The Decalogue of Genesis 1–3

Published: Reformed Theological Review 2016 no 1.
If quoting this article, please do not quote this website, but quote the article from RTR, with the appropriate page numbers.

  1. Calum M. Carmichael
  2. The Decalogue of creation
  3. Word four and Genesis 2:1–3
  4. Establishing other parallels.
  5. Word ten and Genesis 3:6 6
  6. Words one and two and Genesis 1:1–2
  7. Word three and Genesis 1:26–27
  8. Word five and Genesis 1:26 – 3:24, 1:28, 2:24
  9. Word six and Genesis 1:26, 2:7
  10. Word seven and Genesis 2:18–25, 1:27
  11. Word eight and Genesis 2:16–17, 3:6
  12. Word nine and Genesis 3. 1–5, 12–13
  13. The order of the Words
  14. Further considerations
  15. Conclusion

Why are the Ten Commandments a decalogue: why ‘ten Words’ (עשרת הדברים), why these particular Words, and why are they in the order that they are in? The narrative of Exodus exhibits no concern with coveting, stealing or honouring one’s parents, so there is no contextual reason why Moses should come down the mountain with this particular Decalogue. Still, there is a small number of intertextual studies that compare it, not with the law codes of other cultures, but with narratives in the Old Testament. This article will first review the work of Calum M. Carmichael, before examining the Decalogue in the light of Genesis 1–3.

  1. Calum M. Carmichael

At the outset, a connection from the Decalogue to Genesis might seem unlikely. What has Genesis to do with Law? Still, Bruckner speaks of implied law in Genesis.[1] Fretheim speaks of law in the pre-Sinai period, in texts such as Gen 1:26–28, 2:16–17 and 9:9–17.[2] Carmichael makes a focussed study of the Decalogue, finding several points of contact with Genesis.[3]

Carmichael’s thesis is that Decalogue has its origins within Israel’s literary tradition.[4] The first four Words are the Deuteronomist’s response to the molten calf story.[5] The first Word (Deut 5:6[6]) relates to Exod 32:4, the second (Deut 5:7–8) to the whole incident, the third (Deut 5:11) to 32:5 (since Aaron identifies the calf by the name of the Lord), and the fourth Word (‘Keep the Sabbath day…’) to 32:6 (since Aaron calls for a day to celebrate).[7]

The second table connects to Genesis 2–4, and especially to the narrative about Cain. Cain’s transgression is the first example of not honouring one’s parents. Cain is thus not allowed to till the land, whereas Deut 5:16 offers long life in the land.[8] The sixth command relates to the first murder. Genesis 2:24 is derivatively related to the seventh command, for it was added by the Deuteronomist when compiling the Decalogue, but Gen 4:17 is the fundamental connection: ‘Cain…represents the first son to leave his father and mother in order to marry’[9] Overall, Genesis 4 explains the order of Words 5–7.

The command against stealing arises from Gen 3:6.[10] Not bearing false witness relates to the ‘quasi-legal setting’ of Gen 3:11–13.[11] In relation to the tenth Word, Carmichael writes, ‘Both the last item of the decalogue and the climax of the paradise narrative are about coveting…’[12] The connection is made passingly to Gen 3:6, and more strongly through 3:22–24 to 4:4–7 (Cain’s coveting of the life lost in ch 3).[13]

Carmichael’s Decalogue relationships

Word 1 (Deut 5:6)

Exod 32:4

Word 2 (Deut 5:7–10)

Exod 32:1–6

Word 3

Exod 32:5

Word 4

Exod 32:6

Word 5

Gen 4:11–14 (4:2; 5:1–3)

Word 6

Gen 4:8–10

Word 7

Gen 4:17 (2:24)

Word 8

Gen 3:6

Word 9

Gen 3:11–13

Word 10

Gen 4:4–7 (3:6, 22–24)


This is valuable. Whilst it has diachronic concern, it can be taken synchronically, as a study in (author/redactor-intended) intertextuality. Still, the invocation of Exodus 32 has difficulties. Israel’s revelry in vv. 1–6 breaks the first four commandments—but so does all idolatry in the Hebrew Bible. If the Deuteronomist controlled the two texts, would there not be demonstrable semantic conformity?[14]

The connection between the final six Words and Genesis 2–4 is instructive, and one immediately wonders if all the Decalogue might be so linked. After all, the fourth Word explicitly draws on Gen 2:1–4, not the molten calf narrative.[15]

Thinking of Carmichael’s focus on Genesis 4, why would the Deuteronomist have found the Cain story so morally foundational? One particular weakness is seeing Gen 4:11–14 as about failure to honour parents rather than about murder. Cain’s relationship to the ground is not altered because of the fifth Word, but because this is poetic justice: ‘Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!’ (מן־אדמה, v. 10), and so ‘you are cursed from the ground’ (מן־אדמה, v. 11). The fifth Word speaks of life upon obedience, but Cain’s life is preserved even after his error (v. 15).

Similarly, it is unlikely that the seventh Word against adultery is grounded in Gen 4:17. Cain’s wife in mentioned only passing, and there is no focus on the marriage. The connection from Words 5–7 to Genesis 4 looks tenuous. Still, the connection from the eighth Word to the stealing of the fruit, and from the ninth word to Gen 3:11–13, shall be pursued below.

With regard to Word ten, was Cain coveting the tree of life? First, would it have been wrong to do so? Secondly, Cain is not faulted for offering fruit (an accepted Pentateuchal practice), for not offering first-fruits, or for being an agriculturalist (as was his father), rather than a pastoralist. His heart is at fault. He has offered ‘feigned worship.’[16] In a sense, Cain’s error was a lack of covetousness. He lacked Abel’s positive desire to please the Lord. Perry comments that both Cain and Abel desired to please God, but that Abel tried harder. The rivalry is shown in the ‘also’ (גם) of v. 4. Abel ‘also’ brought a sacrifice.[17] The Lord tests Cain’s desire by speaking ambiguously to him, neither approving nor condemning him (v. 6). Rather than respond positively, with more intent ritual performance, he chooses revenge. Genesis 4:6–7 speaks of sullenness and hatred, not covetousness. The desire of sin is personified, and it does the coveting, desiring control of Cain.[18]

Carmichael’s work needs to be pursued, but also modified. Even though he gravitates to the molten calf and Cain narratives, in his Oxford lecture it is the connection from the Sabbath command to the creation narrative that first brings him to Genesis.[19] The Genesis 1–3 connection needs further attention.

  1. The Decalogue of creation

A decalogical arrangement is discernible in Gen 1:1 – 2:3. The seven days are the chief structural device, but a substructure is formed by the repeated statement, ‘And God said’ (ויאמר אלהים). These words introduce each new work of creation or organization, and surprisingly occur not six times but nine times (vv. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29). The correlative third and sixth days[20] have the statement more than once. For day three, the statement introduces first the ordering of the waters to make the dry land emerge, and secondly the vegetation that the land is to produce. For day six, the statement appears three times. The first use correlates to the first of day three, giving the charge for the previously revealed land to produce living beings. The third use correlates to the second of day three, giving the purpose of the previously ordered vegetation. It is the second use that is the additional element, making this command the centre of attention. God calls upon ‘us’ to ‘make man in our image’.

On the seventh day, there is no overt saying or command from God. Still, can this be considered a word of creation? First, this is not a day of inactivity. There is action, for it was ‘on’ the seventh day, not the sixth day, that the finishing was done, and a pluperfect, ‘had finished’ is thus unlikely. On this day, God ended, rested, blessed the day and sanctified it. ‘God ended’ his work (2:2, ויכל אלהים, standing in the place of a ‘God said’ statement), which is not an absence of activity. The basic sense of the verb is instructive: to have power, to prevail. Also, ‘sanctified’ or ‘consecrated’ is a Levitical action, and is what takes place in connection with the coming of the presence of God to the tabernacle (Exod 29:43–45). By command, the priests were to consecrate the tabernacle by anointing it, etc (Exod 40:9–13).

Secondly, the divine activity of the day is an instructional act,[21] evidenced by the implication drawn from it that humankind is to enter into the rest of God.[22] That is, the non-word becomes a Word in the Decalogue. Genesis 2:2 gives the transcendent word, since Sabbath is the epitome and goal of creation, speaking to the heart of the Creator-creature relationship.

Thirdly, the word nature of the day is seen in the verb, ‘blessed’, which has already been used in the narrative as action supplementary to God’s speech (vv. 22, 28; see below). It is a word-blessing in the Patriarchal and High-Priestly style (Gen 28:1; 49:28; Num 6:22–27).

Fourthly, ‘ended’ is used at pivotal moments in Pentateuchal history. Apart from the mysterious finishing of the ‘window’ of the ark (Gen 6:16), God finished talking with Abraham at the high point of patriarchal revelation (Gen 17:22), and more poignantly, God finishing speaking to Moses at Sinai and gave him the two stones (Exod 31:18). This statement of completion comes after the final commands relating to the tabernacle, with the immediately preceding commands relating to Sabbath observance. ‘And the Lord spoke (ויאמר) to Moses saying, “Speak also to the sons of Israel saying, ‘Surely you shall keep my Sabbaths… that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you… Work shall be done for six days…’”’ (31:12–17). Sabbath Word completes tabernacle order. There is sound reason to infer a Word in Gen 2:2, at the moment when the order for the creation-tabernacle is said to be completed. Also of relevance is Exod 40:33, ‘And Moses finished the work’. This is said of the erecting of the tabernacle, which took place in response to God’s command (40:1) on one day (not a seventh-day Sabbath, but new year’s day). It is a day of furious activity (the unnecessary variant in v. 33 makes it emphatic: ‘all’ the work), in which, at the conclusion, not only is the tabernacle sanctified, but the boundaries of the tabernacle are set up (v. 33). ‘Sacred space’ is delineated, even as the seventh creation day delineates ‘sacred time’, to use terms currently in vogue. The Lord in glory is then able to dwell in it.

Finally, the mild subversion of patterns is seen elsewhere in Genesis, such as in the toledoth structure of the book. There are twelve sections, but the first says ‘in the beginning’ rather than ‘these are the generations’. There is also a toledoth statement that is not used in the formulaic way in 10:32, and does not demarcate a new section. In other words, in Genesis, it is not always required to complete patterns by the exact use of a repeated formula, and some contextual sensitivity needs to be applied. Toledoth would not have been appropriate in Gen 1:1, and the ‘God said’ formula would have been inelegant in Gen 2:1–3 (should it have been, ‘And God said, ‘Let us end our work…And he blessed creation, saying…’?). It is noted that the ‘evening and morning’ formula also is not used of the seventh day.

In this list of nine words plus one, the statements of vv. 22 and 28 are omitted. In both, the use of אמר (‘he said’) differs from the pattern, and what is said is dissimilar to that of the other statements. They are statements of blessing and instruction, and are supplementary to the main creative word. In v. 22, it occurs as an infinitive construct. Carmichael and Skinner want to include v. 28 as one of the ten words of creation,[23] and whilst it does not matter to the overall thesis whether 1:28 or 2:2 is counted as a tenth Word (despite the point having been laboured above), there are arguments against it. First, unlike the other uses, it occurs in v. 28 with an overt indirect object. Perhaps this is only a minor variation. Secondly, it is parallel to ‘And God blessed them’, but in effect operates similarly to the infinitive construct in v. 22: ‘God blessed them, saying’. It is a blessing statement, not a creation Word statement. Thirdly, as part of the blessing, it subordinate to the main creational act, ‘Let us make man’ (v. 26). Fourthly, this is confirmed by looking at what is contained in the blessing. There is no creating or ordering, but instead a command is given to humankind. This is not comparable to previous rhetorical commands such as that given to the waters to be gathered (v. 9), for these are acts accomplished within the story (vv. 9, 11, 24, ‘And it was so’; vv. 20–21, ‘Let the waters abound…God created great sea creatures’). Verse 28 is an ongoing moral requirement, not a creational act. Therefore, although the thesis does not depend upon it, the pattern is as below. Significantly, though, these two statements set up the pattern of blessing as a supplementary item to the main ‘word’, so that the blessing of 2:3 can be seen as standing in a similar relationship to the unstated Word of 2:2.

The Correlative Words of Creation

Day one, 1:3–5

Word one, v. 3                        Light

Day four, 1:14–19

Word five, v. 14                         Lights

Day two, 1:6–8

Word two, v. 6                        Firmament

Day five, 1:20–23

Word six, v. 20                          Fish, Birds

Day three, 1:9–13

Word three, v. 9                     Land

Word four, v. 11                     Plants

Day six, 1:24–31

Word seven, v. 24                     Creatures

Word eight, v. 26                      People

Word nine, v. 29                       Food


Day seven, 2:1–3

Implied Word ten, v. 3            Sabbath




Whether one opts for 1:28 or 2:2 as a Word, Gen 1:1 – 2:3 implicitly presents the Decalogue of creation. As Pirqe Aboth 5.1 says, ‘By ten sayings the world was created.’[24] The Torah commences by demonstrating the nature of the lawgiver and of his law. He is sovereign over all creation, and his law orders the cosmos and human affairs. His rule is for his own benefit, so that he may rest in his creation, but he also governs graciously, bringing ‘blessing’ for the world’s inhabitants. This divine order is presented in a group of ten.

The Ten Commandments, then, replicate the ten-ness of Gen 1:1 – 2:3. There seems to be no other reason why there had to be ten or why they had to be ‘Words’. The first three commands are so closely related that they could have been considered one. The commands about stealing and adultery could easily have been subsumed under the tenth Word. The ten commands are not the most basic, irreducible laws (but see Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18). Other laws could have been added. There are ten, though, and they are termed, ‘Words’, in view of the primordial order. As if to reinforce the point, it is ‘Elohim’, not the expected ‘Yhwh’, who ‘spoke all these words’ (Exod 20:1), since ‘Elohim said’ (Gen 1:3).

  1. Word four and Genesis 2:1–3

Moving to the individual Words, the fourth Word most clearly links back to creation (the third in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic order). Exodus 20:11 is not an exact quotation of Gen 2:1–3. Genesis 2:1 reads:

ויכלו השמים והארץ וכל־צבאם׃

And the heavens and the earth and all host of them were finished.

Exodus 20:11 reads in part:

עשה יהוה את־השמים ואת־הארץ את־הים ואת־כל־אשר־בם

Yhwh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all which is in them.

Exodus adds the direct object marker, speaks about the making of the sea, and reworks the ‘all their host’ statement.

Variation is evidenced again, for Gen 2:2 says in part, וישבת ביום השביעי (‘and he rested on the seventh day’), whereas Exod 20:11 uses a different verb: וינח ביום השביעי (nûa instead of šbat). Exodus is not unaware of the Genesis verb, though, for it appears in Exod 31:17: וביום השביעי שבת וינפש (‘and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed’). Exodus 23:12 uses both verbs, and adds a third, נפש (‘refreshed’, cf. Exod 31:17).

The third connection is in the statement of blessing. Genesis 2:3 reads in part:

            ויברך אלהים את־יום השביעי ויקדש אתו

And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.

Exodus 20.11, however, has it thus (with a different linking construction, the use of ‘Sabbath day’ instead of ‘seventh day’, the use of ‘Yhwh’ for ‘Elohim’, and the third person suffix on ‘sanctify’ instead of the direct object marker with suffix):

על־כן ברך יהוה את־יום השבת ויקדשהו

Therefore Yhwh blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

The structure of thought between Genesis and Exodus is the same, proceeding from the completion of creation, to God’s rest, to the blessing. In phraseology and semantics, the Exodus statements are sufficiently similar to give the impression that the earlier text is being paraphrased.

In this case, Gen 2:1–3 is treated in Exod 20:11 as an implied imperative. It is the tenth Word of Gen 1:1 – 2:3, in which the action of God is normative for humankind.[25]

  1. Establishing other parallels

Are there other links between the Decalogue and the creation narrative? Considering that not even the fourth Word directly quotes Gen 2:1–3, discerning other links might be tenuous. Exodus has the Decalogue on stone, that is, with clarity, so even if it is does connect to creation, the creational side could only but be veiled—it would only contain a proto-Decalogue. It is also remembered that whilst the Book of the Covenant (BOC) is correlative with the Decalogue, the correlation is loose. The BOC does not follow the order of the Words, and the connections are principial, not formal. The command against adultery is principially about sexual immorality, and so a correlative command is against bestiality (Exod 22:19). Such principial relationships between the Decalogue and the creation account will be sought, and any semantic links will be seen as welcome additional support.

  1. Word ten and Genesis 3:6

The second most likely connection is Gen 3:6, which relates the covetousness of Eve. The backdrop is Gen 1:29; 2:9, 16–17. Every tree was given to humanity for food. Each ‘was pleasant (נחמד, niphal participle, ‘was desired’) to the sight and good for food’ (2:9). The two other trees are the trees ‘of life’ and ‘of the knowledge of good and evil’. The latter tree is not given for food (2:16–17), and there is ambiguity about whether there was access to the former tree.[26]

In 3:6, the narrator reveals Eve’s inner awareness. To her, the two qualifications of ‘every tree’ in 2:9 are also true of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (in reverse order). She ‘saw that the tree was good for food’ and was ‘a delight to the eyes’. The description, נחמד למראה, is changed to תאוה־הוא לעינים. It is ‘a delight’ or ‘desirous’ (a noun from אוה) to the eyes.

The tree was also ‘to be desired to make one wise’. Eve wants the wisdom that the serpent told her it would impart (moral independence from God. See below). It is ‘to be desired’, using the niphal participle of חמד, just as was used in 2:9 in the expression ‘pleasant to the sight’. Eve has twisted the original purposes of God, desiring that which had not been given to her.

Exodus 20:17 uses the qal imperfect of חמד, ‘desired’ (לא תחמד), and Deut 5:21 uses this, as well as a verb from אוה (hence, ולא תתאוה … ולא תחמד). The use of both words in this second reference seems to move beyond coincidence: the tenth Word emerges from the creation narrative. The same conclusion can be reached in the Exod 20:17 version, for canonically, the only preceding reference to coveting is in Gen 2:9 and 3:6.

The high point of the creation story is that God rested and rejoiced in his work, and blessed the seventh day. The low point is that humanity did not enter into God’s rest, but through covetousness,[27] was cursed. The final Word of the ‘vertical’ (God-focussed) section of the Decalogue thus coincides with the high point of Gen 1:1 – 2:3, and the final Word of the ‘horizontal’ (socially-focussed) section of the Decalogue coincides with the low point of the Edenic narrative.

  1. Words one and two and Genesis 1:1–2

What of the remaining eight Words? The first Word of the Decalogue (Exod 20:2–3, the exodus and sole-worship command) relates to Gen 1:1, and to the overall tenor of Gen 1:1 – 2:3. This is not a remarkable observation, for Deuteronomy elsewhere makes this connection. Deuteronomy 4:32–40 indicates that the exodus and Sinai events are historically unparalleled, but akin only to the work of God at creation (‘since the day that God created…’, v. 32).[28] The exodus confirms the implication of the creation story, that there is no other god (v. 39, ‘the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other’; not just a statement of singular covenantal allegiance. He is, rather, the only God in existence). The first Word formalises the imperatival implication.

Exodus makes the same connection from creation to redemption and sole worship. The ten plagues episode (Exod 7:14 – 12:30) demonstrates that God’s creational power was at work to redeem.[29] Even more pointed is Moses’ song (Exod 15:1–19). The crossing of the Sea is a creational event, with Israel’s enemies being confined to the ‘depths’ (תהמת, v. 5), following the working of the wind from Yhwh (Exod 14:21; 15:8, 10). This recalls Gen 1:2, in which ‘darkness covered the face of the deep’, with the wind-Spirit of God hovering over the waters. The ‘deep’ represents lifelessness and non-order (emptiness or nothingness, not chaos or evil), out of which Elohim brings order and life, either in the creational acts of Genesis or the emergence of Israel from the Sea (cf. the separation of water and dry land in Gen 1:9–10 and Exod 14:16, 22, 29; 15:19). The crossing is thus a work of re-creation, which brings Israel to the new Eden, the place ‘planted’ by Yhwh (נטע, used in Exod 15:17 and Gen 2:8). All this leads Moses in Exod 15:11 to a similar conclusion to that of Deut 4:39, saying, ‘Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?’ He is the sole and exclusive deity of creation and re-creation. When the first Word enjoins Israel to have no other gods based on Yhwh’s redemption, it is a command that does not fail to include the creational horizon of Gen 1:1ff.

This creational context is semantically present in the second Word (Exod 20:4/Deut 5:8). The command is to not make an idol ‘in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth’. This tripartite statement follows the order of Genesis 1, for in the beginning, God created ‘the heavens and the earth’, and then brought order to ‘the face of the water’ (Gen 1:1–2).

If Genesis 1 is about anything, it is about God’s sovereignty over creation. Nothing has an independent existence, but fulfils the function given by God. Israel is to rejoice in God and his works, which is the goal of creation (Gen 2:1–3). She is not to turn from the worship of the Creator and only God to that which is merely created. Words one and two of the Decalogue, then, are exposing the theocentric purpose of Gen 1:1 – 2:3.[30]

  1. Word three and Genesis 1:26–27

The third Word is harder to find in Genesis, depending on how one understands the command. It is not about making ‘wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God’ (NRSV). Neither is it about using the name as a magical power, for this does not suit the word, ‘vain’. Again, it is not about ‘swearing’ falsely by the divine name (Lev 19:12), for the third Word speaks of ‘bearing’ (נשא) the divine name.

The Armana Correspondence sheds light (EA no. 287). The Pharaoh is said to have ‘set his name in the land of Jerusalem for ever’. This is about suzerainty (cf. Num 6:27). The corresponding relationship is to bear the name of the suzerain, signifying submission (cf. Jer 14:9; and Exod 28:12 on the ‘set–bear’ correlation). Yhwh, then, has put his name on Israel, and they must not bear ‘bear’ that hypocritically.[31]

Elohim’s suzerainty and name-bearing are thematic throughout Genesis 1–3. The significance of a name is integral (Gen 1:5, etc; 2:19, 23; 5:2; cf. the shift of divine names in 1:1 and 2:4). To name something is to know it and to have sovereignty over it, but in a covenantal context with mutual obligations. Thus, the naming of the woman by Adam indicates her servant role (a ‘helper’, 2:20),[32] but he also pledges himself to her (‘bone of my bones’ is a covenantal statement, 2 Sam 5:1, and not merely about her origin). Yhwh, similarly, names various aspects of creation in Gen 1:1 – 2:3, and in that implicit covenantal arrangement obligates himself later by committing to maintain the regularity of the seasons (Gen 8:21–22; 9:8–17).

The ‘image of God’ language in Genesis 1 is correlative to bearing Yhwh’s name. In effect, all have the responsibility to ‘not take Yhwh’s name in vain’, since all are image-bearers. Israel is to honour the name set on them, and all humanity is to image Elohim.[33]

The sonship language that is found in Genesis and Exodus also draws on the same conceptual pool as both the third Word and image language. A relationship between sonship and image is established in Gen 5:3. Seth is Adam’s son and Adam’s image, just as Adam is God’s image and presumably God’s son. Genesis 6:2, 4 says that ‘the sons of God’ took the ‘daughters of men’ (RSV), which in one interpretation signifies that those who worshipped God intermarried with others who did not.[34] In this case, sonship imagery is extended to all God’s people. Exodus 4:22–23 then uses the imagery of sonship, applied to Israel. Here, sonship is linked to service. God’s son is to ‘serve’ (עבד). It is a position of privilege, but also of responsibility. It is similar to saying that the deity’s name should not be borne in vain.

  1. Word five and Genesis 1:26 – 3:24, 1:28, 2:24

It was disputed above that Genesis 4 links to the fifth Word. Does Genesis 1–3 deal with the role of children? Familial relationships are depicted as fundamental to human existence, and the parent-child relationship is implicit in the relationship which Genesis 1–3 does focus on, which is marriage.

First, though, Genesis 1–3 presents a paradigmatic parent-child relationship. Adam and Eve are not called ‘children of God’, but they are said to be in the image of God. The terms are related, as evidenced in Gen 5:3.  In the ANE, image language was typically employed of the filial relationship that existed between kings and their gods.[35]

The fifth Word might be reflecting upon this.[36] Its promise of long life in the land becomes poignant if set against the Edenic story, for there, disobedience to the ultimate father-figure resulted in expulsion.[37]

Children are in view in Gen 1:28, 2:24, 3:16 and 3:20. First, the cultural mandate is to ‘subdue’ the earth and ‘have dominion’ over all creatures.[38] The command applies to all human beings (e.g. to Noah and his sons, 9:1–3), but strictly, it is given to the original male and female. How are they expected to exercise dominion over the earth? The two are the vice-gerents of God in the world, who rule through their children. There is a structure of authority here, so that children are responsible to their parents rather than vice versa.

Genesis 2:24 speaks of the parent-child relationship at its moment of termination. ‘A man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife’. There is a shift in covenantal allegiance. ‘Leave’ or forsake is later used of Israel forsaking God (Deut 28:20; Josh 24:16; Judg 2:12), and ‘joined’ is used of clinging to the Lord (Deut 4:4). This assumes rather than states that children should defer to their parents.

Genesis 3:16 gives insight into the relationship between mothers (Eve) and children. Whilst the second line of the Lord God’s words in v. 16 most likely reiterates the first line, thus speaking about the pain of child-birth, it may expand upon the first line and have in view the entire, painful process of raising children.[39] Perhaps the rebelliousness of children makes the mother’s task painful, and so the fifth Word is about a reversal of the curse, calling for the obedience of children. The difficulty is that ‘bring forth’ (ילד) is overwhelmingly connected with childbearing, not ‘bringing up’ children, so the verse does not connect with the fifth Word.[40]

Genesis 3:20 also implies children (Eve ‘was the mother of all living’), but this can safely be passed over as offering no new material for the current topic of concern.

  1. Word six and Genesis 1:26, 2:7

Genesis 1:26 reads, ‘Let us make humankind in our image’.[41] The relationship to the sixth Word is through Genesis 9:6: ‘Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.’ First, just as the sixth Word is a command against wrongful killing (רצח), including manslaughter, Gen 9:6 speaks against ‘pouring out’ (שפך) the blood of others, without qualifying this as being only ‘murder’ (הרג. Gen 4:8, 14, 15; 12:12; Exod 2:14, 15; 4:23. Exod 21:12–14 maintain a distinction between manslaughter and murder).[42]

Secondly, the basis for Gen 9:6 is the creation of humankind in the image of God. This causal statement refers back to the cohortative declaration of God in Gen 1:26. Genesis 9:6 is not descriptive (the chaos of personal rivalry and tribal feud) but prescriptive, based on a creational, implied imperative.[43] The image gives each person objective value, and must be defended, and there must be no interruption to God’s image bearers keeping the cultural mandate (Gen 9:7). Genesis 2:7 adds that the man is uniquely related to God, for God has breathed ‘into his nostrils the breath of life’. Exodus 20:12 is in accord with Gen 1:26; 2:7; 9:6.

  1. Word seven and Genesis 2:18–25, 1:27

Although Carmichael links the seventh Word to Gen 4:17, he does consider Gen 2:24. The word, ‘marriage’, is there not used, for the MT seldom uses technical language for the concept. The text speaks of the leaving of parents, but Adam and Eve did not have parents to leave, so this is a generic experience. Also, it relates the origin rather than the ethics of marriage (taking the verb as a strict imperfect: ‘a man will leave’, rather than, ‘a man shall leave’). A man and a woman form a new family unit because (על־כן) of the fact in v. 23, that the woman was taken out of man. By virtue of the origin of the woman and the physical connection the man has to her, each man pursues a return to wholeness by joining himself to a woman.

It carries an implied imperative. A man ought to be joined to a wife, or better, if a man desires a ‘one flesh’ relationship, this ought to occur in a covenantal context. It implicitly affirms male-female monogamy, and proscribes adultery. The seventh Word of the Decalogue makes the proscription explicit.

Genesis 1:27–28 also implies the marriage covenant. God created ‘male and female’. In v. 28, God addresses them as a couple, commanding them to fulfil one of the purposes of marriage, to ‘be fruitful’.[44] It assumes the sacredness of marriage.

In the two opening chapters of the Torah, the primacy of marriage is asserted. It is fundamental to God’s purposes for humankind. If one wanted to formulate a moral code that was invested with creational authority, commentary on marriage would be mandatory.

  1. Word eight and Genesis 2:16–17, 3:6

Almost all trees were entrusted to the man, but he (and the woman, Gen 3:2) was prohibited from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16; cf. 1:29; 2:9). Yet the woman ‘took of its fruit’ (3:6, ותקח מפריו), and gave also to her husband that which was not hers to take.

It is not unwarranted to see this as theft, for the theme occurs elsewhere in Genesis. There is theft in Gen 30:33 and 31:19 (using the verb, גנב), and the word returns in the Joseph narratives (44:8). Spanier writes of the first references, ‘Theft is the leitmotif of the story of the [sic] Jacob’s relationship with Laban and the family’s departure from Haran. Rachel’s is the only act of thievery which receives no textual explanation.’[45] Spanier argues that Rachel stole her father Laban’s cultic objects so as to establish Joseph as the leader of the family. This will always remain conjectural,[46] but it raises the possibility that theft is seen in a particular light in Genesis. As the woman, Rachel, steals to exalt herself over her rival, Leah, so too did the woman, Eve, steal, to exalt herself over God. In both narratives, the husbands are portrayed as relatively passive before their wives’ bold actions (Adam takes that which his wife gives to him; Jacob does not even know what his wife has done, and is unable to discover the offender). In both narratives, theft is linked with the attempt to claim power.

There are sufficient grounds for concluding that the command, ‘Do not steal’, correlates with the concerns of Genesis, and that Genesis 3 contains the primordial theft.

  1. Word nine and Genesis 3. 1–5, 12–13

Truth is topical in Gen 3:1–5, in which the serpent testifies about God. The serpent commences by either asking a question or making a statement:[47] ‘Indeed! To think that God said you cannot eat…’ The allegation is that God is unloving and tyrannical, and has no right to rule over the woman. According to the woman’s response (which, despite the addition of the words, ‘nor shall you touch it’, accurately reflects God’s position on the subject), God had not made such a wide-ranging prohibition. The serpent then flatly denies the truth of God’s words (vv. 4b–5). God has lied, because he fears a rival. He wishes to restrain humankind from achieving moral autonomy.[48]

Afterwards, the woman says, ‘The serpent tricked me (השיאני)’ (Gen 3:13). The ‘trick’ is that he deceived her so that she misconstrued the revelation, character and authority of God. He misrepresented God to her. The serpent’s sin is not labelled ‘false testimony’ in Genesis, but this is the nature the crime. He bore false witness against Yhwh Elohim.

In the wordplay between Gen 2:25 and 3:1, whilst the couple initially have a naked innocence (ערומים, 2:25), the serpent is ‘cunning’ (ערום, 3:1). To be ‘crafty’ (RSV, ‘subtle’) can be a virtue (so Proverbs) or a sin (thus Job). In Genesis 3, it is negative, and Job 15:5 is pertinent. The serpent has what Job calls the ‘tongue of the crafty’, paralleling the line, ‘for your iniquity teaches your mouth’. The serpent is an iniquitous speaker.[49] This is why, to complete the word play, the serpent ends up being cursed (ארור, Gen 3:14).[50]

Truth is also topical in Gen 3:12–13, and because of its legal setting, connects even more readily with the ninth Word. The man and woman know that their relationship with God is undone, for at the theophany,[51] ‘they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God’ (3:8). They are fugitives from justice. The man admits to being ‘afraid’ (v. 10).

The man is then summoned to appear (v. 9). The formality of ‘summonsed’ is appropriate for קרא (Gen 12:18; 20:8, 9; 26:9; 28:1; 41:14; 47:29; 49:1). Yhwh Elohim asks two questions of the man, which amount to the charge against him (v. 11), and a call for defensive testimony (vv. 11, 13). The man (shifts blame, and) bears witness against the woman, and the woman against the serpent. Yhwh Elohim apportions blame and pronounces judgement upon the guilty parties in vv. 14–19, and commences to execute justice in vv. 22–24. This is not a ‘quasi-legal’ setting, for this is paradigmatic judgement. The human law court is analogical to and a derivative of the divine original.

The ninth Word thus endorses the human legal system, and requires truthful testimony, for justice rests upon truth. As in the Garden, so in the ninth Word: ‘The witnesses…are called there by God himself (cf. Deut 1:17, the judgement is also God’s).’[52]

  1. The order of the Words

The correlation between the Decalogue and Genesis 1–3 can be tabled as follows.

The Decalogue in relation to Genesis 1–3

Word 1

Gen 1:1–2 (1:1 – 2:3) (3:6)

Word 2

Gen 1:1–2 (1:1 – 2:3) (3:6)

Word 3

Gen 1:26–27

Word 4

Gen 2:1–3 (2:5, 15; 1:26, 28)

Word 5

Gen 1:26 – 3:24; 1:28; 2:24

Word 6

Gen 1:26; 2:7

Word 7

Gen 2:18–25; 1:27

Word 8

Gen 3:6 (1:29; 2:9, 16–17)

Word 9

Gen 3:12–13 (3:1–5)

Word 10

Gen 3:6 (1:29; 2:9, 16–17)

Some interesting phenomena can be discerned. First, the order of the first four Words follows the narrative of Gen 1:1 – 2:3. Words one and two arise from the same verses (Gen 1:1–2), but Word one has precedence since it relates more closely to Gen 1:1a (what God has done, as in Exod 20:2) and Word two to Gen 1:1b (with ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’ used in Exod 20:4).

Secondly, Words 5–9 follow Gen 1:26 – 3:24 sequentially. The order of Words five and six could have been reversed, since both arise from the image language. Word five precedes, though, because it encapsulates the overall plot line of Genesis 1–3 (rebellious children who are expelled from the land).

Thirdly, the two Words that have the most evident links to Genesis 1–3, Words four and ten, are also the Words that break the order. If Word four had been placed after Word six, Words 1–9 would follow the order of Genesis. Being placed where it is, though, maintains the division between the vertically and horizontal focused Words, and so that the first table of the Decalogue ends with the high point of creation in 2:1–3.

Again, Word ten ought to have preceded Word eight, since the coveting precedes the theft. There is no explanation within Exodus for the tenth Word even being in the Decalogue, but it is now seen that as Word four is a command drawn from the zenith of creation, Word 10 is a command drawn from the nadir of the Edenic account.

  1. Further considerations

Why does Exodus cast the Decalogue is the light of Genesis 1–3? The action and words of God in the beginning (which lie behind Words 1–7) are seen as foundational for human behaviour. Furthermore, the words and actions of the man and woman in the primordial period (distilled in Words 8–10) also reveal primitive, divine principles. Genesis 1–3 is privileged over Genesis 4, then, since the former is the first statement of the law: the proto-Decalogue.

Why are these particular Words extracted from the narrative? Why not infer a command against slavery or gender-based discrimination from Gen 1:27? No explanation is given as to what concerns controlled the Decalogue’s reading, but the exegesis is presented as correct, for the Decalogue carries God’s imprimatur.

Genesis 1–3, then, is torah, and conversely, Exodus presents a seminal new creation. Creation and law are indivisible. God created by speaking, and creates anew by speaking from the mountain. Exodus moves not merely from Egypt to a mountain, but from the cursed world towards the Garden. The tabernacle represents the garden, and the glory of God fills it as the Spirit of God hovered over the waters (Gen 1:2). The tabernacle was dedicated on the first day of the first month of the year (Exod 40:2, 17), as though it was the first day of creation. The creation of the tabernacle is in effect pronounced good (Exod 39:43).[53] In the inner sanctum of this tabernacle-garden, there are placed the stones which make explicit the originally implicit law of creation.

The use of Genesis 1–3 in the Decalogue also speaks of the role of Moses. Peter Machinist calls Moses an ‘outsider’, which ensures focus is never on Moses but on the law.[54] To extrapolate, Exodus pictures Moses as participating in the framing of the law by intertextual interplay with Elohim, but the origin of the Words can never be ascribed to Moses. Moses can act as the finger of God to bring that law to succinct and vibrant articulation, but the law is primordial.

  1. Conclusion

Intertextuality usually means tentativeness. Alternative connections to the above are possible within Genesis 1–3: Gen 3:17 (‘toil’) to Word 4; the figure of the serpent to Words 1–2. Since Words 1–2, 4, 6 and 10 have linguistic links with Genesis 1–3, the status of the other five Words will be more unsettled. Still, there remain sufficient semantic and conceptual connections to conclude that Genesis 1–3 is depicted as the backdrop to the Decalogue.

Dozeman states that ‘the quest to interpret Torah is actually playing a central role in the very formation of the Hebrew Bible.’[55] The Decalogue contends that its primary inner-biblical relationship is to Genesis 1–3, which narrative is thus portrayed as the seed from which the covenant grows.

[1] James K. Bruckner, Implied Law in the Abraham Narrative: A Literary and Theological Analysis, JSOTSup 335 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001) 11–50; Cf. James K. Bruckner, ‘The Creational Context of Law before Sinai: Law and Liberty in Pre-Sinai Narratives and Romans 7’, ExAud, Vol. 11 (1995) 91–110.

[2] Terence E. Fretheim, ‘The Book of Genesis’, NIB, Vol. I (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994) 529.

[3] Calum M. Carmichael, Law and Narrative in the Bible: The Evidence of the Deuteronomic Laws and the Decalogue (New York: Cornell University Press, 1985). Cf. Calum M. Carmichael, The Origins of Biblical Law: The Decalogues and the Book of the Covenant (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992); Calum M. Carmichael, Women, Law, and the Genesis Traditions (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1979) 1. Cf. David Noel Freedman, The Nine Commandments: Uncovering a Hidden Pattern of Crime and Punishment in the Hebrew Bible (New York: Doubleday, 2000), who takes the Decalogue as a structuring force for the Pentateuch and Former Prophets.

[4] Carmichael, Law and Narrative, 25. Cf. Calum M. Carmichael, The Ten Commandments (Oxford: The Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, 1983) 1–2.

[5] Carmichael, Law and Narrative, 318.

[6] This follows the later Jewish tradition of reckoning the ten Words. The earlier Jewish approach takes Deut 5:6–7 as one Word.

[7] Carmichael, Law and Narrative, 318–319, 322, 324. Jo Ann Davidson, ‘The Decalogue Predates Mount Sinai: Indicators from the Book of Genesis’, JATS, Vol. 19, 1–2 (2008) 65, finds Sabbath in Gen 4:3–4, understanding ‘in the process of time’ or ‘end of days’ as the seventh day of the week.

[8] Ibid., 328–329.

[9] Ibid., 331–332.

[10] Ibid., 332. Word eight is not about kidnapping, contra Albrecht Alt, ‘Das Verbot Des Diebstahls Im Dekalog’, Kleine Schriften Zur Geschichte Des Volkes Israel, 3 vols, Vol. 1 (München: Beck, [First published 1949] 1963) 330–340; Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology, trans. D. M. G. Stalker, 2 vols, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, [First published 1957] 1962), 191; Hagith Sivan, Between Woman, Man, and God: A New Interpretation of the Ten Commandments (London: T & T Clark, 2004) 189–192. Apart from in the Decalogue, Exodus uses the word, ‘steal’ (גנב), four times, and only one of those references is to kidnapping (21:16).

[11] Carmichael, Law and Narrative, 333.

[12] Ibid., 334.

[13] Ibid., 336.

[14] Watt’s ‘rhetoric of concealment’ does not help. It would mean there would be no way of discerning textual links. James W. Watts, Reading Law: The Rhetorical Shaping to the Pentateuch, Biblical Seminar 59 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999) 120, drawing on Bernard M. Levinson, ‘The Human Voice in Divine Revelation’, Innovation in Religious Traditions, eds Michael A. Williams, Collett Cox and Martin S. Jaffee (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1992) 45.

[15] Carmichael, The Ten Commandments, 1–3, hints at this.

[16] Bruce K. Waltke, ‘Cain and His Offering’, WTJ, Vol. 48, No. 2 (1986) 371.

[17] T. Anthony Perry, ‘Cain’s Sin in Gen 4:1–7: Oracular Ambiguity and How to Avoid It’, Proof, Vol. 25, No. 3 (2005) 261. Joel N. Lohr, ‘Righteous Abel, Wicked Cain: Genesis 4:1–16 in the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, and the New Testament’, CBQ, Vol. 71, No. 3 (2009) 485–496, believes that the text is only about divine choosing.

[18] Angela Y. Kim, ‘Cain and Abel in the Light of Envy: A Study in the History of the Interpretation of Envy in Genesis 4:1–16’, JSPSup, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2001) 65–84, decides that the theme of envy has increasingly been read into the story to ‘deflect attention from God who chooses, in a capricious way, one sacrifice over another’ (p. 65).

[19] Carmichael, The Ten Commandments 1–3.

[20] Correlative, but not adopting the Framework hypothesis, contra Meredith G. Kline, ‘Because It Had Not Rained’, WTJ, Vol. 20 (1958) 146–157.

[21] Claus Westermann, The Genesis Accounts of Creation (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964) 14, speaks of the work of the seventh day.

[22] C. John Collins, Genesis 1–4: A Linguistic, Literary and Theological Commentary (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R, 2006) 71.

[23] Carmichael, Law and Narrative, 337–338; Skinner, Genesis, 7–8, 33–34.

[24] Charles Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers Comprising Pirqe Aboth in Hebrew and English with Notes and Excursuses, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1897) 78.

[25] Cf. Gen 1:26, 28; 2:5, 15, and the fourth Word’s ‘labour’.

[26] See Stewart E. Lauer, ‘Was the Tree of Life Always Off-Limits? A Critique of Vos’s Answer’, Kerux, Vol. 16, No. 3 (2001) 42–50; Donald F. Duclow, ‘Denial of Promise of the Tree of Life: Eriugena, Augustine and Genesis 3:22b’, Iohannes Scottus Eriugena: The Bible and Hermeneutics, eds Gerd Van Riel, Carlos Steel and James McEvoy (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996) 221–238; Paul Watson, ‘The Tree of Life’, ResQ, Vol. 23, No. 4 (1980) 232–238; E. O. James, The Tree of Life (Leiden: Brill, 1966) 41; Brevard S. Childs, ‘Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life’, IDB, Vol. 4 (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962) 695; Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I, trans. Israel Abrahams (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 1961) 109–110, 124, 172–173; Herold S. Stern, ‘“Knowledge of Good and Evil”’, VT, Vol. 8, No. 4 (1958) 405–418; Georges Pidoux, ‘Encore Les Deux Arbres De Genèse 3’, ZAW, Vol. 66, No. 1–2 (1954) 37–43.

[27] Wisdom of Solomon 2.23–24 also assigns covetousness to the serpent. Death entered the world though the devil’s envy (φθόνος).

[28] Despite connecting the first four Words of the Decalogue to the molten calf narrative, Carmichael, Law and Narrative, 339–340, sees the link through Deut 4:23, 33 to Gen 1.

[29] Pnina Galpaz-Feller, The Exodus from Egypt: Reality or Illusion (Exodus 1–15) (Tel Aviv: Schocken, 2002), argues that the ten plagues on Egypt are an undoing of creation.

[30] Dale Patrick, ‘The First Commandment in the Structure of the Pentateuch’, VT, Vol. 45 (1995) 105–118, believes that Word one is not implied in the pre-Sinai narrative. Bruckner, ‘The Creational Context of Law’, 221, qualifies this by referring to Gen 35:2–4. However, Gen 1–3 refuses to refer to other gods, and is implicitly proclaiming that there is only one God.

[31] Jared C. Hood, Review of ‘Commentary on Deuteronomy’, by A. Harman, RTR, Vol. 61 (2002) 165; Allan M. Harman, Commentary on Deuteronomy (Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 2001) 76; Allan M. Harman, ‘The Interpretation of the Third Commandment’, RTR, Vol. 47 (1988) 1–7.

[32] The woman is named twice by the man (Gen 2:23; 3:20. Cf. Gen 5:1–2; Donald M. Joy, ‘Toward a Symbolic Revival: Creation Revisited’, RelEd, Vol. 80, No. 3 (1985) 401). Contrary to David W. Cotter, Genesis (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2003) 35, Gen 3:20 does not subvert the prior relationship, but indicates it is now redemptive. To call her ‘Life’ is a ‘great tribute to woman’: Mary Phil Korsak, ‘Genesis: A New Look’, A Feminist Companion to Genesis, ed. Athalya Brenner, Feminist Companion to the Bible 2 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993) 49. As Phyllis Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978) says, Genesis does not necessarily indicate subordination, but contrary to George W. Ramsey, ‘Is Name-Giving an Act of Domination in Genesis 2:23 and Elsewhere’, CBQ, Vol. 50 (1988) 24–35, the naming is more than an ‘act of discernment’.

[33] The imago Dei is about divine-royal representation—J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2005), 27—but is also about ontology. Gen 1:21, 24–25; 2:7 indicate concern with ontology (cf. Gen 5:3 has Adam reproducing ‘according to his kind’). In the Sumerian King List and the Instruction for Merikare, there is the impartation of the qualities as well as the function of divinity.

[34] John Murray, Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957) 244.

[35] David J. A. Clines, ‘The Image of God in Man’, TynBul, Vol. 19 (1968) 53–103, esp. 92–97.

[36] Cf. James M. Kennedy, ‘Peasants in Revolt: Political Allegory in Genesis 2–3’, The Pentateuch, ed. John W. Rogerson, Biblical Seminar 39 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996) 161–172—first published as James M. Kennedy, ‘Peasants in Revolt: Political Allegory in Genesis 2–3’, JSOT, Vol. 47 (1990) 3–14.

[37] Cf. Philo, ‘On the Question, Who Is the Heir of Divine Things’, The Works of Philo Judaeus, Vol. II (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855) IV vols, 127 (section 35), who says the fifth command ‘is a sacred command; having reference not to men, but to him who is the cause of birth and existence of the universe…’

[38] ‘Stewardship’ is the favoured explanation. W. Sibley Towner, ‘Clones of God: Genesis 1:26–28 and the Image of God in the Hebrew Bible’, Int, Vol. 59, No. 4 (2005) 341–359; Janell Johnson, ‘Genesis 1:26–28’, Int, Vol. 59, No. 2 (2005) 176–178; Marsha M. Wilfong, ‘Human Creation in Canonical Context: Genesis 1:26–31 and Beyond’, God Who Creates, eds William P. Brown and S. Dean McBride (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) 42–52.

[39] Bruce K. Waltke and Cathi J. Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001) 24. Cf. Tzvi Novick, ‘Pain and Production in Eden: Some Philological Reflections on Genesis iii 16’, VT, Vol. 58, No. 2 (2008) 235–244; Hanneke Reuling, After Eden: Church Fathers and Rabbis on Genesis 3:16–21, Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series (Boston: Brill, 2006); Jacques Van Ruiten, ‘Eve’s Pain in Childbearing? Interpretations of Gen 3:16a in Biblical and Early Jewish Texts’, Eve’s Children: The Biblical Stories Retold and Interpreted in Jewish and Christian Traditions, ed. Gerard P. Luttikhuizen (Boston: Brill, 2003) 3–26; Ronald A. Simkins, ‘Gender Construction in the Yahwist Creation Myth’, Genesis, ed. Athalya Brenner, The Feminist Companion to the Bible (Second Series) 1 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998) 49.

[40] Carol L. Meyers, ‘Gender Roles and Genesis 3:16 Revisited’, A Feminist Companion to Genesis, ed. Athalya Brenner, Feminist Companion to the Bible 2 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993) 131, points to the oddity of pain in ‘conception’. The explanation is that ‘conception’ leads to birth, and therefore to an increase in pain.

[41] Lyle M. Eslinger, ‘The Enigmatic Plurals Like “One of Us” (Genesis i 26, iii 22, and xi 7) in Hyperchronic Perspective’, VT, Vol. 56, No. 2 (2006) 171–184; Gerhard F. Hasel, ‘Meaning of “Let Us” in Gn 1:26’, AUSS, Vol. 13, No. 1 (1975) 58–66.

[42] Gen 9:6 indicates the maximum penalty for killing, for not all killing requires a capital sentence (Exod 21:13–14, 20–21; 22:2–3; Num 35:11, 16, 20–28; Deut 19:4–6). James E. Priest, ‘Gen 9:6: A Comparative Study of Bloodshed in Bible and Talmud’, JETS, Vol. 31, No. 2 (1988) 145–151, speaks of ‘murder’ in Gen 9:6. Cf. Lev 17:4; Num 35:33; Deut 19:9–13. Alternatively, see John E. Hartley, Genesis (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2000) 111; Johan Lust, ‘“For Man Shall His Blood Be Shed”: Gen 9:6 in Hebrew and in Greek’, Tradition of the Text, eds G. Norton and S. Pisano (Fribourg: Universitätsverlag, 1991) 91–102.

[43] Cf. Num 35:33, which gives a soteriological adaptation of Gen 9:6.

[44] Eugene F. Roop, ‘Two Become One Become Two’, Brethren Life and Thought, Vol. 21, No. 3 (1976) 135: Gen 1.28 is a blessing, not a command. Cf. Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, ‘“Be Fruitful and Multiply”: Is This a Command, or a Blessing?’, Christianity Today, Vol. 45, No. 14 (2001) 59–60. The dichotomy is false, and the verse’s imperatives cannot be avoided.

[45] Ktziah Spanier, ‘Rachel’s Theft of the Teraphim: Her Struggle for Family Primacy’, VT, Vol. 42, No. 3 (1992) 404. Cf. Michael Heltzer, ‘New Light from Emar on Genesis 31: The Theft of the Teraphim’, Und Mose Schrieb Dieses Lied Auf, eds Manfried Dietrich and Ingo Kottsieper (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1998) 357–362; Anne-Marie Korte, ‘Significance Obscured: Rachel’s Theft of the Teraphim: Divinity and Corporeality in Gen 31’, Begin with the Body, eds Jonneke Bekkenkamp and Maaike de Haardt (Louvain: Peeters, 1998) 157–182; John Huehnergard, ‘Biblical Notes on Some New Akkadian Texts from Emar (Syria)’, CBQ, Vol. 47, No. 3 (1985) 428–434.

[46] Moshe Greenberg, ‘Another Look at Rachel’s Theft of the Teraphim’, JBL, Vol. 81, No. 3 (1962) 246.

[47] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, trans Martin Rüter and Ilse Tödt (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997) 111, ‘the first conversation about God’.

[48] William N. Wilder, ‘Illumination and Investiture: The Royal Significance of the Tree of Wisdom in Genesis 3’, WTJ, Vol. 68 (2006) 51–69; J. Alberto Soggin, ‘And You Will Be Like God and Know What Is Good and What Is Bad’, Sefer Moshe: The Moshe Weinfeld Jubilee Volume – Studies in the Bible and the Ancient near East, Qumran, and Post-Biblical Judaism, eds Chaim Cohen, Avi Hurvitz and Shalom M. Paul (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2004) 191–194; Henrik Pfeiffer, ‘Der Baum in Der Mitte Des Gartens: Zum Überlieferungsgeschichtlichen Ursprung Der Paradieszählung (Gen 2:4b – 3:24) Teil II: Prägende Traditionen Und Theologische Akzente’, ZAW, Vol. 113, No. 1 (2001) 2–16, Henrik Pfeiffer, ‘Der Baum in Der Mitte Des Gartens: Zum Überlieferungsgeschichtlichen Ursprung Der Paradieszählung (Gen 2:4b – 3:24) Teil I: Analyse’, ZAW, Vol. 112, No. 4 (2000) 487–500;  Carlos Steel, ‘The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’, Iohannes Scottus Eriugena: The Bible and Hermeneutics, eds Gerd Van Riel, Carlos Steel and James McEvoy (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996) 255; Karl Jaros, ‘Die Motive Der Heiligen Bäume Und Der Schlange in Gen 2–3’, ZAW, Vol. 92, No. 2 (1980) 204–215.

[49] George W. Savran, ‘Beastly Speech: Intertextuality, Balaam’s Ass and the Garden of Eden’, JSOT, Vol. 64 (1994) 33–55; T. Boomershine, ‘The Structure of Narrative Rhetoric in Genesis 2–3’, Semeia, Vol. 18 (1980) 113–129; T. Walsh, ‘Genesis 2:4b – 3:24—a Synchronic Approach’, JBL, Vol. 96 (1977) 161–177; L. Alonso-Schökel, ‘Sapiential and Covenant Themes in Genesis 2–3’, Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom, ed. James L. Crenshaw (New York: Ktav, 1976) 468–480. Those who see maturation in Gen 3 also affirm the innocence of the serpent: Lyn M. Bechtel, ‘Rethinking the Intepretation of Genesis 2:4b – 3:24’, A Feminist Companion to Genesis, ed. Athalya Brenner, Feminist Companion to the Bible 2 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993) 90–92.

[50] Contra Bechtel, ‘Genesis 2:4b – 3:24’, 92, ‘shamed’ is indefensible. The ground is not ‘shamed’ (3:17), and ‘shame’ is not the opposite of ‘bless’ (since the movement of the text is from blessing, Gen 1, to cursing, Gen 3, back to blessing, Gen 12:3). The text is not about social status but judicial-covenantal standing.

[51] Jeffrey Niehaus, ‘In the Wind of the Storm: Another Look at Genesis III 8’, VT, Vol. 44, No. 2 (1994) 263–267; Meredith G. Kline, ‘Primal Parousia’, WTJ, Vol. 40, No. 2 (1978) 245–280: ‘the wind of the day’ means ‘in the wind of the storm’, and the ‘sound’ of the Lord God is thunder. This is a violent, theophanic, judgement scene. See, however, Christopher L. K. Grundke, ‘A Tempest in a Teapot? Genesis iii 8 Again’, VT, Vol. 51, No. 4 (2001) 548–551.

[52] Jared C. Hood, ‘The Ninth Commandment’, Love Rules: The Ten Commandments for the 21st Century, ed. Stuart Bonnington (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2004) 83.

[53] Tremper Longman III, Immanuel in Our Place (Phillipsburg: P & R, 2001) 25–31, 35–36; Terence E. Fretheim, Exodus (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1991) 268–272; Jon Douglas Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil: The Jewish Drama of Divine Omnipotence (San Francisco: Harper, 1988) 86.

[54] Peter Machinist, ‘The Man Moses’, BibRev, Vol. 16, No. 2 (2000) 18–19 (a revised version of Peter Machinist, ‘The Meaning of Moses’, HDB, Vol. 27, No. 2–3 (1998) 14–15).

[55] Thomas B. Dozeman, ‘Inner-Biblical Interpretation of Yahweh’s Gracious and Compassionate Character’, JBL, Vol. 108, No. 2 (1989) 223, proposing a connection from Exod 32–34 to Joel 2:1–17 and Jonah 2:1 – 4:2.