What emotion(s) or questions are you noticing in response to this post’s title, “You Shall Not”?
Let’s add another word: “You shall not eat”. What surfaces now?
Are you feeling discontented? Angry? Rebellious? Focused on the high calorie food you love? Fearful?
What if we add four more words: “Did God actually say, “You shall not eat”?
How does this change the tone of the question in your mind?
If someone young asked you this how would you react? How about a nutrition expert?
Can you see how the context of a question matters?
In Genesis 3:1, a new character is introduced to the narrative who asks Eve this very question.
ESV Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
What are we told about the serpent in this verse?
- The serpent is a wild beast.
- The serpent is more crafty than other beasts of the field.
- The serpent was made by the LORD God.
- The serpent speaks the same language as Adam, Eve and the LORD God.
- The serpent doesn’t refer to God as LORD.
- The serpent seriously misquotes God’s command from Genesis 2:16-17.
ESV Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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 surely die.”
The description of the character and origin of the serpent provides hints that something is awry in the garden. Genesis 3:1 sets up the context for what is referred to in both Christian and Jewish faiths as the fall of mankind. Next time we’ll look at how Eve responded to the serpent.
Meanwhile, what emotions or questions do you have after looking at Genesis 3:1?