There is a scene in The Scarlet Pimpernel, when suddenly the identity of the Pimpernel becomes glaringly obvious to Marguerite St. Just, the room begins to wildly whirl and everywhere she looks there is evidence of the truth.
Those were my feelings when I read God’s Word to Women by Katharine Bushnell. So absolutely blown away by the awe of her work; I could not sleep that night. I, in fact, woke Andrew up at around 2:30 AM to tell him of the marvels that were swirling in my head, from a book, that quits making man and woman, husband and wife constant sparring partners. And it starts in a garden.
And it Wasn’t Eve
But it goes beyond male/female relationships; it extends to God’s promise to his church- that there will always be a remnant- even when the number seems very small- even when that number is TWO.
But lets back up. God formed Adam and placed him in Eden with the stipulation not to eat from the tree of knowledge; other than that, Adam had a lot of freedom. (Adam is told to “tend and guard” the garden. (Gen. 2:15) Mind you, “Guarding” only need take place when there is a threat- Adam knew the threat- and it wasn’t Eve, because she wasn’t there yet.)… And then God forms Eve.
But Adam eats the forbidden fruit, and Eve does too. God, of course, knows this but asks anyway if Adam has eaten of the tree “which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Adam blames God- “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.” Adam, sacrificed Eve- threw her under the bus- and blames God for giving her to him. In one quick sentence. This evilness advances him to the side of the serpent, Adam became a false accuser of God.
Eve is there listening. The serpent was surely slinking around listening too when Eve is asked, “What is this you have done?” Now this would have been the perfect time to defend herself against Adam’s claim. This would have been the perfect time to give a little tit for tat, blame Adam for not making it clear what the commands were– she was not yet formed when God gave the command. “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:16,17) This would have been a good time to blame God too- “The man whom you formed first..”
But Eve answers, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” She comes clean. She admits that she was deceived; she does not blame God; she does not blame Adam. She confesses. She owns that she allowed the serpent to deceive her. Adam, God and the serpent, all present, hear Eve. She makes her choice; she chooses for God. In so doing she creates enmity between herself and the serpent. She advances to the side of God. What follows is beautiful.
God elevates her position before Him; He puts a further divide between the woman and the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman.” God acknowledges Eve’s stand with Him, blesses her, and places Eve in His camp- further from the serpent. God goes on to castigate, not Eve, but the serpent-
“Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”
God continues, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This is Genesis 3:15.
Genesis 3:15 comes right before Genesis 3:16. What a wonderful thing that we serve a God who blesses us for our good works. A punitive sentence upon Eve after the wonderful prophecy in Genesis 3:15 would be crazy-making. She stood with God, and now God stands with her.
How in the heck-O did that wonderfulness get turned into a curse?! The original old Hebrew language was lost twice and was got back via Hebrew scholars/rabbis (who, well, kinda hated women) Christianity and Christian women in particular were despised. (See Church in the Roman Empire – William Mitchell Ramsay) It was the case that interpretation of scripture would seek to demean women. Fact.
Further, vowel sounds were not added until 600-800 A.D., so caution needs to be taken when reading the translated text. The Hebrew language in Genesis 3:16 can more sensibly be translated, “a snare hath increased thy sorrow,”- the word “snare” being literally rendered, “a lyer in wait.” Quite simply God is giving Eve a heads up, letting her know that the serpent has done some damage- a lyer in wait- the serpent- has increased Eve’s sorrow. The difference is between HaRBeh and AaRBeh The capital letters alone constitute the original text. ARB occurs fourteen times in Joshua and Judges. It is translated “ambush,” and “lyers-in-wait,” or “in ambush. “ A lyer in wait (the subtle serpent) hath increased thy sorrow.”
And of the second part, “and your conception”- the word here for conception in Hebrew is HRN– “but that is not the correct way to spell ‘conception.’ The latter occurs, and is correctly spelled, in Ruth 4:13 and Hosea 9:11, and nowhere else. The real word ‘conception’ as it is spelled in Ruth and Hosea is HRJWN. This word in Genesis comes two letters short of spelling the word. All Hebrew scholars know this.” (GWTW- Bushnell) The correct translation, the Septuagint, of Genesis 3:16 is”sighing”- “A snare hath increased thy sorrow and thy sighing.”
If we choose to interpret Genesis 3:16 to be all about women and their desire for power; we lose the church, we lose the promise of a remnant. And we pit women against men in eternal battle. It is simply not so. Adam chose the serpent; Eve chose God; Adam chose death; Eve chose life.
Sick Jokes be Damned
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20)
This naming of Eve is not a sick little joke. This is Adam’s confirmation, acknowledgment that Eve chose life, that his wife was the remnant that God saved. God saved his people by way of one. Four thousand years later, God chooses for His Son to be born of a woman. Just a woman.
Following his fall, Adam is driven out of the garden- “So He drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” This “he” is singular- one person- Adam- not ‘them.’ “He drove out the man.” (Genesis 3:24) “Eve repented; but there is no inference that Adam repented at this time, for he was expelled from the garden.” (GWTW- Bushnell)
God has already warned (not cursed) his daughter, Eve, that her “desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” So, here is Eve still in the garden as God sends Adam out. At this point, one of two things happened:
1. Adam repented and became a child of God, allowing him back into the garden with Eve.
2. Eve watched Adam driven out of the garden and turned from God and followed Adam out as well.
We know what happened; Eve followed Adam out as God knew she would, and “Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain” (Genesis 4:1)
End From Beginnings
God knew the end from the beginning. God knew that her desire for Adam would lead her out and away from God and the garden. He knew when it came time to choose which master she would serve, this time Eve would choose Adam- “your desire shall be for your husband.” She was not interested in “usurping authority” as current day interpretation goes, she was not interested in “wearing the pants;” she was interested in- she desired– her husband.
“Thy desire shall be to thy husband.” “Desire” the original word used here is teshuqa and it only occurs 3 times in the Bible. The sense of the word must be fixed 1. By studying its relation to other words in the sentences where it occurs, 2. By studying its derivation and structure, 3. By studying the way it is rendered in the ancient version of scripture.
The 3 instances:
Genesis 3:16 … and to Adam, Eve’s teshuqa
Genesis 4: 7,11 “and to Cain, Abel’s teshuqa
Song Sol. 7:10 “and to the church, Christ’s teshuqa
There is no variety in the 3 sentences excepting the proper noun implied.
The implied obligations to man is in the “shall be” which is supplied by the translators.
Shuq is derived from “to run.” The prefix, te, gives the word an abstract sense and corresponds to our termination, “ness,” like “goodness,” “kindness.” “A” is added to make it feminine.
“We can assert positively that this sentence is a simple future or present, warning woman of the consequences of her action. So it is rendered in all the ancient versions, never as an imperative. As a prophecy it has been abundantly fulfilled in the manner in which man rules over woman.” (GWTW- Bushnell) If we teach that this is an imperative- a command, Christianity looks like the Muslim religion only a tiny bit nicer. Maybe.
Even to a Fault
Women for time and eternity have been the abused in relationships, women will return time and again to the man who physically and/or emotionally beats them up. Women are wired for l-o-v-e. Women desire a man’s love. Even to a fault. As Andrew said, “If you can’t see that women are wired to be ‘run over’ in Genesis 3:16 then you are missing the whole point.” What a glorious thing that God did not pit man against woman as though in a boxing ring, a wrestling match to duke it out down through the ages each trying to wrest the reins from the other. That would be destructive.
“A snare hath increased your sorrow and your sighing;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”