Gen. 3:6 Was Adam with Eve?

I was teaching Gen. 3 today and made a point of the fact that the text says “she also gave some to her husband, who was with her” וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּם־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ I suggested that one could read the text as implying that Adam was there next to Eve during the entire episode or, if one wants to see a gap between her conversation with the serpent and her looking at the fruit, at least with her when she ate of the fruit. In other words Adam is culpable.

Now here is the curious thing. I had ordered copies of the Bible in the Revised Standard Version this year. One of the students asked why some translations do not include “who was with her” (omitting עִמָּ֖הּ). I was surprised, admitted my ignorance and started checking translations. The RSV does indeed omit that phrase as does JPS. All other English translations I checked do, however, include it from the KJV to the NIV. The phrase is present in the MT as found in BHS and the apparatus does not give any indication of manuscript variants. I do not have any commentaries handy to check right now, so I am not sure what (if anything) others have said about this.

So, what is up with the RSV and the JPS? Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Ian Slater sent me a nice long email with all sorts of useful and thoughtful comments. His hunch seems the most likely to me:

My immediate, perhaps uninformed, suspicion was that “gam l’ishah imah” was being taken as just meaning “to the man-with-her,” i.e., “to her husband,” rather than “to her man (= husband) next to her.” This would be typical of the NJPS tendency to replace the longer and usually more concrete with the shorter but slightly more abstract, supposedly in the interests of escaping a “mechanical” translation. (I personally think that mid-twentieth-century “officialese” was too often their answer to Margolis’ problem with dignified language and stylistic decorum.)

And, if so, it also would have been following the then-recent RSV reading. As it happens, Harry Orlinsky participated in both projects, so what, if anything, he had to say would be interesting from the perspective as well.

I promise to follow up on Monday after I have been able to get back into my office and at my commentaries. Thanks again Ian!

 

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