By Sam Powell - Posted at My Only Comfort:
…And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Gen 3:16 KJV)
The publishers of the ESV recently announced that they have changed their translation of Genesis 3:16 to this:
…Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.
I believe this translation to be in error. In this brief post, I shall attempt to explain my reasons.
First, a confession. At one point not too long ago in the past, I also succumbed to the same faulty reasoning. In the paper “Promoting a Biblical Sexual Morality”, of which I was the primary author, I wrote the following:
Second, the curse was on her relationship with her husband. “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). Her intense longing would be directed towards her husband. The preposition translated “to” primarily indicates motion towards or into. Metaphorically it is used for “against”. Her longing, instead of a covenantal opening herself completely to the love of her husband, would now be directed towards domineering, manipulating, and refusing to be truly loved. (Reformed Church in the United States: Promoting a Biblical Sexual Morality. 2013, page 41)
In this paragraph, I referenced Tremper Longman’s book on the Song of Songs (page 65). Longman, in turn, referenced an article by Susan Foh, entitled “What is the woman’s desire” (WTJ 37 (1974-75) 376-83.
This article by Foh seems to have influenced quite a lot of thinking (including mine). And now its influence is felt even in the ESV translation of Genesis 3:16. The question is this: is this proper exegesis?