Genesis (Part 19)

Genesis 3:20-24

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.[g] 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.


Let’s look at some key translations, first:

Eve = חַוָּה Chavvâh, khav-vaw’; causatively from H2331; life-giver; Chavvah (or Eve), the first woman:—Eve.

garments = כְּתֹנֶת kᵉthôneth, keth-o’-neth; or כֻּתֹּנֶת kuttôneth; from an unused root meaning to cover (compare H3802); a shirt:—coat, garment, robe.

skin = עוֹר ʻôwr, ore; from H5783; skin (as naked); by implication, hide, leather:—hide, leather, skin.

clothed = לָבַשׁ lâbash, law-bash’; or לָבֵשׁ lâbêsh; a primitive root; properly, wrap around, i.e. (by implication) to put on a garment or clothe (oneself, or another), literally or figuratively:—(in) apparel, arm, array (self), clothe (self), come upon, put (on, upon), wear.

has become = הָיָה hâyâh, haw-yaw; a primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):—beacon, × altogether, be(-come), accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, follow, happen, × have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require, × use.

sent = שָׁלַח shâlach, shaw-lakh’; a primitive root; to send away, for, or out (in a great variety of applications):—× any wise, appoint, bring (on the way), cast (away, out), conduct, × earnestly, forsake, give (up), grow long, lay, leave, let depart (down, go, loose), push away, put (away, forth, in, out), reach forth, send (away, forth, out), set, shoot (forth, out), sow, spread, stretch forth (out).

cultivate = עָבַד ʻâbad, aw-bad’; a primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:—× be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, husbandman, keep, labour(-ing man, bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve(-ing, self), (be, become) servant(-s), do (use) service, till(-er), transgress (from margin), (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper,

drove out = גָּרַשׁ gârash, gaw-rash’; a primitive root; to drive out from a possession; especially to expatriate or divorce:—cast up (out), divorced (woman), drive away (forth, out), expel, × surely put away, trouble, thrust out.

stationed = שָׁכַן shâkan, shaw-kan’; a primitive root (apparently akin (by transmission) to H7901 through the idea of lodging; compare H5531H7925); to reside or permanently stay (literally or figuratively):—abide, continue, (cause to, make to) dwell(-er), have habitation, inhabit, lay, place, (cause to) remain, rest, set (up).

cherubim = כְּרוּב kᵉrûwb, ker-oob’; of uncertain derivation; a cherub or imaginary figure:—cherub, (plural) cherubims.

flaming = לַהַט lahaṭ, lah’-hat; from H3857; a blaze; also (from the idea of enwrapping) magic (as covert):—flaming, enchantment.

sword = חֶרֶב chereb, kheh’-reb; from H2717; drought; also a cutting instrument (from its destructive effect), as a knife, sword, or other sharp implement:—axe, dagger, knife, mattock, sword, tool.


Adam names his woman/wife Eve. Then Yahweh clothes them and drives them out of the Garden in order to prevent them from ever becoming Immortal. Yahweh stationed cherubim to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

In Genesis 2:23 Adam calls her Woman, ‘ishshah (a woman.)
In Genesis 3:20 Adams calls her Eve, Chavvâh (life, or life-giver.)

Looking back at the verses, then, God – who has dominion over Adam – gives him the task of cultivating the cursed ground. Adam – who has dominion over Eve – give her the task of bringing life into the world. As mentioned previously, her job in the Garden initially was to aid Adam… in the Garden. He did not have “rule” over her. We do not know whether she had children during this time. There is some implication that she did (or else how might she know what multiplied labor pains even means.) Outside of the Garden, though, the new job is not helping in the work. It is bearing children. Her name tells us that. God’s punishment/explanation to her tells us that.

From Ellicott’s Bible Commentary:

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.(20) Adam called his wife’s name Eve.—Heb., Chavvah; in Greek, Zoë. It has been debated whether this name is a substantive, Life (LXX.), or a participle, Life-producer (Symm). Adam’s condition was now one of death, but his wife thereby attained a higher value in his sight. Through her alone could human life be continued, and the “woman’s seed” be obtained who was to raise up man from his fall. While, then, woman’s punishment consists in the multiplication of her “sorrow and conception,” she becomes thereby only more precious to man; and while “her desire is to her husband,” Adam turns from his own punishment to look upon her with more tender love. He has no word for her of reproach, and we thus see that the common interpretation of Genesis 3:12 is more than doubtful. Adam throws no blame either on Eve or on his Maker, because he does not feel himself to blame. He rather means, “How could I err in following one so noble, and in whom I recognise Thy best and choicest gift?” And with this agrees Genesis 3:6, where Adam partakes of the fruit without hesitation or thought of resistance. And so here he turns to her and calls her Chavvah, his life, his compensation for his loss, and the antidote for the sentence of death.

Yahweh does not send Adam and Eve away naked. He clothes them, first. Continuing on with Ellicott:

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.(21) Coats of skins.—Animals, therefore, were killed even in Paradise; nor is it certain that man’s diet was until the flood entirely vegetarian (see Note on Genesis 1:29). Until sin entered the world no sacrifices could have been offered; and if, therefore, these were the skins of animals offered in sacrifice, as many suppose, Adam must in some way, immediately after the fall, have been taught that without shedding of blood is no remission of sin, but that God will accept a vicarious sacrifice. This is perhaps the most tenable view; and if, with Knobel, we see in this arrival at the idea of sacrifice a rapid development in Adam of thought and intellect, yet it may not have been entirely spontaneous, but the effect of divinely-inspired convictions rising up within his soul. It shows also that the innocence of our first parents was gone. In his happy state Adam had studied the animals, and tamed them and made them his friends; now a sense of guilt urges him to inflict upon them pain and suffering and death. But in the first sacrifice was laid the foundation of the whole Mosaical dispensation, as in Genesis 3:15 that of the Gospel. Moreover, from sacrificial worship there was alleviation for man’s bodily wants, and he went forth equipped with raiment suited for the harder lot that awaited him outside the garden; and, better far, there was peace for his soul, and the thought—even if still but faint and dim—of the possibility for him of an atonement.

  • If animal skins were used, then it means – even in Paradise – animals were killed. The text does not tell us that they were killed as a sacrifice but the text is suggestive. The reasons given above seem to fit the practice of sacrifices that follow in the next chapter. We do not know who killed the animals. We only know that Yahweh clothed Adam and Eve with the skins.

The Pulpit Commentary compiled a list of possible motivations for clothing the two people in skins:

1. To show them how their mortal bodies might be defended from cold and other injuries.

2. To cover their nakedness for comeliness’ sake; vestimenta honoris (Chaldee Paraphrase).

3. To teach them the lawfulness of using the beasts of the field, as for food, so for clothing.

4. To give a rule that modest and decent, not costly or sumptuous, apparel should be used.

5. That they might know the difference between God’s works and man’s invention – between coats of leather and aprons of leaves; and,

6. To put them in mind of their mortality by their raiment of dead beasts’ skins – talibus indici oportebat peccatorem ut essent mortalitatis indi-cium: Origen” (Wilier).

7. “That they might feel their degradation – quia vestes ex ca materia confectae, belluinum quiddam magis saperent, quam lineae vel laneae – and be reminded of their sin” (Calvin). “As the prisoner, looking on his irons, thinketh on his theft, so we, looking on our garments, should think on our sins” (Trapp).

8. A foreshadowing of the robe of Christ’s righteousness (Delitzsch, Macdonald, Murphy, Wordsworth, Candlish; cf. Psalm 132:9, 16Isaiah 61:10Romans 13:14Ephesians 4:24Colossians 3:10). Bonar recognizes in Jehovah Elohim at the gate of Eden, clothing the first transgressors, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, as the High Priest of our salvation, had a right to the skins of the burnt offerings (Leviticus 7:8), and who, to prefigure his own work, appropriated them for covering the pardoned pair.

We are not given the official motivation but these all seem like strong possibilities to me.

The way that the verses are written, regarding the expulsion, are interesting. We are told that the pair of humans were “driven out.” Not only were they driven out, Yahweh put an angelic guard in place to keep them out. Prior to this closer examination, I imagined the goodbye as more of a tearful farewell. However, it makes sense that Fallen Adam and Eve might be tempted to sneak back into Eden and give themselves Immortality – if sneaking back in were possible. God firmly shuts the door on the idea.

From The Pulpit Commentary:

(1) lest by eating of the fruit he should recover that immortal life which he no longer “it possessed (Kalisch), as is certain that man would not have been able, had he even devoured the whole tree, to enjoy life against the will of God” (Calvin); nor

(2) lest the first pair, through participation of the tree, should confer upon themselves the attribute of undyingness, which would not be the ζωὴ αἰώνιος of salvation, but its opposite, the ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον of the accursed (Keil, Lange, T. Lewis, Wordsworth); but either

(3) lest man should conceive the idea that immortality might still be secured by eating of the tree, instead of trusting in the promised seed, and under this false impression attempt to take its fruit, which, in his case, would have been equivalent to an attempt to justify himself by works instead of faith (Calvin, Macdonald); or

(4) lest he should endeavor to partake of the symbol of immortality, which he could not again do until his sin was expiated and himself purified (cf. Revelation 22:14; Candlish). The remaining portion of the sentence is omitted, anakoloutha or aposiopesis being not infrequent in impassioned speech (cf. Exodus 32:32Job 32:13Isaiah 38:18). The force of the ellipsis or expressive silence may be gathered from the succeeding words of the historian.

More from Ellicott:

Genesis 3:24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.(24) So he drove out the man.—This implies displeasure and compulsion. Adam departed unwillingly from his happy home, and with the consciousness that he had incurred the Divine anger. It was the consequence of his sin, and was a punishment, even if necessary for his good under the changed circumstances produced by his disobedience. On the duration of Adam’s stay in Paradise, see Excursus at end of this book.

He placed.—Literally, caused to dwell. The return to Paradise was closed for ever.

At the east of the garden of Eden.—Adam still had his habitation in the land of Eden, and probably in the immediate neighbourhood of Paradise. (Comp. Genesis 4:16.)

Cherubims.—The cherub was a symbolical figure, representing strength and majesty. The ordinary derivation, from a root signifying to carve, grave, and especially to plough, compared with Exodus 25:20, suggests that the cherubim were winged bulls, probably with human heads, like those brought from Nineveh. We must not confound them with the four living creatures of Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1:5), which are the “beasts” of the Revelation of St. John. The office of the cherub here is to guard the Paradise, lest man should try to force an entrance back; and so too the office of the cherubs upon the mercy-seat was to protect it, lest any one should impiously approach it, except the high-priest on the Day of Atonement. The four living creatures of the Apocalypse have a far different office and signification.

What are the Cherubim?

At the link you will find a lot of interesting information. From the link:

8. Ornamental Cherubim in the Temple of Solomon:

In the temple of Solomon, two gigantic cherubic images of olive-wood plated with gold, ten cubits high, stood in the innermost sanctuary (the debhir) facing the door, whose wings, five cubits each, extended, two of them meeting in the middle of the room to constitute the throne, while two extended to the walls (1 Kings 6:23-288:6,72 Chronicles 3:10-135:7,8). The Chronicler represents them as the chariot of the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:18). There were also images of the cherubim carved on the gold-plated cedar planks which constituted the inner walls of the temple, and upon the olive-wood doors (1 Kings 6:29,352 Chronicles 3:7); also on the bases of the portable lavers, interchanging with lions and oxen (1 Kings 7:29-36). According to the Chronicler, they were also woven in the veil of the Holy of Holies (2 Chronicles 3:14).

9. In the Temple of Ezekiel:

Ezekiel represents the inner walls of the temple as carved with alternating palm trees and cherubim, each with two faces, the lion looking on one side, the man on the other (Ezekiel 41:18-25).

One might be forgiven for seeing a resemblance between Cherubim and Spinxes.

The association between Cherubim and Sphinxes is well established. From Dr. Raanan Eichler’s article at, “What Kind of Creatures are the Cherubim”:

Winged Sphinx

The prevailing opinion in current scholarship is that the cherub is a winged sphinx, i.e., a human-headed winged lion, such as that depicted on the sarcophagus of the late second-millennium bce Phoenician king Ahiram [Figure 6].[16] However, numerous indications found in the descriptions of the sculpted cherubim over the ark (Exodus 25:18–20 = 37:7–9; 1 Kings 6:23–26) reveal that their authors presupposed upright creatures.[17]


The article is worth reading in full as it paints a varied picture of how the Cherubim have been visualized throughout history. The author argues in his conclusion that he believes that Cherubim represent winged adult humans.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion. We have completed the first three chapters of Genesis. Before moving on to Chapter 4, I will do a wrap-up post of what we have covered so far when next I write about Genesis.

8 thoughts on “Genesis (Part 19)

    1. In theory… yeah. That thought is an argument used by some against the idea that Eve had children pre-Fall. Alternatively, another argument is that she had children and the children were not banished from the Garden.

      After Adam and Eve leave the Garden, we eventually meet other people. Cain married someone. It is never really explained who these people are and where they came from. There are traditions regarding from where those other people originate. One of the traditions is that they were people who originated with Eve in the Garden. There is another tradition about them being from a prior wife of Adam… Lilith. And there is a third view that the Garden was unique in the sense that perfect people were set aside there. But outside the Garden – even before the fall – were Fallen people.

      The whole thing is really strange to be honest. I’m looking forward to digging into the research on that going forward.

      Thank you for commenting!

      1. Ohhhhh, I guess I missed that you give credence to the idea that Adam and Eve were not the only people. Gotcha. I had not not realized that and it explains a lot.


    1. The reason is related to the translation. The original language might say ‘elohiym, Adonai, or Jehova/Yahweh. I try to use the specific word used in the text.

      I mentioned the issue some in earlier Genesis posts but the text has primarily been referring to Yahweh lately.

      If you search the text in the blue letter bible app, you see the original language and various possible translations of the original language