G-d said: "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'"

And the serpent said: "Ye shall not surely die; 5 for G-d doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil."

And after Eve and Adam eaten the apple, they didn't die, but knew good and evil.

Thus, what the serpent said, was happened, and what G-d said, wasn't.

Is there an explanation for this... for me, very annoying event?

  • 3
    They did die after they ate it...
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 1:09

2 Answers 2


Your quote is what Eve responded to the serpent which was not accurate. She added the touch and softened the punishment. Hashem said in 2:17 "on the day that you eat of it you will surely die" which did come true since "a thousand years is but a day" and they died within that "day". Thus, what Hashem said came true.

See Rav Hirsch on 3:2-3.


Hashem said:


הַדַּ֙עַת֙ ט֣וֹב וָרָ֔ע

לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ



אֲכׇלְךָ֥ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ

מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת

Translation (according to the traditional nikud and cantillation):

And from the tree

of knowledge good and bad

you shall eat not from him


in a day

your eating is from him

die you will die

(Gen 2:17)

The woman said:

וּמִפְּרִ֣י הָעֵץ֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתוֹךְ־הַגָּן֒

אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים

לֹ֤א תֹֽאכְלוּ֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ

וְלֹ֥א תִגְּע֖וּ בּ֑וֹ



And from fruit of the tree which is inside the garden

Said Elohim

You shall eat not from him

And you shall touch not in him

lest you will die

(Gen. 3:3)

The serpent said:




No, die

You will die

(Gen. 3:4)

Here is my understanding:

Hashem commanded the man not to eat from the tree, and he attached a warning to the command. However, the warning is ambiguous as to whether it refers to a consequence that will inevitably result from eating the tree, i.e. a result already set into the order of nature, or whether it is simply Hashem saying I will make the choice to strike you down in punishment if you do this. The ambiguity arises because of the fluidity of the word כי.

An additional ambiguity arises in that Hashem does not say in the day you eat you will die, but in a day. If he was warning about a natural consequence, perhaps he meant you may not die at first, but it will draw you in and one day it will kill you. If he meant a penalty, perhaps he was not limiting himself to the man's measure of days -- which may be what Chazal are relying on when they say he was talking in God-days in which one day is a thousand years (see Ps. 90:4). It is also possible for the first interpretation to work according to this possibility too.

The woman restated God's words as "lest you die," implying she held the interpretation that the warning was about an inevitable natural consequence. The serpent answered with a direct quote from God, adding the word the woman had left out and replaced with "lest": "die you will die." This doubling of language is common in discussions of penalties (see e.g. Lev. 20). The snake is trying to impress upon the woman that God is not warning you about some law of nature, he is telling you he will punish you. In fact, the snake goes on, he is only being strict about this because he is afraid you will become smart like him.

The Torah never says the snake lied, and strictly speaking he didn't. The snake simply played on the woman's weakness. He corrected her, and used the credibility he gained to lead her into temptation.

Nor did Hashem lie or say anything untrue, as the ambiguities outlined above show.

  • Nice, very concise, IMHO. +1
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 6:51

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