Troublesome Topic: Passive Men and Dominant Women

Genesis 3:1


Now the serpent

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was more smooth

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than any living

thing from the field which YHVH

ELOHIM (read Adonai Elohim) had made. 

He said  to the woman,

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indeed said ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’”    (See comment below.)


It so happened that the serpent was the most smooth-talking, untrustworthy animal of all the living things that were created by THE PERSONAL AND ETERNAL GOD who is also THE SUPREME RULER that live out in the open countryside.

The serpent said to the woman,

“Is it really true that THE DEITY FIGURE restricted you from eating from every tree in the protected enclosure?”   (See comment below.)

Balancing the Roles of Men and Women

Why did the serpent ask this of Eve and not of Adam?

First of all, Eve had not heard God give the limitation; it was given to Adam, who had to pass it on to Eve. Also, Satan knew that if he could convince Eve, it would put Adam in a very bad place – having to choose between God and his wife. We know that Adam was charged with governing God’s creation, and Adam did not do his job. Maybe there was prior conversation that started to take them down the road that lead to this question. Adam should have stopped it before it even got this far. When the accusatory question was asked, he did not reprimand the serpent for questioning God’s authority, and he did not protect Eve from its negative influence. God had placed them in a protected enclosure (that is what “Eden” means), but it was up to the man to keep it that way.

Ever since this episode in Genesis 3, men have been tempted to go passive and do too little when they should step up and take action, while women have been tempted to want to do too much, to play a leadership role that was not initially given to them, in a word, to become domineering. Most women do not set out to be domineering, nor do they think of themselves in that way, but they are not the ones to set the definition of domineering. Many wives are much more domineering than they realize, and husbands are much more passive than they realize.

The reality is that women often desire a man that will be decisive, purposeful, and will know when to be strong and when to be gentle. The more passivity a husband shows the more dominance a wife will show. Even though these have become natural responses, men should strive with all diligence to not be passive, and women should intentionally learn how to be less dominant.

One of the consequences of the fall is that humans are constantly searching for balance and equilibrium, yet never finding it. In this issue of the roles of men and women, men have often abused their authority, and women have often over-reached. Both are guilty, it is not just one or the other. Yet God is perfectly balanced, and some of the pictures we are given of God are ones that emphasize that He is balanced. One of those pictures is the holy of holies, which is as high as it is wide as it is long. It is perfect symmetry, and so is God.

The next lesson is: Malachi 4 and Luke 1 on the Importance of Fathers

The next lesson on the topic of Lessons of Genesis by Chapter is: The Importance of Death in Scripture



The word for serpent denotes “something that hisses and bites.” Later, because of what is recorded in this chapter, the word “serpent” is the same as “crafty or deceptive,” and is one of the names for Satan.

2: “smooth”

This choice of words is most interesting because it is extremely close to the word used earlier of Adam and Eve to indicate their nakedness. The two words seem to come from the same root. It came to mean “crafty, cunning or clever,” but it appears that it may have been derived from the idea of “smoothness, or bareness.” As with many other words, there is a lack of agreement among the scholars about the root from which it is derived, but a connection to smoothness (given by Strong) makes the most sense to me because it is the only one that explains how “naked” and “crafty” could both come from the same root, as it appears they did. Smooth skin being fully exposed means one is naked, smoothness in personality and relationships means one is smooth-talking, convincing and crafty. The smooth talker is so good that when he presents his case, the listener finds no problems with it, nothing to catch (like hair or fur can catch a hand) or slow down the mental process (like rough skin can slow down the hand). Because of the play on words found in this context, “smoothness” seems to be the best fit. The parts of Scripture written in Hebrew are full of such plays on words.

The closeness in words would not have gone unnoticed by the ancient Hebrews, and they would have taken from it that the serpent presented himself to be just like them. Although the conversations prior to the one in which he tempted Eve are not recorded for us, it appears that there were a few of those, and that in them he highlighted the similarities between himself and Adam and Eve in order to win their confidence.

There are at least two other Hebrew words that mean “crafty or shrewd.” The word found here is used elsewhere in the Old Testament where it is sometimes a negative and sometimes a positive. In Proverbs the ability to be shrewd (or smooth) seems to indicate knowing what to say and thus it is equated with wisdom. When it is used negatively it means knowing what to say in order to get your own way. Thus we see that the difference is primarily the intent of the speaker and the condition of his heart. A person with an evil heart is willing to be deceitful in his speech in order to get his way; a person with a good heart will be honest and wise in what he says. In the paraphrase column above I have described the serpent as untrustworthy because we have heard the story and we know that this smooth-talking creature proved to be deceitful and unreliable.


We can be confident that this is not their first conversation because the question that he asks her is not one that is normal as a starting point.

4: "has Elohim"

The serpent does not call God YHVH ELOHIM, because YHVH has a personal element, the God who is interested in each person and intimately connected to each individual who wants an intimate connection. The serpent will never seek or even acknowledge the possibility of such closeness. You will also notice that I have changed the meaning of the name Elohim in the paraphrase column to mean something much more general than usual for Satan would never acknowledge that God is actually the supreme ruler.