Genesis 3:3

Hebrew Bible

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; 3 but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die, 5 for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Numbers 24:13

Hebrew Bible

12 Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak would give me his palace full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord to do either good or evil of my own will, but whatever the Lord tells me I must speak’? 14 And now, I am about to go back to my own people. Come now, and I will advise you as to what this people will do to your people in future days.”

 Notes and References

"... Genesis 2-3 and Numbers 22-24 each contain two interrelated contests of wills—one between the human and the divine, and the other between the human and the animal. In both cases the protagonist is granted the freedom to act as she or he wishes, but there is a great distance between the woman's disregard for higher authority in the face of temptation (eating from the tree), and Balaam's deliberate consultations with God despite his desire for the reward offered by Balak. The woman briefly expresses hesitation about defying the command against eating from the tree (Gen. 3.3), but she is quickly persuaded that the reward will outstrip the punishment. The man, for his part, shows no compunction whatsoever about taking the fruit offered to him by the woman (3.6). Obedience to the voice of the snake entails the rejection of divine authority ... In marked contrast to this are Balaam's continual protestations that he cannot go against the command of the Lord, as well as his firm stance in the face of Balak's enticements of silver and gold. Noteworthy in this regard is Balaam's ultimate objection in Numbers 24:13 (Ί could not do anything good or bad of my own accord, contrary to the Lord's command'). The man and the woman eat willingly of the tree of good and evil, while Balaam rejects the possibility of making an autonomous decision when it conflicts with a direct command from God ..."

Savran, George Beastly Speech: Intertextuality, Balaam's Ass, and the Garden of Eden (pp. 33-55) Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 1994

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