Project: The King and I is an interesting project to read the entire KJV bible in a year and comment on it. I heard about this over on Skepchick, and it looks like fun. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to post on the site but nothing will go through. I still want to participate, so I guess I’ll have to do it here. Which is fine. It’s long past time to dust off the old blog.
I’ll be reading from the KJV version (free!) just like the project says, but I plan on supplementing it with the World English Bible (also free!) and whatever else I have lying around the house or find on the web. I might also supplement with the Jewish Study Bible if I can find one at a good price. I’ll be sure to note whenever doing so.
So, on with the first day of this, Genesis 1-3 In the beginning…
The Lord tells Adam (because he hasn’t created Eve yet):
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of
the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
But the serpent explains to Eve a bit later:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Wait just a second, here. God only says in the earlier passage that eating from the tree will cause death. But Eve seems pretty confident that merely touching the fruit is deadly. Where would she get such an idea? It’s unlikely that the Lord would get this wrong since it’s all his, and nothing is written about him saying anything to Eve. It’s also unlikely that the serpent originally told her that, since he’s telling her something different now. So unless Mr. Ed was hanging out in the garden, I can only assume that Adam told her this big fat lie.
So, Eve holds the fruit and doesn’t die. And why wouldn’t she then take a bite when the first of the threats doesn’t come true? It makes sense to me that she would go ahead when half the warning is so obviously false. So, for any of you idiots out there who want to blame all of this on Eve or the serpent or women in general, none of it would have happened if Adam wouldn’t have been such a huge liar.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life
So, only now the serpent is going to crawl on the ground? This is a new condition? That’s sure how it appears to me. What was he doing before the punishment? The explanation I have heard is that the serpent is actually Nehushtan, who was one of the gods who the originally polytheistic tribes worshiped. And Nehushtan was sometimes pictured with wings, which gives the grounding some sense.
The story as told in chapter 3 is a way to write him out of the book and out of the temple. Nehushtan couldn’t simply be ignored, as he would have been in the minds of the worshipers of the time. But, if he could be shown to be a bad guy who didn’t deserve to be part of the temple practices, then his worship could be stamped out with good reason.
If the above is true, then the original writers were not referring to Satan. That’s just a late interpretation added over the text. Satan doesn’t appear until later.