3:1 the serpent. In the biblical world snakes were variously symbolic of life, wisdom, and chaos; the god of chaos is sometimes likened to a serpent (Job 26:12, 13; Is. 27:1). This serpent is an incarnation of Satan, the Adversary. See v. 15 note; “Satan” at Job 1:6.
more crafty. Satan’s choice of embodiment was a fitting instrument for his own malevolent brilliance (cf. 2 Cor. 11:13–15). His words must be carefully scrutinized. He can only be withstood with the help of God’s splendid armor (Matt. 4:1–11; Eph. 6:10–20).
woman. Satan subverts the marriage institution by bypassing the man, tempting the woman to usurp his authority (1 Tim. 2:12, 14). Nevertheless, the husband is held accountable for obeying her (vv. 9, 17).