A recent discussion on Jay Guin’s blog prompted some preliminary research on DESIRE of Genesis 3:16 “your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you”. Jay interprets the verse to claim that women will desire to dominate their husbands and I was distressed to discover that BOTH CBMW and CBE agree with Jay (CBMW and CBE are the bodies which represent opposite extremes when it comes to theology of womanhood).
Most complementarians understand the curse of the woman in 3:16 to mean that sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God’s created design), and that in response, Adam would have to assert his rule over her. This understanding comes from comparing the sentence structure and terms of Gen. 3:16 with Gen. 4:7. In 4:7, God tells Cain that sin is seeking to destroy him, and so He says “its [sin’s] desire is for you, but you must master it.” This means, of course, sin desires to rule over you, but you in response must rule over it. (CBMW Ware)
The woman’s “desire” for her husband is not primarily sexual desire. In accordance with basic principles of interpretation, one finds this rare word, teshuqah, nearby in Genesis 4:7, where it refers to sin’s “desire” to control Cain. The same verb, “to rule, master” mashal, describes both the man’s domination of the woman and Cain’s ability to dominate sin. Thus the woman will desire to dominate the man but the man, perhaps with superior strength, will dominate the woman. (CBE Hess)
As far as I have been able to determine, this now ubiquitous interpretation of “desire” as a wife’s desire to rule/control her husband originated with Susan Foh in 1974. I’m afraid Susan has unwittingly supplied this generation with a deadly apple. :(
What happened to a PLAIN READING?
“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”
I can testify from living in a woman’s skin that my desire was to please him. It was a form of idolatry, and because of it my husband CONTROLLED (Ruled Over) me in a very unhealthy way.