We are going to begin to talk about what was in it for the nachash and why was he trying to trip up Adam and Chava. The story begins with the forbidden fruit in Gen 2.16-17. We have learned that the Garden was planted “to the east” but it doesn’t say “to the east” of what (Gen 2.8-9). Then he places man in the garden to cultivate and keep it (Gen 15-16). In Gen 2.20 we learn that Adam named all the animals brought before him, but a suitable helper was not found among them. So, we learn that he was “looking.” God causes a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and he took his “side” (Hebrew Tzelah) and formed “Ishah” or woman. The word for side can also mean “chamber” and it is found in Ezek 41.3 when taking about the side “cells” of the Temple.
God forms an “Ishah” or woman, and this incident is used by Paul in Eph 5.22-23 to illustrate the relationship between the Messiah and his bride. Now, the book of Ephesians was probably written around Rosh ha Shannah because of the terms, phrases, idioms and concepts in the book. One of the themes of Rosh ha Shannah is the wedding of the Messiah. Now, in Gen 2, there seems to be a “rabbit trail.” We have the creation of man, a helpmate and other things. But, we also have the two tree’s. What was the Lord going for in a “rabbit trail.” We need to go down this trail to pick up some concepts in our understanding. Some people don’t like rabbit trails. They want us to “just tell me straight and simple” which is the “easy” way. The problem is you need to pick up the concepts you will find there. These trails give us that.
What is the number one problem in the faith? People are lazy, they want to be told everything, they don’t want to follow the paths. In Heb 5.12-14 it says that the Hebrews should have been teachers, but they needed to have someone teach them the elementary principles of the Scriptures. They needed milk instead of meat. They were “babies” needing milk instead of mature believers who need solid food, trained to discern good and evil. Why did God interrupt the story of the tree in Gen 2.16-18 with the story of the need to find a “helper (bride)?” You cannot understand the nachash and the temptation without all this! Was the nachash tempted, or did he have a motive? We read about the “beasts of the field” in Gen 2.19, which is the term “chayat hisedeh” in Hebrew. It is only used 2 times in the Scriptures, here and in Gen 3.1. We know that there was not a fitting helper for Adam from among the beasts of the field (chayat hisedeh). In the Midrash Bereshit Rabbah 18.6, it says that the nachash had a motive. He wanted Adam to die, then be free to have Chava, or it could be that if he could remove Chava, he could be the “helper” of Adam. Assassination is the motive, but how? He has to use the truth, to be “crafty” and “craft it” in such a way that they would fall for it. There is nothing new under the sun. Several things need to be brought out here. God allowed Satan to use this creature (nachash) and Satan is never mentioned in Genesis. Another thing, the nachash is a serpent, and serpents do not have ears (can’t “hear”) and this creature was to become a sacred symbol in paganism after this.
What the nachash did worked then, and it works now. Ever wonder what animals think of us? They may be thinking, “What makes you humans so special. Why do you control me. Why do you only qualify for each other.” The animals came before Adam to be named and to see which one was a candidate for “helper”, but he found none. God said it was not good for the man to be alone. Now, when we look at the nachash, we have to ask “What is in it for him?” Why couldn’t an animal be a suitable helper?” Lets look at paganism. How does idolatry present “god?” We see “cow people” and “goat people” and even “snake people.” We see animal parts with human. Just look at the gods in paganism. In Gen 2.23 we read that when Chava was created, he said she was “Bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” Woman (ishah) was taken from man, from his “side” (chamber, cell=”tzelah”) and not from an animal. The pagan “gods” and their animal-like attributes is a perversion of the truth, and is more in line with what the nachash was going for, to be a suitable “helper” for Adam.
Now the nachsh says in Gen 3.1, “Has God indeed said you shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” in the NKJV. In the Stone Tanach it says, “Did perhaps God say you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” In the Shottenstein Interlinear it says, “Is it so that God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The Hertz Pentateuch says, “Yea, has God said you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch says, “Even if God said not to eat from any of the trees of the garden.” These verses in these various translations leaves it hanging and it doesn’t really make sense. It is implied that he said “Even if God said not to eat from any of the tress in the garden, so what! Do it anyway.” Rabbi Hirsch said to understand the words of the nachash is a matter of emphasis. The emphasis is on the word “said.” Nachash is tempting “through” what God said. He is not challenging the authority of God, his argument is limited to this: he is saying that God’s spoken words are not something you should pay attention to.
To paraphrase the nachash, he would be saying something like this: “God may have said to avoid the tree, but the question is “Do you want to eat from the tree?” You deserve to. And let’s say you do desire it, where do you think those desires come from? Who put those desires inside you? Wasn’t God the one who put them inside you? Certainly he did because he is your maker.” In other words, God is the one that makes you desire the tree. So, if God put it there, then it is alright. You have the voice of God within you. You don’t need what God said literally, you can be directed by the word of God within you.”
From now on, this is going to get heavy. Nachash points to this contradiction. God’s voice instructs you not to eat from the tree, but you have another voice within you (the desires and passions). That voice calls and leads you to eat from the tree, so which voice should you listen to? Which voice is “primary.” So, it is like he is saying, “I don’t know about you, but if I were in your shoes, here is how I would see it. Even if God said don’t eat of the tree, so what! It is not the voice of God in words that is primary, it is the voice inside of you that is primary.”
Ever heard of the expression, “Run for the hills?” Every time we hear someone say that they are “led by the Spirit of God” the first thought we have is to “run.” We need to get to know that person before we will believe them, because there are people who are being led of God. But, we need to get to know them. But our first inclination is to head to the door when someone says this. In our experience, they don’t know what they are talking about. The people who believe this can be dangerous. They may be fervent and passionate and everyone thinks they are spiritual and should be followed, but that doesn’t mean they are from God. Deut 13.1-5 and Isa 8.20 tell us what to do with such people. If what they are saying is contrary to the Scriptures and they are leading you away from the Word of God (What God said, like in the garden) then they are not from God. Even if they show you signs and wonders, they are not from God. God is testing us to see if we are going to follow because of the signs and wonders, or are we going to test what they are saying by the Scriptures. In most cases, people are ignorant and follow their own passions and are not being “used” by Satan, but then again, some are.
We have learned in Gen 2.25 that the word “naked” is “arum” in Hebrew. But, “arum” is also used in Gen 3.1 for “crafty.” There seems to be a contradiction between what is “open” and what is “hidden.” How can they be the same? But, this is the “craft” of nachash. We have “devious” or even “malicious” words used to describe the nachash. But, he presents himself as “innocent.” He is straight-forward and didn’t say anything that wasn’t true in reality. You do have a “voice” within you, and God did give you your desires and passions (voice). So, in that case, it is very “exposed” or “arum.” But, it is also “cloaked.” He is telling you what it is like to be a nachash. An animal has been given an “inner voice” called instinct by God. We have “instincts” but an animal lives by instinct because that is how they survive. It isn’t a matter of “judgment” with an alligator if he wants to bite you. He doesn’t “mull things over” in his head. A viper doesn’t “think things over” when they strike, it’s all instinct, or passion. So, the Lord makes his will known to the animals by instinct, passion and desires. That is the temptation of nachash, to “rationalize.” That is what separates humans from animals.
In Part 6, we will pick up here and continue with this line of thought and dig deeper into what was happening during this subject in Genesis 2 and 3. We will discuss the commandments and why they were given, why nachash was trying to force Adam and Chava to confront what it means to be human and not animals. He is being straight-forward, but crafty (arum). We will also bring out many more concepts that will be very helpful in our walk with the Lord. Hopefully, you will begin to really see some things that you never saw before. What we are going for is to show you what the primary voice is that we should be listening to, and to ignore that “inner voice” that can lead us astray through our passions and desires.