Renowned biblical sleuth and scholar Richard Elliot Friedman reveals the first work of prose literature in the world-a 3000-year-old epic hidden within the books of the Hebrew Bible. Written by a single, masterful author but obscured by ancient editors and lost for millennia, this brilliant epic of love, deception, war, and redemption is a compelling account of humankind's complex relationship with God. Friedman boldly restores this prose masterpiece-the very heart of the Bible-to the extraordinary form in which it was originally written.
In the day that YHWH made earth and skies
-- 5. when all produce of the field had not yet been in theearth, and all vegetation of the field had not yet grown, forYHWH had not rained on the earth, and there had been nohuman to work the ground, 6. and a river had come up fromthe earth and watered the whole face of the ground--
7. YHWH fashioned a human, dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became a living being.
8. And YHWH planted a garden in Eden at the cast, and he set the human whom He had fashioned there. 9. And YHWH caused every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good for food to grow, and the tree of life within the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad.
10. And a river had gone out from Eden to water the garden, and it was dispersed from there and became four heads. I 1. The name of one was Pishon; that is the one that circles all the land of Havilah where there is gold. 12. And that land's gold is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13. And the name of the second river is Gihon; that is the one that circles all the land of Cush. 14. And the name of the third river is Tigris; that is the one that goes cast of Assyria. And the fourth river: that is Euphrates.
15. And YHWH took the human and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and to watch over it. 16. And YHWH commanded the human, saying, "You may eat from every tree of the garden. 17 But from the tree of knowledge of good and bad: you shall not eat from it, because in the day you eat from it: you'll die!"
18. And YHWH said, "It's not good for the human to be by himself. I'll make for him a strength corresponding to him." 19. And YHWH fashioned from the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the skies and brought it to the human to see what he would call it. And whatever the human would call it, each living being, that would be its name. 20. And the human gave names to every beast and bird of the skies and every animal of the field. But He did not find for the human a strength corresponding to him.
21. And YHWH caused a slumber to descend on the human, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs and closed flesh in its place. 22. And YHWH built the rib that He had taken from the human into a woman and brought her to the human. 23. And the human said, "This time is it: bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This will be called 'woman,' for this one was taken from 'man.'"
24. On account of this a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his woman, and they become one flesh.
25. And the two of them were naked, the human and his woman, and they were not embarrassed.
3: 1. And the snake was slier than every animal of the field that YHWH had made, and he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said you may not cat from any tree of the garden? "
2. And the woman said to the snake, "We may cat from the fruit of the trees of the garden. 3. But from the fruit of the tree that is within the garden God has said, 'You shall not cat from it, and you shalt not touch it, or else you'll die.'"
4. And the snake said to the woman, "You won't die! 5. Because God knows that in the day you cat from it your eyes will be opened, and you'll be like God--knowing good and bad." 6. And the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was an attraction to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to bring about understanding, and she took some of its fruit, and she ate, and gave to her man with her, and he ate. 7 And the eyes of the two of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they picked fig leaves and made loincloths for themselves.
8. And they heard the sound of YHWH walking in the garden in the wind of the day, and the human and his woman hid from YHWH among the garden's trees. 9. And YHWH called the human and said to him, "Where are you? "
10. And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden and was afraid because I was naked, and I hid.
11. And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to cat? "
12. And the human said, "The woman, whom you placed with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate. "
13. And YHWH said to the woman, "What is this that you've done? "
And the woman said, "The snake tricked me, and I ate."
14. And YHWH said to the snake, "Because you did this, you are cursed out of every domestic animal and every animal of the field, you'll go on your belly, and you'll eat dust all the days of your life. 15. And I'll put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He'll strike you at the head, and you'll strike him at the heel."
16. To the woman He said, "I'll make your suffering and your labor pain great. You'll have children in pain. And your desire will be for your man, and he'll dominate you."