Genesis 2:17

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
What is the difference between saying 'ye shall die' and 'ye shall die the death'? We ought to point out that there is nothing superfluous in the command of God. Here is my solution. Since life and death are contradictory ideas, in unaffected language we say 'we live in life' and 'die in death.' But, if you wish, since life causes life, to double the force of the two concepts, the phrase 'he lives a life' is found in legal documents, and, since death causes death, there is the statement: 'He shall die the death.' [ Ezek 33:14-16 ] These expressions are not redundant, for life is related to death and death to life, because everyone living no law of this kind are a law unto themselves. They show therefore, four categories: to live in life, to die in death, to die in life, to live in death. Since such is the case, we should put aside prejudices due to use and custom, for usage prescribes that the act of dying should be said without distinction of him who dies by death and of him who does ...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
Having spoken of the introduction of Adam into Paradise and the reason God brought him there, Scripture turns to describe the commandment which was laid down for him, as follows: "And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying: 'You may indeed eat of all the trees in Paradise, but of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat; for on the day you eat of it you will certainly die.' " [ Gen. 2:16-17 ] This commandment was a light one, for God had given him the whole of Paradise and held back from him but a single tree. If one tree sufficed for someone's sustenance, and many trees were withheld from him, there would still be relief for his distress, seeing that there still existed food for his hunger. But where it is a case of God's giving him many trees when one would have been sufficient, this means that if transgression takes place, it is not as a result of any real need, but because of contempt. So God withheld from him a single tree, hedging it around with death, so that eve...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The death of the soul, and become obnoxious to that of the body; thou shalt become a mortal and lose all the privileges of innocence. Though Adam lived 930 years after this, he was dying daily; he carried along with him the seeds of death, as we do, from our very conception. He had leave to eat of any fruit in this delicious garden, one only excepted, and this one prohibition makes him more eager to taste of that tree than of all the rest. So we struggle constantly to attain what is forbidden, and covet what is denied, cupimusque negata. God laid this easy command upon Adam, to give him an opportunity of shewing his ready obedience, and to assert his own absolute dominion over him. Eve was already formed, and was apprised of this positive command, (Chap. iii. 3.) and therefore, transgressing, is justly punished with her husband. True obedience does not inquire why a thing is commanded, but submits without demur. Would a parent be satisfied with his child, if he should refuse to obey, b...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
For it was a most benignant act of His thus to point out the issues of transgression, lest ignorance of the danger should encourage a neglect of obedience. Now, since it was given as a reason previous to the imposition of the law, it also amounted to a motive for subsequently observing it, that a penalty was annexed to its transgression; a penalty, indeed, which He who proposed it was still unwilling that it should be incurred. Learn then the goodness of our God amidst these things and up to this point; learn it from His excellent works, from His kindly blessings, from His indulgent bounties, from His gracious providences, from His laws and warnings, so good and merciful. [Against Marcion 2.4]

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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