Home Quiz

The Serpent and the Seed

The Battle for Christmas

Declaration of War

Genesis 3:14-16

Who or what is "the seed"? Let's look at some literal translations of 3:15:
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.
DRC: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
Vulgate: Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem et semen tuum et semen illius ipsa conteret caput tuum et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius.
וְאֵיבָ֣ה ׀ אָשִׁ֗ית בֵּֽינְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וּבֵ֥ין זַרְעֲךָ֖ וּבֵ֣ין זַרְעָ֑הּ ה֚וּא יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ רֹ֔אשׁ וְאַתָּ֖ה תְּשׁוּפֶ֥נּוּ עָקֵֽב׃

Who does the bruising or crushing?

She or he? While the pronoun is ambigous without the vowel points, the verb is definitely masculine, and agrees with the masculine gender of "seed" in Hebrew. The Vulgate and KJV say "it" because Hebrew has no neuter gender, and masculine is also used for neuter, and "seed" (semen) is neuter in Latin. It is masculine in the Septuagint. Some Catholic writers insist that it is feminine or ambiguous, but the doctors of the Church from Jerome on seem to disagree with them. So the DRC seems to be in error, and most Catholic translations reflect this.

Does the serpent bruise or "lie in wait for" ("be on the watch for")?

This is ambiguous in the Hebrew (without the vowel points added from oral tradition in the middle ages. However, verse 16 is literally translated "a snare (lying in wait) shall increase thy sorrow and thy sighing", and that is the reading of the Septuagint. The difference between "a snare shall multiply" and "multiplying I will multiply" is again only vowels. The former makes a Hebrew "rhyme" of concept rather than sound with "lie in wait for", which characterizes all prophecy in Genesis. The word translated "conception" (including in the Vulgate), הֵֽרֹנֵ֔, is spelled הֵרָי֖וֹן everywhere else in the Old Testament. For instance, Spurrell says: "It is an abnormal formation which occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament." Lexical authorities Brown, Briggs and Driver call it a "contraction, or erroneous." It is, however, the correct spelling for "sighing". I conclude, supported by a minority of experts, that Jerome and the King James committee erred and the Septuagint is again correct.

Revelation 12

Christ crushes the serpent's head

His bride does also.