Genesis 3:14–19 (NKJV)

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” 16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

After the fall God addresses the man but when he curses he begins with the serpent & ends with man.

The order of cursing

1) Serpent

2) Woman

3) Man

Both the serpent & woman are cursed directly but when it comes to the man only the ground around him is cursed.

Could this be a reflection of the gravity of the transgression?

  • 1
    I would say yes. Are you looking for particular commentaries that state this?
    – user22655
    Jan 17, 2018 at 18:48
  • The woman was not cursed. Jan 17, 2018 at 19:02
  • @RevelationLad,what is the multiplication of pain & sorrow Jan 18, 2018 at 3:17
  • All 3 have things spoken to them. In two the word "curse" is specific; in one it is absent. You are adding something the LORD intentionally did not include in what He said. Jan 19, 2018 at 5:28
  • 1
    The order appears to be chronological.
    – Lucian
    Jan 22, 2018 at 11:03

3 Answers 3


The story here in Gen 3 is told in a classic Hebrew chiastic structure:

A: Man and woman in the garden containing the tree of life v1-5

. B: Reach out and take fruit v6

. . C: Naked, made clothes of fig leaves v7

. . . D: Man with his wife in the garden – they hide v8

. . . . E: God speaks to the man (who blames wife) v9–12

. . . . . F: God speaks to the woman (who blames serpent) v13

. . . . . . G: God speaks to the serpent & curses it v14

. . . . . . G': God speaks to serpent – Messianic prophecy to destroy serpent v15

. . . . . F': God speaks to the woman – cursed with child bearing and submission v16

. . . . E': God speaks to the man cursed with hard work in the ground v17–19

. . . D': Man and woman discuss v 20

. . C': God makes clothes of animal skins v21

. B': Reach out and take fruit v22

A': Man and woman banished from the garden containing tree of life v23, 24

When one sees these marvelous structures in Hebrew literature (the Bible has many of them) the most important parts are usually at the center as here – the curse of the serpent and the promised Messiah.


Adam was sentenced to death:-

NWT Genesis 3:19 "For dust you are and to dust you will return.”


NWT Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20 "As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit. So man has no superiority over animals, for everything is futile. 20 All are going to the same place. They all come from the dust, and they all are returning to the dust."


No, because God didn’t curse Adam and Eve. To Eve, God says he will greatly increase the pain of childbearing, but he doesn’t call this a curse. For Adam, God says “Cursed is the ground for your sake”. Neither of these actions are a curse laid directly to mankind, because God didn’t punish ignorant mankind for freely choosing to use their nonexistent knowledge of good and evil to disobey something they couldn’t possibly know was evil. However, there is a reason that God did what he did:

”And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore (רָ֗ע: evil) travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised (לַעֲנ֥וֹת: humbled) therewith.” Ecclesiastes 1:13

God has afflicted mankind with evil so that with our knowledge of good and evil, we may experience what is evil and learn to choose good. God could easily wipe out all evil from the world, but he has something greater planned; the restitution of all things:

”Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when (Greek: so that) the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19-21

Mankind will know what God has done, and we will know that what he has done is the most logical and greatest thing that could have possibly been done. When that happens:

“I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:23

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