The wife of Adam. According to Gen. iii. 20, Eve was so called because she was "the mother of all living" (R. V., margin, "Life" or "Living"). On the ground that it was not "good for man to be alone" God resolved to "make him an help meet for him" (ib. ii. 18), first creating, with this end in view, the beasts of the field and the fowl of the air and then bringing them unto Adam. When Adam did not find among these a helpmeet for himself,
Dwelling in the Garden of Eden with Adam, Eve is approached and tempted by the serpent. She yields to the reptile's seductive arguments, and partakes of the forbidden fruit, giving thereof to her husband, who, like her, eats of it. Both discover their nakedness and make themselves aprons of figleaves. When God asks for an accounting Adam puts the blame on Eve. As a punishment, the sorrows of conception and childbirth are announced to her, as well as subjection to her husband (ib. iii. 16). Driven out of Eden, Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel; herself naming the elder in the obscure declaration "I have gotten a man with the help of
Eve was not created simultaneously with Adam because God foreknew that later she would be a source of complaint. He therefore delayed forming her until Adam should express a desire for her (Gen. R. xvii.). Eve was created from the thirteenth rib on Adam's right side and from the flesh of his heart (Targ. Pseudo-Jonathan to Gen. ii. 21; Pirḳe R. El. xii.). Together with Eve Satan was created (Gen. R. xvii.). God adorned Eve like a bride with all the jewelry mentioned in Isa. iii. He built the nuptial chamber for her (Gen. R. xviii.). According to Pirḳe R. El. xii., as soon as Adam beheld Eve he embraced and kissed her; her name , from , indicates that God () joined them together (see also Ab. R. N. xxxviii.). Ten gorgeous "ḥuppot" (originally, "bridal chambers"; now, "bridal canopies"), studded with gems and pearls and ornamented with gold, did God erect for Eve, whom He Himself gave away in marriage, and over whom He pronounced the blessing; while the angels danced and beat timbrels and stood guard over the bridal chamber (Pirḳe R. El. xii.).
Samael, prompted by jealousy, picked out the serpent to mislead Eve (Yalḳ., Gen. xxv.; comp. Josephus, "Ant." i. 1, § 4; Ab. R. N. i.), whom it approached, knowing that women could be more easily moved than men (Pirḳe R. El. xiii.). Or, according to another legend, the serpent was induced to lead Eve to sin by desire on its part to possess her (Soṭah 9; Gen. R. xviii.), and it cast into her the taint of lust (; Yeb. 103b; 'Ab. Zarah 22b; Shab. 146a; Yalḳ., Gen. 28, 130). Profiting by the absence of the two guardian angels (Ḥag. 16a; Ber. 60b), Satan, or the serpent, which then had almost the shape of a man (Gen. R. xix. 1), displayed great argumentative skill in explaining the selfish reasons which had prompted God's prohibition (Pirḳe R. El. l.c.; Gen. R. xix.; Tan., Bereshit, viii.), and convinced Eve by ocular proof that the tree could be touched (comp. Ab. R. N. i. 4) without entailing death. Eve thereupon laid hold of the tree, and at once beheld the angel of death coming toward her (Targ. Pseudo-Jon. to Gen. iii. 6). Then, reasoning that if she died and Adam continued to live he would take another wife, she made him share her own fate (Pirḳe R. El. xiii.; Gen. R. xix.); at the invitation of the serpent she had partaken of wine; and she now mixed it with Adam's drink (Num. R. x.). Nine curses together with death befell Eve in consequence of her disobedience (Pirḳe R. El. xiv.; Ab. R. N. ii. 42).
Eve became pregnant, and bore Cain and Abel on the very day of (her creation and) expulsion from Eden (Gen. R. xii.). These were born full-grown, and each had a twin sister (ib.). Cain's real father was not Adam, but one of the demons (Pirḳe R. El. xxi., xxii.). Seth was Eve's first child by Adam. Eve died shortly after Adam, on the completion of the six days of mourning, and was buried in the Cave of Machpelah (Pirḳe R. El. xx.). Comp. Adam, Book of.
Eve is a fantastic figure taken from the Jewish Haggadah. In the Koran her name is not mentioned, although her person is alluded to in the command given by Allah to Adam and his "wife," to live in the garden, to eat whatever they desired, but not to approach "that tree" (suras ii. 33, vii. 18). According to Mohammedan tradition, Eve was created out of a rib of Adam's left side while he was asleep. Riḍwan, the guardian of paradise, conducted them to the garden, where theywere welcomed by all creatures as the father and mother of Mohammed.
Iblis, who had been forbidden to enter paradise and was jealous of Adam's prerogative, wished to entice him to sin. He asked the peacock to carry him under his wings, but, as the bird refused, he hid himself between the teeth of the serpent, and thus managed to come near Adam and Eve. He first persuaded Eve to eat of the fruit, which was a kind of wheat that grew on the most beautiful tree in the garden, and she gave some to Adam. Thereupon all their ornaments fell from their bodies, so that they stood naked. Then they were expelled from the garden. Adam was thrown to Serendib (Ceylon), and Eve to Jidda (near Mecca).
Although Adam and Eve could not see each other, they heard each other's lamentations; and their repentance restored to them God's compassion. God commanded Adam to follow a cloud which would lead him to a place opposite to the heavenly throne, where he should build a temple. The cloud guided him to Mount Arafa, near Mecca, where he found Eve. From this the mount derived its name.
Eve died a year after Adam, and was buried outside Mecca, or, according to others, in India, or at Jerusalem.
- Weil, Biblische Legenden der Muselmänner.
The account of the creation of woman—she is called "Eve" only after the curse—belongs to the J narrative. It reflects the naive speculations of the ancient Hebrews on the beginnings of the human race as introductory to the history of Israel. Its tone throughout is anthropomorphic. The story was current among the people long before it took on literary form (Gunkel, "Genesis," p. 2), and it may possibly have been an adaptation of a Babylonian myth (ib. p. 35). Similar accounts of the creation of woman from a part of man's body are found among many races (Tuch, "Genesis," notes on ch. ii.); for instance, in the myth of Pandora. That woman is the cause of evil is another wide-spread conceit. The etymology of "ishshah" from "ish" (Gen. ii. 23) is incorrect ( belongs to the root ), but exhibits all the characteristics of folk-etymology. The name , which Adam gives the woman in Gen. iii. 20, seems not to be of Hebrew origin. The similarity of sound with explains the popular etymology adduced in the explanatory gloss, though it is W. R. Smith's opinion ("Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia," p. 177) that Eve represents the bond of matriarchal kinship ("ḥayy"). Nöldeke ("Z. D. M. G." xlii. 487), following Philo ("De Agricultura Noe," § 21) and the Midrash Rabbah (ad loc.), explains the name as meaning "serpent," preserving thus the belief that all life sprang from a primeval serpent. The narrative forms part of a culture-myth attempting to account among other things for the pangs of childbirth, which are comparatively light among primitive peoples (compare Adam; Eden, Garden of; Fall of Man). As to whether this story inculcates the divine institution of Monogamy or not, see Gunkel, "Genesis," p. 11, and Dillmann's and Holzinger's commentaries on Gen. ii. 23-24.