“Because you obeyed 2 your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
‘You must not eat from it,’
in painful toil you will eat 5 of it all the days of your life.
4:23 Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah! Listen to me!
You wives of Lamech, hear my words!
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man 6 for hurting me.
1 tn Since there is no article on the word, the personal name is used, rather than the generic “the man” (cf. NRSV).
2 tn The idiom “listen to the voice of” often means “obey.” The man “obeyed” his wife and in the process disobeyed God.
3 sn For the ground to be cursed means that it will no longer yield its bounty as the blessing from God had promised. The whole creation, Paul writes in Rom 8:22, is still groaning under this curse, waiting for the day of redemption.
4 tn The Hebrew phrase בַּעֲבוּרֶךָ (ba’avurekha) is more literally translated “on your account” or “because of you.” The idiomatic “thanks to you” in the translation tries to capture the point of this expression.
5 sn In painful toil you will eat. The theme of eating is prominent throughout Gen 3. The prohibition was against eating from the tree of knowledge. The sin was in eating. The interrogation concerned the eating from the tree of knowledge. The serpent is condemned to eat the dust of the ground. The curse focuses on eating in a “measure for measure” justice. Because the man and the woman sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, God will forbid the ground to cooperate, and so it will be through painful toil that they will eat.
6 tn The Hebrew term יֶלֶד (yeled) probably refers to a youthful warrior here, not a child.