Eve Misquoted the Command About the Tree

How did she get that wrong?

Genesis 3:2-3 (ESV)

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 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.’”

God didn’t say anything about not touching the tree.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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.” – Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)

So, Eve misquotes the command. That’s understandable, since she was created after the command was given. Still, it’s interesting that she got it wrong. How?

The Bible doesn’t say, so it can’t be very important. If this was something we had to know, God would have told us. Still, it’s interesting. Why did Eve misquote the command?

Of course, it’s possible that God repeated the command to Eve – including the do not touch bit – but leaving that out of the recounting would be a rather serious omission for an inspired document. Also, revising a command in that way would be out of character for Him.

It looks like Eve got this second-hand from Adam. That’s a problem. Before the fall, Adam couldn’t have lied. One way or another, this would have to be a miscommunication.

It would make sense for Adam to tell Eve not to even touch the tree; safety warnings get inflated all the time. If we want a child to avoid something we often tell them to not even go near it. But Eve thought this was part of God’s command, not Adam’s embellishment. How can that happen without Adam lying?

Here’s one way. Adam could have said, “God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden,’ so don’t even touch it.” In English, there’s no verbal sound for the close quote. The transition from the quote of God’s words to Adam’s own words is silent. If the language Adam and Eve were speaking was similar in this way, then there would be no way for Eve to know that the part about not touching the tree was Adam’s words not God’s.

Eve would have thought it was all part of the quote.


Can you see your pride? Can you see how it’s at the heart of your sinfulness? Let’s drill down.

Is Jesus Christ your savior? When you think of who He is, does the word “savior” come to mind first? If so, consider this.

Sure, Jesus is your savior, but that’s not His identity. His identity is “Lord.” A proper confession of faith isn’t, “Jesus save me,” it’s, “Jesus is Lord.” If he’s not your Lord, he’s not your savior.

OK, but what does this have to do with pride?

Everything. Pride is all about being your own lord. Who’s really number one – you or God?


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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