Genesis 3:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 3:14, NIV: "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."

Genesis 3:14, ESV: "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."

Genesis 3:14, KJV: "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:"

Genesis 3:14, NASB: "Then the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all the livestock, And more than any animal of the field; On your belly you shall go, And dust you shall eat All the days of your life;"

Genesis 3:14, NLT: "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."

Genesis 3:14, CSB: "So 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."

What does Genesis 3:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous two verses, God directly asked Adam and then Eve if they had disobeyed His command and had eaten from the restricted tree. Adam essentially said, "Yes, but the woman gave it to me, and you're the one who gave me the woman." Eve admitted she had been deceived by the serpent and had eaten the fruit.

Now God turns to the serpent, but with a notable difference: He doesn't ask the serpent what he did. He doesn't look for a confession or to engage in debate with the serpent. As discussed previously, this serpent is consistently understood by conservative Bible scholars to be Satan himself. Apparently, Satan either possessed a snake created by God, or he took the form of a snake. As Jesus will say centuries from this moment, Satan is a liar (John 8:44). God chooses not to give the liar a chance to speak in this moment.

Instead, God begins to pronounce a series of curses on the serpent, the man, and the woman. In each case, the curse is for each of them and for the future generations of their offspring. In this verse, God begins His curse on the serpent and on all of his species to follow, as well as on Satan himself. Why curse serpents if the Devil was just using that form or body to commit his evil? Apparently, God intended for the serpent to serve as a reminder to all future generations of humans both of who the Devil is and of God's power over him.

The serpent would be uniquely cursed in comparison to all other animals on earth. That serpent and all of those to follow would crawl on the ground, unable to avoid eating the dust of the earth, from that point forward. Does this mean that all serpents or this particular species of serpent had legs before this time? This is possible, though it's also possible that the change of earth's nature after the fall might be part of this curse, as well.