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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Genesis 3:16

While travelling recently with brethren, one of them brought up Genesis 3:16 and how it read in various versions and translations. There's quite the difference, however one very obviously fits the context. This is going to be a very scattered post. All scripture was taken from Bible Gateway - an online tool I appreciate for doing comparisons like this.

First, the KJV ... of which I often get frustrated at for writing things in such a way that seems to muddy the waters of an otherwise clear passage. This is probably not KJV fault but maybe just 400+ years of change in our language and understanding and use of various words (for instance, not very long ago the word 'gay' meant happy, yet how many youth today know that? It only took a few decades to totally change the meaning of that word). But ... I DO believe KJV translators had some biases. We must be careful. Even still, I appreciate the KJV ... most of the time ...

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.

This is supposed to be a curse. Will anyone argue with me that a man WANTS his wife to desire him? I don't think so! So obviously in the context of the passage this is not what is being said. Some brethren brought up the NLT which reads:

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

Message (a.k.a. mess)
 He told the Woman:
“I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth;
    you’ll give birth to your babies in pain.
You’ll want to please your husband,
    but he’ll lord it over you.”

Pretty different, huh?

A footnote in the English Standard Version (ESV) and the English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) said "your desire shall be FOR your husband" could read "your desire shall be AGAINST your husband"
A footnote in the NLT (posted above with 'you will desire to control your husband') says: Or And though you will have desire for your husband, / he will rule over you.

Seriously? Is it really that hard to understand? "It could be "for" ... or it could be "against" ... completely opposite.

The Expanded Bible (EXB) with the verse the referenced says:
Then God said to the woman,
“I will ·cause you to have much trouble [or increase your pain]
    ·when you are pregnant [in childbearing],
and when you give birth to children,
    you will have great pain.
You will greatly desire [C the word implies a desire to control; 4:7] your husband,
    but he will rule over you.”
Genesis 4:7 that it refers to in the text is this:
If you do things ·well [correctly; appropriately], ·I will [L will I not…?] accept you, but if you do not do them ·well [correctly; appropriately], sin is ·ready to attack you [L crouching at the door]. Sin ·wants [desires to control; 3:16] you, but you must rule over it.”
1599 Geneva Bible
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy sorrows, and thy conceptions. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shall be subject to thine husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

A lot of the translations say "in spite of this" or something similar instead of "YET" ... your desire shall be for your husband; in spite of this he will rule over you (basically). That and "yet" totally change the whole meaning of the verse. Some say 'but". Some say "and"... your desire shall be for your husband but he will rule over you. Your desire shall be for your husband and he will rule over you.

Check out the Living Bible (TLB)
Then God said to the woman, “You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.”


NET New English Translation
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.”
Wycliffe Bible (WYC)
Also God said to the woman, I shall multiply thy wretchednesses and thy conceivings; in sorrow thou shalt bear thy children; and thou shalt be under (the) power of thine husband, and he shall be lord of thee.

The Voice (what?! interesting) (to the woman) As a consequence of your actions,
        I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth
    And the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation.
        You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion,
    He will be the dominant partner.
Well, I think you get my point. Why all the differences? These differences can really shake the faith of someone who puts their trust in man instead of God.

Let's just be honest: women really DO desire to rule over their husbands. It takes a woman that is totally committed to God's will to be able to overcome this desire and be in her proper place. The scriptures are so clear: God, Christ, Man, Woman. So many times in the New Testament we are told to submit, obey, be quiet, be meek, chaste, keepers at home, etc. This seems like bondage to the outside looking in (see my last post), however for a woman that really fears and loves God, being in her proper place is the only way she obtains true peace and freedom.


  1. come share some words at Virtues of Four Rak'aah Sunnah of Zuhr & Asr
    Take Care

  2. I just started listening to this sermon, and paused it as soon as David read and spoke of this passage. I just knew you would have something interesting to add. This passage really stops and makes me think. Boy, once spelled out to me like that it sure makes sense and makes me wonder why I never saw it before! oh, and it sure is a curse! Thanks for all the research!

  3. Hello Shari - yes, David's message last sunday was a great blessing and encouragement to me. For anyone interested, here is the link:

    If we love the Lord I do believe we really WILL desire to serve our husbands :)

    God bless you.


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