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ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.


בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called

Genesis


~ 3 ~

Parashah 1: B'resheet (continued)
(In the Beginning, Gen. 1:1-6:8)
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

[Gan Eden (Mesopotamia) [MAP] 3976 BCE]

D. The Fall of Humanity (3:1-13)

1. Temptation to Sin (3:1-5)

Now the serpent[1a] was more craftyHebrew ערום, aruwm, subtle, shrewd, crafty, sly, sensible than any animal[1b] of the field which יְהוָה֒ [GN] [YeHoVaH] Elohim[GN] had made. He said to the woman, “Did Elohim really say,[1c] ‘You must not eat of any tree of the garden’?”

The woman answered the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, Elohim has said, ‘You must not eat of it, or even touch it, or you will die.’”[3]

“You won’t surely die,”[4] the serpent told her. For Elohim knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.”[5]

2. Sin Produces Shame (3:6-7)

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for obtaining wisdom, she took its fruit and ate it.[6a] She also gave some to her husband, and he ate it.[6b] Their eyes were opened, and they both knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made loin-coverings for themselves.[7]

3. Sin Produces Fear (3:8-10)

 Then the man and his wife heard יְהוָה֒ Elohim’s voice walking in the garden[8] in the cool of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of יְהוָה֒ Elohim among the trees of the garden.

יְהוָה֒ Elohim called out to the man, “Where are you?”[9]

10 “I heard your voice in the garden,” he replied, “and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”[10]

4. Sin Produces Blame (3:11-13)

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” Elohim asked him. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman You gave me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”[12]

13 יְהוָה֒ Elohim said to the woman, “What have you done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”[13]

E. The Sentence Proclaimed (3:14-24) 

1. Sentence on the Tempter and Promise of Redemption (3:14-15)

14 Then יְהוָה֒ Elohim said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. You shall go on your belly and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put hostility between you and the woman,[15a] and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel.”[15b]

2. Sentence on the Woman (3:16)

16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bear children in pain. Your desire[16a] will be for your husband,[16b] but he will rule over you.”[16c]

3. Sentence on the Man (3:17-19)

17 To Adam He said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you;[17a] only through toil[17b] will you will eat from it all the days of your life. 18 It will yield both thorns and thistles to you; and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you eat bread[19] until you return to the ground, for you were taken out of it. For you are dust, and you shall return to dust.”

4. Woman Named (3:20)

20 The man named his wife HavahHebrew חַוָּ֑ה Chawah, “life” or “living”, from חוה, “to breathe” because she would become the mother of all the livingHebrew חָֽי (ḥāy).[20]

5. Shame Hidden (3:21)

 21 יְהוָה֒ Elohim made garments of animal skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.[21]

6. Banishment from the Garden (3:22-24)

(A:v; S:iv) 22 Then יְהוָה֒ Elohim said, “Hinneh,[GN] the man has become like one of Us,[22a] knowing good and evil.[22b] Now, lest he reach out his hand, and also take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” 23 Therefore יְהוָה֒ Elohim banished him from Gan Eden, to work the ground from which he had been taken.[23] 24 So He drove out the man, and stationed k'ruvim[24a] to the east of Gad Eden, with whirling swords of flame to guard the way to the tree of life.[24b]

Chapter 4

____________

1a. The “serpent” was a physical manifestation of Satan (שָׂטָן), the Adversary or Accuser (see Rev. 12:9, Rev. 20:2). Satan is one of his titles, not his name. Other names and titles by which he has been known include the Devil, Lucifer, the Red Dragon, the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Lord of the Flies, the Antichrist, Father of Lies, Moloch, or simply Satan. (See Matthew Henry’s commentary on vv. 1-5) [RETURN]

1b. Notice that the text says that HaSatan was craftier than any of the animals, not crafier than any of the “other” animals. So this particular serpent was not one of the created animals. [RETURN]

 1c. The beginning of sin is to doubt the word of God. The most insipid temptations from Satan always begin with, “Did God really say …?”

Is it true that He has restricted you in using the fruits of this delightful place? This is not like one so good and kind. Surely there is some mistake. He insinuated a doubt as to her sense of the divine will and appeared as an angel of light (2Cor 11:14), offering to lead her to the true interpretation. It was evidently from her regarding him as specially sent on that errand, that, instead of being startled by the reptile’s speaking, she received him as a heavenly messenger. (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

This graphically displays the danger of assuming to be true what we emotionally want HaShem to be like in contrast to what the revealed Word tells us of Him. The classic example is “I simply cannot believe that a loving God would allow anyone to actually go to hell.” [RETURN]

 3. Notice here the beginning of all deception. HaShem’s clear instruction was, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you must not eat of it.” Havah (Eve) added, “or even touch it” to the instructions of HaShem. Where did she get that from? Did she make that up herself, or did Adam give her the additional instruction to protect her, in effect “placing a fence” around HaShem’s command. We have absolutely no way of knowing how long after they were created this event took place. Adam and Eve were created immortal, so it may have been a few months, years, decades, or even centuries. One is forced to consider for how long this rebellious idea had been stewing inside her mind. Perhaps this is why HaShem was careful to admonish Moshe to neither add to nor subtract from His divine instruction (Deut. 4:2; Deut. 12:32). Apparently the Sages did not notice this mitzvah (command) when they started “building fences around Torah” (takanot). For just one small example, HaShem commands us, “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk,” to which the Sages added, “nor shall you eat meat of any kind along with dairy of any kind, nor shall you even use the same kitchen utensils in the preparation thereof.” [RETURN]

 4. HaSatan did not directly lie to the woman; his specialty is telling half-truths, as he did here. Note that Adam and his wife (as yet she has no name other than isha) did not immediately die physically, which was clearly HaSatan’s deceptive intent. See the notes on verse 21. Scholars have labeled HaSatan’s comment here with the technical designation “The Lie,” as Yeshua refers to it  (“Whenever he speaks the lie, he speaks from his own things,” John 8:44, DLNT), as does Rav Sha'ul: “and because of this shall God send to them a working of delusion, for their believing the lie,” (2Thess. 2:11, YLT). “The Lie” is two-fold: disobedience to HaShem does not result in death, and mankind can become deity. See also “Crash Course Mormonism: Kingdoms of Glory.” [RETURN]

 5. “… you will be like Elohim…” This may be interpreted as either “you will become like God” (the Creator Himself) or “you will become like gods” (become deities). One of the key beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, or Mormons) is that mankind can achieve deity. Their definition of “eternal life” is exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom and elevation to deity, with the ability to bear children in heaven and reign over a world of one’s own; one Must have a temple marriage to qualify. See also the heading “Celestial Kingdom” in the article “Crash Course Mormonism: Kingdoms of Glory.” Proponants of the “Ancient Astronauts Theory” hold that all that those we perceive as “gods” were actually alien astronauts and that we are actually the descendants of their genetic experiments on apes and other early hominids, and that someday they they will return to earth and reveal that we, too, are “gods.” However, the Bible teaches us that all the false “gods” are actually Satan’s supernatural servants, demons. 1Cor 10:20; Deut 32:17 [RETURN]

6a. Notice how easly HaSatan“the Adversary” can manipulate our best and honest intentions. Adam and his wife had been charged with managing the affairs of all of HaShem’s earthly creation. In addition to tending to the botanical life in the Garden, they were also responsible for naming and caring for all the animals. How much better would they be able to carry out those responsibilities with the knowldege that HaSatan was promising? Armed with that knowledge, wouldn’t she be able to make her husband more successful? [RETURN]

6b. Adam was standing there with her, listening to the entire conversation. He was not deceived. Regardless of his motive, his was an act of wilful disobedience. And by pushing his own guilt off onto his “sustainer,” he ruptured his relationship with her as well as the relationship with God. [RETURN]

 7. Many scholars believe that before the Fall, Adam and Havah were literally clothed in the Shekinah (the visible Glory of God), and that when they sinned, the Shekinah (emphasis is on the last syllable, not the second — sounds like “shek-in-awe”) left them, thus leaving them naked for the first time. They tried to “cover” the result of their sin, but that clearly didn’t work. The Hebrew word כִּפֻּר (kippur) atonement is derived from כָּפַר (kaphar) to cover over (as in “cover with pitch” in Gen 6:14), pacify, make propitiation. [RETURN] [Return to Note 21]

 8. It is important to our understanding of all subsequent revelation to know exactly Who it was that walked in the Garden with Adam and Havah. Though the Scripture does not specifically so state, we can assume that because Adam and Havah recognized “the voice of יְהוָה֒ Elohim walking in the garden,” it was something with which they were well familiar. Yochanan tells us: “No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, Who is identical with God and is at the Father’s side — He has made Him known” (John 1:18). A careful study of the entire Scripture leads us to the inescapable conclusion that all physical manifestations of God are in the “Person” of God the Son. Therefore, it was God the Son, the pre-incarnate Yeshua, who walked in the Garden, had lunch with Avram at Mamre (Gen 18:1-8), made the covenants with Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya'akov, appeared to Moshe in the Burning Bush (Exod 3:2) and atop Mount Sinai (Exod 19:18), wrote the “Ten Commandments” in the stone tablets with His finger (Exod 31:18), and appeared to Israel in the wilderness as the pillars of fire and smoke (Exod 13:21). And if it were indeed God the Son Who gave the Torah to Moshe, then what do you suppose He meant by “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15) and “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in His love” (John 15:10)? [RETURN]

 9. HaShem certainly knew where Adam was without asking. He wanted to make sure that Adam knew where he was. This is clearly a call for Adam and Eve to confess and repent. God gives us his commandments as an act of love. The commandments represent His own heart. When we violate those commendments we rupture our relationship with Him and with each other. And when we have difficulty finding God, it is not because He has moved away from us, but it is we who have moved away from Him. Through this single act of disobedience, the relationship between God and mankind was broken, the relationship between the man and his wife was broken, and the relationship between mankind and the rest of creation was broken. Now the animals would fear him and the earth would refuse to yield its fruit without his labor. We might want to consider what would have happened differently had Adam and Eve merely confessed and repented. [RETURN]

10. Note that Adam expressed no sign of repentance, just fear, evasion, and arrogance. But he realized that he was naked, so certainly something had changed. He had become mortal. [RETURN]

12&13. Our natural reaction when we are confronted with our sin is nearly always to blame somebody else. The woman blamed the Serpent, but Adam actually blamed HaShem! “That woman that You gave me” Prov. 19:3 [RETURN]

13. The woman (she hasn’t been given a name yet) was deceived into thinking the forbidden tree was a good thing for her and her husband, presumably so he would be a better and wiser ruler of the domain with which HaShem had entrusted him. But Adam sinned willingly. Because Adam was created first and Havah was easily deceived, God requires men to assume all leadership positions in the Messianic Community, along with the responsibility for that position. This is not to subjugate women, but to place them under the protection of the men. See 1Tim 2:11-15 [RETURN]

15a. Because of the Fall, there will be perpetual animosity between HaSatan (and his children, the demons) and mankind; not just the woman, but all the offspring of the woman, i.e., all humanity. In later revelation we learn that “the woman” becomes a figurehead of Israel, and Satan’s hatred becomes directed toward Israel. Rev 12:1-6 [RETURN]

15b. This sentence is knows as the Protoevangelium, or “First Gospel.” In it God declares that the serpent (HaSatan) will bruise Messiah’s heel (significantly injure) by means of the crucifixion, but the Son of the woman (Messiah) will crush HaSatan’s head (inflict a fatal injury) through that same crucifixion. But notice that HaShem provides the promise of redemption before he delares their sentence! Grace before justice, always! [RETURN]

16a. Desire; Hebrew תשוקה, teshuwqah, desire, longing, craving. [RETURN]

16b. The word translated “for” (וְאֶל, wa'el) can also be translated “against, motion or direction of a hostile character.” In context, I believe this means that the woman will desire to be in charge, but her husband will be the one to “wear the pants” in the family. Sin is the cause of conflict within the family. Be sure to read the next note. [RETURN]

16c. Rule; Hebrew משל, mashal, to exercise dominion. But an important part of exercising dominion is to provide protection. Thus it is man’s responsibility to protect his wife (and the other women in the Holy Community) and to be responsible for her safety and well-being. HaShem does not permit women to assume leadership roles in the Holy Community unless it is by default, when no man is willing or able to accept the responsibility (see 1 Timothy 2:9-14, but also Judges 4:1-10). This is not because she is either inferior or incapable, but for her protection. The idea of “the buck stops here” applies. It is man’s God-appointed responsibility to lead, and to accept full responsibility (and the blame) for the result of that leadership. Thus the woman will not be held accountable for a man’s failed leadership, but only for her failure to submit to that leadership. [RETURN]

17a. There is the Jewish idea of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world. The fact that the idea has its roots in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) does not diminish its value.

Tikkun Olam: In Jewish teachings, any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created. Tikkun olam implies that while the world is innately good, its Creator purposely left room for us to improve upon His work. All human activities are opportunities to fulfill this mission, and every human being can be involved in tikkun olam — child or adult, student or entrepreneur, industrialist or artist, caregiver or salesperson, political activist or environmentalist, or just another one of us struggling to keep afloat. (Chabad.org, “Tikkun Olam,” accessed 20 October 2019)

Since it was mankind who “broke” HaShem’s creation, it is mankind’s responsibility to work diligently towards its repair until such time as Messiah comes to perform the ultimate restoration. [RETURN]

17b. Through toil: Hebrew בְּעִצָּבוֹן֙ (b'itstsabon), through pain, labour, hardship, sorrow, toil. [RETURN]

19. Bread: Hebrew לֶ֔חֶם (le·ḥem), literally bread, but in Hebrew it refers also to food in general, and is often translated “food” based on the context. [RETURN]

20. She was named Havah [חַוָּ֑ה (ḥaw·wāh)] “because she would be come the mother of all the living” [חָֽי (ḥāy)]. [RETURN]

21. Try to imagine the emotional anguish this brought to Adam. As caretaker of creation (perhaps for centuries by this time), he had a special bond with all the animals and loved them as we love our children. How would you feel if HaShem brought you the skin of your child and said, “Here, this skin of your beloved child will cover the guilt of your sin!”

This is the first time that death of any kind occurs in the history of creation. HaShem had told Adam and Havah that on the day they ate of the forbidden tree, they would be doomed to die. The idea of “death” (or often stated in the Tanakh as being “cut off”) actually refers to a “separation,” which comes in one of three forms:

  1. physical death, when the spiritual elements are separated from the physical elements of a living being;

 2. spiritual death, when the human spirit and soul are separated from the Creator; and

 3. social or community death, when a member of a community is separated from the other members of that community.

Because of their disobedience, Adam and Havah were separated from personal fellowship with HaShem. Never again (until the New Creation) would He walk with them in Gan Eden. I personally agree with those scholars who believe that after the Fall Adam and Havah were literally separated from the Shekinah in which they had been clothed (see Note 7, above).

In this event HaShem initiated and instructed Adam and Havah in the concept of sacrificial atonement, in which the death of an innocent can provide a “covering” (but not forgiveness) for the sin of the guilty party. “Atonement” is the English rendering of the Hebrew word kippur (כִּפֻּר), to cover. It does not include the concept of forgiveness. “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). HaShem sacrificed an innocent animal and created for the man and his wife a “covering” or atonement. Although their sin was “covered” they still had to suffer the consequences. [RETURN]

22a. If HaSham is an absolute unity, to Whom is He speaking? [RETURN]

22b. To understand experientially the difference between good and evil is to become “as a god.” They understood the difference, and found themselves overcome with their shame. Had they been allowed to remain in the garden, eaten from the Tree of Life, and become immortal, they would have lived with their shame  in perpetuity, but without the presence of a holy God Who cannot dwell in the presence of sin. Their paradise would have become the very definition of hell — an eternal separation from their Creator and His love. Expulsion from the garden and from the visual presense of God was an act of infinite love and mercy. [RETURN]

23. We can’t begin to imagine the anguish this entire event caused God. He had created Adam and Eve to rule over His creation and to enjoy a physial fellowship with Him forever. We have no way of knowing how long after they were created they chose to disobey Him. A causal reading of the text may seem like it was only a few days, but as they were created to be eternal beings it may have been years, or even centuries. And we can readily assume from the text that He was in the habit of physically walking with them in fellowship in the garden. When He came “down” for His walk, He found them hiding from Him. This was the very first time since they were created that the fellowship was broken. How this must have broken God‘s heart! “Adam! Adam! Where are you? Why have you abandoned Me?” We can only liken this to the anguish of our Savior on the cross: “My God! my God! Why have You forsaken Me!” How God must have wept over their forsaking Him! And so was set in motion the Plan of Redemption whereby humanity will ultimately be restored to eternal fellowship with Him in the Olam Haba. [RETURN]

24a. “The passage should be rendered thus: ‘And He dwelt between the cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden and a fierce fire, or Shekinah, unfolding itself to preserve the way of the tree of life.” This was the mode of worship now established to show God’s anger at sin and teach the mediation of a promised Saviour as the way of life, as well as of access to God. They were the same figures as were afterwards in the tabernacle and temple; and now, as then, God said, “I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim”’ (Exodus 25:22)” (Jameison, Causset & Brown).

K'ruvim (singular, קֶדֶם k'ruv or kherub), “cherubim” in most English translations — the “ch” is gutteral as in Johann Sebastian Bach — are powerful angelic creatures, messengers of Elohim with wings.  [If you are a pastor or Bible teacher, the word “cherubim” is already plural; please do not embarass yourself by talking about “cherubims.”] They appear in Scripture as:

a. guardians of Eden (Gen 3:24) and of God’s throne (Ezek 28:13-15)

b. an image form hovering over the Ark of the Covenant (Exod 25:20-22; 37:9)

c. depicted in the embroidery in the Temple veil (Exod 26:31)

d. statuary in the Temple (1Kings 6:23-28; 2Chron 3:10-13)

e. poetically, flanking God’s throne (Ps 80:1; 99:1; Isa 37:15-17)

f. powering the “chariot” of Hashem (Ezek 10:1-10; 15-18)

The Truth About Angels

Satan is an “anointed guardian K'ruv”: Ezekiel 28:13-17 (v. 14). See also Ezekiel 10. [RETURN]

24b. It was absolutely necessary for HaShem to block access to the Tree of Life in order for mankind to be redeemed. If Adam and Eve had eaten from the Tree of Life in their fallen condition, they would have lived forever, eternally separated from fellowship with God by sin.

The Tree of Life is first described as being in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). The Hebrew word for “Paradise” is Gan Eden. If Yeshua HaMashiach spoke Hebrew as His native language, as I am absolutely certain He did, then what He said to the thief on the cross next to His was literally, “Today you will be with Me in Gan Eden.” The next we hear of the Tree of Life is in Revelation 2:7:

Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him who wins the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-'Eden.

After this world is destroyed and rebuilt, the Tree of Life resides in New Jerusalem between “Main Street” and the River of Life (Rev. 22:1-2). These facts might well lead one to conclude that what we conceive of as “heaven” is, in fact, here on the re-created earth in and around the city of New Jerusalem. [RETURN]

Originally posted on Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Revised some text (minor); added new notes, updated some others on Monday, 28 June 2021
Added additional notes and comments on Friday, 04 February 2022
Additional notes added Sunday, 1 May 2022

Page last updated on Sunday, 05 June 2022 10:30 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

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