So I was spending some time with the Hebrew under the Cain and Abel narrative in Genesis 4. I noticed a peculiarity in the Hebrew in God's instructions to Cain after his offering was rejected. I think it may challenge the way that the theology of sin is understood since this is the first place we see the term.
I'm focusing on Genesis 4:7
(KJV) "sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."
(NIV) "sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
(NRSV) "sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
(CEB) "sin will be waiting at the door ready to strike! It will entice you, but you must rule over it."
But here is the peculiar thing: Hebrew has gender on its pronouns unlike many english terms, and its nouns are also gendered (also unlike english). You can see this come through in the KJV where the verse ends with "him" but all the others end with "it".
Here is a quick link to the interlinear Hebrew for reference.
The question I have is basically: "What is the "it" which the end pronoun refers to and what does that mean?
The most basic form of my confusion is that "sin" (חַטָּאָה) is unquestionably a feminine noun. But the final "it" that Cain must master is a masculine it. Also "its desire" has a masculine possessive. But again, this is not referring to the noun for sin (which is clearly feminine).
But the word for door is masculine. Is that what one must master? I think trying to trace pronoun genders for meaning is a fascinating way of looking at the text, and this one has me thrown a bit.