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Desire for her husband; Genesis 3:16

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  • Desire for her husband; Genesis 3:16

    Mods i searched for this subject and was surprised nothing came up. Please redirect me if there is already a conversation on this matter. Thanks! 😊

    I keep seeing teaching that the desire in this verse refers to a woman wanting to take authority over her husband. I don't see why. The Word desire simply means a longing or stretching out for. They use the similar terminology where God tells Cain sin longs for Him but he must master it, to justify their interpretation but I can't see why that would be applicable. Sin is an inanimate thing and the context of the Cain story is not the same as the Eve story. Also, they teach that Eve desiring to have authority over husband is part of the curse. It's connected to the first part which is pain in childbirth but there is an obvious transition between the two making it a condition to the first part (childbirth pain) not an additional curse. So isn't it blasphemous to say that God gave Eve the desire to constantly sin against God and her husband as a punishment? God wouldn't put a persistent desire to sin into one of His children.

    From what I can see, this desire is a beautiful picture of a woman longing for her husband and his authority in righteousness just as the Church longs for the Bridegroom and His righteous rule. It represents the fact that although making disciples for Christ (childbirth) can be painful or deadly, we still deeply desire to expand His kingdom. Am i missing something? Why is this errant teaching so prevalent in the Church?

  • #2
    You've brought up an issue that has many facets to it. But just to address one thing for now. I've heard the same thing over the years in one way or another. The teaching is that women/wives want to control men/husbands, yet they never elaborate on just what that means. There really isn't any Scriptural support for this idea. On the contrary, there is Scriptural support for the idea that the man/husband will attempt to control the woman/wife. In Gen 3:16, when God said, "he shall rule over you", He wasn't setting a mandate for the man to rule over the woman. He didn't tell the man to rule over the woman, He was simply warning the woman what lied ahead, just as he warned the man about the struggles he would face in life. It would be a thorn/thistle that would make life difficult for her in this world/life, and in her relationships with men. It's an undeniable fact that all throughout history, women have been dominated, oppressed, and ruled over by men, not the other way around. The domination of women by men isn't a good thing, it's sinful, and a result of the Fall. In no way does God condone it.
    Last edited by Watcher; April 19th, 2018, 07:04 AM. Reason: Clarification


    • #3
      Watcher, thanks for the response 😊 I agree. And I think this erroneous teaching, still being taught in many if not most of our churches is fuel to the fire of abuse,oppression, miscommunication and brokenness in marriages. Even dating is adversely affected. If men knew that a woman's deepest longings were to have a husband who loved her and to bare children, wouldn't that change the way men and women treated one another? Especially if it was known that it was a God given longing. Wouldn't it greatly benefit men to understand that nobody is looking to take over his role, and that he should take that role seriously so women can fulfill their role?.

      With all of the criticism of men these days, it seems there needs to be some restoration of truth, Especially in the Christian community, about marriage. Encouraging the God given role of men could transform our families, neighborhoods, society. Imho we have to get rid of this "women want authority over men" teaching and start uplifting men by letting them know that What women truly desire is a Godly authoritative husband.


      • #4
        triedbyfire, you are touching on so many important subjects, it's hard to look at them all at once! I agree that this teaching (one of many) is very destructive. Most, but not all, women do want to get married and have children. That's a biological desire of course, just as many men desire the same thing. Both desire to feel loved as well. But let's go back to Gen 3:16 and the word "desire".

        The Hebrew word that the KJV translates as desire is teshuwqah. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT), it is translated as "turning". This word is used only three times in the OT. You already mentioned one of them and explained some of the reasons why it isn't applicable. The other one is Song of Solomon 7:10.There, the woman states that the teshuwqah of Solomon is toward her. See the comparison going on? It's not just that Solomon's teshuwqah is toward her, but that out of all the other women, it is she that he has turned toward in desire.

        In Gen 3:16, there is also a comparison going on. Sadly, the first woman was losing her primary focus of longing for God and His love (divine love). She was turning away from Him and turning to her husband.......instead of/more than God. This was much more than a biological desire.

        So just as it wasn't a good thing for the man to rule over the woman, it wasn't a good thing for the woman to shift her focus/desire from God to the man. For Believers, the desire to love God and receive His love, (divine love) should always be number one in our lives, whether male or female. It shouldn't take a back seat to human love, yet it often does, especially in young people who are driven by their natural biology. I believe that young women in particular, have an innate tendency to expect too much from men spiritually. I guess you could say it's "natural" to do that, but it really stems from the Fall.

        For an example of what I mean, note the exchange between Rachel and Jacob in Gen 30:2. Rachel said, "....give me children or else I die". Jacob replied, " I in God's stead......?" In Rachel's mind, Jacob stood in the place of God (unfair). Jacob recognized this and was angry. He didn't want that burden, but yet he never went to God to intercede for her (unlike his father Isaac Gen 25:21). And neither did Rachel ever go to God herself to question Him about her barrenness but instead placed her burden upon Jacob. The contrast is Rebekah (Jacob's mother) who we see inquiring of the Lord herself about the struggling going on in her womb and getting a very detailed response from God, Gen 25:22-23.

        Leah and Rachel are interesting to study. Rachel had Jacob's love, but couldn't have children. Leah had children but couldn't have Jacob's love. Leah eventually overcame that desire for human love (Jacob's) when she saw how much God loved her and then she became content with the divine love of God. See Gen 29:31-35 for the progression of Leah's desire for human love to divine love and how her focus shifts back to God from Jacob. Leah overcame this effect of the Fall.


        • #5
          Watcher that's a great insight. I had not considered Jacob's wives as a picture of what happened in Genesis 3. Will read that and see if I can make some more connection to the story. Sarah calling Abram "my lord" pops into my mind. You've given me another dimension to explore. I love it! Thanks so much!


          • #6
            Enjoy your study, triedbyfire! What was your thought about Sarah, by the way?


            • #7
              This is such an interesting thread. I've heard the standard explanation of Genesis 3:16 a good deal lately. A church we had been "dipping our toes in" to see if it was biblically sound before we committd to going there full time, has just introduced the idea of women teaching the whole congregation. Lots of people there wrote to the leadership with biblical reasons why they were wrong, including teaching from the Genesis scripture. Having looked at it, although is does seem to make sense in the natural, I haven't looked any further. Will do now, however. If we look around to how the world behaves, women do seem to be driven to have the upper hand, lead the household & immasculate men. Whilst I don't believe God was giving women an unnaural desire to dominate her husband, He does seem to be saying the result of the fall would be that. Since then there has been an unnatural imbalance between men & women - men trying to dominate, bully & control their wives in abusive marriages & women wanting "wear the trousers". But a godly marriage founded on Christ is the only one where that imbalance can be corrected & be as God intends our relationships to be. Both husband & wife have equal standing within the marriage, but very clear, different roles. Before I was saved the idea of submitting would have horrifid me, but I can now honestly say that being loved into submission is wonderful. It's all a work of the Holy Spirit. I don't know many unbelievers, but those I do certainly have roles opposite to how God says they should be within their marriages I will have a look among all the emails I have where bible studies have been used to illustrate the Genesis scripture. It will be good to see what the language really says. Really appreciate the thread, thank you.
              For Thou art my hope, Oh Lord God Psalm 71:5
              Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it to the day of the Lord Philippians 1:6



              • #8
                I didn't want to get off track here, but there's a lot of examples in the Bible of women teaching the Word of God, like Timothy's mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois who taught him the Scriptures. There's Priscilla who taught Apollos. In 1 Cor 14 both men and women were prophesying and both men and women were "learning", v 31. The prophetess Anna spoke to everyone, Luke 2:38. Both men and women were preaching the word, Acts 8:4. Even some of the Scripture itself is written by women. Prov 31, for example, is the word that King Lemuel's mother taught him. Then there's Mary the mother of Jesus and her song in Luke 1, and Elizabeth too, and Hannah's song in 1 Sam 2. There's the personification of wisdom as a woman in Proverbs 8. There she cries out to men to teach them, 8:4. The Hebrew word there for men is iysh, which means male.

                Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice [is] to the sons of man. - Pro 8:4 KJV

                Romans 15:4 tells us the OT was written for our "learning", that includes words written by women.

                But back to the initial subject.........Sarah and Abraham are an interesting couple, too. We can see that Sarah underwent a profound change in her walk with God after the fulfillment of the Word of Promise, Gen 18:10.

                "For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come and Sara shall have a son". Rom 9:9

                Before Isaac was born, Sarah followed Abraham into sin, lying twice in order to please him. Gen 12:13, 20:5.

                But after the fulfillment of the promise, she followed God, telling her husband to cast out the bondwoman Hagar and her son Ishmael. Gen 21:10-12. She clearly saw the threat, not only to Isaac's physical safety and the stability of their home, but especially to the covenant given by God regarding Isaac. God agreed with Sarah, instructing Abraham to listen to everything she said. As a side note, Gal 4:30 validates Sarah's very words as Scripture. God speaks through women as well as through men.

                As Believers, both husband and wife are obligated to uphold God's righteousness individually and in their home. This doesn't depend on gender, but on character. God is for the one who seeks to live out His righteousness, whether male or female.
                Last edited by Watcher; May 21st, 2018, 09:00 AM.


                • #9
                  I don't think this passage is speaking of an "unnatural" desire for dominate her husband. This probably has less to do with whether the woman or man has a dominating personality, than it does to the fact that Self is strong in everyone--man and woman alike. Self never wants to submit to anyone. Self wants to be in charge, to be in control. Now that sin has entered the world, Self has become the problem. Apparently before sin this was not the case. Marriage would have been different had sin not entered the world.


                  • #10
                    Jan51, I think you're right about the idea that everyone has an innate desire for dominion. Gen 3:16 isn't talking about women dominating men, it's actually the other way around. But, in general, all of us, whether male or female, do exercise our dominion in this world in one way or another because that's how God made us. "Let them have dominion". But the dominion was supposed to be a righteous dominion over the creation, ruling righteously in the fear of God.

                    I was stunned when I realized one day that this is what children do when they are playing. We call it playing, but when you look closely, they are exercising the dominion and self-will that God instilled in them. They take their play very seriously, whether it's catching bugs, duking it out, mothering dolls, driving trucks, building things, etc.

                    The destiny of the Believer is to rule and reign with Christ one day. Our dominion on this earth was never taken away, but sin gets in the way and causes people to exercise it an unrighteous way. It's the same idea when it comes to self-will. This is also a trait given to us by God, being make in His image. God is looking for a relationship with us based on free will. Yet again, sin causes people to exercise their self-will in a sinful way. For example, they might use it to go away from God, rather than toward Him.

                    For the Believer in this life, the purpose of having dominion and self-will is not only to come to Him, but to then carry out His will and work, doing good and restraining evil. We don't need to try and eradicate our dominion and self-will, but just exercise those traits for good rather than evil, bending them in conformance to the righteousness and will of God. This is what Sarah finally did in one of the many examples in Scripture of both men and women who exercised their will and dominion for God.


                    • #11
                      This explains it quite well:


                      • #12
                        I've read the gotquestions article and refuted it. They get some really important things off track sometimes. They've fallen for the old standard teaching pastors hand down to each other rather than really looking into it, it seems.

                        Regarding women pastors, I'm not yet convinced either way. Most people base that rule on a single scripture where Paul says, "I do not permit a woman...". Important things in scripture are generally repeated. Paul makes a point of letting us know that it is Paul asserting his preferences. He doesn't appear to be saying God does not permit it. I don't think I'm grounded enough yet in a study of scripture on this particular subject but am leaning toward it being Paul's preference and not a direct prohibition from God. I don't listen to any women pastors or know any, and I certainly don't want to be one. So, I really have no skin in the game either way. I just want to have a settled knowing so I don't lead anybody astray.


                        • #13
                          The context of Genesis 3:16 is definitely punishment. How can your interpretation fit into the context? Also, did you read the part about the future tense verb? The language certainly indicates this is an eventual result of the fall, not a curse that causes sin.


                          • #14
                            Actually it's only the first part that's punishment. The "yet your desire..." Part is stemming from pain in childbirth, not part of the punishment. Basically saying even though you'll experience pain in childbirth you will still desire a husband. Are you sure you have read my post above? I already covered this.

                            The more I read the got questions article the more I see how they made stuff up based on their preconception from handed down teachings rather than exegeting the actual verses in context. the ESV is one of the worst translations they could have chosen on this verse but it upholds their narrative. They've been doing that a lot lately. You may have heard of one of their other sites, Blogos. You should have seen some of the twisted and frankly stupid articles they allowed to be included at that site. No discernment, or just a very biblically illiterate editor - I'm not sure which. That site has been shut down since. There's something going on over there, so just be cautious and scour everything you read from them. I've been very appreciative of them for maybe 9 or 10 years, since I discovered gotquestions. But it isn't the same now, less trustworthy.
                            Last edited by Steve53; June 16th, 2018, 10:42 AM.


                            • #15
                              You know, this subject can be complicated. This might be a good time to clarify a couple things.

                              1. Who and what did God actually curse?
                              He cursed the Serpent, Gen 3:14, "because thou hast done this, thou art cursed...".
                              And He cursed the ground, Gen 3:17, "cursed is the ground for thy sake".

                              God never cursed the man or the woman.

                              So in post #2, I should have said that the domination of women by men was sinful and a result of the Fall/Sin, not a part of the curse.
                              2. Domination of women by men goes against the mandate of God who gave dominion to both the male and female over the creation. God never changed this mandate, nor did he ever tell the man to rule the woman.

                              Also, to clarify, when I said that male domination over women was sinful, I was referring to sinful oppression, abuse, etc. But I don't think that's the only thing God was referring to when he spoke to the woman. Although surely that would be included as a manifestation of sin, I believe He was also referring to the natural state of men, who, rather than women, would have more power/position in the world. This has always been the case. Men are physically stronger and don't get side-lined with the infirmities women endure for those 40 or so child-bearing years. Unfortunately, because of sin, not all, but many men choose to abuse their power and position. In the days of Israel's kings, for example, there were good and evil rulers, although most were evil.