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Genesis chapter 3

New International Version

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?'
2 The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 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.''
4 You will not certainly die,' the serpent said to the woman. 5 For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?'
10 He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'
11 And he said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?'
12 The man said, 'The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.'
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, 'Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.'
16 To the woman he said, 'I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'
17 To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat from it,' 'Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.' 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
English Standard Version

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’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 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.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to husband, but he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
King James Version

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? 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 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.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?' 2 The woman said to the serpent, 'From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 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.’?' 4 The serpent said to the woman, 'You certainly will not die! 5 For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.' 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves waist coverings.
8 Now they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' 10 He said, 'I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.' 11 And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?' 12 The man said, 'The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me some of the fruit of the tree, and I ate.' 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' And the woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'
14 Then the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all the livestock, And more than any animal of the field; On your belly you shall go, And dust you shall eat All the days of your life; 15 And I will make enemies Of you and the woman, And of your offspring and her Descendant; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise Him on the heel.' 16 To the woman He said, 'I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall deliver children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.' 17 Then to Adam He said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; With hard labor you shall eat from it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; Yet you shall eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Until you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.'
20 Now the man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. 21 And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
22 Then the LORD God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out with his hand, and take fruit also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever'— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
New Living Translation

1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, 'Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?'
2 'Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,' the woman replied. 3 '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.''
4 'You won't die!' the serpent replied to the woman. 5 'God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.'
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?'
10 He replied, 'I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.'
11 'Who told you that you were naked?' the LORD God asked. 'Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?'
12 The man replied, 'It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.'
13 Then the LORD God asked the woman, 'What have you done?' 'The serpent deceived me,' she replied. 'That's why I ate it.'
14 Then the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. 15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.'
16 Then he said to the woman, 'I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.'
17 And to the man he said, 'Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.'
20 Then the man--Adam--named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. 21 And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
22 Then the LORD God said, 'Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!' 23 So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 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.'"
4 "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, "Where are you?"
10 And he said, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid."
11 Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man replied, "The woman you gave to be with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate."
13 So the LORD God asked the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
16 He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.
17 And he said to the man, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'Do not eat from it': The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust."
20 The man named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living. 21 The LORD God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.
22 The LORD God said, "Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove the man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life.

What does Genesis chapter 3 mean?

After the triumph of the creation of the universe and all life, as described in Genesis 1—2, chapter 3 turns to the tragedy of paradise lost. As chapter 2 ends, the first humans, Adam and Eve, are naked and unashamed, blissfully free from any experience of evil. By the end of this chapter, they will be burdened. Rebellion will bring awareness of their own capacity for sin, and their separation from the God who created them.

Their fall begins with a talking serpent. Satan seems to have either taken possession of a serpent's body or assumed the form of a snake. He is described as the craftiest of all wild animals. This creature approaches Eve with the single purpose of convincing her to disobey God by eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Conversations recorded in the Bible often have the appearance of a summary, rather than a transcript. We don't know exactly how long it took the serpent to convince Eve. However, his masterful temptation is so effective that she seems to make her fatal choice in the space of one short conversation. First he casts doubt on what God actually did or did not command. Then, he draws the woman into thinking about the fairness of God's command. Then he flatly calls God a liar, questioning God's character and motives.

Eve buys it all. The forbidden tree is beautiful, the food looks good to eat, and she believes the lie that it will make her wise. Adam quickly joins her, and the pair are immediately crushed by their shame. This includes a sudden self-consciousness about their nudity. The "knowledge of good and evil" is achieved by the rejection of good and the embracing of evil.

So, though it is pointless to do so, Adam and Eve attempt to hide from God. God found them anyway. They confess their sin, but even then attempt to shift the blame. God confronts the serpent and Satan, delivering to him the first of the curses resulting from the fall. Serpents would crawl on their bellies forevermore, serving as a reminder of this moment. In addition, Satan's existence would be characterized by his war with humanity. He would win a painful victory—bruising Christ's heel—but would be crushed—by Christ—in the end.

The sentences pronounced for Eve, and then Adam, are heartbreaking in the way they continue to reflect our everyday human experiences. Women would suffer pain, both in bearing and birthing children and in ongoing conflict with her husband. Men would face pain and frustration in his work, struggling to make the cursed ground yield food until he finally died and returned to the ground himself.

Despite their disobedience and sin, God still provides for mankind. This begins with clothes made from the skin of an animal, the first sacrifice of life for a covering. But Adam and Eve cannot stay in the Garden of Eden. It is no longer for them. For one thing, God would not allow them to eat of the Tree of Life and gain physical immortality in their state of spiritual death and sin. To be trapped in a perpetual state of death and separation would be truly cruel.

God banishes mankind from the garden and assigns an angel to guard the way to the Tree of Life. With that, the painful story of fallen human history begins.