Genesis 3:15

Translation

וְאֵיבָה׀ אָשִׁית בֵּֽינְךָ וּבֵין הָֽאִשָּׁה וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ וּבֵין זַרְעָ֑הּ הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵֽב

snake-heelI will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your offspring and her offspring, hers shall bruise you on the head, And yours shall bruise him on the heel.”

Commentary

enmity: the basic meaning of this word (אֵיבָהeivah) is “to be hostile to” or “to treat as an enemy”. Sarna1)(Sarna, 1989) p. 27 among other ANE scholars, proposes that this verse, pitting serpent against the woman, is an antipagan polemic. The symbolism of the serpent and the woman as enemies is meant to suggest that the serpent is neither a fertility symbol (as in Canaan pagan myths) nor a symbol of protection (as in Egyption mythology).

woman: Why is only the woman singled out? The answer seems to lie in the author’s desire to symbolize the difference(s) between the Hebrew theology and the legends of the surrounding pagan cultures. Arguing for this point, note that Adam was a full participant in eating from the tree of knowledge but is not included in the curse.

Preliminary Translations

My translation conventions can be found here.

Mechanical

Enmity I-will-put between-you and-between the-woman. And-between your-offspring and-between her-offspring he will-bruise-you head you you-will-bruise-him heel

Literal

I will put enmity between you and the woman. And, between your offspring and her offspring, her offspring will bruise you on the head and you will bruise-him on the heel.

Commercial Bible Translations

  • (nas) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
  • (kjv) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
  • (niv) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
  • (nlt) And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

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