In the last post we clearly showed that a woman was indeed created equal but opposite to a man. We saw that both women and men equally need each other in order to equally comply with God’s instructions of being fruitful, to multiply and rule. Something happened after the creation and this is something that we will discuss in this message.
After Adam and Eve were placed into the garden, God gave them a command not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden and after the snake deceived Eve, Eve ate from the tree and gave to Adam and Adam also ate. This was in breach of God’s command. As a result God decided to punish them. We see God’s punishment to a woman in Gen 3:16 and to a man in Gen 3:17-19. After this, God chased them out of the garden. This is called “The Fall”.
Gen 3:16 will be our point of discussion today.
Genesis 3:16 (ESVST)
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.”
To the woman God said that she will greatly multiply her pain in childbearing. I think all our mothers out there can testify to this pain. We as men can only imagine it.
Secondly, God said that the woman’s desire will be for his husband and he shall rule over her.
Let’s look closely at these words. The Hebrew word used for the word desire means a longing or a craving. It means to long for something, to desire something or to crave for something. Now most people say that this word desire is used to mean that the woman will sexually desire her husband and they use Songs 4:10-11 as the basis for this interpretation.
Song of Songs 7:10-11 (HCSB)
I belong to my love, and his desire is for me. 11 Come, my love, let’s go to the field; let’s spend the night among the henna blossoms.
The problem with this interpretation is that firstly, it assumes that there was no sexual desire between Adam and Eve before this. This assumption would be wrong since God said that Adam and Eve should multiply. Secondly, it does not make sense to say that a woman will sexually desire her husband and then the husband will rule over her. The two don’t make sense. How would the husband rule over his wife because his wife has sexual desires for him? Clearly this does not make sense. Another place where this word desire has been used is in Gen 4:7
Genesis 4:7 (ESVST)
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
One can see a lot of similarities here. This is what God said to Eve: Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. Can you see the similarity? Good because they are similar. What does it mean though? God told Cain that sin was crouching at his door and it’s desire is for him but he must rule over it. In other words Cain must not allow sin to take control of him, to over power him, but he must rule over it. This clearly shows us that the usage of the word desire here is in the sense that, sin will desire to control Cain but Cain must rule over it. This is the same usage in Gen 3:16. It simply means that the woman will desire to control her husband but the husband must rule over her. Remember that this is part of the punishment. This is not something that a woman must like otherwise it won’t be a punishment.
Now, let’s look at the word “rule”. The Hebrew word used for rule is a verb denoting to rule, to reign, or to have dominion over. So we can now explain God’s statement in Gen 3:16 as: Your desire shall be to control your husband, and he shall rule or have dominion or have authority over you.
This is how the latest translations have translated this verse:
Genesis 3:16 (NLTse)
Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16 (NET_FL)
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”
The above translations come from the New Living Translation 2nd Revision and the New English Translation.
So, although the woman was created equal but opposite to a man, as part of the punishment, God decided that the woman will desire to control her husband but she will not succeed because, the man will have dominion or authority over her. If the woman succeeds in controlling her husband, then God’s punishment would have failed. God changed the equal dynamics that were there by making the man an authority figure over the woman and making the woman not to like it as part of the punishment. This is God’s will. Any attempt by men to reverse this or to let go of their authority, will be to go against the will of God. Any attempt by women to reverse this, is normal and shows that they don’t like it and also shows that the punishment is working. As long as they don’t succeed.
So in conclusion, it is not by creation that a woman was made unequal to a man but it was by God’s sovereign decree.
Was this punishment between a husband and his wife only or was it between a man and a woman even outside the marriage institution?
Since Jesus paid a ransom for our past, present and future sins, does it mean this punishment is no longer applicable?
Find out next in Part 3