Genesis 2:15

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

Genesis 2:15 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 2:15

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the
garden of Eden
This is observed before in ( Genesis 2:8 ) and is here repeated to introduce what follows; and is to be understood not of a corporeal assumption, by a divine power lifting him up from the place where he was, and carrying him into another; rather of a manuduction, or taking him by the hand and leading him thither; so Onkelos renders it, he "led" him, that is, he ordered and directed him thither: hence Jarchi paraphrases it, he took him with good words, and persuaded him to go thither: the place from whence he is supposed by some to be taken was near Damascus, where he is by them said to be created; or the place where the temple was afterwards built, as say the Jewish writers: the Targum of Jonathan is,

``the Lord God took the man from the mount of Service, the place in which he was created, and caused him to dwell in the garden of Eden.''

And elsewhere F20 it is said,

``the holy blessed God loved the first Adam with an exceeding great love, for he created him out of a pure and holy place; and from what place did he take him? from the place of the house of the sanctuary, and brought him into his palace, as it is said, ( Genesis 2:15 ) "and the Lord God took"''

though no more perhaps is intended by this expression, than that God spoke to him or impressed it on his mind, and inclined him to go, or stay there:

to dress it, and to keep it;
so that it seems man was not to live an idle life, in a state of innocence; but this could not be attended with toil and labour, with fatigue and trouble, with sorrow and sweat, as after his fall; but was rather for his recreation and pleasure; though what by nature was left to be improved by art, and what there was for Adam to do, is not easy to say: at present there needed no ploughing, nor sowing, nor planting, nor watering, since God had made every tree pleasant to the sight, good for food, to grow out of it; and a river ran through it to water it: hence in a Jewish tract F21, before referred to, it is said, that his work in the garden was nothing else but to study in the words of the law, and to keep or observe the way of the tree of life: and to this agree the Targums of Jonathan and of Jerusalem,

``and he placed him in the garden of Eden, to serve in the law, and keep the commands of it.''

And in another tract F23 it is said,

``God brought Adam the law, ( Job 28:27 ) and "he put him in the garden of Eden"; that is, the garden of the law, "to dress it", to do the affirmative precepts of the law, "and to keep it", the negative precepts:''

though Aben Ezra interprets this service of watering the garden, aud keeping wild beasts from entering into it. And indeed the word may be rendered to "till", as well as to dress, as it is in ( Genesis 3:23 ) and by Ainsworth here; so Milton F24 expresses it; and some have thought Adam was to have planted and sowed, had he continued in the garden.


F20 Pirke Eliezer, c. 2. fol. 72. 2.
F21 Pirke Eliezer, c. 2. fol. 72. 2.
F23 Tikkune Zohar, correct. 54. fol. 91. 2.
F24 Paradise Lost, B. 8. l. 320.

Genesis 2:15 In-Context

13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush.
14 The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;
17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.