Genesis 3

Note: this is from Richard Peachey and replaces the earlier proposal.

A.  1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 

B. 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

C. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 

D. 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 unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

E. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

F. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

G. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

H. 14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

G’. 16  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

F’. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

E’. 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

D’. 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

C’.  22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:

B’. and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

A’. 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

4 thoughts on “Genesis 3”

  1. I noticed some of this pattern too.
    It is very interesting that it centres on the curse on the serpent, since v15 is clearly messianic.

  2. In 2016, while teaching a course on Genesis 1–11, I came up with the following chiastic structure for Genesis 3. It matches yours in several ways. I’d be interested to have your comments on it.

    A The serpent and the woman: Access to the trees of the garden discussed (3:1f.)
    B The woman and the serpent: The threat of death (“lest you die”) (3:3f.)
    C The serpent: You will be like God [gods?], knowing good and evil (3:5)
    D The woman and her husband: After transgressing, they made coverings for themselves from plant leaves (3:6f.)
    E The man and his wife: Fearful of the LORD God, they hide themselves (3:8)
    F The LORD God confronts the man: “From the tree that I commanded you to not eat from it, you ate?” (3:9-12)
    G The LORD God confronts the woman (3:13)
    H The LORD God sentences the serpent (3:14f., includes the protevangelium)
    G’ The LORD God sentences the woman (3:16)
    F’ The LORD God sentences the man: “. . . and you ate from the tree that I commanded you saying you shall not eat from it” (3:17-19)
    E’ The man: Trusting the LORD God’s promise, he names his wife “Eve” (“Life”) (3:20)
    D’ The LORD God: After sentencing, he made coverings for Adam and his wife from animal skins (3:21)
    C’ The LORD God: “The man is like one of us, to know good and evil” (3:22a)
    B’ The LORD God: The threat of endless life (“lest he . . . live forever) (3:22b)
    A’ The LORD God: Expulsion from the garden; access to the tree of life denied (3:23f.)

    Notes: (a) In both 3:1 and 3:24, the word “trees” or “tree” (same word in Hebrew) occurs as the second last word of the sentence.
    (b) Within Genesis 3, the Hebrew word “lest” occurs only in 3:3 and 3:22b.
    (c) In Genesis 3, the Hebrew terms “the man” and “his wife” are found together, in these specific forms, only in 3:8 and 3:20.
    (d) Observe the strong similarities, in both theme and vocabulary, that occur between 3:5 and 3:22a, and again between 3:11 and 3:17.

    The above chiastic diagram was inspired by the following comments of Allen P. Ross: “[In Genesis 3 there is] a deliberate arrangement in an inverted (chiastic) order. First, there is the Lord’s interrogation of the man (3:9–12) and then the interrogation of the woman (v. 13). These are followed by the oracle for the serpent (vv. 14–15), the oracle for the woman (v. 16), and finally the oracle for the man (vv. 17–19). We thus have man—woman—serpent—woman—man. The focus on the serpent is central to the arrangement, which is where the perpetual struggle of good and evil is announced. . . .
    “[Adding verse 7 to the section 3:8-24] would give the present narrative a nice inclusio—their clothing themselves at the beginning and God’s clothing them at the end.”
    (Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of the Book of Genesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988. pp. 141, 143)

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