Genesis 3: 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
The Lord in his sovereign justice, passed sentence upon the woman for her sin. She is condemned to two things: a state of sorrow, and a state of subjection. These are very fitting punishments for her sin in which she gratified her pleasure and her pride.
Her state of sorrow was to be in bringing forth children. Not only the pain of physical child birth, but also all the levels of grief and fear which we, as moms, are most apt to endure throughout our lives. For no matter what happens - whether our children grow to old age or die young, we are prone to feeling deeply the calamities that inevitably come with bringing up children.
The pain of child-bearing, which is great, comes of eating forbidden fruit. A woman's sorrows are said to be multiplied - greatly multiplied. For they include, not only the travailing throes of labor, but the discomforts before (the sorrows begins with conception), and the nursing toils and vexations after. And ultimately if the children prove wicked and foolish, they are, more than ever, the heaviness of their mother.
Thus are her sorrows multiplied. Just as soon as one grief is over, another follows along. It is God that multiplies our sorrows: I will do it, says the Lord. And God, as a righteous Judge, does it, which ought to silence us under all our sorrows, as many as they are. For we have deserved them all, and more.
Yes, God, as a tender Father, does it for our necessary correction. Why?? That we may be humbled for sin, and weaned from the world by all our sorrows. Any good we get by them, with the comfort we have under them, will abundantly balance our sorrows, however greatly they are multiplied.
Womankind was also put into a state of subjection. The whole sex was, for sin, made inferior, and absolutely forbidden to usurp authority (1Ti 2:11-12.) The wife is put under the particular dominion of her husband, and is not at her own disposal. Her sentence amounts only to that command, Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. Due to sin, that duty became a punishment, which probably would not have otherwise been.
If man had not sinned, he would always have ruled with wisdom and love. If the woman had not sinned, she would always have obeyed with humility and meekness, making his dominion no grievance. But sin and folly made the yoke heavy.
If Eve had not eaten forbidden fruit herself, and tempted her husband to eat it, she would not have complained of her subjection. Wives who despise, disobey and seek to domineer over their husbands, greatly lack the wisdom to realize that they violate a divine law. They only multiply further severe consequences upon themselves.
But isn't it wonderful how, even here, the Lord's mercy is mixed into this sentence. The woman shall have sorrow, but it shall be in bringing forth children, and the sorrow shall be forgotten for joy that a child is born, (Joh 16:21). Isn't that marvelous? I'll never forget the intense joy and wonder I felt when my baby was delivered and mine to keep and love. Pure delight!
She shall be subject, but it shall be to her own husband who loves her, not to a stranger, or an enemy. The sentence was not a curse, to bring her to ruin, but a chastisement, to bring her to repentance. It's a good thing that enmity was not put between the man and the woman, as there was between the serpent and the woman!
So, although we bear the consequences of the first woman's sin, we all know that if any of us were in her sandals we're just as likely to do the same. She sure did lack obedience to her own husband, didn't she? How many of us have struggled with that one? (raises hand)
It is good for us to remember the boundaries which have been placed around us are for good reason. They will work humility and obedience into our hearts. And that is a good thing!