Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?SECOND PART
THE GENESIS OF THE WORLD-HISTORY, OF THE TRIAL, OF THE SIN OF MAN, OF THE JUDGMENT, OF DEATH, OF THE SALVATION-TRIUMPH, OF THE CONTRAST BETWEEN A DIVINE AND A WORLDLY TENDENCY IN HUMANITY, LASTLY OF THE UNIVERSAL CORRUPTION
The Lost Paradise.
GEN 3:1 Now the serpent1 was more subtle [properly: alone subtle among all beasts] than all the beasts of the field which the Lord God had made; and he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden. 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. 3But 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 it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as Gods knowing good and evil.
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good2 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 [to partake with her] and he did eat.
7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew3 that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking4 in the garden in the cool of the day [the evening breeze]: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
D.—The Judgment and the Promise.
9And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest unto me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat. 13And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me and I did eat. 14And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, 5and above every beast of the field: upon thy belly shalt thou go and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it [Vulgate: ipsa te, etc.] shall bruise6 thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children: and thy desire7 shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, 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 [from its connection with thee]; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it [get food from it] all the days of thy life.8 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field [instead of the garden]. 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread until thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
E.—The Hope and the Compassion.
20And Adam [man from the earth] called his wife’s name Eve9 [life, life-giving] because she was the mother of all living. 21Unto Adam also, and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them. 22And the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now lest10 he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever [as the everlasting man, according to the idea of the everlasting Jew].
F.—The Merciful Decree of Punishment and Discipline.
23Therefore the Lord God sent him forth11 [the intensive Piel form of the verb] from the garden of Eden [the blissful garden] to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims [cherubs] and a flaming sword which turned every way [yet ever maintaining its place] to keep the way of the tree of life [Seraphim; comp. Ps. 104:4; 18:10–15; Is. 6:2].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. The comparatively stronger symbolical that appeared in the representation of the primeval facts, and which we have noted in the second chapter, continues here also in the third; since the subject is the primeval history of Adam, as it is, at the same time, the primitive history of man, or of humanity. The fact of the first temptation is the symbol of every human temptation; the fact of the first fall is the symbol of every human transgression; the great mistake that lay in the first human sin is the symbol of every effect of sin.
2. Gen 3:1. Now the serpent.—The tree of knowledge, a part of the vegetable world, was made by God the medium of probation; from the animal world proceeds the serpent as the instrument of the temptation which God did not make. True it is, that the serpent appears as the probable author of this temptation, but such probability is weakened by what is said Gen 1:25 and 2:20. “It was (though Richers denies it) a good creation of God, though different, as originally created, from what it afterwards became” (Delitzsch). Through this supposition, however, of another created quality, he is brought nearer to the view of Richers. Does it appear as the mere instrument of a tempting spirit belonging to the other world, then must the decree of judgment, as pronounced, have regard not so much to it as to the spirit of sin, whose instrument and allegorical symbol it had become. How it could be such an instrument may be briefly explained by its craftiness; how it becomes an allegorical representation of the Evil One is taught us afterwards in the enmity that is proclaimed between the woman and the serpent. According to NORK (Etym.-Symb.-Myth. Real-Wörterbuch), “the serpent is just as well the figure of health and renovation, as of death; since it every year changes its skin, and ejects, moreover, its venom. This double peculiarity, and double character, as ἀγαθοδαίμων and κακοδαίμων, is indicated not only in language, but also in myths, in sculpture, and in modes of worship.” In this relation, however, we must distinguish two diverging views of the ancient peoples. To the Egyptian reverence for the serpent stands in opposition the abhorrence for it among the Israelites (see the article “Serpent” in the “Biblical Dictionary for Christian People”), Greeks, Persians, and Germans. Among the Slavonians, too, does the serpent appear to have been an object of religious fear; and from them may there have come modified views to the Germans, as from the Egyptians to the Greeks. Concerning the species of serpents mentioned in the Bible, see Winer. It may not be without significance that Genesis (Gen 3) is in such distinct contrast with the Egyptian views, not only in respect to the serpent, but also in respect to the Egyptian cultus of death and the other world. Delitzsch thinks that the serpent could hardly, at that time, have had such a name as נָחָשׁ, since this (from נָחַשׁ, to hiss12) is derived from its present constitution. In this way the original constitution of the seductive serpent is regarded by him in a more favorable light than the nature of the tree of probation. Knobel, on the contrary, is of opinion that “the choice of the serpent was occasioned by the Persian myth, then known to the Hebrews, which makes the evil being Ahriman to be the tempter of the first man (giving to him the form and designation of the serpent), and represents him as the introducer of monstrous serpent forms.” Nevertheless, since in his time (according to Knobel), the belief in a devil was still foreign to the Hebrews, the author, he maintains, meant a real serpent, “as Josephus also rightly supposes (Antiq. i. 1, 4), as well as Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, and most of the later commentators.” There is, however, not the slightest reason for deriving the primitive tradition, here given in its original Hebrew form, from any Persian myth, nor, in the second place, for ascribing to the Hebrews, not only a dependence on such Persian myth, but also an acknowledgment of its symbolical character or demoniacal background without any reasons for such anticipation; and, thirdly, is the alternative of its being either an actual serpent, or the devil himself, wholly untenable.—Now the serpent was more subtle. The question arises whether the adjective עָרוּם here stands in connection with מִן as expressing the comparative degree. At all events, the wholly analogous passage, Gen 3:14 (reminding us of this even by similarity of sound, מִכֹּל עָרוּם—אָרוּר מִכֹּל) cannot mean: cursed more than every beast of the field. Among the beasts, the serpent was just a single example of cunning; and so is it afterwards said of the curse. “Wisdom is a native property of the serpent (Matt. 10:16), on account of which the Evil One chose it his instrument. Nevertheless, the predicate עָרוּם is not given to it here in the good sense of φρόνιμος (Sept.), prudent, but in the bad sense of πανοῦργος, callidus, crafty. For its wisdom presents itself as the craft of the tempter in this respect, that it applies itself to the weaker woman.” Keil.—And he said unto the woman.—The idea that the wife had a wish to be independent, and, for the sake of release, had withdrawn herself out of the man’s sight, as we find it in Milton, is original indeed, but sets up, when closely examined, a beginning of the fall before the fall itself.—Yea, hath God said.—The deluding ambiguity of his utterance is admirably expressed by the particles אַף כִּי. The word in question denotes a questioning surprise, which may have in view now a yes, and now a no, according to the connection. This is the first striking feature in the beginning of the temptation. In the most cautious manner there is shown the tendency to excite doubt. Then the expression aims, at the same time, to awaken mistrust, and to weaken the force of the prohibition: Not eat of every tree of the garden! But, finally, there is also intended the lowering of belief through the bare use of the single name Elohim. The demon that has taken possession of the serpent cannot naturally recognize God as Jehovah, the Covenant-God for men. Knobel thinks, that the author left out the name Jehovah to avoid profaning it. Keil interprets: In order to reach his aim must the tempter seek to transform the personal living God into a universal numen divinum. But would, then, the Elohim of ch. i. be merely an universal numen divinum? The assault is directed against the paradisaical covenant of God with men; therefore it is that the serpent cannot utter the name Jehovah.
3. Gen 3:2, 3. And the woman said unto the serpent.—That the serpent should address the woman, and not the man, is explained from the circumstance that the woman is the weaker and the seducible (1 Pet. 3:7). The text, however, supposes that the woman knew the prohibition of God, and in some way, indeed, through the man. Still, the woman does not offer, in her defence, this mediateness of her knowledge, as neither does Adam present as an excuse that he saw that Eve did not die from the eating of the fruit. The answer of both appears to be wholly right, and to correct the serpent she would seem to make the prohibition still stronger by the addition: Neither shall ye touch it. And yet by this very addition does her first wavering disguise itself under the form of an overdoing obedience. The first failure is her not observing the point of the temptation, and the allowing herself to to be drawn into an argument with the tempter; the second, that she makes the prohibition stronger than it really is, and thus lets it appear that to her, too, “the prohibition seems too strict” (Keil); the third is, that she weakens the prohibition by reducing it to the lesser caution: lest ye die, thus making the motive to obedience to be predominantly the fear of death. Or simply thus: She begins herself to doubt, and to explain away the simple clear prohibition of God, instead of turning away from the author of the doubt. There is something, too, in the thought that the woman does not denote God as her Covenant-God. And yet many have regarded her first answer as a sign of steadfastness in the beginning.
4. Gen 3:4, 5. Ye shall not surely die.—This bold step in the temptation seems to suppose a wavering already observable in the woman; although, in truth, it may be noted, that, in spite of the perfect readiness of answer, the temptation of our Lord, Matt. 4, even advances in increasingly bolder forms. Still those forms are properly co-ordinate, whilst here the gradation is very strongly marked. Moreover, Christ, as the perfect man, could allow Satan to come out in all his boldness, whilst here the unprotected woman can only find safety in an immediate turning away.
5. And the serpent said.—The temptation steps out from the area of cautious craft into that of a reckless denial of the truth of God’s prohibition, and a malicious suspicion of its object. Ye shall not die at all;13 thus is the truth of the threatening stoutly denied; that is, the doubt becomes unbelief. The way, however, is not prepared for the unbelief without first arousing a feeling of distrust in respect to God’s love, His righteousness, and even His power. Along with this, and entering with it, there must be also a proud self-confidence; and a wilful striving after a false independence. For the transition from doubt to unbelief the way is specially opened through a false security. The serpent denies all evil consequences as arising from the forbidden enjoyment, whilst he promises, on the contrary, the best and most glorious results from the same.—For God doth know that in the day, etc.—The imitation of the divine language contains a species of mockery. Your eyes, says the voice of the tempter, instead of closing in death, will be, for the first time, truly opened. Here it is to be remarked, that the hour when unbelief is born is immediately the birth-hour of superstition. The serpent would have the woman believe, that on eating of that fruit she would become wonderfully enlightened, and, at the same time, raised to a divine glory. And so, in like manner, is every sin a senseless and superstitious belief in the salutary effects of sin. The promise of the tempter’s voice is first regarded for its own sake, and then as a complaint against God. Against the immediate deadly effect it sets the immediate pleasurable effect, whilst, at the same time, it represents the condition of men hitherto as a lamentable one—as an existence with closed eyes. Against the fearful threatening: to die the death, it sets the opened eyes, and the being like God, as a caricaturing, as it were, of that promise which had appointed men to the image of God. The eyes were opened—a biblical expression which in the Old Testament frequently denotes a high spiritual seeing, either as an enlightenment in respect to truth, or as the seeing of some theophanic manifestation in prophetic vision (Gen 21:29; Num. 22:21). The knowledge, however, of good and evil, as the words are employed by Satan, must here denote not merely a condition of higher intelligence, but rather a state of perfect independence of God. They would then know of themselves what was good and what was evil, and would no longer need the divine direction. To the same effect the assurance: for God doth know, etc. This must mean: He enviously seeks to keep back your happiness; and He is envious because He is weak in opposition to nature, because the fruit of the forbidden tree will make you independent of Him, and because He is tyrannical and without love in His dealings with you. In this distorting of the divine image, there is reflected the darkening of the divine consciousness which the temptation tends to call out in the woman, and actually does call out. In all this it must be noted, that the temptation here is already at work with those crafty lies (see 2 Thess. 2:9) which it has employed through the whole course of the world’s history—that is, with lies containing elements of the truth, but misplaced and distorted. Already that first question of the serpent contains a truth, so far as man ought to become conscious in himself of the certainty and divine suitableness of God’s commands. The doubt, however, which tends to life, is to be distinguished from that which tends to death, by its design and direction. The tendency of the devil is to scepticism. But in this bold assurance of the serpent which immediately follows, namely, that no evil effects, but only good, would result from the eating, there lies the truth that the outward death would not immediately succeed the enjoyment of the forbidden fruit; that with the consciousness of guilt there comes in a conscious though a disturbed distinction between good and evil, and that the sinner has placed himself in a false independence through his own self-wilfulness (comp. Gen 3:22). When we take it all together, however, it is the appointment to the divine image which the spirit of the tempter perverts into a caricature: Ye shall be as gods, and into an anticipation of immediately reaching their aim: “A satanic amphiboly, in which truth and falsehood are united to a certain degree of coincidence.” Ziegler. Comp. Job 8:44. Very dark is Knobel’s comprehension of this passage: “In the account of the Jehovist,” he says, “God appears to be jealous of ambitious men (Gen 3:22; Gen 6:3; 11:16). This same view of the jealousy of the gods appears also among the Grecian writers, e. g., HEROD, i. 32; iii. 40. vii. 10, 46; PAUSAN. ii. 33; iii.; comp. NÄGELSBACH: ‘Homeric Theology,’ p. 33.”14
6. Gen 3:6. And when the woman saw.—There is truly indicated by the words, according to Luther’s translation, the lustful looking of the woman; but the expression presents, besides, the spiritual disturbance that attended it. She beheld it now with a glance made false by the germinating unbelief, or, so to speak, enchanted by it. “The satanic promise drove the divine threatening out of her thought. Now she beholds the tree with other eyes (Gen 3:6). Three times is it said how charming the tree appeared to her.” “The words ונחמד העץ להשׂכיל (to be desired, to make one wise) are taken by Hofmann for a remark of the narrator.” Delitzsch rightly rejects this view. First, there is painted, in general, the overpowering charm of the tree. It appears to her as something from which it would be good to eat; that is, good for food. The charm has now, too, its sensual side: The tree is, moreover, pleasant to the eye. It appears also to have a special worth in supplying a want; it is to be desired to make one wise. The sensual desire and the demoniacal spiritual interest (especially curiosity and pride) unite in leading her to the fall. Tuch, Beck, Baumgarten, and others, give to לְהַשְׂכִּיל the sense of making wise: it appeared to her as a means for spiritual advancement. Delitzsch (as also Knobel) disputes this, with the remark that it docs not agree with the word נהמד (a thing to be desired). But why should there not be supposed a charm in this property of making wise? Herein is indicated not only the common power which the charm of novelty has for our human nature in general, but also its special influence on the female nature.—She took of the fruit thereof and did eat.—The decisive act of sin (James 1:15). Knobel: The heart follows the eyes (Job 31:7; Ecclesiastes 11:9).—And gave also unto her husband.—The addition עִמָּהּ interpreted by Delitzsch as denoting “an actual presence, instead of mere association.” We hold both suppositions to be wrong. An actual presence of the husband standing mute in the very scene of the temptation presents great difficulty; whilst the second view amounts to nothing. If it is taken, however, as the representation of an eating together, then the language is an abridgment; after that she had eaten she gave it to her husband to eat thereof after her, or to eat with her. In the very moments of temptation, as we must take the account, there comes in the perception of the fact, that she does not die from the eating; and so it is that the wife’s power of persuasion, and Adam’s sympathy with her, are not made specially prominent.
7. Gen 3:7, 8. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.—In the relation between the antecedent here and what follows there evidently lies a terrible irony. The promise of Satan becomes half fulfilled, though, indeed, in a different sense from what they had supposed: Their eyes were opened; they had attained to a developed self-consciousness. But all that they had reached in the first place was to become conscious of their nakedness as now an indecent exposure. It is here in this first irony, as appearing in the divine treatment of the consequences of sin, that we get a clear view of that ironical aspect in the divine penal righteousness which shows itself in the Scripture, and in the whole history of the world (see Ps. 2:4; Acts 4:24; LANGE’S “Dogmatics,” p. 469). Knobel would really regard the new knowledge as a pure step of progress. “As a consequence of the enjoyment they knew their nakedness, whereas before, like unconscious, unembarrassed children, they had no thought of their nakedness, or of their personal contrasts. At once did they perceive that to go naked was no longer proper for them. They had attained, in consequence, to a moral insight. Shame entered into men in near cotemporaneity with their knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil; it belongs to the very beginning of moral cognition and development. This shame, in its lowest degree, limits itself to the covering of the sexual nakedness.” The question here, however, is not respecting a moral reform, but a religious deterioration. The reflection upon their nakedness and its unseemliness becomes, in the light of the symbolical representation, necessarily known as the first form of the entering consciousness of guilt. They have lost the unconscious dominion of the spirit over the bodily and sensuous appearance, and henceforth there enters into the conscience the world-historical strife between the spirit and the flesh—a strife whose prime cause lies in the fact that the spirit came out of the communion of the spirit of God, whose form consists in the fact that the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and whose effect (the feeling of hateful nakedness) is, indeed, attended by a reaction of the shame-feeling, but which can only manifest itself in the effort to cover, in the most scanty way, the nakedness revealed. In this part of the body the feeling of nakedness manifests itself as a sense of exposure that needs covering, not because that fruit poisoned the fountain of human life, or, by means of an innate property, immediately effected a corruption of the body, so far as propagation is concerned (Von Hoffmann, Baumgarten), nor because, in consequence of the fall, a physical change had taken place; but simply because, in the taking away by sin of the normal relation between the soul and the body, the body ceases to be any longer a pure instrument of the spirit which is united to God. “This part of the body is called עֶרְוָה (e. g., Gen 9:22) and בָּשֶׂר (e. g., Lev. 9:2; comp. Exod. 28:42), because nakedness and flesh, which shame bids men cover, culminate in them.” Delitzsch. In what follows, wherein he says that here the contrast between the spiritual and the natural, having lost its point of unity, is of the sharpest kind, and that the beastlike in the human appearance appears here most bestial, Delitzsch is approaching again the theosophic mode of view; although it is true that man, from his demoniacal striving after something too great for him, falls back into a beastly laxity of behavior, which, however, even here shame contends against, and seeks to veil. As the death of man, in its historical aspect, stands in counter-relation to the human generations in their historical aspect, so it would seem that whilst the first presentiment of death, in the first human consciousness of guilt, must give a shock to men, there would also be, in connection with this foreboding of death, another presentiment of a call to sexual propagation; but along with this, and in order to this, there would be a feeling which would seek to veil it, with its acts and organs, as by a sacred law. This modesty, or bashfulness, of man, however, relates not merely to natural generation, but also to the spiritual and the churchly; as though all origin demanded its covering—its creative night. The commendation of the first growths of intelligence in a man’s soul produces a feeling of blushing diffidence, and so, too, the churchly birth hath its reverent and modest veiling. When, therefore, along with the presentiment of death, and of the generic or sexual destiny (which, nevertheless, we cannot make independent of man’s historical death), there comes in the feeling of shame in the first men, so also, as a symbolic expression therefor, there enters into them, along with the guilt, an inner death, and the sense of the want of renovation. For the refutation of Knobel’s view, that by the fig-tree here is not meant the usual fig-tree, but the plant named pisang, or banana, see DELITZSCH and KEIL. See also more particularly, respecting the tree in question, KNOBEL and DELITZSCH.—And they heard the voice.—Knobel, Keil, and Delitzsch explain the word קוֹל here, not of the voice of the Lord, but of the sound or rustling noise made by the Deity as he walked; and they compare it with Lev. 26:33; Num. 16:34; 2 Sam. 5:24. By such an interpretation is the symbolical element left entirely out of view. For beings in their condition, this sound of God walking must evidently have become a voice; but besides this it is said, farther on, that God called to Adam. At all events, the voice here becomes first a call. “In the cool of the day, that is, towards evening, when a cooling breeze is wont to arise.” Keil. To this we may add: and when also there comes to man a more quiet and contemplative frame of soul. So Delitzsch remarks very aptly: “God appears, because at that time men are in a state most susceptible of serious impressions.15 Every one experiences, even to this day, the truth of what is narrated. In the evening the dissipating impressions of the day become weaker, there is stillness in the soul; more than at other times do we feel left to ourselves, and then, too, there awake in us the sentiments of sadness, of longing, of insulation, and of the love of home. Thus with our first parents; when evening comes, the first intoxication of the satanic delusion subsides, stillness reigns within; they feel themselves isolated from the communion of God, parted from their original home, whilst the darkness, as it comes rushing in upon them, makes them feel that their inner light has gone out.” Farther on Delitzsch maintains that God appeared to man as one man appears to another, though this had not been the original mode of the divine converse with him. The theophanies had their beginning first after the fall ; and according to his explanation, “God now for the first time holds converse with men in an outward manner, corresponding to their materialization and alienated state.” On the other hand, Keil maintains, “that God held converse with the first men in a visible form, as a father and educator of his children, and that this was the original mode of the divine revelation, not coming in for the first time after the fall.” In neither can we suppose that there is taught a twofold incarnation of God, first in Paradise, and then in Christ. In like manner, too, must we regard the question here as unanswered, in what respect the theophanies (which were mediated in all cases through vision-seeing states of soul) are to be distinguished from real outward appearances in human form. Hofmann would complete the knowledge of Paradise, by taking as the appointed mode of revelation-God’s appearance to them as soaring on the cherubim. Delitzsch, moreover, informs us (after Hofmann, perhaps) that God, at this time, did not come down from heaven, since he yet dwelt upon the earth. More worthy of our confidence is the language of Keil: “Men have separated themselves from God, but God cannot and will not give them up.”—And Adam and his wife hid themselves.—Clearly an expression of guilt-consciousness, as also, an indication, at the same time, of the fall into sin, and of the decline into a state of corruption. The particular characteristics are these: consciousness of their transgression, of its effect, of their spiritual and bodily nakedness, of their separation from God—of a feeling of distrustful, selfish, and servile fear, in the presence of God, and of the loss of their spiritual purity, as originating in their guilt, together with the false notion that they can hide themselves from God. Moreover, the regular consistency which appears in this progress of sin must not be overlooked. Through this status corruptionis, the first common act of sin passes over into a second. Taken symbolically, this is the history of every individual fall into sin. “They hid themselves through modesty,” says Knobel. With all this, there is presented in the flight of the sinner from God a feeling of exculpation; yet still, again, it is attainted with self-deception, with a want of truth and humility.—Amongst the trees.—In the deepest density and darkness of the garden, which now becomes an emblem of the world, and of that worldly enjoyment in which the sinner seeks to hide himself.
8. Gen 3:9–19. Where art thou?—Knobel: “Jehovah must now call for man, who, at other times, was ever there.” Delitzsch: “It is clear, that not for his own sake does God direct this inquiring call to man, but only for man’s sake. God does in truth seek them, not because they are gone from his knowledge, but because they are lost from his communion.” It is a consequence of the very being of God as a person, if he would not violently surprise man with his omnipresence and his omniscience, that he should freely assume the form of seeking him, that is, of drawing nigh unto him gradually, in a way of mercy; since man must seek and find Him. The Good Shepherd seeks and finds the lost sheep; the sinner must seek and find God; the relation must be an ethical covenant relation. Delitzsch says farther: “This word, אַיֶּכָּה (where art thou?) echoes through the whole human world, and in each individual man.” That is, in a symbolical sense, the passage denotes every case of a sinner seeking his divine home. Delitzsch: “The heathen world feeling after God (ψηλαφᾶν, Acts 17:27) is the consequence of this evening call, אַיֶּכְּה, and of the longing for home that is thereby evoked.—I heard thy voice in the garden.—Knobel: “His slight covering is sufficient as against the familiar wife, but not as against the high and far-seeing Lord of the Garden.” (!) The question may be asked, why God called to Adam, though Eve had been first in sin? Without doubt is Eve included in the more universal significance of the word Adam (man), yet still the call is directed to the individual Adam. In a certain sense, however, is this Adam, as the household lord of the wife, answerable for her step, notwithstanding that he himself is ensnared with her. The ethical arraignment for the complaint against the wife proceeds through Adam. But thus appears also here the additional indication that Adam is denoted as the first author of the hiding, as Eve was first in the sin itself. According to the mere laws of modesty (Knobel) the wife should rather have appeared in the foreground here. According to Keil, “when Adam says that he hid himself for fear, on account of his nakedness (thereby seeking to hide his sin behind its consequences, and his disobedience behind his feeling of shame), it is not a sign of special obduracy, but may easily be taken psychologically; as that, in fact, the feeling of nakedness and shame were sooner present to his consciousness than the transgression of the divine command, and that he felt the consequences of sin more than he recognized the sin itself.” Delitzsch would amend this by adding: “although all that he says is purely involuntary self-accusation.” It is to be observed that here appears the first mingling and confusion of sin and of evil, that is, that punishment of sin ordained of God, and which is the peculiar characteristic of our redemption-needing humanity.
Gen 3:11. Who told thee that thou wast naked?—Knobel: “From this behavior Jehovah recognised at once what had happened.” Hardly can any such anthropomorphism be found in the sense of the text. Keil says better: “It is for the sake of awaking this recognition of sin that God speaks.” The question, however, concerns not merely the means by which the recognition of sin may be brought out, but in a special manner the methods through which its confession may be educed. So also Delitzsch. “His explanation, however, of the interrogative מי as indicating that a personal power was the final original cause of the change that had passed upon man,” is far beyond the mark. For it is not the occasion of sin that is referred to here, but the occasion of the consciousness of nakedness. This, however, comes not from without, but from within. There lies, moreover, in the question that immediately follows: Hast thou eaten of the tree? the explanation of the meaning of the first.
Gen 3:12. And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest.—An acknowledgment of sin by Adam, but not true and sincere. The guilt proper is rolled upon the woman, and indirectly upon God himself; in which, however, there is naturally expressed a general exculpation, only God is put forward as the occasion of the calamity that has arisen. The loss of love that comes out in this interposing of the wife is, moreover, particularly denoted in this, that he grudges to call her Eva, or my wife (see this form of grudging, Gen. 37:32; Job 3:20, where he says he16 instead of God;Luke 15:30; this thy son, John 9:12; where is he? namely, Jesus, etc.). “That woman by my side, she who was given to me by God as a trusty counsellor, she gave me the fruit;” in this form, again, is Eve in part excused by an imputation to God.
Gen 3:13. And the Lord God said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done?17—God follows up the transgression, even to the root—not the psychological merely, but the historical root.—The serpent beguiled me.—Although temptation is a beguiling, yet here, in the gross delusions of the serpent, and the wife’s inclination to excuse herself, the latter conception is the more obvious one.
Gen 3:14. To the serpent he said, because thou hast done this.—It is no more said here, wherefore hast thou done this? although the serpent is previously introduced as speaking, and, therefore, as capable of maintaining conversation. Therein lies the supposition, that the trial has now reached the fountain-head of sin, the purely evil purpose (the demoniacal) having no deeper ground, and requiring no further investigation. Accordingly, there follow now the fatal dooms, according to the consequences of each particular evil act. The serpent receives his sentence first: thou art cursed.—The sense of מִן (rendered in the English translation above, or comparatively) is clearly that of selection: among all cattle, or out of all cattle (Clericus, Tuch, Knobel). It does not mean, therefore, cursed, that is, abhorred, by all cattle (Gesenius, De Wette, et al.) or above all cattle, that is, comparatively more cursed (Rosenmüller et al.). The sentence pronounced upon the serpent proceeds in a threefold gradation. Its explanation brings up, of itself, the question, whether the whole sentence bears upon the serpent alone, or in connection with something else, or only in a symbolical sense. Surely the general doom, cursed be thou (singular) among all cattle, and among all beasts (corresponding with the causality: subtle among all beasts, prominently), indicates a symbolical background of the whole judgment. 1. Quidam statuunt maledictionem latam in serpentem solum (quia hic confertur cum aliis bestiis) non in diabolum, quia is antea maledictus erat. 2. Alii in diabolum solum, quia brutus serpens non poterat juste puniri. 3. Alii applicantv. 14ad serpentem, v.15in diabolum. At vero tu et te idem sunt in utroque versu. 4. Alii existimant cam in utrumque latam. Quam sententiam verissimam judico. MEDUSin Poli Commentar. ad h. l. The inconsistency that arises when we would understand v. 14 of the serpent only, and v. 15, on the contrary, of Satan, is very apparent. The various diversities of interpretation are a consequence of a want of clearness in respect to the fundamental exegetical law, that here an historical foreground is everywhere connected with a symbolical background. Accordingly, both the historical and the symbolical go together through all the three dooms imposed upon the serpent; it is in the third act, however (the protevangel, as it is called), that the symbolical becomes especially prominent, and casts its light over the whole passage.—First judgment doom: Upon thy belly shalt thou go; that is, as the worm steals over the earth with its length of body, “as a mean and despised crawler in the dust (Deut. 32:24; Micah 7:17).” It is a fact that the serpent did not originally have this inferior mode of motion like the worm, and it is this circumstance partly, and partly the consideration that along with his speaking the serpent presented to Eve the appearance of a trusty domestic animal, that appears to have given occasion to the expression: among all cattle, as a complement to which there is added: among all the beasts of the field. And to this effect is the remark of Knobel, that “for the time before the curse, the author must have ascribed to the serpent another kind of movement, and perhaps another form. It is reckoned here with the בהמה (cattle), v. 1 with the חית השדה (or beasts of the field).” In respect to this, it must be noticed, that there has also been maintained the supposition of his having before gone erect (Luther, Münster, Fag. Gerhard, Osiander) and been possessed of bone (JOSEPH., Ant. i. 1, 4; Ephraim, Jarchi, Merc.). Delitzsch and Keil, moreover, favor the view, that the serpent’s form and manner of motion were wholly transformed (Delitzsch) or changed (Keil). Delitzsch: “As its speaking was the first demoniacal miracle, so is this transformation the first divine.” Instead of that, we hold that this exposition only works in favor of the mythical interpretation (Knobel), since it mistakes the symbolical of the expression; on which, beside, it can only touch in the phrase to “eat the earth.” According to Delitzsch, “the eating of dust does not denote the exclusive food of the serpent, but only the involuntary consequence of its winding in the dust.” So, moreover, the expression, “On thy belly shalt thou go,” cannot denote that he was deprived of bone and wing, but only the involuntary consequence of the manifestation of the serpent’s hostile attitude to men, namely, that it should now wind about timorously upon its belly, or go stealing about in the most secret manner; whereas, before this, it could, with impunity, perform its meanderings before their eyes, yea, even stand upright in some respects, and twine itself round the trees. The older exegesis had some excuse, since it did not always know how to separate the conception of a biblical miracle wrought for judgment, or deliverance, from a magical metamorphosis. The assumption, however, at the present day, of such a metamorphosis, has to answer the question, whether through it the conception of a miracle is not changed, as well as that of nature itself. That, in fact, in consequence of the fall, and of their changed attitude towards men, the forms of animals can undergo monstrous changes, and have often been thus changed, though still remaining on the basis of their generic organization, is shown in the case of dogs who run wild; but the exposition above mentioned extends itself illimitably beyond any conception of deterioration. As far as concerns the symbolical side of the first sentence, it is clear that before any wider relation (to Satan), we must hold to the specific appointment, that the tempting evil shall no longer meander about the world, bold and free, but, in correspondence with its earthly meanness, and bestial association, shall wind along the ground in the most sly, and sneaking, and secret manner, eating the dust of the earth, and feeding itself upon the coarsest elements of life, or the very mould of death. This sentence, then, in the next place, avails not only against evil in general, but the Evil One himself. And therewith is denoted, at the same time, The second doom. Knobel: “According to the older representations, serpents licked the dust, and enjoyed it as their food. (Compare Micah 7:17; Isaiah 65:25; BOCHART:Hieroz. iii. p. 245).” Here it is supposed that Micah and Isaiah have merely taken Genesis too literally; whereas Knobel interprets: “it is compelled to swallow down the dust as it moves here and there with its mouth upon the ground.” As the serpent, the allegorical type of the temptation, is sentenced to have its mouth in the dust, so is the genius of the serpent condemned to feed on elements which are a coarse prelude, or a nauseous after-game, of life.—Third doom of the serpent; the Protevangel. The rationalistic interpretation, which is last defended by Knobel, finds here denoted only the relation between the serpent-nature and the human race. That is, Genesis here, in one of its most ethically significant passages, flattens down into a mere physical anthropological observation. It is true that the physical here forms the point of departure. “Enmity shall exist between the serpent and the woman, and between the descendants of both. Man hates the serpent as a creature in direct contrariety to himself, persecutes and destroys it.” (To this point the words of PLAUTUS: Mercat. iv. 4, 21, aliquem odisse œque atque angues.) It is also hostile to man, and bites him when uncharmed. In PLINY: Nat. Hist. x. 96, it is called immitissimum animalium genus. Compare also OVID, Metamorph. xii. 804: calcato immitior hydro. It appears, as matter of fact, to have been the creature of the primitive world that was the most absolutely opposed to culture, and which, proceeding from the dragons of the earlier earth-periods, found its way through the last catastrophes into the newly prepared world, or had been organically metamorphosed—like “the den-inhabiting brood of the old dragons,” which, in a worse sense than any other beast could have done it, render the earth uncomfortable, destined as it was to culture; and therefore is it devoted to destruction in the world into which it had passed over. In connection with this fact, the thought readily occurs, how very appropriate that the natural relation between the serpent-brood and the human race, destined ever, and here anew, to the kingdom of God, should become a symbol of the religious ethical conflict between the evil and the good, upon earth. In opposition to the rationalistic stands the orthodox interpretation of our passage, which refers it to Satan on the one side, and to Christ, the personal Messiah, on the other. According to most of the older interpreters, the seed of the woman denotes directly the Messiah. (See HENGSTENBERG: “Christology of the Old Testament,” I. p. 21.) In respect to it, however, the Romish interpreters make a very bold variation. They do this in correspondence with the translation of the Vulgate: ipsa (instead of ipse) conteret caput tuum, which is condemned, not only by the Hebrew text, and the Septuagint, but in the “Quest. Heb.” of HIERONYMUS, who was himself the author of the Vulgate, as also by Petrus Chrysologus and Pope Leo the Great (see CALMET’SComm. p. 120); whilst Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, and others, have ranged themselves on the side of the Vulgate. Calmet interprets: in eundem sensum (namely, the right sense of the Hebrew text) reddi potest vulgata; neque aliter B. Virgo conterere valuit serpentem quam per filium suum Jesum Christum. So also says VON SCHRANK in his “Commentary:” in Hebrœo quidem habetur, ille (הוּא) conteret caput tuum: ergo semen mulieris, i.e. Jesus Christus conteret, sed res eodem redit: nam neque sanctissima Virgo aliter quam partu suo, i.e. in virtute Jesu Christi filii sui, caput serpentis contrivisse credenda est. Both authors, indeed, gave these wrested interpretations before the latest Papistical glorification of Mary. In modern times has the interpretation which refers the seed of the woman to the personal Messiah been defended by Philippi. In the primary sense, says Delitzsch, it is only promised that humanity shall win this victory, for הוּא (he) relates back to זֶרַע אִשָׁה (seed of the woman); as, however, the seed of the serpent has its unity in Satan, so it may be fairly conjectured that the conquering party, the seed of the woman, has also a person for its unity—a conjecture which, as we readily concede to PHILIPPI (“Treatise concerning the Protevangel in Kliefoth-Meier’s Church Periodical,” 1855, pp. 519–548), is the more obvious; since in this second sentence the pronoun הוּא has for its object not the seed of the serpent, but the serpent, and in it Satan himself. It is, however, an incorrect opinion, that הוּא has immediately, and exclusively, a personal sense, and that the organic process of the annunciation of redemption demands this. The conception of הוּא is that of a circle, and Jesus Christ, or, as the Targum says, King Messiah, is evermore in the course of the redemptive history the prominent centre of this circle. So Delitzsch says, too, that Christ is essentially meant as the centre of humanity, or as the head of humanity, especially of the redeemed, as Keil says. We miss here the distinct exposition, whether the prophecy directly applies to Christ as a conscious announcement, or only impliedly, in as far as Christ is the kernel and the star of the woman’s seed. Hengstenberg regards the place as more decidedly relating to the collective posterity of the woman (“Christology,” i. p. 22). “Truly hast thou inflicted a sore wound upon the woman (such would be the import of the words addressed to the serpent), and thou, with thy fellow-serpents, wilt continue to lie in ambush for her descendants. Nevertheless, with all thy desire to hurt, wilt thou be only able to inflict curable wounds upon the human race, whilst, on the other hand, the posterity of the woman shall at last triumph over thee, and make thee feel thine utter impotency. This interpretation is found, indeed, in the Targum of Jonathan, and in the Jerusalem Targum, which, by the seed of the woman, understand the Jews who in the days of the Messiah shall vanquish Sammael.18 Paul seems to proceed on this view, Romans 16:20, where the promise is collectively referred to Christ. More lately has it found an acute advocate in Calvin, and then in Herder.” As the interpretation of the whole Protevangel is specially conditioned on the choice of expressions in detail, we apply ourselves to the analysis of the passage. As it is the third and most important part of the doom, taken collectively, so does it also divide itself again into three parts, whose point of gravity may also be said to be in three divisions. 1. Enmity between thee and the woman.—In place of the false, ungodly, and man-destroying peace between the serpent and the woman, must there come in, between them, a good and salutary enmity, established by God. That the woman may have a special abhorrence of the serpent, after her experience of the deception which she charges back upon him, and that the falsehood of the serpent, which had all along before been enmity, should now be unmasked,—this is the point of departure. But, since this enmity, as occasioned by an ethical event, must be itself substantially ethical—since the serpent is denoted as permanently present in his serpent-seed—since, finally, there is mention, at the end, of one head of the same—so does the whole passage have for its aim the ethical power of temptation, which must have worked in some way through the physical serpent, notwithstanding that a being morally evil is characterized, chap. 3:1, and throughout the whole process of the temptation. The woman, however, is set in opposition to the serpent, in the first place, because she has been seduced by him, but then, too, in order to set forth more prominently the ethical character of the human enmity against the serpent. We must take into view here the predominant susceptibility of the woman, which, in its curiosity, had become a special susceptibility to temptation, but which now must become a predominant susceptibility for the divine appointment of enmity between them; add to which that, in general, man becomes master of evil only through a feminine susceptibility for the assistance of God. 2. Between thy seed and her seed.—That is, the appointment of this enmity shall work on permanently through the generations that are to come; the strife shall never cease. And truly, it thus continues as a war between the serpent-seed in its one totality, and the woman’s seed in its one totality. And now here the symbolical sense presents itself much stronger; for in all the occasional conflicts between men and serpents there is no universal and generic war between both. But this indicates a working of the power of temptation as a unit against the unitary moral power of the woman’s seed in the conflict. In general, it is a contrast between the mysterious power of evil from the other world, and the human race altogether in this. Since, however, men alone can belong to the genuine seed of the woman, as it carries on the enmity of the woman against the serpent, so it is clear, that from the opposite direction it must be men that fall in with the society of the serpent’s seed (that is, the demons and their powers), or in other words, become ethically children of the power of temptation. 3. It shall bruise.—Here now the question arises: what is the meaning of that enigmatic verb שׁוּף? The Septuagint translates: αὐτός σου τηρήσει κεφαλὴν καὶ σὺ τηρήσεις αὐτοῦ πτέρναν; the Vulgate: ipsa conteret caput tuum et tu insidiaberis calcaneo ejus. The Septuagint is consistent in having the same expression (τηρήσει-ς) in both cases, but it is the one which, in view of the Alexandrian spiritualism, is the weakest of them all. The Vulgate chooses for both members of the sentence interpretations of the same word that lie too far apart. This is evidently done in order that, on the one side, the ipsa (the she, or the Virgin in that translation) may exhibit the highest possible degree of heroism, whilst on the other side, under the protecting veneration of the monastic theology, she does not suffer the least injury to her heel. The word שׁוּף is interpreted in various ways: 1. terere, conterere. So the Syriac, the Samaritan, and others (such as our German and English versions). So also Clericus, Tuch, Baumgarten, Rödiger; also, with special reference to Rom. 16:20, Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, Keil. In any case, it would be an epexegetical translation, if we would find the expressions, to tread with the foot, and to pierce, in one common conception, lying at the ground of both. Moreover, this same word, as used Psalm 139:11, and Job 9:17, cannot denote either to tread, or to pierce. Just as little, on the other side, can it mean insidiari, or inhiare, to assail or pursue in a hostile manner—as Umbreit, Gesenius, and Knobel explain the word with reference to its supposed affinity with שׁאף. The middle conception, which suits both places here, and which commends itself as suitable to the two parallel passages, Job 9 and Psalm 139, is to lay hold of, seize, hit. Keil: “The same word is used in relation to the head and the heel, to indicate that the enmity on both sides is aimed at the destruction of the opponent—for which purpose by head and heel are expressed majus and minus, or, as Calvin says, superius and inferius.19 This contra - arises, indeed, out of the very nature of the foes. The serpent who crawls in the dust, if he would destroy man walking in his uprightness, can only seize him by the heel; whereas, man can crush his head. But this difference itself is already a consequence of the curse pronounced upon the serpent, and its crawling in the dust is a premonition that in the strife with man it must, at last, succumb. Be it even that the bite of the serpent in the heel is even deadly when its poison penetrates throughout the whole body (Gen. 49:17), yet it is not immediately mortal, nor incurable, like the crushing of the serpent’s head. There comes also into consideration: 1. The contrast: head and heel. The life, like the poison, of the serpent, is in its head, and is destroyed with it. The heel of man is the least vulnerable, whilst it is that part of the body which is the most easily healed. 2. The conscious, adaptive aiming of the woman’s seed, the blind, brutal, and ill-directed assault of the serpent. The seed of the woman seizes the power of evil in its central life, in its principle; the seed of the serpent attacks the power of good in its most outward and assailable appearance. 3. The very moment in which the serpent bites at the heel of the man, is the one in which the latter brings down the crushing foot upon its head. It is, indeed, not without significance, that the seed of the woman is presented in the singular, and in fact, in the last decisive moment, set in opposition, not to the seed of the serpent, but to the serpent himself—as is pointed out by Hengstenberg and others. Here now must we distinguish between the prophetical and the typical elements of prophecy—as also the prophecies that are strictly verbal. The prophetic element is present in the prophet’s consciousness; the typical element is not, although it may be consciously present to the spirit of revelation that guides him. Our text appears primarily, indeed, as the immediate speech of God, the all-knowing, who sees beforehand every thing in the future; but still, the measure of consciousness in our prophecy can become determinate to us only according to the presumable degree of consciousness in the author of Genesis, or, still further, in those who actually brought down the tradition contained in chapter 3. In relation, therefore, to this human prophetical consciousness, and its germinal state of development, must we distinguish between the conscious prophecy of the word and the unconscious prophecy of the typical expression. So in Psalm 16. the conscious prophecy says, through my communion with God I shall possess immeasurable joys of life; the typical expression, however, is fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2). So also says the prophet, Isaiah 7: the young prophet wife shall, 1. conceive; 2. bear a son, whose name, 3. with joyful hope they shall call Immanuel. The typical expression, however, is a prediction of Christ, the son of the virgin. In this sense, also, does Paul allow himself to interpret the singular, in thy seed, as a typical prophecy of Christ. And we doubt not, that here, too, the spirit of the type chose this expression, the seed of the woman, with an æonian consciousness of its rich significance. If we go back, however, to the conscious prophecy, so it may be safe to say, that with the humanity in general, on its light side, there is also placed its core20—as it is with Judah (Gen. 49:10), and Israel (Hos. 11:1). In truth, the core, or heart, is ever embraced in concrete unity with the hull, but to the biblical view is this gravitation to the unity peculiar from the very beginning. On the other side, however, according to the New Testament, and the patristic unveiling of its significance, is the seed of the woman not exclusively to be referred to the individuality of Christ. Christ, as the Christ in the universal humanity, is here to be understood; especially in the second clause, at least, as also, therefore, in the third according to Paul (Rom. 16:20).
There remains, finally, the question how the temptation of the first pair by the serpent is to be understood. According to Knobel there is found in our passage just as little reference to the devil as to the Messiah (p. 48). Consequently would the whole passage become a mere physical myth. Von Bohlen goes back to the kindred traditions of the ancients, and finds it of the deepest significance that in the printed Samaritan text there is כָּחָשׁ, liar, instead of נהש, serpent. According to one of the Indian myths, Krishna, in the form of the sun, contends with the Evil One, in the form of serpent. In like manner in Egypt, Typhon, whose name is interpreted by Serpent, persecutes his brother Osiris, or the sun. Hercules possesses himself of the golden apple of the Hesperides, which the Serpent guarded. According to Bohlen, however, the nearest source of our narrative, as of Paradise in general, lies in Iran. Ahriman, according to the Zendavesta, in the form of a serpent brought of his fruits to men, who were of the pure creation of Ormuzd. And so, according to him, as also according to Rosenmüller, must the author of our account have had that as a model before his eyes. And yet, somehow, we know not how he distinguishes from it the simple sense of the Israelitish narrator. The reference of Bohlen only shows how our primitive tradition spreads itself in the manifold adumbrations and transformations of the most varied mythological systems, even as the like holds true in respect to the cosmogony, the first human pair, Paradise, and still further on in respect to the flood. In opposition to all this stands the traditional view of the Church, that under the serpent as instrument and symbol our passage consciously intends the devil (see HENGSTENBERG: “Christology,” p. 5; DELITZSCH, p. 168; KEIL, p. 51). In respect to this, there is no doubt that in the Holy Scripture there lies before us a connected line of testimonies whose object is ever the same demoniac tempting spirit—a line which, going out from the serpent in the passage before us, reaches even to the close of the New Testament in the Apocalypse, Gen 12:3, 9, 13; Gen 20:2, 10. The identity is established by the cited places of the Apocalypse, by 2 Cor. 11:3 (compare Gen 3:14) by the Book of Wisdom 2:23; with which again in connection stands John 8:44; though to this have been objected certain weakening interpretations (Lücke, and others). It is so also in Rom. 16:20. Here is every where evident the relation of the fall to the serpent according to its symbolical significance. In many more ways, as in the Book of Wisdom 2:24; John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rom. 16:20, there appears the identity of the tempting Spirit, which worked through the serpent, with the figure of the devil as he appears later in the Scripture. That, indeed, the physical serpent could not have been meant, as the tempter in our passage, shows itself from the distinct appearance of consciousness in respect to the great separation between man and the animal world (Gen 2:19, 20), as it is rightly presented by Hengstenberg; it also appears from the collective declaration that every creation of God was good (Gen 1), and from the ethical features which in the third chapter the serpent assumes as a maliciously subtle creature, as well as from the symbolical background which ever shows itself stronger and stronger in the primitive condemnation. Next to the identity of the tempting spirit behind the serpent and Satan, comes now its continuity. Before all, in the Old Testament. First Stage of the idea: Indication of evil spirits, and of one especially as an apostate, pre-eminently in Azazel, Levit. 16:8; in symbols of the Evil One, Deut. 32:17; in the Schedim (Septuagint, δαιμόνια, properly, master-gods), and the Seirim, Is. 13:21. Second Stage: The appearance of Satan as the foe of man, as the tempter and accuser, Job 1 and 2; 1 Chron. 21:1. Third Stage: The designation of Satan as the enemy of God, as the fallen founder of an evil dominion in opposition to the establishment of the divine kingdom, ZeGen 3:1; Is. 27:1; serpents and dragon-forms as symbols of the reign of Antichrist; Dan. 7, the beasts out of the sea. The New Testament clearly introduces the doctrine of Satan with a counterpart of the temptation of Adam in Paradise, when it represents the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, Matt. 4. After this, in the perfecting the doctrine of Satan, there is, first, the mention, Matt. 12:43, of his connection as chief with the individual evil spirits in the demoniacs. Then, in the second stage, Satan is especially designated as the foe of man (John 8:44; Matt. 12:29; 13:39; Acts 10:38). In the third stage comes forth the finished form of the doctrine, when Satan is represented as the enemy of God and Christ, and the prince of the kingdom of darkness, making complete his revelation, first in secret influences, then in pseudo-Christian organs, and finally in one Antichristian organ (John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 6:12; 2 Thess. 2:9, and the Revelation).
A chief question here, however, is this: whether we are to suppose that in the passage before us there is already indicated a developed consciousness in respect to the nature of the devil. Since in the Old Testament, the New Testament doctrines have not yet come to their full development, and since the beginnings of them on the first pages of Genesis meet us throughout in a very dark, veiled, and germinal form, so would it be a gross inorganic anomaly, if a developed knowledge of the devil has to be supposed in this place. Just such an anomaly, however, appears to be assumed by DELITZSCH, along with others, when he says (p. 168): “The narrator keeps his position on the outer appearance of the event without lifting the veil from the substance that lies behind. He may well do this, since even the heathen sages present an express though deformed notice of the truth; but the author throws a veil over it, because the unfolding would not have been suitable for those people of his time who were inclined to a heathenish superstition, and to a heathenish intercourse with the demon-world (still would there have arisen a superstition from it, even if the narrator had had the purpose to stand purely by the literal serpent). It is a didactic aim that determines the narrator to rest satisfied with the objectivity of the outward event as it becomes perceivable, and to be silent in regard to its remoter ground.” In maintaining this view, Delitzsch himself refers (p. 625) to the Church fathers. Keil presents a more striking ground for this “didactic aim” of silence in respect to Satan, both here and further on in the Old Testament; “it had respect,” he says, “to the inclination which men have to roll the guilt from themselves upon the tempting spirit; it was to allow them no pretext.” We may, however, just as well trust the spirit of the divine revelation with a didactic aim in relation to the narrator, as the narrator himself in relation to his readers; and it is in accordance with the divine mode of instruction, that revelation should unfold itself in exact correspondence with the human state of development. The assumption of an objective development of evil in the spirit-world has in it nothing irrational; yet Hengstenberg rightly remarks: “moreover, the position held by most of those who deem themselves compelled to regard the book of Job as originating before the captivity, namely, that the Satan of that book is not the Satan of the later Old Testament books, but rather a good angel, only clothed with a hateful office, is becoming more and more acknowledged as correct; so that we may wonder how BECK (Lehrwissenschaft, I. p. 249) can be impressed with the supposed fact, and seek to adapt himself to it, through the assumption that the alienation of a part of the angels from God, and their kingdom of darkness, develops itself in a progressive unfolding.” Yet clearly is the commencement of the tempting spirit, Gen. 3:1, devilish enough. Moreover, must we distinguish the conception of the development of the demoniacal kingdom, from that of the development of the demoniacal character. The measure of the knowledge of demons, or demonology, which distinctly presents itself in our text, is the recognition of an evil that stands back of the serpent, and of a malicious spirit of temptation which henceforth ever, more and more, shall become acknowledged as the crafty, lying foe of man (“and I will put enmity”), but who betrays himself already as the foe of God and the adversary of his counsels, as connected with the human race. The more definite unveiling of this last, point, and its wider consequences, such as a fallen angel-prince of a fallen angel-host, and of a kingdom of darkness, belong to the later development of the doctrine.
When, finally, the question is asked, in what manner must we think of the working of this foe of man as taking place through the serpent, we encounter again the abstract opposition of the pure actuality as against, the supposition of a fact under the relations of a vision. Next to such views as these: the devil spoke in the phantom shape of a serpent (Cyril of Alexandria); the devil spoke through the serpent, or made it speak by a diabolical agency (DELITZSCH’S “First Demoniac Miracle”); the serpent is only an allegory (Grotius: the representation of an old poem); or, an outward eating by the serpent of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and a simultaneous whispering by Satan to the soul of Eve, happened together (Clericus, Hetzel)—next to such as these we place the view that Satan worked through a sympathetic influence upon the mind of Eve, and thereby made the indeterminate acts of the serpent to become speaking signs, to such a degree, that, in the excited visionary temperament of the woman, they became transformed into a dialectical process of speech and reply.
To conclude, it is especially to be borne in mind, against the assertions of Delitzsch in respect to the imposition of punishment upon the serpent (p. 179), that every application of the idea of punishment to beasts takes away its peculiar conception; so much so, that, even on the ground of the Old Testament consciousness, can we boldly affirm that, from the very fact of Jehovah’s pronouncing a doom upon the serpent, the meaning must be of something more than a serpent. Rather, may we say, that the future of the serpent-brood is announced in a way which unmistakably expresses the sentence of the man-hating spirit in a symbolical form. Indeed, Delitzsch himself says: Not as though beasts were capable of the imputation; but none the less is there repeated the mention of the infliction of punishment upon the serpent, and we can, therefore, read: the beast that gave itself for this purpose, to lead astray to an ungodly deed him who is called to be lord of the animal world, and his helpmeet, is also to be punished, though in a different way. Delitzsch refers to Lev. 20:15: “It is truly an Old Testament law, that contra-natural lust must be punished, not only in man, but also in the beast with which it is practised; and, in general, the beast is to be punished through which a man has suffered any harm whatever in body or soul (Gen 9:6; Ex. 21:28; Deut. 13:15; 1 Sam. 15:3).” In the passage from Leviticus, the killing of the abused beast is denoted by הרג. The notion that in this and the other places cited the destruction of the beast is ordered for the sake of the man, or in company with the man, rests upon the idea of the personal elevation of man above the beast, in accordance with which it is that, in the symbolical expression, a beast that has killed a man is likewise put to death, and the beasts of multitudes of men devoted to death are put to death with them. It is, moreover, as a symbolical expression of anger and abhorrence, as “when a father breaks in pieces the sword with which his son has been slain.” The symbolical in those acts arises out of the contrast between the New Testament and the Old. The Petrobrusians treated even the sign of the cross as a sign of ignominy, because Christ had been put to death on the cross. The Christian church, however, has never acknowledged this view. Moses also, at one time, established a type in the New Testament sense, in the lifting up of the brazen serpent.
Gen 3:16. Unto the woman he said.—The sentence pronounced upon the woman contains a painful modification and transformation of the womanly calling, as farther on the sentence pronounced upon Adam is a similar modification of the manly, or, we may say generally, of the human calling [since Adam embraces at once the common human nature]; and so, accordingly, is the earlier mode of life of the serpent made to become a modification of the sentence pronounced upon it. What they do according to their nature, that must now bring upon them the punishments that are in correspondence with their natures. Delitzsch distinguishes a threefold retribution in the sentence upon the woman. We follow him therein, only taking the members in a different way. The punishment falls: 1. Upon the relation of the womanly organism in and for itself; 2. on the relation to her children; and 3. on the relation to her husband. 1. I will greatly multiply thy sorrow. The expression עצבונך והרונך is generally taken as a hendyadis. “The frequency of pregnancy can be no punishment.” The Samaritan translates: The burden that is connected with pregnancy. And yet we are not justified here in limiting the whole doom of the womanly distress and sorrow directly to the state of pregnancy. Still it may be more safe to say with Delitzsch: Thy burden, and especially thy pregnancy with its burden. The womanly calling is an endless multiplicity of little troubles, and the womanly destiny is loaded with the most manifold sexual pains. The pains of a woman with child, Jer. 31:8.—2. With sorrow. [Lange translates it, with difficulty, noth.] We maintain that the translation of עצב by trouble or pain is too weak. It is the state of birth-travail, which is, all at the same time, labor, pain, difficulty, and danger (see Is. 13:8; 21:3; Hos. 13:13; Micah 4:9; John 16:21), “Gravida et pariens,” says an old proverb, “Esther sicut œgrota et moriens.” Delitzsch. The contrast between the lightest (Exod. 1:19) and the most difficult births, may help to give us an idea of the contrast between the normal paradisaical way of birth, and the birth-sorrows that have prevailed in human history; and this too without our having to suppose, with Delitzsch, a change in “the physiological constitution of the woman.” Hence-forth must the woman purchase the gain of children with the danger of her life,—in a certain degree, with spiritual readiness for death, and the sacrifice of her life for that end.—3. And thy desire shall be to thy husband. This sentence obtains its full significance in its embracing that which follows, and in its contrast to it. It is, emphatically, that her desire should be to the man as though she were magically bound to him. תְּשׁוּקָה may denote the longing of the woman’s dependence upon man. תְּשׁוּקָה comes from שׁוּק, to run, run after, pursue, want.21 It is further emphatic that the man shall rule over her in a strong way; and finally that she, in her bound and destined adherence to man, shall find in him a strong and severe master. The woman had specifically sinned, “not for the sake of earthly enjoyment merely” (Delitzsch), but in high-flown aspiring, as though she would emancipate herself from man, get before him, and take him under her guardianship. Her punishment, therefore, must consist in this, that she must become subject in the normal line of her sexual being, her consciousness, adhesiveness, and dependence. “The man can command in a lordly way, and the wife is inwardly and outwardly compelled to obedience. In consequence of sin thus arises that subjection of the wife to the husband, bordering on slavery, that was customary in the old world, as it still is in the East, and which through the religion of revelation becomes gradually more tolerable, until, at last, in the increasing worth of the woman, it becomes entirely evened” (Delitzsch). “Among the Hebrews a wife was bought by the husband (? Gen 34:12; Exod. 22:16; Hos. 3:3, 2). and was his possession (female slave, ? Gen 20:3; Deut. 22:22). He is called her lord (Gen 18:21; Exod. 21:3), and he can divorce her without much ceremony (Deut. 24:1). This subordinate and depressed condition of the wife the author (!) regards as the punishment of sin.” Knobel.
Gen 3:17. And unto Adam he said.—Sentence against Adam. In the case of Adam (whose name here first appears as a proper name) there is an indictment or declaration of his guilt going before the sentence of condemnation. His guilt culminates in this, that he had listened to the voice of his wife who was placed under him, and this, too, in direct opposition to that obedience which he owed to the voice and the command of his God. Instead of the protector and guide of his wife, to guard her from the fall, or, after her fall, to bring her back to God, he becomes, in his cowardly renunciation of his dignity, subject with her to evil. Mediately is this also a rebuke of his self-exculpation: “the wife whom thou gavest unto me,” as it is also of the seductive voice of his wife, and her obedience to the voice of the serpent. As, however, the woman is punished through the derangement of the smaller subjective world of her womanly calling, so is Adam punished through the disorder of the greater objective world of his masculine calling. The adamah (the soil of Eden) which, with his wife, he was to carry forward, in a normal unfolding, to imperishable life and spiritual glory, is now cursed for his sake, and therewith changed to a position of hostility to him, and of power over him. Like a sick, disordered woman, it becomes to him a capricious and hard stepmotherlike tutoress, swinging the rod over him with thorns and thistles. Here, too, may we distinguish a threefold act in the one sentence. 1. The curse-state of the adamah, and the harm endured by it for Adam’s sake, outwardly, on its surface, and in its peculiar adamitic nature, even to its very life,—especially as the endurance of unfruitfulness, decay, and impoverishment, to such a degree that it can only afford to him its food in a scanty manner. 2. The positive strife which the curse-loaded adamah, with its thorns and thistles, opposes to Adam’s labor, and the resulting failure and deterioration of its nourishing product: the herb of the field. 3. The fruitless efforts of man, in the sweat of his brow, to sustain his life in perpetuity through his daily bread; since it has become subject to the power of death, which now impends as doom upon the very substance of the adamah.—1. Cursed be the ground.KNOBEL: “Agriculture among the Hebrews was a divine institution (Is. 28:26), but at the same time a heavy burden (Sirach 6:19; 7:15), that pressed especially on servants (1 Sam. 8:12; Is. 61:5; ZaGen 8:15), and presented the idea of punishment when compared with the primitive golden age. Classic antiquity, too, assumed that in the golden age the earth brought forth spontaneously every thing necessary for man, and that agriculture proper came in first at a later period (e.g. HESIOD, Op. et Dies, p. 118 f; PLATO, Politicus, p. 274 f; VIRG., Georg. i. 27; OVID, Met. i. 162; MACROB., Som. Scip. ii. 10).—2. Cursed the earth for thy sake. That is, in order to punish thy transgression through it, shall she no more be blessed with fruitfulness, but shall be unfruitful. Just so do the Prophets derive the desolation and barrenness of the land from a divine curse (Is. 24:6; Jer. 23:10).—3. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it. With painful labor shalt thou hereafter derive thy food from it (comp. Is. 1:7; 5:17; 36:16; Jer. 23:10).” DELITZSCH takes it in a deeper sense: “Man had for his grand vocation to guard the creation of God, all good from Paradise down, against the entrance of evil, and to be the medium of its gradual transfiguration. As a spirito-corporeal being, he was to the material world as אדם to אדמה, being placed in a relation of essentially mutual adaptiveness and casual reciprocity. Even from this it becomes clear, how, in consequence of the fall, the material in man, the direct opposite of this transforming power, takes possession first of his corporeity, and then propagates itself upon the surrounding material, that is, the universal nature.” It is, however, not wholly correct to say that the doom of the curse is represented as going out from the nature of man against the outer nature; much rather, according to the representation, does the curse of the adamah come nigh to man, as a new divine ordering of nature (comp. also Rom. 8:20). We must, therefore, distinguish those special deteriorations of nature which in their ethical causality proceed immediately from man, from that doom of God which was pronounced collectively upon the adamitic cosmos. In correspondence with the above idea, Delitzsch continues: “This curse of sin consists firstly in this, that the soil of the earth, now far from producing what man needs with its original ease and abundance, demands painful exertion, and this often in vain.” Keil makes the point still sharper when he says that “Adam, in the act of listening to the voice of his serpent-befooled wife, had renounced his superiority to the creature. On this account shall nature henceforth array herself against him for his punishment. Through his transgression of the divine command hath he set himself against God; therefore shall he, by falling under the power of death, become conscious of the vanity of his being.” Since we have recognized the conception of blessing (chap. 1) as the conception of an endless fertility and multiplication, as an unceasing and wonderful reproduction, so must we here regard the curse that comes in as the opposite,—even as it appears from the divine explication itself. The doom of unthriftiness, or of mysterious self-generating unfruitfulness, as pronounced upon the adamah, unfolds itself unitedly in the ground-forms of deterioration, sickliness, perishability; negatively in the ground-forms of impoverishment, disorder, malformation, and decay; positively in the forms of crudity, coarseness, deformity, and self-destruction. This curse is the adjustment of a causal nexus between sin and evil in its objective, physical, cosmical appearance. As on the one side it is a mysterious fatality, so, on the other side, as matter of contemplation and conception, is it an ethical consequence. The first ground: the negative side, the spoiling or disordering, presents itself in the first act.—1. With sorrow shalt thou eat, that is, derive thy food (see Is. 1:7).—2. Thorns and thistles.קוֹץ וְדַרְדַּר terms that occur in connection only here and in Hosea 10:8, where they are repeated from this place; the ancient דרדר became obsolete, being of like significance with שַׁמִיר וָשַׁיִת as used in Isaiah.” Keil. In their ground type, doubtless, thorns and thistles must have already existed before; but it is now the tendency of nature to favor the ignoble forms rather than the noble, the lower rather than the higher, the weed rather than the herb. In place of the ennobling tendency which would produce a fruit-tree or a rosebush out of a thorn-shrub, or that wonderful flower of the cactus out of the thistle, there comes in a tendency to wildness or degeneracy which transforms the herb into a weed. The sickliness of nature: a falling back upon its subordinate stages, as a punishment of man for his contra-natural falling back into a demoniacal, bestial behavior. Here now, along with the thorns and thistles, there is, at the same time, the positive opposition of nature to man. In place of the garden-culture, there is introduced not agriculture simply, but an agriculture which is, at the same time, a strife with a resisting nature, and in place of the fruit of Paradise, is man now directed to the fruit of the field. There stands, besides, the burden cast upon the field as an expression for the more universal deterioration of nature,—namely, in the animal world (see the note from Calvin cited by KEIL, p. 61). In like manner the burden cast upon the human agriculture stands for that which is imposed upon every branch of the human vocation.—3. In the sweat of thy face. An emblematical denoting of the daily toil and burden of labor, even for the necessary daily bread. It shall not merely be earned by the sweat of the face; the sweat shall stand upon his brow even in his meal; that is, he shall have only a brief respite for recreation. The face is the most peculiar representative of the human dignity. It may reflect the light of a holy spiritual life; on the contrary, like the dark, gloaming shadow of distress and care, must now the sweat veil the countenance and moisten the bread of toil. Therefore is it well said, the sweat of the face. The eating of bread denotes here, as throughout the Scripture, the sustaining of life generally, or the assuaging its wants (Eccles. 5:16; Amos 7:12).—Till thou return unto the ground. That man must return unto the earth, that is, must die, is now taken for granted, and therewith it is, at the same time, expressed, that now from the power and rule of immortality, he has fallen under the law and rule of death. The appointment of the time: till thou return unto the earth, says not merely that even to the grave his life should be pain and labor (Ps. 90:10), but this moreover, that it shall be a fruitless effort for the maintaining of his existence, until at last he shall be wholly subdued by the overpowering might of death.—For dust thou art. This is the culminating point in the penal sentence, expressed nevertheless in the form of a confirmation of what precedes: not as a new or repeated doom; since after the threatening (Gen 2:17), it is understood of course. The declaration here especially makes clear the fact that death had already secretly commenced in life. Knobel affirms that “neither this passage, nor the Old Testament in general, teaches that death belongs solely to the punishment of sin.” What else is said in Psalm 90? The possibility, indeed, that Adam might become dust again, that is, that he might die, is made clear from this, that he was taken from the earth; but it does not therefore follow that before this time the necessity of dying must have been imposed upon him. Moreover, the terminus in death which is here appointed, must clearly be regarded, not as primarily the limit of misery, but as the culminating point of the necessity; notwithstanding a glimpse of promise presents itself, as well in this place as throughout the different sentences. Knobel thus explains himself further on: “He might have gained immortality through the tree of life (Gen 2:9), but only as something lying above the plane of his nature, only as some superior excellence of the heavenly powers, just as it was imparted to Enoch and Elijah.” So that, even according to Knobel, when through his guilt man lost the tree of life, he thereby fell into death. This is just the way the text presents it, as the normal destiny of man, that he should eat of the tree of life, and not of the tree of death. It is a perversion of relations, when out of the conditional posse mori we would make a conditional posse vivere. Keil. “The fact of man’s not immediately coming to an end after eating the forbidden fruit has not its ground in this, that through the creation of the woman, coming between the death-threatening and the fall, the fountain of human life was parted, and that the life which in the beginning had been shut up in the one Adam became divided, and thereby the deadly effect of the fruit in them was weakened and rendered more mild (HOFMANN, ‘Prophecy and Fulfilment,’ I. p. 67; ‘Scripture Proof,’ I. p. 519). Delitzsch seeks some rational support for this poetical fancy, but finds the true reason in the divine long-suffering and grace, which gives space for repentance, and so rules and orders even the sins of men and their punishment as may best serve the realization of his counsels in creating, and the glory of his name.” It must, nevertheless, before all things, be maintained, that the text would have us recognize the beginning of death, the root of death, the inward ethical beginning of the same, as the matter of chief moment.
9. Gen 3:20–22. The hope and the compassion. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve.—Throughout the pronunciation of doom, Adam had kept his eye fixed upon the brightest spot, the word of promise in respect to the seed of the woman, and with this he consoles himself now against the perceived announcement of death, in that he names his wife havah. Just as his own generic name had become a proper name (v. 17) in the declaration of punishment, so now does he give his wife a proper name after the promise as received not only in its generic sense but also in its deeper significance. “According to this, חַיָּה = חַוָּה is either life, ζωή (Sept.) = life-spring, or it is to be taken as abbreviated participle: the sustenance, that is, propagation of life [for מְהַוָּה from חִיָּה = חִוָּה (Gen 19:32, 34), which I prefer as being more significant than γυνή from γένω and femina from feo, although essentially of like significance. Symm. ζωογόνος.” Delitzsch. Keil declares himself for the former acceptation, and against the latter. Knobel hints at an expression for the wife: חִיָּה זֶדַע, to quicken the seed, that is, to propagate the race, and decides for taking it as an adjective: quickener, life-giver, propagatist, which also is nearer the truth than the indeterminate and too extensive ζωή. In the explanatory addition of the narrator, there appears to be indicated, along with the extensive promise of the name: mother of all living, also the intensive: mother of life, as mediatrix of life in the higher sense. With great pertinency remarks Delitzsch: “The promise purports truly a seed of the woman. In the very face, therefore, of the death with which he is threatened, the wife is for Adam the security of both, as well for the continuance, as for the victory, of his race; and it is, therefore, a laying hold of the promise and of the grace in the midst of wrath, and with a consciousness of death incurred; in a word, it is an act of faith that Adam names his wife חַוָּה, havah—Eve.” In distinction from אִשָּׁה (woman) this is a proper name which as a memorial of promised grace, as Melanchthon calls it, expresses the peculiar significance of this first of wives for humanity and its history.—For Adam and his wife made coats of skins.—Knobel: “Clothes of skins, that is, clothes from the skins of beasts, which elsewhere, throughout antiquity, were used as the earliest human clothing (DIOD. SIC. I. p. 43; ii. 38; ARRIAN IND. vii. 2; LUCIAN. AMOR. 34; BUNDEH 15 in KLEUK III. p. 85). In this the clothing makes an advance corresponding to the increasing moral knowledge.” In the connection of events our passage is explained by the fact that along with the word of death there is introduced the immolation of the animal for the need of man. They are on the point of being compelled to leave Paradise; they need now a stronger clothing for their entrance upon the climate of the outer land. And finally, in place of the insufficient, easily fading, and easily destroyed covering of their nakedness, as practised in their self-willed, servile shame, there must now be introduced, under the divine direction, a sufficient covering, adapted to a freer and more ingenuous modesty. In this sense it is God who makes their clothing, although it is done by means of their own hands. It is an act of inspiration, of divine revelation and guidance, out of which proceeds their becoming clothed as though from themselves. According to Hofmann, Drechsler, Delitzsch, this clothing would appear to be a sacramental sign of grace, a type of the death of Christ, and of the being clothed with the holy righteousness of the God-man (DELITZSCH, p. 192). Keil disputes this, although firmly maintaining that in this act of God there was laid the ground of the sacrificial offering of beasts. The idea of the sacrificial offering of animals points indeed to a vast remote; here, at least, it is an obvious expression to the effect that the restoration of the human dignity, purity, and divine acceptableness, is not too dearly bought even by the shedding of blood, and that it presupposes a suffering of death. It becomes necessary, moreover, that, even before his departure from Paradise, man should see, in the spectacle of the bleeding beasts, how serious his history has become.—Behold the man has become like one of us.—“That is, a being possessed of a similar attribute, therefore like me, so far as I belong to the class of higher spiritual beings.” (!) Knobel.—As one of us.—According to Delitzsch the language is communicative in relation to the included angels. We are inclined here to be satisfied with the conception of the anthropomorphising pluralis majestatis. But in how far has he so become? Only in relation to the knowledge of good and evil, says Keil. Again, says Knobel, “it is the commencing moral recognition, which, therefore, makes him like God.” Says Chrysostom, he Speaks this, ὀνειδίζων αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄνοιαν αὐτοῦ κωμωδῶν (reproaching him and mocking his folly). Delitzsch might find something strange in such an irony. Richers says strongly: “Irony against an unfortunate, seduced soul! Satan might cherish such a disposition, not the Lord.” The opinion proceeds, in the first place, from a misunderstanding of the irony, as also, in the second place, of the “poor seduced” soul. According to Göschell’s more correct and profounder representation, a divine irony is everywhere the second stage in all divine acts of punishment (Zerstrcute Blätter, vol. i. p. 468). As the serpent had lyingly promised: ye shall be as gods, so is it clear that God cannot simply confirm this by saying, his promise is established. When he serves himself, therefore, with the same words, it must be meant ironically. That, however, irony and malicious sarcasm are two quite distinct things, we may learn everywhere, and out of the Scriptures themselves. In this way the expression becomes more distinctly clear: he has become one like us, that is, as we become represented in different forms and transformations. He is become like God; true, alas! God pity him, he knows now in his guilt-consciousness the difference between good and evil. None the less, too, in this ironic word lies the recognition that he has broken through the limits of his proper development, and prematurely obtruded upon the consciousness of the spiritual realm.—And now lest he put forth.—We do not, with Delitzsch, regard פֶן as denoting an anakolouthon, since this is not necessary according to Isaiah 38:18; Job 32:13; and since the assumption of anakoloutha is only allowable in cases of necessity,—a view which is specially applicable to the simple diction of Genesis.22 Knobel: “Jehovah is concerned, lest they may be able to enjoy also the tree of life, and thereby get to themselves the farther advantage of a higher being (immortality),”—a wholly paganish representation of Jehovah which we have no right to lay as a burden upon the text. Keil says better: “After he had become the property of death through sin, the fruit that produces immortality could only redound to his destruction. For, in a state of sin, undyingness23 is not the ζωὴ αἰώνιος (the eternal life of the soul) which God has designed for men, but endless pain, never-ceasing destruction (everlasting destruction), which the Scripture calls the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). The banishment from Paradise was, therefore, a punishment having for its aim the salvation of man,—a banishment which, indeed, exposes him to temporal death, but shall be a protection24 to him against the everlasting death.” Nevertheless there is overlooked by Keil the difficulty, that there appears to be meant such a mere physical eating from the tree of life as would produce a physical undyingness in contradiction with the spiritual state. Clearly, though symbolically, is there here expressed the possibility that even sinners, through a mysterious power of health, may attain to a marvellous longevity. In the full sense of the word, the paradisaical tree of life was lost for man. “But the tree of life,” says Delitzsch, “which takes away the death-power of the tree of knowledge, is already sown in, and with, the proclaiming of the prot-evangel.”
10. Gen 3:23, 24. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth.—His new state has also a mission, and before there is mention made of his being driven out of Paradise, is his new task laid before him. He is sent forth quickly to cultivate the ground from which he was taken, and as the earth had borne him, so must it now nourish him, and as he had his origin (his physical origin) from her, so must he now serve her, and, in the dust of the ground which he cultivates, have his birth and his future home ever before his eyes. Per crucem ad lucem is now the watch word.—And he drove out the man.—Eastward of Eden God places the cherubim; on the east, therefore, we must hold to have been the departure of man from Paradise. Nevertheless, they did not leave the district Eden; “Cain was the first who did that (Gen 4:16).” Knobel. First of all, then, is to be noted here, the distinction of a twofold guard of Paradise: the cherubim and the flaming sword; also, that the meaning is not the cherubim with the flaming sword in hand (Knobel), although there are places, sometimes, in which the Hebrews use the connective Vau (and) where we would expect the preposition with. In the interpretation of the cherubim, there is to be first kept in view the Bible analogies, before taking into account the mythological analogies. When now the cherubim make their appearance, further on, in the two golden cherub-forms which hovered over the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:18; 37:7), and which also appear in the temple of Solomon, only in greater proportions (1 Kings 6:23; 8:6), though not fourfold (as is maintained by Biblical Dictionary for Christian People)—we must call to mind the command of God, Ex. 20:4, so as not to be led away by the idea that they are images of some peculiar kind of heavenly angels, as Hofmann, Delitzsch, Näglesbach, and Kurtz have supposed, in opposition to Bähr, Hengstenberg, Hävernik, and others. How would the images of heavenly angels figure here as guardians of the command: “Thou shalt not make to thyself any likeness of anything that is in heaven above.” These two ceremonial cherub-forms were winged; their wings hovered over the ark of the covenant, and their faces, as they stood opposite to each other, looked down upon the covering of the ark, Ex. 25:20, or the mercy-seat, whilst between them appeared the shekinah of Jehovah’s presence (Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their form is not more particularly described; like the most holy place itself, they appear to have previously belonged to the mysteries of the people. We have here presented to us in worship the first unfolding of the paradisaical form. Just as these cherubim guarded Paradise, with the tree of life that was therein, and protected them from the approach of sinners, so do the cherubim watch and guard the holy place of God’s personal presence, or of the appearing of Jehovah, especially the mercy-seat, and the essential unity of the law that was comprehended in it. The sinner is parted from the tree of life. There is the same meaning here; he is separated from the beholding of God, from the full enjoyment of his mercy, and from the possession of the essential life of the law, that is, the righteousness that avails with God. In this sense are they called, Heb. 9:5, cherubim of glory, δόξης. The poetical and didactic references to the cherubim, Ps. 18:11; 80:2; 99:1; 104:4; Is. 37:16, form the transition to the fully developed prophetic, apocalyptic symbolical of the cherubim, as we find it in Ezek. 1:10; 10:4; 41:18; and in Rev. 4:6; 5:6–14; 6:1–7; 7:11; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4. The passage, Ps. 18:10, 11, appears to have the highest significance in respect to the symbolical of the cherubim. Jehovah comes down the heavens, it says—the dark cloud beneath his feet. Next, וַיִּרְכַּב עַל־כְּרוּב, he rode upon a cherub. God rides, therefore, upon the storm-driven thunder-cloud, as upon his chariot. On this account, we hold that that derivation of the word is the right one which brings כְּרוּב in closest connection with רָכַב to ride, and regards the word as formed by a metathesis of letters25 from רֶכֶב = רְכוּב chariot, team, and not from קָרוּב qui Deo propinquus est, ei adstat, nor as the same with the γρύφες of the Persians, as very generally held (see GESENIUS’ Lexicon). Since here, at all events, the swift-moving thunder-clouds appear as the chariot of God, and very significantly, too, in the singular, so also, the fact must not be over-looked, that, in connection with this cherub, there is mention of the wrath of God, of the consuming fire that goeth out of his mouth, of the glowing flames that burn before him, of the fire-flash, of the burning coals, God’s arrows, and finally, of the lightning. To this we may add the passage, Ps. 104:4, where it is said, and in fact with special reference to the creative history: Who maketh the winds his messengers, the flames of fire his servants. Keeping this in view, that the cherubim have their nature = symbols in wind and cloud, and present themselves in connection with the flames of the lightning, we get light upon the dark passage respecting the cherubim, Is. 6:1, as seen in the analogies of Scripture. That the seraphim, which appear here in the train of Jehovah, are likewise symbolical angel-forms, is evident from their configuration itself, wherein they appear as endowed with six wings, an arrangement which evidently has a symbolical significance. That, moreever, they are not to be regarded in connection with the serpents mentioned Numb. 21:6, appears from the fact, that these have their name simply from the burning poison. Neither can they (to say nothing of the groundless identification of the name with שָׂרִים principes, nobiles) mean the burning, the shining, according to Kinchi and others; for שָׁרף does not mean to burn, to shine, but to scorch, to burn up, cremare, comburere. When we consider that in Gen 6. Isaiah does not set forth his general prophetic inauguration, but his special calling to denounce the obduracy of the people, and to set before them the judgments that must follow, we understand how it is that he sees the appearance of Jehovah in the temple, and in the midst of the seraphim or burning angels, whilst he feels the door-sills of the temple tremble at their call, and beholds the house filled with smoke. The meaning is, that in spirit he anticipates the future burning of the temple as the infliction of Jehovah’s judgment. In Ps. 80:2, it is said: O shepherd of Israel, appear, thou that sittest above the cherubim, awake thy power. The cherubim, therefore, are symbols of the actual putting forth of the divine authority. To this corresponds, too, the expression, Ps. 99:1: He sitteth above the cherubim, therefore does the world tremble. Wholly in a similar sense does Hezekiah, in his extreme necessity, call upon Jehovah as the one who rules over all kingdoms, when he addresses him as Jehovah Sabaoth, the God of Israel, who sitteth above the cherubim. In Ezekiel, the cherubim are denoted in strong symbolical, allegorical forms, no longer as angels, but as חַיּוֹת, ζῶα, living things (Luther: beasts). Moreover, in Ezekiel 10. there are again set forth in connection with the cherubim, the coals of fire that are to be cast over the city. And, finally, in the temple of Ezekiel, do we find the cherubim again as the key-note for the symbolical destruction of the temple (Gen 41:18). We have in Ezekiel the cherubim figures especially set forth in their full development (man, the lion, the ox or bullock for sacrifice, and the eagle), whilst in the Revelation they are recognized as the ground-forms of the divine ruling in the world, as symbolized in the four ground-forms of the creaturely life (see “Life of Jesus,” i. p. 234, Dogmatik, p. 603). If any one is disposed to regard these as the ground-forms of the spiritual life in the world, because the beasts bear up the throne of the divine rule in the world, or because, according to the analogy of the Apocalypse, they pray unto God, there is no objection to be made to it. But they are not thus denoted as containing the idea of the highest creaturely life. Thus also here, in accordance with all the related places of Scripture, must we firmly hold fast the view that the cherubim are only symbolical angel-forms; as we must also distinguish the seraphim everywhere from personal angels; although in the manifestation of the cherubim, there was disclosed to the first men a glimpse of the angel-world. As symbolical forms, they must be here regarded as appointed to form a permanent post of watching, in order to keep men from approaching Paradise, and especially the tree of life. When we perceive the fact that the cherubim everywhere form the accompanying guard and watch of the divine throne, we are under the necessity of bringing Paradise also, and especially the tree of life, which they are appointed to guard, in special relation to this throne. Thereby may it be explained how Jacob says: “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Gen. 32:30),—also how the beholding of God especially brings death, because it is through death that the highest life is attained (Ex. 33:20; Ps. 16:11; 17:15; 1 John 3:2; and the history of the visions, Is. 6:5; Dan. 7:15; 8:17; Rev. 1:17). The cloud and pillar of fire which led the children of Israel through the desert was also a sign of the presence of God, as well as a dividing between the glory of God and sinful men; in other words, it was the guard that kept off from the divine glory the profane entrance and the profane look. For that reason, it seems to stand in connection with the cherubim of the ritual symbolic, as it is connected with the cherubim and seraphim of the religious symbolic, view.
The mythological analogies of the cherubim figures are, in fact, most striking. “On the mountains north of India,” says Knobel, “or, in general, in the region of the mountain and Eden of God, do the ancients (e.g. KTESIAS, Judea, xii; ARRIAN, Hist. Anim. iv. 27; compare also PHILOSTRAT., Vit. Apoll. iii. 48) place the fabulous griffins, which they describe as feathered beings with lions’ claws, the wings and beaks of eagles, flaming eyes, &c.,—making them the guardians of the gold that there abounds. Others refer them to the higher North, to the Arimaspian country, describing them partly in a similar manner, and setting them forth as watchers of the gold, e.g. HEROD., iv. 13, 27; ÆSCH., Prom. 804; PAUSAN., &c.—Of these stories the author probably had some knowledge, as also of the gold land of Havilah, which he mentions.” Delitzsch cites besides the Persian stories, according to which 99,999 Fervers (that is, a countless number) keep watch over the tree hom, which contains in itself the power of the resurrection. In regard to the connection between the Bible tradition and this legend, Delitzsch regards as significant the comparison (Ezek. 28:14) of the king of Tyre to the protecting cherub with its outspread wings. This comparison, however, has its ground simply in the fact that the history of the king of Tyre is presented in analogy with the history of the fall in Eden. Delitzsch supposes that the appearance of the analogous legends which have come down to us, has its origin in this, that humanity, as it went forth in tribes, ever spreading farther and farther asunder, took along the representation of the cherubs from the ancestral home, and continually made mythological additions to it. It appears to us, nevertheless, that the analogies of the griffin legends are only apparent, since there is a great difference between the idea of a lost tree of life, and that of gold mines which may yet become the booty of mankind. The story of the tree hom may be very easily connected with the later Persian legends, which may be referred back to the Hebrew traditions rather than to any early and universal tradition of Paradise—to say nothing of Knobel’s opinion, that the Hebrew idea of the cherubim, so consistently maintained, should be explained from the very indefinite form of the Greek legend of the griffins. In our opinion, the story of Prometheus has much more of an inner relationship to the Paradise history. To conclude, as Keil remarks on the chapter before us: “With the banishment from the Garden of Eden, Paradise, as far as men were concerned, disappeared from the earth. God did not withdraw from the tree of life its supernatural power, neither did he lay waste the garden before their eyes, but he guarded it against their return, to indicate that it must be preserved and permanently guarded to the time of the consummation, when sin should be destroyed through judgment, death taken away by the conqueror of the serpent (1 Cor. 15:26), and the tree of life grow again and bear fruit upon the new earth of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 20:21).” This is clearly a right symbolical understanding. And yet we must not lose sight of the historical fact, that for sinful man the central and collective power of health in nature, as in a still higher sense the beholding of God, is, through sin, and through the divine judgment, hidden and vanished, though not absolutely lost. The individual man, like the collective humanity, may in many ways draw nigh to Paradise; but he is ever driven back as by a divine tempest and fiery judgment to the outer field of labor, of conflict, and of death. Not backwards must he look, but ever onwards.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The meaning of the narrative of the lost Paradise. Like the biblical histories everywhere, and especially the primitive traditions of Genesis, it is an historical fact to be taken in a religious ideal, that is, a symbolical form. It is just as little a mere allegory as the human race itself is a mere allegory. It is just as little a pure, naked fact, as the speaking of the serpent is a literal speaking, or as the tree of life, in itself regarded, is a plant whose eating imparted imperishable life. That sin began with the beginning of the race, that the first sin had its origin in a forbidden enjoyment of nature, and not in the Cainitic fratricide or similar crimes, that the origin of human sin points back to the beginning of the human race, that the woman was ever more seducible than the man, that along with sin came in the tendency to sin, consciousness of guilt, alienation from God, and evil in general,—all these are affirmations of the religious historical consciousness which demand the historicalness of our tradition, and would point back to some such fact, even though it were not written in Genesis. It is then the actual historical influences of our narration, in their world-historical significance, which wholly distinguish it from a myth. The symbolical understanding of the history appears in this, that the universal existence of sin, of the fall, and of the fall of every individual, are reflected in it. Here come especially into consideration: 1. The various mythological analogies of the biblical tradition of the fall. 2. The various exegetical understandings of the Jewish and the Christian theology. 3. Modern interpretations.
1. In respect to the mythological analogies, compare LÜCKEN, “The Traditions of the Human Race,” p. 74 n., having the superscription: La chute de l’homme dégéneré est le fondement de la théologie de presque toutes les anciennes nations. VOLTAIRE, Philos. de l’hist. In the first place, Lücken shows why it is that the heathen legends respecting these facts must present themselves as transformations. Then follow, first the legends of the old Persians. “According to the Zendavesta, or the sacred writings of the old Persians, the peoples of this race, namely the old Medes, Persians, and Bactrians, as well as all the Indogermanic peoples, had primarily the doctrine of four ages of the world. In the first, which lasted 3,000 years, the world was without evil, and Ormuzd, the good principle, reigned alone; in the second, Ahriman began the conflict with Ormuzd; in the third he divides with him the dominion; in the fourth he is apparently to gain the victory, then to be subdued, after which is to follow the burning of the world. To the universal legend, how Ahriman brings death to Rajomord, the first man, there is attached the special story of the fall of the Meschia and the Meschiane (p. 81). So the Indian legends also number four ages. The mythical Indian tendency has presented the fall in manifold myths, as well Brahminic as Buddhistic. Here-upon follow the Chinese legends, the Grecian legends (the Hesiodic ages of the world: the golden, the silver, the brazen, the iron, the Titan legend, the Prometheus legend, the Tantalus legend), then the Romish legends (the ancient time of Saturn), the Germanic legends (the gold thirst, the fall of Asen, to which may be added the admittance of Lock into the Asenbund, death of Baldur, and other similar things), then Ægyptian legends, as also those of the , of the polar nations, of the Iroquois, of the Mexicans, &c., &c.” In conclusion, there is a treatise on the dominion of the demons, the origin of sorcery and idolatry, concerning woman and her place in heathendom, the restoration to pardon of the first men. In a shorter method, DELITZSCH gives an account of the myths in relation to the fall, p. 169, KNOBEL, p. 40.—2. Exegetical understanding of the Jewish and the Christian theology. “It was a universally prevailing opinion among the Jews that Satan was active in the temptation of the first men. This is found in Philo, and in the ‘Book of Wisdom,’ Gen 2:24: ‘through envy of the devil came sin into the world.’ In later Jewish writings Sammael, the head of the evil spirits, is called הנחשׁ הקדמוני, the old serpent, because he tempted Eve in the form of a serpent, or נחשׁ (the serpent) alone (compare the places in EISENMENGER, ‘Revelation of Judaism,’ i. p. 822).” HENGSTENBERG, “Christology,” i. p. 7. It must nevertheless be observed, that even among the Jews there had already come in a twofold conception of this history of the temptation. Philo (De Mundi Opificio) saw in the serpent an allegory of the evil lust (ἡδονή). In the same manner does Maimonides interpret the place allegorically; whilst Josephus understands the speaking of the serpent as a proper speaking, and other Jews again are inclined to see in the serpent an apparent form merely of Satan himself. Abarbanel and others connect a directly seductive address of Satan to the woman with the fact of his winding himself about the tree, and tasting of its fruit. Cyril of Alexandria supposes the serpent to have been only an assumed outward appearance of Satan, whilst Basil, Chrysostom, Augustine, and, in general, the later fathers, regard Satan as having served himself of the serpent, and spoken through him. The inclination of the Alexandrians to an allegorizing interpretation continues in a progressive measure, in the school of the Gnostics, namely, among the Ophites (see MÜLLER, “History of Cosmology,” p. 190), and in like manner in the interpretations of the later mystics and theosophists. According to Grotius, Moses found the narration before us in the form of an ancient poem. Clericus is inclined to agree with those who hold that the serpent did not actually speak, but only eat of the fruit before the eyes of Eve, and that with this was connected the temptation of Satan (as Abarbanel maintains); but it appears to him that in re obscura tutissima ingenua ignorantiœ confessio. Concerning the modern views, an account is given by the author of the article “Sin,” in HERZOG’S “Real Encyclopedie,” as follows: The tempter is the devil (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9; Book of Wisdom, 2:24), who used the serpent as his instrument (2 Cor. 11:3); the serpent is, therefore, neither alone active as such (T. Müller, Schenkel), nor is he an incorporation of Satan (Gerhardt, Philippi), nor the mere emblem of the cosmical principle (Martensen). The influence of Satan upon men was by way of dialogue, wherein the peculiar nature of the serpent was taken advantage of and with which his alluring motions may have coöperated (Hengstenberg, Thomasius, Delitzsch, Ebrard), not a mere physical influence in that the unrecognized voice of Satan like a vision-reflection passed over upon the serpent (in which case the speaking serpent would have been merely a symbolical figure), nor something at the time unobserved by the first formed men, but afterwards, in the later recollections of the tradition, taken for Satanic influence (Hofmann). The tree of knowledge of good and evil is neither a poison-tree (Reinhard, Döderlein, Morus) nor otherwise a tree of knowledge of good and evil in such special sense that the consequences of the enjoyment must have been an intoxication, a disturbance of the pure equilibrium in the harmony of the first man (Lange), nor a mystical tree whose fruit, for the one who enjoys it, is the reception of evil into his being, and therewith the knowledge of good and evil (Martensen), nor an emblem of the world darkened to the perdition of death, in its false influence upon man (Schenkel), but—an ordinary tree, which had its significance only through the command of God.” In this dry, idealless positivism must such an understandind come to its stop. We must, however, distinguish at present three or four principal views: 1. The traditional, orthodox, popular representation, according to which the serpent, under the influence of Satan, literally spoke, or Satan, in fact, in the appearance of the serpent-form. 2. The Gnostic allegorical, farther developed into the mythical allegoric, and, in fact, at one time in a sense akin to Ophitism (the view of Hegel, according to DELITZSCH, p. 171), and again, in a more churchly and ethical sense. 3. The connection of the definite dialectical speaking of Satan with corresponding motions of the serpent, such as its eating the fruit. 4. An influence of Satan, exemplified in acts of the serpent, incapable of being farther defined, and thus becoming a dialogue through the visionary or ecstatic condition of the woman. This is our view (Dogmatic, p. 439), for the understanding of which there must be previously an insight into the essential nature of this visionary state of soul. In respect to the design of our narration, there are, in like manner, various views presented. According to BERGER (“Practical introduction to the Old Testament, continued from Augusti”), who is disposed to see here, not the history of the first men generally, but only that of an ancestor of the Abrahamitic race (a hereditary legend, in fact, of the family of Abraham, which presupposes an already previous longer existence of humanity; Kains, Ackerbau, Stadtbau), the most usual decision in respect to the aim of our narration is that which regards it as containing a doctrine of the origin of evil. As a modification of this view, however, Pott sets forth the proposition that its aim is to represent the transition from the golden to the silver age. For the old narrator this is much too general a view. If he intended, which is the most likely, something more than narrating merely for the sake of the story,—in other words, if he meant also to teach us something along with it, then his purpose could have been nothing else than to show how man may have been led into transgression, and what consequences it must have had (I. p. 55). According to the Jerusalem Targum, Eichhorn, and Paulus, the design of our narration was to paint the loss of the golden age, whilst Von Bohlen, Hegel, Knobel, and others, in exact accordance with the Gnostic Ophites, would represent it as an advance (an advance, indeed, attended by calamities) from the state of savage beastliness. The representation clearly presents itself as the religious symbolical primeval history of humanity, holding the key of all history that follows it, according to the contrast of the fall and the resurrection, or of sin and death, as also redemption and renovation, whilst it gives the ground for the unveiling of the demon and angel-world, as the appointed means for introducing the deepest understanding of the history of the kingdom of God. According to its most peculiar key-note, it is a representation of the beginning of the kingdom of grace. For a catalogue of the modern literature in respect to the different interpretations of the fall, see BRETSCHNEIDER, “Systematic Development,” n. p. 520.
2. The Probation-Tree, the Probation and the Temptation. “The Rabbins and Mohammedans understood by the probation-tree, the vine; the Grecian church fathers understood it of the fig-tree; the Latins, in the first place, of the apple. The tree hom plays the same part in the Zendavesta. The Hindoos speak of a knowledge and creation tree, the Tibetans of a sweet, whitish herb, or marrow, from the enjoyment of which originated the feeling of shame, and the custom of wearing clothes.” Von Bohlen. We have elsewhere alluded to the analogy between the falling into sin of the second ancestor Noah, who became intoxicated by the fruit of the vine, and in consequence thereof lay in his nakedness, and the falling into sin of the primitive ancestor who became aware of his nakedness after eating of the forbidden fruit. This analogy does not justify us in concluding that it was the vine, but some other fruit, perhaps, whose effect, for the first men, was too strong, being of an intoxicating or disturbing nature. If we do not find in that unknown fruit some immanent ground of the divine command, it is clear that we must adopt the idea of a purely arbitrary ordinance. Nature itself is, indeed, and in the most general sense, a tree of probation for man; this peculiarity of it has always had its special types, and there are yet various probation trees for different nations—such as opium, hashisch, the coco plant, etc. So Beyer, in his sermon on the History of the Primitive World (p. 90), takes the contrast between the tree of life and the tree of probation to consist in this, that the first, although it had not the power to make men ever healthy and young, possessed, nevertheless, a healing and strengthening efficiency (analogous to similar medicine trees), whilst the probation-tree was, in these respects, the opposite. He supposes it, indeed, without any ground, to have been a poison-tree;—without any ground, we say, for the human race is not poisoned corporeally, but distempered and disordered physically through an ethical consequence of its effects. Besides this, the probation-tree is distinguished from the serpent, as the probation from the temptation. The probation is from God, as the temptation is from the evil one. The probation, along with the demand for watchfulness, presents an alternative for the good. The temptation increases the danger of the alternative with an instigation to the evil. The probation has in view that man should be on his guard; it is intended to lay the ground of his normal development. The temptation has in view the fall of man; its purpose is to entice him into an abnormal development, or rather, entanglement. Since the time that sin is in the world, has each probation also in itself the force of a temptation, because there is added to it the enticement to sin on the part of the devil, the world, and one’s own peculiar evil lusts. In this sense of probation can it be said God tempted Abraham. And just on this account is it that the sins of a man already perpetrated become for him a temptation to future crimes; therefore do we pray: Lead us not into temptation. Moreover, the hereditary sin is itself one great universal temptation, which lies as a load upon the human race. From all this it follows that the temptation which was added to the first probation of man came not from God, neither from any physical creature, and just as little from anything within the soul of innocent man, but solely from a malignant spirit. In this fact, however, lie two consequential inferences: the first that there are spirits besides men endowed with reason (the angel-world), the second that in this spirit-world there must have been already a fall preceding that of man.
3. The Serpent and Satan. The former has been thus described: “The serpent, a beast like to an embodied thunderbolt that has had its origin in the deepest night, parti-colored, painted like fire, as black and dark as night, its eyes like glowing sparks, its tongue black, yet cloven like a flame, its jaws a chasm of the unknown, its teeth fountains of venom, the sound of its mouth a hiss. Add to this the strange and wonderful motion, ever striving like a flash to quiver, and like an arrow to flee, were it not hindered by its bodily organization. It appears among the beasts like a condemned and fallen angel; in the heathen world of false gods, it hath found, and still finds, ever, awe and adoration; its subtlety has become a byword, its name a naming of Satan, whilst the popular feeling, even now, as in all times past, connects a curse and an exorcism with its appearance.” F. A. KRUMMACHER, “Paragraphs for the Holy History”(p. 65). In this splendid painting there is left out the brutal clumsiness and obtuseness of the serpent which stand in such remarkable contrast with its mobility and its guile. (See R. SNELL, “Philosophical Observations of Nature,” Dresden, 1839.) Respecting the presence and the significance of poison in nature. “There are, in inorganic nature, a class of substances which destroy life, not through any mechanical injury and rending, but rather by insinuating themselves smoothly and gently into the organs of the living thing;—thus forcing their way in with a subtle and malignant power, they invade the life in its most interior and invisible laboratories, throwing into disorder all their functions, and thereby bringing in sickness and most painful death. And so, too, are there beasts that never attack their foe with plain and open weapons, killing the organs by mechanically breaking them up; but, on the other hand, with weapons concealed, underhand, sly-darting, and apparently weak, seem to inflict only a slight injury upon their foe, and, in fact, to be only playing with him, whilst, at the same time, through this insignificant hurt introducing a horrible power of destruction, ever inwardly growing, until finally it breaks out in tormenting sickness, and ends in a wretched death. These beings and products of nature which thus destroy life, not mediately through an outer breaking of its parts and organs, but by a hostile effect upon the very life functions, and which, consequently, must possess an enmity directly aiming at the life itself,—we denote by the name of poisonous.”—“Schubert has well remarked, that the poisonous beasts are beings that appear to be placed ambiguously and doubtfully between two otherwise quite distinct classes, each of which, in their own sphere, present a distinct, perfect, and free individuality. In such middle beings there necessarily lies a striving for a higher form, though ever cleaving to the lower. Thus shows itself in them, often, an aberration from an otherwise sound natural tendency, whilst their very enjoyment is, for the most part, attended with pain and disgust. On their bodily side they exhibit a nature, ever, in some respects, infirm and sickly, and never rightly attaining to repose.”—“It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that in the collected organism of nature, as well as in individual creatures, there comes in, at the transition point, an infirm, ambiguous organization, interpenetrated by evil fluids, which are able to inoculate other creatures with the malady of their own confusion and disorder. And this is nothing else than poison. Since each poison is a sensible substance, or so presented, which has become an original cause of disease.” Under this point of view the author now treats of arsenic, of mercury, of prussic acid, of spiders, and of snakes. “All poisonous animals carry with them a sluggish, and apparently loathing life. The most of them seldom or never set themselves in motion towards the object of their passion, although there is no failure in them, either of strength or swiftness, when they let out upon their prey. This strong contrast of sluggish rest and angry vehemence, produces upon us the impression of some irreconcilable biformity in their nature. They are lurking beasts, lying in the darkest and most unclean recess. Along with this they seem especially to love the damp and mouldy place where death riots. Thus, for example, do the rattlesnakes love to lay themselves behind some foul stump, whilst others seek the old mouldy wall, or the pile of ruins, or the foul dusty corner. It is worth remarking that almost all of them have for the lower organization of the belly a greatly disproportioned extension, whilst, on the other hand, the breast and heart, or the organs that correspond to these, are shrivelled and contracted. In the most dangerous and most poisonous among them, the last trace of any interior breast formation has disappeared, whilst they show not the least rudiments of any shoulder bones. We see them dart with fury upon their prey, then laboring under it with infinite pain and distress, whilst for each gorging they pay with feebleness and torpidity. In this condition they gaze around them stupid and blear-eyed, whilst they suffer themselves to be killed with sticks without making any defence.”—“These giant serpents, the crocodiles and the alligators, have generally, and in an extraordinary degree, the look of a former world. They are the Titans that, under the dominion of the new created race of gods, are thrust down into the deep, and into darkness, whence many a time still there spits forth the fire of their rage. The croaking of the frogs, the grunting of the toads, the shrill sharp piping of the lizard, the hiss of the serpent, give none of them any special conception of the emotions of which they are the expression. The serpents are without doubt the most wonderful, and, so to speak, the most like fable, of any beings of the present creation.” Next follows the depicting of the singular contrasts in the nature of the serpent: its rude elementary form and its fine, spiritual expression, its subtle look, which never carries itself out in action, its enchantment or fascination of its prey, and its capability of becoming transported whilst itself in a state of fascination and torpidity (p. 67, etc.). (See the above remarks and the article “Serpent,” by WINER, Wörterbuch für das Christliche Volk.—Satan. Between the two contradictory suppositions, one of which is that our text recognizes only a temptation of the serpent, but not, at all, of any evil spirit expressing itself through it, and the other, representing it to contain a full knowledge of Satan, lies the hypothesis that corresponds to the idea of an organic unfolding of biblical doctrine; it is, that we have here the first germ of the doctrine of Satan, as we also have before us the first germ of a soteriological Christology—that is, of a Christ of salvation. Both germs are throughout placed in a remarkable relation to each other; the destroyer of the serpent is announced in the seed of woman. But the actual conscious knowledge, which is here expressed in a symbolical form, consists in this, that it represents the serpent as a malignant spirit, crafty, lying, and rejoicing in mischief, who shows himself, and will continue to show himself, the foe of man and the foe of God. Concerning the farther development of the doctrine of Satan, see the exegetical annotations.
4. The Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness an antetype of the temptation of Adam in Paradise.
5. The Origin of Sin. Our text gives us the ground of supposing, in the first place, a distinct origin of sin, in opposition to the system which would make the origin of sin to happen concurrently with the initial constitution of human nature itself. It gives us occasion to distinguish a threefold origin of sin: 1. The cosmical-demonic; 2. the physiological genesis of sin; 3. the Adamic-historical. 1. Evidently is the first human sin to be referred back to a preceding demoniacal temptation; therefore, also, to a preceding demoniacal sin, and accordingly, too, to an earlier fall in the spirit-world. Nevertheless, the essential origin of sin is not thereby explained, for there comes up the further question: how sin originated in the spirit-world? According to the Apocryphal books, the essential root of sin is mainly pride, ὑπερηφανία, which is always an assuming of a false god, that is, of idolatry. (This is expressed somewhat obscurely, Wisdom of Sirach, 10:15: ἀρχὴ ὑπερηφανίας ἁμαρτία. Book of Wisdom, 14:12; 5:27: ἀρχὴ πορνείας ἐπίνοια εἰδώλων.—ἡ γὰρ τῶν ἀνωνύμων εἰδώλων θρησκεία παντὸς ἀρχὴ κακοῦ καὶ αἰτία καὶ πέρας ἐστίν). According to this the first motive to the leading astray, through temptation or seduction, was envy (Book of Wisdom, 2:24). With this agrees also, 2. the psychological origin of sin as our text brings it before us. It certainly does not commit itself to the crude, elementary representation, that the beginning of sin is to be explained from any overbalance of sensuality or materiality. The process of sin’s development proceeds from a spiritual self-disordering, wherein doubt, together with self-exaltation, constitutes the ground-form which develops itself into an enviously malignant pride, and unbelief, that it may become complete in superstition and sensual concupiscence, in lawlessness and seduction. Concerning the ground-form of sin, how it degenerates from the demoniacal into the bestial,
from the spiritual self-exaltation to the sensual self-degradation, see LANGE’S Dogmatik, p. 437. But our text, moreover, 3. would recognize the psychological completion of sin, regarded as the historical beginning of the same in the human world. This is proved by the continuation of the first sin in the guilt-consciousness of the first man, by his self-deception and self-hardening, by his exculpations and his criminations. Most fully is it shown in the announcement of the conflict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, in the banishment of man from Paradise, and in the fratricidal murder of Cain, that follow so soon after. Confronted by the simple greatness and clearness of our tradition of the genesis of sin, stand the most diversely varying views, such as the doctrine of the pre-existent ghostly fall into sin (Plato, Origen, Schelling, Steffens, J. Müller), of the pre-existent corporeal sinfulness (Rationalism, R. Rothe), of the idealistic origin of the conception of sin in the element of repentance (Schleiermacher), or in the element of the advancing consciousness (Hegel), or of its monstrous cosmical ground in nature (Martensen),—and others of a similar kind.
6. Sin, Sinfulness—Original Sin. Our history tells us plainly that sin in its formal relation is, before all things, a transgression of the divine command; whilst in its material relation it is a wounding of the proper personal life, even unto death, and, in consequence thereof, a hostile turning away from God, a self-entanglement in the love of self and of the world, as flowing from the abuse of the freedom of the will to an apparent freedom which degenerates into bondage. That sin, after it becomes fixed, is especially to be regarded as selfishness, is prominently taught by Zwingli; see FARRAGO, “Annotationum in Genesin ex ore Zwingli,” p. 56: habemus nunc prœvaricationis fontem, φιλαυτίαν videlicet, hoc est sui ipsius amorem. The signs of the sinfulness (status corruptionis) that come in with sin are clearly presented in our account. At its proper focus appears the consciousness of guilt, in which, at the same time with alienation from God, there becomes fixed the dependence on the sinful appetite. The essential cause is the vacuum that comes into the soul, the failing of life in the spirit, the physically unbridled and ungoverned behavior whereby the predominance is given to the flesh over the power of the spirit. Out of the permanence of a sinfulness which contradicts the idea as well as the original nature of man, there comes the necessary consequence of the doctrine of original sin, whose point of gravity, misapprehended by Pelagius, lies in the organic unity of humanity, but whose limitation, moreover, misapprehended by Augustine, lies in the personal, voluntary, human individuality. On the one side, humanity is no more an atomistic pile of spirit, than it is capable of being disintegrated atomistically into its isolated sinnings. And so, again, on the other side, it is no more a massa in the general, than it can be a massa perditionis. The whole weight of the organic connection, as it appears to have overwhelmed the born Cretin (and yet not wholly so, since he is irresponsible according to the measure of his imbecility), hath revealed itself in the fact, that the burden of human guilt has fallen on the sinless Jesus. The whole importance of the individual freedom of choice is, in like manner, to be recognized in the personal position of the man in its various degrees of advancement from the lowest step of the human gradation even to the highest, that is, the holiness of Christ. Within the organic connection, which, with its historical curse, winds round all, there still remains room for the contrast between good and evil (Book of Wisdom, Gen 10:1), and for genealogies of blessing as well as for repeated falls, or special genealogies of the curse. This contrast connects itself with the contrast of human conduct in guilt consciousness and in shame. Shame and the consciousness of sin draw men towards God, just as they also draw them from him. On this it depends whether the man, through the aid of the gratia prœveniens, should encourage himself to follow the drawings of God, or in cowardly flight from the divine penal righteousness should give himself up to an unholy repulsion.
7. The First Judgment, and, in the same time, the First Promise of Salvation. It must be observed, that the first presented judgment of God remains the type for all following judgments. The holy Scripture does not separate in an abstract, dogmatical manner, between the rule of the divine righteousness and that of the divine love and mercy. The judgments of God which avail for the separation of the lost, are ever the purifying and the deliverance of the elect. For the judgments of God are separations. Thus here, they separate between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Farther on, there is a separation between the house of Noah and the first lost race. Still farther, and another takes place between the heathen at the Babylonian tower-building, and Abraham with his race, the heirs of the blessing. Next it was between the unbelieving Israelites who fell in the desert, and the preserved remnant which came into the possession of Canaan. A similar crisis is made by the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. The highest and the deepest crisis is presented by the cross of Christ; it is the division that takes place between the believing and the unbelieving. The last is that which takes place at the end of the world; it is the judgment that divides between the blessed and the damned. This, then, is the ground-reason why the divine promises, and the beginnings of salvation, break forth from the sentences of judgment. Such is the case here in the sentences pronounced on the guilt in Paradise. In the very front stands the obscure yet mighty promise of the so-called protevangel. Moreover, the pronunciation of judgment against the woman has likewise its blessing and its promise. With pain shalt thou—bear children; this curse has the New Testament changed into a blessing (1 Tim. 2:15); and so it is with her dependence upon man (Eph. 5:22). The judgment pronounced on Adam burdened the field with the curse of thorns and thistles; but thorns and thistles are the progenitors of the rose and of the wonderful cactus-flower. The primitive sentence of Adam to the hard labor of his life’s calling is become a blessing to the human race. The calling and the labor become the ground-forms for the education of man (Ps. 90:10). And, finally, the return to earth through death contains not only a judgment, but also, in the judgment, the prospect of deliverance from the sufferings of the earthly sojourn (2 Cor. 5:8; Philip, 1:23). The separation of man from the tree of life, by means of the cherubim, prevented him from looking backwards to the lost paradise; it impels him to look forward, and to aspire to the new paradise and its trees of life (Rev. 22:2). The banishment from Paradise lays the foundation for the religion of the future, or, as it has been called, the theocratic faith in God of pious Jews (Heb. 11:8).
The protevangel, moreover (see the Exegetical annotations), contains the germ of all later Messianic prophecies; therefore is it so universal, so comprehensive, so dark, and yet so striking and distinct in its fundamental features. As the ground outline of the future of salvation, it denotes: 1. The religious ethical strife between good and evil in the world, and the sensible presentation of this strife through natural contrasts—the serpent, the woman. 2. The concrete form of this strife and its gradual genealogical unfoldings: the seed of the serpent, the seed of the evil one, and the children of evil; the seed of the good and the children of salvation. 3. The decision to be expected: the wounding of the woman’s seed in the heel, that is, in his human capability of suffering, and its connection with the earth, the treading down, or the destruction, not of the serpent’s seed merely, but of the serpent himself, and that too in his head, the very centre of his life. The whole is, therefore, the prediction of an universal conflict for salvation, with the prospect of victory. From this basis the promise proceeds in ever-narrowing circles, until it passes over from the general seed of the woman to the ideal seed, and from that again draws out in ever-widening circles, together with the self-unfolding promise of the kingdom of God. Thereby, too, does the conception of the promise assume an ever deeper and richer form.
1. General promise of salvation.
a. The posterity of the woman: battle and victory, Gen 3:15.
b. Noah and his race: rest and Sabbath, Gen 5:29.
c. Shem and his tabernacle, Japhet and his enlargement: the name of God and the conquest of the world, Gen 9:26, 27.
d. Abraham and his race: the race of blessing, the promised land, the blessing of the nations, Gen 12:2, 7; 13:15, 16; 15:4; 17:2–5; 18:10; 22:15.
e. Isaac and his descendants, Gen 15:4; 17:19; 26:3, 4.
f. Jacob. His blessing and his dominion over his brother, Gen 25:23; 27:29.
g. Judah and his sceptre: prince in war, prince of peace, Gen 49:8.
2. Typical promise of the Messiah: Israel and the sacerdotal kingdom, Exod. 19:6. The star out of Jacob, Numb. 24:17.
a. The typical prophet, Deut. 18:5.
b. The typical Levite, Deut. 33:9–11.
c. The typical king, 2 Sam. 7:12.
3. The transition from the typical to the ideal promise of the Messiah in the Psalms.
4. Ideal promise of the Messiah.
The glorious appearing.
a. The ideal Messiah. Hosea, Joel, Amos.
b. The ideal Messiah as prophet, priest, and king. Isaiah, Micah.
c. The ideal Messianic prophecy and the ideal prophet. Jeremiah.
d. The ideal high priest. Ezekiel.
e. The ideal king. Daniel.
The conflict. The Christ and the Antichrist. Apocalyptic forms in Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, with isolated examples in all the prophets, especially Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel.
The suffering and the triumphant Messiah, Isaiah 53;. Dan. 2; Gen 7:9, 25, 26; Zach. 9–14
8. The earthly calling of the woman, and its subjective form (see Exegetical annotations).
9. The earthly calling of the man, and its objective form (see Exegetical annotations).
10. The nature of the vanity to which the creation was made subject in hope for man’s sake (Rom. 8:18; LANGE’S Miscellaneous Writings, i. p. 217: Pelagianism; DELITZSCH, p. 186). Here, however, we must disregard the theosophic extravagances, p. 187, for example, such sayings as that of Jacob Böhme: “rage hath got the upper hand and made war upon the government above.” Here it may be remarked, that we cannot, in a purely outward way, as Delitzsch and Hofmann have done, make a distinction between God’s dwelling in heaven and on earth (DELITZSCH, p. 177).
11. Death, in the light of Paradise, the end of punishment; in the light of the Gospel, the beginning of redemption (1 Cor. 15:55). It must be remarked that the separate judgments upon the woman and the man are, at the same time, a common judgment upon both. Delitzsch finds it worthy of note that the divine sentence says nothing about the immortality of the soul. “But the whole Scripture,” he says, “knows nothing of any immortality grounded in the nature of the soul” (p. 190), therefore their dona superaddita, gifts superadded, in Paradise! See to the contrary, Acts 17:28.
12. The banishment from Paradise was in a special sense a sending forth to the cultivation of the field (see the Exegetical explanations). The divine clothing of the first man. The doctrine of Gratia prœveniens (see LANGE’S “Dogmatics”). The clothing of man referred back to the divine revelation and regulation. And yet we cannot, on this account, say with Delitzsch, that “a pure delight in the beauty of the divine-formed human figure is now no more possible; that nakedness is full of sin and tempting to sin.” If this is so then all pure interest in the human beauty has become impossible.
13. The cherubim. See the Exegetical explanations.
14. The disclosure of a spirit-world. With the consciousness of guilt there is also disclosed to the human consciousness the demoniac deep of its being. Man has entered the spirit-world, he has partaken of its knowledge, and has now the first foreboding look into the angel-world, and the world of fallen spirits (“Dogmatics,” p. 550). In this place, too, the Scripture opens up to us a glimpse of a spirit-world created before man. Especially is there introduced the doctrine of the angels, although we must not regard the cherubim as personal primarily, but only as symbolical angel-forms.
15. That with the judgment of God upon man, that is, with the ceasing of the paradisaical covenant, God’s covenant of grace begins, is perceived with especial clearness by Cocceius: Summa doctrinœ de fœdere et testamento dei, 1648. Correctly has Zwingli laid stress upon the idea, that the promise of salvation, as given to Adam and Eve, carries us back to the conclusion that even up to them there extended a retroacting power of redemption.
16. The divine appearings in Paradise form the point of commencement for all theophanies before Christ, and, as such, are not to be identified with the actual incarnation (or man-becoming) of God in Christ. They are, however, to be regarded, perhaps, as typical pre-representations of the same, and as having had, therefore, in the idea of Christ, their principle. Compare KEIL, p. 55, where, however, the vision-side of the theophanies does not appear to be properly appreciated.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See the literature of which a catalogue is before given, and the remarks, Doctrinal and Ethical. Homilies on the whole section under the general point of view: Paradise lost, or the fall, or the origin of sin and evil, or the solemn beginning of human history, or the origin of the earthly order of things, or the first disclosure of a spirit-world and the connection between the spirit-world and the human, or, finally, the beginning of the kingdom of grace, that is, the gospel.—The end of the paradisaical covenant, the beginning of the covenant of redemption.—The beginning of the revelation of preventing grace, or the gratia prœveniens.—The first history of sin and judgment, and, at the same time, the first history of punishment and of compassion.—The call to humanity: onwards. 1. The ideal progress (directed towards the image of God in the obedience of life). 2. The false progress (ye shall become as gods). 3. The health-bringing progress (on the field and in death, yet still towards the redemption).—Religion in its relations to the world-time: 1. A very ancient reminiscence (knowledge of the original destiny, and a knowledge of sin back to the fall and beyond). 2. A religion of the present as made clear in our history through God’s word. 3. A religion of the future in a special sense, as consisting in the prospect of the future salvation.—Particular sections and verses. Gen 3:1–13: The sin and the guilt. Gen 3:1–6: The fall: a. the temptation of the serpent; b. the sinful looking of the wife; c. the seduction of the man.—The threefold origin of sin.—The serpent the instrument and the form of the devil’s temptation: 1. The demoniac subtlety of the evil one in its beastly grounding. 2. The tempting words; lying perversions of the truth.—The probation and the temptation.—The murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).—The elements of the temptation: lies, hate, death, in contrast to truth, love, and life.—The progress of sin’s development from the first evil doubt to the completed evil act.—The mongrel duplicity of sin as it perverts truth into lies: 1. The question pious in form, yet so evil in the doubt implied. 2. The element of truth and the lies in the promise: ye shall be as gods.—How sin perverts the human relations: It makes out of the obedient wife a directress of the husband, out of the helper a temptress, out of marriage a fountain of mischief, out of the man’s call to watchfulness an easy corruptibility, out of Paradise itself a state of guilt.—Sin as seen in the fall, or the mournful effects of the first sin: 1. The guilt and the guilt-consciousness. 2. The divine judgment suspended over them and the punishment inflicted.—The features of the sinful tendency in the conduct of the first man after the fall: evil terror, blinding loss of love, &c.—The evil conscience and its fears.—The ground-feature in the calamity of human sin: the mingling and confusion of sin and evil, in that, 1. evil is made to become sin, 2. sin becomes naked evil; therefore the redemption, that is, the separation between sin and evil (cross).—The imperfect confession, which is, nevertheless, through the grace of God, a turning back towards spiritual health. How God’s compassion brings the first man to the knowledge and the confession.—God’s righteousness in his first judgment: 1. The arraignment; 2. the consequences of the judgment-deed; 3. the appointment of punishment according to the guilt; 4. the division of the one common judgment into its separate sentences.—The revelation of God’s grace in his judgment.—The first gospel: 1. The root of all the Old Testament promises of salvation; 2. of the New Testament gospel itself; 3. of the history of the kingdom of God, and of the announcements of the end of the world.—The sorrows of the woman in their connection with sin and sinfulness of the woman.—The sorrows of the man in their connection with the sin and sinfulness of the man.—The suffering of one party, a suffering also of the other.—How every human calling has its own special burden, or its conflict with its own special curse.—The blessing in the curse.—The humiliation of the human race the pre-condition of its exaltation.—The loss of Paradise a sending forth into the world.—The divine preparation of man for his state of exile.—The looking back of man to Paradise, a beholding of the cherubim and of the flaming sword of an indignant righteousness.—With the separation from the outer tree of life the protevangel becomes the germ of a new tree of life for them and their race.—The prospect of the first man in the future according to its signification for us: 1. A prospect of immeasurable sorrow, and yet, 2. a prospect of an endless hope.
Gen 3:1. LUTHER: So did the devil draw and tear them from the word of God. As long as the word stood in their heart, so long was the life and the prospect of its continuance.
Gen 3:3 Vulgate: Ne forte moriamini. Were this the true sense of the words, Eve must have already treated the sentence of death as something most uncertain.
Gen 3:4. It was a great sin that Eve turned away from God and his word, and listened to the devil; but it was a much greater that she fell in with the devil, who gave God the lie, and as it were struck at him with his fists.
Gen 3:5. Satan the first author and predecessor of Antichrist, who is a disputing adversary and exalteth himself above all that is called God or worshipped (2 Thess. 2:4; Dan. 11:36).—Behold now, in the midst of the fair Paradise there appears a crafty and poisonous serpent! It is here, it may be even by thy side. Be on thy guard against it (Sirach 21:2). Unbelief and doubt of God’s word are the sins by which the devil at first sought to cast men down (Matt. 4:3). Hast thou already obtained the victory over the devil? be not too secure.—The word of the Lord is truth, but that of the devil is lies.—LANGE: The conceits of “opened eyes,” and of some strange wisdom, are the snares whereby Satan especially seeks to stumble the learned.
Ver 6. Lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, pride. The garment of righteousness and holiness was put off.—The fig-leaves. It is not yet proved that they were fig-leaves that Eve gave to her husband. The Hebrew word denotes twigs as well as leaves.—Untimely curiosity brings commonly great sorrow of heart.—God is not the cause of man’s fall.—The guile and cozening of woman can often entice the strongest men (Jud. 16:15).—Man is ever seeking fig-leaves to hide his shame and cover his sins, but they are ever visible to the all-seeing eyes of God (1 Sam. 15:15).
Gen 3:8. The interpreting “the voice of God,” of the thunder.—Parallel of the Garden of Adam and the Garden of Christ: 1. Adam’s sleep in Paradise and his gain, the wife; Christ’s death-sleep in the garden of Joseph, and its fruit in the resurrection, his bride the church. 2. In Paradise Adam was bound with the cords of the devil; in Gethsemane Christ was bound, to free the human race from their imprisonment. 3. In the garden of Eden sin began; in another garden was it buried in Christ’s grave.
Gen 3:9. LUTHER: Adam and Eve are ruined in themselves, they can no longer help themselves, they are forsaken of all creatures; the reason can form no other judgment than that there is no help for them in heaven and earth. Yet here, from this very example, may we learn that God will help though we may be forsaken of all creatures. And yet He gives such help only for his Son’s sake, whom even here He has promised to send to the human race.—God called to Adam. LANGE: A proof of the pre-eminency of the male sex, and, therefore, also, of the higher obligation which Adam had laid upon him, not to follow his wife into evil, but rather to hold her back.—Though God a long time winks at the sinner, and keeps silence in respect to his sins, yet at the right time does He let him hear his voice, and seeks to awaken him out of his sleep.
Gen 3:13. So it ever goes; disobedience follows unbelief in all the faculties and members of men.; after this comes concealment, exculpation, and, perhaps, apology for sin; finally, man complains of God and would make him the cause of his sins. A frightened conscience ever mistakes itself the worst (Wisdom of Solomon 17:12). Man never, God always, has the blame (Jer. 2:35).
Gen 3:15. LUTHER: Christ crushes the serpent’s head, that is, his kingdom of death, sin, and hell; the devil bites him in the heel, that is, he slays and tortures him and his in the body (Rom. 8:7). Since the woman sinned first (1 Tim. 2:14), so is she also here named first, and first assured of the gospel. Therefore here, also, to this proud and mighty foe, and for his greatest ignominy and shame, there is opposed, not Adam specially, although he is not excluded, but, in preference, the weaker vessel. Such a piercing of the heel is more largely described Psalm 22; Isaiah 53. Among other places this first gospel is described in the 110. Psalm; also in Is. 27:1; John 14:30; Col. 1:13, 14; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 John 3:8; Rev. 12:4, 5.
Gen 3:16. The experience here described was that of Rachel, Thamar, the daughter-in-law of Eli, and the wife of Phinehas (1 Sam. 4:19, 20). [The question whether Mary was born without pain is one that does not pertain to our salvation; individuals may affirm whilst others deny it.]
Gen 3:19. Since human nature, through sin, is so frail and perishable, it is a good and wise act of God, that he lets the separation of soul and body continue for so long a time, even to the reunion and resurrection that is to endure.—It is a great consolation for women in child-bearing that their pains before, and during, and after the birth, are laid upon them by God. He who smites can also heal again (Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1). Man, fear not death, but keep the thought, rather, that it is ordained by the Lord of all flesh (Sirach 41:4),
Gen 3:20. In view of the death incurred, the woman might rather have been called the dead, and the mother of the dead. Her having been called by Adam havah (Eve), the living and the mother of the living, is grounded on the foregoing promise of the Messiah (Mark 3:35).—It is a consolation for the poor and the low, that God clothed our first parents with skins.—As often as thou puttest off thy garments, think on Jesus Christ’s coat of righteousness, and aspire that thou mayest be clothed therewith (Is. 61:10; Rev. 3:17, 18; Rom. 13:14).—[Adam is become like one of us; here is indicated his justification, the justitia imputata.]
Gen 3:23. The punishment here declared was also benevolently intended; for though it is bitter to man to obtain his food from the labor of the field, still does this labor, while it supports him, contribute to the promotion of his health, and to his avoidance of many sins, such as those that proceed from idleness.
Gen 3:24. Paradise was an image; 1. Of the kingdom of grace; 2. of the kingdom of glory. The tree of life pre-eminently typifies Christ.—Comparisons between Adam and Christ.—Agriculture is holy.—O man, what art thou? Earth, and again to become earth. Bethink thee oft and diligently of this; so shall every proud thought be gone. The earthly joy has ceased, yet still we have a heavenly.
VALER. HERBERGER: Magnalia Dei: Ye shall not die at all; that was the first lie in the world; the devil told it; therefore Christ rightly calls him a liar and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).—“I was afraid.” That was the first lamentation in the world, and came from sin.—O how often must we, poor men, now say with Eve, the serpent beguiled me!
SCHRÖDER: Every creature created for endless perfectibility is also exposed to corruption (Job 4:18; 15:14). Some would place the fall of angels in Gen 1, between Gen 3:1 and Gen 3:2, since they suppose an original creation in Gen 3:1, and, as a consequence of the fall of the spirits in the same, would read instead of the words, “the earth was waste,” etc., Gen 3:2, “the earth became waste.” Others look for the angel-fall in the intimation supposed to be conveyed in the account of the second day’s work by the omission of the words, “And God saw that it was good.” To others again, by reason of Gen 1:31, the time immediately after the completed world-creation seems more suitable for this. And some fathers, again, bring the fall of the evil angels into connection with the temptation of man, meaning that the former happened by means of the latter (Gen 3:14). God bears, with inexpressible long-suffering, the devil and his kingdom, because to him the good and right of the development, even in its perversion, is a holy thing. The good is not to be forced. God’s power and love bears now the unfolding of the creaturely life, educates it freely and gradually.
Gen 3:1–6. HERDER: Eve knew not yet that the subtlety of the serpent was an evil subtlety; it was to her only shrewdness and cunning. She took the serpent for her tutor. The serpent turns it all round, makes the prohibition greater than the gifts, or allows her only to hear the former. The sly attack of Satan is directed against the spiritual citadel of the soul, against faith in God; since with faith obedience stands or falls, Matt. 4:3 (Ps. 78:19). The lusts follow after of themselves.
Gen 3:6, 7. LUTHER: Unbelief is the primitive cause and source of all sin, and whenever the devil can succeed, either, in getting away the word from the heart, or in falsifying it, and thus bringing the soul to unbelief, he can easily do in the end what he pleases. Such subtlety and wickedness follow all false teachers, who, under the appearance of good, would pluck out the eyes of the people of God, blinding them to his word, or painting before them another god who has no existence. Whenever, therefore, God’s word is changed or falsified, then, as Moses says in his song, do there come in new gods, which our fathers never reverenced. He would have man regard his service to God as servile bondage, in order, by deluding him with the phantom of his own proper sovereignty, to make him the slave of sin, and, in this way, like himself. This gives us a glimpse, perhaps, of the cause of Satan’s ruin. Through the desire of sovereignty it may be that he himself became a fallen being.—RAMBACH: The learned snap at such doubts of God’s word as the cat snaps at the mouse, regarding them as most excellent dainties, when, in fact, it is a feeding on death. Out of envy must the prohibition have flowed; thus would he make God to be Satan (Wisdom of Solomon 2:24), and himself to be God. Satan’s promise begins like God’s threatening: “in the day ye eat thereof,” etc.—BACO: Man allowed himself to fancy that the command and prohibition of God were not the rules of good and evil, but that good and evil must have their own principles and beginnings, and so he lusts after a knowledge of these fancied principles, that he may be no more dependent on God’s revealed will, but only on himself and his own proper light rather than on God. Pride has overthrown itself (that is, Satan). His words invite to a false self-sufficiency, and to a bold independence; he preaches rebellion, his most interior being.—HERDER: Though here an apple lay, and there the death, whilst in God’s hands the balance hung suspended, as soon as it came to subtle, casuistical reasoning, down weighed the apple; the light word die flew up, and in the apple Eve saw nothing less than divinity. No tree in all the garden round had a look so fair or so desirable to the woman as the one forbidden. Now is her unbelief decided.—THE SAME: To lust after. To have the soul over-powered by the senses, to be allured or fascinated, to be in a state of fluttering or throbbing agitation. No longer in thy control; they are beyond; the soul is off to the other side; thou wilt, thou must away to thy parted self, which dwells there in the beloved fruit. Wherefore, at first, an inward selfish turning away of the soul from that divine conformity which sustains its destination to a higher godlikeness. Pride and self-sufficiency. Of this inner state the origin appears as unbelief in God’s word, and, thereby, as an erroneous or superstitious belief in an unknown being. Desire follows the tickling of the sense. The first female sinner becomes, after Satan’s fashion, the first temptress.—KRUMMACHER: In the first sin lie concealed the three cardinal sins, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride (that is, of unrighteous coveting of possession, enjoyment, and power.—(Concerning the time when the fall took place, see p. 47).
Gen 3:7. By experience, alas! did they become aware that what they had lost was the good, that that into which they had fallen was the evil.—They would have become lords, like God, and now they are no longer masters even of their own bodies. Man fell towards evening. At this season, in later times, the paschal lambs were slain as types of Christ (Exod. 12:16). Their hiding under the trees in the garden stands parallel to their making themselves aprons. What the one was in the small, the same was the other in the greater, account. The one betrays their ignorance of the great power and depth of sin, the other their lost knowledge of the omnipotence and omniscience of God (Ps. 139; Sirach 14:2; Book of Wisdom 17:10–13). Both are a symbol and a sign of their falling away, and, therewith, of their shame. Both, moreover, are a symbol and a sign of their divine original, and, therewith, of a glimmering hope of redemption from the body of death. Satan is not at all ashamed of himself; Satan does not hide himself before God.
Gen 3:9–13. The voice of God still reaches the sinner (Ps. 139:7–13). Adam and Eve show themselves in their pure sin-nakedness. Dissatisfied with and unjust towards his nearest friend and towards his God,—they who before had been his joy and his desire,—so does sinner complain of sinner, yea, of God himself, on account of his free ordaining and his very kindness (Lam. 3:39; Ps. 18:27).—LUTHER: God calls to Adam, since to him alone had come the word of God, on the sixth day, not to eat of the forbidden fruit. As, therefore, he alone had heard the command of God, so is he the first summoned to judgment. The most loving gifts of God (Gen 2:18, 20) become an occasion to the sinner, and are used as weapons against the giver. Sin loosens all bands, even the most excellent and the most holy. He calls her no longer, my wife.
Gen 3:14, 15. LUTHER: He calls not upon the serpent; he asks him no questions respecting sins that are past; there is nothing of this kind to bring him to repentance; but he is condemned on the spot. (It would appear from this, that a previous fall of Satan is already here supposed.)—KRUMMACHER: After its work is finished, then is lust divested of its garment of light, then does it appear in its true form of a sneaking, earth-eating worm, ever crawling upon its belly. He shall be given up (for that is the force of the language as applied to Satan) to the most extreme contempt, to the deepest shame and degradation, and shall become, in all respects, like a serpent, etc., until, at last, he is cast into the fiery lake. There is a difference between the fallen man and the fallen angel; the former is lyingly seduced, the latter is the lying seducer; the one becomes evil from without; the other is the author of evil from himself. The fiend has struck us only on the heel; therefore shall his head be crushed: the wounds which he inflicts are curable; the wounds inflicted on him must bring him unto death.
Gen 3:16–19. The desire becomes a burden. Through pain does lust revenge itself upon the senses; and yet, too, immediately on these pains there follows great joy (John 16:21). With gentle force would the wife rule and mislead the man to sin. Therefore is she cast into subjection, into a state of constant dependence upon the man. The field upon the small scale is a speaking symbol of man’s earthly condition on the greater. Adam’s transgression was a breaking of the whole ten commandments taken together (then follows the manner in which this is deduced, p. 63).
Gen 3:20. Here, as earlier, the wife has her name from the man. In a similar manner does the wife, at the present day, exchange the paternal name for that of the man.—LUTHER: It is the world, moreover, that in these signs of wretchedness becomes mad and foolish; for who can easily tell how much of care and expense people incur on account of clothing? Were the self-made and fig-leaf aprons a figure of our own righteousness, which exposes more than it covers our nakedness, so are the clothings made of skins the symbols of the righteousness which comes through the life, and sufferings, and death of the Redeemer and Mediator (Is. 61:10; Rev. 3:17, 18). A sharp contrast that between the first Adam who would, robber like, demand of God, and the second Adam, who thought it no robbery to be like God (Phil. 2:6). God now undertakes the charge of the garden. Earlier it was to be guarded by men; now it is to be guarded against them,—There came the day of salvation. It opened again the door to the fair Paradise.
GERLACH: The immediate consequence of the fall is the awaking the feeling of shame, that is, the consciousness that now the spirit, torn away from God, can no more have power over the flesh. In this feeling of shame the awakened conscience now clothes itself; it is the fear that would hide from God, who now appears as an adversary. The devil, whose corporeal appearance is not mentioned in the Scripture (and which, therefore, may be generally said to be impossible),—what constrained him to speak through the beast? It (that is, the serpent) took advantage of man’s divinely imparted consciousness, that he was destined to a higher godlikeness, in which he should attain to perfect security against every temptation; this was for the purpose of blinding him by a deceptive appearance, giving him a false glimpse of the glory of this godlikeness in the freedom of choice (that is, an apparent freedom). The origin of sin lies, therefore, not in the sensitivity, as this history shows, but in the spiritual aspiration after a false self-sufficiency, independent of God.
AUGUSTINE: After they were fallen out of their lordly state, and the body had now received into itself a sickly and death-bearing concupiscence, even then, in the midst of the punishment, the rational soul gave witness to its noble origin, and was ashamed of its beastly inclination. Still, behind this feeling of shame, it evidently seeks to hide the guilt of disobedience. The first sin shows itself immediately as the mother of a new one. Instead of acknowledging his guilt, Adam puts it upon the woman, yea, even upon God himself, when he adds the words, “whom thou gavest to me for a companion.” The woman carries it on in the same way of sinful exculpation. At that time, the labor of the field afforded the single example of man’s outward calling upon the earth; on every condition, nevertheless, on every calling, on every occupation of earth, is laid the curse, that is, great necessity and tribulation, great vanity and disappointment in the most painful toil. Since that time, moreover, a great change has passed upon nature. The death of the body is the visible emblem and type of the everlasting destruction. It is the dark curtain hung before the world beyond, and which, to the unconverted sinner, covers nothing else than hopeless misery.
LISCO, B. 1: It is no less satanic when Satan uses language respecting God’s word and revelation similar to that which is found in the Holy Scriptures.—Sin from sin.—In place of wretched lies, man ought to confess; in place of sinful exculpation he ought the more to seek forgiveness.—CALWER, Handbook: Christ the serpent-crusher. Gen 3:19: Here, too, again, are punishment and redemption. Gen 3:20: Man clothed in the skins of slain beasts; how solemn now to him is death thus contemplated !—As in Gen 3:15, the beginning of prophecy, so in Gen 3:21, the beginning of sacrifice.—Comparison of the three first chapters in the Bible with the last.—BUNSEN: [The true tree of life is the knowledge of limitations, that is, in the moral government of the natural world, etc. And this tree would grow ever more in Paradise (?). The limitation of the law (positive law) lay rather in the tree of knowledge.] The nature-side of the figure is the great historical event that laid waste every territory of the earth, which had been previously blessed, and drove out the inhabitants to wander forth to other lands. Every word must be taken as the indication of a great igneous phenomenon in nature. Natural science has recognized in those regions the effects of such an old volcanic power, though falling in the historical time. The old traditions of the Bactains, too, seem to speak of the upheaving of the mountains, when they tell us that the evil spirit of their fathers made the lovely climate almost if not wholly uninhabitable by reason of the shuddering cold.—MICHOW (“The Primitive History of the Human Race,” 1858): The fall. We distinguish three degrees: 1. The preparation; 2. the carrying out; 3. the nearest effects.—TAUBE (“Sermon on Genesis,” 1855): Marriage. 1. How it was established in a state of innocence; 2. what changes it underwent in consequence of the fall; 3. how it is again restored by Christ.—How Adam is the type and an antitype of Christ: 1. Wherein we see the type; 2. wherein the antitype.—The history of the fall: 1. How exactly it represents the way sin takes in all men; 2. how it predicts, moreover, the way that grace takes in us.—W. HOFFMANN (“Voices of the Watchmen in the Old Testament,” 1856): The primitive word of the divine promise (Gen 3:15). It brings us, 1. curse in the blessing; 2. blessing in the curse. [Curse in the blessing: it goes throughout the outward and the inner strife. Blessing in the curse: the restoration of Paradise.]
[Gen 3:1.—נחש. Primary sense: keen sight (secondary : intuition, divining). Greek: δράκων (δέρκω) ὅφις (ὅψομαι). אף כי; expressing great surprise: yea truly, can it be possible? Comp. Greek μὴ ὅτι with its simplicity and abruptness.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:6.—תַּאֲוָה rendered desirable: strictly a noun: a desire, a beauty, a lovely thing.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:7.—וידעו, and they knew. Before it was the verb ראה, to see; a higher knowledge than that of sense—con-science.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:8.—מתהלך may refer to קול—the voice going. It would suit very well the interpretation which would make קול יהוה here a name for the thunder, as in Ps. 29:3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9; 46:7; 68:34; Job 37:2. This is the view of Aben Ezra, who cites Jer. 46:22; Exod. 19:19 (voice of the trumpet, going and waxing) as examples of הלך joined with קול. It is thus expressly applied to inanimate things, Gen. 8:3 (the waters going, etc.), in other places to the light, as Prov. 4:18. Even in the Hithpael form it would suit the description of a long roll of thunder, which seems to go all round the horizon, comp. Job 37:3. What follows can only be interpreted of an actual speaking, but this may have been the first thunder they ever heard, coming in black clouds, perhaps, towards the evening of their sinning day, and it would have been very startling, even as it has been ever since to guilty consciences. Some of the Rabbis (see Aben Ezra) would connect מתהלך with Adam: He heard the voice as he was walking in the cool of the day; but the grammar is directly against this.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:14.—מכל הבהמה; Lange rightly renders it: among all cattle.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:15.—ישופך; for a discussion of this rare and difficult word, see the Exegetical and Critical, p.—.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:16.—תשוקתך. The sense of this word is not libido, or sensual desire, like תאוה, but want, dependence, and, in this sense, a looking to or running after one (see the uses of the root שוק). Comp. Gen. 4:7, where it cannot have the sense of libido. So in Cant. 7:11 it does not mean carnal desire as Gesenius would render, but the willing conjugal dependence, or submission to the conjugal rule; עלי תשוקתו, LXX. well renders it: ἀποστροφή; Vulgate: sub viri potestate eris.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:17.—חייך; for remarks on the plural form of the word for life in Hebrew, see Note, p. 163.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:21.—חַוָּהּ, Havvah. LXX. have translated the word by the Greek Ζωή: He called her Zoe, life; Vulgate: Heva.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:22.—פֶּן, lest—only the particle without any verb. This silence, or aposiopesis, is very expressive; compare the similar Greek use of μὴ for an imperative of caution.—T. L.]
[Gen 3:23.—וַיְשַׁלְּחֵהוּ. Lange regards the Piel form as intensive, to denote a violent sending forth, a thrusting out; but there is no need of that, the Piel differing but little, if any, from the Kal, and being used for an ordinary sending. The word following, וַיְגָרֶשׁ, may have that sense, but there is nothing in the context of harshness, or anything to carry it beyond the general idea of dismissal.—T. L.]
[So Gesenius—a sibilando. It is far more likely, however, to have had for its primary sense that from which comes the secondary meaning of brass, or rather of bronze—shining metal. This gives, as the primary, the idea of splendor, glistening. The name may have been given to the serpent from its glossy, shining appearance, or more likely from the bright glistening of the eye. This would bring it into analogy with the Greek δράκων from δερκ–δέρκομαι—sharp piercing sight. There is the same derivation from the eye in the Greek ὄφις, or from the general shining appearance (ὄψις) as a striking and beautiful though terrible object. And to this correspond well the epithets which in the Greek poets are so constantly joined with it, such as αἰόλος, ποικιλόνωτος, ἀργηστής. The Latin serpens is simply a generic name—reptile. The first impressions of mankind in regard to the serpent were of the splendid and terrible kind—beauty and awe.—T. L.]
[Lange’s German translation of the passage is stronger, or rather more peremptory, than our own: Mit nichten werdet ihr des Todes sterben. Our Version, Ye shall not surely die, makes the rendering the same as it is in the prohibition, and seems to have reference to the fulness or completeness of the dying rather than to the certainty of it. The woman had not repeated the words of the prohibition, and of the penalty, in its doubled or intensive Hebrew form, but Satan repeats it in blasphemous mockery, as though he had heard it in some other way. The German does not seem to give this.—T. L.]
[Another example of the way in which this class of commentators love to pervert things—making a hysteron proteron, or a putting the later first, in their endeavor to educe Bible ideas from Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians. No one can carefully study this Greek maxim φθονερὸν τὸ θεῖον (the divine is envious), which so frequently meets us in the Greek poets and in Herodotus, without seeing in it a fall from a higher and holier idea. The marks of human degeneracy are upon it. It has become a superstitious or fatalistic fear of the gods as jealous of mere human prosperity per se. High state, in their view, was dangerous, not because of its leading to “pride which God resisteth” for man’s good, but simply as threatening a reverse destiny (see HERODOTUS’ “Story of Polycrates of Samos and King Amasis,” Herod. 3:40). It was unlucky, and foreboded evil. There was in it a consciousness of something very wrong in man, but how different this mere jealousy of human prosperity from the holy attribute of jealousy against human pride and sin ascribed to God in the Bible! Herodotus, as he was more oriental in his style and feeling than the fatalistic dramatic poets, comes nearer the Scripture representation, or the Scripture original, we may say, of the great truth thus distorted. Especially is this the case in the speeches of Artabanus dissuading Xerxes from his expedition against Greece, Lib. 7:10, 5. He talks there of the jealous God (ὁ Θεὸς φθονὴσας), and his bringing down of human pride, almost in the style of Isaiah.—T. L.]
[Compare Ps. 104:34: “My meditation of Him shall be sweet, יערב”—literally, like the calm evening hour. So the Greek poets called the night εὐφρόνη—the time of calm sober thought.—T. L.]
[This does not appear in our translation, which, like most other versions, ancient or modern, renders it in the passive. It has arisen from a desire to avoid the, apparent harshness; but it is strictly in the Hebrew of Job 3:20 as Lange gives it, and it shows his careful observance of every thing in the biblical text. It is characteristic of the temper of mind in which Job is represented. He grudges to name God, though there is no other subject for the verb יתן—“why does he give light to the wretched?” It is the language of sullen complaint, afraid or ashamed to name the one complained of. So Adam here says: She gave it to me, the woman gave it to me. The other examples correspond.—T. L.]
[Lange’s translation here is: “Wherefore hast thou done this?” Our version, “What hast thou done.?” would seem, at first view, to be a more literal rendering of the Hebrew מה, but that given in the Vulgate (quare hoc fecisti) and by Luther, as well as by Lange, is more in accordance with the spirit of the question, since מה may be taken as a general as well as a particular interrogatory. Or it may he regarded as exclamatory: What a thing have you done! How could you do it !—T. L.]
[In the Targum, and by MAIMONIDES in his More Nevochim, Lib. 2. chap, 30., Sammael is called the angel of death, מלאך דמותח. Says Maimonides: “He took the ancient serpent for his vehicle, and seduced Eve.” Elsewhere he says, that he is no other than Satan, who caused death to the world.—T. L.]
[The general sense in this passage is plain, but there is great difficulty in fixing on the precise action intended by the word שוּף, in consequence of its occurring but three times in the Hebrew Bible; and one of these places, Ps. 139:11, is most probably a wrong reading for ישׂוכני (from שכך), differing from it very slightly, and exactly suiting the context. The sense of bruising will do, as used of the storm, Job 9:17, but is quite alien to any effect of darkness, as used Ps. 139. The difficulty is shown by the variety of special interpretations, though all agreeing in the general thought. Onkelos has two different words for it: “He shall be mindful (דכיר) of what thou hast done to him of old (taking ראשׁ paraphrastically for beginning), but thou shalt be watchful (נטיר) for him in the end.” From this probably, or from some older Targum, came the LXX. rendering. The Arabic translation, commonly called Arabs Erpenianus, made by an ancient and learned Jew, and generally very accurate, also uses two words: “He shall break thy head, and thou shalt sting him on the heel,”—as though in the 2d clause he had read תשוכנו (long vowel) from נשך to bite; and such also is the conjecture of Jarchi, who thinks that the variation was made originally to render the expression memorable from such a suggested paronomasia, or resemblance in sound. Head and heel are evidently used to denote a strong contrast, but not the one, we think, pointed out by Calvin and Lange. May it not rather denote that the fight against sin and the serpent is to be a bold and manly one? “He shall strike thee on the head.” So Paul says: ὑπωπιάζω, “I strike under the eye,” I knock my body down—I fight face to face. The biting the heel, on the other hand, denotes the mean, insidious character of the devil’s warfare, not only as carried on by the equivocating appetites, but also as waged by infidels, and self-styled rationalists in all ages, who never meet Christianity in a frank and manly way.—T. L.]
[This is an expression that Dr. Lange is fond of. He seems to mean by it something representing humanity concretely and centrally—or some aspect of humanity; as Judah in the prophecy, Gen. 49:10.—T. L.]
[Knobel has a gross sensual view in respect to this word, which its etymology and use do not warrant. See Etymological Notes, p. 227.—T. L.]
[Anakoloutha and other idiomatic expressions belong to the simple as well as to the rhetorical or animated diction. They may therefore occur in Genesis as well as in Isaiah or Job. The objection of anthropomorphism is to be disregarded. It is in just such forms of speech that the strength of language is brought out. The ellipsis shows that the thought is too great, or too strong, for the words. There is more force in the simple particle פֶּן (lest = beware lest) than in the fullest or most correctly guarded diction. The cases cited, Isaiah 36:18, and Job 32:13, are of the same kind, and instead of being opposed to, confirm the propriety of calling it an anakolouthon, or rather, an aposiopesis, or expressive silence, here.—T. L.]
[We prefer this apparently uncouth Anglo-Saxon coining, for Lange’s unsterblichkeit, instead of the word immortality, which, although etymologically the same, has, in general, obtained too high and spiritual a sense to suit the idea intended. This is especially the case in our English version of such passages as 1 Cor. 15:53, 54; 1 Tim. 6:16; where it is used for the Greek ἀθανασία.—T. L.]
[In view of this position of Lange and Keil, the anthropomorphic expression of the divine solicitude by the elliptical particle פֶן becomes perfectly startling. It is as though the thought of the awful consequences of one in such a state of death eating of the tree of life, and thereby making his ruin irreparable, or his death incurable, was so overpowering as to hide for a moment from the divine mind the consciousness of his perfect foreknowledge. As though the thought had suddenly occurred, and with it a sense of the awful danger—What if he should put forth his hand! And now lest he put forth his hand in some rash moment as he put it forth to the tree of knowledge! And then the remedy promptly follows, that there may be no delay in preventing a catastrophe that would have been greater than the other, even as making it remediless. Take away the anthropomorphisms from the Bible, and a large share of its power is destroyed.—T. L.]
[As far as etymology is concerned, Dr. Lange, we think, is wrong here. Such a metathesis, although it seems simple, would be contrary to clear phonetic principles. Had the guttural come first, it would have been more plausible, but such a syllable as רַך (rak) would hardly pass into כַר (kar). Besides, the primary sense of רכב is nor riding nor motion at all, but position—superposition, from whence comes the other idea, as secondary or implied. This is most clearly shown in the same word in the Arabic and Syriac, although it quite plainly appears also in the Hebrew. It is far more easy and natural to derive the name כרוב, not from anything in the form or office of the cherubim, but from their being remarkable engraved figures, hence called pre-eminently the engravings. See the account of these representations in the temple of Solomon. This would bring them very naturally from כרב, the sense of which in the Syriac is, to plough, cut, engrave. It is then, clearly, the same root with the Greek γραφ—grave—G R P, Lat. S(C R i B o). They are the remarkable forms, figures, sculptures—engravings.—T. L.]