"Unto Adam also and to his wife did Yahweh Elohim make coats of skins, and clothed them." [Genesis 3:21]
The origin of clothing finds itself in the sin of the representatives of mankind. Adam and Eve were both and not ashamed prior to their fall (Genesis 2:25); soon thereafter their sin made them feel a need to cover their ness with loincloths or aprons (Genesis 3:7). This must not have been a sufficient covering in Yahweh's sight for Genesis 3:21 reports to us that Yahweh made both Adam and Eve "coats" of skin and clothed them.
The word "coats" in the King James Version and many other versions of the Bible is somewhat of an unfortunate translation. Yes the KJV translates the underlying Hebrew word for coat as "coat" some 23 of the 29 times it is found in Hebrew Scripture. Of the remaining times we have 5 translations of "garment" and 1 translation of "robe."
However, although the New American Standard Bible translates Genesis 3:21's use of the word as "garments" the majority of the time it uses the translation "tunic" (20 out of 29 times). Other translations in the NASB are "coat" (2x), "dress" (1x), and "garment" (6x).
A detailed study of this Hebrew word (ketoneth) easily reveals that the best translation is found in our English words "tunic" or "robe." For the most part it is not difficult to find a person who is unwilling to admit that in the days of Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, and Yeshua the Messiah the basic garment for both men and women were robes. What is a little more difficult to persuade people on is that the reason Hebrew men and women dressed like this was based upon the appointing of such a garment by Yahweh in Genesis 3:21. In other words, garments like or similar to pants, shorts, mini-skirts, etc. were in existence then, but those Israelites following the plan of Yahweh given to Adam and Eve dressed in the prescribed garment of their federal ancestry.
Back in 2004 I began a study on women's apparel in the Bible. The more I studied the more I found out that I didn't know nearly as much as I initially thought I did. Genesis 3:21 became somewhat of a "fridge text" (you know the one in your kitchen) for the subject. One great point that comes to my mind as I write this now concerns the word "make" in Genesis 3:21. The KJV says that Yahweh "made" (or "...did Yahweh make") tunics for Adam and Even and clothed them. A first glance automatically takes our mind to the making of clothes by a seamstress, but surely Yahweh did not get out a heavenly needle and thread and commence to sew. A much better translation for the Hebrew word here (asah; see Psalm 104:19) would be appoint or appointed. Yahweh appointed this clothing for Adam and Eve. This is the type of clothing Yahweh wanted them to wear for modesty.
Tunics and robes in ancient Biblical times were basically this: a long shirt-like garment that had mid to long sleeves and reached anywhere from the knees to the ankles. The garment was loose and sufficiently draped over the mid-section of both man and woman. The pants worn by most in America today certainly do not fit this description. Pants accent the mid-section on both men and women rather than modestly clothe it. Sure, some pants are more loose than others, but nevertheless this is not the garment that Yahweh appointed in Genesis.
I'll pick up more on this in a later post but for now let me just say that people in general have lost their sense of modesty, both men and women. It is not a priority in the lives of humans today. People do not ask themselves the question "Is this modest enough?" when pouring through clothing at the department store. As a matter of fact it appears from noticing the populous in this country that people actually shop for clothing that they feel is immodest. This only lights the fire of sexual immorality. Men and women need to realize that their body is for their mate; whether they are married or single. I mention the single crowd because they need to save their self for their future husband or wife, not only in the issue of marital , but also in the issue of not allowing others to see what is only intended for their future spouse.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1 KJV]
Last but certainly not least we come to the end of verse one where we read, "...and the word was God". We have up to this point noted the following:
(1) In the beginning references us to the original creation and reminds us of Genesis 1:1.
(2) The "word" that was in the beginning is a plan, promise, purpose placed into a spoken word; in this case the spoken word of Yahweh (Psalm 33:6).
(3) This plan is said to be "with" Yahweh in the sense that in Hebrew thought a man's plans or words are "with him" that is to say "in his mind or thought".
But what about the word being God?
First, think about it in relation to you and your own word. Your word is expressive of your very being. Even “old timers” say, “A man’s word is his bond,” or “A man’s only as good as his word.”A man’s thoughts, plans, promises, purpose, words, etc. are (in Hebraic thought) said to be with him, and can also be said to be him in some sense of the phrase. Your thoughts and plans are reflective of yourself. I have a good friend who's been in carpentry for over 25 years. His thoughts, plans, and words often come out in the form of a finished house. The finished house show's forth the excellency and skill of the carpenter; the house is not one-to-one identical with the carpenter but is an expression of the previously existing plans in the mind of the carpenter.
Secondly, let me say that a technicality must be discussed here in reference to the translation of John 1:1c. Please stay with me as I know technicalities can sometimes be difficult, but you must realize that the Bible was not written in English and the translations into English do not always exactly “mirror” the original intent of the original language. In this case we must look at the Greek text of John 1:1c in order to determine the proper understanding of the “word was God.”
Literally the text reads: “kai theos en o logos,” which is in English “and God was the word.” In Greek this reveals to us that the word is the subject because of the definite article “the” before it. Notice that there is no definite article before theos (God), showing that this use of God is slightly different from the former use of God in this very same verse. John 1:1b “the word was with God” literally reads “the word was withthe God,” with “the” God meaning Father Yahweh. This is why translations of John 1:1c place “the word” first in the clause. It is because the subject is the word and God is used as somewhat of an adjective and not a noun as in John 1:1b. (Adjectives describe nouns and even adverbs at times. A very simple sentence to illustrate is “The grass is green.” Grass is the subject and green is the adjective describing the color of the grass.).
In English the subject comes first, but in Greek the subject can come second, but be distinguished as the subject because of the definite article before it. Such is the case with John 1:1c.
If God was to have the definite article then we could say that the “word” is to be identified exactly with the noun “God,” but this is not the case. An example in English will suffice. If I say “THE preacher is THE man, or THAT man,” then I am identifying the preacher as some direct, specific man. However if I say, “The preacher is man,” the word man becomes an adjective. In this case I mean that the preacher is to be classified as male, he is human.
This is why the New English Bible states, “What God was, the word was.” James Moffat renders this “And the word was divine.” In other words Yahweh’s (God’s) word, plan, promise, thought, intent that was with him was in and of itself divine because it belonged to him. It was the expression of the very being and nature of God. And this word became flesh or humanity and dwelt among men.
Yeshua Messiah did not exist literally in the beginning with God, but the thought, plan, purpose, intent, etc. of Yeshua Messiah existed in the beginning – in the plan or word of Almighty Yahweh. Remember G.B. Caird's translation of John 1:1, 14:
"In the beginning was the purpose, the purpose in the mind of God, the purpose which was God’s own being… this purpose took human form in Jesus of Nazareth." [New Testament Theology, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, pg. 332.]
PS: For further explanation of John 1:1c please see the following resources:
1. Basics of Biblical Greek, Second Edition by William D. Mounce, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993.
2. Jesus as They Knew Him, by William Barclay, Harper and Row, New York, 1962, pg. 21-22.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.