By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Ge 3:19.
God was handing out punishments for disobedience. For the man, his work would become real work. Not the existence of a gentleman farmer, but rather of a hardscrabble effort to make ends meet.
Many of us have experienced the same thing. As I read it this morning, I felt suddenly weary and depressed.
On the other hand, it looks as if death is to be seen as respite from the struggle. Rather than being part of the punishment, death may be seen as a rescue.