What is a woman’s desire for her husband according to Genesis 3:16?

An examination of a woman’s desire towards her husband.

Readership: Christians;
Length: 3,900 words;
Reading Time: 13 minutes;
Guide to Imagery: The Mandelbrot set illustrates the seeming complexity of the issue. The apple represents the sinful desire to usurp authority and to control. The banana represents sexual desire. The pear represents fertility. Bread represents provisioning and earning potential.

Introduction

The English Standard Version (ESV) is a revision of the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Christian Bible that employs an “essentially literal” translation philosophy.  The senior editor for the Old Testament is C. John Collins, and Wayne Grudem is one of the editors.

I’ve only heard good things about the English Standard Version, that it is elegant, yet accurate. Imagine my surprise when I came across this passage.

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to* your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (ESV) See full chapter.

There is a footnote attached to the phrase “contrary to”.

* Genesis 3:16 Or shall be toward (see 4:7).

How does “shall be toward” translate into “shall be contrary to”?

Approaching the Questions

It would be easy to dismiss this as a confusing passage or even a bad translation, but it would be more difficult to gain a heart understanding of the deeper truth(s) behind these words.  If we can apprehend a firm grasp of what this verse is talking about, then we are in a better position to form an opinion about what it means, and the accuracy of the translation.

So here, I pose the following questions to be addressed in the remainder of this essay.

What is the nature of the desire referenced in Genesis 3:16b?

  1. That women desire their husbands emotionally and/or sexually.
  2. That women desire to control their husbands.

Another hot question concerning the latter part of verse 16 is this: Is a woman’s desire toward her husband a consequence of the fall, or is God merely affirming that this will remain unchanged?  The first half of the verse suggests that it is a consequence.

I have noticed a subtle connotation that has appeared (in Protestantism especially, but maybe in other ordinations too), which is that desire itself is wrong, sinful, or a consequence of the fall.

So the final question is this: Is the ESV’s account of Genesis 3:16 a complete and accurate translation?

Comparison to Other Translations

I compared this to other translations to get a better feel of the meaning.  I found that there are actually two different ideas floating around in the majority of these translations.  The word desire is translated as either a sexual desire, or a desire to control.  This might explain why there is so much discussion and debate about the applied meaning of these verses within Christendom.

Some translations were poignantly obvious about which of these two interpretations was adopted…

The Living Bible suggests a livid sexual desire.

Then God said to the woman, “You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.”

Genesis 3:16 (TLB)

The Contemporary English Version includes the word “still” suggesting that a woman’s desire was present pre-fall.

Then the Lord said to the woman, “You will suffer terribly when you give birth. But you will still desire your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (CEV)

The New English Translation specifically uses the word control.

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”

Genesis 3:16 (NET)

The New Living Translation also uses the word control.

Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (NLT)

The Expanded Bible inserts an inline note to specify that this is a desire for control.

Then God said to the woman, “I will ·cause you to have much trouble [or increase your pain] ·when you are pregnant [in childbearing], and when you give birth to children, you will have great pain. You will greatly desire [C the word implies a desire to control; 4:7] your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (EXB)

Interestingly, I found that the older translations are suggestive of a sexual desire, but the newer translations make it out to be a desire to control the husband.

A few translations had a different take altogether.

The Message suggests a joyful submission.

He told the Woman: “I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (MSG)

The New International Reader’s Version adopts a poetic stance.

The Lord God said to the woman, “I will increase your pain when you give birth. You will be in great pain when you have children. You will long for your husband. And he will rule over you.

Genesis 3:16 (NIRV)

Of interesting note, the International Standard Version translates desire as trust!

He told the woman, “I’ll greatly increase the pain of your labor during childbirth. It will be painful for you to bear children, since your trust is turning toward your husband, and he will dominate you.”

Genesis 3:16 (ISV)

Aside from the few translations that are unique, most of these translations interpret the word desire as either for sex/affection or for control.  But the meaning is totally different.  Which one is it?  Or is it both?

So after surveying all these translations, we are no closer to the answers. However, I realized that I didn’t understand this passage as well as I had assumed. I realized that Genesis 3:15-17 is a very important verse that serves as a foundational of our conceptual understanding of (1) women, (2) the relationship between men and women, and (3) marriage. Therefore, it is imperative for us to get it right.  So this pushed me to dig and study further until I could find the answer.

Which one is true?

Answers to Prayer

Because of the obvious variance among the many translations (and because most modern translations are conducted by Protestants), I found that I could no longer trust any English based interpretation of this verse.

Therefore, I turned to the Lord in prayer, and I asked Him these questions.  I got three answers.

  1. First, I got the idea that (whenever I have any question,) if I study the scriptures inside out and it is still not clear, then it’s time to pray about it and find out what it should mean to me personally.
  2. Second, I realized that both interpretations have real world validity, so maybe the interpretation could be open to either meaning.
  3. Third, I got the idea that the word desire may not be limited to be a transitive verb, but may simply be an intransitive verb or even a noun describing a generalized state of neediness and insecurity. As such, this desire could be expressed in many ways, not just the two I identified. All humans have desire at the root of our nature, but women much more so.
Bananas make women smile!

Examination of the Original Hebrew

I went back to the original Hebrew using BibleHub.  The word translated as desire only occurs once in Genesis 3:16. An inflection appears twice in Genesis 4:7 and Song of Solomon 7:10.

In the other two places, it shows up with a contextual meaning that suggests one each of the two meanings. In Genesis 4:7 it clearly refers to sin as a being or a force that desires to control us. In the Song of Solomon 7:10 it is obvious that it refers to a sexual/marital desire.

Several Bible commentators, as well as Grudem, have explored the analogy between Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. One commenter at Dalrock, RPC, summed up this analogy quite succinctly [emphasis mine].

“Grudem’s comments point out something I never realized before. The parallel between Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7 is striking:

3:16: Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

4:7: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Fascinating. The logical parallel is between the woman and sin. The woman is not the victim, she is the usurper.

Now, if only we could get a pastor to preach this passage in front of a congregation, instead of making arguments behind closed doors…”

Men prefer bananas. Women want the bread.

“I’ve read some interpretations of Genesis 3:16 that agree that “desire” suggests the woman will be tempted to usurp her husband. However, some go on to say that “he shall rule over thee” means that the husband will be similarly tempted to take his authority to the extreme and become oppressive. In other words, they try to spin the verse so it’s not just focused on the woman’s rebellion. It also creates an opening for the “sin of being a doormat” theology.

The parallel with 4:7 creates some problems with this interpretation. In 4:7 the desire that sin has for Cain is clearly negative, a desire to conquer and subdue him. But, is Cain “ruling over” sin also negative? Is it wrong for Cain to exercise authority over sin, even in an extreme or oppressive way? Clearly the intent in 4:7 is to describe Cain’s rule as being positive, not a result of his sinful nature. The aspiration of that rule is TOTAL.

So, 4:7 seems to reinforce the idea that the main problem described in 3:16 is the wife’s rebellious heart, not the husband’s oppressive leadership.

Also, if husbands ruling their wives oppressively is such an important sin, why do Jesus, Paul, or any of the early church fathers fail to mention it? Why don’t they warn husbands to be careful not to oppress their wives? Instead, we have the opposite. The emphasis is on extreme submission on the part of the wife, in everything. Clearly being a “doormat” was not a significant concern for Paul.

Now, dwelling with your wife in love and understanding likely excludes a domineering approach, but this is a problem for such a small percentage of men, it’s not even worth a mention in scripture.”

RPC’s comments at Dalrock (2016 November 22)

I think a connection could be made between these three verses (Genesis 3:16; 4:7, and Song of Solomon 7:10):  Your sin wants to screw you over just like a woman wants to screw her husband (in every connotation imaginable).

During my study of the Hebrew, I snuck over to Google Translate and entered the Hebrew word for desire (תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ) given in the passage at Biblehub. Lo and behold, look what came up!

This is not a matter of doubt.

The Word of a Jewish Rabbi / Native Speakers of Hebrew

“The word in question here is t’shookatecha, often translated ‘your desire’ or ‘your longing’. It is a word that stems from the root ‘shook’, from which we get the Hebrew words for ‘market’ or ‘thigh’, also the word for a ‘mass movement of horses or locusts’.

And so the idea behind the most basic meaning of this root word for longing or desire, is a ‘strong movement in a certain direction’. Thus t’shookah, in this context, is the direction of feeling toward an objective; in other words, a striving or a longing.

I don’t see anything that would indicate she will necessarily act contrary to him to oppose him. Although that doesn’t mean she won’t, but I am not sure this is a proof text that she is destined to. If anything, Adam is chastised for listening to his wife when it was his duty to oppose her concerning the commandment which was first entrusted to him.

As far as the verse in Genesis 4:7 concerning Cain, a close reading is critical and is helpful in elucidating the meaning of the Genesis 3:16 verse, but not in the way the translators of the ESV are thinking.

According to a number of Jewish commentators, the Hebrew word t’shookah does not denote the passion of hostility, but always denotes exalted yearning; the devoted longing of love. For example, “I belong to my beloved, the devoted longing of my love” (Song of Solomon 7:7), where this same Hebrew word is used.

The meaning (concerning Adam and Eve, man and woman) does not indicate that there is to be a constant state of war between them — as if the woman is lying in wait for her husband to oppose him and act contrary to him, to overcome him…

Rather the sense is of a loving wife, who finds completion of her own existence in submission and devotion to the aspirations and agenda of her husband and in accepting and submitting to his guidance – he shall rule over her. She is not her own. Her will is subsumed by that of another, i.e. her husband”.

“In the example with Cain, Cain is being admonished that sensuality does have the power to rule over him and not to underestimate its power. Nevertheless, the Hebrew sense is that it lies quietly at the door and will not enter uninvited. However, the moment he invites it to sit at his table, as it were, it will begin to feel at home with him and eventually become his master.

The Jewish view is that G-d created the power of sensuality, not so that it should control us, but that we should control it. Its whole desire is that you should master it and guide it. Not to suppress or kill it, but rule over it and guide it. That is the purpose and mission.

The idea is that when you master your sensuality, it achieves its purpose, which is why its longing is towards you. The same idea underlies the woman’s desire and longing for her husband, who in turn is to rule over her and guide her.

No human quality is intrinsically good or bad – moral use is a key consideration. The idea is that the relationship between man [e.g. Cain] and sensuality resembles the relationship between husband and wife… sensuality waits at the door and its longing and desire is towards you THAT YOU SHOULD MASTER IT AND GUIDE IT. Sensuality and woman both achieve their purpose through subordination to man… I think the editors or translators of the ESV might want to do a little more homework…”

Rabbi B’s comment at Dalrock (2016 November 23)

אליו means “to him” not “against him”.  Wrong is wrong.

ואליו תשוקתך והוא ימשול בך [translated as] “…and to him [your man or husband] will be your desire and he will rule over you” is not ambiguous.

The simple explanation of the verse ואליו תשוקתך “to him will be your desire” has no implication of being against him.  Rather it means the desire of the wife will be towards her husband. אליו “to him” is used thousands of times in the OT and it always means “towards him,” never “against him”.  This is not a matter of doubt.

Avrahan Rosenblum’s comments at Dalrock (2016 November 23)
Shopping around is so difficult. A woman can never make up her mind. But a little variety is… drama!

The Word of a Scholarly Elder

I sent an email to Ed Hurst to ask him two questions.

  1. What is the original or applied meaning of desire in Genesis 3:16, “Your desire will be for your husband…“?  Is it a sexual desire or a desire to control?
  2. What is the nature of this desire in Genesis 3:16? Is it a troublesome thing that is part of the curse of the fall, or is it a good thing that existed before the fall?

The next day, I found a response from Ed in my inbox.  He wrote,

“I didn’t study Hebrew in the standard sense of a translator. I studied Hebrew culture and thinking. My sense is that the word in Genesis 3:16 is ambiguous, and likely means both. That would be typical of Hebrew thinking, in that there is no reason to distinguish between the two. Further, the broader Hebrew outlook on the nature of women seems to support the idea that there is little difference between either kind of desire. When a woman is righteous, it emphasizes the sexual desire she has, but that same desire can be perverted into a desire to control. Either way, she is not capable of simply ignoring men.

Now for the more technical stuff: This particular word [teshuqah] appears only three times in the Hebrew texts of the Bible…”

Ed recounted most of the information I found earlier on BibleHub.  Then he adds,

“Because of the word’s rarity in the Hebrew Scripture, there’s no grounds for pinning it down as being itself either good or bad. Rather, I take it as something that was wired in by Creation, but perverted by the Curse. Thus, my suggestion is that it could take a good direction or a bad one. Based on my understanding of psychology, both the academic and clinical background, along with the pastoral experience I’ve had, I doubt it’s easily untangled in women today. A woman with a pure desire is something we understand easily enough, but finding one that doesn’t suffer from the temptation to control is nigh impossible. But that a woman is drawn to manliness is hardly in dispute.”

Banana, banana, Copacabaña! Carmen Miranda (1947)

In addition, Ed wrote a post on this question.

“The Hebrew word for “desire” is translated variously into English, but it seems to go in two different directions: either she will have a sexual lust for him, or a lust to control him.

But that’s not how Hebrew language works. One of the biggest flaws in textual analysis and expository writing about the Bible is the failure of Western scholars to embrace the Hebrew outlook. It tends to be what we call “gestalt” thinking, that the meaning of the instance depends entirely on the broader understanding of the whole. You cannot compartmentalize or slice-n-dice anything in Hebrew Scripture. Hebrew language is inherently parabolic and symbolic by nature, and is meant to provoke your heart-led consciousness. You are supposed to weigh things against your convictions and your broader desire for peace with God.”

This corresponds with the first answer to my prayers.

“Is this a case where Eve, symbolizing all womanhood, will have a sexual desire for her man, or is this a case of her desire to control him? There is a lot hanging on this question, since it arises from a very highly debated point of theology for the entirety of Western Church History. Does this suggest something that surprises no one, in that humans are wired with a sexual desire from Creation itself? Or does this imply that the Curse of the Fall will make her wish to control her man? In Hebrew thinking, both are quite true.”

This corresponds with the second answer to my prayers.

“…the word in Genesis 3:16 is intentionally ambiguous because it means both. Eve’s natural pure desire for Adam had been perverted in the encounter with Satan to become a desire for control. Adam’s failure is part of the gestalt here. His distraction from the fundamental task of moral guardianship encouraged Eve to exercise an authority that was not hers to wield. And her inherent weakness in moral things, being as she is wired to follow and not lead, was part of the whole downfall of both.”

Radix Fidem: Lust for Sex or Control? (2020 October 12)

Ed’s post answered my second question very well (i.e. What is the nature of this desire?), and I think this was the aspect that was making me very confused. I had the mindset that it was an either/or answer, but it’s both — desire existed pre-fall, but was corrupted by the fall.

I’m tired of bananas. I want to have something different!

Conclusions

In this post, I’ve discussed several questions. Here, I’ll reiterate these questions and provide brief answers.

Question 1: What is the applied meaning of the word “desire” in Genesis 3:16?  “Your desire will be for your husband…”  Is this a sexual desire or a desire to control him?

Reviewing the sources of opinions…

  • Those supporting the idea that it is a desire to control: Wayne Grudem; Novaseeker;
  • Those supporting the idea that it is a sexual desire: Editors of older translations; Rabbinical scholars; Several noteworthy Bible commentators;
  • Those supporting the idea that both interpretations are valid: Deep Strength; Ed Hurst;

Short Answer: The scriptures are not specific. It suggests a sexual desire, but it could be interpreted according to a specific context, including a desire to control.

Question 2: What is the ontological nature of this desire in Genesis 3:16? Is it a troublesome thing that is part of the curse of the fall, or is it a good thing that existed before the fall?

Short Answer: Both are true.  Desire existed pre-fall, but was corrupted by the fall.

Question 3: Is desire itself wrong, sinful, or a consequence of the fall?

Short Answer: No, desire is an inherent part of human nature that was present before the fall.  But the nature and the intention of desire were corrupted as a result of the fall.

Question 4: Is the ESV’s account of Genesis 3:16 a complete and accurate translation?

Short Answer: The ESV’s translation of Genesis 3:16 is extremely specific compared to the original Hebrew, and therefore allows readers to overlook or ignore any other nuances of meaning that might faithfully apply, including the one that native speakers of Hebrew emphatically insist is the correct interpretation.

The specific interpretation used in the ESV paints women as being contentious and disagreeable, and it completely bypasses any suggestion that a woman’s desire for her husband could be (or should be) sexual in nature.  It also adumbrates any of the wider possibilities.

Verdict: The ESV’s interpretation of Genesis 3:16 is not entirely wrong, but it is myopic and therefore incomplete.  As it is now worded, it should not be made part of the permanent version.

The ESV has no bananas in Genesis 3:16!

Related

Arguments based on Genesis 3:16 have come up around the blogosphere quite a few times.  Here are a few.

About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Answered Prayers, Churchianity, Courtship and Marriage, Desire, Discerning Lies and Deception, Fundamental Frame, Organization and Structure, Relationships, The Power of God. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to What is a woman’s desire for her husband according to Genesis 3:16?

  1. ramman3000 says:

    I have yet to read this article, but I scanned through the quotes and found nothing like that of the translation from the Lamsa Bible (the unique English translation from the Aramaic Peshitta) which renders Genesis 3:16 as follows:

    “To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children, and you shall be dependent on your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

    Like

  2. ramman3000 says:

    The Septuagint translates the word as apostrephó in Genesis 3:16. This is translated ‘to turn away’, ‘turn back’, ‘incites…to rebellion’, ‘put…back’, and ‘remove’. It has the sense of changing direction, including turning away and turning back, that is, replacing or rejecting something for something else. It may be positive (i.e. restore) or negative (i.e. rebel).

    The word in Song of Songs 7:10 is epistrophé. In Acts 15:3 it is translated as “a turning about” or “conversion”, referring to the conversion of the Gentiles towards Christ.

    By “reverse engineering” the 2nd century B.C. Septuagint, one might verbosely translate Genesis 3:16 as “…you shall turn away from yourself and [now] towards your husband, and he shall rule over you…

    This translation from the Greek of the Septuagint (which Jesus used!) is identical in meaning to the Lamsa translation. Whatever else we may say, the wife moved in a broad sense from independence (equality?) towards dependence (inequality?); towards submitting and being ruled from its opposite. It represents a change of direction, a turning.

    As I understand, the 2nd century BC Septuagint is not the only version to translate it this way. So also do the Syriac (1st century AD), Samaritan (1st century AD), Old Latin, and Coptic versions. In the 4th century, Jerome’s Vulgate connoted desire, perhaps derived from rabbinic Midrashic interpretations.

    Neither sexual desire nor desire for control capture the sense of the “turning”. So, let’s return to the ESV:

    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to [towards] your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

    The ESV is the only major modern translation that captures the sense of turning, having officially changed to this wording in 2016. However, unlike the much earlier non-English translations, the translation presumes a strongly negative connotation (i.e. ‘contrary’) as opposed to a more descriptive and neutral connotation (i.e. dependent).

    Like

    • Jack says:

      @ Derek,
      Thanks. My study did not consider any translations before the modern era. Your review is insightful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ramman3000 says:

        Bear in mind that my study is not a rigorous one. I only spent about an hour on it. Though it might sound like it, my study does not preclude both a ‘dependency’ and ‘desire for sex and/or control’. One can certainly find a way to harmonize all three of these. But the question isn’t whether one can harmonize them to whether or not one should harmonize them. I have not done enough research on the topic to say.

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    • ramman3000 says:

      Here is yet another viewpoint.

      Hebrew scholar Andrew Macintosh argues the word does not mean ‘desire’ at all:

      “In summary, I conclude that ‘desire’ is not a proper rendering of the Hebrew word תְּשׁוּקָה in the Hebrew Bible or in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Rather, on the evidence of comparative philology and of the ancient versions, ‘concern, preoccupation, (single-minded) devotion, focus’, appears to be more likely. (2016:385).”

      Liked by 1 person

      • AngloSaxon says:

        Devotion or focus doesn’t explain why feminism has been so singularly successful, is your wife being devoted to you a curse?

        Like

      • ramman3000 says:

        @AngloSaxon

        “…is your wife being devoted to you a curse?”

        Or similarly, is your wife being sexually attracted to you a curse? Of course not. So how can the definition include both sexual attraction and authoritative control if her ‘desire’ must be a curse? This line of reasoning leads to logical contradiction.

        Consider this candidate translation:

        ““To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children, and you shall turn away from all others to focus on your husband, yet he shall rule over you””

        We can explain the curse in one (or more) of the following ways:

        (1) A woman turns away from all others to focus on her husband, and by extension, her family. This makes sense: having children will be difficult and painful, but she will do it anyway. In ANE culture, when a woman had children (especially sons!), she had them for her husband. So, she is cursed to seek that very thing which causes her pain. And if she doesn’t have children, that will also be a curse. She’s ‘damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t’.

        (2) A woman turns away from all others to focus on her husband, and he benefits from her submission. She is cursed to be harshly ruled over, despite that devotion.

        (3) A woman turns away from all others to focus on her husband, becoming utterly dependent on him. Her loss of independence and equality is her curse.

        “Devotion or focus doesn’t explain why feminism has been so singularly successful…”

        Regardless of the specific translation of Genesis 3:16, it does not preclude feminism from arising. Even so, I don’t agree that it has been singularly successful. Over millennia, Satan has attacked humanity through as many vectors as possible. In the Bible, idolatry is arguably the most significant of these and it still is.

        Liked by 1 person

    • ramman3000 says:

      The Liddell, Scott and Jones lexicon gives the sense of apostrephó as turning away from all others to turn towards a single person.

      In the book “Hard Sayings of the Bible”, Walter Kaiser wrote:

      “The Hebrew word teshuqah, now almost universally translated as “desire,” was previously rendered as “turning.” The word appears in the Hebrew Old Testament only three times: here in Genesis 3:16, in Genesis 4:7 and in Song of Songs 7:10. Of the twelve known ancient versions (the Greek Septuagint, the Syriac Peshitta, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Old Latin, the Sahidic, the Bohairic, the Ethiopic, the Arabic, Aquila’s Greek, Symmachus’s Greek, Theodotion’s Greek and the Latin Vulgate), almost every one (twenty-one out of twenty-eight times) renders these three instances of teshuqah as “turning,” not “desire.” Likewise, the church fathers (Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Epiphanius and Jerome, along with Philo, a Jew who died about A.D. 50) seem to be ignorant of any other sense for this word teshuqah than the translation of “turning.” Furthermore, the Latin rendering was conversio and the Greek was apostrophē or epistrophē, words all meaning “a turning.””

      This is the best summary of the non-Hebrew evidence that I have found in my research on the topic. Similarly, the best summary of the Hebrew evidence that I have found is from Andrew Macintosh. As per his analysis, desire (including sexual desire) would be included as a subset of single-minded focus or devotion. Sexual desire is, therefore, not the focus of this passage, but more generally refers to the woman making the man the center of her world, so to speak: being dependent on him. As for whether this speaks of a woman seeking control, the evidence cited strongly militates against that possibility.

      So, combining everything so far, I would suggest this rendering is a good one:

      “To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children, and you shall turn away from all others to focus on your husband, yet he shall rule over you”

      But if we want to take a more neutral rendering, to account for the generality and ambiguity of the Hebrew language, we could also render it like this:

      “To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children, and you shall turn away from all others, becoming dependent on your husband, who shall rule over you”

      In summary, I think the focus on sexual desire and authoritative control completely misses the mark. Consider what Ed said:

      “You cannot compartmentalize or slice-n-dice anything in Hebrew Scripture.”

      And yet, isn’t this exactly what is being done? To wit:

      “Is this a case where Eve, symbolizing all womanhood, will have a sexual desire for her man, or is this a case of her desire to control him? [..] In Hebrew thinking, both are quite true.””

      Here we slice and dicing it into (either or both) sexual desire and control. My two suggested renderings take a significantly broader, more general, non-compartmentalized approach: the wife’s focus on her husband is not specific.

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      • Jack says:

        I am coming to see that part of the difficulty in translating this passage lies in the fact that the western mindset simply cannot embrace the ambiguity of the meaning. We just can’t be satisfied unless we reach a conclusion by doing some “slicing and dicing”. I think this is what Ed means when he talks about how Aristotelian logic and Germanic mythology has permeated western thinking and corrupted our understanding of the scriptures.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ramman3000 says:

        “I am coming to see that part of the difficulty in translating this passage lies in the fact that the western mindset simply cannot embrace the ambiguity of the meaning.

        Oh, I completely agree. When I wrote “What Constitutes Biblical Marriage?” in early 2018, I listed six different explanations for a man and woman becoming one-flesh in Genesis 2:24. I believe they are all correct and yet still not comprehensive.

        This is why my preferred translation for Genesis 3:16 is the Lamsa translation: its ambiguity suits the underlying language and culture from which it is derived.

        My analysis implies that the “desire to control her husband” is not a valid explanation. This isn’t to say that a woman can’t desire to control her husband (of course she can!), but that Genesis 3:16 isn’t speaking to that issue. You noted:

        Those supporting the idea that it is a sexual desire: Editors of older translations; Rabbinical scholars; Several noteworthy Bible commentators;”

        My only objection to this is that what is meant by “desire” is too specific. The real meaning is more inclusive (and thus more ambiguous).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. AngloSaxon says:

    So as always, those who confess to be Christians cannot agree. Brilliant. I don’t know why Grudem says its a desire to control and then embraces useless complementarianism which gives men zero ability to resist said desire to control. He believes women are in rebellion against men, and yes that is ALL women including Christian women, and then says sorry guys you can’t keep your rebellious women under control because that could involve ABUSE.

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  4. I personally think it’s both. The tree of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil yields two distinct fruits: desire/submission which increases sexual desire and good vs. control/usurp which leads to rebellion. A woman has a choice to choose either, which is a natural consequence that God brings to the forefront.

    I think this also agrees with the fact that there was perfect headship/submission and now it’s the desire turning toward the husband is one of choice of good or evil.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Novaseeker says:

    For what it’s worth, these are the two comments on it in the NET Notes (the NET has extensive translation notes … that doesn’t mean they’re correct, though!!!):

    tn Heb “and toward your husband [will be] your desire.” The nominal sentence does not have a verb; a future verb must be supplied because the focus of the oracle is on the future struggle. The precise meaning of the noun תְּשׁוּקָה (tshuqah, “desire”) is debated. Many interpreters conclude that it refers to sexual desire here because the subject of the passage is the relationship between a wife and her husband, and because the word is used in a romantic sense in Song 7:11 HT (7:10 ET). However, this interpretation makes little sense in Gen 3:16. First, it does not fit well with the assertion “he will dominate you.” Second, it implies that sexual desire was not part of the original creation, even though the man and the woman were told to multiply. And third, it ignores the usage of the word in Gen 4:7 where it refers to sin’s desire to control and dominate Cain. (Even in Song of Songs it carries the basic idea of “control,” for it describes the young man’s desire to “have his way sexually” with the young woman.) In Gen 3:16 the Lord announces a struggle, a conflict between the man and the woman. She will desire to control him, but he will dominate her instead. This interpretation also fits the tone of the passage, which is a judgment oracle. See further Susan T. Foh, “What is the Woman’s Desire?” WTJ 37 (1975): 376-83.

    sn This passage is a judgment oracle. It announces that conflict between man and woman will become the norm in human society. It does not depict the NT ideal, where the husband sacrificially loves his wife, as Christ loved the church, and where the wife recognizes the husband’s loving leadership in the family and voluntarily submits to it. Sin produces a conflict or power struggle between the man and the woman, but in Christ man and woman call a truce and live harmoniously (Eph 5:18-32).

    tn The Hebrew verb מָשַׁל (mashal) means “to rule over,” but in a way that emphasizes powerful control, domination, or mastery. This also is part of the baser human nature. The translation assumes the imperfect verb form has an objective/indicative sense here. Another option is to understand it as having a modal, desiderative nuance, “but he will want to dominate you.” In this case, the Lord simply announces the struggle without indicating who will emerge victorious.

    https://netbible.org/bible/Genesis+3

    Liked by 2 people

    • ramman3000 says:

      Novaseeker has done a good job presenting the evidence for the “desire for control”. Susan T. Foh is considered a primary source of this argument. For those wishing to consider this argument, this is the place to go first.

      There are good reasons to think that this argument is incorrect. In particular, my explanation above is mutually exclusive with this. We can’t both be right. But I have not disproved this one. If there is interest, I can expound on a refutation in further detail. Regardless, I do have a few observations.

      “However, this interpretation makes little sense in Gen 3:16. First, it does not fit well with the assertion “he will dominate you.””

      Sure it does. There is a natural tendency for a man to rule over his wife with a heavy hand. For thousands of years women have been second class citizens, despite their sincere desire for their husband. Surely that qualifies as a curse.

      “it implies that sexual desire was not part of the original creation”

      This is a valid criticism only if the husband ruling over his wife is a good thing. Thus, it begs the question. Rather, if the husband ruling over his wife as a bad thing, then this objection is eliminated.

      Like

    • Jack says:

      @ Novaseeker,
      Thanks for sharing those notes.

      “Many interpreters conclude that it refers to sexual desire… However, this interpretation makes little sense in Gen 3:16. First, it does not fit well with the assertion “he will dominate you”.”

      I disagree. It totally fits. One of the biggest lessons we have learned from Red Pill lore is that women are sexually attracted to dominant men, and that dominant men exert authority over women.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Novaseeker says:

        I agree that the NET notes observation on that is quite off, but at the same time it simply cannot be that women’s sexual desire is per se a part of the curse. So if the reference is indeed to female desire, it is simply saying “you will still desire him” (which, as you note, is what some of the translations actually say).

        I think I prefer ramman’s understanding to the “desire” one, but I still lean toward the “contrary to” understanding. The verse is vexing, however.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jack says:

        “The verse is vexing…”

        Truly. This is what I meant when I said that we just can’t be satisfied unless we reach a conclusion by doing some “slicing and dicing”. The typical western approach is to analyze the truth statements given and apply a logical process of deduction to arrive at a definitive conclusion. This is what all of us have been doing. But in this case, the truth statements have multiple meanings, and it seems that it was intentionally written to be vague. So the western logical approach becomes useless. I think this should serve as a cue that we need to get out of our heads and adopt a gestalt understanding of the topic. This approach goads an awakening of the heart, and I’m sure this was the whole purpose of it being vague.

        Like

      • ramman3000 says:

        @Novaseeker

        “I think I prefer ramman’s understanding to the “desire” one, but I still lean toward the “contrary to” understanding. The verse is vexing, however.”

        Let’s look at “contrary to” in more detail by referencing material from this link (which I had already cited above). The following is critical:

        “Typically, the Hebrew preposition ’el means ‘to’ or ‘toward.’ All the major Hebrew lexicons agree on this. The adversative sense of the Hebrew preposition ’el does occur in some instances. However, even in those instances, the direction of action is still to or toward. So, for instance, ‘Cain rose up ’el Abel’ (Gen 4:8). Cain’s action of rising up is obviously toward Abel, but the translation ‘against’ makes sense because of the hostile nature of his movement toward his brother. In other words, the preposition ’el in Gen 4:8 does not determine the contrariness of Cain’s action. Instead, it’s his hostile action that permits the translation ‘against’ for the sake of clarity in translation.”

        The author of this concluded from this that the antagonistic (i.e. “contrary to”) interpretation was thus not possible, but I found a flaw in his reasoning.

        Consider the interpretation that the wife seeks to control her husband while her husband is rightfully seeks to put her under control. By his argument, this is not a valid interpretation, because the context (the husband) is not antagonistic, so the preposition cannot be antagonistic (i.e. against). However, if the husband’s rulership over the wife is itself antagonistic (and morally wrong), then the wife’s rebellion can also be antagonistic (i.e. against her husband). This doesn’t tell us whether the wife’s actions are good or bad, only that it opposes the husband. If the wife’s rebellion is good (or neutral), it would mean the husband is abusive (in a general sense). If the wife’s rebellion is bad, it would mean that both husband and wife are living in disharmony. Both interpretations are compatible with the notion that it is a curse.

        So, if the word can be rendered “contrary to” (and I don’t agree that it should), I favor the interpretation that both husband and wife will be (wrongly!) grasping at control, resulting in a disharmony that corrupts the designed unity of the one-flesh bond. This is, IMO, the most natural interpretation. Though it suits my biases, I just don’t think it is correct.

        Notice that the above quote’s analysis of Genesis 4:8 dispels the notion that Genesis 4:7 is a parallel to Genesis 3:16. Genesis 4:7 is probably the primary reason one might interpret Genesis 3:16 as antagonistic, but it doesn’t work for the reasons stated.

        Like

      • Novaseeker says:

        So the western logical approach becomes useless. I think this should serve as a cue that we need to get out of our heads and adopt a gestalt understanding of the topic. This approach goads an awakening of the heart, and I’m sure this was the whole purpose of it being vague.

        I don’t disagree, but the problem is that Gen 3 sits at the middle of the teaching of the Church regarding male/female relations in marriage — what is the baseline/original relationship, what is the cursed/fallen relationship and, with Paul, what is the redeemed relationship. If we take a “it’s vague and multifaceted” approach to what is intended in 3:16, we open the door to every interpretation of it, which is kind of what has happened.

        It’s certainly true that many of the harder sayings, hermeneutically, in the bible are ones that ought to be a approached in a multivalent way. But doing that with Gen 3:16, even if the verse itself calls for it, leads to a right mess in the middle of marriage, because it opens the door to each and every interpretation one wants about what is baseline, what is cursed and what is redeemed, and assign emphasis where we like, depending on our prior biases regarding what we want the verse to mean, based on what we want marriage to look like (and what we want to say is “fallen”, and therefore undesirable, about marital roles, relationship models and so on).

        Of course this has already happened, so there isn’t much to do about it, in that the church has already divided over interpretation of Gen 3, but I think this is why there is such consternation and angst over this specific text, and why it is such a football hermeneutically. It’s sitting right in the middle of the feminism/men-women/marriage dispute that is in the middle of Christianity in the West, so it’s hard, as a practical matter, for a gestalt/subtle/multivalent approach to do anything but fuel, as a practical matter, one or the other view.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        “…the church has already divided over interpretation of Gen 3, but I think this is why there is such consternation and angst over this specific text, and why it is such a football hermeneutically. It’s sitting right in the middle of the feminism/men-women/marriage dispute that is in the middle of Christianity in the West, so it’s hard, as a practical matter, for a gestalt/subtle/multivalent approach to do anything but fuel, as a practical matter, one or the other view.”

        This is very true, and it was the main reason I looked into this passage.

        The New Testament passages covering marriage only give general prescriptions and don’t go into the ontology of female nature, so we don’t get any closer there either.

        I think we might consider some other writings from ancient Hebrew authors, such as the Sirach (which is practically canonized by the Catholic church) or maybe certain apocryphal books of better repute. There we might find some further insights. But the thing is, the church doesn’t even believe what’s clearly written in the Bible. How much less will they believe any extracanonical sources? So I think we’ll be studying this for our own edification, not for Church doctrine.

        Lord willing, we might find something totally unexpected and just what we need to know.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. eutrapelia2001 says:

    This is a very interesting discussion. I had no idea that the Hebrew word was so ambiguous and subject to so many different nuances. Although I don’t know enough Hebrew and Greek to contribute in that discussion, I do have a good knowledge of Latin.

    Here is how Jerome translates Gen. 3:16 in the Vulgate:
    Mulieri quoque dixit : Multiplicabo aerumnas tuas, et conceptus tuos : in dolore paries filios, et sub viri potestate eris, et ipse dominabitur tui.
    Translation: To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

    As you can see, Jerome translates the Hebrew and Greek in a completely different sense. He says “under the power of the man (husband)”. There is no mention of desire whatsoever. Did St. Jerome get this completely wrong? Maybe not.

    Perhaps the ambiguity is rather in the word “passion,” which was the first translation of the Hebrew word that Jack posted above from Google translate. “Passion” is a complex word, even in English. It can mean emotional intensity, sexual arousal, anger, and other things. However, in it’s root form, it has the connotation of “suffering.” Yet even this isn’t the full meaning. We usually associate suffering with pain of some sort, but the meaning here is more general. It comes from the Latin verb “pati” or “to suffer, to undergo, to endure” (the passive participle is “passus” “To have suffered”). Also note that the verb is used in the passive voice at all times, meaning that is it something that is done to me rather than something that I do. It is in this sense that we use the term to describe Christ’s suffering on the cross, that is, The Passion of Christ.

    Suffering does not necessarily mean pain, however. It means to be acted upon by an outside agent. There is an active principle and a passive principle. Passion is from the standpoint of the passive principle, hence the passive voice. Even the word passive itself communicates this same meaning, hence the etymological similarity. We use the word “to suffer” in this general sense in English as well. “He doesn’t suffer fools” is a common expression. It merely means that he doesn’t allow himself to come under the influence of fools or to be acted upon by fools.

    This also fits with “passion” used as “emotion.” The emotions are things which try to act upon the intellect and will, which rather need to direct them to their proper goal. There is the sense that emotions are something that act upon “me,” not in a dualist sense, but rather that the lower human faculties try to act upon the higher human faculties and, in fact, do.

    So, with the word “passion,” there is an active principle and a passive principle. The active principle has power over the passive principle insofar as it acts upon it. So saying in Hebrew “Your passion shall be for your husband” (roughly) means in this sense “you will be under the power of your husband.” This is how Jerome rendered it in Latin. I would posit that Jerome understood the ambiguity and sought to remove that ambiguity in his translation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • eutrapelia2001 says:

      Now why would God say to Eve “You will be under the power of your husband,” when she was already created out of his side and created by God as his help? How can what was already ordained by God in His creation now be a punishment? Uttering this phrase as a punishment, God could simply be saying that because you have disobeyed and have subverted the proper order, you will continuously chafe under that order. Before the Fall, everything was properly ordered. Because you created disorder, you will now be aware of that natural submission and constantly have the temptation and urge to rebel against it. You will constantly be reminded of your place in creation and you will be interiorly punished by having to accept it in humility.

      Liked by 1 person

      • eutrapelia2001 says:

        The same could be said to Adam. Because you allowed disorder to happen under your watch and you went along with it, your role of headship and provision will be harder and you will have to work constantly reassert that dominion over nature which was properly ordered before the Fall. Adam failed as a steward by listening to his wife. He will now have to suffer under the constant effort to reestablish that dominion.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      @ Eutrapelia,
      Thanks for sharing those notes.

      The link, desire = passion = suffer, is revelatory. In the late 19th century, feminists were called suffragettes. The dictionary defines suffrage as the right to vote, but the old concept of suffrage had the goal of not letting women be acted upon by men (by allowing men to vote but not women). In today’s language, this is referred to as “gender equality”, but actually it is rebellion based on a distrust of men (and God).

      All this makes me realize that the underlying backbone aspiration of women’s suffrage of yesteryore and today’s Feminism is to reverse the curse on Eve. But this can never happen. The only way for women to be (somewhat) relieved of the negative consequences of this curse is for them to follow through on being submissive to the husband’s power and authority (and of men in general, and God by extension).

      Liked by 2 people

      • eutrapelia2001 says:

        Agreed. In my discussions with men, I point out that modern feminism is nothing more than the spirit of Eve on steroids. Women getting the vote was the start of the division of households, which, I would argue, was the entire point. When husband and wife are of a similar mind, the female vote does not change the political process. Only when the wife votes contrary to her husband does it matter.

        Female hypergamy has been present as long as women have existed. Even in the Garden of Eden, Eve, who at the time was a perfect woman, had the perfect man, even if he was the only one, had perfect provisioning and protection and a path to paternity. Her life was one of complete fulfillment. Yet she got bored and needed “something more.” If Adam, who was perfect up to this point, wasn’t enough for Eve; and if God, who had provided everything to Eve, wasn’t enough for her; how much more difficult is our task as men to keep ourselves and our wives on the straight and narrow path in spite of each sexes sinful proclivities following the Fall?

        The internal dialogue of Eve must have involved a questioning of God Himself and whether God was holding resources back from her that she didn’t even know existed until she spoke with the serpent. Let us imagine what that might look like: Doesn’t God want me to know things? What is God hiding? Is there more to life than just this? Is there a better place than the Garden of Eden that God is keeping from me? Doesn’t God want me to be happy? Why is God controlling me like this by refusing the knowledge of good and evil? The hamster wheel is easy to recognize.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. ramman3000 says:

    An observation.

    The discussion so far has focused on whether the wife was devoted to her husband for sex, controlling him, and/or something more general, and whether or not this devotion was part of her curse. Less attention has been spent on whether the husband’s heavy rulership is also part of the curse. In my various posts, I’ve found that whenever I assume the husband’s rulership is part of the curse (rather than part of the solution), it opens up interpretive flexibility, that is, it widens the lexical and semantic scope of the Hebrew language used.

    For example, I said: “This is a valid criticism only if the husband ruling over his wife is a good thing. Thus, it begs the question. Rather, if the husband ruling over his wife as a bad thing, then this objection is eliminated.”

    For example, I said: “…if the husband’s rulership over the wife is itself antagonistic (and morally wrong), then the wife’s rebellion can also be antagonistic (i.e. contrary to husband).”

    Both of these are in the context of favoring the “desire to control her husband” (i.e. contrary to). Yet, even in the case where we favor ‘single-minded devotion’, the husband’s rulership is still (logically) most likely to be a curse as a result of the fall. It doesn’t make sense to say that sexual attraction is a curse. It also doesn’t make sense to say that desiring good sex and to be ruled (as per the original design) is a curse.

    When I read Ephesians 5, I don’t get a sense that the following is a good thing in a godly marriage:

    “The Hebrew verb מָשַׁל (mashal) means “to rule over,” but in a way that emphasizes powerful control, domination, or mastery.”

    I know that this probably puts me in the minority (surprise!), but that’s the sense I’m getting the more I examine this.

    Like

    • eutrapelia2001 says:

      Perhaps this will be helpful. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica has this to say about subjection before and after the Fall. (Book I, Q. 92. A1 ad2)

      Subjection is twofold. One is servile, by virtue of which a superior makes use of a subject for his own benefit; and this kind of subjection began after sin. There is another kind of subjection which is called economic or civil, whereby the superior makes use of his subjects for their own benefit and good; and this kind of subjection existed even before sin. For good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates. Nor is inequality among men excluded by the state of innocence, as we shall prove (Q. 96, A. 3).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ramman3000 says:

    Jack said…

    “The typical western approach is to analyze the truth statements given and apply a logical process of deduction to arrive at a definitive conclusion. [..] it seems that it was intentionally written to be vague. [..] This approach goads an awakening of the heart”

    …and Novaseeker replied…

    “If we take a “it’s vague and multifaceted” approach to what is intended in 3:16, we open the door to every interpretation of it, which is kind of what has happened.”

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either you try to logically define meanings based on context and the precise meanings of words and phrases, or you have to allow multi-variate readings and differences of opinion. In doing the latter, you get things like Rabbinic and Midrashic systems, described thusly:

    “Midrash and rabbinic readings “discern value in texts, words, and letters, as potential revelatory spaces. They reimagine dominant narratival readings while crafting new ones to stand alongside—not replace—former readings.”

    “a Jewish mode of interpretation that not only engages the words of the text, behind the text, and beyond the text, but also focuses on each letter, and the words left unsaid by each line.”

    “Midrashic creativity reached its peak in the schools of Rabbi Ishmael and Akiba, where two different hermeneutic methods were applied. The first was primarily logically oriented, making inferences based upon similarity of content and analogy. The second rested largely upon textual scrutiny, assuming that words and letters that seem superfluous teach something not openly stated in the text.”

    If you reject the necessity of logic, then you must open the door to any and every interpretation.

    When Jerome reinterpreted Genesis 3:16 to refer to control, he was reflecting the method of Jewish Midrash, perhaps even directly using it as his source. Even though the historical Hebrew language analysis shows that the meaning of the word (as written) means ‘single-minded devotion’ (a type of all-encompassing, focused desire), with the sense of ‘turning toward’, people are still arguing that it means ‘contrary to’ or ‘desires control of’, which is not openly taught in the text. Applying logic would close the door on that interpretation.

    Binding and loosing was a rabbinic role claimed by the Pharisees. When Jesus told his disciples that they would bind and loose*, he was appointing them as his successors and granting them the authority to interpret scripture in the rabbinic mode. See more here. Such a mode of interpretation implies that a door-opening vague and multifaceted approach is by design.

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    • ramman3000 says:

      * NOTE:

      “The “to be” verb in Matthew 18:18 is a future passive periphrastic perfect indicative. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1930), p. 149.”

      The verse is typically translated as “will be bound in heaven”, but the verb does not have a simple future tense, as implied by “will be”. Rather, the verb “bind” is future passive, that is, ‘shall have [already] been bound.’ This same construction is used in Matthew 16:19 and John 20:23. In the latter,

      Clearly, the rabbinic role of binding and loosing is uniquely constrained to the will of the father, that is, guided by the Holy Spirit.

      Like

  9. Novaseeker says:

    Fair enough. I have long suspected that Christians will have to learn to agree to disagree about these kinds of things due to different interpretations of the scripture being defensible. It does mean that there will be divisions in practice, but this has been happening anyway so it isn’t like admitting that there is an underlying reason why there are so many disagreements to begin with fundamentally changes anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ramman3000 says:

      @Novaseeker

      “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. [..] As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. [1 John 2]”

      Does John contradict himself when he tells his readers (1) to listen to what he previously taught; and (2) the anointing [Holy Spirit] is sufficient to teach all things?

      “I have long suspected that Christians will have to learn to agree to disagree about these kinds of things due to different interpretations of the scripture being defensible. It does mean that there will be divisions in practice”

      This is true, but not as big a deal as it seems.

      Consider how Ed Hurst will not debate his theological stances. He will state what the Spirit has revealed to him, but he won’t argue, nor will he insist that his views must apply to everyone.

      In Matthew 18:15-35, Jesus makes it clear that division must be dealt with from within the congregation, ideally brother to brother. Outside that generally isn’t your responsibility or concern. The Spirit guides you and it is your responsibility to do what it says, regardless of whether that conflicts with what the Spirit has told me to do. We all have our individual missions, and sometimes this means that what is right for one person’s conscience is wrong for another (as Paul says in the NT).

      This is Christian mysticism. You focus on what the Spirit is telling you to do and you do it. You concern yourself with what others believe as (and if) you are called to do so. Ultimately, the Lord of heaven will reveal whatever he wants to whomever he wants to reveal it to. It is in good hands. We can be content in that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lexet Blog says:

      There are the historical interpretations, and then there’s the modern nonsense that’s younger than you. It stems from the new perspectives crowd and seminarian punks who are encouraged to come up with new interpretations for their theses projects

      Like

  10. Lexet Blog says:

    NET gets the thought correct. It’s a curse, and it’s discussing how the dominance hierarchy will become sinful. Women seek to control men, and mans response is to dominate.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. redeemedbeliever says:

    Interesting discussion, but some important passages are ignored. One of them is Gen 2:18.

    And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

    The word help is accurate. One can not be a helper and an opposer at the same time. I think there is another word in Hebrew also translated suitable which immediately precedes the word help.

    Another is Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
    24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
    25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

    For Gen3:16 to mean anything close to control would invalidate my quoted passages. So is the Bible reliable or nothing more than a fable? I think the discussion makes the Bible nothing but a ridiculous bunch of babble. Yes I completely understand what religious people say and do. They are controlled by culture and not the Bible or God. Don’t people understand they say Christians control God and His Son Jesus by the discussion? My 3 verse quote above makes the common meaning of either 23 or 25 a lie.

    For a very long time I couldn’t understand what was going on even though I realized most church attendees in reality aren’t Christians. In-other-words I couldn’t tell the difference in them and the nonreligious. There are some very good deceivers and strongly deceived people in the organized church.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      @ RedeemedBeliever,

      Your assessment is correct. But to get the full understanding, we need to put this within the context of what happened along a chronological timeline.

      Pre-Fall: The woman’s purpose to be the man’s companion and helper (Genesis 2:18) was instated before the fall.

      The Fall: Genesis 3:16 describes what we have now concluded to be a curse on women, namely that women will chafe under the man’s authority, and will resist the role of being a submissive helper, and will therefore grasp for authoritative control, but they will still desire a man who can force her into that role. By using the word “curse”, we are referring to how her wants, needs, desires, and psychological disposition are all in conflict with each other, and this is therefore an obstacle for her to do what is right and still be at peace with herself and God. As a result of this curse, she is inclined to do bad things and get bad or unfavorable results.

      Post-Fall: The passages in Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and elsewhere are prescriptions for women to return to their original purpose before the fall, e.g. to be man’s side-kick companion and helper, and to glorify the man as he glorifies God. It is implied that having faith in Christ will help her overcome the obstacles posed by the curse.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jack says:

    In summary of our discussion here so far, I think we have formed a pretty good understanding of the truths hiding behind Genesis 3:16. This fulfills my personal purpose of writing this post.

    Concerning the scriptural interpretation of Genesis 3:16, we’ve learned that it’s rather complex and not easy to understand, much less translate from ANE culture and language to modern English.

    I think the thing that has caused us a lot of confusion is in trying to ascertain what the scriptures say about the nature and extent of the curse in Genesis 3:16, and what is NOT included as part of this curse. But I think we have cleared up this confusion for the most part.

    Like

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