Genesis 3:16 NET Notes

I got my wife an NLT One Year Bible for Christmas (since the new NIV won’t be out for a while) and she seemed taken aback at the NLT’s translation of Genesis 3:16:

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. ” (Gen 3:16 NLT)

When most other translations are more like the following:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16 NRS)

I noticed that the NET Bible is similar to the NLT: ‘

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.” (Gen 3:16 NET)

So, I thought, this was interesting so I wanted to see the exegetical notes for the NET that I have on BW8.  They read as follows:

NET Notes (Gen 3:16)
48 ) tn Heb “and toward your husband [will be] your desire.” The nominal sentence does not have a verb; a future verb must be supplied, because the focus of the oracle is on the future struggle. The precise meaning of the noun hq’WvT. (t®shuqah, “desire”) is debated.

Many interpreters conclude that it refers to sexual desire here, because the subject of the passage is the relationship between a wife and her husband, and because the word is used in a romantic sense in Song 7:11 HT (7:10 ET).

However, this interpretation makes little sense in Gen 3:16. First, it does not fit well with the assertion “he will dominate you.” Second, it implies that sexual desire was not part of the original creation, even though the man and the woman were told to multiply. And third, it ignores the usage of the word in Gen 4:7 where it refers to sin’s desire to control and dominate Cain. (Even in Song of Songs it carries the basic idea of “control,” for it describes the young man’s desire to “have his way sexually” with the young woman.)

In Gen 3:16 the LORD announces a struggle, a conflict between the man and the woman. She will desire to control him, but he will dominate her instead. This interpretation also fits the tone of the passage, which is a judgment oracle. See further Susan T. Foh, “What is the Woman’s Desire?” WTJ 37 (1975): 376-83.
49 )tn The Hebrew verb lv;m’ (mashal) means “to rule over,” but in a way that emphasizes powerful control, domination, or mastery. This also is part of the baser human nature. The translation assumes the imperfect verb form has an objective/indicative sense here. Another option is to understand it as having a modal, desiderative nuance, “but he will want to dominate you.” In this case, the LORD simply announces the struggle without indicating who will emerge victorious.
sn This passage is a judgment oracle. It announces that conflict between man and woman will become the norm in human society. It does not depict the NT ideal, where the husband sacrificially loves his wife, as Christ loved the church, and where the wife recognizes the husband’s loving leadership in the family and voluntarily submits to it. Sin produces a conflict or power struggle between the man and the woman, but in Christ man and woman call a truce and live harmoniously (Eph 5:18–32).

So here was my initial reaction…  🙂   It made me wonder if complementarianism is a consequence of the fall and not God’s ideal?  Because of the indication of a future struggle to desire to control one another, I wondered if just prior to the fall God intended a more egalitarian partnership in both the man and woman relationship and in the care for the earth?  Does the indication of a future struggle mean there wasn’t one before?   Did God intend for each to be equal to each other working together?  Notice too that God had all the animals pass before Adam and he found no equal – til he saw Eve and said “AH, now I have found my equal!”  All kinds of questions for me to think about!  lol!

Now, I fully recognize this could be a completely ridiculous assertion, but I just wonder if it might hold up.

This is why we need to know out bible languages people (or interact with those who do) – it greatly helps in exegetical method!

18 responses to “Genesis 3:16 NET Notes

  1. My wife read that verse to me one time from her NLT Study Bible. She said it is her ingrain to try and control me, but she said she has learned that a sinful man cannot be controled by a sinful woman, so she just leaves me in the hands of God! I am simling as I type.. 🙂 But she reminds me that SHE is my God-given help-mate, and knows best! So there ya go, we have come full circle. Again, I am simling.. 🙂

  2. Could it be that Genesis was edited in its format within the exilic / post exilic period regarding women because of the history of Jezabel and the downfall of the empire through wrong worship?

  3. Robert, Brian. I’m not saying that this is the case; I was more asking a question.

    We do know that OT text that we have today was formatted / edited into its final format within the exilic / post exilic time period. We know that there was heavy editorial work done within the Minor Prophets, which was considered one book and not 12 individual books.

    When one looks at the OT there are two exile stories where the Jewish nation come back to the promised land and while not a perfect mirror image; there is much similarity between the exile from Egypt and the exile from Babylon…

    Joseph sold into slavery – Daniel sold into slavery…both become 2nd in charge..
    Hebrew people had opposition in leaving Egypt… Hebrews had opposition in leaving Babylon.

    Have a read of what I wrote about how Micah spoke of Miriam which starts at verse 6.4.

  4. Yeah, sometimes I forget many of you are seminary students. And ya want to bit down into it all! But, one must always remember the orthodoxy and the orthopaxcy of being a Christian, pastor/teacher, student or not. This is not always viewed in many theological studies.

  5. I would argue Robert that the orthodoxy and orhopaxy of Christ and the church has nothing to do with either complementarianism and egalitarism… rather both are more cultural / traditional constraints…

    Indeed I would and will argue that the egalitarian position fulfils Christian orthodoxy more so than the complementarian position can do.

    • Craig,

      But you argue not from Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, but from a so-called theological culture itself! This would be my position, and I stand not on what “I” think so much, as both Scripture & Tradition “In Christ”, and HIS HOLY CHURCH. Again, the Church for you is what? Who knows and where?

  6. Robert; there are many church traditions. Some are Godly; some are not. Some are helpful; some are not. There are many various sources of what some consider the Holy Church to be; take your liking for the Orthodox Church as an example which has many different traditions and understandings then other denominations.

    Luther himself was against church tradition if it got in the way of the true nature of the Gospel. Now in regards to egalitarianism…Origen thought that Junias was indeed a female apostle… and the earliest church father thought it to be true…why do we stand against it in the here and now?

    Robert; I don’t know what you mean by saying I don’t argue from Scripture; to understand Scripture…one has to understand the background and context in which it is written.

    Robert; let me ask you a question; what comes first for ministry… gifting of the Spirit…or gender?

    • Craig,

      You have no real understanding of Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church, this is obvious from your answers. This is the real question for me, what is the Church? Its nature and function, from the Spirit and spiritual, to the Apostolic and the visible. This in reality is the greatest question we must seek to answer!

      Without this answer, I am not going to try to get into a discussion about the nature of the role of women in the Church. At least with you! This is a biblical and theological need and understanding. And we must look first at the Incarnation, and only from here can we get to the right conclusion!

  7. Robert;
    I have a basic understanding of the Orthodox and R.C church as well as having much experience within the Anglican. One of my past guest seminary lecturers is a Greek Orthodox Lecturer at a Orthodox seminary. Another is a priest and lecturer at the Roman Catholic seminary.

    As much as I respect, enjoy and believe in much of what they have wrestled with in the past; there is also much that is to be discarded. The process and progress of reform within the church has been a painful one and has never been stagnant…every generation continuing the reforming process on a deeper and different level, working through the issues as they are raised.

    The current issues regarding complementarianism or egalitarianism are totally different to those that were faced previously. What is evident though, is the same resistance to change in the past by the established traditionalists is continued in the modern day, always resistant to change; despite the Biblical evidence to support that change.

    So then what is one to do. Continue to hold onto what has been found to be true and right and to discard that which is not… this is the spirit of reform…which has been happening ever since the resurrection of our Lord and out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

    • Craig,

      A basic understanding of anything is always dangerous really. I have a basic understanding of Islam, and perhaps I might think I have a bit more. But the reality here is sadly often mere opinion. Sorry, but I place much of your theology and ideas therein as opinion. We all have them, but hopefully we can base them on some history and facts.

      As far as Orthodoxy the Western Church, save for some Anglicans and Roman Catholics, is pretty much ignorant. I would suggest that you at least read Timothy Ware’s classic: The Orthodox Church (for history). And then his: The Orthodox Way for doctrine and spirituality. Maybe then we can chat about this and other subjects, related.

      Finally, as you will see in the Orthodox Church, there is a real strong sense of pneumatology there!

  8. Robert;
    I have a personal philosophy that there are no experts; only people who have some understanding of the subject with perhaps a need to know more…and so I will always say I have a basic understanding… with all that has gone on in my personal life the last 3 years… I can say that I only have a basic understanding of my life…at this point in time… yet apart from God, no one knows it better then me.

    At the moment I fellowship with a Baptist church and I have no doubt that in doing so I fellowship with and are united with the TRUE church of Christ; both visible and invisible with ties to the original church….therefore I don’t need to pursue membership with the Orthodox or RC church; though I accept their membership within the fellowship of all believers.

    If you dispute this fact; then you are guilty of adding to the Gospel of what it means to be saved… for all who were, are and will be saved are an integral member of and fully immersed into the membership of the Church.

    Getting back to the discussion regarding Egitarianism… In the last 2000 years of church history; it is really only a minor issue of reform when we compare it to the reforms where people lost their lives regarding believers baptism, access to both elements of the bread and the wine, hearing and reading the Scriptures in a common understandable language are but a few.

    • Craig,

      I am not your judge, nor your pastor or priest. But I have traveled the theological road somewhat. If you understood Orthodoxy better you would know that they don’t make personal, eternal judgments either. But the visible/invisible Church is another question. To quote another Orthodox teacher: “Orthodoxy does not persuade or try to compel; it charms and it attracts.” (Fr. Sergius Bulgakov) But I will leave this subject of the Church to the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

      I am not interested really in your opinions as to the role of women in the Church. So drop it with me at least. But blog on for others.. I will read and listen. 🙂

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