Genesis 3:9-13

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

It may be noted incidentally that the shame of nudity is no artificial inhibition introduced by the conventions of civilization … It has its source in this primeval awareness of sin, and is only discarded when the moral conscience has been so hardened as to lose all sensitivity to sin. … Except for the brief period of Edenic innocence, nakedness before anyone other than one’s own husband or wife is, in the Bible, considered shameful (Genesis 9:23; Exodus 32:25; Revelation 3:18, etc.) — Morris, page 116-117.


Nakedness was not a sin at the beginning. Genesis 2:25 tells us, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Nakedness had never previously been a hindrance to fellowship with God. It was their shame and guilt, due to their sin, that caused their nakedness to be a problem. — Taylor, page 106. 


So rapidly had sin pervaded the hearts of both Adam and Eve that, when God began to question them, Adam blamed his wife and Eve blamed the serpent, neither being willing to acknowledge personal guilt. In fact, Adam, by implication, cast the blame on God Himself, emphasizing that it was all because of “the woman whom thous gavest to be with me.” — Morris, page 117.


Eve was not responsible for Adam’s sin, as we have noted several times already. she was not Adam’s representative. When Eve sinned, it was her own sin. Adam, however, was our representative. Unlike Eve, Satan did not deceive him. in other words, he knew exactly what he was doing. His was the greater sin, and his sin was imputed to you and me. Adam’s foolish comments are not to go unregarded by God, but for the moment He moves on to question Eve. She also has the opportunity to repent. She does not. She also engages in the art of blame shifting. She blames the serpent, who, of course, is guilty, but he is guilty of his own sin, not Eve’s. Eve’s sin is not to go unnoticed, but for the moment God addresses the sin of the serpent. — Taylor, pages 107-108.


God’s response to the sin of Adam and Eve is not merely that of a Creator, nor even that of a God who is merely just: rather, it is the response of a God who desires to be—and be seen as—a Father in every ideal sense of the word. In this respect the detailed description of how God responds to the couple’s sin is not just important, but paradigmatic, insofar as it “sets the course” for the way in which we are to anticipate and assess God’s response ever thereafter to the sin(s) of those whom He likewise considers His children—whether Israel nationally, or individual believers. At the same time, to highlight God’s paternal response to the couple, we are also presented with the foil (i.e., clear contrast) of His unmitigated judgment of Satan—this contrastive purpose of which (i.e., to highlight God’s paternal mercy) is quite likely one of the main reasons that God permitted him to instigate the temptation in the first place. — Wechsler, page 102.


Unexpectedly to Adam and Eve, since they are anticipating God’s immediate (and just) response to their sin, the Son does not call out to them in wrath, but in a tone of gentle and patient questioning. … These questions are not being asked for His own benefit (i.e., to supply Him with information He didn’t otherwise have), but for the benefit of the ones being questioned. Rather than “bash” them over the head with judgment because His honor was offended, God responds in a way reflective of a fundamental concern for their welfare and betterment; He wants them to understand why what they did is so bad, that it might serve as a deterrent to future sin. Thus, the first question (which, is should be noted, God addresses to the man, since He holds him primarily responsible)—”Where are you?”—is intended to bring the couple to a clear recognition of where their sin has led them—namely, to a tragic distance from God with a further barrier (the trees) between them. and by the second question—”What have you done …?”—God’s intention is for them to clearly understand how then ended up at this less-than-ideal distance from God.

God’s paternal—and even gentle—mercy (i.e., not giving them the punishment they do deserve) is further evident in the fact that, in asking the second question, God even supplies the content of their confession (i.e., “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?), in response to which, therefore, the man need only say “Yes,” or “I ate” to acknowledge his sin. And indeed Adam does say this—but only after seeking to mitigate his guilt by shifting much of the blame to the woman—who, after all God Himself gave him. Nonetheless, God plays along, and, in response to His similar question to Eve—the asking of which indicates that His personal interest in the woman’s welfare is just as keen—He receives essentially the same response, with much of the blame being shifted to Satan. That these questions were indeed intended to draw the couple out to confession is underscored by the observation that God asks no question of Satan—precisely for the reason that the point of the questions (i.e., to induce confession) does not have any application to him, for Satan is not God’s child. 

Another significant observation with respect to God’s questions here is that once the man and the woman say “I ate,” God ceases His questioning and moves on. If the purpose of these questions is truly to draw each of them out to confession, one may reasonably conclude from this that God’s purpose has been satisfied—a conclusion which is established as a certainty by verse 21, where God expresses toward the couple one of the most vivid and visual examples of forgiveness to be found anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. Inevitably, therefore, the further conclusion emerges that God is satisfied with less than perfect confession!  In His paternal mercy and perfect love, God fervently desires to express forgiveness towards His children (and what good parent wouldn’t?), the theological-thematic emphasis of this episode therefore being on God’s mercy rather than on the couple’s merit. — Wechsler, pages 102-104.

There’s much in the commentaries that I’ve quoted here that isn’t explicitly spelled out in Scripture, but it’s consistent with the rest of Scripture. I think it holds water. I especially like Wechler’s final point that God’s response was based on His mercy and not 0n man’s merit.

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