Lilith’s legend can account for many events that transpired in the garden for which Genesis gives no explanation. Her legend can explain why God’s permission to eat of every tree was rescinded, why the Tree of Knowledge came to exist, and why God commanded Adam to guard the garden.
As we have already seen, when God first created the man and woman he gave them permission to eat of every tree. However, God later rescinded his permission. Adam was no longer allowed to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What could have transpired to so drastically change God’s command? The explanation is that in the beginning the Tree of Knowledge did not exist. Only after Adam was placed in the garden did the tree come to exist, and once it existed, God forbid Adam from eating of it. This is recorded in Ge 2:8-9 and 17. In verse 8 God plants the garden and establishes the man there. In verse 9 God causes the Tree of Knowledge to grow from the ground. In verse 17 the man is forbidden from eating of the tree.
Ge 2:8-10, 15 (KJV)8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.…15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Ge 2:8-9, 15 (My Literal)8 And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he established the man whom he had formed.9 And Jehovah God grew from the adamah every tree pleasant to sight and good for food, and the tree of the life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.10 And a river went out from Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became into four heads.…15 And Jehovah God took the man, and led him in the garden of Eden, to serve it and to guard it.
Why did the Tree of Knowledge come to exist? Verse 9 gives an important clue. It indicates that the woman may have been responsible. The verse states that God grew the Tree of Knowledge “from ha’adamah.” As we have seen, ha’adamah can poetically be understood to refer to either “the ground” or “the woman.” Given that just a couple of verses earlier ha’adamah was used in reference to the woman whose face was water watered by the mist, it seems clear that the passages could be referring (at least poetically) to that woman. Verse 9 would then be referring to the woman as the source of the tree. The notion that the woman is responsible is supported by the word for “grew” in verse 9. It is tsamach (xmu – Strongs 6779). This is the same word used in Ge 2:5 to denote Adam’s responsibility for “growing” cultivated crops. This hints that the tree could have grown from the cultivating work of the woman. Although it is clear in verse 9 that God is causing the growing of the tree, perhaps it is through “the woman” that God accomplishes this work.
Note that Adam was created outside of garden. He was put in the garden in verse 8. Thus, the man was created outside the garden and that is where the mist erupted and watered the ground. Only the Tree of Life is said to be in the garden. The Tree of Knowledge is a subset of the first group, of every tree pleasant to the eye and good for food. These trees are from the adamah defiled by the mist.
Even if ha’adamah should primarily be understood as meaning “ground” in verse 9, it can still be understood as poetically referencing the woman. It is very telling that the passage stresses that God grew the tree from the ground. From where else would he grow them? It is unnecessary to state the obvious. When this superfluous mention of the ground is mated to the fact that just a few verses earlier the same ground was ruined by the mist, we understand that the passage could be poetically linking the woman of the defiled ground to the trees which God caused to grow in the garden. Lilith’s legend provides the only basis for linking the defiling mist to the Tree of Knowledge.
Many other events are happening in the garden at the same time that the Tree of Knowledge grows from the ground. The Tree of Life also grows in the garden, as do many trees with similar characteristics to the Tree of Knowledge. These are trees pleasant to the sight and good for food, as Eve uses very similar words to describe the Tree of Knowledge in Ge 3:6. In addition, a river begins to flow out of Eden into the garden, which lies on the eastern border of Eden. And in the garden, the river splits into four heads.
Lilith’s legend also explains why God gave Adam the command to “guard” the garden in verse 15. The Hebrew word is shamar (rms – Strongs 8104). The KJV renders it “keep”, but its literal meaning is more precisely to “keep watch” or “to guard.” The command to guard the garden implied there was a new threat against it. The new circumstances may be the aftermath of Adamah’s rebellion. Indeed, Adam should have certainly been more on guard for the rebellious Serpent, whom is Lilith.
That circumstances in the garden changed is also supported by verse 15. It states that God “took” hold of the man and began to lead him in the garden. The man was already put in the garden in verse 8. This second taking of the man implies he was taken from a situation to another where God began to be personally involved with him. This change of situation could be Lilith’s rebellion.
There is yet another fascinating and peculiar word choice in the passage. The word I render as “and led him” in verse 15 is v’yanachahav (sp wh:xny:w). The KJV renders it “and put him”, taking its root to be yanach (xny – Strongs 3240), which means to “to put” or “to let alone.” Given this etymology, the meaning of “to set alone” is suggestive of a separation of Adam from a mate, this being Lilith. However, the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) and other modern translations take the word to be from the related root nuwach (xwn – Strongs 5117), which means “to rest” from work or any arduous effort or calamity. This meaning also fits very nicely with the Lilith legend, as the passage can be read to say that God caused Adam “to rest” from all his troubles. These troubles would certainly be the rebellions of Lilith.
I hold out yet another possibility for the root of v’yanachahav. By my analysis the root is probably nachah (hxn – Strongs 5148), which means “to lead” or “to carry.” This would mean that God then became personally involved with Adam and led the man in garden, in order that the man might serve and guard it. My identification of the root as nachah is based on the only other two exact spellings of wh:xny:w in the Bible. They come in Ge 19:16 and 1Ki 13:29. The KJV rather inaccurately renders the word “and set him” and “and laid it” in each verse respectively. However, the more literal translation of the word in each verse is “and led him.” In Ge 19:16 the angels took hold of Lot’s hands, and his family’s hands “and led him” outside the city. In 1Ki 13:29 the prophet took the man’s body “and led (carried) him to the ass.” In 1Ki 13:29 there is a preposition “to” in the Hebrew which is un-translated in the KJV. This confirms my translation, as one could not “lay him to the ass”, but one could “lead (carry) him to the ass.”
Ge 19:16 (KJV)And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
1Ki 13:29 (KJV)And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.