Genesis 3:22

Verse 22. Behold, the man is become as one of us] On all hands

this text is allowed to be difficult, and the difficulty is

increased by our translation, which is opposed to the original

Hebrew and the most authentic versions. The Hebrew has hayah,

which is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not

is. The Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac,

and the Septuagint, have the same tense. These lead us to a very

different sense, and indicate that there is an ellipsis of some

words which must be supplied in order to make the sense complete.

A very learned man has ventured the following paraphrase, which

should not be lightly regarded: "And the Lord God said, The man

who WAS like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and

robbed of his excellence; he has added ladaath, to the

knowledge of the good, by his transgression the knowledge of the

evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the

tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I

will remove him, and guard the place lest he should re-enter.

Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden,"

&c. This seems to be the most natural sense of the place. Some

suppose that his removal from the tree of life was in mercy, to

prevent a second temptation. He before imagined that he could

gain an increase of wisdom by eating of the tree of knowledge, and

Satan would be disposed to tempt him to endeavour to elude the

sentence of death, by eating of the tree of life. Others imagine

that the words are spoken ironically, and that the Most High

intended by a cutting taunt, to upbraid the poor culprit for his

offence, because he broke the Divine command in the expectation of

being like God to know good from evil; and now that he had lost

all the good that God had designed for him, and got nothing but

evil in its place, therefore God taunts him for the total

miscarriage of his project. But God is ever consistent with

himself; and surely his infinite pity prohibited the use of either

sarcasm or irony, in speaking of so dreadful a catastrophe, that

was in the end to occasion the agony and bloody sweat, the cross

and passion, the death and burial, of Him in whom dwelt all the

fulness of the Godhead bodily, Col 2:9.

In Ge 1:26,27, we have seen man in the perfection of his

nature, the dignity of his office, and the plenitude of his

happiness. Here we find the same creature, but stripped of his

glories and happiness, so that the word man no longer conveys the

same ideas it did before. Man and intellectual excellence were

before so intimately connected as to appear inseparable; man and

misery are now equally so. In our nervous mother tongue, the

Anglo-Saxon, we have found the word [A.S.] God signifying, not

only the Supreme Being, but also good or goodness; and it is

worthy of especial note that the word [A.S.] man, in the same

language, is used to express, not only the human being so called,

both male and female, but also mischief, wickedness, fraud,

deceit, and villany. Thus a simple monosyllable, still in use

among us in its first sense, conveyed at once to the minds of our

ancestors the two following particulars: 1. The human being in

his excellence, capable of knowing, loving, and glorifying his

Maker. 2. The human being in his fallen state, capable of and

committing all kinds of wickedness. "Obiter hic notandum," says

old Mr. Somner in his Saxon Dictionary, "venit, [A.S.] Saxonibus

et DEUM significasse et BONUM: uti [A.S.] et hominem et nequitiam.

Here it is to be noted, that among the Saxons the term GOD

signified both the Divine Being and goodness, as the word man

signified both the human being and wickedness." This is an

additional proof that our Saxon ancestors both thought and spoke

at the same time, which, strange as it may appear, is not a common

case: their words in general are not arbitrary signs; but as far

as sounds can convey the ideal meaning of things, their words do

it; and they are so formed and used as necessarily to bring to

view the nature and proper ties of those things of which they are

the signs. In this sense the Anglo-Saxon is inferior only to the


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