Genesis 3:16 - The First Judgment Upon Sin (Part 2): Judgment Upon Woman

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Remember, man and woman had just sinned.  “That old serpent, called the Devil and Satan” had seduced the woman to take the forbidden fruit, and the man had deliberately chosen to follow the woman into sin.  The judgment of God had just been pronounced upon the devil.  Now, it was time for man and woman to stand before God, time for them to hear the judgment they had brought upon themselves.  As the specifics of the judgment are studied, three facts need to be kept in mind.

First – God’s judgment is always just and equitable, perfectly fair.  God always judges a person impartially.  A person receives exactly what he deserves, nothing more, and nothing less.  God’s judgment always matches a person’s sin.  A person will never be judged for more wrong than he has done.  The judgments pronounced upon Adam and Eve match their sin.  Note this as we study these judgments.

Second – God’s judgment is always full of wisdom, purpose, and mercy.  While man is on earth, God always wisely pronounces judgment for the purpose of arousing the person to repent and turn to God for mercy.

God judges Adam and Eve—man and woman—for the purpose of arousing and stirring them...

·         to return to God.

·         to flee and stay away from sin lest worse judgment come upon them.

·         to trust the mercy and grace of God.

·         to stay close to God.

Third Adam and Eve stand as the representative heads of the human race.  This is clearly seen in every judgment pronounced upon them.  The judgments pronounced upon Adam and Eve are passed on down through their children.  The judgments are still being borne by the human race.  Adam and Eve stand as the father and mother of the human race.  We bear the human and fleshly nature—the fallen nature—of Adam and Eve.  Consequently, we bear the judgment of our father and mother, of Adam and Eve.  The first judgment is upon the person who sinned first, the woman.  This passage is “The First Judgment Upon Sin (Part 2): Judgment Upon Woman.”

A.           She was to experience many forms of pain (v.16a).

1.            “I will greatly multiply your sorrow, in pain you shall bring forth children…”  (v.16a).

a)            This verse does not refer only to the pain of childbearing, as it is often interpreted.  

(1)           The scholar H.C. Leopold points this out: “The conjunction [the word ‘and’] before ‘conception’ is to be taken in the sense of ‘and in particular’ “.  The judgment is this: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and in particular [the sorrow of your] conception” (Genesis 3:16).

b)            The sorrow caused by woman’s nature.

(1)           God created woman with a more tender, delicate, and sensitive nature than man.  But note: God says He is going to intensify this sorrow, and when we look at the life of woman, this is exactly what we see.
(2)           Because of her nature, the woman usually feels things more deeply than man.  She usually feels for others more than man.
(3)           She seems to understand the feelings, needs, trouble, sorrow, and pain of others more deeply.  Because she feels more deeply, she often suffers more.
(a)           Woman had turned away from God and sought the pleasure of life on her own.  The judgment was fair.  She would now walk through life bearing imperfection and its fruits: trouble, sorrow, and pain.
(b)           Woman had also led another person to turn away from God and seek the pleasure of life apart from God.  Therefore, she was judged to feel for others, to suffer their sorrow and pain more intensely than man.
(4)           Think about this: The mercy of God, I believe, is seen in this:
(a)           Sorrow and pain often, and always should, arouse a person to call upon God for help.  Sorrow and pain stirs repentance, dependence, and hope in God (2Chron.33:1-13)

David said "Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word." (Psalm 119:67)

(b)           This is probably one of the reasons women seemingly turn to God more easily and sooner than most men.

!!!! c)            The sorrow caused by childbirth.

(1)           The travail of childbirth is so painful it is often used in Scripture to picture severe suffering and grief:

When Jesus was telling the disciples about his death, they were grieved and Jesus said "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.”  (John 16:21, NASB95)

Speaking about the end times, Paul says "While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:3, NASB95)

(2)           God commanded man and woman to bear children right after they were created:

Genesis 1:27-28 says "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”" (Genesis 1:27-28, NASB95)

(3)           Note: the judgment upon woman is just and fair.  The woman had chosen to live her life apart from God and His perfection.  Therefore, God judged her to bear what she had sown.
(a)           She would now bear children in an imperfect world full of sorrow and pain.
(b)           Again, note the mercy of God in this: every time a woman bears a child, her pain is to stir her to cry out in trust and dependence upon God for her and her child.  Her pain in childbirth should cause her to turn to God for help.

d)            The sorrow that is deeper than the man’s.

(1)           In sorrow the woman brings forth children (Genesis 3:16).
(a)           The phrase “brings forth” means more than just conception and birth.  It means bringing up and rearing children.
(b)           By her very nature—more tender, delicate, and sensitive nature—the woman feels and suffers greatly for her children when they suffer or go astray.
(2)           This judgment is just and fair.
(a)           The very sin the woman introduced into the world literally breaks the heart of many mothers.
(b)           Many sons and daughters sin, and when they do, the mother usually suffers much more of the sorrow and pain than the father.
(3)           But again, note the wisdom and mercy of God.  Woman’s deep sorrow and pain over her children is to arouse her...
(a)           to cry out to God and to seek, trust, and depend upon God for help.
(b)           to be more diligent in helping and teaching her children to live like they should.
(4)           Again, a woman in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come.  But as soon as she has delivered the child, she does not remember the anguish, for joy floods her heart because a child is born into the world (John 16:21).

We need to remember that when God is disciplining us that "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." (Hebrews 12:11, NASB95)

Deuteronomy 8 says "Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.”  (Deuteronomy 8:5, NASB95)

We should be happy during reproof because we know that God loves us "Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”  (Job 5:17, NASB95)

!!!! e)            The sorrow that our Heavenly Father must feel.

(1)           The Lord God was grieved that He made man (Gen.6:6): The Hebrew word for “grieved” or “repented” means to pant, groan, or lament because of the misery of others or of oneself. 
(2)           In this case, God grieved over man, that He had ever made man.  How could God ever regret that He had made man?
(a)           Because man was bringing sin into the world, multiplying the misery, pain, destruction, devastation, injury, and death that sin causes for man.
(b)           Because man’s wickedness was cutting the heart of God and grieving Him just like a disobedient child cuts and grieves the heart of his father.  God’s heart was broken over the misery and pain man was causing by his wickedness.
(c)           Because man was arousing the holiness and wrath of God against sin.  

(i)             God is love and His love reaches out to man.  But God is also holy and His holiness has to act even as His love acts.

(ii)            God’s holiness has to strike out against injustices and immoralities—against all wickedness—in order to protect the name of God.  

(iii)           Being perfect, God has to correct all the injustices and wrongs of the earth.  He had to judge and condemn man for his wickedness.  This grieved God to the depths of His heart—so much so that He wished He had not made man.

(iv)          Because man was condemning himself, cutting himself off and separating himself from God forever, dooming himself to spend eternity in hell apart from God.  This was not the purpose for which God had made man, thus God regretted that He had ever made man.


In the words of Matthew Henry: Here is...God’s resentment of man’s wickedness.  He did not see it as an unconcerned spectator, but as one injured and affronted by it; he saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which not only angers him, but grieves him, and makes him wish he had been written childless”

(3)           Matthew Henry also points out some other facts:
(a)           God is weighted down by the sins of man:

The Lord says in Amos 2 "Behold, I am weighted down beneath you As a wagon is weighted down when filled with sheaves.”  (Amos 2:13, NASB95)

(b)           God is wearied by man’s sins.

Isaiah 43 says "You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; Rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities."  (Isaiah 43:24, NASB95)

(c)           God is broken by man’s sins.

Just as a man or woman committing adultery brings much pain in their relationship, the Lord says "I have been broken by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations." (Ezekiel 6:9)

(d)           God is grieved by man’s sins.

We read in Psalm 95 "For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways."  (Psalm 95:10, NKJV)

Israel continually turned their backs on Him and grieved the Holy Spirit "But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.”  (Isaiah 63:10, NASB95)

We are commanded "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  (Ephesians 4:30, NASB95)

Listen to the heart of our Lord "“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!" (Luke 13:34, NASB95)

!! B.           She was to have a yearning desire for a husband (v.16b).

1.            “Your desire shall be for your husband…”  (v.16b).

a)            The desire the woman has for her husband.

(1)           The word “desire” in “your desire shall be for your husband” is difficult to translate.
(a)           It couldn’t be sexuall—both characterize Adam’s desire for Eve before the Fall.
(b)           It is the same desire spoken of in the next chapter where the identical Hebrew word is used.
(c)           The term comes from an Arabic root that means “to compel,” “to impel,” “to urge,” or “to seek control over.”
(d)           In Genesis 4:7 God essentially warns Cain, “Sin desires to control you, but you must master it.”  Sin wanted to master Cain, but God commanded Cain to master sin.
(e)           Therefore, Genesis 3:16 could be translated “Your desire will be to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”  The curse on Eve was that woman’s desire would to usurp man’s headship, yet he would resist that desire.
(2)           I believe that aspect of the curse predicts marital strife brought on by a husband’s oppressive rule over his wife and a wife’s desire to dominate and lead their relationship.

b)            The effects of the curse.

(1)           With the Fall and its curse came the distortion of woman’s proper submissiveness and of man’s proper authority.
(2)           That is where the battle of the sexes began, where women’s liberation movements and male chauvinism were born.  Women have a sinful inclination to usurp man’s authority and men have a sinful inclination to put women under their feet.
(3)           The unredeemed nature of both men and women is self-preoccupied and self-serving—characteristics that can only destroy rather than support harmonious relationships.
(4)           Only a manifestation of grace in Christ through the filling of the Holy Spirit can restore the created order and harmony of proper submission in a relationship corrupted by sin.
(5)           Throughout history the most dominant distortion of relationships has occurred on the man’s side.  In most cultures of the ancient world, women were treated as little more than servants, and that practice is reflected in many parts of the world today.
(6)           Even in supposedly liberated societies, women are frequently viewed primarily as sex objects who exist for the sensual pleasures of men.

c)            Satan’s attack.

(1)           While Satan’s initial attack on God’s supreme creation corrupted the family, sin also ushered in widespread alien, divisive influences.  
(a)           The Book of Genesis catalogs polygamy (4:19, 23), evil sexual thoughts and words (9:22), adultery (16:1–4), homosexuality (19:4–11), fornication and rape (34:1–2), incest (38:13–18), prostitution (38:24), and seduction (39:7–12)—each of which directly attacks the sanctity and harmony of marriage and the family.
(2)           Satan knows by experience that when the home is weakened, all of society is weakened, because the heart of all human relationships is the family.
(3)           The curse hits mankind at the core of its most needed human relationship: the need for men and women to help each other live productive, meaningful, and happy lives.
(a)           But the rebellion against the divine order has promoted serving and indulging self as the key to finding meaning and happiness in life.  Our culture encourages men and women to feel free to express sexual desire however they want—through promiscuity, unfaithfulness in marriage, partner swapping, homosexuality, bestiality, or whatever.
(b)           When they take that deceptive bait, they join Satan in undermining and destroying every meaningful and truly satisfying relationship in their lives, receiving destruction and disease as the duly God-ordained consequence of such sins.

C.           She was to live in subjection to her husband (v.16c).

1.            “And he shall rule over you…”  (v.16c).

a)            The wife being subject to her own husband.

(1)           The Hebrew word translated “rule” means “to reign.”  In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) the word used means “to elevate to an official position.”
(2)           The judgment is not that all men are to rule over all women; the judgment is that each husband will hereafter rule over his wife and her alone.  This is exactly what the New Testament says:

Paul instructed the wives to "submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body." (Ephesians 5:22-23)

(3)           When God judged woman, he was not making her any less of a person than man, God’s judgment dealt with the function and order within the family. 
(4)           The family was now to know selfishness, difficulties, trouble, reaction, rebellion—all sorts of disorder and sin.
(5)           The family needed someone to be the head, someone to be responsible for rule and order within the family.  The head was to be the man, not the woman.  The woman was to be ruled over by her husband, and she was to submit to his authority.
(6)           There is mercy in this: her submissiveness arouses respect and love within her husband.  How?  Her submissiveness attracts her husband to her.  Her submissiveness...
(a)           honors her husband within the home and before the world.
(b)           shows respect for her husband and family before the world.
(c)           eliminates differences, arguments, and disorderliness that would otherwise arise.
(d)           Therefore, the woman’s submissiveness actually becomes a part of her attraction (1Pet.3:1).

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