What does Genesis 2:9 mean?
ESV: And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
NIV: The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
NASB: Out of the ground the Lord God caused every tree to grow that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
CSB: The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
NLT: The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground — trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
KJV: And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
NKJV: And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Verse Commentary:
The previous verse described God planting a garden, somewhere to the east of the land occupied by Genesis' original readers. This region—not merely the garden itself—is referred to as "Eden." Here, that garden is described as a place where God caused to "spring up" a variety of beautiful trees bearing good fruit. According to this description, there were many different types of fruit-bearing trees in this location.

Two specific trees are mentioned by name as standing in the middle of the garden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We will soon learn that God had designed these two trees with special properties. Those who ate from the Tree of Life would live forever (Genesis 3:22). The function of this tree seems to be that immortality comes from continually eating from it. God did not prohibit Adam and Eve from eating its fruit at first, and they were not rendered permanently immortal by it.

On the other hand, those who ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would leave behind their blissful state of innocence. In later verses, God will forbid Adam from eating from this tree. The "knowledge" here is not necessarily intellectual, but that of experience. The fruit of this tree would not, in and of itself, impart information. However, it would cause mankind to experience both good and evil in ways not intended by God. Eating from this tree would make man aware of the existence of evil—which is opposition to God—by participating in it.

In verse 17, we will hear God instruct the man never to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In chapter 3, we will see the man break that command with disastrous results.
Verse Context:
Genesis 2:4–9 begins to describe additional details about the creation of human beings, starting with the creation of the first man. Man is ''formed'' out of existing matter—the dust or debris of the earth—into which God breathes life. God plants the garden in Eden, and places the newly-created man there. Among the many trees in the garden are two of special significance: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 2 begins with a description of the seventh day of creation, in which God rested from His work. Then it returns to the sixth day and describes in more detail the creation of man, the garden God placed him into, and the work God gave him to do. God recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone and makes a helper for him out of his own rib. This woman becomes Adam's companion and wife, setting the original example of God's design for marriage. The two exist in pure innocence, naked yet unashamed before sin enters into the world.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 2 concludes the description of God's week of creation and then zooms in on the creation of man, his work, his perfect environment, and the creation of woman as his helper and wife. It is our last glimpse of the world before it is ravaged by human sin and death with the disobedience of Adam and Eve in chapter 3. Where chapter 1 gave a full overview of creation, this chapter focuses more on a few specific events. These are crucial to understanding the fall of man.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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