Breaking News From Genesis 3:13, 16

James Taranto writes a column titled “Best of the Web Today” that appears daily in the Wall Street Journal. His column deals with political analyses, reviews, and criticism of articles and new stories published on the Web around the world.

I enjoy reading Taranto because of his keen analysis of the biases that are found in the way the media reports news. However, Taranto is not concerned only with politics. He writes on a variety of other issues, primarily when these issues are presented with a slant. One has to read Taranto’s column regularly to appreciate his analysis of the news and his sense of humor.

Taranto’s sense of humor appears after his analysis of an issue in the news. When he reports articles and news material that are published in newspapers and other news organization on the web, Taranto provides a humorous title that best describes the content of the article. In some cases, the title reflects what he has written in previous posts, the content of which regular readers will be familiar. New headings are created in order to summarize the content of an article published somewhere on the Web.

This brings me to a title he used in his column on May 3, 2013. The title was used to describe the content on an article published in the Taranto used the following title:

Breaking News From Genesis 3:13, 16
“FBI Names 1st Woman on ‘Most Wanted’ List”–headline, Associated Press, May 2

I was curious to find out what was the relationship between the first fugitive woman on the FBI “Most Wanted List” and Genesis 3:13, 16. So, I first read the news report by the Associated Press and then went back and reread Genesis 3:13, 16.

The news report by the Associated Press is a story about Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive member of a militant group that killed a New Jersey state trooper forty years ago. Chesimard now lives in Cuba under an assumed name. She became the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s list of most wanted fugitives. The FBI is offering $2 million for her capture.

In short, that’s it. The news article goes on to tell how Chesimard killed the officer, how she was convicted for her crime, and how she escaped. After reading the article I asked myself: What is the relationship between this story and Genesis 3:13, 16? So, I reread the biblical text. The text says:

Genesis 3:13: “Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’”

Genesis 3:16: “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’”

When one reads these two texts in Genesis, one has to conclude that Genesis 3:16 has nothing to do with the story reported by the Associated Press.

As for Genesis 3:13, the relationship is only tangential. One could use the Lord’s question to the woman as the basis for the title describing the story in the news report: “The LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’” These words would be a good explanation for the title used to introduce the story put out by the Associated Press.

With a small paraphrase of the woman’s response, her response to God could also provide a reason for the headline: “The LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I [did it].’”

Thus, Genesis 3:13 could provide a basis for the breaking news headline, but Genesis 3:16?

Taranto needs to explain his reason for using Genesis 3:16 as the basis for the breaking news headline.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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