Genesis 2:4-3:24

The following is my “dynamic equivalent” translation into English of this passage, which is often mistranslated and almost universally misunderstood. A bibliography at the end lists the sources on which I relied. Hover your cursor over the differently-colored text for commentary.

4 In the day that the earth and the heavens, 5 there was still no wild bush on the earth, nor had any grain of the field sprouted, for Yahweh of the gods had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground. 6 Instead, , and water the whole face of the ground.

7 Then Yahweh of the gods formed the first from , and breathed into the person's nostrils the breath of life. Now look: the person becomes a creature of flesh.

8 And in Eden — “ ” — in the east, there Yahweh put the human whom God had formed. 9 Out of the ground Yahweh of the gods made to grow all trees lovely to look upon and good for food, the also in the midst of the garden, and .

10 A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11 The name of the first is Pishon, or “Spreader”; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold 12 of the highest quality; there are there, and precious lapis lazuli. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon, or “Gusher”; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris], which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Perat [Euphrates].

15 Yahweh of the gods lifts the human and brings the human to rest in the garden of Eden, to take care of it and watch over it. 16 And Yahweh of the gods desires the human to know,

“You may freely eat
        of every tree of the garden;
except for the tree of knowing good from bad.
You must not eat from that tree,
        for the same day that you eat of it .”

18 Then Yahweh of the gods said, “ that the human should be alone; I will make him a to stand beside him.” 19 So out of Yahweh of the gods formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the human to see what it would call them; and . 20 The human gave names to all wild animals and all , and to the birds of the air, and to every creature of the field; but the human did not find his partner among them.

21 So Yahweh of the gods put the human into a deep sleep; then God , then closed up its flesh. 22 Yahweh of the gods then fashioned the two halves into male and female, and presented them to one another. 23 Then the man said,

    “This at last is bone of my bones

24 and they become one flesh. 25

3:1 Now was than any other wild creature that . The snake said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 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 middle of the garden, , or you shall die.’”

4 But the serpent said to the woman, “, 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like , knowing the difference between 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, , and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and ; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

8 They heard the sound of Yahweh of the gods walking in the garden in the cool of the evening, and the man and the woman hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh of the gods among the trees of the garden.

9 But Yahweh of the gods called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 The man said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I trembled, because I was knew I was smooth-skinned; and I hid.”

11 God said, “ Have you eaten from the tree of which I desired you not to eat?”

12 The man said, “, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

13 Then Yahweh of the gods said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “.”

14 Yahweh of the gods said to the serpent,

    “Because you have done this,
        lower than domestic animals, lower than wild beasts;
    you will crawl on your smooth belly and eat dust,
        dirt you shall taste from first day to last .

    15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
        and between your offspring and hers;
    her offspring will wound you on the head,
        and you will wound hers in the heel.”

16 To the woman God said,

    “I will greatly multiply your pangs in childbearing;
        in pain you shall bring forth children,
        and .”

17 And to the man God said,

        eager to eat — from the tree
        of which you knew my desire,
    ‘You shall not eat of it’:
    bitter is the soil to your taste because of you;
        in labor you shall bend to eat of it each day you live;
    18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
        and you shall eat the bitter herbs of the field.

    19 As you sow the sweat of your face
        you shall reap your bread
        until you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
        you are dust,
        and to dust you shall return.”

20 Adam, or “Humanity,” named his wife Havvah [Eve], or “Lifegiver”: she would be the mother of all who live, smooth their way. 21 And Yahweh of the gods made clothes of for the man and for his wife, dressed them.

22 Then Yahweh of the gods said, “Look — these humans have become , seeing good and evil; and now, they might blindly reach out their hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.”

23 So Yahweh of the gods sent forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 God drove out ; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed , with fiery, ever-turning swords, to guard the way to the tree of life.



Kenneth Barker, general editor. The New International Version Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985.

Harold Bloom and David Rosenberg. The Book of J. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.

Everett Fox. The Five Books of Moses (The Schocken Bible, Volume I). New York: Schocken Books, 1983.

Bruce M. Metzger and Roland E. Murphy, editors. The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Priests For Equality, The Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures, Volume I: The Torah. Brentwood, MD: Priests For Equality, 2000.