is a historical account and is not an allegory because:
- The Toledot formula is used through out Genesis. Details before and after this account
- Adam is an individual
in this story and through out scripture including references by Job, Jesus
- The genealogical
records continue to the end of the book of Genesis and beyond. Each individual is said to have died.
- The Serpent to the
- God to the man
- God to the serpent,
man and woman
- Man names the woman
- Divine monologue
“serpent” is “nahas” the common
Hebrew word for serpent used 31 times in the OT (Num. 21:7-9; Deut. 8:15; Prov. 23:32)
- The verb “nahas” means “to practice divination, observe signs”
(Gen.30:27; 44:5, 15; Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10)
- “nahas” is a neutral word and could refer to
positive or negative character traits.
character of the serpent is said to be “crafty” or “ ’arum”.
is used in Proverbs to mean “prudent,” “shrewd,” “clever.” This is the opposite of being a “fool” or
“simple” in Proverbs.
use of “ ‘arum” in this case indicates that the
serpent use of planning and strategy to manipulate the circumstance.
serpent addresses the woman although the use of “you” is plural referring to
- “you (plural) shall
not eat” (3:2,3)
- “you (plural) shall
not touch lest you (plural) die” (3:3)
- “you (plural) will
not die” (3:4)
- “when you (plural)
eat of it you (plural) shall be” (3:5)
woman also says “we may eat.”
Serpent is a real serpent.
Serpent is Satan
- In the ancient world
snakes were significant as both honorable and abhorred
- Snakes symbolized a
variety of traits including life, renewed youth, death, chaos, wisdom
- A bronze serpent
restored life in Numbers 21:8
- Jesus used snakes in
a positive light in Matthew 10:16 as an example of shrewdness.
- In Psalms 58:4 snakes
are fear for being poisonous
- Isaiah 27:1 the
serpent is a divine opponent
- Leviathan is a
serpent from the ancient world and was aligned with chaos in Job 26:12-14
- Leviathan the serpent
was the ancient enemy of God in Psalm 74:13-14 and Isaiah 51:9
- The serpent is the
enemy of the seed of the woman (Messiah) in Genesis 3:15 and Revelation
- The ancient serpent
(Leviathan) is the dragon or the devil or Satan in Revelation 20:2
- The serpent (Satan)
spoke through Peter in Matt. 16:23
- The serpent (Satan)
entered Judas in Luke 22:3
- The serpent is Satan
in Romans 16:20
- Satan was in the
garden and his words came through the serpent
serpent’s first statement is not so much a question as it is a statement of
shock and disbelief towards God’s character and prohibition.
talking serpent is simply assumed and does not seem to shock the woman.
focus on the talking serpent is not that he speaks but in what he says.
shock to the woman was not that the serpent spoke but what the serpent said.
serpent’s claims are false but still create a doubt or image in the woman’s
woman is forced to defend God.
is the first conversation about God.
serpent causes doubt in the mind of the woman through questioning and
- The serpent questions
- The serpent presents
himself to the woman as if he knows God better than the woman. The serpent seems to know God’s
thinking. The woman is limited to
knowing what God said. The serpent
wanted to add something to the word of God by trying to tell the woman additional
information beyond the spoken and revealed word.
- The serpent misquotes
the LORD’s statement from 2:16:
- The absolute
prohibitions of “not” and “any” are added or changed.
- The word “freely”
- Use of the plural
“you” and not the singular “you”
- “from any tree” is
moved from the beginning (freely) to the end (none)
- Use of “Elohim” (God) and not “YHWH” (LORD)
woman attempts to correct the serpent
an attempt to counter the serpent the woman also adjusts the “Truth”
- She exaggerates the
- She softens the
- She engaged in
conversation with the woman
- She mis-stated the word
- Becomes legalistic
and adds barriers
- Softens judgment to
help make God look better
- Does not recognize
that God originally said “free to eat” and “any tree”
- Does not call God
Jesus did right in Matthew 4
- Did not engage in a
discussion with Satan
- Simply quoted scripture
as it had been revealed with the meaning that the words had.
- Resisted Satan by
saying “Get away” as is advised in 1 Peter 5:8, 9
serpent makes a direct attack on God with a dogmatic statement
tells the woman not to worry about the penalty of death
serpent begins to tell Eve God’s inner thoughts indicating that the serpent
knows God better than the woman does.
God’s motives selfish?
- God threatened sure
death but they did not die when they ate the fruit.
- Their eyes were
opened (metaphor for gaining knowledge) and they gained information and
recognized they were naked.
- They did become like
God (the Lord said so in 3:22)
part that was not explained and was part of the twisted truth of the Serpent:
- They did not die that
day but they would spread death to everyone who they produced. The book of Genesis
(Gen. 5 and 50:26) are filled with death. Adam and Eve may have wished they had
died suddenly and avoided all the death they would cause.
- They did gain
knowledge but it was knowledge that they wished they could forget. They realized they were naked which is
their shame and vulnerability.
Before they only knew God and his peace and confidence.
- They became like God
in that they were making their own decisions and isolated themselves from
the true God.
three of the things they gained they wish they never had.
serpent spoke the truth although it was twisted and incomplete.