Having concluded His investigation, YHVH now has to mete out the punishment. He cursed the serpent and took away its legs and promised that the woman’s seed would bruise it on the head.
The woman was next in line for her punishment.
To the woman He said,– Genesis 3:16
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”
Finally, He turned to the man.
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;– Genesis 3:17-19
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
Let’s unpack this. The woman and the serpent would both have seed that would fight with each other but the woman’s seed would have the ultimate victory. However, the woman would bring forth children in pain during childbirth. She was told that, henceforth, instead of desiring fruit to make one wise, her desire would be to her husband and he would rule over her. In short, YHVH is affirming that the man still retains authority over her, and she will have to respect it (consider the parallel of the Angel of the Lord’s directive to Hagar to return to Sarah and submit to her in Genesis 16:9). But to the man, YHVH said that he would no longer have an easy time with getting food, and that he would die by returning to the ground. The woman would suffer the same fate as the man, with respect to food and death; what happens to him, happens to her. Death would not be immediate, but delayed to the future, because of the need to have offspring to continue humanity, and for the ultimate seed who would defeat the serpent.
The man now gives the woman a personal name, “[he] called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20). Before, the man and woman made themselves a covering of a loin cloth with leaves, but now YHVH gives them His covering made from skins instead and drives them out of the Garden.
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—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.– Genesis 3:21-24
Note that He clothed both Adam and his woman/wife; Eve’s name was not used here. This hints at salvation being freely available to both man and woman. In addition, He did not consider the man and woman’s effort at covering adequate. He personally made provision for something better. But now, when He expressed concern about the man eating from the tree of life, only the man was mentioned, and it was the man driven forth from the Garden. His woman had to leave with him.
Before we conclude this vignette of Adam, his exile from the Garden is later paralleled by the process of divorce outlined in Deuteronomy 24:1 in which the husband sends forth the woman. In effect, YHVH divorced Adam (and his woman/wife). His “certificate of divorce” was the curses laid on them.
When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house.– Deuteronomy 24:1
That means that indecency, which means a shameful uncovering as described earlier, should be considered as disobedience or rejection of the husband’s authority.
In this entry, we looked at the foundation of YHVH’s order of patriarchy and what it looks like when functioning properly. The master provides the subordinate food (and clothing, as appropriate). The man is to hearken to the voice of his master, YHVH, rather than listening to his subordinate, his woman. The woman should not desire what a third party tempts her with, but rather direct her desire to her husband, and help him with his tasks, in addition to bearing children. The parallel between Genesis 3 and Deuteronomy 24:1 shows that disobedience or refusal to obey her husband by the woman results in becoming “naked” and losing her covering bestowed by him. Future vignettes will show more examples of patriarchy in action, for both good and evil.
The purpose of this series is to highlight the awesome responsibility that men are given to make good choices, and the terrible consequences to themselves and their families and descendants for bad choices.
Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, NASB.