursing the dragon and the Adam or man for his transgression."... "The dragon, which, in the Chaldean account, leads man to sin, is the creature of Tiamat, the living principle of the sea and of chaos, and he is an embodiment of the spirit of chaos or disorder which was opposed to the deities at the creation of the world." The dragon is in-eluded in the curse for the fall; and the gods invoke on the human race all the evils which afflict humanity - family quarrels, tyranny, the anger of the gods, disappointment, famine, useless prayers, trouble of mind and body, a tendency to sin ('Chaldean Genesis,' pp. 87-91).
2. Persian. For a time the first pair, Meschia and Mesehiane, were holy and happy, pure in word and deed, dwelling in a garden wherein was a tree whose fruit conferred life and immortality; but eventually Ahriman deceived them, and drew them away from Ormuzd. Emboldened by his success, the enemy again appeared, and gave them a fruit, of which they ate, with the result that, of the hundred blessings which they enjoyed, all disappeared save one. Falling beneath the power of the evil one, they practiced the mechanical arts, and subsequently built themselves houses and clothed themselves with skins. Another form of the legend represents Ahriman as a serpent. So close is the resemblance of this legend to the Scriptural account, that Rawlinson regards it not as a primitive tradition, but rather as "an infiltration into the Persian system of religious ideas belonging properly to the Hebrews" ('Hist. Illus. of the Old Testament,' p. 13).
3. Indian. In the Hindoo mythology the king of the evil demons, "the king of the serpents," is named Naga, the prince of the Nagis or Nacigs, "in which Sanserit appellation we plainly trace the Hebrew Nachash." In the Vishnu Purana the first beings created by Brama are represented as endowed with righteousness and perfect faith, as free from guilt and filled with perfect wisdom, wherewith they contemplated the glory of Visham, till after a time they are seduced. In the legends of India the triumph of Krishna over the great serpent Kali Naga, who had poisoned the waters of the river, but who himself was ultimately destroyed by Krishna trampling on his head, bears a striking analogy to the Mosaic story (Kitto's 'Daily Bible Illustrations').
1. The story of Pandora. According to Hesiod the first men lived wifeless and ignorant, but innocent and happy. Prometheus ("Forethought") having stolen fire from heaven, taught its use to mankind. To punish the aspiring mortals, Zeus sent among them Pandora, a beautiful woman, whom he had instructed Hephaestus to make, and Aphrodite, Athena, and Hermes had endowed with all seductive charms. Epimetheus ("Afterthought"), the brother of Prometheus, to whom she was presented, accepted her, and made her his wife. Brought into his house, curiosity prevailed on her to lift the lid of a closed jar in which the elder brother had with prudent foresight shut up all kinds of ills and diseases. Forthwith they escaped to torment mankind, which they have done ever since (Secmann's 'Mythology,' p. 163).
2. The apples of the Hesperides. These golden apples, which were under the guardianship of the nymphs of the West, were closely watched by a terrible dragon named Laden, on account of an ancient oracle that a son of the deity would at a certain time arrive, open a way of access thither, and carry them off. Hercules, having inquired his way to the garden in which they grew, destroyed the monster and fulfilled the oracle (ibid., p. 204).
3. Apollo and the Pythen. "This Python, ancient legends affirm, was a serpent bred out of the slime that remained after Deucalion's deluge, and was worshipped as a god at Delphi. Eminent authorities derive the name of the monster kern a Hebrew root signifying to deceive." As the bright god of heaven, to whom everything impure and unholy is hateful, Apollo, four days after his birth, slew this monster with his arrows. What shall we say then to these things? This - that the nations embodied in these traditions their remembrances of paradise, of the fall, and of the promised salvation (Kitto, 'Daily Bible Illustrations' p. 67).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the eyes of them both were opened,.... Not of their bodies, but of their minds; not so as to have an advanced knowledge of things pleasant, profitable, and useful, as was promised and expected, but of things very disagreeable and distressing. Their eyes were opened to see that they had been deceived by the serpent, that they had broke the commandment of God, and incurred the displeasure of their Creator and kind benefactor, and had brought ruin and destruction upon themselves; they saw what blessings and privileges they had lost, communion with God, the dominion of the creatures, the purity and holiness of their nature, and what miseries they had involved themselves and their posterity in; how exposed they were to the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and to eternal death:
and they knew that they were naked; they must know before that they were naked in their bodies, but they did not perceive that their nakedness was at all uncomely, or any disadvantage to them; but now they were sensible of both, that whereas they could look upon it before, and not blush or feel any sinful emotions in them, now they could not behold it without shame, and without finding evil concupiscence arising in them; and it being now the cool of the day, and their spirits also seized with fear of the divine displeasure, they might feel a shivering all over them, and wanted something to cover them: but more especially this may respect the nakedness of their souls they were now conscious of, being stripped of that honour and glory, privileges and power, they were vested with; and having lost the image of God that was upon them, and that robe of purity, innocence, and righteousness, the rectitude of their nature, with which they were arrayed, and finding themselves naked and defenceless, and unable to screen themselves from the curses of a righteous law, and the fury of vindictive justice:
and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons; not to cover their whole bodies, but only those parts which, ever since, mankind have been ashamed to expose to public view, and which they studiously conceal from sight: the reason of which perhaps is, because by those members the original corruption of human nature has been from the beginning, and still is propagated from parents to children. The leaves of the fig tree were pitched upon because of the largeness of them; the leaves of the common fig tree are very large, as everyone knows; and perhaps those in the eastern countries, and especially in paradise, were much larger than ours. Pliny (m) says of the fig tree, that its leaf is the largest, and the most shady. Some think the Indian fig tree is meant; so John Temporarius, as Drusius relates; and so our Milton (n); and according to Pliny (o), the breadth of the leaves of this tree has the shape of an Amazonian shield. And when they are said to sew these together, it is not to be supposed that they sewed them as tailors sew their garments together, since they cannot be thought to be furnished with proper instruments, or that they tacked them together with some sort of thorns, or made use of them instead of needles; but they took the tender branches of the fig tree with leaves on them, as the word signifies, see Nehemiah 8:15 and twisted them round their waists; which served for "girdles", as some render the word (p), and the broad leaves hanging down served for aprons; but these, whatever covering they may be thought to have been to their bodies, which yet seem to be but a slender one, they could be none to their souls, or be of any service to hide their sin and shame from the all seeing eye of God; and of as little use are the poor and mean services of men, or their best works of righteousness, to shelter them from the wrath of God, and the vengeance of divine justice.
(m) Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 26. (n) ----There soon they chose The fig tree; not that kind for fruit renowned, But such as at this day in India known. Paradise Lost, B. 9. l. 1100, &c. (o) Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 5. (p) Sept. "perizomata", V. L. "cinctoria", Tigurine version, Fagius; "cingulos", Pagninus, Montanus; so the Targums; "subligacula", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus, Drusius.
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