The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday is written in the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The text is Genesis 3:1-21 and includes the temptation and fall into sin, the curses which follow, the Gospel promise of the Messiah and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. There is so much going on in this lengthy pericope that we must be careful not to try to cover every detail in our preaching, lest there be a rebellion in the pew when the hour mark is hit.

This text provides an excellent opportunity to preach the separation/reunion motif of Scripture since all the details are here. In the beginning all is good and right; man and God dwell together, walk together, speak to one another face to face. This is the perfect relationship between God and man and Satan is unable to leave it alone. So, Satan takes the form of a serpent and tempts Adam and Eve. They eat the fruit of the Tree and the sin of disobedience separates God from man. No longer will they speak face to face and walk hand in hand. They are expelled from the Garden, separated from the presence of the LORD God. As we know, the LORD does not desire this separation and does everything needful to bring an end to it. Of greatest importance is the sending of His Son, born of a woman. The Seed of the woman is he who will crush the head of the evil one and restore man to a right and proper relationship with God. God desires that man would return to the Garden to dwell with Him once again, and, this New Garden is the courts of everlasting life as revealed in Revelation 22. This pericope almost preaches itself with the entire, beautiful Law/Gospel pattern. An excellent text for the first Sunday of Lent.

3:1 וְהַנָּחָשׁ (ve-han-na-Chash) from: נחשׁ (naw-khawsh) “serpent; snake”

עָרוּם (a-Rum) “crafty; cunning” This does not necessarily have negative connotations.

הַגָּן; (hag-Gan) from: גן: (gan) “garden”

3:3 תֹאכְלוּ (to-che-Lu) Qal: “to eat; consume”

3:4 מוֹת, תְּמֻתוּן (Mot te-mu-Tun) root: מות (mooth) Qal: “to die” “…surely die…”

3:5 יֹדֵעַ (yo-De-a) Qal, participle: “to know”

וְנִפְקְחוּ (ve-nif-ke-Chu) root: פקח (paw-kakh) Niphal: “to be opened”

3:6 וַתֵּרֶא (vat-Te-re) root: ראה (raw-aw) Qal: “to see”

לְמַאֲכָל. (le-ma-a-Chal) from: מאכל; (mah-ak-awl) “food; nourishment”

תַאֲוָה; (ta-a-vah) “delight; a thing desirable; pleasant”

וְנֶחְמָד> (ve-nech-Mad) root: חמד (khaw-mad) Niphal: “to be desirable”

לְהַשְׂכִּיל. (le-has-Kil) root: שׂכל (saw-kal) Hiphil, infinitive: “to make wise; to look at”

*Note how Eve turns to the man who is with her and hands over the fruits and he eats. Adam has been standing with her through the entire temptation scene and has remained silent.

3:7 וַתִּפָּקַחְנָה: (vat-tip-pa-Kach-nah) root: פקח (paw-kakh) Niphal: “to be opened”

עֵירֻמִּםe (ei-rum-Mim) “naked; bare”

*Nakedness is really not the problem. It is the issue of shame—with sin comes shame. Adam and Eve will feel the need to hide/cover their own sin and shame, but fig leaves will not do the job!

וַיִּתְפְּרוּ (vai-yit-pe-Ru) root: תפר (taw-far) Qal: “to stitch together; to sew together”

עֲלֵה (a-Leh) “leaf; foliage”

תְאֵנָה. (te-e-Nah) “fig tree”

חֲגֹרֹת] (cha-go-Rot) “apron; loincloth; girdle”

3:8 מִתְהַלֵּךְ (mit-hal-Lech) root: הלך (haw-lak) Hithpael, participle: “walking”

וַיִּתְחַבֵּא (vai-yit-chab-Be) root: חבא (khaw-baw) Hithpael: “to hide oneself; to keep oneself hidden”

3:9 אַיֶּכָּה; (ai-Yek-kah) from: איe (ah’ee) “where?”

3:10 וָאִירָא (va-i-Ra) root: ירא (yaw-ray) Qal: “to be fearful; to be afraid; to fear”

וָאֵחָבֵא (va-e-cha-Ve) root: חבא (khaw-baw) Niphal: “to hide oneself”

3:11 צִוִּיתִיךָ (tziv-vi-Ti-cha) root: צוה (tsaw-vaw) Piel: “to command”

3:12 עִמָּדִי (im-ma-Di) “with me”

3:13 עָשִׂית (a-Sit) root: עשׂה (aw-saw) Qal: “to do”

הִשִּׁיאַנִי (hish-shi-A-ni) root: נשּׁא (naw-shaw) Hiphil: “to deceive; to cheat; to beguile”

3:14 אָרוּר (a-Rur) root: ארר (aw-rar) Qal: “to curse; to bind with a curse”

גְּחֹנְךָ> (ge-cho-ne-Cha) “belly”

3:15 וְאֵיבָה> (ve-ei-Vah) “enmity”

אָשִׁית (a-Shit) root: שׁית (sheeth) Qal: “to set; to put; to place”

יְשׁוּפְךָ> (ye-shu-fe-Cha) root: שׁוף (shoof) Qal: “to bruise; to crush; to grip someone too firmly”

עָקֵב (a-Kev) “heel”

3:16 עִצְּבוֹנֵךְI (itz-tze-vo-Nech) “hardship; toil; worrisome toil”

וְהֵרֹנֵךְ> (ve-he-ro-Nech) “conception; pregnancy”

תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ (te-Shu-ka-Tech) “longing; desire”

יִמְשָׁל (yim-shol) Qal: “to rule over; to have dominion”

3:17 בַּעֲבוּרֶךָ; (ba-a-vu-Re-cha) from: עֲבוּרֶ (aw-boor) “because of; for the sake of”

3:18 וְקוֹץ (ve-Kotz) “thorny bushes”

וְדַרְדַּר> (ve-dar-Dar) “thistles”

תַּצְמִיחַ; (tatz-Mi-ach) root: צמח (tsaw-makh) Hiphil: “to cause to grow; to cause plants to sprout”

עֵשֶׂב (eh’seb) “weed; herb”

3:19 בְּזֵעַת. (be-ze-At) “sweat”

שׁוּבְךָ (shu-ve-Cha) Qal: “to return”

לֻקָּחְתָּ (luk-Ka-che-ta) root: לקח (law-kakh) Appears to be a Pual form, although many lexicons claim the verb has not developed in this form: “to be taken”

3:21 כָּתְנוֹת (ka-te-Not) “tunic; garment”

עוֹר (or) “animal skin”

וַיַּלְבִּשֵׁם> (vai-yal-bi-Shem) root: לבשׁ (law-bish) Piel: “to cloth”

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Additional Resources:

Concrordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Genesis 3:1-21.

Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Genesis 3:1-21.