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Answering Christian Apolegists

The Curse of pain and sorrow (during childbirth) given to women in the bible

 
By
Karim
(He is a new convert to Islam, from the Netherlands)


 



Response to Answering-islam’s article:
http://answering-islam.org.uk/Index/L/labor.html

According to the bible God said to Eve

Genesis 3:16: To the woman he said,"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.Your desire will be for your husband,and he will rule over you."  (new international version)

(answering-islam’s article = blue )

 

The christian apolegist writes:

LABOR

After Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, God punished Eve that she will have increased labor (Genesis 3:16). This is often translated as pain.

The concept of pain in childbirth, the so-called curse of Eve, cannot be traced to Scripture in the original languages, or to early Judaism. Genesis 3:16 is used as proof that pain is inevitable, ordained by the Creator as punishment for Eve's sin. The word translated as "sorrow" or "pain" is the Hebrew word etzev. However etzev is also used for Adam in the following verse, Genesis 3:17, a fact most translators have overlooked! The Hebrew Bible with English translation reads as follows: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow (etzev) and thy pregnancy: in pain (etzev) thou shall bear children ... And unto Adam he said, ... cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil (etzev) shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Hebrew Bible, 1965).

When the same word is translated as "pain" for the woman and "toil" for the man, it is clear that the translator's cultural beliefs have biased his judgment as a scholar of the text. The best description of giving birth is toil, or labor. When Eve's first child Cain was born there is no mention of pain or any kind of difficulty in the birth, but only the joyful statement, "I have obtained a man [from] the Eternal" (Genesis 4:1). In the Talmud, Eve's "curse" is divided into 10 parts, embracing the whole of a woman's life. Adam's "curse" is paired with Eve's, and divided into 10 parts also. (Helen Wessel, "Biblical and Talmudic Images of Childbirth", in "The Encyclopedia of Childbearing", ed. Barbara Katz Rothman, 1993, p. 29)

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible made by 70 scholars nearly 300 years before Christ uses the Greek word lupe to translate the Hebrew word etzev in Genesis 3:16. The word lupe refers only to an emotion. Three Greek words are used to translate chul and yalad. These words are gennao, tikto, and odino. Gennao means to have a child and is used of either parent. Tikto simply means "to give birth." Odino means to labor in birth. These same three simple words are found in the Greek New Testament. But again, translators have too often imposed on them the false assumption of pain or anguish in birth, even though the Bible describes the bearing of children as one of the most rewarding and joyous experiences of a woman's life. (Helen Wessel, "Biblical and Talmudic Images of Childbirth", in "The Encyclopedia of Childbearing", ed. Barbara Katz Rothman, 1993, pp. 29-30)

 

-Response:

The christian apolegist claims the best translation for ‘etzev’ should be ‘toil’ .

First let’s look at the meaning of the hebrew word ‘etvez’ (etseb) 

`etseb’

Definition:

1: pain, hurt, toil, sorrow, labour, hardship

a: pain,

b: hurt, offense ,

c: toil, hardship

2: vessel, creation, object

3: (TWOT) idol

Source:

http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=06089&version=kjv

So the word ‘etseb’ clearly means pain ,hurt , toil, harship, sorrow ‘.

So whats wrong with the translation of ‘estev’ into pain?  Nothing! ,the christian apolegist tries to mislead his readers with the following statement:

When the same word is translated as "pain" for the woman and "toil" for the man, it is clear that the translator's cultural beliefs have biased his judgment as a scholar of the text. The best description of giving birth is toil, or labor.


-Response:

Let’s take a  look at the english bible translations of Genesis 3:17 (adam’s case)

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it  all the days of your life. (New International Translation)

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (King James Version)

And unto Adam He said, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, `Thou shalt not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. (21st Century King James Version)

And He said to Adam, "Because you listened to your wife's voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'Do not eat from it' :The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

To Adam he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'  Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it  all the days of your life. (New International Version - UK)

And to the man He said, `Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and dost eat of the tree concerning which I have charged thee, saying, Thou dost not eat of it, cursed [is] the ground on thine account; in sorrow thou dost eat of it all days of thy life (Young's Literal Translation)

And to Adam He said, Because you have listened and given heed to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, the ground is under a curse because of you; in sorrow and toil shall you eat [of the fruits] of it all the days of your life. (Amplified Bible)

Obvious most (well known) translations correctly translate the words used in adam’s case into ‘pain/painfull’ or ‘sorrow’. The christian apolegist’s statement that in adam’s case translators use the word ‘toil’ instead of ‘pain/sorrow’ is very weak and not quite correct, since most respected /well known translaters correctly use the words ‘sorrow’ and ‘painfull toil’ in adam’s case.


Further:
In genesis 3:17 the word:


hebrew_1.jpg (1688 bytes) `itstsabown (sorrow), is used in Adam’s case, notice the difference between ‘estev’ and ‘itstsabown’ , so it’s  not correct to say that eve’s and Adam’s case are the same, since in Eve’s case both words ‘estev’ and itstsabown are used (i will explain and proof this later in my article). See:

http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/c/1130429367-1574.html#16

http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/c/1130429676-9709.html#17

 

The christian apolegist writes:

The best description of giving birth is toil, or labor. When Eve's first child Cain was born there is no mention of pain or any kind of difficulty in the birth, but only the joyful statement, "I have obtained a man [from] the Eternal" (Genesis 4:1). In the Talmud, Eve's "curse" is divided into 10 parts, embracing the whole of a woman's life. Adam's "curse" is paired with Eve's, and divided into 10 parts also. (Helen Wessel, "Biblical and Talmudic Images of Childbirth", in "The Encyclopedia of Childbearing", ed. Barbara Katz Rothman, 1993, p. 29)

 


-Response:

This argument is not valid and not true for many reasons:

1: Definition: of ‘etseb’ =  pain, hurt, toil, sorrow, labour, hardship . Since etseb has many meanings, why only use one to translate the verse ? . ‘Etseb’ has clearly more than one meaning, so it’s false to claim that ‘pain’ and ‘sorrow’ are biased translations since the word ‘etseb’ clearly means pain/sorrow etc.

2: The translation of the word ‘etseb’ into ‘pain’ can’t be considered as biased. When we look at the context of the verse we see that God (according to the bible) is clearly angry at Eve. God speaks about a curse, so it would be logical that the ‘esteb’ God describes to a women’s childbearing includes sorrow/pain.

3: It’s a fact that women encountor heavy pains during childbearth, childbearing is a painfull task for women. The translation ‘pain/sorrow’ is therefore quite correct in this case for ‘estev’.

4. Relegious scriptures aren’t medical books ‘describing womens’s experiences in full detail during childbearing’ . Therefore it’s normal and logical that during eve’s childbearth of Cain no mention is of the sorrow and pain she encounters during her ‘childbirth ‘, since this information is irrilevant in holy scriptures.

 

The christian apolegist writes:

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible made by 70 scholars nearly 300 years before Christ uses the Greek word lupe to translate the Hebrew word etzev in Genesis 3:16. The word lupe refers only to an emotion. Three Greek words are used to translate chul and yalad. These words are gennao, tikto, and odino. Gennao means to have a child and is used of either parent. Tikto simply means "to give birth." Odino means to labor in birth. These same three simple words are found in the Greek New Testament. But again, translators have too often imposed on them the false assumption of pain or anguish in birth, even though the Bible describes the bearing of children as one of the most rewarding and joyous experiences of a woman's life. (Helen Wessel, "Biblical and Talmudic Images of Childbirth", in "The Encyclopedia of Childbearing", ed. Barbara Katz Rothman, 1993, pp. 29-30)

 

-Response:

Greek word Lupe:

LupÍ  = Pain (of body or mind), Grief, Distress (lupÍ)

Source: http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Algea.html    

luph, lupe, loo'-pay = apparently a primary word, sadness:--grief, grievous, + grudgingly, heaviness, sorrow.

Source: http://www.sacrednamebible.com/kjvstrongs/STRGRK30.htm

"Sorrows" (3077) (lupe) is grief, trouble, sad plight or condition. It can refer physically to pain, suffering or distress or mentally or spiritually to sorrow, grief, sadness or anxiety. Kittel adds that "Physically lupe can denote any pain, though esp. that caused by hunger or thirst, by heat or cold or by sickness... Spiritually lupe is sorrow, pain or anxiety at misfortune or death, or anger at annoyances or hurts, esp. insults and outrages."         

Source: (Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 4, Page 313)


In Herbrew = etseb’ =  pain, hurt, toil, sorrow, labour, hardship

Again the context of the verse clearly speaks about god’s curse in the bible to‘ the woman’ and god’s anger  to her! So how can the christian apolegist claim that God’s punishment (increasing pain, sorrow and toil during childbearth) is a joyfull occasion according to the bible (since when are cursus joyfull) ? Further it’s a well known fact that childbearing is a painfull task for women, so it’s correct to translate ‘etseb’ into pain or sorrow or ‘painfull in toil ‘ or in ‘sorrow and toil’ etc. (according to the bible every women is cursed with this punishment).

Further i would like to point out that almost all englisch bible translators translate the word ‘esteb’ in  Genesis 3:16 into ‘pain’ and/or ‘sorrow’ , it’s impossible to state that all these translators had no knowledge of the greek/hebrew versions of the old testemant. The correct statement about Genesis 3-16 therefore is:

Genesis 3:16 states
"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow (pain) thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/c/1130429367-1574.html#16

The curse was not in having children, "be fruitful, and multiply" was commanded before the fall in Genesis 1:26-28. The curse was pain during childbirth. Desire in Hebrew is teshuwqah and means "longing, yearning, stretching out after, a desire" and indicates a strong attraction between the sexes. Rule means exactly what it implies. In Hebrew, rule is Mashal and means "to rule, reign, govern, have dominion, to manage". There are two sorrows in this verse. The first in Hebrew is Itstsavon and means "worrisomness, labor, toil, hard work, pain, sorrow, birth pangs, being in labor"(http://biblefacts.org/bible/kjv/heb/STRHEB60.htm#S6093 )  The second is Estev and means "pang (whether of body or mind):,labor, toil, gain, trouble, the kind of pain a woman experiences when about to give birth". (http://biblefacts.org/bible/kjv/heb/STRHEB60.htm#S6089)

See also: http://biblefacts.org/bible/kjv/OT/B01C003.htm#V16   (click at the words sorrow used in genesis 3:16)  

 

-Conslusion:

According to the Bible, every women is punished by Eve’s sin with ‘pain, sorrow, toil, trouble’ during childbirth. The chidlbearing self is not a curse, but the pain with it is !  So the translation of ‘estev’ into ‘pain/sorrow’ is correct. Almost all english bible translations translate the word ‘estev’ into ‘pain/sorrow’.

 

`etseb {eh'-tseb}

from 06087 ; n m

AV - sorrow 3, labour 2, grievous 1, idol 1; 7

1) pain, hurt, toil, sorrow, labour, hardship
1a) pain
1b) hurt, offense
1c) toil, hardship
2) vessel, creation, object
3) (TWOT) idol 

Source:  http://bible.guge.net/h6/08.htm  (Hebrew dictionary)

 

Strongs Hebrew Dictionary:

`etseb
eh'-tseb

from '`atsab' (6087); an earthen vessel; usually (painful) toil; also a pang (whether of body or mind): grievous, idol, labor, sorrow.

Source:

http://biblefacts.org/bible/kjv/heb/STRHEB60.htm#S6089

 

 

 

 

 

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