Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (NIV)
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?(KJV)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" (NASB)
the serpent. The word means "snake." The apostle John identified this creature as Satan (cf. Rev. 12:9; 20:2) as did Paul (2 Cor. 11:3). The serpent, a manifestation of Satan, appears for the first time before the Fall of man. The rebellion of Satan, therefore, had occurred sometime after 1:31 (when everything in creation was good), but before 3:1. Cf. Ezek. 28:11-15 for a possible description of Satan's dazzling beauty and Is. 14:13,14 for Satan's motivation to challenge God's authority (cf. 1 John 3:8). Satan, being a fallen archangel and, thus, a supernatural spirit, had possessed the body of a snake in its pre-Fall form (cf. 3:14 for post-Fall form).
to the woman. She was the object of his attack, being the weaker one and needing the protection of her husband. He found her alone and unfortified by Adam's experience and counsel. Cf. 2 Tim. 3:6. Though sinless, she was temptable and seducible.
Has God..said..? In effect Satan said, "Is it true that He has restricted you from the delights of this place? This is not like one who is truly good and kind. There must be some mistake." He insinuated doubt as to her understanding of God's will, appearing as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) to lead her to the supposed true interpretation. She received him without fear or surprise, but as some credible messenger from heaven with the true understanding, because of his cunning.