Gen 3:15 Woman = Israel or Mary


3:15. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
3:16. To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

Is the woman Israel or Mary?

Two opinions

  1. If it’s Mary, then Jesus must have had brothers for in 3:16 it states “in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.”
  2. It’s the nation of Israel from which Jesus has come.

Is this also then the same woman as in Revelations 12?


Saint Irenaeus and Saint Cyprian of Carthage, two early Church Father understood the woman in Genesis 3:15 to be Mary.

God Bless,


In the literal sense, the woman of Genesis 3:15 is Eve. In the spiritual sense, the woman is the Church (the Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Catholic Church) and its exemplar, the Virgin Mary.


Hi Shawn,

I am sorry to say that translation is wrong. It comes from a mistake that slipped into the Latin Vulgate at an early stage. Here is the correct translation :

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."

You will note nevertheless that the text I quote links the woman intimately with her offspring. So it does not really weaken the text from the mariological point of view.

I would also point out that, even though the Fathers were commenting a mistaken translation, they were handing down to us a precious Tradition of the Church.



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