And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every
tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food
That is, out of the ground of the garden of Eden; and this was done on the third day, when the whole earth brought forth grass, herbs, and trees: but a peculiar spot of ground was fixed on for man, and stocked with trees of all sorts for his use, not only to bear fruit, which would be suitable and agreeable food for him, but others also, which would yield him delight to look at; such as the tall cedars for their loftiness, spreading branches and green leaves, with many others; so that not only there were trees to gratify the senses of tasting and smelling, but that of sight; and such a sightly goodly tree to look at was the tree of knowledge, ( Genesis 3:6 ) . These trees may be an emblem of the saints, the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, and made to grow by him through the influence of his Spirit and grace; and whom he plants in his gardens, the churches, and transplants into the heavenly paradise, and are often compared to palm trees, cedars, olive trees, pomegranates
the tree of life also in the midst of the garden;
set there as in the most excellent place, where it might be most conspicuous, and to be come at; for before Adam sinned, as there was no prohibition of his eating of it, so there was no obstruction to it; and as he had a grant to eat of it, with the other trees, it was designed for his use, to support and maintain his natural life, which would have been continued, had he persisted in his obedience and state of innocence, and very probably by means of this chiefly: hence the son of Sirach calls it the tree of immortality,
``The knowledge of the commandments of the Lord is the doctrine of life: and they that do things that please him shall receive the fruit of the tree of immortality.'' (Sirach 19:19)and it might be also a sign, token, and symbol to him of his dependence on God; that he received his life from him; and that this was preserved by his blessing and providence, and not by his own power and skill; and that this would be continued, provided he transgressed not the divine law: and it seems to have a further respect, even to eternal life; by Christ; for though it might not be a symbol of that life to Adam in his state of innocence, yet it became so after his fall: hence Christ is sometimes signified by the tree of life, ( Proverbs 3:18 ) ( Revelation 2:7 ) who is not only the author of natural and spiritual life, but the giver of eternal life; the promise of it is in him, and the blessing itself; he has made way for it by his obedience, sufferings, and death, and is the way unto it; it is in his gift, and he bestows it on all his people, and it will lie greatly in the enjoyment of him. The situation of this tree in the midst of the garden well agrees with him who is in the midst of his church and people, ( Revelation 1:13 ) ( 2:7 ) stands open, is in sight, and is accessible to them all now, who may come to him, and partake of the fruits and blessings of his grace, which are many, constant, and durable, ( Revelation 22:2 ) and who will be seen and enjoyed by all, to all eternity:
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
so called, either with respect to God, who by it tried man, when he had made him, whether he would be good or evil; but this he foreknew: rather therefore with respect to man, not that the eating the fruit of it could really give him such knowledge, nor did he need it; for by the law of nature inscribed on his heart, he knew the difference between good and evil, and that what God commanded was good, and what he forbid was evil: but either it had its name from the virtue Satan ascribed to it, ( Genesis 3:5 ) or from the sad event following on man's eating the fruit of it, whereby he became experimentally sensible of the difference between good and evil, between obedience and disobedience to the will of God; he found by sad experience what good he had lost, or might have enjoyed, and what evil he had brought on himself and his posterity, he might have avoided. What this tree was is not certain; there are various conjectures about it, and nothing else can be come at concerning it. Some take it to be the fig tree, as Jarchi, and some in Aben Ezra on ( Genesis 3:6 ) because fig leaves were at hand, and immediately made use of on eating the fruit of it; some the vine, and particularly the black grape, as in the book of Zohar F4; others, as Baal Hatturim on ( Genesis 1:29 ) the pome citron, or citron apple tree F5; others, the common apple, as the author of the old Nizzechon F6, and which is the vulgar notion; evil and an apple being called by the same Latin word "malum": in the Talmud F7, some say it was the vine, some the fig tree, and others wheat F8: the Mahometans say it was a tree, called by the Africans by the name of Musa F9.
F4 In Exod. fol. 59. 4. & in Numb. fol. 53. 3. So in Bereshit Rabba, sect. 12. fol. 155. 2.
F5 Vid. Caphtor Uperah, fol. 49. 1. & 60. 2. & 63. 2.
F6 P. 147. Ed. Wagenseil.
F7 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 40. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 70. 1. 2. So in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 15. 2. Tikkune Zohar correct. 24. fol. 68.
F8 Vid. Bartenora in Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 2.
F9 Leo. African. Desriptio Africae, c. 9. p. 772.