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!