Apocryphal Tales of Adam and Eve
Posted by foryourfaith on December 29, 2009
How did Adam and Eve adapt to the hostile world to which they were exiled? The Book of Genesis gave no information about man’s first days outside paradise, but later legend attempted to follow him.
According to one apocryphal story, after they were cast from the garden, Adam and Eve built a hut and spent seven days lamenting their sin. Then Adam arose, and for the next seven days wandered about looking for food. His search produced nothing. Finding only fodder for beasts, Adam proposed that he and his mate do penance in the hope of forgiveness.
For her part, Eve stood on a rock in the midst of the Tigris River, the water flowing up as high as her neck. There she was to stand in silence for 37 days. Similarly, Adam was to stand on a rock in the Jordan River for 40 days. After 18 days, Eve was beguiled by Satan. Disguised as an angel, Satan beseeched Eve to join him on the riverbank, where he would find food for her. Unable to resist, Eve stepped from the water. Realizing at once, the devil’s true identity, Adam cried to Eve, “How is it that you have been again ensnared by our adversary?” Overwhelmed by this new deception, Eve fell to the ground in sorrow.
The devil spoke to Adam: “It is on account of you that I was thrown out of heaven. When you were formed I was expelled from the presence of God and banished from the company of angels.” Upon hearing this, Adam pleaded with the Lord to put this adversary, who sought to destroy his soul, far away from him. With that, Satan vanished, and Adam finished his penance.
The inclination to embroider Bible stories also prompted the creation of tales about a creature named Lilith. According to legend, God had originally given Lilith to Adam as his first wife. Like Adam, Lilith was formed from dust, and as a result she demanded full equality. Refusing to submit to Adam’s authority, she disappeared. God sent angels to find her, but Lilith refused to return. The angels vowed to punish her by killing 100 of her demon children each day.
Lilith was said to have taken her revenge by injuring human babies, and in ancient times some parents wore amulets to protect their children from her rage. In other legends, Lilith joined with the serpent to help bring about the fall of Adam and Eve.