Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Genesis 3:7
Naked – Why did Adam and Havvah realize they were naked? Were they in such a joyous stupor prior to eating from the Tree that they just didn’t think about it? What made them suddenly aware that they weren’t wearing clothes? For that matter, how did they ever imagine that they needed to be covered? Not one single example of creatures with coverings existed in the world. No animal wore pants. Why did they have the need to cover up?
The rabbis tell us that the discovery of their nakedness had almost nothing to do with being exposed. Instead, it had everything to do with being revealed. When Adam and Havvah ate from the Tree, they stripped themselves of the covering of the commandment. They cast off the only “clothing” they needed – obedience to God’s word. They were naked because they no longer had the protection afforded by the mitzvah (the commandment). Once again we see that the Jewish conception of the commandments is real, tangible and concrete. Clothed in God’s commandment, they were safe at home. But disobedience stripped them of that clothing and now they weren’t safe anywhere.
We can “see” a bit more of the implications in the use of the Hebrew verb paqah (to open). The pictograph is “mouth + behind + fence.” “To open (mouth) the fence of what is behind (the future).” When they disobeyed, they looked into their future, a future without covering. No man can live without protection. So they tried to cover themselves – and they failed miserably because the only real covering for human beings is God’s commandments. Their eyes were uncovered to the truth of their predicament. They saw that they were uncovered with uncovered eyes.
This shows us that sin is the loss of covering. It is the loss of mitzvot. Sin is not simply the violation of God’s rules. It is a tangible loss of something we need to survive. It strips us of protection. We are revealed as creatures outside of God’s benevolence. We are destined for death since nothing can survive without God’s covering. Perhaps this little insight into nakedness shines light on the idea of covering in the New Testament. Perhaps it helps us understand a bit more about the covering of the blood. Perhaps it helps us see how vitally important the commandments are for life.
How would your behavior change today if you realized that rejecting or ignoring a commandment of the Lord left you vulnerable and unprotected?
Topical Index: naked, covering, sin, commandments, ‘arumim, Genesis 3:7
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