וַיִּֽהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עֲרוּמִּים הָֽאָדָם וְאִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְלֹא יִתְבֹּשָֽׁשׁוּ
And the man and his wife were both nude, but were not embarassed.
nude: In this form, the Hebrew word, עֲרוּמִּים (`arummim), literally means without clothes, but is often used to express a lack of concealment (Job 26:6) or a lack of guile. In this verse, `arummim is understood to mean innocenceHarris #1588b born of naivety. Note that they have not yet eaten from the tree of knowledge so they are, like little children, naive innocents who do not yet know good and bad (c.f. Deut 1:39). In the next chapter we’ll encounter a different form of `arummim – one with a much different connotation.
Finally, this verse forms the transition to the next chapter by means of a word play on `arummim (nude) and `arum (shrewd) in which the nude Eve has a discourse with the shrewd serpent. The biblical authors delighted in this kind of word play.
not embarrassed: the verb used here, יִתְבֹּשָֽׁשׁוּ (yitboshashu) primarily means to be disgraced or ashamed in the eyes of others. Put another way, the Hebrew sense of the word is somewhat in contrast to its English counterpart. In the English no distinction is made between public embarrassment (e.g., forgetting the words to the star spangled banner in front of 100,000 baseball fans) and private (feeling embarrassed because a girl on whom you had a crush turned you down for the prom). In Hebrew, the meaning of this verb is restricted to public shame or disgrace. Put simply, they were nude/naked in the presence of each other and thought nothing of it.
My translation conventions can be found here.
And-were two naked the-man and-his-woman and-not were-they-ashamed
And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed
Commercial Bible Translations
- (nas) And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
- (kjv) And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
- (niv) The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
- (nlt) Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.