The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 2

Gen 2:1

COMPLETED (FINISHED): Sym God's work in the new creation, completed through Christ.

HOST: Detail in Gen 1:16.

Gen 2:2

BY THE SEVENTH DAY: Note, in ct to earlier days, there is no "evening", no "night" there (cp Rev 22:5).

HE RESTED: God could only so "rest" while there was no sin in the world. "Finished" or "ceased" does not imply He was weary! See Heb 3:7-4:1. God does not need to rest. He "faints not, neither is weary" (Isa 40:28). Why this terminology?: (a) an example of anthropopatheticism, ie speaking of God as though He had all the feelings of a man (Eze 38:18; Gen 9:16; etc); (b) the angels, present at Creation (Exo 31:17).

Gen 2:3

BLESSED: The word may carry the sense of a gift, or endowment.

MADE IT HOLY: "Sanctified it" (AV). Set apart. Separation, and special observance. But the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Mar 2:27; Isa 58:13.

Gen 2:4

Gen 2:4-4:26: "Generations of heaven and earth": Fall of Adam, mortality, "men of earth" (Gen 4:17-24), in ct to men of God (Seth's seed: Gen 5:1-6:8).

GENERATIONS: "Toledoth", history, story, account. Not just genealogy. "The gens of..." -- 11 times in Genesis (see outline, Gen 1). 3 other times in all Bible: (1) Moses, Aaron: Num 3:1; (2) Pharez (Rth 4:18); and (3) Jesus Christ (Mat 1:1).

LORD: First time Yahweh is used in the Bible.

WHEN: AV has "in the day", but not limited to a 24-hour period (cp Num 7:84).

Gen 2:5

PLANT: Cultivated plants, in ct other "herbs" of Gen 1:11. The later cultivation of the earth would be part of the "curse": Gen 3:17,18,23.

NOT... RAIN: Earth was obviously very warm and tropical; thus rain turned to vapor and mist (Gen 1:7). Earth was mainly lowlands (Gen 7:19). Ct Gen 7:4: when the rains came, they would be in judgment!

Gen 2:7

FORMED: As potter with clay: Isa 29:16; Jer 18:4.

MAN... GROUND: Adam... adamah. The physical constitution of man. God: the animating factor, the motivating force. Will God forsake His own handiwork?

DUST: No inherent immortality: Psa 51:12.

BREATH OF LIFE: Neshama chai.

LIVING BEING: AV has "living soul". In Heb, "chai nephesh".

"The two entities 'soul' and 'spirit' are carefully distinguished in both OT and NT. The word 'soul', translated from 'nephesh' in Hebrew and 'psyche' in Greek, represents the living principle of the body, and is shared by man and the animals. On the fifth day of creation, as God created animal life in the oceans, and birds, He designated them as having 'life' (Gen 1:20), or 'nephesh'. On the sixth day, 'Man became a living SOUL' (Gen 2:7) as well. The soul refers to desires and appetites both of the flesh and the mind, perhaps summed up by the word 'consciousness.' Plants, while alive in the biological sense, are not conscious (this may also be true for certain other 'lower' organisms classified as animals by modern biology), and therefore not alive in the Biblical sense, nor does their death imply Biblical 'death.'

"The 'spirit' is quite different. God Himself 'breathed into (man's) nostrils the breath (ruach) of life' (Gen 2:7), thereby imparting only to mankind some measure of His own spiritual nature. It is noteworthy, that while God is identified as 'Spirit' (John 4:24 -- Greek 'pneuma'), nowhere is He identified as 'soul.' He stands separate from mere beings, not driven by the same desires as animals and man" (New Bible Commentary).

Gen 2:8

GARDEN: An area protected by fence = a way of life, protected by teaching and separation from outside influences. "Paradise" (LXX): Luk 23:43; Isa 51:3; Joh 19:41 (Christ in garden).

EDEN: Sig "delight" or "pleasure" (Gen 2:10,15; 3:23,24; 4:16). Paradise is an area on the earth! Encompasses all of Modest, including Assyria and Persia, Syria (2Ki 19:12; 37:12), and Palestine also (Gen 13:10-12). See Eze 31:3,8,9; 28:13-19; 27:23. This vast area has been the field of conflict between "serpent" and "seed" ever since (Mat 23:35) -- Elp 56.

The location of the Garden of Eden: See Lesson, Eden, Garden of.

Gen 2:9

TREE OF LIFE: Eating of it conferred immortality. Sym power and wisdom of God: Pro 3:13,18; 1Co 1:24. Christ in Rev 22:2. In tabernacle, an almond tree (Exo 25:31-33). Aaron's rod was of almond (Num 17:8). The almond bloomed in early spring, pointing to resurrection. Truth = tree of life (Psa 1:3; Pro 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4; 1Pe 1:23-25). Jesus: the branch (Zec 6:12); vine (Joh 15:1,5). The cross, a tree (Act 5:30; 13:29; 1Pe 2:24). Ct two trees: (1) Tree of knowledge, etc: planted by God, pleasant, forbidden, brought death. (2) Cross of death: planted by man, hideous, commanded, brings life.

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL: Note similarity with Christ at death: Deu 21:23n. Christ = tree of life, in midst of the garden. Other trees = tree of knowledge of good (repentant thief) and evil (2nd thief).

Gen 2:10

A river came from Eden, in the west, to water the garden in the east (near the Tigris/Euphrates? Elp 57).

A river of life, in the Garden of Eden: spiritual water from the rock (Exo 17:5,6; 1Co 10:1-4); fountain of life (Psa 36:8,9; 46:4); wells of salvation (Isa 12:2,3; 44:3,4; 49:10; 55:1,3; Eze 47:1-12; Zec 14:8); water springing up unto everlasting life (Joh 4:10-14; 7:37-39); and the water of life (Rev 21:6; 22:1,17).

FOUR HEADWATERS (HEADS): Perh Tigris and Euphrates at that time joined and then separated again, thus forming the 4 branches (Spk). But the world's topography has been changed drastically by the Flood; thus the locations of some of the rivers is uncertain. Silt deposited by the Tigris/Euphr has caused the sea to recede approx 80 miles since beginning (Expos 1:60). Sym Christ as river of life, divided into 4 "heads", the 4 gospels, flowing out to all mankind. Cp Psa 46:4; Joh 7:37,39.

Gen 2:11

FIRST: First, because nearest to Moses (Xd Exp 1:61)?

PISHON (PISON): Sig "spread", ie "flow freely". (1) The Nerbudda (in India), where gold abounds (Ber 44:5). Or (2) Phasis, a stream west of Euphrates. Or (3) Possibly Axares, Indus, or Ganges.

Gen 2:12

AROMATIC RESIN: Called "bdellium" in AV. Jasper (of India), or pearl. Associated with the manna: Num 11:7n.

ONYX: A precious stone (Job 28:16). In breastplate, stones of memorial (Exo 28:12).

Gen 2:13

GIHON: Poss Nile. Sig "bursting". More likely, the eastern branch of 4-headed river, in Kushistan.

CUSH: As in mg of AV. AV has "Ethiopia".

Gen 2:14

TIGRIS: "Hiddekel" in AV. Perh "darting arrow". The Tigris (Dan 10:4).

IT RUNS ALONG THE EAST SIDE (ie "face" in Heb) OF ASSHUR, or Assyria. The river of God, flowing from Eden, will turn back the "face" of the Assyrian (Dan 12:6,7; Mic 5:5).

EUPHRATES: Sig "sweetness". See Gen 15:18.

Gen 2:15

MAN: Adam (AV mg).

WORK... TAKE CARE OF: True happiness is found in creative cooperation with God, not in idleness. Work, under the instruction of the Elohim (Job 32:8; VH 56; Elp 72). (Note: these are fem verbs, while "garden" is masc; but "commandment"/v 16, and "law/torah" and "covenant/berith" are fem!)

THE GARDEN OF EDEN: From which they were driven in Gen 3:23.

Gen 2:16

YOU ARE FREE TO EAT: In Heb, lit "eating thou shalt eat". See same construction in next v.

Gen 2:17

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL: Eating the forbidden fruit was sin. Man comes to know sin by God's Law (Rom 3:20; 7:7). By disobeying God's Law, they learned the meaning of sin, by practical experience. Every person, at an accountable age, begins to eat of this tree. Tree of knowledge = age of accountability (Deu 1:39: children not responsible). Adam was still a "child". Tree = judicial discernment between good and evil: 2Sa 14:17; 1Ki 3:9.

"It wasn't the 'apple' on the tree that caused the problem. It was the 'pair' on the ground!"

WHEN: AV has "in the day". Not nec the same 24-hour day (cp. 2:4). Adam lived 930 years in all (Gen 5:5).

YOU WILL SURELY DIE: Heb "dying thou shalt die". A process of death? (Ct with serpent's words in Gen 3:4.) "And Adam would have literally died, except this repentance caused God to alter His original plan. Other examples: (1) 40 years delay entering Promised Land, (2) Hezekiah's 15 extra years" (WRev 266).

Why is it almost universally assumed that the forbidden fruit was an apple? Perhaps because apple is Latin is "malam", and "evil" in Latin is "malum", and the closeness in the sound/spelling was thought to give a hint as to the identity of the fruit.

Gen 2:18

I WILL MAKE A HELPER SUITABLE FOR HIM: The first "I will" of the Bible is answered by (one of) the last: "I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb": Rev 21:9.

SUITABLE: "Meet" (AV), ie "fit". AV mg: "as before him".

Is it also true that it was/is not good for GOD to be alone?

We often mention that Adam and Eve in the garden are a pattern of Christ and the Bride/church. But before there was Christ and the Church, there was the Father and "Israel"... also patterned by Adam and Eve.

If God reveals that it was not good for Adam to be alone, but that he needed a companion... surely it was a patterned or figurative way of saying, "It is not good for ME to be alone... l must have a companion!"

And all of God's work from that day to this, especially involving His Son, has been for that express purpose: of creating a "companion" (actually, a company of companions) for His eternal fellowship. That is what the "new creation" is all about.

Look at it another way: (1) If our own observation/experience shows us how unsatisfactory life can be if lived entirely alone, with no regard for or fellowship with others, and how much we need companionship, personal and spiritual and sympathetic and loving... and (2) If we are made in the image and likeness of God, then... reasoning backward... it is not good that God Himself be alone either!

I remember some years ago a young sister asking in a Bible class: "Why does God love me?" The question passed with perfunctory discussion, and I at first dismissed it from my mind as of no great consequence. But then the question came back to me again later... and it suddenly seemed to be of enormous import: "WHY does God love me?" Not just the fact of His love, but the rationale behind it! I finally came to the conclusion that: God loves me because He needs someone to love, and He needs someone to love Him... and that somehow even the Omnipotence of the Universe would be incomplete without the love, freely given, of His creation!

So why weren't/aren't the angels enough? I would think it is because their devotion is almost preprogrammed... whereas our devotion/love is out of our own wills, freely given. And this is what God is looking for! And this is why He had to create beings like Adam and Eve with the potential to choose, and hence the potential to disappoint him greatly... but also with the potential -- what a potential! -- to please Him.

Now there's a thought: that our disregard for the Father can truly hurt him! What a responsibility to consider!


A wife is responsible to keep her husband from being alone in a terribly lonely world. A wife is a hedge against the alienation that comes from being human. She is a sanctuary when he battles with pain and criticism. Few people care about a man's dreams, hopes, fears. Society tells him he's out of sync. His friends lack real love and intimacy. Since being expelled from Eden, man vaguely remembers and longs for the fellowship and completeness only God Himself can supply. But, in the interim, a wife can help more than almost anyone, or anything, else.

"One day, we stopped by the house of an elderly couple, and the husband joyfully insisted that we join them for some ice cream and cake because it was their 50th anniversary, 'Fifty years!' I exclaimed. 'That's a long time with one person!' 'It would have been a lot longer without her,' the husband replied."

Gen 2:19

THE MAN: Called "Adam" in KJV. Sw.

Gen 2:20

See LM 220.

Gen 2:21

Vv 21-24: Typ Christ and ecclesia (Eph 5:22-32; 2Co 11:2,3). See also Joh 19:41n. Elp 47,48. As with Christ's "sleep", no disadvantage resulted from this operation.

DEEP SLEEP: Some form of anesthesia?

RIBS: Cp Exo 25:12 (side).

Gen 2:22

MADE: Heb "built". The woman = the ecclesia, or the "temple" of God (1Pe 2:4,5; Eph 2:20-22).

RIB: Side, sw Gen 2:21; Exo 25:12.

BROUGHT TO THE MAN: For his approval, acceptance.

Gen 2:23

NOW: "At last" (RSV).

BONE OF MY BONES: All other creatures, both male and female, were created independently from elements. They had, and have, no moral allegiance or sympathy toward one another. Man and woman are of one flesh. They do have such ties. Their relations are intended to be governed by the very highest ideal: the Marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:7,8; Eph 5:29-33; Psa 45; Song). "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mat 19:5,6).

It has been said that "Eve was made from a rib taken from Adam's side, not from his head that she might be his superior, nor from his feet that she might be trampled on at will, but from his side... that she might be his equal -- and from under his heart, that she might be cherished, and loved."

WOMAN: Heb "isha".

MAN: Heb "ish". Not "adam". "Ish" sig Adam's comprehension of higher things.

Gen 2:24

V 24 is spoken by God. The ecclesia/wife must be faithful (ct Jam 4:4; Rev 2:14; Hos 2:1-5), and bring forth fruit to her "husband" (1Ti 2:15; Gal 4:26; Isa 53:10; Rom 7:4).

ONE FLESH: An intimate union, as 1Co 6:16.

"We were visiting friends when they received a telephone call from their recently married daughter. After several tense minutes on the phone, the mother told the father to pick up the extension. The newlyweds had had their first big fight. In a few moments, the father rejoined us and tersely explained, 'Said she wanted to come home.' 'What did you tell her?' I asked. 'I told her she was home' " (Larry Cunningham, quoted in Reader's Digest).

In the Chinese language whole words are written with a symbol. Often two completely unlike symbols, when put together, have a meaning different than either of their two separate components. An example is the symbol for "man," and that for "woman." When combined, they mean "good." How wise are the Chinese!

Gen 2:25

NAKED: "Gahroom", rel "subtil" in Gen 3:1? Nakedness = sin (Mic 1:11; 2Co 5:3; Rev 3:17; cp Gen 3:7). At this time, they had no sin (innocent in conscience) and hence were not ashamed of their nakedness. No proneness to lust or sin: "very good" (Gen 1:31). (Babylon's tradition of the fall: Halley 68.)

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