Genesis 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 to her husband with her; and he did eat.
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(6) And when the woman saw . . . she took.—Heb., And the woman saw . . . and she took, &c. In this, the original form of the narrative, we see the progress of the temptation detailed in a far more lively manner than in our version. With awakened desire the woman gazes upon the tree. The fruit appears inviting to the eye, and possibly was really good for food. The whole aspect of the tree was beautiful; and, besides, there was the promise held out to her that it possessed the mysterious faculty of developing her intellectual powers. To this combined influence of her senses without and her ambition within she was unable to offer that resistance which would have been possible only by a living faith in the spoken word of God. She eats, therefore, and gives to her husband—so called here for the first time—and he eats with her. The demeanour of Adam throughout is extraordinary. It is the woman who is tempted—not as though Adam was not present, as Milton supposes, for she has not to seek him—but he shares with her at once the gathered fruit. Rather, she is pictured to us as more quick and observant, more open to impressions, more curious and full of longings than the man, whose passive behaviour is as striking as the woman’s eagerness and excitability.

Genesis 3:6. When the woman saw, (or perceived) — But how? Certainly by believing Satan and disbelieving God. Here we see what her parley with the tempter ended in; Satan, at length, gains his point; God permitting it for wise and holy ends. And he gains it: 1st, By injecting unbelief respecting the divine declaration. 2d, By the lust of the flesh: she saw that the tree was good for food, agreeable to the taste, and nutritive. 3d, By the lust of the eye, that it was pleasant to the eye. 4th, By the pride of life, a tree not only not to be dreaded, but to be desired to make one wise. In a similar way Satan still tempts, and too often prevails: by unbelief and their own lusts, men, being tempted and drawn away (εξελκομενος, drawn out of God, James 1:14) from his fear and love, and obedience to his will, are enticed, insnared, and overcome.

She gave also to her husband with her — It is likely he was not with her when she was tempted; surely if he had been, he would have interposed to prevent the sin; but he came to her when she had eaten, and was prevailed with, by her, to eat likewise. She gave it to him; persuading him with the same arguments that the serpent had used with her; adding this, probably, to the rest, that she herself had eaten of it, and found it so far from being deadly, that it was extremely pleasant and grateful. And he did eat — This implied unbelief of God’s word, and confidence in the devil’s; discontent with his present state and an ambition of the honour which comes not from God. His sin was disobedience, as St. Paul terms it, Romans 5:19, and that to a plain, easy, and express command, which he knew to be a command of trial. He sins against light and love, the clearest light and the dearest love that ever sinner sinned against. But the greatest aggravation of his sin was, that by it he involved all his posterity in sin and ruin. He could not but know that he stood as a public person, and that his disobedience would be fatal to all his seed; and if so, it was certainly both the greatest treachery and the greatest cruelty that ever was.3:6-8 Observe the steps of the transgression: not steps upward, but downward toward the pit. 1. She saw. A great deal of sin comes in at the eye. Let us not look on that which we are in danger of lusting after, Mt 5:28. 2. She took. It was her own act and deed. Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down, Mt 4:6. 3. She did eat. When she looked perhaps she did not intend to take; or when she took, not to eat: but it ended in that. It is wisdom to stop the first motions of sin, and to leave it off before it be meddled with. 4. She gave it also to her husband with her. Those that have done ill, are willing to draw in others to do the same. 5. He did eat. In neglecting the tree of life, of which he was allowed to eat, and eating of the tree of knowledge, which was forbidden, Adam plainly showed a contempt of what God had bestowed on him, and a desire for what God did not see fit to give him. He would have what he pleased, and do what he pleased. His sin was, in one word, disobedience, Ro 5:19; disobedience to a plain, easy, and express command. He had no corrupt nature within, to betray him; but had a freedom of will, in full strength, not weakened or impaired. He turned aside quickly. He drew all his posterity into sin and ruin. Who then can say that Adam's sin had but little harm in it? When too late, Adam and Eve saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness they fell from, and the misery they were fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and favour forfeited. See her what dishonour and trouble sin is; it makes mischief wherever it gets in, and destroys all comfort. Sooner or later it will bring shame; either the shame of true repentance, which ends in glory, or that shame and everlasting contempt, to which the wicked shall rise at the great day. See here what is commonly the folly of those that have sinned. They have more care to save their credit before men, than to obtain their pardon from God. The excuses men make to cover and lessen their sins, are vain and frivolous; like the aprons of fig-leaves, they make the matter never the better: yet we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam. Before they sinned, they would have welcomed God's gracious visits with humble joy; but now he was become a terror to them. No marvel that they became a terror to themselves, and full of confusion. This shows the falsehood of the tempter, and the frauds of his temptations. Satan promised they should be safe, but they cannot so much as think themselves so! Adam and Eve were now miserable comforters to each other!And the woman saw. - She saw the tree, no doubt, and that it was likely to look upon, with the eye of sense. But only with the eye of fancy, highly excited by the hints of the tempter, did she see that it was good for food, and to be desired to make one wise. Appetite, taste, and philosophy, or the love of wisdom, are the great motives in the human breast which fancy assumes this tree will gratify. Other trees please the taste and the sight. But this one has the pre-eminent charm of administering not only to the sense, but also to the reason.

It would be rash to suppose that we can analyze that lightning process of instinctive thought which then took place in the mind of the woman; and worse than rash, it would be wrong, to imagine that we can show the rationale of what in its fundamental point was a violation of right reason. But it is evident from this verse that she attached some credit to the bold statement of the serpent, that the eating of the fruit would be attended with the extraordinary result of making them, like God himself, acquainted with good and evil, especially as it did not contradict any assertion of Yahweh, God, and was countenanced by the name, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." It was evidently a new thought to her, that the knowledge of good and evil was to result from the eating of it. That God should know this, if a fact, was undeniable. Again, to know good and evil as the effect of partaking of it, implied that the consequence was not a cessation of existence, or of consciousness; for, if so, how could there be any knowledge? And, if death in her conception implied merely exclusion from the favor of God and the tree of life, might she not imagine that the new knowledge acquired, and the elevation to a new resemblance, or even equality to God himself in this respect, would be more than a compensation for such losses; especially as the disinterestedness of the divine motives had been at least called in question by the serpent? Here, no doubt, is a fine web of sophistry, woven by the excited fancy in an instant of time.

It is easy to say the knowledge of good and evil was not a physical effect of eating of the fruit; that the obtaining of this knowledge by partaking of it was an evil, and not a good in itself and in its consequences, as it was the origin of an evil conscience, which is in itself an unspeakable ill, and attended with the forfeiture of the divine favor, and of the tree of life, and with the endurance of all the positive misery which such a condition involves; and that the command of God was founded on the clearest right - that of creation - occasioned by the immediate necessity of defining the rights of man, and prompted by disinterested benevolence toward His intelligent creatures, whom He was framing for such intellectual and moral perfection, as was by them attainable. It is easy to cry out, How unreasonable was the conduct of the primeval pair! Let us not forget that any sin is unreasonable, unaccountable, essentially mysterious. In fact, if it were wholly reasonable, it would no longer be sin. Only a moment before, the woman had declared that God had said, "Of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat." Yet she now sees, and her head is so full of it that she can think of nothing else, that the tree is good for food and pleasant to the eyes, - as if there were no other good and pleasant trees in the garden, and, as she fancies, desirable to make one wise, like God; as if there were no other way to this wisdom but an unlawful one, and no other likeness to God but a stolen likeness - and therefore takes of the fruit and eats, and gives to her husband, and he eats! The present desire is without any necessity gratified by an act known to be wrong, at the risk of all the consequences of disobedience! Such is sin.

Ge 3:6-9. The Fall.

6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food—Her imagination and feelings were completely won; and the fall of Eve was soon followed by that of Adam. The history of every temptation, and of every sin, is the same; the outward object of attraction, the inward commotion of mind, the increase and triumph of passionate desire; ending in the degradation, slavery, and ruin of the soul (Jas 1:15; 1Jo 2:16).

The woman saw; by curious and accurate observation, and gazing upon it, or perceiving it by the serpent’s discourse, as was observed on Genesis 3:3.

Pleasant to the eyes, to wit, in an eminent degree; for otherwise so were all the rest.

To make one wise, which she might know by the serpent’s information. See Poole on "Genesis 3:1".

Gave also unto her husband with her, who by this time was returned to her, and who now was with her; or, that he might eat with her, and take his part of that fruit.

And he did eat, by her persuasion and instigation. See 1 Timothy 2:14. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,.... She being near the tree, and perhaps just at it when the serpent first attacked her; wherefore looking more wishfully at it, she could discern nothing in the fruit of the tree which showed it to be bad, and unfit to be eaten, or why it should be forbidden for food; but, on the contrary, had a most promising aspect to be very delicious, nourishing and salutary, as any other fruit in the garden:

and that it was pleasant to the eyes; of a beautiful colour, and very inviting to the taste:

and a tree to be desired to make one wise; which above all was the most engaging, and was the most prevailing motive to influence her to eat of it, an eager desire of more wisdom and knowledge; though there was nothing she could see in the tree, and the fruit of it, which promised this; only she perceived in her mind, by the discourse she had with the serpent, and by what he had told her, and she believed, that this would be the consequence of eating this fruit, which was very desirable, and she concluded within herself that so it would be:

she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; she took it off of the tree, and not only tasted of it, but ate of it; what quantity cannot be said, enough to break the divine law, and to incur the divine displeasure: so Sanchoniatho says (l), that Aeon (the same with Eve) found the way of taking food from trees:

and gave also to her husband with her; that he might eat as well as she, and partake of the same benefits and advantages she hoped to reap from hence; for no doubt it was of good will, and not ill will, that she gave it to him; and when she offered it to him, it is highly probable she made use of arguments with him, and pressed him hard to it, telling him what delicious food it was, as well as how useful it would be to him and her. The Jews infer from hence, that Adam was with her all the while, and heard the discourse between the serpent and her, yet did not interpose nor dissuade his wife from eating the fruit, and being prevailed upon by the arguments used; or however through a strong affection for his wife, that she might not die alone, he did as she had done:

and he did eat; on which an emphasis may be observed, for it was upon his eating the fate of his posterity depended; for not the woman but the man was the federal head, and he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and died in him; through this offence judgment came upon all to condemnation; all became sinners, and obnoxious to death, Romans 5:12. If Eve only had eaten of the forbidden fruit, it could only have personally affected herself, and she only would have died; and had this been the case, God would have formed another woman for Adam, for the propagation of mankind, had he stood; though since he fell as well as she, it is needless to inquire, and may seem too bold to say what otherwise would have been the case.

(l) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 34.

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 {f} did eat.

(f) Not so much to please his wife, as moved by ambition at her persuasion.

6. And when the woman] The woman’s attention has been drawn to the tree. She finds that the serpent’s suggestion, based on the mysterious properties of the fruit and on the supposition of Jehovah’s jealousy and unkindness, is reinforced by the attractive appearance of the fruit. Probably good to taste, evidently fair to look on, and alleged to contain the secret of wisdom, the sight of the fruit stimulates desire, and this being no longer resisted by a loyal love of God obtains the mastery; cf. James 1:14-15, “Each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death.”

to be desired to make one wise] or rather, “to be desired, in order to be wise.” The same word in the Hebrew as in Psalm 2:10, “now therefore be wise, O ye kings.” The R.V. marg., “desirable to look upon,” gives a rendering of the Hebrew word which is not supported by its use elsewhere in the Bible, though found with this sense in late Hebrew, and in this verse supported by the versions, LXX ὡραῖον τοῦ κατανοῆσαι, Vulg. aspectu delectabile, and the Syriac Peshitto.

and she gave also] The story is so condensed that we are left in ignorance, whether the man yielded as easily to the woman as she had to the serpent. The fact that the woman “fell” first, before the man, was presumably a point upon which stress was laid in the Rabbinic teaching, to which St Paul alludes in 1 Timothy 2:14, “and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression.”

6–8. The Fall

The serpent here disappears from the story, except for the mention of him in the woman’s words of excuse (Genesis 3:13), and in the Divine sentence upon him (Genesis 3:14-15). He did not tell the woman to eat the fruit. The temptation which is most dangerous is rarely the most direct. The soul, which has once yielded to the temptation to distrust the goodness of God, may be left to itself to disobey Him, and, in the conflict between pleasure and the service of God, will prefer its own way. Disobedience to God is the assertion of self-will, and “sin is lawlessness” (ἀνομία), 1 John 3:4.Verse 6. - And (when) the woman saw. "An impure look, infected with the poison of concupiscence" (Calvin); cf. Joshua 7:21. That the tree was good for food. "The fruit of this tree may have been neither poisonous nor beautiful, or it may have been both; but sin has the strange power of investing the object of desire for the time being, whatever its true character, with a wonderful attraction" (Inglis). And that it (was) pleasant Literally, a desire (Psalm 10:17), a lust (Numbers 11:4). To the eyes. Ἀριστὸν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς (LXX.); pulchrum oculis (Vulgate); lustye unto the eyes (Coverdale); i.e. stimulating desire through the eyes (cf. 1 John 2:16). And a tree to be desired to make (one) wise. לְהַשְׂכִּיל (from שָׂכַל -

(1) to look at, to behold; hence

(2) to be prudent, 1 Samuel 18:30.


(1) to look at;

(2) to turn the mind to;

(3) to be or become understanding, Psalm 2:10)

being susceptible of two renderings, the clause has been taken to mean "a tree desirable to look at" (Syriac, Onkelos, Vulgate, Gesenius, Kalisch, Wordsworth), or, more correctly, as it stands in the English Version, the external loveliness of the tree having been already stated in the preceding clause (LXX, Aben Ezra, Calvin, Hengstenberg, Macdonald). This is the third time the charms of the tree are discerned and expressed by the woman - a significant intimation of how far the Divine interdict had receded from her consciousness. She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. Thus consummating the sin (James L 15). And gave also to her husband. Being desirous, doubtless, of making him a sharer in her supposed felicity. The first time Adam is styled Eve s husband, or man; perhaps designed to indicate the complete perversion by Eve of the Divine purpose of her marriage with Adam, which was to be a helpmeet for him, and not his destroyer. With her. An indication that Adam was present throughout the whole preceding scene (Delitzsch, Wordsworth), which is not likely, else why did he not restrain Eve? or that he arrived just as the temptation closed (Calvin), which is only a conjecture; better regarded as a reference to their conjugal oneness (Macdonald). And he did eat. And so involved himself in the criminality of his already guilty partner; not simply as being "captivated with her allurements" ("fondly overcome with female charms" - Milton, Par. Lost,' Book 10.), which 1 Timothy 2:14 is supposed to justify'; but likewise as being "persuaded by Satan's impostures," which doubtless Eve had related to him. This much is distinctly implied in those Scriptures which speak of Adam as the chief transgressor (vide Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). The illusive hope of being like God excited a longing for the forbidden fruit. "The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a pleasure to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise (השׂכּיל signifies to gain or show discernment or insight); and she took of its fruit and ate, and gave to her husband by her (who was present), and he did eat." As distrust of God's command leads to a disregard of it, so the longing for a false independence excites a desire for the seeming good that has been prohibited; and this desire is fostered by the senses, until it brings forth sin. Doubt, unbelief, and pride were the roots of the sin of our first parents, as they have been of all the sins of their posterity. The more trifling the object of their sin seems to have been, the greater and more difficult does the sin itself appear; especially when we consider that the first men "stood in a more direct relation to God, their Creator, than any other man has ever done, that their hearts were pure, their discernment clear, their intercourse with God direct, that they were surrounded by gifts just bestowed by Him, and could not excuse themselves on the ground of any misunderstanding of the divine prohibition, which threatened them with the loss of life in the event of disobedience" (Delitzsch). Yet not only did the woman yield to the seductive wiles of the serpent, but even the man allowed himself to be tempted by the woman.
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