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 man's sin I've heard it taught that we are cursed. After the fall God directly curses the serpent, "You are cursed more than all cattle". When he gets to the woman God tells her that He will, "multiply your sorrow and your conception". I note that the word "curse" is not used. When God gets to man He says, "Cursed is the ground". Again the word cursed is not used for the man himself.

I read through this previously asked question: In Genesis 3:14–19, does the order of cursing & curses reflect the gravity of the transgression?

From this Cannabijoy makes a point and I quote:

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.

I also wanted to note this from this commentary: What the Bible says about Curse on Mankind (From Forerunner Commentary)

Thus, what we see is that God did not curse them—they cursed themselves! Because of sin's predictable course, God merely voices the consequences of their actions in prophetic terms.

I'm a little fuzzy on this: So did God curse man and woman? Or did He punish man and woman and not curse them? Or did God communicate the punishment that they inflicted upon themselves with the addition of cursing the ground?

1 Answer 1


Let us be very clear about exactly what God said to the three players involved:

Serpent, Gen 3:14, 15

The record states the following:

  • the serpent was cursed, אָרַר ('arar)
  • it would travel on its belly
  • it would eat dust
  • enmity would exist between the serpent and the woman
  • its head would be crushed

Woman (Eve) Gen 3:16

The record states the following:

  • increase pain in childbirth
  • desire would be for the husband

Man/Adam Gen 3:17-19

The record states the following:

  • ground was cursed, אָרַר ('arar)
  • eat from toil, ie, very hard work
  • thorns and thistles (ie, weeds) will be produced
  • eat bread by sweat of brow
  • return to ground as dust

Notice that only the serpent and the ground are cursed. The Hebrew verb, אָרַר ('arar) is the common verb for cursing such as, Gen 4:11, 5:29, 9:25, 12:3, 27:29, 49:7, Ex 22:28, Num 5:18, 19, 22, 24, 22:6, etc, etc. The word occurs 63 times in the OT and always means to curse.

Thus, neither Adam nor Eve were directly cursed; however, they endured consequences of the two-fold curse on the serpent and on the ground.

  • +1. Thank you for such a succinct response. As for the woman do you think she was punished by God or perhaps God was stating the consequences for her sin? Or do we not know?
    – Jason_
    Commented Jan 2 at 8:58
  • @Jason_ - as stated above, only the ground and serpent were cursed. Adam and Eve thus suffered the consequences of their actions. That is, the curses were the consequence of their actions which had follow-on consequences as listed above. Punishment is never mention in the text. The point being that God is NOT being vindictive, just showing that sin is much worse that serving God faithfully.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 2 at 9:13
  • @ Dottard I can't get that picture of lipstick on a pig out of my head that you quoted on the previous question. Back to this question. Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree. Are we now saying Jesus served out the penalty on the cross for Satan and the earth. I think that many women of today think it is a curse for men to rule over them. There is much to ponder here.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 2 at 13:21
  • @RHPclass79 - agreed - and that is part of the plan of salvation to free women from the curse of sin.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 2 at 19:46

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