The garden of Eden, the amazing place that Adam and Eve were put in after God created them. We all wish we could still be there, but because of the sin of Adam, we were cast out of the garden and into the wilderness. (The garden of Eden is representative of the promised land, and when Adam and Eve are not in sin, they are there dwelling with God, but after they sin, they are cast out into the wilderness, just like when the Israelites disobey God, they are sent into the wilderness as punishment.) God put them there, and after He created everything he gave them a command, which will be the center of discussion of this post. Exactly what was the command that God gave them; was it how many translations render to be “tend and keep” or “work it and keep it,” or should Genesis 2:15 be translated differently? I would suggest that it should be translated differently. These words in the original are also found other places in the Old Testament, and we always want to at least take into account how the rest of Scripture is used and translate everything in its context. These same verbs are used together else where, and here are some of the references: Numbers 3:7-8, 8:26, 18:5-6. These are all references to Levites’ duties in the sanctuary. If Adam is put on the same level as the Levites, who were those who would minister in the sanctuary, it makes good sense that they were the first priests.
I, along with many others, would rather translate these two words “worship and obey,” because Eden is seen and portrayed as the ideal sanctuary. There are many, many other reasons for this, some which will be discussed in future posts.