Apparently Eve was no push-over or faint-hearted wallflower. She was bold enough to hold a conversation with a talking serpent, but foolish enough to make an independent and rebellious choice. Her choice led to her curse.
The curse, which every woman since Eve has had to contend with, is found in Genesis 3:16:
“To the woman he said, 'I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'”
When I was younger, I thought the statement “Your desire shall be for your husband . . .” referred to having some kind of insatiable desire for my husband either emotionally or physically. But when I dug a little deeper and checked out some reputable commentaries, I discovered the curse contains an interesting Hebrew word that is found only one other time in Scripture.
In Genesis 4:7 we find the only other time the word translated “desire” is used, and it’s in reference to sin wanting to dominate or overpower Cain:
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
According to Pastor John MacArthur:
“This interpretation of the curse is based upon the identical Hebrew words and grammar being used in Genesis 4:7 to show the conflict man will have with sin as it seeks to rule him . . . because of sin and the curse, the man and the woman will face struggles in their own relationship. Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will. Life-long companions—husbands and wives—will need God’s help in getting along as a result. The woman’s desire will be to lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design.”
The flip-side of the woman’s calling to be a helper is the curse of . . . controlling. The ingredients God has placed within woman which aid her in being an effective helper can be perverted into a dangerous tool of domination which she uses to “whip her man into shape.”
For example, a Fierce Woman’s
- “Power of Influence” can evolve into the “Power of Pressure”
- “Gift of Encouragement” can morph into the “Habit of Nagging”
- “Keen Intellect” can degenerate into a “Sense of Superiority”
- “Passionate Exuberance” can become an “Overwhelming Intensity”
- “Godly Wisdom” can become his worst nightmare as an “Intimidation Factor”
God has given the victory, but I’ve learned I must cry out to Him for grace and help when I’m tempted to control my husband rather than being his true helpmate. Can any of you relate?
John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 21.