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Word Study

"Desire" or "Turning as used in Genesis 3:16

"Re: Hebrew teshuqa.  Our English Bibles translate this word as "desire" in Genesis 3:16, implying lust on the part of the woman.  However, the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament translates the word as "turning."

The true meaning of teshuqa is, in fact, "turning" with no implication whatsoever of "desire" or "lust." Granted, these can be motives for "turning"! What this passage (Genesis 3:16) is saying is this:

Eve is turning away from God toward the male, putting him between herself and God.  God is warning Eve that this turning away toward the man will result in her coming under the domination of the male.

All of the best ancient versions of the Old Testament render teshuqa with the idea of "turning." The distortion of the meaning of this passage arose through the influence of the Talmud, a compilation of the traditions of the Jews.  The teaching, that God cursed all women through Eve,  comes not from the original Hebrew version of Genesis 3:16, but from the Babylonian Talmud, which, in fact, teaches 10 curses of womanhood.  The 5th curse is, "Thy desire shall be toward thy husband."

This distortion was first introduced by Jerome through the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible in A.D. 382.  A valid rendering of Genesis 3:16 is:

"A snare has increased your sorrow and sighing.  In sorrow you shall bear sons/children.  You will turn toward your husband and he will rule over you."

The above material is taken from In the Spirit We're Equal by Dr. Susan C. Hyatt.  To purchase the book e-mail Dr. Hyatt at drsuehyatt@aol.com  An excellent discussion of the mistranslation is found in God's Word to Women by Katherine Bushnell beginning in Lesson 13.  To read that discussion, click here.

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