Genesis 3:8 MEANING

Genesis 3:8
(8) And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden.--The matter-of-fact school of commentators understand by this that there was a thunderstorm, and the guilty pair hearing for the first time the uproar of nature, hid themselves in terror, and interpreted the mighty peals as meaning their condemnation. Really it is in admirable keeping with the whole narrative; and Jehovah appears here as the owner of the Paradise, and as taking in it His daily exercise; for the verb is in the reflexive conjugation, and means "walking for pleasure." The time is "the cool (literally, the wind) of the day," the hour in a hot climate when the evening breeze sets in, and men, rising from their noontide slumber, go forth for labour or recreation. In this description the primary lesson is that hitherto man had lived in close communication with God. His intellect was undeveloped; his mental powers still slumbered; but nevertheless there was a deep spiritual sympathy between him and his Maker. It is the nobler side of Adam's relationship to God before the fall.

Hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.--This does not imply a visible appearance, for the whole narrative is anthropomorphic. The Fathers, however, saw in these descriptions the proof of a previous incarnation of the Divine Son (see Note on Genesis 12:7). Next, we find in their conduct an attempt to escape from the further result of sin. The first result was shame, from which man endeavoured to free himself by covering his person; the second was fear, and this man would cure by departing still farther from God. But the voice of Jehovah reaches him, and with rebuke and punishment gives also healing and hope.

Verse 8. - And they heard the voice of the Lord God. Either

(1) the noise of his footsteps (cf. Leviticus 26:33; Numbers 16:34; 2 Samuel 5:24; Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Kalisch, Macdonald); or

(2) the thunder that accompanied his approach (cf. Exodus 9:23; Job 37:4, 5; Psalm 29:3, 9; Murphy, Bush); or

(3) the sound of his voice (Calvin, Lange, Wordsworth); or

(4) probably all four. Walking in the garden. If the voice, then increasing in intensity (cf. Exodus 19:19; Bush); if Jehovah, which is better, then "wandering or walking about in a circle" within the garden bounds (Macdonald). In the cool (literally, the wind) of the day. The morning breeze (Calvin); the evening breeze (Kalisch, Macdonald); τὸ δειλινόν (LXX.); auram post meridiem (Vulgate); cf. hom ha yom, "the heat of the day" (Genesis 18:1). And Adam and his wife hid themselves. Not in humility, as unworthy to come into God's presence (Irenaeus); or in amazement, as not knowing which way to turn (Augustine); or through modesty, (Knobel Bohlen); but from a sense of guilt. From the presence of the Lord. From which it is apparent they expected a Visible manifestation.

3:6-8 Observe the steps of the transgression: not steps upward, but downward toward the pit. 1. She saw. A great deal of sin comes in at the eye. Let us not look on that which we are in danger of lusting after, Mt 5:28. 2. She took. It was her own act and deed. Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down, Mt 4:6. 3. She did eat. When she looked perhaps she did not intend to take; or when she took, not to eat: but it ended in that. It is wisdom to stop the first motions of sin, and to leave it off before it be meddled with. 4. She gave it also to her husband with her. Those that have done ill, are willing to draw in others to do the same. 5. He did eat. In neglecting the tree of life, of which he was allowed to eat, and eating of the tree of knowledge, which was forbidden, Adam plainly showed a contempt of what God had bestowed on him, and a desire for what God did not see fit to give him. He would have what he pleased, and do what he pleased. His sin was, in one word, disobedience, Ro 5:19; disobedience to a plain, easy, and express command. He had no corrupt nature within, to betray him; but had a freedom of will, in full strength, not weakened or impaired. He turned aside quickly. He drew all his posterity into sin and ruin. Who then can say that Adam's sin had but little harm in it? When too late, Adam and Eve saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness they fell from, and the misery they were fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and favour forfeited. See her what dishonour and trouble sin is; it makes mischief wherever it gets in, and destroys all comfort. Sooner or later it will bring shame; either the shame of true repentance, which ends in glory, or that shame and everlasting contempt, to which the wicked shall rise at the great day. See here what is commonly the folly of those that have sinned. They have more care to save their credit before men, than to obtain their pardon from God. The excuses men make to cover and lessen their sins, are vain and frivolous; like the aprons of fig-leaves, they make the matter never the better: yet we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam. Before they sinned, they would have welcomed God's gracious visits with humble joy; but now he was become a terror to them. No marvel that they became a terror to themselves, and full of confusion. This shows the falsehood of the tempter, and the frauds of his temptations. Satan promised they should be safe, but they cannot so much as think themselves so! Adam and Eve were now miserable comforters to each other!And they heard the voice of the Lord God,.... Which they had heard before, and knew, though perhaps now in another tone, and very terrible, which before was mild and gentle, pleasant and delightful: some by it understand a clap of thunder, sometimes called the voice of the Lord, Psalm 29:3 and the rather because mention is made afterwards of a wind; but rather the voice of the Son of God, the eternal Word, is here meant, who appeared in an human form, as a pledge of his future incarnation, and that not only as a Judge, to arraign, examine, and condemn the parties concerned in this act of disobedience to God, but as a Saviour of men, to whom, as such, he made himself known, as the event shows, and therefore they had no reason to entertain such terrible apprehensions of him, as to flee from him; and so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan paraphrase it, "the voice of the Word of the Lord God", the essential Word of God then with him, and since made flesh, and dwelt among men as the Saviour of them; and to him agrees what follows:

walking in the garden in the cool of the day; or "at the wind of the day" (q); of "that day" in which man was created and fell, as some conclude from hence; in the evening, at sun setting; for very often when the sun sets a wind rises, at least a gentle breeze; and this might bring the sound of the voice, and of the steps of this glorious Person, the sooner to the ears of Adam and his wife, which gave them notice of his near approach, and caused them to hasten their flight: some render it emphatically, "at the wind of that day" (r); as if it was a violent wind which arose at that time, as a sign and testimony of the indignation of God, as the sound of a violent wind was a testimony of the coming of the Spirit of God, Acts 2:2.

and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, amongst the trees of the garden; conscious of their guilt, and vainly imagining they could flee from his presence, which is everywhere, and hide themselves from his sight, before whom every creature is manifest, be it where it will; and very foolishly fancying, that the thick trees and bushes in the garden would be a screen and shelter for them: and sad shifts do wretched mortals make to secure themselves from the wrath of God, who are ignorant of the justifying righteousness and atoning sacrifice of the Son of God: it is in the singular number in the original text, "in the midst of the tree of the garden" (s); which some understand of the fig tree, whose leaves they covered themselves with, and under the shade of which they hid themselves; and particularly of the Indian fig tree, which is so large, that it is said that fifty horsemen may shade themselves at noon day under it; nay, some say four hundred (t); but tree may be put for trees, the singular for the plural.

(q) "ad ventum diei", Munster, Vatablus, Cartwright, Schmidt. (r) "Ad ventum illius diei", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Picherellus. (s) "intra arborem", Fagius. (t) Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 477.

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