Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…
I. THE PARTIES TO BE TESTED.
II. THE TEMPTER.
1. The instrument was a serpent.
2. The real agent was Satan.
III. THE TEMPTATION. Literally the tempter says, "Then it is so that God hath said, 'Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden.'" As if so incredible a report could be believed only on the positive assertion of Eve herself. He then insinuates that God had issued this prohibition from other motives than love. He hints at something strange, if not unjust or unkind, on the part of God. Like other trees, Eve perceives that the forbidden one is "good for food and pleasant to the sight." Unlike other trees, she is now informed that it is capable of affording wisdom; that eating from it gives knowledge of good and evil; that while other trees minister to the sense, this ministers also to the reason. Thus all parts of Eve's sensitive nature are wrought upon; her fancy is aroused, curiosity awakened, desire for knowledge excited.
IV. THE SIN. Eve sought knowledge in a way foreign to God's will. He would have her know good by adopting it, and evil by resisting it. By disobedience she came to know good as a forfeited possession, and evil as a purchased bane. She found that unlawful knowledge was dearly bought, and that a stolen likeness to God brought sorrow.
V. THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCES OF SIN. Conscious of their sin, they fancy that their guilty bosoms are open to every eye. But the accuser is in their own breasts. They have opened the door, and the sweet-songed bird of innocence has flown.
VI. THE SENTENCE. In God's dealings with the human pair there was a mingling of justice and mercy. By their sin they had become spiritually dead — had died in the sense in which God declared they should. Their true life — that of holiness — was gone. Existence now was but partial and abnormal. For this altered moral state God made for them a change externally. The world which they and their sinful seed were to inhabit, must be adapted to a race of sinners. Hence God made it, not a place of punishment, but of discipline; the end being to restore to the race their lost holiness. Bodily fatigue, the thorn-infested ground, and the dread of dying (an event which, but for the Fall, would have had no terror), all these were designed as chastisements for man's sins, and at the same time as agencies to reclaim him from it.
VII. THE PROMISE OF A DELIVERER.
(P. B. Davis.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?