KJV Gen 3:15  and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

God says that going forward as a consequence of the deception of the first couple there will be two hostilities that will play out:

  • hostility between the serpent and the woman
  • hostility between the serpent's descendant (apparently a singular male) and the woman's descendant (also apparently a singular male)

So the first question I have is, are the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent both undoubtedly individual males? Or can one or both refer to all descendants?

There is an obvious natural fulfillment of this in the ongoing distrust between all manner of snakes and humans such that humans kill snakes and snakes strike humans (IE: when they are stepped on). So in purely natural terms this makes sense, but only if we take the seed to be all descendants, not just one.

Therefore, I'm going to assume that the story of the serpent is intended to ultimately be about the Satan, not just about snakes.

The reference to the seed of the woman as singular readily works as a reference to a messiah and it is commonly taken to be one. In the big picture this seems to be a no-brainer.

The reference to a singular male seed of the serpent though gets more interesting. Is this suggesting that the Satan will have a son? And that he will operate through his son in much the same manner that God throughout the scriptures operates through the messiah?

  • Regarding piercing the heel, this is in the news: livescience.com/…
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 12:02
  • 3
    This is utter nonsense! You're letting external horror fantasy dictate your understanding of scripture. Angels, fallen or otherwise, don't have any reproductive bits and pieces. Totally unnecessary for eternal beings. "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven."
    – enegue
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 13:51
  • 1
    Read the passage in Mark 12:18-25. The focus of the Sadducees question is all about "seed", and Jesus pops their balloon. Perhaps yours as well.
    – enegue
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 16:03
  • 1
    The seed of the serpent can be seen clearly in John 8:44 ye are of you father, the devil saith Jesus, to impenitent unbelievers.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 10:18
  • 1
    Paul's "MAN of sin" is the likely candidate (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4,8-10).
    – enegue
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 21:22

3 Answers 3


Actually in hebrew it talk about the seed of both. Therfore the singular male referer to the seed is based on word by word translation.

The original: וְאֵיבָה אָשִׁית, בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה, וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ, וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ: הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ, וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵב. Use the הוא cause in hebrew it just male or female and there is no "it".

So if one want to understand this verse he should read "it" instead of "he".

In hebrew the singular noun can represent plural like in: ארבעים יום וארבעים לילה that always translated as 40 days and 40 nights.

I don't think that Satan is the hidden subject or if it represent by the snake, but it intresting to know that the name חוה mean snake...

Hope it clearfy and answer to your questions.

  • Are both the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman singular?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:09
  • זרעך - your seed, זרעה - her seed. Yes.
    – A. Meshu
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:11
  • Okay. So the seed of the woman would be "he" while the seed of the serpent "it" based on the fact that the serpent is an animal, but the noun itself in both cases is male?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:16
  • 2
    Given that Hebrew has no neuter and uses the masculine for places where English would use the neuter, that can definitely be a possible translation. However, even individual speakers (as you know) differ in whether to use neuter, masculine, or feminine for animals. And whether the seed is being taken as seed or metonymically for the serpent's offspring, and the serpent in its bodily form or its spiritual dimension, is a matter of interpretation... Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:20
  • Given the nature of the story and the fact that it is singular I'm inclined to go with "he".
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:36

Who is the serpent's seed in Genesis 3:15?

This is a very good question. Jesus said that the parable of the seed and the sower is a very important one to understand. It sets the foundation for all other parables. The battle of the seeds.

Mark 4:13 Berean Study Bible

Then Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?

BDB Definition: H2233 - זרע - zera‛

1) seed, sowing, offspring, a sowing, semen virile, offspring, descendants, posterity, children, of moral quality, a practitioner of righteousness (figuratively), sowing time (by metonymy)

H2232 - זָרַע - Zâra‛ - A primitive root; to sow; figuratively to disseminate, plant, fructify: - bear, conceive seed, set with, sow (-er), yield.

It is clear from the parable of the Seed and the Sower that the seed is the Word of God. The concordance further tells us that the seed is the semen virile that produces offsprings. Semen carries the DNA.

Mark 4:15 (KJV)

And these are they by the wayside, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.


The serpent seed carries the DNA of Satan, the DNA carries the way he thinks and operates. Our thoughts are seeds. Obviously, God's seed or DNA also carries his nature, character, and function.

  • What about the idea that the seed of the serpent is a single male just as Christ is the single male seed of the woman?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:09
  • The serpent seed is a belief system in the minds of people. It is the exact opposite of the Kingdom of Heaven culture. Christ has multiplied and is still multiplying His seed in us. We are the "arnion" collective group of believers, many sons to glory. Genesis 1:28.
    – user26078
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 0:33

There is a rather conclusive answer for the one who accepts the New Testament as authoritative interpretation/Jewish understanding of the time.


First, let's deal with the Hebrew.

Genesis 3:15 (WLC)

ואיבה ׀ אשית בינך ובין האשה ובין זרעך ובין זרעה הוא ישופך ראש ואתה תשופנו עקב

This corresponds to the following:

And I will set enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed [זרעך] and her seed [זרעה]: the same [הוא] shall strike your head, and/while you shall strike the heel thereof [תשופנ].

The reason this is often translated 'he' is actually very misleading. The only reason this is translated 'he' is not because there is only one specific person in mind, but because the grammatical gender of the word for 'seed' is masculine, and is singular (but again, singular because it is a collective word like 'sand' is collective). (This also demands that the verbs be masculine, but of course again, no explicit singular descendant is indicated.) The meaning of the word, put most neutrally, is progeny.

The Identity of the Seed of the Woman

A somewhat passing but sufficiently overt reference to this appears in Romans 16:20:

Romans 16:20 (DRB) And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Here the seed might be interpreted as all Christians. You might object, 'but the serpent wasn't viewed as Satan,' except in the New Testament era, it was (cf. Wis 2:24; Rom 5:12).

In Revelation 12 picks up the woman, serpent and seed theme:

Revelation 12 (DRB)

And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. 3 And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her a thousand two hundred sixty days.

7 And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: 8 And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of the testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child: 14 And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman, water as it were a river; that he might cause her to be carried away by the river. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 18 And he stood upon the sand of the sea.

It's very clear here that:

  • The male child is the Messiah

  • The serpent is Satan, the devil

  • The woman's seed is Christ and his followers

  • (I argue that if the dragon is one person, then the woman is Mary (Cf. Rev 12:17; Jn 19:27), symbolic overtones notwithstanding, but that's neither here nor there.)

If Wisdom 2:24 is to be believed, which is of course a given for me in whose canon it is revered as the Word of God, then serpent's 'seed' are none other than those who follow him, as those who follow Christ are the woman's seed:

Wisdom 2:23-24 (DRB)

For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him. 24 But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world: 25 And they follow him that are of his side.

  • "his head" as opposed to "their heads" seems to make a case for a single being, no? (I don't know Hebrew so I'm asking, not saying it is so).
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 15:35
  • 'head' and 'heel' are used pretty much adjectively: it shall strike you — head. You shall strike — heel. There is a certian amount of play on words, here, too, since the word for heel could also mean 'in retaliation' here, and the word for head 'first.' I'm no expert in Hebrew either; I try to keep what I write to what I know and can defend. Cf. Gn 49:19. Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 15:49

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