Genesis 3:1-3:24 – Structure and Formula

Structure and Formula

Overall Structure

  • A – 3:1                        Challenge to Prohibition
  • B – 3:2-3                     Challenge to Regulation
  • C – 3:4-5                     Man becoming Like God
  • D – 3:6-7                     Woman’s Reasoning and Both Man and Woman Clothed
  • E – 3:8-10                    Trees of the Garden and Man Realizing Nakedness
  • F – 3:11-12                  Q: Did you eat and Break my Command.  A: Woman’s Fault
  • G – 3:13a                     Q: Woman – What have you done? (She gave/convinced the Man.)
  • H – 3:13b                    R: Serpent Deceived Me
  • X – 3:14                      Serpent and Animals Cursed
  • H’ – 3:15                      Hostility Between Woman and Serpent
  • G’ – 3:16                      Woman Suffering in Birth of Sons and Conflict with Man
  • F’ – 3:17                      Obeyed Woman Over God
  • E’ – 3:18-19                 Cursed Ground not Producing Food and Man Returns to Dust
  • D’ – 3:20-21                 Woman’s Role and Both Man and Woman Clothed
  • C’ – 3:22a                    Man Becoming Like God
  • B’ – 3:22b-23               Regulation
  • A’ – 3:24                      Prohibition

Observations from this Structure

  1. The center (X) is the curse on the living creatures (3:14). This is the emphasis placed upon the passage.
  2. Pairing of AB→A’B’ indicate that the warning “you must surely die” indicates expulsion from the Garden and the Tree of Life.
  3. Pairing of F-F’ indicate that crime was to Obey Woman over God.
  4. Correlated Judgments
    1. EE’ – (Man) Gentleness of Garden → Cursed Ground; Naked → Return to Dust
    2. GG’ – (Woman) What have you done? (Lured/Gave to Man) → Pain in Birthing Sons and Conflict with Man
    3. HH’ – (Serpent) Serpent Deceived Woman → Serpent cursed above all Creatures and Enmity Between Serpent and Woman

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