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How is a woman's desire for her husband a curse?


Genesis 3:16

ESV - 16 To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
As God pronounces judgment on Eve for her part of the transgression in Eden, He says, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). This verse causes some puzzle...

July 01 2013 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini andrew kameya
Three translations - NLT, EXB, and NET says that the woman wants to control the man. Why aren't there more translations saying the same thing?
My personal observation has been these three translations are correct.
At least outwardly (behind the doors may be different), the other translations appear correct.

God Bless,

April 19 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Yes, it would seem that a woman's desire for her husband would be a good thing. This is the way that my wife understands this verse. 

But there is another view here to consider as more probable.

How is a woman's desire for her husband a curse? (Gen. 3:16)

In Genesis 3:16 let's consider the words, "To your husband shall be your desire."The Hebrew word used here, teshuqah, as mentioned by Billy P Eldred, occurs elsewhere only twice (Gn 4:7; Song 7:10). In the Song of Songs the term seems to indicate sexual desire, but that meaning does not work well in this context. In Gen 4:7 the word connotes desire to control or desire to conquer (compare note on 4:7). FSB

What does it mean that Eve would “desire” her husband? The same grammatical construction is used in Genesis 4:7 when God says to Cain:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.

God is saying to Cain that sin will want to rule him (“desire is for you”) but that Cain should rule over sin instead. Applied to Genesis 3:16, Eve will want to rule over Adam (“your desire shall be for your husband”) as a part of the curse. So, if the curse is that Eve would want to rule or lead Adam, then that must not have been Eve’s role before the Fall and she was originally created to be a helper not a leader. Otherwise, it’s not much of a curse—Eve originally led and she’s to keep on leading! In response to Eve’s wrong desire to lead, Adam would react sinfully by leading harshly instead of lovingly. Eve would desire to reverse roles of leader and helper, and Adam would react by wrongly distorting his leadership role. Dr. Georgia Purdom 

This is actually "View 2" of 3 Views of this verse, Genesis 3:16. I found this on the webpage, knowwingscripture.com:

View 2, which sees this as a perversion of creational hierarchy, has two possibilities. One option takes the actions of both the husband and the wife as negative (the wife is devoted to usurping her husband’s authority, and the husband exercises an abusive authority over her), while the second option takes the wife’s “devotion” as positive but the husband’s “rule” as negative (even when the wife is devoted to her husband, he may still abuse authority over her). View 2 is a common historical view, seen in Calvin’s words that Eve had “previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude.”[2] The ESV adopts the first option of view 2—“Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” The NET Bible uses stronger words—“You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”

July 27 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
I have looked at these verses several times and I do not see where the Bible calls this a curse upon the woman. The serpent was cursed. The ground was cursed, but unless it was implied, neither the man nor the woman were cursed. 

There are always consequences to sin. The consequences to the woman’s sin was that women would endure pain during childbirth, and that wives would desire their husband. The word "desire" is translated from the word "teshuqah" with a Strong’s definition of “a longing”. The same word is used elsewhere in the sense that a younger son would desire toward his elder brother and the elder brother would have the final say. Not just submit, but desire that the older would make the decisions that benefit both. 

We need to remember that God’s ideal for marriage is that “a man should leave his father and mother and the two should become one”. Both wanting the same things.

October 20 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
When God spoke to the woman in Genesis 3:16, (“contrary to” should be “toward”) there were two parts to what He said, a curse and a comment. The first part is the curse of pain in childbearing. This is the consequence for being deceived, II Corinthians 11:3, I Timothy 2:14. 

The second part is difficult to decipher. Some think “desire” and “rule” have a negative meaning as if the woman seeks to dominate the husband and the husband must rule over her or at least try to.

Because Genesis 4:7 uses the same words, “desire” and “rule,” it is thought the words to Cain help to interpret this difficult phrase. The imagery here is that sin is like a wild beast crouching ready to pounce upon Cain, but he can overcome it. The problem is there is no comparison with this to what was said to the woman. The words to Cain are figurative, whereas the words to the woman are literal. This verse does not help explain Genesis 3:16. 

However, the word “desire” appears in another place, Song of Solomon 7:10, where it means the lover longs for the Shulamite woman. Both passages refer to a powerful attraction between a man and a woman.

If so, this is a positive interpretation, and it fits the nature of the verse being a combination of a curse and a comment. The pattern is the same for each party God addressed. 

To the serpent is the punishment of being cursed more than any other creature. Then it is explained that he will crawl on his belly “eating dust.” There will be enmity between his seed and the Seed of the woman, and there will be ultimate victory against the serpent, Genesis 3:14-15. 

To the woman is the pain in childbearing. Then the explanation is given that she will have a desire for her husband and he shall rule over her, Genesis 3:16.

To Adam is the curse of the ground. Then, it is explained that he will painfully struggle in hard labor in raising crops while thorns and thistles aggressively grow. He will sweat in order to eat. Eventually he will die, returning to the dust, Genesis 3:17-19. 

In each, God gives only one punishment. Although it is not related to the type of sin committed, it is related to propagation and bearing seed, whether the field or family. Then, after the punishment, God gives an explanation that lets them know what it will be like. 

So, the words after the curses, describe the new conditions in life that result from the fall. Life now has its problems, headaches, pain and death, but life will go on. Man will work the ground and the woman will bear children. 

The key to understanding God’s words to the woman is that the first part is the curse. The second part is not a curse, but the reassuring explanation that the woman will desire her husband and he will rule over her.

April 20 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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