Genesis 3:1-5 . THE TEMPTATION.
13. beguiled--cajoled by flattering lies. This sin of the first pair was heinous and aggravated--it was not simply eating an apple, but a love of self, dishonor to God, ingratitude to a benefactor, disobedience to the best of Masters--a preference of the creature to the Creator.
Genesis 3:14-24 . THE SENTENCE.
14. And the Lord God said unto the serpent--The Judge pronounces a doom: first, on the material serpent, which is cursed above all creatures. From being a model of grace and elegance in form, it has become the type of all that is odious, disgusting, and low [LE CLERC, ROSENMULLER]; or the curse has converted its natural condition into a punishment; it is now branded with infamy and avoided with horror; next, on the spiritual serpent, the seducer. Already fallen, he was to be still more degraded and his power wholly destroyed by the offspring of those he had deceived.
15. thy seed--not only evil spirits, but wicked men.
seed of the woman--the Messiah, or His Church [CALVIN, HENGSTENBERG].
I will put enmity between thee and the woman--God can only be said to do so by leaving "the serpent and his seed to the influence of their own corruption; and by those measures which, pursued for the salvation of men, fill Satan and his angels with envy and rage."
thou shalt bruise his heel--The serpent wounds the heel that crushes him; and so Satan would be permitted to afflict the humanity of Christ and bring suffering and persecution on His people.
it shall bruise thy head--The serpent's poison is lodged in its head; and a bruise on that part is fatal. Thus, fatal shall be the stroke which Satan shall receive from Christ, though it is probable he did not at first understand the nature and extent of his doom.
16. unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow--She was doomed as a wife and mother to suffer pain of body and distress of mind. From being the help meet of man and the partner of his affections [ Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:23 ], her condition would henceforth be that of humble subjection.
17-19. unto Adam he said--made to gain his livelihood by tilling the ground; but what before his fall he did with ease and pleasure, was not to be accomplished after it without painful and persevering exertion.
19. till thou return unto the ground--Man became mortal; although he did not die the moment he ate the forbidden fruit, his body underwent a change, and that would lead to dissolution; the union subsisting between his soul and God having already been dissolved, he had become liable to all the miseries of this life and to the pains of hell for ever. What a mournful chapter this is in the history of man! It gives the only true account of the origin of all the physical and moral evils that are in the world; upholds the moral character of God; shows that man, made upright, fell from not being able to resist a slight temptation; and becoming guilty and miserable, plunged all his posterity into the same abyss ( Romans 5:12 ). How astonishing the grace which at that moment gave promise of a Saviour and conferred on her who had the disgrace of introducing sin the future honor of introducing that Deliverer ( 1 Timothy 2:15 ).
20. Adam called his wife's name Eve--probably in reference to her being a mother of the promised Saviour, as well as of all mankind.
21. God made coats of skins--taught them to make these for themselves. This implies the institution of animal sacrifice, which was undoubtedly of divine appointment, and instruction in the only acceptable mode of worship for sinful creatures, through faith in a Redeemer ( Hebrews 9:22 ).
22. And God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us--not spoken in irony as is generally supposed, but in deep compassion. The words should be rendered, "Behold, what has become [by sin] of the man who was as one of us"! Formed, at first, in our image to know good and evil--how sad his condition now.
and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life--This tree being a pledge of that immortal life with which obedience should be rewarded, man lost, on his fall, all claim to this tree; and therefore, that he might not eat of it or delude himself with the idea that eating of it would restore what he had forfeited, the Lord sent him forth from the garden.
24. placed . . . cherbim--The passage should be rendered thus: "And he dwelt between the cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden and a fierce fire, or Shekinah, unfolding itself to preserve the way of the tree of life." This was the mode of worship now established to show God's anger at sin and teach the mediation of a promised Saviour as the way of life, as well as of access to God. They were the same figures as were afterwards in the tabernacle and temple; and now, as then, God said, "I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims" ( Exodus 25:22 ).