Genesis 3:17

And unto Adam he said, Because you have listened unto the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life;
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
The two sentences seem to have a certain similarity, yet in that similarity there is a great difference. There is a difference in the way a person eats of the earth, as the serpent is related to have done and the manner in which this is recorded of the man: 'In sadness shall you eat.' That very phrase 'in sadness' makes the precise difference. Note how important this difference is. It is for my benefit that I should eat the earth in sadness rather than with delight, that is to say, that I should appear to feel a certain sadness in my bodily acts and senses rather than experience pleasure in sin. Many, in fact, because of their manifold iniquities have no awareness of sin. But he who says: ' I chastise my body and bring it into subjection,' [ 1 Cor 9:27 ] feels sadness because of regret for the sins to which we are subject. He himself did not have such serious faults for which he ought to feel sorrow. Hence he teaches us that that kind of sorrow is of value which has, not this world, bu...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What shall we say about the judgment pronounced against the man? Are we perhaps to think that the rich, for whom the necessities of life come easily and who do not labor on the earth, have escaped this punishment? It says, “The earth will be cursed for you in all your works, and you shall eat from it in sadness and groaning all the days of your life. It will bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the grain of your field. In the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread until you return to the earth from which you were taken, for you are earth, and you will return to the earth.” It is certainly clear that no one escapes this sentence. For anyone born in this life has difficulty in discovering the truth because of the corruptible body. For as Solomon says, “The body that is corrupted weighs down the soul, and the earthly habitation presses down the mind that thinks many thoughts.” These are the labors and sorrows that man has from the earth. The thorns and thistles ar...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
After He had decreed concerning Eve and repentance failed to spring up in Adam, He then turned to him as well in punishment, saying, " Because you listened to the voice of your wife and were wheedled into eating of the Tree from which I told you not to eat, cursed is the earth because of you. " [ Gen. 3:17 ]
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Thy work, sin; thy perdition is from thyself: this is all that man can challenge for his own. (Haydock)
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
l know that you are wearied by the excess of words, but stir yourselves a little, I beseech you, lest we leave the sentence incomplete and depart while the judge is still sitting. We are in fact close to the end now. So let us see what he says to the man after the woman, and what kind of punishment he inflicts on him. "Whereas to Adam he said: 'Because you listened to your wife's words and ate from this one tree I told you not to eat from, accursed shall be the soil as you till it. In pain may you eat from it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles let it yield you, and you are to eat the grass of the field. In the sweat of your brow may you eat your bread until you return to the soil whence you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you are to return." [ Gen 3:17, Gen 3:18, Gen 3:19 ] Great is the Lord's care and beyond all telling displayed here for the human being but let us listen precisely to each word spoken. "Whereas to Adam he said: 'Because you listened to your wife's...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Behold the reminders of the curse: thorns it will bring forth, he says, and thistles so as to give rise to great labor and discomfort, and I will ensure you pass the whole time with pain so that this experience may prove a brake on your getting ideas above your station, and you may instead have a thought to your own makeup and never again bear to be deceived in these matters. “You are to eat of the grass of the field. In the sweat of your brow may you eat yourbread.” See how after his disobedience everything is imposed on him in an opposite way to his former life style: My intention in bringing you into the world, he is saying, was that you should live your life without pain or toil, difficulty or sweat, and that you should be in a state of enjoyment and prosperity, and not be subject to the needs of the body but be free from all such and have the good fortune to experience complete freedom. Since, however, such indulgence was of no benefit to you, accordingly I curse the ground so tha...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Since man had shown great disobedience, God cast him forth from his life in paradise. God curbed man’s spirit for the future, so that he might not leap farther away. He condemned him to a life of toil and labor, speaking to him in some such fashion as this: “The ease and security that were yours in abundance led you to this great disobedience. They made you forget my commandments. You had nothing to do. That led you to think thoughts too haughty for your own nature…. Therefore, I condemn you to toil and labor, so that while tilling the earth, you may never forget your disobedience and the vileness of your nature.”

John Chrysostom

AD 407
After all, you are head of your wife, and she has been created for your sake; but you have inverted the proper order: not only have you failed to keep her on the straight and narrow but you have been dragged down with her, and whereas the rest of the body should follow the head, the contrary has in fact occurred, the head following the rest of the body, turning things upside down.
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Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Immediately the earth is also cursed, Genesis 3:18 which before was blessed. Immediately spring up briers and thorns, where once had grown grass, and herbs, and fruitful trees. Immediately arise sweat and labour for bread, where previously on every tree was yielded spontaneous food and untilled nourishment. [Agaist Marcion 2.11]
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Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
To what kind of a crown, I ask you, did Christ Jesus submit for the salvation of both sexes? He who is the head of man and the glory of woman and the husband of the church—what kind of crown? It was made from thorns and thistles. They stood as a symbol of the sins that the soil of the flesh brought forth for us but that the power of the cross removed, blunting every sting of death since the head of the Lord bore its pain. And beside the symbol, we are reminded also of the scornful abuse, the degradation and the vileness of his cruel tormentors.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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