Here is my liveblog through the second half of Genesis 2. Hope you are enjoying this – it’s helping me read more consistently, and I’m enjoying what is being revealed as I read and write.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The specifics here are really interesting. Why did the writer feel the need to point out that gold, bdellium, and onyx could be found in Havilah? Why point out that the Gihon flowed around Cush? And just as interestingly, why no mention of characteristics of the Euphrates? My guess is that the Euphrates needed no introduction, being one of the most important waterways in Mesopotamia. My guess as to the other details is that it is showing that all good and precious things flow from the river of Eden… but that’s just a guess.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 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.”
‘In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die’. This is an important piece of information… and will become vital to the story. I see choice here available right from the very beginning – is Adam going to trust God, or is he going to deny him? God did not need to give him that choice. he didn’t need to make the tree of Good and Evil at all. But he did.
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
A few very important things going on here. First, the word ‘helper’ can also be translated ‘helpmeet’, or ‘indispensable companion’. It implies much more than a servant. The word, I believe, is ‘ezer’, and is often used of God – He is the one who does what we cannot, and is our helper. In no way does this word imply a subordinate position… which is why, I think, no animal was suitable for the job.
Again we see the order totally different here than in Genesis one. First man, then animals, then woman – while in Genesis one animals came first, then man and woman together.
Finally, Woman was made from man – they are of the same stuff, the same substance. Beautiful.
23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
And this beauty is accentuate by the poetry that falls immediately afterwards. ‘flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone!’ Incredible way of describing something impossible to capture with mere words.
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
‘And were not ashamed’. They knew who they were, and what their place was before God – can many of us say the same? Can we hope for anything better?
Of course, it was not to last. soon, things would change. To be continued!