Genesis 2:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:16, NIV: "And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;"

Genesis 2:16, ESV: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,"

Genesis 2:16, KJV: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:"

Genesis 2:16, NASB: "The LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may freely eat;"

Genesis 2:16, NLT: "But the LORD God warned him, 'You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden--"

Genesis 2:16, CSB: "And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree of the garden,"

What does Genesis 2:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 16 and 17 form a complete thought which needs to be read and understood as one statement to be fully understood. This is God's first negative command to human beings, telling the man what he must not do. This uses the Hebrew root word tsavah, the first time this concept is used in the Bible.

Even so, the command starts with what the man can do, which is practically anything else. Man is given the freedom to eat from every tree in the garden of Eden—except for one, single prohibition. This statement echoes God's words recorded in Genesis 1:29: that all types of seed-bearing plants and fruits from trees were provided for food.

God provides. That's who He is; that's built into His nature and identity. We as His people are provided for even when we don't clearly see how our needs will be met. We are provided for even when our God declares some seemingly good things off-limits to us, as He does with the man in the next verse. The fact that mankind disobeys the one, single, simple command we are given summarizes the Bible's view of sin and salvation.