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.