Listen to this blog post which will, at a future date, be added to The Explanation Podcast
Beguiled by the Serpent. It sounds like a myth. But, according to the Bible, it’s reality. Where’s the truth, and especially, what’s the meaning?
Beguiled by the Serpent. It means misled, deceived, manipulated, everything we do not want happening to us. Especially by some sort of animal! Is there any credence to the Bible story, and if so, what is the meaning for us in 2020?
(Agony of Humankind, chapter 2.5)
First, let’s recap what has happened to the man and woman in this Creation story in conjunction with how humans function. God gave humans neshama (Genesis 2:7); mind that confers on humans their nature as human beings. In other words, the characteristics to operate as human beings do. The Explanation explicits how humans function into seven steps; human nature, free will, human behavior, ethics, justice, self-reproach, forgiveness.
These phases are not guess-work. They are the result of studying how God works with humans. Humans, in the image of God, operate the same way God works with humans. If you’re reading this for the first time, I understand your skepticism. I ask you to read and study the concept of God made humans in His image and His likeness.
Let’s continue discussing the details but always keeping in mind the big picture. What is God telling us through this Bible episode?
9 And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you?
10 And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded (H6680) you that you should not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me (H5377), and I did eat
14 And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this…
God created the nature of humans by inbreathing neshama into the first man (1st phase of how humans function). He gave them ethics in the form of two trees, and He commanded (H6680 – verse 11) them what to eat and what not to eat (phase 4).
צָוָה tsâvâh tsaw-vaw’; a primitive root; (intensively) to constitute, enjoin:
KJV – appoint, (for-) bid, (give a) charge, (give a, give in, send with) command(-er, -ment), send a messenger, put, (set) in order.
Tsavah – H6680 is a powerful term. It is related to H6673 צַו tsav tsav; or צָו; from H6680 (צָוָה); an injunction: KJV – commandment, precept. The term צוא (tsava) is the word used for army in modern Hebrew. It uses the same two consonants as H6673 and a vowel (א) at the end (on the left). When God commands, it’s like an army command; these are serious ethics.
God also gave humans free choice of eating from either tree (phase 2). Humans exercised their nature and free choice through their behavior (phase 3). Unfortunately, the result is disobedience; they ate from the forbidden tree, hid in the trees, recognized their nakedness, and made themselves fig-leaf skirts. Confusion set in and replaced it is very good, which God created.
We now see God engaging in conversation with the couple and working through what has happened. Let’s face it; there’s a type of interrogation that takes place. This questioning is part of the fifth phase of how God and humans function, justice. When someone is suspected of committing a possible evil act, the authorities interrogate that person. They investigate to find evidence and ascertain what exactly took place and the precise involvement of the individual(s).
Another important aspect of this interrogation process is to establish the motivation of the person. Why did they do what they did? This investigation is the first phase of justice, and it must be performed with much diligence. That is what God does following the man and woman’s inappropriate behavior, precisely.
God is asking each of the suspects what they did, their involvement, and why they did it, what their motivation was for committing the infraction. Which, theologically, is the sin of stealing, but also of not honoring their God.
The man and the woman give their version, their facts, of what took place, as any suspect would. Their statements are revealing, not only by what they do say but also, more importantly, what they omit. Take a moment and analyze their testimony; that’s what investigators would do.
God addresses the man first; even though He knows full well, it was the woman who plucked the fruit. Why? Because the man is the first created and has the overall responsibility for this situation. His declaration reveals human nature in the raw. It sums up humankind’s attitude since that episode and especially in today’s world situation. Humans blame their fate on others.
Of course, I’m talking generally, but we humans pass off the responsibility for the wrong in our lives to others or other circumstances. My husband… my wife… (that’s what Adam did), my boss… my partner… my kids… my parents… She gave it to me, and I just ate it. Like it is the most normal thing to do.
The first man passed the buck. What he omitted was to accept any blame and participation in wrong-doing in this event. Essentially, the man is saying to God, “don’t hold me responsible, I’m not to blame.” When, in fact, he could’ve avoided and stopped the entire episode.
The man is the benevolent leader. The Bible, through the Biblical Hebrew meaning of male, tells us the role incumbent on him. The first man was preeminent, representing the second man, Jesus Christ. The man and Christ take responsibility for peace and prosperity. The first man abdicated that role; he did not manage his family as he received the charge to do. There are consequences for both passing the blame to his wife and not assuming his management position. We shall see those repercussions.
The woman’s statement is short and bitter-sweet. She admits she ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. What else could she do, it was evident; nonetheless, she is open about her transgression. She passes responsibility off with, “the Serpent beguiled me.” A true statement, but she had the free-will choice to say NO. She exercised her free-will by making the wrong decision for which she is responsible.
In both cases, there’s no self-reproach (the 6th phase of how humans should function). Only the man blaming the woman, and she, the Serpent. They take no responsibility for their thoughts, motivations, actions. They have no notion that they’ve offended God their very Creator. They are in spiritual DARKNESS. I hope this reminds you of present-day human nature and how most people react when confronted with their arguments, problems, and crimes.
We blame others rather than look at our own role in the situation. It’s so much easier and clear-conscious to point the finger at your husband, wife, child, adolescent, partner, boss, neighbor, rather than turn that finger around and point it at yourself. Few are willing even to entertain the idea that they have a role in a problem, let alone admit their own fault.
Let me interject a thought regarding the male and female relationship in marriage. Neither the man nor the woman played their God-given role. Remember, the woman is the helpmeet, the strong support, and the man is the one responsible for his wife. Eve should’ve counseled with her husband, and Adam should’ve steered his wife away from the tree. Their roles were inverted, she did the talking and took the lead, he took the backseat and just went along for the ride.
However, the woman’s admittance of what happened concerning the role of the Serpent is spot on the mark. The Serpent beguiled me. Read the beginning of verse 14, God turns to the Serpent and says, “you have done this.” It’s God’s affirmation of Eves’s declaration about the Serpent’s role,
YOU HAVE BEGUILED. This statement is possibly the most misunderstood and hence underestimated descriptives in the entire Bible. There’s a good reason why humankind does not focus on the Serpent beguiled me and the resultant catastrophic consequences which are eating humankind alive, literally, as The Explanation will show you.
נָשָׁא nâshâʼ naw-shaw’; a primitive root; to lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce:
KJV – beguile, deceive, ⨯ greatly, ⨯ utterly.
There are two areas over which humans have control. Their MENTAL PATTERNS and BEHAVIORAL ACTIONS. These two fundamental characteristics distinguish humans from animals. The mental aspect is our human nature coupled with free will. Our behavior is the way we conduct ourselves. Please notice Strong’s annotation above; it includes BOTH these aspects: mentally, to delude and morally (our behavior), to seduce. The Serpent influences BOTH of these prongs that characterize only humans.
Mentally – Here is self-deceit, maybe the worst. If you deceive yourself, if you’re so mentally convinced you’re right, then who can reason with you? Nobody. Self-deception is the plague of the mind.
Thus says the LORD; Deceive (H5377) not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart.
Morally – Laban tricked Jacob by switching his bride; this is a different Hebrew word, but it illustrates moral deceit.
And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this you have done to me? Did not I serve with you for Rachel? wherefore then have you beguiled (H7411) me?
Eve thought the Serpent’s arguments through, and she reasoned wrongly. The conviction that she would be wise after eating flooded her mind. In that she was right to say, the Serpent beguiled me. Adam, on the other hand, either didn’t think or did come to the right conclusion but followed his wife’s offer, blindly. The narrative doesn’t say which it is. Here’s the New Testament version of this same episode.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived (H538), but the woman being deceived (G538) was in the transgression.
Adam was not deceived, but he had a different transgression. Romans 5:14 says he sinned without defining what it was exactly, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,” Adam disobeyed His Creator in eating of the forbidden Tree, even though he was not deceived.
ἀπατάω apataō ap-at-ah’-o; Of uncertain derivation; to cheat that is delude: – deceive.
G539. ἀπάτη apatē ap-at’-ay; From G538; delusion: – deceit (-ful -fulness) deceivableness (-ving).
Two other verses use G538. Both refer to the use of words. The first one has a grave outcome. Vain or empty words refer to people who are leading others (their neighbors in Biblical jargon) into any sort of guilty morality. In our liberal 21st century, many don’t take God or His Word seriously. They distort His Word to condone or even promote behavior not in accordance with God’s Word. Such detractors are in this category of deceit and beguilement.
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceives G538 his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
In the second example above, we have the same appearance of religiosity as the Pharisees, coupled with runaway deceitful biblical or secular arguments. Remember, the Serpent told the woman 100% truth (if you eat of the Tree, you will surely die) and then the most blatant lie (your eyes will be opened, and you’ll be as gods). Twisted words. The Serpent beguiled me, said the woman, and that deceit covers EVERY color of the rainbow from red to violet and everything in-between. Here’s a final example of telling the truth to deceive.
12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
13 And they send to him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that you are true, and carest for no man: for you regard not the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, Why tempt you me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
Every word of the conversation of these phony erudite scholars was perfectly correct. If they really believed those words, they would have known Christ could answer their question. But their motives were far from upright. This hypocritical deception is tantamount to tempting God. When we know God can do something (like answer a question, read Exodus 17:7) and throw it in His face, it is beguilement.
The Serpent beguiled me; this statement has profound, grave implications in world affairs. Far more in-depth than most realize. If our society is getting more and more confusing, it is in large part due to deception. We are going to see just how deep these waters of beguilement run.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.5 of the book Agony of Humankind.
Go over to UnlockBibleMeaning.com, search for 2 Corinthians 11:3, and do a personal study.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity (G572) that is in Christ.
You’ll find that beguiled is related to deceive in 1 Timothy 2:14 quoted above. But, primarily focus on the simplicity (G572) in Christ. You’ll see the opposition in this word, compared to beguile. It’s this kind of approach to God and His Word you should be considering. Also, notice that Paul insists on MINDS being corrupted. The mind is the crucial element with which God is working.
G572 haplotes (hap-lot’-ace); from NT:573; singleness, i.e. (subjectively) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking), or (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal):
KJV – bountifulness, liberal (-ity), simplicity, singleness.
haplous (hap-looce’); probably from NT:1 (as a particle of union) and the base of NT:4120; properly, folded together, i.e. single (figuratively, clear):
KJV – single.
G4120 pleko (plek’-o); a primary word; to twine or braid:
KJV – plait. (Sam, sounds like assembling a puzzle correctly, that’s the goal of The Explanation)
Dig Deeper into The Explanation
Join The Explanation Newsletter to stay informed of updates. and future events. No obligations, total privacy, unsubscribe anytime, if you want.
The Explanation series of seven books. Free to read online or purchase these valuable commentaries on Genesis 1-3 from your favorite book outlet. E-book and paperback formats are available. Use this link to see the details of each book and buy from your favorite store.
Since you read all the way to here… you liked it. Please use the Social Network links just below to share this information from The Explanation, Beguiled by the Serpent. Meaning & Implication for You