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Why Lilith Wasn’t the First Woman in the Bible

Why Lilith Wasn't the First Woman in the Bible 1

A lot of articles about Lilith have accumulated on the Internet. 

Allegedly the first wife of Adam was Lilith, created on a par with him. This did not please Adam and Lilith left him. After her, God created the more obedient Eve. Lilith became jealous, turned into a snake and tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit.

After the expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise, Lilith became a demoness who began to tempt all pious men after Adam.

Michelangelo "The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise" XVI century

Michelangelo “The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise” XVI century

Some even begin to doubt that Michelangelo painted the image of Lilith in the form of a snake in the Sistine ChapelYes, rather it is, but this has its own explanation.

Where did the myth of Lilith come from?

Firstly, there is no Lilith in the book of Genesis and all attempts to attribute it there are pulling an owl on a globe. The word “lilith (lil)” appears only in the book of the prophet Isaiah, where it is translated as “night ghost . 

Secondly, the origin of Lilith comes from Jewish mythology. In the Talmud (commentary on the Torah), Lilith is represented in the form of a demonic being, and not the first woman.

Thirdly, the image of Lilith can be found only in Kabbalah (mystical Jewish tradition). The heyday of Kabbalah falls on the 13th century AD, just when the Renaissance appears.

Italian artists were interested in the teachings of Kabbalah, so Michelangelo’s serpent is in the form of a woman (see above). Other artists, such as Raphael, have such an image.

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Rafael "Adam and Eve"

Rafael “Adam and Eve”

The assumption that Adam had a wife before Eve comes from a biblical verse:

And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; he created male and female.

Genesis 1:27

It seems to many that this passage says that God created man and woman at the same time. Some even interpret this passage as if God created a bisexual being. But we all remember that Eve was created later than Adam, therefore, before Eve there was another woman.

However, such an interpretation is horribly naive, for the first chapter only clarifies the basic actions of God in creating the world. And in the second chapter the process of the origin of Adam and Eve is already specified, otherwise why talk about the origin of Adam, if it was already mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis?

The myth of Lilith is fully described in the Hebrew book Alphabet (8th-10th century), which is attributed to the writer Ben Sira (3rd century). Apparently, this is just a literary text, not related to the Jewish canon.

A possible prototype of Lilith on one of the Mesopotamian bas-reliefs

A possible prototype of Lilith on one of the Mesopotamian bas-reliefs

Lilith, as one of the first women, appears in the Kabbalistic book “A Treatise on the Left Emanation” (13th century), which states that Lilith was created as a demon opposing Eve, while Adam is a demon called Samael (fallen angel).

Thus, Lilith is not the first wife of Adam, from the point of view of Judaism and Christianity.  Even an analysis of the texts shows that Lilith is a purely invented image by Kabbalists that does not connect her with the “first woman”.

The only text that speaks of Lilith as the wife of Adam is a dubious Jewish story without exact authorship – the Ben Sira Alphabet.

Today, the image of Lilith is often found in cinema and computer games, for example, the last game where Lilith is the main antagonist is called Diablo IV.

Lilith in the image of a bloody demon

Lilith in the image of a bloody demon

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