Saturday, August 12, 2006


Fr. Dictionary of O.T. Theology and Exegesis, Vol. 4, pgs 342-342
Tesuqa, nom. desire, request, longing, appetite

ANE - This word is attested in Sam. and in Mish. Heb. with the meaning urge, craving, impulse.

OT - this nom. is used 3x in the OT, 2x in Gen. and 1x in S of Songs. The term has generated much controversy (cf Foh, 376-77), but most agree that the word emphasizes craving, desire, or urge. In S of Song 7:10[11] the term “has a decidedly romantic and positive nuance, describing the feeling of a mutual attraction between two lovers” (Hamilton, 201). In Gen 4:7 the term has a decidedly negative nuance, describing the desire of sin that lies poised, ready to leap and dominate Cain. It is a reference to conquering, the desire to defeat a foe.

There is not much disagreement on these passages. However, there is disagreement on whether the term in Gen 3:16 is to be positively or negatively construed. Is woman’s desire (tesuqa) toward her husband to be lauded as virtuous or laments ad manipulative? Some commentators view the term more positively in this passage (cf. von Rad, 93;Holder, 40; Aalders, 108) and others more negatively (cf. Hamilton, 202;Cassuto, 165-66; Wenham, 81-82; Foh, 383). Wenham notes that “given the rarity of the term, ‘urge’, certainty is impossible (82). susan Foh provides a good foundation for further study. Her conclusion that the desire for leadership, a negative usage seems probable for Gen 3:16.

P-B - The LXX uses he apostrophe, "return", or a form of this term in all 3 instances. they are apparently reading tesuba for tesuqa (Hamilton, 201; cf. R Bergmeier).

First, notice that the word itself does not describe the urge, craving or desire. That description must come from the context. The problem with the context in Genesis 3:16 is that it is NOT clear. One could really go either way and they have quoted theologians holding both views.

Note also that Hamilton (decidedly hierarchal belief system) points out that the LXX has what he deems read the word as tesuba (a much more common word), which means (page 55 same book) “repent, turn;return, go back; go back and forth; revert; turn back, change one’s mind; withdraw; polel, bring back, restore”. It’s used variously 6893x in the OT.

My opinion is that the element of “turning” is in both words as the root of both words, and tesuqa is a fine tuning of that. There are other words in Hebrew that reflect desire that do not hold the “turning” element; at least eleven other words besides tesuba and tesuqa. IOW I am agreeing with Bushnell’s work where she describes it as a specific turning TOWARD. My opinion is that where tesuba is any kind of turning from any direction, tesuqa is a specific intense turning toward one object with duration. Longing, appetite, and desire are all a focused turning toward a specific object with intense duration. Whether that is negative or positive still must reside in the context.

My opinion on the context is that it is likely both positive and negative. The woman has turned her attention away from God intensely longingly expecting help from her man. It is negative in that she is turning away from God yet positive in that she is not wishing harm upon her man. This is a mistake that women today still make. Our attention and trust must FIRST be upon God as our help, we must not rest our trust in the arm of flesh. Secondly, yes we must look to our spouse as he is indeed given a strength from God to support, nurture, and protect his woman.

The fact that all this is a result from the sins of the first humans shows us that neither the woman’s turning toward with focused desire, nor the mans response to use this for his own benefit (harsh ruling different than that of having dominion over the creatures of the earth) tell us that God is letting the woman know what she now can expect. This is the same thing God does with the man. God is not commanding the man to till the earth with sorrow, nor commanding the man to sweat. Rather God is explaining what will now be since they have both disobeyed His command and it is part of the result of sinning, death. It is not just that they will suffer death, but death will now come into the world since they have given their rulership to The Deceiver by disobeying God.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


Chapter 13 is an interesting chapter. It reminds the reader to look, observe, remember, and apply good proper behavior to ones life. Verses 7-9 and 17-18 are the tied together perhaps book-ending what is in-between, somewhat defining how we approach and apply what we are observing and remembering.

Verse 7 tells us to remember those who lead us in teaching the Scriptures. Remembering has already been admonished in verse 3 as part of letting brotherly love continue, which is closed with verse 5’s admonition to let our conduct by without covetousness. So, remembering has already been tied with observing so as to adjust our own behavior towards godliness.

OK, so the implications are that we are to remember and observe our leaders, but we are not to following their teachings (further defined in verse 9) until we consider the outcome of their conduct. In other words we must observe how they live out their teachings, consider its ramifications before wholeheartedly taking it into our own behavior. This carefulness in following what our leaders teach is emphasized by mentioning that Christ (who is Truth embodied) is the same and does not change, AND that we must not be carried away by strange teachings. Our hearts must be established on grace, we must eat the spiritual foods that profit our soul. One way to see that is by observing how teachings (and we must agree that the body of Christ has many diverse teachings) flesh out in the lives of those who teach and believe them.

Then in verse 17 we have an interesting word that had it been translated better (difficult word though) I believe it would read: “be willing to be persuaded by your leaders and be submissive …..”. The Greek word for “obey” (upakouo) is not there. Instead we have peithomai or a derivative.

The Greek word (3982) "peitho" means:

1) persuade
a) to persuade, that is, to induce one by words to believe
b) to make friends of, to win one's favor, to gain one's good will, or to seek to win one, to strive to please one
c) to tranquilize
d) to persuade unto, that is, to move or induce one to persuasion to do something
2) be persuaded
a) to be persuaded, to suffer oneself to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith (in a thing)
1) to believe
2) to be persuaded of a thing concerning a person
b) to listen to, to obey, to yield to, to comply with
3) to trust, to have confidence, to be confident

In Classical Greek students were taught that the fundamental meaning of the word pietho was to persuade (in the active voice), or be persuaded (in the passive, or middle voice).This is not claiming that this verb can never be translated obey, but is saying that even in those cases, the word likely has overtones of doing such and such BECAUSE one is persuaded. In the New Testament the idea of persuasion and related ideas are frequently present when the verb is used, as in the very next verse, Hebrews 13:18, with the idea of confidence (because one is persuaded).

Thus, we have this whole section closing with the idea of being willing, allowing for the possibility of, being persuaded of what is being taught by our leaders. And how do we allow them to persuade us, by observing and remembering how they live out their beliefs. This is further drummed in by verse 18 which says that we are to pray for the author(s) of the epistle (implying leaders and teachers perhaps) because they are living honorably in a good conscience.

It is unfortunate that many have helicoptered verse 7 and 17 out of the context of this chapter and used it to demand that the laity give somewhat blind obedience to their clergy rather than properly separating honor and respect from blind obedience. We are to honor and respect those who have dedicated their lives to serve the body of Christ but we are to follow what proves to be truth, both by searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-12) and by observing how they live what they teach.

In Conclusion: the implication of verses 7-9 and 17-19 are to test what is being said against real life (the real life of the leaders living out their beliefs) , in order to not be led about by strange doctrines. Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell what our leaders really mean until we see how they apply it in their lives. This of course does not mean we ONLY follow our leaders, and do not read Scripture and through prayer and research figure things out for ourselves. We must keep our hearing tuned like donkeys ears swivel to grab the sound, so that we eagerly take in what is being said by our leaders respecting their sincere devotion to God and Scripture. Observing, how they live out their beliefs is another way to fine tune what they believe. But, it is imperative that we only trust Scripture as the final authority and like the Bereans search the Scriptures to see if what is being said is really in Scripture and as described by our leaders.