Genesis 3 recounts the undoing of the intimate relationships established in the previous chapter between humans and God, between the man and the ground, between the woman and the man. In recent decades most of the discussion seems to have been over what God says to the woman, traditionally translated something like:
[Yhwh Elohim] said to the woman:
I will intensify your labor pains;
you will bear children in anguish.
Your desire will be for your husband,
yet he will rule over you. (HCSB)
Of most interest is the syntax of the second half of the verse and the meaning of the word translated “desire.” While most studies have sought to clarify the nature of this desire, I want to suggest that perhaps the word “desire” is not the best way to render the Hebrew at all. Read on for more.