A Questioning Punctuation

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Genesis 3:1 (KJV)

? – By now you should realize that ancient Hebrew doesn’t have punctuation, right? So there was no question mark here in the original text, but yet the translators felt it prudent to add it here. Why?

What if I told you that the serpent wasn’t asking a question? What if I told you that the serpent was merely stating a fact. And in a manner, saying, “God hath said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden”… “so what.” It was a direct challenge to the validity of God’s command.

You can verify this in a word-for-word translation from Hebrew by Jeff Benner called A Mechanical Translation of the Book of Genesis. So with this in mind, what’s going on? What really is the intent of the serpent?

Well, there’s a perspective that the serpent is really just a naked (simple) animal stating something rather… uh, simple. He knew that God gave him his inner intuition – his instinct, or inner voice. The serpent is challenging the woman to rely on her inner voice as well. Why rely on some external voice for approval and disapproval when you can just listen to that great thing called animal instinct? The serpent doesn’t rely on the external voice to live, why should Eve? And there’s the challenge presented to Eve.

Eve, God said this thing, but so what? So what if God thinks you should listen to Him. He also gave you an inner voice too – your animal instinct.

It works for the serpent, so it’ll work for Eve. And in her effort to become the perfect `ezer, she makes the choice to rely on her own inner voice instead of waiting on the LORD.

Isn’t this a familiar mistake we all make? How often do we rely on our own experiences and knowledge rather than the instructions of God? Sure, God said this thing in His law, but we are so much more wiser today. We don’t need to listen to His external voice.

In that process we become more animal-like, and rely on our own animal instincts. It’s time to return to being human. Return to the path that God established. Return to His commandments.


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