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Genesis 3:16

NIV - To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

GWT - He said to the woman, "I will increase your pain and your labor when you give birth to children. Yet, you will long for your husband, and he will rule you."

NLT - 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."

Looking at these translations, we can see two contrasting types of desire given to Eve as a curse from God.

  1. Sexual desire: Though Eve will give birth with great pain, she will still desire to have sex with her husband and will keep on repeating the painful birth. This is possible because some say that women enjoy sex more than men(though I would like to give some source, I think such topic is too explicit for this site).
  2. Desire for power: Eve will try to rule over Adam but as man is given more physical strength, Eve will be overpowered and ruled by her husband.

What kind of desire was given to Eve?

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  • The Bible is often explicit. Song of Songs for example is basically erotic fiction (or prose really) making it the closest thing to porn you could get at the time. Let the text take you wherever it leads. Human Sexuality does not need to be more taboo, but let's keep it clinical. Aug 29 '14 at 18:12
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    Option #2 is supported by the appearance of the same construction in the very next chapter (Gen. 4:7).
    – Jas 3.1
    Sep 1 '14 at 2:35
  • @JamesShewey Porn existed in biblical times, and the Song of Songs is not porn; cf. my answer here.
    – Geremia
    Nov 19 '17 at 22:53
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    This is too hot for me - I will resist answering this but observe that the word "desire" only occurs 3 times, and one of them is SS 7:10 where the man desires the woman. The only other times is Gen 4:7 where sin desires to master Cain.
    – Dottard
    Oct 31 at 10:56
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    @martin I'm well aware, that's why I didn't vote to close, just pointing out to the OP that the discussion in the above thread may be helpful.
    – Bach
    Oct 31 at 21:07

10 Answers 10

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As far as I know, the only other place in the Old Testament where this same Hebrew term ("desire for you") is used, is in the next chapter, when God speaks to Cain.

"If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7, ESV)

In the literary context, this would refer to control, rather than sexual desire. The inference would be that the woman would want to exert control over the man after the Fall, and this would result in a struggle for control in the relationship between them. Speaking anecdotally, this seems to be the case.

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    See also Song 7:10 (7:11 in BHS). (I don't disagree with your conclusion that Gen 4:7 is most relevant, just pointing out the one other occurrence.)
    – Susan
    Sep 1 '14 at 4:07
  • + Susan T. Foh, "What is the Woman's Desire?", Westminster Theological Journal 37 (1974/75): 376-83.
    – Dɑvïd
    Sep 1 '14 at 6:59
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    @briangardner I essentially agree with this answer, except I believe that much more can be said. Obviously, Satan used the 'divide and conquer' method, dividing Adam and Eve, and putting Adam in the position of choosing his mate or God. The judgment on Eve is obviously her need to rely on Adam, yet to Eve is made the promise of "her seed" will destroy the serpent(Satan) who tricked her, reverting the effect of the lie that caused her to fall.
    – Tau
    Sep 5 '14 at 8:01
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    @Tau agreed. One argument I read against this is that each person only gets one curse and this would be two for the woman. But I think this misunderstands the nature of v16. It's not a curse, it's prophecy. It also misses the pattern and flow: Serpent cursed to earth, doomed to a struggle with the woman's seed that he will lose, woman's curse in childbirth, doomed to struggle with man that she will lose, man cursed with labor to provide for woman and child,, will struggle to live but will lose and die eventually. In all three there is curse and struggle.
    – Joshua
    May 3 '16 at 11:24
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Before I started to research this Bible verse, I held to the explanation given in the New International Version Study Bible:

NIV Study Bible Note: Her sexual attraction for the man, and his headship over her, will become intimate aspects of her life in which she experiences trouble and anguish rather than unalloyed joy and blessing.

Then I found this comment in the New Living Translation Study Bible:

NLT Study Bible Note: Judgment falls on the woman’s unique role of childbearing and on her relationship with her husband. “And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you (or, and though you will have desire for your husband, he will rule over you): The marriage relationship now included an element of antagonism rather than just security and fulfilment.

Intrigued, I pressed on and found a fuller explanation from the English Standard Version Study Bible:

ESV Study Bible Note: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” These words from the Lord indicate that there will be an ongoing struggle between the woman and the man for leadership in the marriage relationship. The leadership role of the husband and the complementary relationship between husband and wife that were ordained by God before the fall have now been deeply damaged and distorted by sin. This especially takes the form of inordinate desire (on the part of the wife) and domineering rule (on the part of the husband).

The Hebrew term here translated “desire” (teshuqah) is rarely found n the OT. But it appears again in Genesis 4:7, in a statement that closely parallels Genesis 3:16 – that is, where the Lord says to Cain, just before Cain’s murder of his brother, that sin’s “desire is for you” (i.e., to master Cain), and that Cain must “rule over it” (which he immediately fails to do, by murdering his brother).

Similarly, the ongoing result of Adam and Eve’s original sin of rebellion against God will have disastrous consequences for their relationship: (1) Eve will have the sinful “desire” to oppose Adam and to assert leadership over him, reversing God’s plan for Adam’s leadership in marriage. But (2) Adam will also abandon his God-given, pre-fall role of leading, guarding, and caring for his wife, replacing this with his own sinful, distorted desire to “rule” over Eve. Thus one of the most tragic results of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God is an ongoing, damaging conflict between husband and wife in marriage, driven by the sinful behaviour of both in rebellion against their respective God-given roles and responsibilities in marriage.

And there I was, thinking that sexual desire was down to hormones. Seems there is more to these few Hebrew words than meets the eye and that Eve wanted to rule over or dominate her husband. Doesn't make for comfortable reading (given I am female) but I can see how it works out in reality.

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This question has generated a lot of lengthy and tedious answers, I will try to be as concise as possible, and focus on your question only without veering off.

The way I see it, your question should be divided into two separate but related questions. 1. Is this a curse? 2. If yes, how exactly is this a curse?

I will start with the first question and then move on to address the second (more central) question.

Evidence it is part of the curse

Let's take a look at the context. First God addresses the serpent with a curse in v. 14 ("cursed are you"), then God addresses the woman:

To the woman He said: “I will sharply increase your pain in childbirth; in pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Then God addresses the ground/man with a curse ("cursed is the ground", but not directly the man as to avoid directly calling the human race cursed. cf. Gen. 49:7).

It is clear that the woman is also being cursed as she brought about this sin just as much as the man and serpent did. The text also positions her squarely between the serpent and man, both of which are explicitly described as being cursed (in response to @curiousdanii's criticism).

Now two curses in the above verse are easily discernible.

  1. pain in childbirth.
  2. the dominance of the male in the relationship.

The verse starts with a curse and ends with a curse, given the context, it seems very likely that the middle part of the verse forms part of that curse. But this brings us to your second question; namely, how can Eve's sexual desire (תשוקה cf. Songs 7:11) for her husband be considered a curse in any way?

How is women's sexual desire a curse

The easiest answer is that it is not a separate curse, but a continuation of the previous curse. Eve will suffer in childbirth, and will also want to lay with her husband, even though she is well aware of the suffering that this would cause her. Thus the fact that she has a sexual desire for her husband ensures that the first part of the curse is indeed being fulfilled, her sexual desire ensures that she will be forever be stuck in an endless cycle of suffering (Sisyphus comes to mind). Indeed, it seems paradoxical that any woman would want to lay with a man knowing that the act would bring her endless suffering (at least in biblical times). So a better interpretation of the verse would be following NASB and NJPS "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall deliver children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

This interpretation is confirmed by the waw conjunction in the word ואל

"and your desire will be for your husband" ואל אישך תשוקתך

Most translations ignore this waw and translate "Your desire". But this is incorrect. The waw proves that this is not a new clause, but is connected with the previous clause "In pain you will bring forth children". So a better translation would be "In pain you will bring forth children, yet your desire will be for your husband". The conjunction waw sometimes has the meaning of yet, or even so (see HALOT ו-8), although it usually denotes "and", the context here allows us to interpret it differently.

Hope this helps.


Appendix

For those who want a deeper understanding of the text I just want to note that the parallels between Gen. 3:16 and 4:7 are really striking, and anyone doing serious bible study should not ignore it. The wording is strikingly similar, and so is their form and structure, and when compared side by side they form a chiastic structure. Both of them also belong to the same literary genre, namely biblical poetry.

Here you can compare these verses side by side:

וְאֶל-אִישֵׁךְ תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ, וְהוּא יִמְשָׁל-בָּךְ (3:16)
וְאֵלֶיךָ תְּשׁוּקָתוֹ, וְאַתָּה תִּמְשָׁל-בּוֹ  (4:7)
(3:16) yet your desire is for your husband, but he will rule over you
(4:7)  and his desire is for you, but you can rule over him 

Now in 4:7 the desire of sin is not entirely clear, but it is clearly a power struggle between sin and mankind. Sin's desire is for man to succumb to its temptation, but man tries to conquer it. The desire in 3:16 however is most likely "sexual desire", as "desire for your husband" strongly implies, and Songs 7:11 proves that depending on the context it can have sexual connotations. Additionally, if what I have demonstrated above (that we must read it together with the previous statement "In pain you will bring forth children") is true, then the desire here is clearly sexual. So why is the biblical author using the same word תשוקה (desire/urge) in both songs, even though they have slightly different meanings?

My theory is that in Gen. 3:16 the author is alluding to the well known song in 4:7. The song of the sin/Cain must have been well known to the biblical audience, the song portrays the battle of sin vs. mankind. Sin constantly tries to seduce man, but man ultimately has the choice to defy him. But with the battle of Eve vs. Adam (or woman vs. man) the case is a quite different, Eve is under Adam's spell, and she has no choice but to submit to his will. When mankind battles sin, mankind has the advantage, but when woman battles man the women is at a disadvantage. Thus the author is using exactly the same language in both songs to emphasize the contrast between the two. It starts the same way, sin has a desire to seduce mankind, and woman has a desire to seduce man, but whereas mankind has the ultimate say, the woman has no such advantage.

This also explains the connection between "your desire is for your husband", and the last line "and he will rule over you". This is all linked to the curse of childbirth pangs pronounced on Eve. Eve's constant desire for her husband ensures that she is stuck in a cycle of painful birthhood, and the fact that the husband dominates in this area as well seals her fate. She cannot defy him, for he is the dominant male and she must succumb to his will, unlike sin which mankind can ultimately defy.

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    Hey Bach, "Endless cycle of suffering sounds a little pessimistic and I hope the curse doesn't require that! There is certainly incredible joy to be found in motherhood. Also תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ doesn't have to refer to sexual desire as illustrated in Gen. 4:7. Nov 1 at 2:04
  • @MartinHemsley you are getting too technical with me. Of course there's the joy of motherhood, I'm just saying from the perspective of the biblical text at hand (which is ignoring childbirth or its joys), she is signing up for a life of misery by laying with him. As for your point in regards to תשוקה, I'm well aware of Gen. 4:7, I think the context though warrants sexual desire. In any case, this is beyond the scope of this question. The OP seems to take it as sexual desire (based on translation), and I'm going along with it.
    – Bach
    Nov 1 at 2:13
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    Ha ha, @Bach. You've been around for a while so I can be tougher on you, but no, I don't think you have crossed a line. I'll just give you my honest opinion that I trust most women don't think they are signing up for a lifetime of misery by lying with their husbands. There is joy and pleasure in many aspects of life. I will agree though, that the curse has made life difficult for all of us. Nov 1 at 2:23
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    @MartinHemsley I fully agree with you, but we are in bible study class now :)
    – Bach
    Nov 1 at 2:34
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    @curiousdannii I think we would agree that God cursed the serpent for what he did. (אָר֤וּר אַתָּה֙ ) We would also agree that the earth was cursed because of what Adam did (אֲרוּרָ֤ה הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ ) which indirectly represented the curse of heavy labor for him. Admittedly God was more explicit in these envelope cases but God had asked her why she disobeyed and then he laid a heavy punishment on her (increased pain in childbirth). If that is not a curse, what would be a better description? It is much stronger than a mere punishment, because it stays in effect through all ensuing generations. Nov 1 at 2:56
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  1. Context: Given the historical event that drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden and
  2. Repeated occurrence: In the following chapter ("Its desire is for you") the word is used again.

We can conclude that the fall of mankind caused a struggle for control or self-dominion. In this chapter, the husband is given authority over the wife, therefore the context is not sexual, but rather of control/dominion.

Thanks!

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    I'm not sure that this was a reward or right given to Adam, as much as a statement of fact. These are all negative prescriptive, so it would be more accurate to consider Adam ruling over his wife as a negative and Eve's desire for control over her husband to be in conflict. Therefore, it basically says "you are going to get into fights now." Sep 12 '14 at 18:49
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This question is pretty peculiar, and I will explain why soon. First it's not about cursing actually, it's a bit deeper. In the ninth hour G'd said not to eat and one hour later, they ate, as it's written in Genesis 2:17:

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (ESV).

There is a problem in here, both Adam and Eve didn't know what death was, so G'd knew that it would happen, also in the passage that says: for in the day that you eat of it. Before they die, they'd suffer as we see in Genesis 3:16:

16 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.” (ESV)

However, G'd didn't say that they'd suffer nor that he (Adam) shall rule over you. It seems a terrible story, so why to begin with it. It's quite different as we will verify. Firstly, there was no notion of death, so as in jewish philosophy, the souls need to be somehow fixed, the souls of the two needed to find something to fix, however everything was perfect, then, this would only possible in the lower worlds, which is explicit in the following Genesis 3:21:

21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. (ESV)

What G'd did was to cloth them, and this is simple to comprehend, it's not about just material garments but also spiritual ones, this is, G'd clothes Himself.

Why commandments for no sin, so something happened before, that's why the story is so deep, because it's all about desires, for one that goes down from the lower world till the upper, the soul achieves a higher spiritual level, and we talk here about the children of them, not about them, for in hebrew Eve is Havah (חוה) meaning full of life, so it's not about Eve bringing death, but life, life meaning the skill to fulfill a purpose. That's why the woman is the door in jewish philosophy which brings the model into reality, and the man which is the head (ראש‎) that's why rule over her. And making sure my point, we read in Genesis 3:6:

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (ESV)

We conclude that the tree was desirable, meaning that the tree has the possibility to bring desires, that's why in every "curse" there is a desire to be achieved, and if so, one elevates the soul. That's why even if G'd didn't want them to eat, He wanted by another side which is bigger, the fact I quoted above, to fulfill a higher purpose, and we can see an analogy in Christianity very clearly.

The completion of the answer concerns the desire for Adam (the head) by Eve:

7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7) (ESV)

The word desire is to step down, as in the case of the tree. In hebrew we have for the same verse from Genesis 4:7:

הֲל֤וֹא אִם־תֵּיטִיב֙ שְׂאֵ֔ת וְאִם֙ לֹ֣א תֵיטִ֔יב לַפֶּ֖תַח חַטָּ֣את רֹבֵ֑ץ וְאֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָת֔וֹ וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּמְשׇׁל־בּֽוֹ׃

The word תְּשׁ֣וּקָת֔וֹ which is the word in hebrew for desire doesn't refer to the sin but to the door, for there is the וֹ at the end, referring to singular. Then, the woman compared to a door of possility to bring a desire into reality (life). The verse in Genesis 3:16 isn't about a woman to desire the husband, on the contrary, it says that the woman will bring the desire (as I hope it's most appropriate, even though תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ means literally desire of her):

אֶֽל־הָאִשָּׁ֣ה אָמַ֗ר הַרְבָּ֤ה אַרְבֶּה֙ עִצְּבוֹנֵ֣ךְ וְהֵֽרֹנֵ֔ךְ בְּעֶ֖צֶב תֵּֽלְדִ֣י בָנִ֑ים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ וְה֖וּא יִמְשׇׁל־בָּֽךְ׃

And we conclude that the curse isn't actually what we might think, it's a step down that can bring a desire to fulfill a purpose, the woman being the door of the possible acomplishment of it, and the man being the head, this happens, because in the heavens (in jewish philosophy) a partzuf has a body and a head. Actually the verse would best translate as:

for your husband (Eve), your desire.

This is, it's not Eve that desires the man, for that would be too "easy" for her, she would need to lose something instead, in this case, a desire. Again, it's not about suffer or pain as we are so familiarized with, but an opportunity to fulfill a purpose, so the man shall desire his wife.

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    (+1) Hi Joao, thanks so much for contributing a number of fascinating concepts and thoughts here, this is a great post, though I might need to read it a few more times to digest it all. Sorry to see somebody gave you a downvote without explaining why.
    – Steve Taylor
    Oct 31 at 16:42
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    Curious… you stated that the command ‘not to eat’ - was issued to Adam …”In the ninth hour”. What is your reference for this?
    – Dave
    Oct 31 at 21:54
  • There was no upvote so maybe it didn't help so much, but the source was from a rabbi called Friedmann. Nov 1 at 11:31
  • There was an upvote actually - but the answer had previously been downvoted, so it just ended back at 0. :)
    – Steve Taylor
    Nov 2 at 20:38
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Three men were overheard chatting after a sermon on Genesis 3:16.

To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.

Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

First man: My wife just had a baby and she said it was most painful thing she has ever experienced.

Second man: My wife said the same thing, but she wasn’t affected by the second curse.

Third man: That’s nothing. My wife said that being married to me is the most painful thing she has ever experienced.

We could probably learn a lot about these men and their marriages by the statements they made. The anecdote also helps to shed some light on what is going on in this passage. Gen 2:18 explains that the woman was created to be a helper fit for the man. That is different from being ruled over by the man.

I think that intuitively everyone would agree that a wife desiring her husband is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact Song of Solomon references it approvingly.

7:10 “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.

So how could it be a curse? Let me know if you have a better answer, but here is a possibility. It could be a curse if he doesn’t deserve to be desired. In other words, if he takes the “rule over her” too far, he disrespects and dishonors her.

If she desires him to the point of putting up with whatever form of abuse he dishes out, that kind of desire could be considered a curse. I have heard many stories of why women put up with abusive men, and one of them is, “Because I love him.” I admit it is anecdotal, but it is at least some evidence for the point. In Old Testament times, women did not have many options for escaping abusive relationships.

We see the results in the OT of women being ruled over by men and it often resulted in them having less rights and being taken advantage of. The law did help ensure that women had a higher degree of protection. Jesus went even further in mitigating the effects of the curse, primarily by offering life.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)

The effects of the curse can also be mitigated in marriage relationships when both the husband and wife choose to seek God’s will in their lives.

Eph. 5 3Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

I do believe that women bore the brunt of the curse because Eve listened to Satan and disobeyed God and then encouraged her husband to do the same. I also believe that in Christ, much of the effect of that curse was reversed, but it won’t be complete until we are completely transformed into his likeness. If a man loves his wife like he loves himself and as Christ loved the church, and the wife respects her husband, they can be a more harmonious team, working together in self-sacrificial unity to accomplish God’s purposes on the earth.

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    Martin can you please explain how you arrived (or what textual evidence you have to prove it) at the conclusion that this is indeed a curse, or why this should be considered a curse?
    – Bach
    Nov 1 at 0:57
  • @Bach, I'm going to assume you are a man because I doubt women would need to ask for specific textual evidence. There is much, but I will provide you with one to illustrate the inferior status of women in those times. Guests who were strangers had higher status than daughters. Gen 19 8“Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” How can something so terrible be contemplated unless there is a curse to explain it? Nov 1 at 1:40
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    The point you make about "a man loves his wife like he loves himself and as Christ loved the church, and the wife respects her husband" is massively important in the Christian view of marriage, and directly relates to the Edenic curse! The hardest thing is for men to love (the way women need to be loved, which is NOT sexually!) and the hardest thing for women is to respect the man. All due to sin. But when Eph.5:25 is obeyed, that particular curse of sin loses its hold.
    – Anne
    Nov 5 at 16:30
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Man's punishment in Adam is that by the sweat of his brow he would strive against nature and circumstances to be able to provide for himself and his wife and family. Would not Gen.3:16 'desire for your husband' mean that women, in Eve, will strive to overcome a desire to rule over her husband? Having a desire to love one's husband is not a punishment; there must be something more. It is submitted that the 'something more' in this phrase is exampled in today's world by wives committing family violence (physical but particularly emotional/psychological) against their husbands. The Christian churches fail husbands (and God) by failing to confront abusive wives. This failure is exposed in the free reign that even Christians give to such destructive organisations like White Ribbon which blame all violence on men (even though one in four intimate partner homicides in Australia is a man killed by a woman). Writers like Wayne Grudem expose the related destructive flaws of Christian egalitarianism' (contrasted with 'complimentarianism') where even well-meaning but woefully misguided theologians condemn husbands to a life of sorrow because the set wives up to 'desire/subjugate their husbands'. How many Christian leaders have the love of Christ and the courage to confront, from the pulpit and in Bible classes, abusive and tyrannic wives? There are precious few … and misery (for wives and husbands) persists; children fail to have great role models; the 'Church' shrinks … but not in 'third world' countries which still allow faithful preaching. Is the Christian Church failing in the west because it is led by self-seeking cowards?

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  • Welcome to BHSE! Please make sure you take our Tour. (See below left) Thanks. Placing your questions above aside, what is a shorter answer to Mawia's Q: "What kind of desire was given to Eve?" May 7 '19 at 20:20
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Disclaimer: I have no formal education in any biblical languages.

Short answer:

Because of Eve's disobedience she becomes the lover, servant and begetter of Mr. Sin (IE: sin personified).


First of all, I found this study of this passage on JSTOR. It can be read online for free with registration.

I found the paper thorough in its "homework" in that it examines many treatments of the word "desire" in various languages and settings. However, I did not find it had any substantial insight into interpretation, hoping to establish the meaning by tradition.


I have long been aware that Paul anthropomorphizes sin as "Mr. Sin" so to speak in Romans however as I pondered this question and looked more closely at Romans it seemed to strike me that Paul has elaborate references to Adam, Eve, marriage, childbearing, labor, birth etc. that are more involved than I had ever realized. And once being made aware of the deep symbolism is it not possible now to un-see! And understanding the typology involved helps to understand the passage itself.


  • Mr. Sin as master

Sin personified "desires" Cain (same word as with Eve) and Cain must subdue him:

[Gen 4:7 ESV] (7) If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it."

Paul alludes to that here:

[Rom 7:11, 18, 23 ESV] (11) For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. ... (18) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. ... (23) but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

  • Mr. Sin as paramour

NASB 2 Corinthians 11: 1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but [fn]indeed you are bearing with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 4 For if [fn]one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

Notice that Paul's concern is that the Corinthians, whom Paul espoused to Christ, will turn to another lover - the Devil.

  • Eve as sin bearer

In light of the above, Paul sees Eve as the conduit of human corruption in childbirth:

[Rom 8:3 CSB] (3) What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin [IE: "gave Mr. Sin a death sentence] in the flesh [IE: where Mr. Sin dwells - in one's "members"] by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering,

Theologians choke on those words because they do not believe that the body is sinful, but Paul is very clear:

[Rom 7:22-24 CSB] (22) For in my inner self I delight in God's law, (23) but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

And yet Paul says that Jesus was born of a woman, from David's seed:

[Gal 4:4 NASB] (4) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,

[Rom 1:3 CSB] (3) concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh

So why is Jesus not tainted? His body was specially prepared for him by a divine version of CRISPR:

[Heb 10:5 RSV] (5) Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me;

The word "prepared" actually refers to its being "repaired", to remove Mr. Sin.

The ultimate expression of this is that Eve begat a child of Satan:

[1Jo 3:8-12 ESV] (8) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (9) No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (10) By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (11) For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (12) We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.

This may be metaphor but it is part of a consistent record that Eve is the handmaiden of the Devil who begets children who are by nature the spawn of the devil.

4
  • Interesting answer, this seem to point out that you believe in Original sin? Nov 4 '19 at 7:20
  • That term may have more connotations than I am aware of or consent to but in general it appears that had Jesus' body not been retrofitted it would not have served as the corpse introduced by the Father to ratify the new covenant.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4 '19 at 14:48
  • [Heb 9:15-17 YLT] (15) And because of this, of a new covenant he is mediator, that, death having come, for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those called may receive the promise of the age-during inheritance, (16) for where a covenant is, the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary, (17) for a covenant over dead victims is stedfast, since it is no force at all when the covenant-victim liveth,
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4 '19 at 14:48
0

The Invocation of אָר֤וּר [Arur] reveals YHVH Elohim יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֥ים directly Cursed four (4) objects :

  • Ha-Nachash הַנָּחָשׁ֘ | The-Serpent, Genesis 3:14-15.
  • Ha-Ishah הָֽאִשָּׁ֣ה | The-Woman, Genesis 3:16 (later called Chavah in Genesis 3:20)
  • Ha-Adamah הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ | The-Ground, Genesis 3:17 (because of Adam)
  • Ha-Adam הָֽאָדָ֛ם | The-Man, Genesis 3:17-19.

The invocation of אָר֤וּר [Arur] on the Serpent in [Genesis 3:14-15] “And the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed be you more than all the cattle and more than all the beasts of the field; you shall walk on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.“ (וַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֥ים | אֶל־הַנָּחָשׁ֘ כִּ֣י עָשִׂ֣יתָ זֹּאת֒ אָר֤וּר אַתָּה֙ מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה וּמִכֹּ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה עַל־גְּחֹֽנְךָ֣ תֵלֵ֔ךְ וְעָפָ֥ר תֹּאכַ֖ל כָּל־יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ) “And I shall place hatred between you and between the woman, and between your seed and between her seed. He will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.” (וְאֵיבָ֣ה | אָשִׁ֗ית בֵּֽינְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וּבֵ֥ין זַֽרְעֲךָ֖ וּבֵ֣ין זַרְעָ֑הּ ה֚וּא יְשֽׁוּפְךָ֣ רֹ֔אשׁ וְאַתָּ֖ה תְּשׁוּפֶ֥נּוּ עָקֵֽב)

Although the documented invocation of אָר֤וּר [Arur] is absent for Ishah in [Genesis 3:16] “To the woman He said, "I shall surely increase your sorrow and your pregnancy; in pain you shall bear children. And to your husband will be your desire, and he will rule over you." (אֶל־הָֽאִשָּׁ֣ה אָמַ֗ר הַרְבָּ֤ה אַרְבֶּה֙ עִצְּבוֹנֵ֣ךְ וְהֵֽרֹנֵ֔ךְ בְּעֶ֖צֶב תֵּֽלְדִ֣י בָנִ֑ים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ וְה֖וּא יִמְשָׁל־בָּֽךְ), Elohim immediately continues invoking אָר֤וּר [Arur] on the Ground & Adam in Genesis 3:17-19.

  • Elohim revoked Chavah’s ability to influence Adam. | “Because you did as your wife said” (כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֘עְתָּ֮ לְק֣וֹל אִשְׁתֶּ֒ךָ֒) , Chavah is now cursed to never influence Adam again.

[Genesis 3:17] “And to man He said, "Because you listened to your wife, and you ate from the tree from which I commanded you saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed be the ground for your sake; with toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life.” (וּלְאָדָ֣ם אָמַ֗ר כִּ֣י שָׁמַ֘עְתָּ֘ לְק֣וֹל אִשְׁתֶּ֒ךָ֒ וַתֹּ֨אכַל֙ מִן־הָעֵ֔ץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר צִוִּיתִ֨יךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ אֲרוּרָ֤ה הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ בַּֽעֲבוּרֶ֔ךָ בְּעִצָּבוֹן֙ תֹּֽאכֲלֶ֔נָּה כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ)

Did Elohim [curse] הָֽאִשָּׁ֣ה Ha-Ishah “the-woman” (later called Chavah in Genesis 3:20) to desire her husband in Genesis 3:16?

  • Yes, Chavah חַוָּ֑ה is left cursed : desiring her husband Adam, subordinate to Adam, and experienced painful childbirth.

Would desiring Adam become a curse for Chavah? - Yes. | In order for Ishah to have a husband, she must be married to Adam & physically become Chavah. When the 2 became 1, Ha-Ishah (the-woman) would be the only spouse risking her life (due to her desire) to knowingly endure a painful delivery of hopefully a healthy child that survives childbirth. - Desiring joy with Adam became a curse for Chavah who would willingly risk her life to painfully create a miraculous sign of their union.

9
  • Your argument is that the curse continues, but this is pretty weak. How do you know that the absence of curse language isn't deliberate, and that we shouldn't read God's words to the woman as something other than a curse?
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 31 at 22:38
  • @curiousdannii - Why would you think there's an argument? * Chavah was cursed, just like the Nachash, Adamah & Adam. | Elohim confirms Chavah will lose Adam's trust & her ability to influence Adam's future decisions. Oct 31 at 23:32
  • 1
    The text doesn't explicitly say Eve was cursed, so how do you know she was?
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 31 at 23:43
  • @curiousdannii - Because we are reminded that curses are the punishment for disobeying mitsvot of YHVH in [Deuteronomy 28:15] "And it will be, if you do not obey YHVH, your-God, to observe to fulfill all His-mitsvot and statutes which I am commanding you this day, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you." (וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־לֹ֤א תִשְׁמַע֙ בְּקוֹל֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֤ר לַֽעֲשׂוֹת֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְו‍ֹתָ֣יו וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָֽנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם וּבָ֧אוּ עָלֶ֛יךָ כָּל־הַקְּלָל֥וֹת הָאֵ֖לֶּה וְהִשִּׂיגֽוּךָ) Oct 31 at 23:55
  • 1
    That's specifically in the context of the Mosaic/Deuteronomic covenant, where there are stipulations, blessings, and curses. Israel began its life as a covenental kingdom knowing that blessings and curses were on the table. Eve did not sin in that context. What specifically in Genesis 3 leads you to conclude that she was for sure cursed? That's what this question is all about!
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 31 at 23:57
-1

Simple answer: God was just describing Eve/Adam new "status" after the fall ("they would die", "Adam would have to work hard for food", "Eve would have pain in child birth", and "her desire was for her husband, and he would rule over her".

Not a curse but "a description" of their new realities.

However note that God can not lie, whatever he says so it is.

2
  • Hi Mark, welcome to the site? You will find useful information about it by clicking the question mark at the top right corner. Answers here tend to be detailed and supported and I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. Oct 31 at 13:00
  • 2
    The immediate context starts with a curse on the serpent, and ends with a curse on the ground. Couldn't increased pain during childbirth be considered a curse, new reality notwithstanding? Oct 31 at 13:06

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