10

I've noticed that sometimes words are repeated in the hebrew text.

Gen 3:16 אֶֽל־ H413 to הָ·אִשָּׁ֣ה H802 Unto the woman אָמַ֗ר H559 he said הַרְבָּ֤ה H7235 I will greatly אַרְבֶּה֙ H7235 multiply עִצְּבוֹנֵ֣·ךְ H6093 thy sorrow וְ·הֵֽרֹנֵ֔·ךְ H2032 and thy conception בְּ·עֶ֖צֶב H6089 in sorrow תֵּֽלְדִ֣י H3205 thou shalt bring forth בָנִ֑ים H1121 children וְ·אֶל־ H413 will be for אִישֵׁ·ךְ֙ H376 [shall be] to thy husband תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔·ךְ H8669 and thy desire וְ·ה֖וּא H1931 and he יִמְשָׁל־ H4910 and he shall rule בָּֽ·ךְ׃ H0 ס

Does this mean "Greatly greatly thy sorrow" or "Exceedingly increase more and more thy sorrow"?

Also, the verb "will" does not appear in the Hebrew. Why do the translators -- King James, HISB, and HCSB -- add "I will" when there is duplication of a word like this?

3
  • what is the "HISB"? – warren Apr 3 '13 at 14:52
  • @warren Hebrew interpolated Study Bible Westminster Leningrad Codex albesh.net – user2134 Apr 3 '13 at 15:58
  • thanks - couldn't find the abbreviation handy when I googled :) – warren Apr 3 '13 at 16:13
7

The English phrase "I will greatly mutliply" (A.V.) is translated from the Hebrew phrase הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה (harbah arbeh). This Hebrew phrase consists of two verbs, both in binyan Hif'il, the former being an infinitive absolute, while the latter is in the imperfect tense. This is a frequent Semiticism in the Hebrew Tanakh, and it should not be translated literally into English.

Regarding this particular construction, Wilhelm Gesenius wrote,1

(a) The infinitive absolute used before the verb to strengthen the verbal idea, i.e. to emphasize in this way either the certainty (especially in the case of threats) or the forcibleness and completeness of an occurrence. In English, such an infinitive is mostly expressed by a corresponding adverb, but sometimes merely by putting greater stress on the verb; e.g. Gn 217 מוֹת תָּמוּת‎ thou shalt surely die, cf. 18:10, 18, 22:17, 28:22, 1 S 96 (cometh surely to pass); 24:21, Am 55, 717, Hb 23, Zc 1117; with the infinitive strengthened by אַךְ‎ Gn 4428 (but 27:30 and Jacob was yet scarce gone out, &c.); Gn 433 הָעֵד הֵעִד בָּ֫נוּ‎ he did solemnly protest unto us; 1 S 206 נִשְׁאֹל נִשְׁאַל‎ David earnestly asked leave of me; Jos 1713, Ju 128 וְהוֹרֵישׁ לֹא הֽוֹרִישׁוֹ‎ and did not utterly drive them out; especially typical instances are Am 98 I will destroy it from off the face of the earth אֶ֫פֶס כִּי לֹא הַשְׁמֵיד אַשְׁמִיד וג׳‎ saving that I will not utterly destroy, &c.; Jer 3011 and will in no wise leave thee unpunished; cf. further Gn 2018, 1 K 326, Jo 17, Jb 135.

Again, it is used "to emphasize...the certainty (especially in the case of threats) or the forcibleness and completeness of an occurrence."

I believe the A.V. translates appropriately as emphasizing the magnitude of multiplying, hence, "I will greatly multiply..."

The English words "I will" are properly translated from the Hebrew verb אַרְבֶּה (arbeh) which is conjugated in 1st person ("I") and imperfect tense ("[I] will"). Think of the imperfect tense as English "future tense" in this case.


1 Wilhelm Gesenius. Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, p. 342, §113n.

4
  • Ok it took me a while to find the person aspect of the word which is indeed 1st? which book can i read about that in? – user2134 Apr 2 '13 at 23:22
  • Well, Hebrew, just like English, Greek, and pretty much every language, conjugate verbs in 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person, as well as singular number and plural number. Hebrew also conjugates them according to the gender of the subject. In any case, search "Biblical Hebrew Grammar" on Amazon. There's one by Gary Pratico (?) that's decent. – user862 Apr 3 '13 at 0:07
  • Yes but unlike English the verbs do not normally contain the conjugation in themselves. (Admittedly "you" is sometimes implied for commands) I found a section on Jussive Imperitive and Cohortave in my introduction to Bible syntax by Waltke and O'Connor. Thank you again – user2134 Apr 3 '13 at 0:16
  • Since Biblical Hebrew lacks punctuation it is without a means of emphasis. In other words, there was no exclamation point. So to emphasize things, Hebrew writers would often repeat themselves for emphasis. – James Shewey Nov 6 '15 at 7:11
0

Ann, your response is an isolated interpretation or genesis suffused with modern ideas of gender roles rather than biblical ones. Please humble yourself to see that it is not the word of God that says what you say, but an expression of an inverted modern ideology forced on to you relentlessly from childbirth.

You say “Father is warning us that women will be stripped of personhood and reduced to the biological function of producing children to maintain male supremacy if a man is followed instead of Him.”

That is complete lie and rejection of his establish order when taken in the whole council of his word. You are saying that a woman should not follow men but the Lord. Does the Lord not say himself “Wives should subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church...” (Eph 5:22).

It is not the ruling of men that causes pain and oppression but the ruling of UNGODLY men. For to say it is the ruling of men over women is in error is to say that the ruling of Christ HIMSELF is in error as the above verse from Ephesians clearly shows. It is by Gods will that men rule over their wives, the family, and society.

I get it, there have been many terrible male leaders who HAVE oppressed and who HAVE abused, not leading with strength AND mercy as Christ does. But the answer is NOT to rebel against his established order as a results of countless bad examples. That is exactly the enemies goal, rebellion against his good order. And he will use every wound from our past to get us to do that.

Your interpretation of the JKV translation as seeming to paint the Lord as a sadistic rapist is proof that he has deceived you. He has you believing that his will as clearly defined in his word is oppressive, just like the serpents original deception of Eve! Please sister, humble yourself and see this.

When the Lord says that women’s desire will be for their husbands, the word desire is not in a sexual sense. And the phrase rule over is not in an oppressive sense. The Hebrew word is the same as is used in Genesis 4:7 when God says to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; IT DESIRES TO HAVE YOU, BUT YOU MUST RULE OVER IT.”

Do you see the same structure and meaning in that sentence as in Genesis 3:16? Genesis 3:16 is saying, just as in 4:7, that because of the fall, women will desire to compete with and supplant the headship of their husband, but he is to firmly and graciously rule over her justly as Christ does his church.

2
  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. – agarza Jul 13 at 20:49
  • Your answer is helpful, but should not be addressed to Ann. The idea is to answer the question as asked by the OP and not to respond to the answers given by others. – Lesley Jul 14 at 7:01
-1

Although the evil and the ground tread are execrated in Genesis 3:14 and 3:17, Genesis 3:16 to 3:19 are not curses; they are warnings as to what happens to us when we choose the wrong thing, usually a selfish thing, and thereby walk away from Father.

Towards the woman He says pregnancy and pain greatly increase as a vessel to bear male heirs, and as you turn towards man, he rules over you. Genesis 3:16

This isn’t a curse; it’s a statement of fact, a warning as to what will happen when women choose to walk away from Father and instead follow men. Father is warning us that women will be stripped of personhood and reduced to the biological function of producing children to maintain male supremacy if a man is followed instead of Him.

The pain I believe being referred to here is the pain, and least in part, of watching what happens to children in a fallen world while growing up, and when they’re grown. How many parents watch their children fall to debilitating illness, stand by helplessly while her children are ridiculed and attacked, victims of racism or sexism, abused, killed or severely injured in war?

The King James Version of Genesis 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.

As horrible as it sounds, this mistranslation depicts Our Father as a sadistic rapist: conception is somehow multiplied, sorrow is purposefully increased; men will administer abuse, and women will like it. Our Father, who loves us so, would never curse us, and most assuredly, would not use children (conception) in the process of doing so.

1
  • Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted. Please do take the site tour if you haven't already, and also see what we’re looking for in answers. Thanks. – Dɑvïd Feb 26 '17 at 14:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy