And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:…
1. It was a needful prohibition. To remind man that he is not absolute sovereign, only vicegerent.
2. It was but one prohibition, Man was not burdened, or fretted, or perplexed with many points of this kind. Only one! How gracious! How considerate, as if God sought to make man's trial the least possible, so as to leave him without excuse if he should disobey.
3. It was a simple prohibition. It had nothing intricate or dark about it. There was nothing mysterious about it, nothing in which man could mistake, nothing which could leave room for the question, Am I obeying or not? It was distinct beyond the possibility of mistake.
4. It was a visible prohibition. It was connected with something both visible and tangible. It was not inward, but outward. It was not a thing of faith, but of sight. Everything about it was palpable and open-the tree, the fruit, the place, the threat, the consequences.
5. It was an easy prohibition. Man could not say it was hard to keep. He was only to refrain from eating one fruit. Being a negative, not a positive requirement, it reduced obedience to its lowest form and easiest terms. Hence man's sin was the greater. He was wholly inexcusable.
6. It was enforced by a most solemn penalty. It began with a declaration of God's will, and it ended with the proclamation of the penalty — death. How much this expression includes has been often disputed. There is no need of this. In the day that man ate of the tree he came under condemnation; he became a death-doomed man; the sentence went forth against him. This death brought with it all manner of infinite ills and woes. It brought with it or included in it, condemnation, wrath, misery, separation from God; all endless; all immediate; all irreversible, had not free love come in; had "grace not reigned through righteousness, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The sentence was, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." But "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
(H. Bonar, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: