“Moses 4:20–32,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Moses 4:20–32,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote: “Since the day in which Satan spoke by the mouth of the serpent to entice Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit (Moses 4:5–21), Satan has been called ‘that old serpent.’ (Rev. 12:9; 20:2; D&C 76:28; 88:110.) Choice of the name is excellent, indicating as it does a cunning, sly, subtle, and deceitful craftiness” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 704).
“Being cursed is the very opposite of being blessed; God’s blessing graciously invokes good, whereas his curse justly invokes evil upon one deserving it. Thus Satan was informed through symbolic terms that he would not have the privilege of earth life that even cattle and beasts have” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament , 16).
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) taught: “Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition’” (“Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4).
Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote: “Adam, the patriarch of the race, rejoiced in the assurance of the Savior’s appointed ministry, through the acceptance of which, he, the transgressor, might gain redemption. Brief mention of the plan of salvation, the author of which is Jesus Christ, appears in the promise given of God following the fall—that though the devil, represented by the serpent in Eden, should have power to bruise the heel of Adam’s posterity, through the seed of the woman should come the power to bruise the adversary’s head. It is significant that this assurance of eventual victory over sin and its inevitable effect, death, both of which were introduced to earth through Satan, the arch-enemy of mankind, was to be realized through the offspring of woman; the promise was not made specifically to the man, nor to the pair. The only instance of offspring from woman dissociated from mortal fatherhood is the birth of Jesus the Christ, who was the earthly Son of a mortal mother, begotten by an immortal Father. He is the Only Begotten of the Eternal Father in the flesh, and was born of woman” (Jesus the Christ , 43).
The Hebrew word for “multiply” is rabah (raw-bah), meaning to repeat over and over. It does not suggest greater sorrow, but rather repeated sorrow. The Hebrew word for “sorrow” in the Genesis account (Genesis 3:16) is from atsab (aw-tsab), which means “labor” or “pain.” While these words suggest that toil and suffering would be a part of Eve’s life, Eve did not view the conditions that came upon her through the Fall to be a curse (see Moses 5:11). Moses 4:22 “is a great revelation to women. Eve and her daughters can become cocreators with God by preparing bodies for his spirit children to occupy on earth and later in eternity. Mothering would entail inconvenience, suffering, travail, and sorrow; these the Lord foretold as natural consequences and not as a curse” (Rasmussen, Latter-day Saint Commentary, 17).
Concerning this phrase, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) said: “I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family” (“The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 72). In Ephesians 5:22–31 and Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–46 the Lord gave clear instructions on how husbands should preside.
President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency taught: “Note that the curse was not placed upon Adam, but upon the ground for Adam’s sake. Rather than a curse upon Adam, it was a blessing to him” (“In Mine Own Way,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 125).
President Brigham Young (1801–77) said that the effects of the Fall were universal: “Then came the curse upon the fruit, upon the vegetables, and upon our mother earth; and it came upon the creeping things, upon the grain in the field, the fish in the sea and upon all things pertaining to this earth” (“Instructions,” Deseret News, July 6, 1864, 318). From the time of the Fall, thorns and thistles have grown spontaneously from the ground. Only through persistent labor could Adam plant, nourish, and harvest crops from the ground and thereby assure his survival. Before the Fall, he had been charged to “dress” and “keep” the Garden of Eden (Moses 3:15). After the Fall, he was told that he would have to work by the sweat of his brow to obtain his sustenance.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy stated: “Adam was told, ‘Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake,’ which meant for his benefit, and ‘by the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ (Moses 4:23, 25). Work is a continual burden, but it is also a continual blessing ‘for [our] sake,’ for it teaches lessons we can learn only ‘by the sweat of [our] face’” (“That Your Burdens May Be Light,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 13).
Pointing out the falseness of what Satan had said to Eve (see Moses 4:10), the Lord told Adam, “Thou shalt surely die” (verse 25). Adam and Eve experienced a spiritual death when they were driven from the Garden of Eden and from the presence of the Lord. They also became mortal and thus subject to physical death.
The phrase “coat of skins” could also have been rendered “garments” or “tunics” (see Genesis 3:21, footnote a).
Cherubim are “figures representing heavenly creatures, the exact form being unknown. They are found in the Holy of Holies, on the Mercy Seat of the Ark (Ex. 25:18, 22; 1 Kgs. 6:23–28; Heb. 9:5), and in the visions of Ezekiel (Ezek. 10; 11:22)” (Bible Dictionary, “Cherubim”).