The setting of this memoir may be challenging to read easily. I wrote this as a scholarly expository and have not edited for the purpose of an audience that may not have a background in bible exposition. I encourage everyone to read beginning to end though. My commentary is relatively simple with illustration where it is appropriate. I welcome all comments. This is one installment to my upcoming publication dealing with love and grace. Stay tuned for more articles on love! I have more great articles coming. Love has no bounds!
Gen 3:16 UntoH413 the womanH802 he said,H559 I will greatlyH7235 multiplyH7235 thy sorrowH6093 and thy conception;H2032 in sorrowH6089 thou shalt bring forthH3205 children;H1121 and thy desireH8669 shall be toH413 thy husband,H376 and heH1931 shall ruleH4910 over thee.
Son 8:6 SetH7760 me as a sealH2368 uponH5921 thine heart,H3820 as a sealH2368 uponH5921 thine arm:H2220 forH3588 loveH160 is strongH5794 as death;H4194 jealousyH7068 is cruelH7186 as the grave:H7585 the coalsH7565 thereof are coalsH7565 of fire,H784 which hath a most vehement flame.H7957
Son 8:7 ManyH7227 watersH4325 cannotH3808 H3201 (H853) quenchH3518 love,H160 neitherH3808 can the floodsH5104 drownH7857 it: ifH518 a manH376 would giveH5414 (H853) allH3605 the substanceH1952 of his houseH1004 for love,H160 it would utterly be contemned.H936 H936
Son 7:10 IH589 am my beloved’s,H1730 and his desireH8669 is towardH5921 me.
When reading these passages my mind is reeling with thoughts. So many thought in order to focus I have to stop and start with a single word and work back and forward from this point of reference. I have to reject for the moment all the objections and preconceived notions to consider them later in a balanced logical manner. I am challenged with my English or American culture and language when surveying the Hebrew culture and language. Worse still to comprehend this matter I must also consider the mind of Christ or the culture and language of the Kingdom of God.
Many a student has rushed into a logical expression and failed in assumptions. The frame work begins with God or better stated the culture and language of the Kingdom.
We must begin with the word picture of the English word “desire”. Genesis 3:6 is the first place the English word is translated. This word “châmad” means to lust or wanting something that does not belong to you in a way that it robs the owner. We find this definition to be consistent with other appearances in scripture such as
Deu 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
However when we reach Genesis 3:16 we find another Hebrew word “teshûqâh”. This word has been termed a “violent craving” or an intense longing. Some has went so far as defining it as a disease due to the context where as the curse plagues every woman after Eve.
We have on one hand the context and on the other culture language.
( fem., תשוקה / te-shu-qah ) Translation: FOLLOWING Definition: To go, proceed or come after. Being next in order or time. Subsequent to. As the river follows the path of its banks.
The root of this word means
( common, שוק ) Translation: OVERFLOW (V) Definition: [To be verified] The overflowing of the banks of a river.
Word picture by each Hebrew letter from rigth to left
tav : Crossed sticks; monument, signal, sign, mark
shin : two front teath; sharp, press, eat tow
chet : tent peg; add, secure, hook
quph: sun on the horizon; condense, circle, time
hey : man with arms raised; look reveal breath
The word picture literally look like this: sign to press for security all day revealed. To place this in perspective this sign will be seen for all women. They will press hard or manipulate for the purpose of security. This pursuit will cause them to look all the days of their life.
I am quick to say this is not an interpretation rather a picture of the condition Elohim (God) reveals for all women. I am also quick to say that a judgment is not a curse of person rather a propensity of character. We observe this in two ways. Eve would be concerned for her children. The word for sorrow in this passage is to worry. Many would say the travail of physical birth is the meaning here. Though we can find evidence of this in child birth this is not the translation. We cannot ignore the labor pains but it does belay the passage and the anxiety of bringing up children outside of the garden and the protection and security that it provides. We see then the propensity following that is all about her need or her want of security. This is not a curse rather this is the result of transgression Elohim cautioned them about. They were told not to eat the fruit of the tree because the results would be catastrophic. This is the first evidence of the law of cause and effect. Transgression resulted in sin. Sin is the result and when sin is fully conceived it brings destruction. Eve is not being cursed for ignorance rather she is being saved from further ignorance. God provided security and protection. She ran from this security and protection to a tree with a promise of something else. This is where we are draw into the narrative. She has her security and protection removed. Further she is experiencing something that is really foreign. She is separated both spiritually and physically from Adam. Her vulnerability is increased. Oneness is not a desire but a design. This makes the desire for design as termed Violent Craving. Once you have something and it is gone the desire to have it again is excruciating. The overflow of water seen in a fountain overflows because of fullness to return to the source from whence it came. The scene here in Genesis is different though because the flow exceeds the bounds of the river drowning and destroying the landscape around. The Flow is a torrent and violent causing collateral damage even changing the landscape.
Oneness is God the Fathers design. Adam was made of earth as a body to house the Human being for the purpose of experiencing the Grace of God demonstrated by Christ the Son of God. What does this mean? In this context Adam is a being named for the physically body. In the same way angels are named for their celestial body. Throughout the scriptures men have been named for characteristics manifested in the physical world. David has historically been known “am man after God’s heart” and his name means “beloved”. “Adam” means made from earth or earthy and literally means ruddy as a complexion. Eve is not made in the same fashion. She is made from Adam. We must hold at this point. We cannot understand this scene or the event until we make this picture complete. From the ground Elohim made man. This is to say that the elements He is to be made of are linked together chemically to form a genetic code that makes a kind called mankind. Chemically the electrical charges are aligned in a code. The code literally is a programming that displays physical characteristics to include all the mechanisms and organs that must function to display and maintain health. The chemicals are then coded to form the bonds necessary to make these organs. This is the makeup of every physical body to include the animals and plant or every living thing after their kind. Adam is made a kind of physical body. This is where we arrive at Eve. She is not coded from the earth. Instead Adam’s Code is divided. The English rendering of this scene says that Elohim took a rib and fashioned Eve. The word rib is simplistic and if this was all we had to understand this passage we could come to an understanding though not a complete picture. The concept is the marrow of this curved bone is all the genetic material needed to fashion another body. We know this from those who receive bone marrow transplants who take on the characteristic of the person who donates the marrow. We can understand this scene greater from the Hebrew word:
tsal‛âh meaning “a side”.
We arrive at this meaning from the word picture “journey to bind know divide from “trail shepherd staff eye tent wall”. The letters of the word tsal‛âh form a picture of not a rib singular but the half of man denoting something more than physical. We term this correctly as masculine and feminine. This is not just a physical value though because this carries the values both emotional and psychological. These values are not differences as much as complimentary and completion. These are a matter of design and function. Adam was made complete in body with a balance of hormones testosterone and estrogen making him ONE. Eve was fashioned feminine meaning she was taken from Adam leaving him masculine. The two together make one flesh, a single family unit with a singular design function. This new body is then assigned a human being to walk in unity. The word picture is then representative of Christ and the bride or the body/church stated as one body and one spirit.
Eve needs oneness not because of lust for something that does not belong to her. Eve needs oneness not because she has issues of pride to rule the new world. Eve needs oneness because she was created as one with Adam. She is a part of him that she cannot deny or escape. The relationship is damaged if not lost. The spiritual connection is broken because they are dead where as the word death means literally separated. At this point spiritual death takes on an expanded meaning. Eve is separated from Christ meaning she is fallen from grace. Eve is also separated from Adam meaning she is fallen from all relationships she knew in the garden. Adam is dead and she is dead spiritually. This cannot be overstated. Spiritual death drives Eve to a point of despair we all can relate. For her though who tasted the life and vitality of the garden and relationship with Christ and Adam this despair does not have words to describe. What kind of world will her children live in? What of the security of the garden? Where will they live; what will they eat; how will they survive? There has not been a more desperate moment in all of history. What will she do? What will they do?
We pick up a portion of the narrative where one of them conceives the idea of sewing fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. Why the covering? Eve is vulnerable and she hides from Adam her husband and Christ who walks in the Garden. She is vulnerable, unprotected in an environment that once was a safe haven. What changed? The garden did not change. Eve changed. She is lost in the flood that once was a river in the banks. She is caught up in the torrent that sweeps her away from the only thing she had ever known. She knows fear! Fear of uncertainty. Fear of Death. But why?
The narrative goes deep into the purpose Eve was created. This is where the story line gets profound. Looking at the text line by line, we see first that God places the man He had made in the garden and immediately gives the first commandment. It’s a dietary law: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17 NASB)
Keep this context in mind as to what God says and does in the next verse: Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:18 NASB) Consider the implications of these verses being juxtaposed together like this? Why does YHWH give Adam the first commandment and then straight away tells us that Adam needs an ezer kenegdo (suitable helper)? How can we ignore the obvious connection that Eve’s purpose is somehow connected to the command for Adam to obey? This is where the narrative gets really interesting.
An ezer is literally an aid, a help, a guard, and a protector meaning to surround. In nearly all of its uses in the Old Testament, ezer is used in reference to YHWH (the LORD; English translations use all cap letters when YHWH is found in the hebrew).
Ps. 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help (EZER) and our shield.
Ps. 70:5 But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help (EZER) and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.
Hos. 13:9 It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help (EZER).
We should ask the question that is answered in this text. Why does Elohim use language that is directed to Him in the language of the formation of Eve? First we understand that she is not purposed to be an assistant to Adam. She is not a baby factory or nurse. Eve’s role is far more important than our cultural portrays. The language demands that we follow a logical ends to purpose. Eve’s function is to help Adam in a similar way that God helps us. The Hebrew text implies Eve is a type of guide or her existence is to help Adam fulfill his divinely created purpose namely to obey the Word of the LORD. The word “help” in this context is one of conscience that surrounds Adam. I would not be so bold as to say this is a spirit guide. However we must not discount that she is a Human Being implying that her being is spiritual made in the likeness of God. In other word she is spirit in a body. In this way she is to aid Adam in obedience and consequentially also means for one to disobey is to mean both disobey. Together they stand or fall.
There is more to this expression ezer kenegdo. The Hebrew kenegdo is actually a compound of two prepositions, ki and neged. Neged means before, in front of, corresponding to, against, and opposite; Ki means like or as. Why is this so important? When we combine the two words the implication is a corresponding contradiction: to be for and to be against. However we must remember that these expressions are a position. In the same way a hedge is to keep some in and some out kenegdo describes the position Elohim created for Eve. If Adam is righteous then Eve is for him and if Adam is unrighteous she is against him. This is not indicative to transgression or the resulting sin rather the direction of travel and counsel. The expression “Remember the LORD your God” is a matter of travel and counsel. In the same way the LORD our ezer steers us toward righteousness. Fact is in our fallen state His desire even when He is against us is to turn us back to repentance. Eve was created to be ezer kenegdo to Adam. This was her divinely designed purpose. She has a special role to play in the life of Adam.
This text reveals the depth of Eve’s worry and corresponding sorrow at the fall. She is designed for the purpose of maintaining obedience between Adam and Christ. She is his intercessor and front/rear guard. She is to support him when he embraces Christ’s direction and oppose him when he does not. She is the ezer in the only field he needs additional attention. Notice the commandment to eat or not eat was given to him but this is not his only command. He is also tasked with keeping the garden and tending to the daily business of the garden. He does not need help in work, stewardship, dominion of animals or expansion plans as his family grows. He needs spiritual awareness and obedience. Without her, the man is at great risk and vulnerable.
This is the meaning of the word of the Lord that she received in Gen 3:16. Her world of security and protection is removed and great uncertainty is a way of life outside of her personal relationship with Christ not with Adam. Adam will still need an ezer kenegdo though he will not easily or readily accept this help due to his previous experience. The bond is broken and trust will have to be re-established. This trust will have to be her relationship with Christ: Love and Respect.
There is a violent craving. Yes there is dysfunction. No this is not a disease or a curse. The woman’s need is not for what she can never have, rather a need to be who she is created to be. She has every cause to feel as she does toward man or men. This does not make right rather reveals the desperate need we have of Christ who restore and saves.
Look back at the Garden of Eden now. See the Angel of the LORD that stands barring the way to the only purpose and security they knew. Now see Christ who builds an alter and sacrifices himself on that alter; clothing them in animal skins as a symbol of the blood He shed clothing them in Grace. Eve got her restitution though it would be years before she would see it face to face. The ONE who walks in the garden Walks with us and talks with us even to this day only in a messy world stained with ignorance and deceit.
This narrative is the call for women to rise to the occasion and become the Women of Grace God created them to be. This is also the call to men to rise to the occasion and become the voice of God spreading the word of God to shed light in the darkness of ignorance. Oneness between Man and Wife is possible. He that hears let him hear.