but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" (2024)

But 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.

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Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:1-5 Satan assaulted our first parents, to draw them to sin, and the temptation proved fatal to them. The tempter was the devil, in the shape and likeness of a serpent. Satan's plan was to draw our first parents to sin, and so to separate between them and their God. Thus the devil was from the beginning a murderer, and the great mischief maker. The person tempted was the woman: it was Satan's policy to enter into talk with her when she was alone. There are many temptations to which being alone gives great advantage; but the communion of saints tends very much to their strength and safety. Satan took advantage by finding her near the forbidden tree. They that would not eat the forbidden fruit, must not come near the forbidden tree. Satan tempted Eve, that by her he might tempt Adam. It is his policy to send temptations by hands we do not suspect, and by those that have most influence upon us. Satan questioned whether it were a sin or not, to eat of this tree. He did not disclose his design at first, but he put a question which seemed innocent. Those who would be safe, need to be shy of talking with the tempter. He quoted the command wrong. He spoke in a taunting way. The devil, as he is a liar, so he is a scoffer from the beginning; and scoffers are his children. It is the craft of Satan to speak of the Divine law as uncertain or unreasonable, and so to draw people to sin; it is our wisdom to keep up a firm belief of God's command, and a high respect for it. Has God said, Ye shall not lie, nor take his name in vain, nor be drunk, &c.? Yes, I am sure he has, and it is well said; and by his grace I will abide by it. It was Eve's weakness to enter into this talk with the serpent: she might have perceived by his question, that he had no good design, and should therefore have started back. Satan teaches men first to doubt, and then to deny. He promises advantage from their eating this fruit. He aims to make them discontented with their present state, as if it were not so good as it might be, and should be. No condition will of itself bring content, unless the mind be brought to it. He tempts them to seek preferment, as if they were fit to be gods. Satan ruined himself by desiring to be like the Most High, therefore he sought to infect our first parents with the same desire, that he might ruin them too. And still the devil draws people into his interest, by suggesting to them hard thoughts of God, and false hopes of advantage by sin. Let us, therefore, always think well of God as the best good, and think ill of sin as the worst evil: thus let us resist the devil, and he will flee from us.

The woman gives the natural and distinct answer of unaffected sincerity to this suggestion. The deviations from the strict letter of the law are nothing more than the free and earnest expressions of her feelings. The expression, "neither shall ye touch it," merely implies that they were not to meddle with it, as a forbidden thing.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. the woman said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden—In her answer, Eve extolled the large extent of liberty they enjoyed in ranging at will amongst all the trees—one only excepted, with respect to which, she declared there was no doubt, either of the prohibition or the penalty. But there is reason to think that she had already received an injurious impression; for in using the words "lest ye die," instead of "ye shall surely die" [Ge 2:17], she spoke as if the tree had been forbidden because of some poisonous quality of its fruit. The tempter, perceiving this, became bolder in his assertions.

Matthew Poole's Commentary

To wit, in order to the eating of it. Or the touch might be simply forbidden, or she might reasonably understand it to be forbidden in and by the prohibition of eating, because it was an occasion of sin, and therefore to be avoided. For it is not probable that the woman, being not yet corrupted, should knowingly add to God’s word, or maliciously insinuate the harshness of the precept. Others read, lest peradventure ye die, as if she doubted of the truth of the threatening; which seems not probable, the woman yet continuing in the state of innocency, and such doubting being evidently sinful; and the Hebrew particle Pen doth not always imply a doubt, as appears from Psalm 2:12 Isaiah 27:3 36:18, compared with 2 Kings 18:3.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But of the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden,.... This tree stood near the tree of life, as is highly probable, since that is described in the same situation, Genesis 2:9 she does not give it any name, which perhaps was not as yet given it; or she was not acquainted with it, its name in the preceding chapter being given by anticipation; and most likely it is, it had its name from the event, and as yet was without one:

God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die: here the woman is charged by some both with adding to, and taking from the law of God; and if so, must have sinned very heinously before she eat of the fruit; but neither of them are sufficiently proved; not the former by her saying, "neither shall ye touch it", which though not expressed in the prohibition, is implied, namely, such a touching the fruit as to pluck it off the tree, take it in the hand, and put it to the mouth, in order to eat it: nor the latter by these words, "lest ye die", or "lest perhaps ye die" (h); as if it was a matter of doubt, when it was most strongly assured; for the word used is not always to be understood of doubting, but of the event of a thing; see Psalm 2:12 and may be rendered, "that ye die not" (i); which would certainly be the case, should they pluck the fruit and eat of it.

(h) "ne forte", V. L. Tigurine version, fa*gius. (i) , Sept.

Geneva Study Bible

But 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, {c} lest ye die.

(c) In doubting God's warnings she yielded to Satan.


Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

3. of the fruit of the tree, &c.] The woman speaks of only one tree, and that one is in the midst of the garden. She does not mention it by name. In Genesis 2:9, where two trees are mentioned, the one which is described as “in the midst of the garden” is the tree of life. Here the woman speaks of the tree, which is “in the midst of the garden,” as the tree of knowledge.neither shall ye touch it] This is an addition to the prohibition contained in Genesis 2:17, either an element omitted in the previous chapter, or an exaggeration expressive of the woman’s eagerness.Genesis 3:3

Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"The serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field, which Jehovah God had made." - The serpent is here described not only as a beast, but also as a creature of God; it must therefore have been good, like everything else that He had made. Subtilty was a natural characteristic of the serpent (Matthew 10:16), which led the evil one to select it as his instrument. Nevertheless the predicate ערוּם is not used here in the good sense of φρόνιμος (lxx), prudens, but in the bad sense of πανοῦργος, callidus. For its subtilty was manifested as the craft of a tempter to evil, in the simple fact that it was to the weaker woman that it turned; and cunning was also displayed in what it said: "Hath God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of all the trees of the garden?" כּי אף is an interrogative expressing surprise (as in 1 Samuel 23:3; 2 Samuel 4:11): "Is it really the fact that God has prohibited you from eating of all the trees of the garden?" The Hebrew may, indeed, bear the meaning, "hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree?" but from the context, and especially the conjunction, it is obvious that the meaning is, "ye shall not eat of any tree." The serpent calls God by the name of Elohim alone, and the woman does the same. In this more general and indefinite name the personality of the living God is obscured. To attain his end, the tempter felt it necessary to change the living personal God into a merely general numen divinium, and to exaggerate the prohibition, in the hope of exciting in the woman's mind partly distrust of God Himself, and partly a doubt as to the truth of His word. And his words were listened to. Instead of turning away, the woman replied, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but 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." She was aware of the prohibition, therefore, and fully understood its meaning; but she added, "neither shall ye touch it," and proved by this very exaggeration that it appeared too stringent even to her, and therefore that her love and confidence towards God were already beginning to waver. Here was the beginning of her fall: "for doubt is the father of sin, and skepsis the mother of all transgression; and in this father and this mother, all our present knowledge has a common origin with sin" (Ziegler). From doubt, the tempter advances to a direct denial of the truth of the divine threat, and to a malicious suspicion of the divine love (Genesis 3:4, Genesis 3:5). "Ye will by no means die" (לא is placed before the infinitive absolute, as in Psalm 49:8 and Amos 9:8; for the meaning is not, "he will not die;" but, ye will positively not die). "But

(Note: כּי used to establish a denial.)

God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes will be opened,

(Note: ונפקחוּ perfect c. ו consec. See Gesenius, ֗126, Note 1.)

and ye will be like God, knowing good and evil." That is to say, it is not because the fruit of the tree will injure you that God has forbidden you to eat it, but from ill-will and envy, because He does not wish you to be like Himself. "A truly satanic double entendre, in which a certain agreement between truth and untruth is secured!" By eating the fruit, man did obtain the knowledge of good and evil, and in this respect became like God (Genesis 3:7 and Genesis 3:22). This was the truth which covered the falsehood "ye shall not die," and turned the whole statement into a lie, exhibiting its author as the father of lies, who abides not in the truth (John 8:44). For the knowledge of good and evil, which man obtains by going into evil, is as far removed from the true likeness of God, which he would have attained by avoiding it, as the imaginary liberty of a sinner, which leads into bondage to sin and ends in death, is from the true liberty of a life of fellowship with God.)


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but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" (2024)
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