"In The Sweat Of Thy Face Shalt Thou Eat Bread"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 191

Context: The first man and woman, having sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit in the midst of the garden of Eden and now overcome by a sense of guilt, hide themselves from the presence of God. When Adam is called before God, he cannot hide his sense of shame and soon confesses to his sin. God then sentences each participant according to his part in the sin. The serpent, in whose form Satan deceived Eve into eating the fruit, is cursed above all creatures. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, . . ." decrees God. "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." The woman's punishment is to suffer pain in childbirth and to be subservient to her husband. The man's punishment is henceforth to eke out his livelihood through labor. In connection with the sentence given to Adam is a pronouncement of physical death. The conclusion of God's sentence is as follows:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

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