Study Italian from the Bible: Genesis 2, verses 15-17

You now continue your study of chapter 2 of the Book of Genesis in Italian, version Diodati 1821, with verses 15-17, where God commands the man he has formed to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or l’albero della conoscenza del bene e del male.

I have translated the verses rather literally into English to help you grasp the sense of the Italian text.

Verses 15-17 read as follows:

15Il Signore Iddio adunque prese l’uomo, e lo pose nel giardino d’Eden, per lavorarlo, e per guardarlo.

 

16E il Signore Iddio comandò all’uomo, dicendo: Mangia pur d’ogni albero del giardino.

 

17Ma non mangiar dell’albero della conoscenza del bene e del male; perciocchè, nel giorno che tu ne mangerai, per certo tu morrai.

Genesi 2:15-17 (Diodati 1821)

Versetto 15

Il Signóre Iddìo adùnque prése l’uòmo (the Lord God therefore took the man), e lo póse nel giardìno d’Èden (and put him in the garden of Eden), per lavoràrlo (to work it), e per guardàrlo (and to keep it).

Here, you find the name il giardino d’Eden, although the garden of Eden is also called il giardino dell’Eden in Italian.

In lavorarlo and guardarlo, the lo refers to il giardino (the garden): lavorare il giardino (to work the garden) and guardare il giardino (to keep the garden, to take care of the garden).

You probably already know the verb guardare in the sense of to look, for example: che cosa guardi? (what are you looking at?). Here, guardare is used in the sense of to look out for, to care for, similar to the Italian verb custodire.

Versetto 16

E il Signóre Iddìo comandò all’uòmo, dicèndo (and the Lord God commanded the man, saying): Màngia pur d’ógni àlbero del giardìno (eat freely from every tree of the garden).

The verb comandare means to command. Pure, written here as pur, conveys the idea of go ahead: mangia pure (go ahead and eat), prendilo pure (go ahead and take it), entra pure (come right in).

Versetto 17

Ma non mangiàr dell’àlbero délla conoscènza del bène e del màle (but do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil); perciocchè (for), nel giórno che tu ne mangerài (in the day that you eat of it), per cèrto tu morrài (surely you shall die).

As you have already seen, l’albero della conoscenza del bene e del male is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

If the imperative form mangia means eat, then non mangiare means do not eat. The negative tu form simply puts non in front of the infinitive: mangia, non mangiare (eat, do not eat); entra, non entrare (enter, do not enter); parla, non parlare (speak, do not speak).

There are two futuro semplice conjugations here: tu mangerai (from mangiare, to eat) and tu morrai (from morire, to die).

You have seen perciocchè before; it is a literary usage synonymous with perché (because, for). Perciocché is a clustering of per ciò che.