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Genesis 3:6 (NIV) When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

When I look at different translations of Genesis 3:6, I found these unique differences.

  1. Popular translation is "who was with her".
  2. Other common translation is "her husband with her".
  3. Some do not have "who was with her". (RSV)

This may prove helpful in understanding the presence or absence of Adam while the serpent and Eve were having a conversation.

1 Timothy 2:14 (NIV) And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

If this verse is true, it sounds more like Adam was absent when the deception by serpent was going on or was not listening to their conversation. If Adam heard their conversation, he might have interrupted. So the question is, was Adam present when the serpent was talking with Eve or not?

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  • The Hebrew doesn't contain the words "who was" in that particular verse. It simply says "husband with her." That doesn't mean it can't be implied because the Hebrew copula is often absent but implied. In this case though I think the absence of "who was" weakens the case for Adam being present for the entire serpent dialogue.
    – Joseph O.
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 4:52
  • The problem with your question is wrong assumptions. Plz see my answer here: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/109084/17072
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 1:05

10 Answers 10

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The argument that Adam was present revolves around two points: the text speaking of Eve eating the fruit and giving some to her husband “with her” (Gen. 3:6) and the serpent using plural verbs as if he is talking to more than one person.

In support of the absence view, Adam is conspicuously absent from the dialogue and neither appears as the subject or object of any sentence in the narration. There is an exclusive verbal volley between Eve and the serpent: “serpent/he said unto the woman” (Gen. 3:1, 4) and the “the woman said unto the serpent” (Gen. 3:2). The controversial phrase “with her” can be understood in a relational rather than spatial context as in the way Adam retold events to God, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat (emphasis mine: Gen. 3:12). Obviously, “with me” in Adam’s words means “with me as my companion” and “with her” in the narrator's words could very well mean the same thing.

As far as the serpent using plural verbs and pronouns, this could show that the serpent's target was both Adam and Eve. The use of plurals would make it all the more surprising that Adam didn’t speak up if he were indeed present.

It is not the individual force of each of these arguments but their combined influence that, for me, tips the scales in favor of an absent Adam. I'm indebted to Elias Brazil de Souza for his reflections on this issue: Was Adam with Eve at the Scene of Temptation? A Short Note on “With Her” in Genesis 3:6.

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    Genesis 3:17 might also be helpful for arriving at an answer. Particularly, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife," The "...to the voice..." phrase sounds like extra qualifying language to me. Does that mean, "You heard what she said?" Does it mean, "She came afterward and related to you what happened?" Come to think of it, does it really matter since he "listened" (as in something like the somewhat archaic 'harken'? Commented May 24 at 20:55
  • I really like that observation Mike S. The fact that the garden curses show a differentiation of who listened to who (i.e., Eve deceived (listened) to serpent; Adam listened to wife) lends itself, I think, to Adam not being present. If Adam was present for the deception, why would Eve, and not the serpent, get thrown under the bus for being the one listened to (Gen 3:17). Love it.
    – Joseph O.
    Commented May 26 at 21:27
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Adam was NOT with Eve when Eve was tempted by the serpent.

The reason that the serpent attacked Eve when she was alone and away from Adam is that she was more likely to be tempted than Adam. Adam had heard God's command directly from God (Genesis 2:16-17), but Eve received the command indirectly through Adam (her creation is described subsequently in 2:22).

Ambrose of Milan (4th c.) explained:

[The devil] aimed to circumvent Adam by means of the woman. He did not accost the man who had in his presence received the heavenly command. He accosted her who had learned of it from her husband and who had not received from God the command which was to be observed. There is no statement that God spoke to the woman. We know that He spoke to Adam. Hence we must conclude that the command was communicated through Adam to the woman.

On Paradise, Ch. XII

The fact that Adam was not present, however, does not somehow excuse Adam from the sin. Seraphim Rose (American Orthodox monk) noted that "the success of the devil's temptation, finally, was due to his knowledge (or guess) as to what was in the heart of man himself. It was not the devil who caused Adam's fall, but Adam's own desire."* Ephraim the Syrian (4th c.) wrote:

The tempting would not have led into sin those who were tempted if the tempter had not been guided by their own desire. Even if the tempter had not come, the tree itself by its beauty would have led their desire into battle. Although the first ancestors sought an excuse for themselves in the counsel of the serpent, they were harmed more by their own desire than by the counsel of the serpent.

Commentary on Genesis


* Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision, p. 257

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When the scripture described something ambiguous, it might intend to avoid the readers focus on the wrong spot. I made this mistake myself for I expected Adam was Eve's watchman for he was the one received command from God (Gen 2:16-17). If Adam did not fulfill his role as a watchman, he was sinned, according to God told Ezekiel

7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.

8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. (Ezekiel 33:7-8 NIV)

So if Adam was Eve's watchman and he was with Eve and failed to prevent Eve from deceiving, he was accountable for the sin of Eve.

However, I was wrong.

Actually it doesn't matter whether Adam was with Eve or not. This concerns only if Adam sinned before Eve (if Adam present when Eve was deceived) or Eve sinned before Adam (if Adam did not present). But the sequence is not a determining factor, for sin is sin.

In 1 Timothy 2:14, Paul just quoted a fact that 'it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner'. He did not mean Adam was not a sinner, for we also see Paul said in Romans 5:19

19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 NIV)

The scripture might want us to be watchfulness on the nature of sin. It would be a mistake if we try to focus on how it happened, as if we try to find an excuse, a mistake that Adam had made when he answer God:

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12 NIV)

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The key is in God's response of course. He punished the serpent and Eve personally. He punished Adam indirectly.

Political correctness has no place in Biblical instruction.

Adam was not present, and the Bible shows this, because He was punished in an indirect manner.

Additionally, God said that the indirect punishment was not because Adam listened to the voice of the serpent, which would have been the case if He were present "with Her".

Adam was indirectly punished (as God indicated) because He listened to His wife.

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1Timothy tells us that it was Eve who was deceived, not Adam.

Genesis tells us Adam was with Eve, so Adam was there when the serpent tempted Eve.

So, how can it be Eve who was tempted while Adam was there? I think the answer is very simple. Adam was there, but the serpent addressed Eve. Adam stood there and let Eve take the lead, which he should not have.

I think it'll be more clear when we read 1Tim 2 in context, Paul says that women should not have authority over men and gives 1Tim 2:14 as an argument. The man (Adam) should have acted as the head of the union and told both Eve and the serpent: "As the man, I am the one that makes decisions such as this and in this case, my answer is no."

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    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 5:12
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Closely Related: What does "because of the angels" refer to in 1 Cor 11:10?


1. Question Restatement:

In Genesis 3, was Adam present when the serpent was talking with Eve?


2. Answer:

Even though it is explicit that Adam was "with / עמה" Eve when they ate the fruit - Neither the Hebrew nor Greek texts indicate that Adam was present with Eve during the dialogue.

It is most probable that Adam was present during the dialogue - but remained silent, while Eve was "standing before him", contending with the Serpent, and later with God.

The only possibility - in the text - where Adam may have been persuaded to disregard what he was commanded - is only if Adam was present during that dialogue.

Note 1: This answer is an inductive argument, asserting there is strong supporting evidence. However, this is also an argument that it is impossible to know for certain.

Note 2: There is no linguistic evidence - in the text - that they had been apart from each other, (i.e., "And Eve brought Adam the fruit ...", etc). See valid Arguments from Silence.


3. Hebrew Terms:

3.1. Certainly, "גם & עִמָּֽהּ / also and with" Indicates that they ate together:

Heb, Genesis 3:6 - גם־לאישה עמה ויאכל

LXX, Genesis 3:6 - τῷ ἀνδρὶ αὐτῆς μετ’ αὐτῆς καὶ ἔφαγον / [they ate, 3P Plural]

Literally. - Also to the man [to her / with her] they/he ate.

Judges 13:9 also uses "with / עִמָּֽהּ" to denote physical presence.

3.2. Certainly, the Dialogue was Between the Serpent and Eve as a Proxy:

NASB, Genesis 3:4 - 4 The serpent said to the woman [הָֽאִשָּׁ֑ה], “You surely will not die!"

NASB, Genesis 3:5 - For God knows that in the day you eat [אֲכָלְכֶ֣ם, third person plural] from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”


4. The Context

4.1. Eve's Role to Stand Before Adam - to Defend and Confront Adam:

NASB, Genesis 2:18 - Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable, (עזר כנגדו, Ezer Kenegdo) for him.”

NASB, Genesis 3:12 - The man said, “The woman whom You gave to [confront me / עִמָּדִ֔י], she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”

This texts indicates that Adam relied on Eve to confront him, and hold him accountable regarding decisions - but that in this case, he was persuaded to disregard what he was commanded.

"Ezer Kenegdo", from "עזר כנגדו" - means "Helper before Him". (There is no linguistic precedent to translate "כנגדו / kenegdo" as "Suitable".)

Idiomatic Use: "Standing Before" is an idiom used extensively throughout Hebrew Scripture, to invoke a "legal" sense - to imply: advocacy, accountability, championing another, etc, (Genesis 31:37, Genesis 33:12, etc).

4.2. Eve's Defense, as Adam's Advocate:

NASB, Genesis 2:13 - And the woman said, “The serpent deceived / נָשָׁא me, and I ate.”

In her argument, Eve didn't point her finger back at Adam - and instead essentially pleaded "Entrapment" - acknowledging that they did transgress the commandment - but only because they were improperly lured into doing so - by an angel who should have been advocating for them, (#5 - Below).

As a result: The text indicates that because Eve stood with, but before Adam - mercy prevailed over the judgment of death.

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    There is no "confront" in the NASB Gen 3:12 or in any other version, you are misquoting the bible text by inserting your own words. Don't use quotes or block quotes when using your own paraphrase or translation.
    – Michael16
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 8:53
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The Septuagint translation of Genesis 3 reads, “. . . And having taken of the fruit of it, she ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and they ate.” (Apostolic Polyglot Bible)

Unfortunately, most of Genesis 3, including this verse, is missing from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

EDIT: Here's the text of Genesis 3:6 from the Syriac Peshitta, which was written at the end of the third century CE and also predates all English translations:

And the woman saw that it was a tree good to eat, and was desirable to the eyes, and a tree desirable to gaze at, and she took from its fruit and ate, and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate.

Thus, it’s likely in this case that the contributors to the MT were using a different version.

However, Emanuel Tov, emeritus Professor in the Department of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Editor-in-Chief, International Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project, has made a point that in some instances there have been what he terms, “positional stages of Hebrew scripture” and “acts of theological editing.”

Here's a link to his 2006 lecture, "Exploring the Origins of the Bible," where he discusses different instances such as in Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 29, and Psalm 82, regarding references to “the sons of God” and the “divine assembly.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB5YFkJL_Aw

It could be argued that the well-documented misogyny among the Jewish religious leadership (not to ignore the same among the gentiles) led to a desire to distance Adam from Eve in this episode, and provided a motive for removing Adam’s immediate presence from the text.

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  • Once again, there's the ubiquitous downvote. So, let me ask, which of the above points is NOT a simple fact? The references were to the LXX, which predated ALL English translations; the Dead Sea Scrolls which unfortunately did not preserve Genesis 3:16; and the opinions of an eminent Jewish scholar regarding documented revisions and rescentions to the original text. However, I did leave out the text from the Syriac Peshitta from the end of the third century CE, which I'll edit in.
    – Dieter
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 15:21
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I just wanted to say, Eve was deceived. See, it says that God told Adam, but there is no record of God telling Eve. Eve was deceived, and Adam was punished more because it was his seed that lost eternal life. Adam had to have been with her. He didn't stop her, and he waited until she tested it before he did. The lack of eternal life comes through the Y Chromosome.

Romans 5:12-20 New International Version (NIV)

"Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

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First of all, In the book of Genesis, there is no passage in the book where God told Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge. By this, when Eve told Satan that she would die if she ate, even though the text does not say, she had to get this information from her husband, Adam.

Secondly, If God had gave Adam specific instructions on what tree not to eat from, AND the fact that he (Adam) gave Eve the same info, do you think if Adam was there he would have allowed the deception to take place? The key word here is "cunning" which means the serpent waited until Eve was alone to start the deception. It 's no different than a Cunning Man, who knows a woman is say married or involved with someone, and tries to hit on her. He will wait until her Man is not around and with deception will try to make a play.

Thirdly, The "With Her" statement. I believe that when the deception took place, Adam was somewhere tending to the garden as he was before Eve was formed. Eve took the fruit, went to Adam, and at that time gave Adam the fruit. We have no idea if the fruit on one tree looked different than the fruit on the tree of life, etc. Since this is the case, Adam's mistake was not asking Eve where she got the fruit from. I believe that since he had already told Eve not to eat of a certain tree, he trusted her to do the right thing, so he ate the fruit because he thought it was okay. That's why Adam was upset with and blamed Eve when God asked him about eating the fruit. So no, he was not there when Eve was deceived.

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    "The key word here is "cunning" which means the serpent waited until Eve was alone to start the deception." How do you know this? How is that part of the meaning of cunning?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 22:11
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I think Adam was not present when Eve was deceived, because

1 Timothy 2:14 (NIV) And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

if Adam was not deceived how than he would allow his beloved wife Eve to be deceived to eat the forbidden fruit. and also the word "with her" could not only means that Adam was with her in that place, it could be like she is living with Adam (sorry im not eloquent in english) eg: if some one ask us "are you living alone ?" we use to say "im with my parents" that doesnt mean the parents are with me at that place they could be at home or work. so Moses may try to say that she gave the fruit to Adam who is living with her since its ancient Hebrews.

We may never find out! In the Hebrew text, Chabad.org, it states וַיֹּאכַֽל׃ (and he did eat 'verb') עִמָּ֖הּ (with her 'preposition') A preposition is a word or set of words that indicates location. They did eat it together but it can be argued if the serpent was there at the time. So it may never be conclusive whether Adam was actually there at the moment of temptation but I do know that all three, the serpent, Eve and Adam were present when God pronounced judgement. Genesis 3:14/19

14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

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;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

As for 1 Timothy 2:14 The author was addressing brash and controlling women in the church. If you read from 2:12 to 2:14 the context becomes clear that the discussion is about church matters. A good read is John Gill's commentary on this subject. Be sure to read through to verse 14.

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