And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you should not eat?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Who told thee that thou wast naked?—Adam had given as his excuse that which was really the consequence of his sin; but by this question God awakens his conscience, and makes him feel that what he had described as a want or imperfection was really the result of his own act. And as long as a man feels sorrow only for the results of his actions there is no repentance, and no wish to return to the Divine presence. God, therefore, in order to win Adam back to better thoughts, carries his mind from the effect to the sin that had caused it.Genesis 3:11. Who told thee thou wast naked? — That is, how camest thou to be sensible of thy nakedness as thy shame? Hast thou eaten of the tree — Though God knows all our sins, yet he will know them from us, and requires from us an ingenuous confession of them, not that he may be informed, but that we may be humbled; whereof 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 most plain and most sinful in the glass of the commandment.
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.That thou wast naked; or, that thy nakedness, which lately was thy glory, was now become matter of shame.
Whereof I commanded thee; concerning which I gave thee so severe a charge upon pain of death.
who told thee that thou wast naked? or showed it to thee; by what means hast thou got knowledge of it? what hast thou done that thou perceivest it, so as to cause shame and fear? man was made naked, and so he continued, and he must be sensible of it, but it gave him no uneasiness, because he was without shame on account of it; so that it was as if it was not, and he was regardless of it, as if he was not naked; but now, having sinned, he could not look upon his nakedness without blushing, and sin being what had produced this sensation, he was afraid to appear before God, against whom he had sinned; though he did not choose to acknowledge it, only alleges his outward nakedness, without confessing the inward nakedness of his soul, and being humbled for that as he ought to have been; and in order to bring him to this, is this question and the following put unto him:
hast thou eaten of the tree, wherever I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? The Lord knew he had; but he puts this question to bring him to a confession of it, as well as to aggravate his crime; that it was a violation of a precept of his, who had been so kind and bountiful to him, who had crowned him with glory and honour, and set him over the works of his hands, and had put all creatures under his feet, and had allowed him to eat of every tree in the garden but one; there was but one tree restrained from him, but one command he gave him, and this he broke; sin is a transgression of the law, 1 John 3:4. And in this light it is here put to bring Adam under a conviction, and to a confession of it; though he made it in a very lame manner, having covered it as long as he could; being found he excuses it, as loath to bear the blame and scandal of it. See Job 31:33.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?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. Who told thee, &c.?] To this question no answer is expected. The knowledge could only come in one way. The sense of shame implies contact with sin.
Hast thou eaten, &c.?] An opportunity is given for a full confession of disobedience and for the expression of contrition.Verses 11, 12. - And he said. "To reprove the sottishness of Adam" (Calvin); "to awaken in him a sense of sin" (Keil). Who told thee that thou wast naked? Delitzsch finds in מִי an indication that a personal power was the prime cause of man's disobedience; but, as Lange rightly observes, it is the occasion not of sin, but of the consciousness of nakedness that is here inquired after. Hast thou eaten of the tree (at once pointing Adam to the true cause of his nakedness, and intimating the Divine cognizance of his transgression) whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? "Added to remove the pretext of ignorance" (Calvin), and also to aggravate the guilt of his offence, as having been done in direct violation of the Divine prohibition. The question was fitted to carry conviction to Adam's conscience, and halt the instantaneous effect of eliciting a confession, though neither a frank one nor a generous. And the man said (beginning with apology and ending with confession, thus reversing the natural order, and practically rolling back the blame on God), The woman whom thou gavest to be with me (accusing the gift and the Giver in one), she gave me of the tree. Cf. with the cold and unfeeling terms in which Adam speaks of Eve the similar language in Genesis 37:32; Luke 15:30; John 9:12. "Without natural affection" is one of the bitter fruits of sin (cf. Romans 1:31). Equally with the blasphemy, ingratitude, unkindness, and meanness of this excuse, its frivolity is apparent; as if, though Eve gave, that was any reason why Adam should have eaten. And I did eat. Reluctantly elicited, the confession of his sin is very mildly stated. "A cold expression, manifesting neither any grief nor shame at so foul an act, but rather a desire to cover his sin" (White). 2 Corinthians 11:3). In offering these excuses, neither of them denied the fact. But the fault in both was, that they did not at once smite upon their breasts. "It is so still; the sinner first of all endeavours to throw the blame upon others as tempters, and then upon circumstances which God has ordained."
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