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17 But to Adam[a] he said,

“Because you obeyed[b] your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
‘You must not eat from it,’
the ground is cursed[c] because of you;
in painful toil you will eat[d] of it all the days of your life.

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  1. Genesis 3:17 tn Since there is no article on the word, the personal name is used, rather than the generic “the man” (cf. NRSV).
  2. Genesis 3:17 tn The idiom “listen to the voice of” often means “obey.” The man “obeyed” his wife and in the process disobeyed God.
  3. Genesis 3:17 sn For the ground to be cursed means that it will no longer yield its bounty as the blessing from God had promised. The whole creation, Paul writes in Rom 8:22, is still groaning under this curse, waiting for the day of redemption.
  4. Genesis 3:17 sn In painful toil you will eat. The theme of eating is prominent throughout Gen 3. The prohibition was against eating from the tree of knowledge. The sin was in eating. The interrogation concerned the eating from the tree of knowledge. The serpent is condemned to eat the dust of the ground. The curse focuses on eating in a “measure for measure” justice. Because the man and the woman sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, God will forbid the ground to cooperate, and so it will be through painful toil that they will eat.

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