Therefore, we should take these scriptures as authoritative in some way - I would think -that is, if we think of the Bible as having authority, and that authority deriving from the apostles.
So, it is with interest that I read some of the Septuagint as a commentary on the Hebrew Bible. Although it is in some ways literal enough, interpretation is added, as we can see in any translation.
For example, in the opening three chapters of the Bible, the story of the creation of man and woman, and of the sorrow of man and woman, is described in this manner.
Forming the human
- 2:7 And God formed the human,
dust from the earth
and breathed into his face
a breath of life
and the human became
a living being.
- 2:21 And God cast a trance on Adam,
and he slept,
and he took one of his ribs
and filled up his flesh in its place
2:22And the rib that he had taken from Adam
the Lord God fashioned into a woman
and brought her to Adam.
2:23 And Adam said,
This is now bone of my bones,
and flesh of my flesh
this one shall be called woman
for out of man she was taken
- 3:16 I will increasingly increase
your pains and your groaning
with pains you will bring forth children
and your return will be to the man
and he will dominate you.
- 17b cursed is the earth in your labours
with pains you will eat it all the days of your life
19 By the sweat of your face
you will eat your bread
until you return to the earth
for you are earth
and to earth you will depart
20 And Adam called the name of the woman Life,
because she is the mother of all living.
The parallels and chiasm are clear in the Greek. Most striking is that in Gen. 3:16 and in Gen. 3: 19, the Greek uses the same word for "return." The woman returns to man, from whom she was taken, and man returns to the earth, from which he was taken. Each one bears fruit from that from which they were taken, and they bear this fruit with pain.
This is not about the subordinate role of women, or the equal role of women. No, this is about the reality of those substinence farmers who have no way of limiting births, who live off the soil, for whom life is pain and labour, from youth to premature old age.
It is a beautifully crafted commentary on life. The Greek is shaped into a chiastic pattern, which is not evident in the original.
Add to this shape, the plot line. Humans will die if they eat the fruit of the tree. They eat and this is the cause of mortality, the cause of prolific and painful child-bearing, and the cause of the struggle with the land, to wrest a livlihood from the earth. They experience not only death, but the many little deaths of pain and failure.
And what is the culmination of this tale? The man turns to the woman and calls her "Life."
If you read Greek you can verify that I have provided a translation based on the NETS but altered to make it concordant with the Greek in ways that the NETS is not. I have also benefitted from a discussion of this passage in The Septuagint, sexuality and the New Testament.
Note: This post has been edited.