In Genesis chapter 3 God speaks to Eve about her future. Unfortunately God’s words have been interpreted by male expositors in a way that makes God out to be a false prophet. In Genesis 3:16 in the NASB, God said “In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband”
After the fall, God speaks about the future. In the quote above, God says “you will”. This is a prophetic utterance about the future and about the desire that Eve will have for her husband. What is this desire? In the Hebrew the word desire means a stretching out for – a longing for. The Complete WordStudy Dictionary describes this as the strong feelings of desire one had for another, but it wasnt always a healthy one. So is the “desire” of Genesis 3:16 a healthy desire or not? The word translated as “desire” is only found three times in the Old Testament.
In Song of Solomon 7:10 it says “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.” This desire is a very healthy desire of a husband toward his wife. This desire is between a man and a woman.
In Genesis 4:7 it says “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” This desire is a figurative desire of sin wanting to control a person.
So which kind of desire is God prophesying about in Genesis 3:16? Is it like the figurative desire of sin to control and to destroy? Or is it like the longing of one person for another? Almost every commentary you read, the male commentator says that God gave a judgment on the woman so that she will desire to rule over the man. But is this true? Can scripture be properly interpreted that way? First of all the fact that the woman will desire her husband is not God’s judgment against her. It is a prophecy that would be shortly fulfilled and the desire for the man is the natural longing of the woman in spite of the pain that she experiences from having his children and in spite of the domination that the man has over her. She will long for him in spite of all the reasons for her to want to stay away from him.
In a recent bible study class the instructor brought up these verses and said that it was God’s judgment that women would desire to rule their husbands. When we broke up into groups for discussion, the first thing that the women said was “I have no desire to rule or control the man.” Every one of the women in our group said the same thing.
If we take the interpretation that the male interpreters have put onto this passage, then it puts God into dire straits because he has predicted something that on the whole simply is not true. Perhaps the male expositors should have taken the time to ask women what their desires are and then they would have known for sure the proper way to interpret this verse. So what do women really want?
Women want men to love them emotionally. Women long for their men to hold them and speak tenderly to them and to be treated as if they were the only woman on this planet. Yes women want sex too, but sex is an outworking of the emotional bond between man and woman. Women are not like men. Women do not use emotions to get sex. Women throughout the centuries have naturally used sex to get emotional love. So what is it that women want? Women want and desire emotional love. Women’s innate desire is not to rule men.
I have spoken to many women about this verse and most think the concept about them desiring to rule men is abhorrent. They can’t even conceive of it. Think about the women in all the third world countries. Do they desire to rule men? No. They dream about and long for freedom from being dominated and controlled. Women just want to be free to be themselves, they aren’t looking to rule the men, and above all they want to be loved.
So why have men chosen to believe that God said that the woman would desire to rule her husband? It is only because they are men who don’t know the internal nature of women.
Now think about it this way- if God’s intention was to punish women by making them want to rule their husbands, then why is it world-wide that women are not trying to rule their husbands? Why is it that the womanâ’s natural state is one of being easily controlled? It is because the woman’s natural tendency is to please the man and to want to do whatever will get emotional love from him. God’s words about her desire are not a curse on the woman, they are a prophetic statement concerning the innate longing that the woman will have.
And within a very short time, God’s prophetic words will come to life. Think about this – God kicks Adam out of the garden of Eden. He does not kick Eve out. Why is that? Because God knows that Adam in his rebellious state will desire to eat from the tree of life. Eve was deceived into eating the forbidden fruit – she did not eat because she was acting in a rebellious way. So God kicks out the rebellious one.
Genesis 3:23 and 24: therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
God kicks out the rebellious Adam and he is forced out of the garden. So if God doesn’t kick Eve out, then why did she leave? It is so simple. God has already told us. He prophesied what was going to happen. Eve left because she desired her husband.