Genesis 3:14
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

New Living Translation
Then the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.

English Standard Version
The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

New American Standard Bible
The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;

King James Bible
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.

International Standard Version
The LORD God told the Shining One, "Because you have done this, you are more cursed than all the livestock, and more than all the earth's animals, You'll crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live.

NET Bible
The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the wild beasts and all the living creatures of the field! On your belly you will crawl and dust you will eat all the days of your life.

New Heart English Bible
The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So the LORD God said to the snake, "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all the wild or domestic animals. You will crawl on your belly. You will be the lowest of animals as long as you live.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the LORD God said unto the serpent: 'Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou from among all cattle, and from among all beasts of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.

New American Standard 1977
And the LORD God said to the serpent,
            “Because you have done this,
            Cursed are you more than all cattle,
            And more than every beast of the field;
            On your belly shall you go,
            And dust shall you eat
            All the days of your life;

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all beasts and above every animal of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;

King James 2000 Bible
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life:

American King James Version
And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life:

American Standard Version
And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and the beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.

Darby Bible Translation
And Jehovah Elohim said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this, be thou cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. On thy belly shalt thou go, and eat dust all the days of thy life.

English Revised Version
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Webster's Bible Translation
And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field: upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

World English Bible
Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.

Young's Literal Translation
And Jehovah God saith unto the serpent, 'Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field: on thy belly dost thou go, and dust thou dost eat, all days of thy life;
Study Bible
God Arraigns Adam and Eve
13Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 14The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15And 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."…
Cross References
Genesis 4:11
"Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.

Deuteronomy 28:15
"But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

Isaiah 65:25
"The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

Micah 7:17
They will lick the dust like a serpent, Like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the LORD our God they will come in dread And they will be afraid before You.
Treasury of Scripture

And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life:

thou art.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which …

Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in …

Exodus 21:28-32 If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall …

Leviticus 20:25 You shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, …

dust.

Psalm 72:9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies …

Isaiah 29:4 And you shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground, …

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat …

Micah 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their …

(14, 15) Unto the serpent.--As the serpent had tempted our first parents purposely and consciously in order to lead them into sin, he stood there without excuse, and received a threefold penalty. The outward form of the condemnation is made suitable to the shape which the tempter had assumed; but the true force and meaning, especially in the last and most intense portion of the sentence, belong, not to the animal, but to Satan himself. The serpent is but the type: diabolic agency the reality. First, therefore, the serpent is condemned to crawl. As he is pronounced to be "cursed above (or rather, among) all cattle"--that is, the tame animals subjected to man's service--and also "among all beasts of the field"--that is, the wild animals, but a term not applicable to reptiles--it has been supposed that the serpent was originally erect and beautiful, and that Adam had even tamed serpents, and had them in his household. But such a transformation belongs to the region of fable, and the meaning is that henceforward the serpent's crawling motion is to be to it a mark of disgrace, and to Satan a sign of meanness and contempt. He won the victory over our guileless first parents, and still he winds in and out among men, ever bringing degradation with him, and ever sinking with his victims into deeper abysses of shame and infamy. Yet, even so, perpetually he suffers defeat, and has, secondly, to "lick the dust," because his mean devices lead, as in this place, only to the manifestation of God's glory. In the Paradise Lost Milton has made Satan a hero, though fallen; really he is a despicable and mean-spirited foe, whose strength lies in man's moral feebleness. Finally, there is perpetual enmity between the serpent and man. The adder in the path bites man's heel, and is crushed beneath his tramp. It has been noticed that in spite of the beauty and gracefulness of many of the species, man's loathing of them is innate; while in hot countries they are his great enemy, the deaths in India, for instance, from snake-bites being many times more than those caused by the carnivora.

Her seed . . . shall bruise thy head.--We have here the sum of the whole matter, and the rest of the Bible does but explain the nature of this struggle, the persons who wage it, and the manner and consequences of the victory. Here, too, we learn the end and purpose for which the narrative is cast in its present form. It pictures to us man in a close and loving relation, not to an abstract deity, but to a personal and covenant Jehovah. This Being with tender care plants for him a garden, gathers into it whatever is most rare and beautiful in vegetation, and, having given it to him for his home, even deigns at eventide to walk with him there. In the care of this garden He provides for Adam pleasant employment, and watches the development of his intellect with such interest as a father feels in the mental growth of his child. Day by day He brings new animals within his view; and when, after studying their habits, he gives them names, the Deity shares man's tranquil enjoyment. And when he still feels a void, and needs a companion who can hold with him rational discourse, Jehovah elaborately fashions for him, out of his own self, a second being, whose presence satisfies all his longings. Meanwhile, in accordance with the universal law that hand in hand with free-will goes responsibility, an easy and simple trial is provided for man's obedience. He fails, and henceforward he must wage a sterner conflict, and attain to victory only by effort and suffering. In this struggle man is finally to prevail, but not unscathed. And his triumph is to be gained not by mere human strength, but by the coming of One who is "the Woman's Seed;" and round this promised Deliverer the rest of Scripture groups itself. Leave out these words, and all the inspired teaching which follows would be an ever-widening river without a fountain-head. But necessarily with the fall came the promise of restoration. Grace is no after-thought, but enters the world side by side with sin. Upon this foundation the rest of Holy Scripture is built, till revelation at last reaches its corner-stone in Christ. The outward form of the narrative affords endless subjects for curious discussion; its inner meaning and true object being to lay the broad basis of all future revealed truth.

As regards the reading of the Vulgate and some of the Fathers, ipsa conteret, "she shall bruise," not only is the pronoun masculine in the Hebrew, but also the verb. This too is the case in the Syriac, in which language also verbs have genders. Most probably a critical edition of the Vulgate would restore even there ipse conteret, "he shall bruise."

Like a large proportion of the words used in Genesis, the verb is rare, being found only twice elsewhere in Scripture. In Job 9:17 the meaning seems plainly to be to break, but in Psalm 139:11, where, however, J the reading is uncertain, the sense required is to cover or veil, though Dr. Kay translates overwhelm. Some versions in this place translate it observe; and the Vulgate gives two renderings, namely, "She shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt lie in ambush for (his or her) heel" (gender not marked--calcaneo ejus). The translation of the Authorised Version may be depended upon as correct, in spite of its not being altogether applicable to the attack of a natural serpent upon a wayfarer's heel.

Verse 14. - Confession having thus been made by both delinquents, and the arch-contriver of the whole mischief discovered, the Divine Judge proceeds to deliver sentence. And the Lord God said unto the serpent. Which he does not interrogate as he did the man and woman, "because

(1) in the animal itself there was no sense of sin, and

(2) to the devil he would hold out no hope of pardon" (Calvin); "because the trial has now reached the fountain-head of sin, the purely evil purpose (the demoniacal) having no deeper ground, and requiring no further investigation" (Lange). Because thou hast done this. I.e. beguiled the woman. The incidence of this curse has been explained as -

1. The serpent only (Kalisch).

2. The devil only (Macdonald).

3. Partly on the serpent and partly on Satan (Calvin).

4. Wholly upon both (Murphy, Bush, Candlish).

The difficulties attending these different interpretations have thus been concisely expressed: -

1. Quidam statuunt maledictioncm latam in serpentem solum, quia hic confertur cum aliis bestiis, non in diabolum, quid is antea maledictus erat.

2. Alii in diabolum solum, quid brutus serpens non poterat juste puniri.

3. Alii applicant ver. 14 ad serpentem, ver. 15 in diabolum. At vero tu et te idem sunt in utroque versu.

4. Alii existimant earn in utrumque latam" (Medus in 'Poll Commentsr.,' quoted by Lange). The fourth opinion seems most accordant with the language of the malediction. Thou art cursed. The cursing of the irrational creature should occasion no more difficulty than the cursing of the earth (ver. 17), or of the fig tree (Matthew 11:21). Creatures can be cursed or blessed only in accordance with their natures. The reptile, therefore, being neither a moral nor responsible creature, could not be cursed in the sense of being made susceptible of misery. But it might be cursed in the sense of being deteriorated in its nature, and, as it were, consigned to a lower position in the scale of being. And as the Creator has a perfect right to assign to his creature the specific place it shall occupy, and function it shall subserve, in creation, the remanding of the reptile to an inferior position could not justly be construed into a violation of the principles of right, while it might serve to God's intelligent creatures as a visible symbol of his displeasure against sin (cf. Genesis 9:5; Exodus 21:28-36). Above. Literally, from, i.e. separate and apart from all cattle (Le Clerc, Von Bohlen, Tuch, Knobel, Keil); and neither by (Gesenius, De Wette, Baumgarten) nor above (Luther, A.V., Rosenmüller, Delitzsch), as if the other creatures were either participators in or the instruments of the serpent's malediction. All cattle, and above (apart from) every beast of the field. The words imply the materiality of the reptile and the reality of the curse, so far as it was concerned. Upon thy belly. Ἐπὶ τῷ στήθει σου καὶ τῇ κοιλίᾳ (LXX.); "meaning with, great pain and, difficulty." As Adam s labor and Eve's conception had pain and sorrow added to them (vers. 16, 17), so the serpent's gait" (Ainsworth). Shalt thou go. "As the worm steals over the earth with its length of body," "as a mean and despised crawler in the dust," having previously gone erect (Luther), and been possessed of bone (Josephus), and capable of standing upright and twining itself round the trees (Lange), or at least having undergone some transformation as to external form (Delitzsch, Keil); though the language may import nothing more than that whereas the reptile had exalted itself against man, it was henceforth to be thrust back-into its proper rank," "recalled from its insolent motions to its accustomed mode of going," and "at the same time condemned to perpetual infamy" (Calvin). As applied to Satan this part of the curse proclaimed his further degradation in the scale of being in consequence of having tempted man. "Than the serpent trailing along the ground, no emblem can more aptly illustrate the character and condition of the apostate spirit who once occupied a place among the angels of God, but has been cast down to the earth, preparatory to his deeper plunge into the fiery lake (Revelation 20:10; Macdonald). And dust shalt thou eat, I.e. mingling dust with all it should eat. "The great scantiness of food on which serpents can subsist gave rise to the belief entertained by many Eastern nations, and referred to in several Biblical allusions (Isaiah 65:25; Micah 7:17) - that they cat dust" (Kalisch). More probably it originated in a too literal interpretation of the Mosaic narrative. Applied to the devil, this part of the curse was an additional intimation of his degradation. To "lick the dust" or "eat the dust" "is equivalent to being reduced to a condition of meanness, shame, and contempt" (Bush); "is indicative of disappointment in all the aims of being" (Murphy); "denotes the highest intensity of a moral condition, of which the feelings of the prodigal (Luke 15:16) may be considered a type' (Macdonald; cf. Psalm 72:9). All the days of thy life. The degradation should be perpetual as well as complete. And the Lord God said unto the serpent,.... And to the devil in it; for what follows may be applied to both; literally to the serpent, and mystically to Satan; both are punished, and that very justly, the serpent in being the instrument Satan made use of, and is cursed for his sake, as the earth for man's; and the punishing the instrument as well as the principal, the more discovers God's detestation of the act for which they are punished, as appears in other instances, Exodus 21:28. Nor could it have been agreeable to the justice of God, to punish the instrument and let the principal go free; and therefore the following sentence must be considered as respecting them both: and it must be observed, that no pains is taken to convince Satan of his sin, or any time spent in reasoning and debating with him about it, he being an hardened apostate spirit, and doomed to everlasting destruction, and without any hope of mercy and forgiveness; but to show the divine resentment of his crime, the following things are said:

because thou hast done this; beguiled the woman, and drawn her in to eat of the forbidden fruit:

thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; the serpent is the most hateful of all creatures, and especially the most detestable to men, and Satan is accursed of God, banished from the divine presence, is laid up in chains of darkness, and reserved for the judgment of the great day, and consigned to everlasting wrath and ruin, signified by everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

upon thy belly shalt thou go, or "breast", as Aben Ezra, and others; Jarchi thinks it had feet before, but were cut off on this account, and so became a reptile, as some serpents now have feet like geese, as Pliny (x) relates; or it might go in a more erect posture on its hinder feet, as the basilisk, which is one kind of serpent, now does; and if it was a flying one, bright and shining in the air, now it should lose all its glory, and grovel in the dust, and with pain, or at least with difficulty, creep along on its breast and belly; and this, as it respects the punishment of the devil, may signify, that he being cast down from the realms of bliss and glory, shall never be able to rise more, and regain his former place and dignity:

And dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life; meaning not that particular serpent, and as long as that should live, but all of the same kind, as long as there were any in the world, even to the end of it: it is probable, that when the serpent moved in a more erect posture, it lived on herbs and plants as other creatures; but when it was obliged to go upon its belly or breast, it licked up the dust of the earth, and which it could not well avoid in eating whatsoever food it did; and some serpents are said to live upon it. This is applicable to Satan, designs the mean and abject condition in which he is, and the sordid food he lives upon; no more on angels' food and joys of heaven, but on the base, mean, earthly, and impure lusts of men; and this will be his case, condition, and circumstances, for ever.

(x) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 47. Ge 3:14-24. The Sentence.

14. And the Lord God said unto the serpent—The Judge pronounces a doom: first, on the material serpent, which is cursed above all creatures. From being a model of grace and elegance in form, it has become the type of all that is odious, disgusting, and low [Le CLERC, Rosenmuller]; or the curse has converted its natural condition into a punishment; it is now branded with infamy and avoided with horror; next, on the spiritual serpent, the seducer. Already fallen, he was to be still more degraded and his power wholly destroyed by the offspring of those he had deceived.3:14,15 God passes sentence; and he begins where the sin began, with the serpent. The devil's instruments must share in the devil's punishments. Under the cover of the serpent, the devil is sentenced to be degraded and accursed of God; detested and abhorred of all mankind: also to be destroyed and ruined at last by the great Redeemer, signified by the breaking of his head. War is proclaimed between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It is the fruit of this enmity, that there is a continual warfare between grace and corruption, in the hearts of God's people. Satan, by their corruptions, buffets them, sifts them, and seeks to devour them. Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, nor light and darkness; no more can Satan and a sanctified soul. Also, there is a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world. A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the Deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Here was the drawn of the gospel day: no sooner was the wound given, than the remedy was provided and revealed. This gracious revelation of a Saviour came unasked, and unlooked for. Without a revelation of mercy, giving some hope of forgiveness, the convinced sinner would sink into despair, and be hardened. By faith in this promise, our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved. Notice is given concerning Christ. 1. His incarnation, or coming in the flesh. It speaks great encouragement to sinners, that their Saviour is the Seed of the woman, bone of our bone, Heb 2:11,14. 2. His sufferings and death; pointed at in Satan's bruising his heel, that is, his human nature. And Christ's sufferings are continued in the sufferings of the saints for his name. The devil tempts them, persecutes and slays them; and so bruises the heel of Christ, who is afflicted in their afflictions. But while the heel is bruised on earth, the Head is in heaven. 3. His victory over Satan thereby. Christ baffled Satan's temptations, rescued souls out of his hands. By his death he gave a fatal blow to the devil's kingdom, a wound to the head of this serpent that cannot be healed. As the gospel gains ground, Satan falls.
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Alphabetical: above all and animals are beast Because belly cattle crawl Cursed days done dust eat every field go God have life livestock LORD more of on said serpent So than the this to wild will you your

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