Genesis Segment 05 (3:1-3:9)

(Gen 3:1a) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

We will look at the first part of verse one here and continue afterward with the second part of verse one. The Serpent: was he really a snake According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the word for serpent is nacash. Here are five definitions from Strong’s for this one word:

.5172. נחשׁ nachash, naw-khash’; a prim. root; prop. to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; gen. to prognosticate:– X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed, diligently observe.

5173. נחשׁ nachash, nakh’-ash; from 172; an incantation or augury:–enchantment.

5174. נחשׁ nechash, (Chald.) nekh-awsh’; corresp. to 5154; copper:–brass.

5175. נחשׁ nachash, naw-khawsh’; from 5172; a snake (from its hiss):–serpent

5176.  נחשׁ Nachash, naw-khawsh’; the same as 5175; Nachash, the name of two persons appar. non-Isr.:–Nahash.

5154. נחשׁה nechushah. copper, brass, steel

Note that all of the transliterations come from one Hebrew word, נחשׁ. The only exception is the comparison in 5176 to נחשׁה (nechushah), which is the same word, with an added ה (h).

Each has a different pronunciation, indicated by vowel points that are not shown in these graphics. The vowel signs were added in about the seventh century and did not appear in the ancient manuscripts. When the Torah is read today in Synagogue, the scroll has no vowel sounds. Each definition does not apply in each case. The context tells us which definition is evident. Having said that, the question is, how do we know which word was originally used. I like to let the Bible interpret itself. The most well-known witness is Revelation 12:9:

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The Word of God gives us several scenarios where two or three witnesses are proof of truth in cases of murder, sin, differences between brethren, accusation and strife in the church, and God’s Word. Read of them in Num 35:30, Deut 17:6, Mat 18:16, 2 Cor 12:1, 1 Tim 5:19, Heb 10:28, and Rev 11:3. I believe, in view of these verses, that we should use the same standard in determining what the truth is in God’s Word. We should allow two or three witnesses to be our authority when it comes to interpreting the Word. Here are more witnesses:

(2 Cor 11:3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

(Rev 12:12-17) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. {13} And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. {14} And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. {15} And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood [the flood symbolizes lies] after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. {16} And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. {17} And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. [note: devil, dragon and serpent are used interchangeably here]

(Rev 20:2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

These are the more obvious witnesses. There are other, less obvious references that identify the serpent. For more information, do a word study of the words serpent, serpents and serpent’s. Study “dragon,” too.

To further understand about the serpent, we can see what Bible scholars say. Be careful to check out the scholar thoroughly before accepting his works (including me). Above all, he should be a Bible believing Christian. E. W. Bullinger, a Nineteenth Century Theologian wrote the Companion Bible, which is a King James Bible with Bullinger’s comments. Bullinger was known as a hyper-dispensationalist and I disagree with Dispensationalism. Nevertheless, his comments are appropriate.

In his comment, Bullinger wrote: “1 serpent. Heb. Nachash, a shining one . . . The old serpent (2 Cor 11.3) transformed as “an angel of light” (=a glorious angel, 2 Cor 11.14)” —The Companion Bible, note on Genesis 3:1.

Bullinger’s Appendix 19 of The Companion Bible:

“The Hebrew word rendered “serpent” in Genesis 3.1 is Nachash (from the root Nachash, to shine), and means a shining one. Hence, in Chaldee it means brass or copper, because of its shining. Hence also the word, Nehushtan [Strong’s 5154], a piece of brass, in 2 Kings 18.4.

“In the same way, Saraph, in Isa. 6.2, 6, means a burning one, and, because the serpents mentioned in Num. 21 were burning, in the poison of their bite, they were called Seraphim or Seraphs.

“But when the LORD said unto Moses, “Make thee a fiery serpent” (Num. 21.8), He said “Make thee a Saraph“, and, in obeying this command, we read in v. 9, “Moses made a Nachash of brass”. Nachash is thus used as being interchangeable with Saraph.

“Now if Saraph is used of a serpent because its bite was burning, and also is used of a celestial or spirit-being, (a burning one), why should not nachash be used of a serpent because its appearance was shining, and be also used of a celestial or spirit-being (shining one)?”

The serpent of the Garden of Eden was Satan. We are told that in Revelation. All of the definitions of the word Nachash fit Satan. We have magic spells whispered, enchantment, brass, shining, copper and they all fit Satan. Lucifer was the light bearer, he enchanted many angels to follow him in his rebellion; he was a cherub (Eze 28:14), which corresponds to copper, brass, and shining. The serpent was no snake. He was Satan himself, the shining one, talking face to face with Adam and the woman (she was not named until after expulsion from the Garden).

(Gen 3:1) 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?

Subtil (subtle in Modern English) should actually have been translated “cunning” or “crafty.” He was cunning enough to beguile the woman. The woman was innocent and did not know how cunning the devil was. But she did have the Word of God to guide her. God had said: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (2:17). If she had followed God’s Word, she would not have been seduced. The same applies to all of us. We are without excuse when we sin.

To use the vernacular, the serpent said, “Come on, God didn’t really say you can’t eat of all the trees of the garden, did He?” Satan quoted God’s Word, but it was slightly twisted. He put it to her in a passive way, emphasizing the negative so that she would be quick to set him straight. It is an old sales technique. Give someone something, then take it away. A recruiter trick: “We can get you into the service. On second thought, maybe you are not qualified.” (I was an Air Force recruiter). The idea is to build up the applicant’s interest and make him want to join. Satan has done just that. He has piqued her interest. After all, he is the most cunning creature created. He is very good at it. Remember his influence in your life. He is very hard to resist. But we can resist. Ephesians 6:10-22 tells us how.

(Gen 3:2-3) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: {3} 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 knew God’s Word, but changed it slightly. God had said: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” God did not say not to touch the tree, but He did say that if they ate of the tree, they would die. That is a significant statement, which the woman left out. When someone tells you what the Word says, check him or her out. Do not just take his or her word for it. Don’t take my word for it. It only takes a slight change to alter the entire meaning of a passage. Be sure; read it for yourself.

Let us do a little exegesis here. It is important. Let us look at the word “eat”. Dr. Strong says the word can be used literally or figuratively. It is Strong’s 398, akal. To literally eat is to place food in the mouth, chew it and then swallow it. When we commune with Christ, we figuratively eat his body. When we study the Bible, we figuratively eat the Word. In other words we internalize it. To eat something is to internalize it. Read more about eating in Segment 4.

To return, use your browser’s “back:” button.

Now let us look at the word fruit. The Hebrew is periy (Strong’s 6529) and it comes from a word meaning “deliverance of God.” Taking the word further back, its root means, “to slip out”, which is exactly what fruit does. It slips out of the plant. Our fruits come out of us. Figuratively, fruit can mean an action. A Christian will be known by his fruits, that is his works as a Christian. Fruit can also be the result of an action. We may act by being kind to someone. The fruit of that act may be a reward in heaven. When Jesus said, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Mat 7:20), He meant that you will know the good trees, that is, Christians, by the results of their actions. In Matthew chapter seven, Jesus uses “trees” figuratively to mean people.

Now is a good time to review our study about trees in Segment 4. To return, use your browser’s “back:” button.

This particular tree is in the midst of the Garden. The midst is the center. This is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and it (or he) is in the center of the Garden. Figuratively, the trees in Eden are the sons of God (Eze 31:1-9). Lucifer, the covering cherub, was at the most prominent angel. He was the center of all angels . . . until he rebelled. In fact, he “walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” The stones of fire may possibly be the nine planets, also, Lucifer had nine stones on his breastpiece. See Ezekiel 28:12-19. The nine stones are listed in Eze 28:13: sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle. For certain, Satan was on the Earth and in Eden.

 (Gen 3:4-5) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: {5} For 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.

Crafty old Devil, isn’t he? This is an out and out lie. But the serpent has already gotten her attention. Now she is willing to listen to Satan’s way, turning from God’s way. She likes to be told that her appetite is right and that suppressing it is wrong. Satan still uses the same trick today: “If it feels good, do it.” He tells the woman, in essence, that God is just trying to trick her, implying that God is not trustworthy.

This was none other than a plan of Satan to prevent the seed of the woman from producing the Messiah. This plot was hatched to end the race through which Messiah would come. Satan wanted them to disobey God so that God would reject them as the chosen family, preventing Messiah from coming. But he actually played right into the hand of God. Messiah would come anyway. God did not need for men to be sinless to produce Messiah, for if there were no sin, Messiah would not be necessary.

(Gen 3:6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good 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 unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

I could preach a homily on this, but I won’t. It is the same with us. Sin is very tempting. It looks good. Many sermons have been preached in this context about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). The contexts are similar but not equal. John is talking about worldliness, and here we are concerned with rebellion against God (of which worldliness is a sub-heading).

What actually happened here? Did the woman eat an apple? Hardly. It says she took of the fruit and ate it. She took of what fruit? The fruit of the Devil. In other words, she listened to his flatteries and succumbed; she accepted his word as truth; she believed on him. Paul said she was beguiled, or wholly seduced (2 Cor 11.3). Just as we figuratively eat of the body of Christ when we have Holy Communion with Him, the woman figuratively ate of Satan and had unholy communion with him. The woman did all of these things and so did Adam. Being the head of his wife (Eph 5:23), Adam had more responsibility in this than the woman. Who did God call after this sin? Adam. He did not call the woman.

What is Satan’s fruit? Here are his works and the fruit of those works: (Ezek 28:15-18) “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. {16} By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. {17} Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. {18} Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.” His works: multitudes of iniquity were in him, he was filled with violence, his heart was lifted up in pride, his wisdom was corrupted, and he defiled his sanctuaries. The fruit of his works: he will be cast out of heaven, he will be destroyed, he will be cast to the ground, he will lay before kings, he will be devoured by a fire from within and his ashes will be cast upon the earth.

Compare this with the works of the flesh: (Gal 5:19-21) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, {20} Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, {21} Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul says that those that do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven God.

(Gen 3:7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Is this fruit literal fruit? No. Is there any fruit in the world that you know of that would give you wisdom or open your eyes just by eating it? No. In order for them to literally eat a piece of fruit that made them wise, a supernatural event would have taken place. God is very natural and He uses natural means in His work. This was not literal fruit, but figurative.

There is a quirk in this verse. God does have a sense of humor and I find humor, or at least amusement, in this verse; it is irony. The Word says their eyes were opened by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. One of the definitions of the word which also means tree is ‘atsah, Strong’s 6095. It means “to close the eyes.” They ate of the tree, which closed their eyes to the truth of God, an act which opened their eyes to the shame of their nakedness.

They rejected God. They accepted Satan. That is idolatry. They accepted his lies and deception. They succumbed to his temptation and promise of great things to those who bow down to him. They rebelled with him. They communed with him. They partook of Satan like Christians partake of the body and blood of Jesus the Christ. They became his spiritual children, just as we become children of God upon acceptance of Christ.

Note that they made aprons. Aprons go over the mid-section. They covered their private parts. They had become worldly, knowing the ways of the world, especially the sexual ways. If they had been ashamed of eating a piece of fruit, would they not have covered their mouth? No, they were ashamed of themselves because in the world, nakedness, especially exposure of the private parts, is considered shameful. Their eyes were open to the world and to sin. Their nakedness represents the exposure of their sin to God. They were ashamed before God.

Why did I bring up this sexual imagery? Because God uses the same imagery when he talks about idolatry, which is worshipping other than Him. He calls it adultery, spiritual adultery. If that bothers you, don’t let it; it is Biblical. God also calls idolatry whoredom and prostitution. Spiritual adultery is the gravest of grave sins. Because of adultery (literally idolatry), God divorced Israel (Jer 3:8). He had them taken away to another country and dispersed throughout the nations (Amos 9:9).

Adam and the woman committed spiritual adultery with Satan. Figuratively, they were in bed with Satan. To God worshipping other gods is as bad as coming home and finding your spouse having illicit sexual intercourse with another. They committed idolatry against God by partaking of Satan’s fruit, which is to say his teaching or doctrine. Satan’s doctrine is all about rebelling from God. That is what happened. They followed Satan into the idolatry of rebellion. That is the act of adultery they committed against God.

Paul talks about this subject in this context:

(2 Cor 11:1-4) Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. {2} For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. {3} But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {4} For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Here is verse 1 above in more modern English: “I wish that you would put up with me for a short time in my foolishness, and bear with me in other things as well.” Paul was just talking about boasting, taking thoughts captive and spiritual warfare. Read Corinthians chapter ten to see what he called foolishness. It is only foolishness by worldly standards, not spiritual standards. He now enjoins the Corinthians (and us) to bear with him a little longer, for he has an important subject to broach.

Verse two. Paul is jealous because he wants the church to be a “chaste virgin.” Does this mean a literal virgin? Will Christ reject married couples? Hardly. Paul is speaking figuratively and spiritually. We are espoused to Christ, not as a couple in the flesh, but to be joined with him forever in the Spirit in eternity. When Paul speaks of a chaste virgin, he means one who has not committed idolatry by getting into bed with Satan. “Getting into bed with someone” is an idiom meaning to commune or cooperate with someone. Paul does not want us to be defiled by cooperation with or worship of Satan.

Paul goes on to further explain his meaning in verse three. He explains that he does not want us to be corrupted by Satan as Eve was. She was beguiled or wholly seduced into communion with the Devil. Satan seduced her, and Paul wants us to be careful that Satan does not seduce us. He is crafty, and Paul is warning us of that point. How could Satan seduce us? Paul explains.

Verse 4. Paul warns us that “he that cometh” (Satan and/or antichrist) will attempt to use “another Jesus”, “another spirit”, or “another gospel” to seduce us away from the real thing. God’s Word is the real thing and Satan will try to win us over by twisting God’s Word. If we are won over, we will be untrue to the real Jesus, and will lose our virginity to Satan. This is speaking figuratively, not literally. The same goes for the woman in the garden. It was not physical seduction, but spiritual. She was seduced away from the true Word of God by the false word of Satan. Paul does not want this to happen to us, making us unchaste.

(Gen 3:8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

The word for voice could be rendered “sound.” Cool is ruach, which also means wind or breeze or spirit. The Holy Spirit is ruach ha chodesh. The first phrase could be restated: “And they heard the sound of God walking in the breeze of the day.” Adam and his wife were afraid of the exposure of their sins to God. Nakedness represents that exposure. They tried to hide their sin, but were unsuccessful. God is all knowing. What happened here was for an example for us to follow.

(Gen 3:9-11) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? {10} And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. {11} And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

God knew what had transpired. He asked them for effect and to allow Adam to state it for himself. Note that God addressed Adam first. Adam was the leader of the family, therefore God went to him first. Adam tries to sidestep what he has done by bringing up a lateral issue: they were naked. God gets right to the point.

(Gen 3:12) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Before you go throwing stones at Adam, consider your own life. Have you ever done something wrong and got caught and then tried to cast the blame on someone else? It is human nature. It is still wrong. Adam should have admitted blame and taken the heat by himself. But he blamed the woman. God gets right to the woman, but He soon returns to Adam.

(Gen 3:13) And 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.

Have you ever heard the words, “the buck stops here”? Well it didn’t. Shirking her own responsibility in this matter, she immediately blames it on the serpent. She admits to being beguiled. Here in the Old Testament, the Hebrew for beguiled is nasha, which means morally seduced. In the Greek, in 2 Cor 11:3, beguiled is expatao (Strong’s 1818) which means wholly seduced. So we have two witnesses to her being beguiled, one in the OT and one in the NT.

(Gen 3:14) And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

We seem to be discussing a snake again, but we are not. Notice that God gave both the man and the woman an opportunity to tell what they had done, but He immediately judged the serpent. Satan had already rebelled and been judged and God had no need to give him the same opportunity. Satan has already been judged to death (Eze 28:17) but that will happen at the end of the millennium. At once God metes out a judgment on the serpent that will happen between this time and the end of the age.

Cattle are any four-legged animals. Beast (chay – Strong’s 2416) actually means alive or living thing. The phrase is better stated: “thou art cursed above all quadrupeds and above every living thing of the field.” In other words, Satan is cursed above every creature made by God.

“Upon thy belly shalt thou go” and “dust shalt thou eat” are both figures of speech. I refer the reader to The Companion Bible, Appendix 19.

About the “upon thy belly shalt thou go”, Dr. Bullinger writes:

“This Figure [of speech] means infinitely more than the literal belly of flesh and blood; just as ‘heel’ and ‘head’ do in v. 15. It paints for the eyes of our mind the picture of Satan’s ultimate humiliation; for prostration was ever the most eloquent sign of subjection. When it is said ‘our belly cleaveth unto the ground’ (Ps. 44.25), it denotes such a prolonged prostration and such a depth of submission as could never be conveyed or expressed in literal words.”

And about “dust shalt thou eat”, he says:

“This is not true to the letter, or to the fact, but it is all the more true to truth. It tells of constant, continuous disappointment, failure, and mortification.”


“When ‘His [Christ’s] enemies shall lick the dust’ (Ps.72.9) they will not do it on their knees with their literal tongues; but they will be so prostrated and utterly defeated, that no words could literally depict their overthrow and subjugation.”

All quotes taken from The Companion Bible, Appendix 19

No, this is not a snake, rather it is Satan, a glorious bright (Eze 28:17), shining angel or “shining one.” One of the definitions of nachash, which is translated “serpent”, is “shining one.” Eve would not have been attracted to a snake, yet she would have been attracted to “an angel of light (i.e. a glorious angel), possessing superior and supernatural knowledge.” –Dr. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, Appendix 19

(Gen 3:15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

There will be hatred between Satan and Eve. Satan will bruise the heel of the seed (posterity or children) of the woman, but more importantly, her seed will bruise Satan’s head. This is the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible. Satan brought about his own destruction when he tried to destroy the Christ by crucifying Him. The death of Jesus provides the power to destroy the destroyer, who is Satan.

Let us take a look at one of the signs of the Zodiac. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY, but according to some writers, the constellations are present, and they record the history of this earth and age. Books have been written on this subject.1 Let us look at the Constellation Leo. Leo is the lion (the Lion of Judah – the Christ), and his foot is over the head and heart of Hydra, the Serpent. It is possibly a representation, in the heavens, of the fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15. The foot of Leo is represented by the star Regulus (Latin for ‘king’, a diminutive of Rex), and the heart of Hydra is represented by the star Al Pharad or Alphard (Arabic for ‘the solitary one’). Note Leo’s resemblance to The Sphinx of Egypt, a land of many gods. See picture below (Permission to copy is granted by the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

Conbstellation Leo

Again, there are some commentators that teach this; I am not among them. I only place it here to supplement the fact that from the very beginning, Satan was scheming to defeat the promised Messiah, even at the cross. Satan’s schemes have always gone awry and continue to do so, for God is in control. I only place this here because the Zodiac is simply the group of constellations in our night skies and they have no bearing on worship. In fact we are prohibited from worshiping them or giving them any significance to the living of our daily lives. Our daily living is supposed to be in God’s hands, not in the hands of some astrologer or spiritist.

(Gen 3:16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

What this really says in the Hebrew is “I will greatly increase your labor and pregnancies and in painful toil will you bear children, and you will long for your husband who will have power over you.” Though not true in every case, the great majority of women do suffer during child birth. Throughout much of history, and today in many cultures, men rule over their wives. The Bible does not say this is a good thing. It is because of sin.  In fact, it should not really be that way; in a perfect would it would not.

 (Gen 3:17-19) And 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; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; {18} Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; {19} In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

There is much truth to the phrase “It’s a jungle out there!” This is why. Making a living is not easy; and most must work, work, work, and scratch, scratch, scratch, just to make ends meet. Here is the reason why. Let me just say that there is not one thing wrong with work. It is honorable. ALL work is honorable (so long as it isn’t sinful). In fact, in another place, the Bible says that if there were any who would not work neither should they eat. This passage does not say that work is bad, just that it will be hard.

Adam listened to the word of his wife instead of the words of God. So what Adam must now do is to work soil that is cursed. It will not only produce food, but it will also produce inedible plants. His work will not only produce good fruit, but it will also produce bad fruit. The word that is translated sorrow in verses 16 and 17 actually means painful labor. The woman will bear children in painful labor and the man will earn a living in painful labor. The “sweat of thy face” means the sweat of the whole body. Bread means all kinds of food and the fruit of one’s labor.

The flesh is quite literally made up of the dust of the earth. When we are conceived, our mothers eat food, which comes from the earth and is transferred to our bodies through the umbilical cord. When we grow up, we nourish ourselves with produce of the earth. Every chemical element from which our bodies are made is an element found in the earth. When we eat plants, we are getting food that literally comes out of the ground. When we eat meat, we are eating an animal that received its food from plants, and the plants received their food from the earth. We are quite literally dust (or dirt). When we die, our bodies literally revert over time, back to the dust they came from.


  1. e.g. E.W. Bullinger’s “The Witness of the Stars” Published by Kregel Publications in 1967, a reprint of the original 1893 publication.
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