Question: Genesis 2: 9 reads: “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
How many different kinds of trees are referred to in this verse?
Answer: We understand that the word “tree of life” in the Hebrew is plural. All the trees in the Garden of Eden were trees of life. There are three distinct sets of trees referred to in this verse. They are grouped as follows:
Every tree that is pleasant to the sight (ornamental trees, including flower trees and bushes);
Every tree good for food (fruit trees), even (the Hebrew word ve means “even” as well as “and”) the trees of lives in the midst of (within) the garden (there is no word in the Hebrew text for the word “also,” given in the King James Version in this clause); and
The tree(s) of the knowledge of good and evil. The trees of the knowledge of good and evil were probably no different essentially than the second category of trees other than the fact that God separated them in order to test Adam along the lines of his obedience.