|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-5 Satan assaulted our first parents, to draw them to sin, and the temptation proved fatal to them. The tempter was the devil, in the shape and likeness of a serpent. Satan's plan was to draw our first parents to sin, and so to separate between them and their God. Thus the devil was from the beginning a murderer, and the great mischief maker. The person tempted was the woman: it was Satan's policy to enter into talk with her when she was alone. There are many temptations to which being alone gives great advantage; but the communion of saints tends very much to their strength and safety. Satan took advantage by finding her near the forbidden tree. They that would not eat the forbidden fruit, must not come near the forbidden tree. Satan tempted Eve, that by her he might tempt Adam. It is his policy to send temptations by hands we do not suspect, and by those that have most influence upon us. Satan questioned whether it were a sin or not, to eat of this tree. He did not disclose his design at first, but he put a question which seemed innocent. Those who would be safe, need to be shy of talking with the tempter. He quoted the command wrong. He spoke in a taunting way. The devil, as he is a liar, so he is a scoffer from the beginning; and scoffers are his children. It is the craft of Satan to speak of the Divine law as uncertain or unreasonable, and so to draw people to sin; it is our wisdom to keep up a firm belief of God's command, and a high respect for it. Has God said, Ye shall not lie, nor take his name in vain, nor be drunk, &c.? Yes, I am sure he has, and it is well said; and by his grace I will abide by it. It was Eve's weakness to enter into this talk with the serpent: she might have perceived by his question, that he had no good design, and should therefore have started back. Satan teaches men first to doubt, and then to deny. He promises advantage from their eating this fruit. He aims to make them discontented with their present state, as if it were not so good as it might be, and should be. No condition will of itself bring content, unless the mind be brought to it. He tempts them to seek preferment, as if they were fit to be gods. Satan ruined himself by desiring to be like the Most High, therefore he sought to infect our first parents with the same desire, that he might ruin them too. And still the devil draws people into his interest, by suggesting to them hard thoughts of God, and false hopes of advantage by sin. Let us, therefore, always think well of God as the best good, and think ill of sin as the worst evil: thus let us resist the devil, and he will flee from us.
Verses 2, 3. - And the woman said unto the serpent. Neither afraid of the reptile, there being not yet any enmity among the creatures; nor astonished at his speaking, perhaps as being not yet fully acquainted with the capabilities of the lower animals; nor suspicions of his designs, her innocence and inexperience not predisposing her to apprehend danger. Yet the tenor of the reptile's interrogation was fitted to excite alarm; and if, as some conjecture, she understood that Satan was the speaker, she should at once have taken flight; while, if she knew nothing of him or his disposition, she should not have opened herself so freely to a person unknown. "The woman certainly discovers some uuadvisedness in entertaining conference with the serpent, in matters of so great importance, in so familiar a manner" (White). We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.
(1) Omitting the Divine name when recording his liberality, though she remembers it when reciting his restraint;
(2) failing to do justice to the largeness and freeness of the Divine grant (cf. with Genesis 2:16); - which, however, charity would do well not to press against the woman as symptoms of incipient rebellion. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it. An addition to the prohibitory enactment, which may have been simply an inaccuracy in her understanding of Adam's report of its exact terms (Kalisch); or the result of a rising feeling of dissatisfaction with the too great strictness of the prohibition (Delitzsch), and so an indication "that her love and confidence towards God were already beginning to waver" (Keil); or a proof of her anxiety to observe the Divine precept (Calvin); or a statement of her understanding "that they were not to meddle with it as a forbidden thing" (Murphy). Lest ye die. Even Calvin here admits that Eve begins to give way, leading פֶן־ as forte, with which Macdonald appears to agree, discovering "doubt and hesitancy in her language; but -
(1) the conjunction may point to a consequence which is certain - indeed this is its usual meaning (cf. Genesis 11:4; Genesis 19:5; Psalm 2:12);
(2) Where there are so many real grounds for condemning Eve's conduct, it is our duty to be cautious in giving those which are problematical" (Bush); and,
(3) "she would have represented the penalty in a worse rather than a softened form had she begun to think it unjust" (Inglis).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the woman said unto the serpent,.... Or to him that spoke in the serpent, which she might take to be a messenger from heaven, a holy angel: had she known who it was, she might be chargeable with imprudence in giving an answer, and carrying on a conversation with him; and yet even supposing this, she might have a good design in her answer; partly to set the matter in a true light, and assert what was truth; and partly to set forth the goodness and liberality of God, in the large provision he had made, and the generous grant he had given them: from this discourse of Eve and the serpent, no doubt Plato (g) had his notion of the first men discoursing with beasts:
we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; of all and every one of them, which is to be understood, excepting the one after mentioned; so far are we from being debarred from eating of any, which the speech of the Serpent might imply, that they were allowed to eat of what they pleased, but one.
(g) In Politico, ut supra, (apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 12.) c. 14.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. the woman said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden—In her answer, Eve extolled the large extent of liberty they enjoyed in ranging at will amongst all the trees—one only excepted, with respect to which, she declared there was no doubt, either of the prohibition or the penalty. But there is reason to think that she had already received an injurious impression; for in using the words "lest ye die," instead of "ye shall surely die" [Ge 2:17], she spoke as if the tree had been forbidden because of some poisonous quality of its fruit. The tempter, perceiving this, became bolder in his assertions.
Genesis 3:2 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 3:2 NIV
Genesis 3:2 NLT
Genesis 3:2 ESV
Genesis 3:2 NASB
Genesis 3:2 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible