Gen 2:17: Dying thou shalt die

Mark Wilson emory2002 at
Mon Aug 21 14:08:10 EDT 2000

Gen 2:17 seems to be:

...dying you shall die...

which is generally translated "you shall surely die."

Q1. What is the Hebrew "tense" here?

"you shall" looks like a Future (at least in English).

Q2. Assuming no idiom was intended, are we left with:

"dying (process) you shall die (event)?

In other words, could one expand this to:

"while in the process of dying, you shall (also, in a sense) die"

This would then be "interpreted" to mean:

"While in the process of physically dying (which begins immediately),
you shall spiritually die (immediately, as well).

Hence, God meant exactly what He said. They sinned; they
immediately died (both physically, which is a process; and
spiritually, which is not a process but an event).

To me, spiritual death is nothing more than some kind
of "separation" from the original relationship. Spiritual
separation (death) does not seem to me to imply
"totally abandon." I do not find it odd that God was
still very much active in the relationship, but there
was some estrangement.

Just looking for comments.

Thank you,

Mark Wilson

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