Genesis 3:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 3:3, NIV: "but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.''"

Genesis 3:3, ESV: "but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”"

Genesis 3:3, KJV: "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."

Genesis 3:3, NASB: "but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’?'"

Genesis 3:3, NLT: "'It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.''"

Genesis 3:3, CSB: "But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.'""

What does Genesis 3:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verse 1, the serpent questions the commands of God by asking the woman a slanted question: Did God really say you could not eat fruit from any tree in the garden? In verse 2, she begins to answer, and at first her answer seems solid. She correctly responds that no, they could eat fruit from trees in the garden. She then concludes her answer with God's actual restriction. However, she doesn't seem to quote it exactly right. This reflects just enough doubt over God's words to give Satan an opportunity.

Here's what God said to Adam about what not to eat in Genesis 2:16–17: "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 woman, either by accident or out of sincerity, added an extra layer to God's statement. The restriction that they were not even allowed to touch the tree wasn't part of God's actual command. Either Eve, as the woman would later be known, did not fully understand the command, she misremembered it, or she intentionally misquoted it in an effort to be more emphatic.

Instead of bolstering her willingness to obey, this addition to the words of God actually makes Satan's strategy more effective. In the context of this conversation, her error makes God appear even more restrictive than He is. The serpent will quickly zero in on the issue of God's character, His honesty, and His fairness.