Friday, April 8, 2011

Till and Keep

This morning I read an interesting paper by Margaret Barker entitled "Adam the High Priest in the Paradise Temple". You can read the paper in its entirety by clicking here. There was a very interesting paragraph that explains Genesis 2:15 when Adam is commanded to "till and keep" the garden that I wanted to share. Here is the paragraph:

In each Genesis story, Adam was created as male-and female, and only later, after being set in the garden as high priest, was Adam separated into distinct male and female beings. He was set in the garden ‘to till and to keep’- the usual translation - but both these words have a temple meaning (Gen.2.15), and Adam was understood to be a high priest even though that is not explicit. ‘Till’ ‘bd, was also the technical term for temple service, and ‘keep’, šmr, meant to preserve the tradition. The traditional Jewish interpretations did not think this was a command about gardening. The debate was: did it mean serve for six days and then preserve the Sabbath, or serve God and perform the sacred duties (Genesis Rabbah XVI.5).

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