[b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 4 15:46:58 EDT 2007

Scott McAliley wrote:
> Harold,
> Thanks for getting a quick response out!
> You said that they had no other command, and it is true that they had 
> no other negative command, but were they not positively commanded to 
> eat of every tree in the garden?

HH: No, they were given permission to eat from every tree except that one.

>   When they were told to eat of every tree in the garden(which 
> includes the tree of life), most translations seem to render it 
> something like, "Of any of the trees, you may freely eat", but if the 
> two tenses of die are an emphatic statement about death, are the two 
> "eat"s not an emphatic command to eat from ALL of the trees, not 
> simply a license to eat from ANY?

HH: No, they are not. The imperfect in Hebrew is often used of 
permission. Permission may have been viewed as "command" in Hebrew, but 
certainly prohibition would be viewed as "command," and that may be what 
the verb "command" in Gen 2:16 is primarily referring to. Interpretation 
of the verb is according to context, and the idea that God was 
commanding them to eat from every tree seems bizarre and nobody 
apparently takes it that way. I have never heard of such an interpretation.

> And if so, by violating the negative command of not eating from the 
> more enticing tree of knowledge, did they not jeopardize their ability 
> to follow the positive command to eat from every other tree, including 
> the one that, according to Scripture, would have given them eternal life?

HH: They jeopardized their capacity to eat anything in the garden, since 
they were driven out of it.

>   Can you clarify the Hebrew for me, as it regards the phrase 
> containing the two "eat"s?  I apologize for my ignorance, and that my 
> only knowledge of Hebrew comes from the Strong's, what I've gained 
> from  and e-sword, but it seems from what I've been told about two 
> tenses of the same verb increasing the intensity of the verb, and from 
> the Strong's definition of  kôl, which is "every" and "all", 
> that they disobeyed two commands, the positive and the negative.

HH: I don't see why you don't just read the English rather than getting 
confused by the Hebrew. Or, learn Hebrew. A little bit of learning is 
dangerous, and I don't see why you are rejecting the translations, which 
are done by experts.

Harold Holmyard

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