Genesis 3:9-19



Divine Penalty




Defeat by Woman’s Seed


Painful Labor in Childbirth

Defeat in Conflict with Husband


Painful Labor in Agriculture

Defeat in Conflict with the Ground


God questions the man and woman but not the serpent.

The Serpent has nothing to learn from the Lord but there is hope yet for the man and woman.

The Serpent is cursed but not the man and woman.

The blessing for the man and woman has not been lost entirely. 

Man and woman will continue to receive the Lord’s attention and provision.



The punishments correspond to the crime.

The serpent was more crafty than the animals but now the serpent will crawl on its belly unlike the other animals.


The word for “curse” is “arur” and is used to introduce a decree and pronouncement of doom.  The power of this curse through out the Old Testament is from God. 

The Hebrew word “ala” is used when men invoke misery against a person or thing.


The Serpent’s Threefold Curse:

1)     Crawl on its belly (Called unclean and not for food Lev. 11:41-43)

2)     Eat dust “all the days of your life” since he enticed the woman to eat the fruit.

a.      Eating dust a sign of humiliation Mic 7:17, Ps. 72:9/ Isa. 49:23)

3)     Ultimate destruction by the wounded “seed” of the woman


The snake is to live in the dust all the days of its life until it is ultimately destroyed by the woman’s seed.  The serpent will die but the woman will become the source of life and live on.



The serpent caused the fall of the woman so the woman will cause the overthrow of the serpent.


“Enmity” is the intense hostility among nations during wartime.  The result of such “enmity” is death and killing.  This word refers to life and death struggle between two enemy combatants.


“Sup” is the Hebrew word translated both “crush” and “strike”.  The word means to “bruise”.

The word “sup” means “to break or smite to pieces and cause a great injury.” 

The NIV distinguishes the same word “sup” as “crush” since it is the head and “strike” since it is the heel.  The NIV distinction in the same word is from the location of the strike.


“seed” or “zera” refers to both a group (all who come from the woman) and to a future individual (the Messiah who will crush the serpent)



No curse given to the woman.

The woman is not charged with:

1)     Deception like the serpent was (3:14)

2)     Eating like the man was (3:17)


The woman was deceived but the serpent and the man rebelled. (3:13; 1 Tim. 2:14; 2 Cor. 11:3)


The woman’s punishment will involve salvation from sin and its consequences.

The man’s actions condemned the human race.

Woman will be the source of all life for the human race but also her child will defeat the serpent in a final conflict.


The woman’s penalty affects her two main roles:

1)     As a partner with the man

2)     As the bearer of children


1 Corinthians 11:12 – Childbirth signals hope of a redeemer but also a reminder of the first sin.


“desire” refers to the woman’s desire to control her husband but the man will maintain the headship.



The man was in charge of the soil and the garden.

The man’s penalty is aimed at his labor and at the soil.


The man will

1)     suffer lifelong, toilsome labor

2)     suffer death


God has dealt with the serpent and the woman.  The only one left to be responsible is the man.

Man’s sin is the result of the curse on the ground.  The ground is now in opposition to man.

Thorns and thistles are now the natural product of the ground