and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate, and gave also to her husband with her; and he ate Genesis 3:6
With Her – “Why, oh, why did you come into my life? Why did God send you to me? Look what a mess you’ve caused? It’s all your fault!” Adam has a sad song to sing very soon after he and his ‘ezer kenedgo ate from the Tree. But when she offered him the fruit, he didn’t reject it. He didn’t say, “Now wait a minute. God said not to eat from this tree. Why are you doing this?” No, he went right along with her. Why?
The first thing we notice is that the Hebrew text makes it very clear that Adam was not off fishing while Havvah was conversing with the serpent. He was right there beside her! The Hebrew is ‘immah. It doesn’t just mean that he was standing there. It means that he was agreeing with everything that was happening. The preposition ‘im carries the meaning of something done together or in common. This is not the exclusive sin of the ‘ezer. This is mutual culpability.
My wife and I love doing things together. In fact, when we got married, we agreed that the life of the corporate world where husband and wife occupy two different realities was not for us. We tried to spend as much time as possible doing the same things. That has been increasingly difficult as we have weathered financial storms, but the truth is that when we can just spend the day together, we are very happy. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Adam and his ‘ezer. They were the only human occupants of God’s Garden. What joy it must have been to discover all that God put there, to walk hand in hand through the creation of the Lord, observing the perfect harmony of the ordered world. And Adam knew, in his bones, that the one walking beside him was exactly right for him. She was his complement in the perfect order of existence. So, it’s not surprising at all to find that he is right there during the serpent’s conversation.
What is surprising is that Adam doesn’t say a word. He doesn’t object, resist or challenge anything. He submits to her suggestion and follows her lead. Why? Isn’t he the one who is supposed to remember? Isn’t he the zakar? Of course he is. When God asks him why he ate of the fruit, he offers the reasonable excuse. “I just did what she told me to do. That’s what You made her for, God. To give me direction.” And he’s right. That is what the ‘ezer is supposed to do. She is responsible for her mate’s relationship guidance. Adam did what she said because he trusted her. But it was a huge mistake.
The woman fails to maintain the boundaries. She fails to recognize the difference between how she is made and how she might be made. Because she does not see the difference between being equipped by God and being self-sufficient, she steps over the line. And Adam follows. He forgets that the Lord told him something else. Both the man and the woman violate their essential, God-created character. But that’s what sin does. It violates who we really are.
Was it a mistake to trust her? No. The only place in the Bible where the Hebrew word for trust (batach) is used positively between human beings is in Proverbs 31:11. That verse instructs a man to trust his wife. In every other case, the use of batach as a positive declaration of trust is between a man and God. Adam was not wrong to trust her. A man is supposed to trust his wife in the same way that he trusts God. Adam’s problem is not trust. It’s remembering. When Adam fails to be who he really is – the one who remembers – then the slate is wiped clean and all that is left is trust. But trust without truth is sin. Trust without remembering the truth is like sailing without a compass. You can trust that the wind will fill the sails and propel you forward, but you have no idea where you are going. Paul was entirely correct to say, “As by one man, sin entered the world.” He did not have to say, “As by one woman.” Adam was right there, forgetting how God made him and what he was supposed to be.
The reason that I trust God is that He is unwaveringly true. That is the divine standard of the ‘ezer – action based on unwavering truthfulness. But since the Fall, everyone wavers. We need an outside voice of correction to correspond to our inside voice of direction. We need a compass that is not influenced by our idea of True North. Adam forgot the truth – and his trust killed him. Eve forgot her boundaries – and her step slew her.
If you are in complement with another, you will need both truth and boundaries before trust and direction can accomplish their purposes. Don’t confuse them no matter how desirable the fruit.
Topical Index: Adam, trust, with her, ‘immah, batach, boundaries, truth, Genesis 3:6