The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Genesis 3:1-24

After learning about the creation of Woman, we now read about her first experiences. We are told that the sly serpent entices her to partake of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which she subsequently shares with her man. Having internalized the knowledge that the tree was meant to protect, the pair realize that they are naked and for the first time consider this a source of shame before God, so they sew themselves rudimentary clothing out of figleaves and try to hide from Him in the garden. The omnipresent and omniscient God seeks them out and confronts them over their choices, but instead of taking responsibility for their actions, each seeks to pass the blame to someone else; Man accuses “the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me,” while Woman charges the serpent with “beguiling” her into eating.


God curses each of them for their roles in this transgression. The snake he condemns to slither on his belly, eating dust and living in enmity with the descendants of Woman; upon Woman he bestows pain in childbirth; and Man receives the curse of the Earth, which will no longer yield its produce with ease. He then makes for them clothing of animal skins and exiles Man and Woman from His garden for eternity. He places cherubim and a flaming sword at the entrance of the garden, to keep them out.


It is at the time that they are cursed that Adam finally gives his wife the name by which she is most known: Eve, for she is the mother of all living things.


The Israel Bible cites Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch to explain the curse Adam receives. He points out that the Hebrew word ba’avurekha does not mean the land is cursed “because of you”, but rather “for you” — for man’s sake, that he may correct his actions. Thus, the land’s prosperity becomes a measuring stick of man’s adherence to God’s ways, especially in the Land of Israel.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness after eating from the forbidden tree? What is the connection between the two?



Comments ( 19 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bibleā„¢.

  • HaShem must have made a covering of light over Adam and eve when he created them.When they ate the fruit the recognized they had lost their covering which god made them renjitthomas

  • Yes, I think it was because their eyes were opened and they realized they had done evil by being disobedient to G-d, similar to how a child becomes ashamed when they are caught doing something naughty and they look down. Also, it is interesting to note that HaShem's covering them in animal skins seems to be a foreshadowing of the animal sacrifices later instructed in Exodus to cover our sins and enable us to have positive relationship with HaShem.

  • They were ashamed most likely because their eyes were open. Did the serpent walk before and talk, and if he did, did all the other animals talk and due to Adams and Chuah sin were their mouth closed???


  • I think they felt their insecure consciences after trespassing the rules. They had become ashamed of what had happened and tried to hide from G-d, but in reality they tried to run away from themselves. But from His Eyes there is no escape. How they discovered they were naked? Maybe they had been clothed (by G-d) with "light". Maybe they lost that mantle of light. Maybe that's seen as a residu on the heads of so-called saints in paintings as a halo over their heads.

    • That is a good point. I have wondered also about that. They lost their light, they lost their innocence .

    • I agree Herman, they became ashamed of their nakedness because they realized they no longer had the divine presence constantly covering them, they now only saw themselves, their frailty. Today, when we keep away from the divine presence, we feel naked, ashamed, and afraid. Thank Yahweh, that when we look to Him, we are covered, confident and filled with love and peace. I like the Psalm that says "look to Yahweh and His strength, seek His face always." In His face and Torah is where we belong, anything short of that is nakedness, shame and fear.

  • Sometimes I wonder what would have been if Adam chose not to partake and only Eve ate. Or if Adam had immediately repented instead of blaming. Is being made in the image and likeness of God part of knowing good from evil (Gen 3:22)? Was it the fruit itself that had the ability to reveal the knowledge of good and evil? Or the action of disobedience. The moment they transgressed against Gods word and sinned, causing God's covering to be removed. Thus ushering man into a set time of learning good and evil until Messiah? I love Genesis, there is so much to learn and uncover and to be revealed to us of God's goodness and His character.

  • When Adam and Eve sinned, their first act was to make clothing for themselves to hide behind. When Hashem came in the cool of the evening to walk with them, they made an even greater effort to hide themselves from HIM.
    The feelings that they now had were new to them as they’d never had a reason to feel shame or embarrassment or fear before in their short lives. These feelings must have been overwhelming in light of their new knowledge.
    One of the first actions that Hashem takes on their behalf is to make clothing for them from the skin of an animal. This didn’t take away their sin or the knowledge they had gained or even the new feelings of shame, etc. The clothing just gave them a kind of symbolic way of hiding themselves and containing those feelings that would never go away.
    Hiding our sins is a common way of trying to deal with them. The human race used to be very good at hiding their sins and doing wrong things in secret. In the world we live in today, sin is openly flaunted in every possible way.
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Thank you Suejean, I was going to write something similar and them read your post. They did not have to hide before sin, what shame they must have felt and you are so right on, this was a new feeling. There is no need to hide or be ashamed when you follow the Word.

  • I cannot fathom but only imagine Adam and Eve walking and talking with G_d in the cool of the day, I mean that’s like face to face. Adam and Eve only ever knowing the beauty of what the Garden held for them. They were obedient, eternal beings, never having to die or their bodies to face decay because they knew no sin. G_od told them not to partake because they would die. Their rebellion against G_ds orders cause them not only to die a physical death but they were separated from Him because G_d cannot look upon an unholy people. They hid because they were ashamed. They were ashamed because they were guilty of defying the one thing G_od said they could not have. They had the whole garden to do with what’s they wanted…just not the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Prior to the fall they only knew what was good. When they made the wrong choice and succumbed to the serpent they rebelled against G_od and opened doorways for the serpent to have that control. And he ran with it……just a thought ….it is good not to marry…you have only eyes for your creator. When one marries the wife does what they can to please their husband. The husband to do what pleases his wife. Hence Adam partook what Eve gave to please her? They took their eyes of G_d.

    • The message is not to refrain from marriage. In fact, God encourages marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), and it is considered a positive commandment for a man to take a wife. Maimonides teaches us that the love between a husband and wife is a model for the love we are to have for God.

      • God encourages marriage and I believe that in the two becoming one flesh – the male and female becoming one – I think that only within that dynamic can we express the whole character of God. God's attributes as expressed throughout the Word are shown to be not only logical and orderly but also filled with grace and mercy. When those natural feminine characteristics stand beside and join with the natural masculine characteristics of man and the two become one, each complementing the nature of the other, then we are a complete expression of Him who created us.

    • One of the of the reasons that Eve succumbed to Satan's lies is that the scripture says that Satan (The Serpent) is the most subtle of creatures. He is an expert at giving our mind reasons why we don't have to obey God ( Scripture). We must always remember that all thoughts (reasons) about why we don't have to obey Hashem's commands are invalid and ignore them for what they are; temptations that are lies of Satan.

  • I think that God told them not to eat of the one tree because they would be forever in a struggle between good and evil if they made a bad choice and God did not want his creation corrupted or suffering at the hand of the evil one…

  • Mrs Peggy Ann

    They realized their body lost its eternal covering and we’re afraid because disobedience was obvious by their apperance., so they hid to avoid God from being disappointed or angry.

  • Sheila

    The forbidden tree —Gen2:17 — tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolised all moral knowledge that only God could have and its fruit forbidden to Adam and Eve. But the tempter who was cunning, crafty and shrewd suggested they would be “like God” through partaking of it’s fruit. However the result was quite different. Instead of gaining superior knowledge that would have made them equal with Godthey instead gained an awareness and yes an embarrassment of their guilt and shame — the their “spiritual” eyes were opened and they knew they were naked— Gen3:7 —- so sewed fig leaves together. This act of rebellion marked the entrance of sin into the world.

    • I agree but would add some things. The "tempter" is Satan. We all know that Satan is a liar and tempts us primarily by lying to us. Hashem told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit of that tree that is sometimes called the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" they would die. Satan lied when he said that Hashem did not tell the truth (What a big lie that was!). He also lied when he said that if Eve ate the fruit that she would be like the God's, knowing good from evil.

      No one can know what is Good or Evil except Hashem! One of the reasons for this is that only Hashem knows what is the end result and also all the results of any action we or anyone takes. The lie of Satan is that we humans by thinking can determine what is good to do or what is evil to do. The result of believing this lie of Satan's is thinking that we don't have to obey HaShem's Commandments unless we think they are true. It is the raising of the mind to the level of God by believing that by thinking we can decide what is good to do or evil to do. Again, believing this leads to the same conclusion that Eve had, which is that we don't have to obey Hashem's commandments!

      You can see this false belief all over the world today; that by thinking, we can come to all truth. The other thing about these scriptures is that Satan lied to Eve and not to Adam. Adam gave in to Eve when she told him what Satan (the Serpent) had told her.

  • Herman

    They felt guilty towards G’d, they felt guilty towards eachother, but couldn’t hide for eachother nor for HaShem–>they were naked. They gave a try to do so by hiding in the bush, but nothing can be hidden for the eye of G’d.

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