Genesis 3:19

Hebrew Bible

17 But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ the ground is cursed because of you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return. 20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Psalm 90:3

Hebrew Bible

1 A prayer of Moses, the man of God. O Lord, you have been our protector through all generations. 2 Even before the mountains came into existence, or you brought the world into being, you were the eternal God. 3 You make mankind return to the dust, and say, “Return, O people.” 4 Yes, in your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday that quickly passes, or like one of the divisions of the nighttime. 5 You bring their lives to an end and they “fall asleep.” In the morning they are like the grass that sprouts up:

 Notes and References

"... A verbal similarity exists between Genesis 3:19 and Ecclesiastes 3:20. We must now consider whether this is a citation. The creation of human beings from the dust is a common motif in the First Testament (Job 4:19; 10:9; 34:15; Ps 90:3; 103:14; 104:29). Most frequently dust simply means the grave, or death, with no indication that the creation account is the source. Dust is also used to describe prodigious offspring (Genesis 13:16; 28:14; Numbers 23:10). Returning to dust is simply a metaphor and a physiological description of death (e.g. Job 16:15; 17:16; 20:11; 21:26; Psalm 7:5; 22:15; 44:25; 89:39; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). No other passage contains the dual concept of creation from dust and returning to it. The closest is Job 10:9, where humans are formed from clay (רמחכ) but return to dust (רפע). Reference in the preceding verse to the action of God in fashioning and making him (עיו ינובצע ךידישינו) suggest a connection to Genesis. Psalm 90:3 and 104:29 speak of returning to dust, implying that we came from dust. Psalm 103:14, like Genesis 3:19, states that we are dust, again implying origin (and fragility). We cannot be sure that the idea of returning to dust originated with the Genesis account. However, the similarities would suggest this: both Genesis and Ecclesiastes go beyond using “dust” as a metaphor for death and “going down to dust” for dying. Both see it as the literal origin of humanity ..."

Moxham, Ray Qohelet's Fall: The Use of Genesis 2­-4 in the Book of Ecclesiastes (p. 54) University of Otago, New Zealand, 2015

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