GOD'S WARNING TO EVE
122. The N. T. teaches us that "He that committeth sin is of the devil. . . Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin. . . . In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil" (1 John 3:8-10). Eve repented; but there is no inference that Adam repented at this time, for he was expelled from the garden. What must have happened, after this? Before Cain could have been born (Genesis 4:1) either Adam must have repented and become again the child of God, or Eve must have turned from God and followed Adam out of Eden. The fact that Cain was a murderer certainly argues that Eve followed Adam.
123. Eve was, then, the first woman to forsake her (heavenly) kindred for her husband. She reversed God's marriage law,"Therefore shall a man forsake his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife." Had Eve remained steadfast with God, Adam might through the double influence of God and Eve, have returned to God. Marriage might have been consummated by Adam, the husband, forsaking the devil, his father, and cleaving to his wife, thus returning, like the prodigal he was, to the heavenly Father's home.
124. God spoke warningly to Eve at this time, telling her that she was inclining to turn away from Himself to her husband, and telling her that if she did so her husband would rule over her. The correct rendering of the next phrase of Genesis 3:16 is this: "Thou art turning away to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee,"not as it has been rendered, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband." This assertion, as to the correct meaning of the phrase we shall now prove. As we have said before, a misinterpretation of a passage of Scripture can be proved by the misfit. The usual construction put upon the language of this verse fits accurately nowhere; the correct interpretation fits all around.
125. The original word used here is teshuqa, and as it only occurs three times in the Hebrew language, its sense 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) and by studying the way it is rendered in the ancient versions of Scripture.
126. To study its relations to other words, we will leave it untranslated, but, write it in its proper sentences, inserting the noun equivalents for the pronouns used.
Genesis 3:16, "-and-to-Adam, Eve's teshuqa."
Genesis 4:7,11 "-and-to-Cain,
Sol. Song 7:10, "-and-to-the-Church
Now compare. No verbs are expressed. The conjunction is one for all and also the preposition. This is true of the Hebrew original also. In fact there is no variety in the three sentences, excepting in the proper nouns implied in the pronouns used. The sense of the three passages must be similar.
127. All the stress of teaching woman's supposed obligations to man is in the "shall be," which is supplied by the translators. The force of the mandatory teaching, then, rests upon a hiatus in the sentence. If it be contended that the context proves that this is an imperative, then the previous sentences must be imperative, or the following. Must woman bear children in sorrow, whether she wishes to rejoice or no? Must the serpent bruise the heel of the woman's seed, whether he will or no? As to the following clause: Must man rule woman, whether he will or no? We think women have more liberty in Christian countries than heathen because man loses the disposition to rule his wife when a Christian.
If this be a commandment of God, and man must rule woman, the more carnally-minded a man is the better he keeps that sort of "law!" But the Apostle Paul says: "The carnal mind . . . is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). Thus we see that the context does not prove that this "shall be of the sentence translated, "thy desire shall be to thy husband" is imperative. 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, especially in heathen lands. But Jesus Christ said, as much of women as of men: "NO ONE can serve two masters."
128. Compare again: The word teshuqa does not necessarily refer to the appetite between male and female, for it would then be out of place in the second sentence. And it does not necessarily imply the subordination of Eve to Adam, as the marginal reading of the A. V. puts it; for then, in the third sentence, Christ is subordinated to the Church, or according to the other interpretations of the Song of Solomon, the man is, at any rate, subordinated to the woman.
Nicholas Fuller, an eminent Oriental scholar, wrote an interesting chapter on this subject in a Latin work entitled Theological Miscellany, published in 1612. In reply to those who hold that the sense of the passage is, "the appetite of the wife is about to be in the power of the husband and subdued by him," he says: "Just as if nothing would be longed for by the wife excepting what would be pleasing to the husband. Absurd notion! Others again wish the appetite to be understood as that by which a woman seeks marital dominion. And yet it is not very probable that this yoke is sustained by spontaneous longing for it. . . . This is not effected by longing, then, but it is suffered because not declined. Besides, Scripture saith not, 'The appetite of the wife shall be inclined to the dominion of the husband,' but 'to the husband' himself. Wherefore, if teshuqa is allowed to be translated 'appetite' certainly this appetite is common and by nature reciprocal, and bending each in like manner to the other. Therefore, it displays a more equitable condition of life than dominion. Nay, moreover, if this form of speech declares the appetite for a ruler, Christ would adopt the Church as His ruler, for in the same manner the Church speaks, when, of Christ as a Spouse, in Canticles 7:10 it says, 'I am my beloved's, towards me is His appetite,' as indeed they would there translate."
Lewis' note in Lange's Commentary declares: "The sense of this word [teshuqa] is not libido, or sensual desire."
129. As to the structure, and derivation of teshuqa, apparently it is derived from the verb shuq, meaning in its simplest form "to run." The prefix, te, gives the word an abstract sense, and it corresponds to our termination, "ness," in such words as "goodness," "kindness," etc. The ending a, is added to give the word the feminine form usual to Hebrew abstract nouns. If this word is taken from the intensive form of the verb, it would bear the sense "to run repeatedly," that is "to run back and forth." But to keep running back and forth would necessitate frequent turning, and hence the word might easily have the derived sense of "turning; and an abstract noun be derived there from, not meaning a literal "turning," but a quality of the character, a "turning," The sense "desire" has come to us from the Talmud, in the "Ten Curses of Eve." All the most ancient versions, this we will show in our next lesson, give the idea of "turning," and that alone, for this Hebrew word "teshuqa."