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. THAT THE HUMAN SOUL IS FREQUENTLY TEMPTED BY A DIRE FOE OF UNUSUAL SUBTLETY.
1. The tempter of human souls is subtle.
II. THAT THE TEMPTER SEERS TO ENGAGE THE HUMAN SOUL IN CONVERSATION AND CONTROVERSY.
1. He seeks to hold controversy with human souls, that he may render them impatient of the moral restrictions of life.
2. That he may insidiously awaken within them thoughts derogatory to the character of God.
3. That he may lead them to yield to the lust of the eye.
III. THAT THE TEMPTER SEEKS TO MAKE ONE SOUL HIS ALLY IN THE SEDUCTION OF ANOTHER.
IV. THAT THE HUMAN SOUL SOON AWAKENS FROM THE SUBTLE VISION OF TEMPTATION TO FIND THAT IT HAS BEEN DELUDED AND RUINED (see ver. 7).
1. That the human soul soon awakes from the charming vision of temptation. Temptation is a charming vision to the soul. The tree looks gigantic. The fruit looks rich and ripe, and its colour begins to glow more and yet more, then it is plucked and eaten. Then comes the bitter taste. The sad recollection. The moment of despair. To Adam and Eve sin was a new experience. No man is the better for the woeful experience of evil.
2. That the human soul, awakening from the vision of temptation, is conscious of moral nakedness. Sin always brings shame, a shame it deeply feels but cannot hide. How sad the destitution of a soul that has fallen from God.
3. That the human soul awakening from the vision of temptation, conscious of its moral nakedness, seeks to provide a clothing of its own device. Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together to make them aprons. Sin must have a covering. It is often ingenious in making and sewing it together. But its covering is always unworthy and futile. Man cannot of himself clothe his soul. Only the righteousness of Christ can effectually hide his moral nakedness.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
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?