b) Gen 3:20: Moses wrote, “Now, the man called the name of his wife “Eve,” for she became the mother of all the living.”

People in the Ancient Near East associated giving someone a name with the one in authority making a covenant with a subordinate, either for protection or exploitation (Gen 17:1–5; 2 Ki 24:17, 20).[1]

Not until after the fall of humanity did Adam name his wife. Previously, he identified her as his true counterpart (Gen 2:18, 23–24).[2]

In Hebrew, the term “woman” (ishah) is simply the feminine form of the word “man” (ish).[3],[4] This emphasizes the shared identity and equality of this couple.[5]

By calling her “Eve” (khauah), Adam assigned her a name in keeping with her destiny as the mother of all “the living” (khay).[6]

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Read Gen 3:20. Why did naming the woman indicate that Adam’s relationship with her had changed? Do you think his renewed covenant with her reflected his desire to protect her or to exploit her? Why? How do you relate to people with whom you have made a covenant?






Go to Slaves and War Brides (Exod 21:10–11 and Deut 21:10–14)


[Related posts include Not Good! (Gen 2:18); A Parade of Animals (Gen 2:19–20); An Equal and Adequate Partner (Gen 2:21–23); A Transfer of Loyalty (Gen 2:24); Serpents in the Ancient Near East (Gen 3:1); A World-Altering Conversation (Gen 3:2–5); Succumbing to Temptation (Gen 3:6); Their Eyes Are Opened (Gen 3:7); Hiding from God (Gen 3:8); A Day of Reckoning (Gen 3:9–13); An Anguishing Process (Gen 3:16); and Author and Date of Genesis]

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History; or to Chapter 8: Pain and Desire (Genesis 3:16, 20)]


[1] Smith, Micah–Malachi, 232.

[2] Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 97.

[3] Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “אִשָׁה” (ishah), BDB, 61, https://archive.org/stream/hebrewenglishlex00browuoft#page/60/mode/2up.

[4] Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “אִישׁ” (ish), 35, https://archive.org/stream/hebrewenglishlex00browuoft#page/34/mode/2up.

[5] Hamilton, Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 180.

[6] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 95.