Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 3 :2 (NKJV)

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ 

In Genesis 2 it would seem the man was alone” when he was given the command because in the next verses after the command God expresses the loneliness of the man, but in Genesis 3 when Eve was having a discourse with the serpent she uses the word We which is inclusive of her & the man as having received the command directly from God, how can we understand the above texts.

10 Answers 10


The first few verses of chapter 3 would seem to answer your question. In Genesis 3:1 the Serpent says to Eve:

וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל הָאִשָּׁה אַף כִּי אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן
And [the serpent] said to the Woman, "Has G-d even said that all of you shall not eat from the Tree of the Garden?"

Note carefully that the Serpent uses the plural form of you, תֹאכְלוּ, when asking Eve if she had been told by G-d not to eat of the fruit. Then in 3:3 Eve comments:

אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא תִגְּעוּ בּוֹ פֶּן תְּמֻתוּן
G-d said all of you shall not eat from [the Tree] nor touch it lest all of you die.

Here Eve replies to the Serpent by saying that G-d had commanded both Adam and her.

While we may not be able to say for certain that Eve was directly commanded by G-d along with Adam, at the very least it certainly appears that her understanding is that the commandment applies to her.


Genesis 2:16 indicates the original direct command from God was to Adam alone, as not only is "the man [i.e. Adam]" the subject, but the verb is 2nd person masculine singular, as are all the references that state "you" in v.17 (whether part of the verb or an actual pronoun in the Hebrew). This was prior to Eve's creation (2:18, 21-23).

So when, in chapter 3, the serpent uses the plural "you," and Eve likewise replies with a plural "we," even in her paraphrase of the command in 3:3, we are left with three options:

  1. Eve was also, sometime after her creation, directly commanded by God (which command may have included not touching also, per 3:3).
  2. Eve was told by Adam they were not to eat it (and possibly adding not to touch it to keep as far as possible from temptation), passing the command of God on to her. This would still be viewed by her as a command from God to her, as a command from God can come via an intermediary (after all, every command from God in Scripture that one might consider applying to themselves today is at least by the one intermediary of the human author of Scripture, though possibly via a preacher, teacher, or otherwise).
  3. Eve became aware of the command to Adam by Adam's discussing it, and chose to take that command upon herself as well since she was his helper.

Whatever the case, she "owned" the original command (along with the addition of not touching it) personally, such that when confronted by the serpent, she acknowledged the need for obedience herself.

Personally, since Scripture does not declare God spoke directly to Eve, I lean toward #2. From a contextual perspective, Eve's addition to "not touch" in 3:3 (which was not noted in Gen 2:16) implies that her instructions did not come directly from God, as if that aspect had been part of the direct command (or a modified form of it later) to both her and Adam, one would think that God (and thus the text of Scripture) would have made that distinction more evident, as touching is different than eating. Indeed, if touching had been a command itself, then mentioning eating would have been superfluous (as one could not eat it without touching it). So this addition implies strongly to me that either Adam warned her himself, adding the caution of not touching or she inferred it herself as a protective measure. In either case, it is not likely she received that form of the command directly from God.

But additionally, if one takes into account the New Testament testimony on this, then #2 or #3 is most likely, as it was not Eve's eating of the fruit that caused sin and death to enter the world, but Adam's (Rom 5:12-14). This statement indicates that it was the man, Adam, who was directly commanded by God and thus who bore the primary responsibility to obey, for it was his disobedience that brought sin and death (albeit, by Eve's transgression of tempting him to eat, Gen 3:6, 1 Tim 2:14, which might have also been a transgression against Adam's command to not touch if he had so given her that).


Eve is innocent, she was tricked by Satan because Satan knew the exact command God gave to Adam, and that command did not say that Adam would die by the simple act of touching fruit hanging on a tree. Adam was free to touch all the fruit of the garden, including those from the Tree of Knowledge. It is possible he picked that fruit to feed to animals in the garden under his care. When Eve touched the fruit and saw that she was not dead, she became overwhelmed with joy and then ate the fruit knowing full well she would not die after eating, since she did not die after touching. When Adam observed what happened, that Eve ate the fruit and was not dead, he did what any rational human would do, he also ate the fruit, of course greatly confused why God would have lied to him.

There are three errors committed by God in this story (1) he let Satan into the garden to deceive and confuse Eve, which being all knowing he knew would happen, (2) he allowed Adam and Eve to go forward with two versions of the command where both eating and touching would lead to immediate dead, when he (God) knew this was not true, (3) God was not truthful when he told Adam he would die immediately if he eat the fruit, that was never the case, as witnessed by the fact that God sent Adam away from the garden after he ate the fruit specially so that Adam would not eat next from the Tree of Life and live forever.

  • 1
    Welcome to BiblicalHermaneutics.SE. Unlike other sites (e.g. Quora), StackExchange answers are meant to be factual and authoritative, something one might hope to find in a secular encyclopedia. Your answer contains mostly conjecture and opinion, not researched facts or references, and so isn't appropriate here. It also fails to directly address the original question. Please take the time to take the tour and read about how this site is different from others. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 13:32
  • I came across this old comment today that looks like the devil himself wrote it. And though I recognize it as likely written by a highly religious person (a cynical atheist) who thinks themselves wise, your "answer" provided is a counterfeit of any true scholarship into the subject. But, I believe there is hope for you and redemption yet. True scholarship seeks truth wherever it may be found. I challenge you to seek the answer to this question: Did God let satan into the garden at all and then provide evidence instead of conjecture as @RayButterworth rightly mentioned. God bless you Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 10:22

Genesis 3:17:

"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life".

God says "which I commanded thee", implying that only Adam received the command directly from God himself. The serpent was cursed, implying that it had sinned in tempting Eve, thus the serpent was aware of God's command, even though it had not been given to the serpent directly, and of Eve's lack of understanding.

Adam's punishment was "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife". With regard to Eve's punishment, the specific reason is not given; but it can reasonably be discerned that her sin was caused by hearkening unto the serpent. Since it was included in her punishment that "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee", it doesn't seem as if she was subject to Adam's rule beforehand. Therefore, we can reasonably conclude that all 3 were punished for acting in opposition to what each understood to be God's command. The punishments were tailored to the sinner, rather than to separate and distinct sins. God didn't lie, though. In the day wherein Adam ate of the fruit of that tree, his death was assured. God removed access to the fruit of the tree of Life.

If Eve had been aware of God's command by being present in Adam when he received it, she would not have misquoted it in a way which made it in any way untrue ("neither shall ye touch it"). Adam may have spoken incorrectly in describing God's command to her, or she may have misunderstood or remembered incorrectly what Adam told her. Either way, she disobeyed what she believed that God had said. She certainly would have had no motivation to share the fruit with Adam if she thought it was he who had lied to her.

Disrespect towards God's benevolent commandment was the sin committed by each. The serpent disrespected God's commandment by beguiling Eve into breaking it, then Eve disrespected God's commandment (as she understood it to be) by touching the fruit, eating it, and then giving it to Adam, and finally Adam disrespected God's commandment by accepting the fruit from Eve and eating it.

  • Welcome to BHSE! Would you please make your contribution more 'readable', by making paragraphs, just add some spacings.. Then it is more likely that people will read it.
    – sara
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 16:17

My take on this is Eve did not directly get the command from God but indirectly she did. You see when God gave Adam the command He (God) knew that Adam needed a help meet,therefore when God put Adam to sleep His(God) word was in Adam and since Eve derives from Adam rib they became one with God's word dwelling in him for both of them. How else would she know because she wasn't created until after God gave Adam the command. (Genesis 2:7 and 2:21-23)

  • 3
    Welcome to the Hermeneutics forum, Barbara. This forum is different from most others because it's expected that you research and support your posted answer with evidence from scriptural, linguistic, manuscript, commentaries from early writers, or scholarly sources. We're not supposed to offer just our opinion. However, you can freely add comments as I have. You might want to review highly rated answers to get a better idea of what's expected. Best wishes,
    – Dieter
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 2:24

If Adam somehow added the "do not touch the fruit" to God's command to "do not eat", then when Satan lied to Eve about the consequences, and Eve touched the fruit and didn't die, she then proceeded to eat it and gave some to Adam. Satan continues to work today this same way.

  • Welcome to BHSE! Please make sure you take our Tour (see below left). Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 1:32

The fact that Eve does not word-for-word quote God makes me wonder if she heard the command from Adam and not God directly. I also wonder if Satan used this to trick her (maybe the part about not touching it, he demonstrated was false and then she couldn't trust the rest of her misquote?).

I also wonder if they started sinning the moment they went near the tree and engaged in conversation, but the law being broken with the bite is when they became aware of the sin they already had been committing before they even touched the fruit.

  • Welcome to BHSE! Please make sure you take our Tour. (See below left) Thanks. Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 18:50

It’s also worth noting that their eyes were not opened until Adam ate. If Eve had heard the command directly, wouldn’t she have had consequences directly as well?


my take on this is that man was created as human. which includes woman and man. therefore eve received the command when she was a part of man. gen 1 : 27 was done on the 6th day. male and female created he them. gen 3 : 2 eve said to the serpent "we". she was present within man as was adam. thank you.


In order to answer the question: "Did Eve receive the command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good & evil directly from God or through Adam?", we must first remember that the fall occurred when each Eve and Adam ate the fruit; before the fall, the two were living in blissful harmony with God. The Bible is silent on whether God spoke with Eve about the prohibited fruit, or whether she was told by Adam. Either way, it's hard to imagine that Eve (created from man in the image of God, and with God's likeness) would tell a deliberate falsehood so soon after God had declared the abundance of all He'd created as "very good." Adam and Eve were sinless up to the point of the fall. If sinless, then the quote from Eve must be true.

Another question is whether God told Eve not to even touch the fruit. Eve says God said not to touch the fruit as well as not to eat of it. Keep in mind that all was blissful, and there was no conceptual experiences outside of that which they had in harmony with God. Therefore, it seems implausibe that Eve would generate a random falsehood, i.e., "neither shall ye touch it." Again, Adam and Eve were sinless before the fall, and if sinless, then Eve must have been telling the truth.

Many will contend that Eve added to that which Adam was told simply because the Genesis narrative makes no mention of God directly commanding either Adam or Eve not to touch the fruit. To conclude Eve exaggerated, one must also conclude that there was no blissful harmony with God at the point.

Furthermore, if we are to assume that the only dialogue between God and Adam and Eve are those recorded in the Genesis narrative, then how long were the periods of time between each dialogue, and how were Adam and Eve able to recognize it was God walking in the garden as distinguished from all other created beings present and walking in the garden?

If Adam and Eve were living in perfect harmony with God before the fall, and there is no clear indication on how long after Eve was created the fall took place, but before the fall both were living sinlessly, and God's creation was still in its original state of being "very good", one can conclude that God had a greater series of dialogues than those recorded in the Genesis narrative, and therefore Eve was not exaggerating or telling a falsehood when she said "neither shall ye touch it."

  • 1
    Welcome to the site, and if you take the 'Tour' link at the bottom of this page, you will find useful tips on how best to answer. As this site is looking for evidence-based answers and not opinions or personal interpretations, you might like to expand your answer by quoting from theological sources that deal with this particular point. Looking forward to hearing more from you!
    – Anne
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 19:08
  • Anne, after reading most of the responses here to the question posed above, it is clear that none are "evidence-based" as they are all laced with opinion and conjecture. Good bye.
    – J M
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 20:24
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    It would be nice to have some evidence or other references to support these assertions.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 5:38
  • Did Eve tell the truth about that which God had said? If Eve was lying (anything outside of telling the absolute truth is lying), how does her lying fit in with being in harmony and in fellowship with God?
    – J M
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 18:37
  • @JM I couldn't help notice your replies to others' comments have an unnecessary combative / hostile tone. But, I will ask you this honest questions: Do you know the difference between God and the LORD God (hint - they are not synonyms)? Which of them actually prohibited the eating of the fruit? I like a lot of the thoughts you are sharing, but it would help to see your scriptural evidence to justify your conclusions. Summaries and paraphrases aren't evidence. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 10:32

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