We must deconstruct the mistakes made by our modern translations of Genesis 3:16. OVER AND OVER AGAIN THEY GET THINGS WRONG. This is because they make a major error in Line 1. And the consequences of that error spill over into their interpretation the following Lines.

It is necessary to recognize that Genesis 3:16 is made up of four lines in Hebrew. The first one (Line a), then the last three (Lines b-d).

In the first one, God speaks to the woman’s situation in relation to the two rebels – the man and the serpent-tempter. In the last three lines God explains what the fall means to the woman.

In Line a.

No curse is made. No “pain-in-childbirth” is imposed on her as modern translations are wording Line 1. Rather, God links the consequence of “sorrowful-toil” resulting from the curse on the ground because of the man (see verse 17) and (2) the promise of her “conception” of the One who will crush the tempter’s head (see verse 15).

In Lines b, c and d.

No “pain” is imposed by God, as translations wrongly word line b. Instead, God explains that “effort” will now come along with her wonderful multiple childbirths.

In Line c, no “turning” of a depraved or rebellious kind is being made by her. God simply affirms that she is maintaining her loving Garden-of-Eden, newlywed, kind of “desire.” This will stand in contrast with what God reveals next about the man’s desire.

In Line d, God is not instituting some new hierarchy but instead is relating what He foresees. The man will rebelliously continue to rule over himself (in the place of God) and will sinfully rule over her. (This he does in verse 20 when, unprompted by God, he rebelliously gives her a name in exactly the same manner as he named the animals over which he ruled.)

(cc) Bruce C. E. Fleming, April 29, 2020

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