(marked) nakedness in the Garden


Gen 2.25 And the man and his wife, both of them, were naked, and they were not ashamed. [[וַיִּֽהְי֤וּ שְׁנֵיהֶם֙ עֲרוּמִּ֔ים]]

Gen 3.7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed together fig leaves and they made for themselves coverings.

[[וַיֵּ֣דְע֔וּ כִּ֥י עֵֽירֻמִּ֖ם הֵ֑ם]]

Gen 3.10 And he replied, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, so I hid myself.”

[[וָאִירָ֛א כִּֽי־עֵירֹ֥ם אָנֹ֖כִי]]

Gen 3.11 Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I forbade you to eat?”

[[מִ֚י הִגִּ֣יד לְךָ֔ כִּ֥י עֵירֹ֖ם אָ֑תָּה]]

These are the first 4 occurrences of the word "naked" (עָרוֹם) in the Hebrew Bible. In the first instance—when nakedness is nothing to be ashamed of, when it is simply a way of life and an assumed wardrobe—the word occurs in its default position, after the verb and subject. No attention need be drawn to this expected reality. However, in the final three uses of "naked" in this episode the word is marked in some way that designates it as the focus of the utterance. What was once a taken-for-granted way of life is now an unexpected state of existence that must be asserted. This is why עָרוֹם can so easily be fronted for the sake of being focal.

You've seen White Jesus. But have you seen White God? (And yes, I unashamedly still love Legos. Ask my wife.)

The whole thing that prompted me back to this early story was a song I heard at work today—John the Revelator. That's right, that's a word. If you haven't heard it, you should definitely check it out. It's an old Delta Blues rendition by Son House. No instruments, just clapping and a low gospel voice. Here's an original video that's worth 3 minutes.