Gen 2:24 – Who is speaking?

We objected to Bro Heavyside’s assertion that Adam prophetically spoke Gen 2:24, on the basis that critique was invited of the exposition in the book. Bro Heavyside acknowledges the Hebrew (“therefore”) introducing Gen 2:24 is often used as a narrator’s interjection to explain the events as the basis of ongoing custom/practice. His counter arguments aren’t contextual. In Gen 2:23 Adam is clearly speaking. Gen 2:25 it is clearly God/narrator. Bro Heavyside is claiming v24 is still Adam under inspiration as a prophet. He has the burden of proof yet doesn’t attempt to prove his claim, let alone the contrary pointers.

We have re-read the relevant section in Bro Heavyside’s book where he claims Adam spoke Gen 2:24 and that the utterance was inspired/prophetic. We ultimately agree on the essential issue – v24 is God’s opinion (whoever vocalised it). In his reply to our remarks he has doubled down on Adam being the speaker.

While acknowledging the evidence of the transition “therefore…” of Gen 2:24 being frequently used as a narrative introduction of custom practice, he suggests it is rather used as a continuation of the narrative as in other instances in Genesis. Let’s compare them side by side.

Therefore (ʽl kn) in a continuous narrative Features
“Then God said to [Abimelech] in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore [ʽl kn] I did not let you touch her’” (Gen. 20:6) “Then [Joseph’s brothers] said to one another, ‘In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why [ʽl kn] this distress has come upon us’” (Gen. 42:21) The structure is:

 

·       Narrative of an event with a problem

·       Therefore

·       A logical conclusion for the local protagonists.

 

 

The application of this use of “therefore” is already evidently shaky since the conclusions are clearly local ones, conclusions relevant only to the specific parties.

Therefore (ʽl kn) introducing custom/practice Features
“He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” (Gen 10:9) So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.

Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Gen 11:8-9)

 

Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the city was called Zoar” (Gen 19:22) The structure is:

 

·       Historical event

·       Therefore

·       An enduring situation is created (a proverb, a name)

 

 

Look at the flow of Gen 2:23-25

23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.”

24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 

Clearly here is the event in the narrative

 

 

 

Therefore

A conclusion – which doesn’t just apply locally but is an enduring situation with broad application

 

25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

 

Clearly by this verse we are unambiguously in the hands of the narrator.

Bro Heavyside claims it is incorrect to read “therefore” in v24 as marking a change to the divine narrator. He claims v24 is missing the typical hallmarks like “therefore it is said, or “therefore its name was called” or “to this day”. Incorrect. These words mark the tradition. “It is called” stands in the same place as “a man leaves his father and his mother”. In each of these cases we have a broad long-lasting situation which reflects the proceeding occurrence. The event happens and the narrator explains the lasting broad impact of the events.

With regard to one of the narrator’s interjections we mentioned, bro Heavyside makes further objection. He writes:

“In Genesis 47:22, “Therefore” features within a narrative statement about the experience of the Egyptian priests as an explanation of why they did not need to sell their land. It is not obvious why this should read as “the origin of a name, or custom, or proverb” – it speaks of a unique circumstance.”

Gen 47 is a slightly different case but very much in context with a custom as the verse shows:

Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land (Gen 47:22)

Obviously in this instance the “therefore” is explain how a custom/practice impacted the events – so in a sense it is backwards to the usual order of an event happens which warrants the explanatory “therefore” interjection linking the event to the origin of a custom/practice. The word functions similarly – though in this instance the custom which needs explaining was dictating events not the other way round. This doesn’t negate the evidence on the significance of the word and its contextual use in Gen 2:24.

Contrary to the assertions made, the language in Gen 2:24 points to God/His narrator being the voice in Gen 2:24. That Adam’s words in Gen 2:23 are quoted in Eph 5 says nothing as to the speaker of v24.

 

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