The following is from the forthcoming publication – The Book of Eden by Bruce C. E. Fleming, Chapter 7.

What about Line 4 of Genesis 3:16? In Line 4 God describes the state of the man’s heart. The Hebrew words in Lines 3 and 4 practically vibrate with tension as the man’s heart is contrasted with the woman’s heart. The man’s heart is very different.

God tells the woman, “He will rule (the verb is mashal) over you.” Unlike Line 3 where God described the woman using a noun and the preposition “to” or “toward,” here we encounter adversarial words. In Line 4 a preposition and a verb (not a noun) are used to describe the man. The verb is mashal or “rule.” The preposition is “over.”

In Line 3 the preposition used for the woman is ‘to’ or ‘toward’—suggesting a relationship of equal partners. In Line 4 an aggressive adversarial verb is used along with the preposition “over.” The words “rule” and “over” stand in marked contrast to the affection of the noun and preposition attributed to the woman in the preceding line.

This verb for “rule” in Line 4 is not the same Hebrew verb that was used in Genesis 1, even though it looks the same for English readers because translations use the same English word for the two different Hebrew verbs.

When God commanded the man and the woman to rule over the rest of creation in Genesis 1:28, the verb radah was used. This was a legitimate ruling, sometimes called the Creation Mandate. The humans were to be in charge of all creation.

When the man’s prospective action in 3:16 is described, however, the verb mashal is used. This is the same verb that is used to describe the ugly ruling over perpetrated by the Philistines in Judges 14:4.

Line 4 describes a relationship that is not the equal partnership God instituted in Genesis 2. This is one person “lording it over” the other. God describes this as what will go on. He does not say it is his will for it to happen. These words are descriptive, not prescriptive.

God does not give a command to the man to go and rule over the woman in Line 4 of 3:16. God is not even speaking to the man in 3:16!

In Lines 2-4 God has been telling the woman about life after the attack. With effort she will bring forth children. Her desire is to her husband. On that she has not changed. BUT the man has changed. “But, he will rule over you” (!).

The man has aligned himself with the murderous liar who spoke to them through the serpent. He has hidden the tempter’s part in their eating the fruit of the Tree. He has accused God and blamed her of being the cause of his rebellion. And now God warns her that she is married to the most sinful man in the world. That sinner rejected God’s rule and started ruling over himself, going his own way. And he was going to continue to reject God’s rule over him and over her. The man was going to usurp God’s place in ruling over her and he was going to rule over her himself!

Have you known the Bible says these things in 3:16? It does. But most people aren’t getting its message because of the mistranslations and misinterpretations of it. That’s why I founded the Tru316 Project and and I’m praying for people to be raised up to correct our translations of 3:16 and more.

God’s word is a pure source of life to people worldwide. But we need to remove the word pollution that is harming those who come to the Bible expecting to be refreshed and instead are repulsed by the pollution they find. We need the true message of Genesis 3:16.


The Book of Eden is adapted from the transcripts of The Eden Podcast, Season 1, Episodes 1-8. Please listen and subscribe here:

Learn more on Genesis 3:16 and related passages from the Tru316 Project on

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