Genesis 316 Common Mistakes


Avoid These Common Mistakes About Genesis 3:16

1. “God cursed the woman.” Incorrect.

God cursed two times only. Neither time was in Genesis 3:16.

The Hebrew word for “curse” is “arur.” It was used twice. God cursed the serpent (3:14). God cursed the ground (3:17). God cursed neither the woman nor the man.

2. “God made childbirth painful.” Not true.

“Painful-childbearing” is not in the Hebrew text.

God used two Hebrew words: “‘itsabon” and “heron.” The first referred to the “sorrowful-toil” both the man and the woman would experience from the curse on the ground. The second meant “conception” and looked back to the promise of her Offspring.

3. But, God referred again to “pain.” No.

With “effort” (not in “pain”) you will bring forth.

The Hebrew word is “effort” (’etsev). It is a general word used elsewhere in the Old Testament. Not once does it refer to childbirth. This was bad news and good news. Now mortal, childbirth would require effort. But “children” were coming!

4. Her “desire” was/is sorta bad. Fanciful!

“And-to-man-your desire-your”

“Desire” (teshuqa) simply means desire. In Song of Solomon 7:10, teshuqa is used of Solomon’s “desire” for his lover. There is no negative connotation to desire for his lover. It is not necessarily a sexual term. It is used in a non-sexual way in Genesis 4:7.

5. God made man the woman’s ruler. No.

And-he will-rule-over-you

There is an awful contrast between the verb (mashal) “rule” over and the noun “desire.” God is warning the woman. The rebellious man has changed. Instead of ruling together as they had done, the man is about to place her under his rulership along with the animals.

6. 1 supposition. 4. Interpretations. Awful!

Promises. Consequences. Relationships.

Let’s sum up Genesis 3:16. First, God promised bad news and good news. Then, God described for the woman the effort that would be required giving birth as a mortal. The words about man’s governing intentions are not prescriptive. For God never instructs the man to act in such a way. God’s words are descriptive of the broken harmony the woman is about to encounter.

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With excerpts from “Man and Woman in Biblical Unity – Theology from Genesis 2-3” by Dr. Joy Fleming and from

by Bruce C. E. Fleming, March 18, 2019.


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