Genesis 3:22-23

Translation

וַיֹּאמֶר׀ יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים הֵן הָֽאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ לָדַעַת טוֹב וָרָ֑ע וְעַתָּה׀ פֶּן־יִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַֽחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָֽם׃  וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֵהוּ יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים מִגַּן־עֵ֑דֶן לַֽעֲבֹד אֶת־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר לֻקַּח מִשָּֽׁם

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, mankind has become like one of Us, knowing good and bad.” Thus, lest they stretch out a hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,  the LORD God expelled them from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.

Commentary

Most commercial translations do not translate the sentence structure of verse 22 correctly. Correctly rendered, God’s quote ends with the word “bad” — not, as do most commercial translations, at “live forever”. It is the author of the narrative, not God, informing us of what God intends to do. This becomes clear in verse 23 in which the biblical author uses the third person, “the LORD God“. Had God spoken this, the author would have wrote, “I expelled them…“.

expelled: the Hebrew verb from which ‘expelled’ is translated,  יְשַׁלְּחֵהוּ (yəshalləcheihu), is an intensive form of the verb meaning to send away, hence the use of expelled instead of “sent away“.

Preliminary Translations

My translation conventions can be found here.

Mechanical

And-said, the LORD God, “Behold, the-man has-become like-one from-us for-to-know of good and-bad.” Thus lest-he-send-out his-hand and-take moreover from-the-tree-of the-living and-eat and-live forever, He expelled-him, the LORD God, from-the-garden-of-Eden to-work the-ground  which he-was-taken from-there.

Literal

And the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and bad.” Thus, lest he put out his hand and take also from the tree of the living and eat and live forever, the LORD God sent him from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

Commercial Bible Translations

  • (nas) Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever “– 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
  • (kjv) And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
  • (niv) And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
  • (nlt) Then the LORD God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made.

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