The direct translation of Gen 3:1 is that the serpent was cunning out of the living of the field.

  • The word for 'beast' in our English Bibles is the Hebrew word for 'living'.
  • The word for 'more' is not used in this sentence? Am I right?
  • 'Cunning' is arum which also means 'naked'. Adam and Eve were also arum / naked.

Thus, the serpent wasn't MORE arum than anything living, he was just arum, like Adam and Eve.

Am I reading this correctly? Even when using an Interlinear Bible and a Hebrew translator I cannot find the word for 'more' in this verse. If I am right, this will change a lot of things.

Also, notice how the word for 'serpent' is actually derived from the verb which means 'to practice divination', so the noun would mean 'someone/thing that is divining'. And this 'thing' which is translated 'serpent' was as arum as Adam and Eve was

Was it really something outside of Eve? Or was it the hiss of her inner spirit which led to her questioning God's command?

3 Answers 3


Hebrew lacks adjectives with comparative (elative) forms. Instead, it uses the prefixed מ to indicate comparison. (Also, see this question and this answer.)

As Joüon and Muraoka note,1

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Examples include,

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1 Joüon, Muraoka, §141g, p. 487. Also, see Ewald, §519, p. 327; Gesenius, §133, p. 429–432; Pratico, Van Pelt, §6.6.1., p. 53–54 (2nd ed.)
Joüon, Paul; Muraoka, Tamitsu. Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. 3rd Reprint. 2nd ed. Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press, 2011.
  • Thank you - is that a Hebrew mem that is added as a prefix? Jun 16, 2021 at 3:09
  • @LisaCremer—Yes. The prefixed mem מ is of course short for the preposition מִן. Jun 16, 2021 at 3:49

@ Welcome to you to be part of this site, from today on.

As regards your question, maybe could be useful to you to read an answer I posted about 8 months ago (Why is עֲרוּמִּ֔ים (Gen 2:25) translated "naked," and in the very next verse its singular form, עָר֔וּם (Gen 3:1), is translated "crafty/shrewd?").

Even if it does not answer exactly to your question, I believe it contains some interesting points that brings to light a number of pivotal concepts useful for your current research.



Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.

The word for 'more' is not used in this sentence? Am i right?

As pointed out by Übermensch, Hebrew does not have an adverb like 'more'. Instead, the 'more' concept is expressed by the prefix, מִ

than any
מִכֹּל֙ (mik·kōl)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 3605: The whole, all, any, every

The prefix works like the greater than symbol, >.

crafty, cunning
עָר֔וּם (‘ā·rūm)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 6175: Crafty, shrewd, sensible

Genesis 2:25

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

עֲרוּמִּ֔ים (‘ă·rūm·mîm)
Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's 6174: Nude, either partially, totally

The two Hebrew words are different but related.

Was the serpent really something outside of Eve?

Yes. Genesis 3:

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and every beast of the field!
On your belly will you go,
and dust you will eat,
all the days of your life.
15And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

God did not speak to a figment of Eve's inner imagination. The serpent was external and real.

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