Three times in a King James Bible someone is described as being “subtil”. The word is used as an adjective. One person is described as more subtil, (Genesis 3:1 – the serpent) one as a subtil man (II Samuel 13:3- Jonadab), and one as subtil of heart (Proverbs 7:10- the woman in the attire of a harlot). One is a serpent, one is a man and one is a woman. If we were doing a psychological analysis of these three, we would find great differences in their appearance, their culture, their genealogy, and many other things. The one common theme that we would discover with each of them is that they are subtil.
They have a sly approach to people and they have motives that are driven by their own covetous desires. We could find many other words to describe our three subjects. We wouldn't call them subtil if they only desired to live their own lives, and be content in the misery of their lives without affecting others. In fact, many people, would fall into a category of “a harmless sinner” if they have need of a Saviour. But whether they remain in sin due to ignorance, neglect, unbelief or other factors, they do not instill their ways on others in an attempt to destroy them and therefore we would not call them subtil.
Please take note of the woman in Proverbs 7:10 for a moment. The Bible does not say that she is a harlot, but rather that she has the attire of a harlot. The discerning man knew that the young man headed to her house was in trouble because he could see the treachery laid out by the woman who was subtil of heart. The young man had not heard that she was a harlot, and she wasn’t even known as a harlot, but she wore the attire of a harlot because of her desire to lure the young man to her.
Jonadab knew how to convince Amnon to force Tamar so that he could lie with her. He did not announce his evil intentions. He didn’t let anyone know of the treachery, but he stayed close enough to Amnon to learn his ways, and to see what swayed him. Finally when the time was right he sprung his trap and snared his prey. It cost Amnon his life. Please do not ever forget that Amnon had a friend. This was someone close to him; someone he confided in; someone he could trust. A subtil man.
The serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. He was more subtil than the alligator snapping turtle, which lays in the mud in a cloak of invisibility, wiggles his little pink worm like tongue and eats bluegills with his powerful jaws when they come to bite that little worm. He was more subtil than the female black widow spider, who after mating will often devour the unsuspecting male spider without any warning at all. He has never announced his intentions, but has been patiently waiting for the right moment to spring his trap to destroy those in his sights.
Subtilty in our King James Bible is a noun which describes a deliberate condition that is set by the worker of subtilty. He does not announce his intentions (II Kings 10:19- Jehu who is seeking to destroy the prophets of Baal), and presents something other than the facts necessary to obtain his desires (Genesis 27:35- Jacob taking away the blessing), or simply withstands the things of God (Acts 13:10- Elymas the sorcerer). Subtilty is used by most religious practitioners because they have plans that differ from God’s plans, and ways that differ from God’s ways.
As I recently read some of the posts on this blog, I realized that the attacks on our blessed King James Bible are mostly very open and public attacks and the simple of mind are easily fallen prey to this way of thinking. It is the subtilty of the attacks that is wreaking the most havoc in churches and families with underhanded changes that have slipped under the radar. Just recently I was talking to a dear pastor and we discussed what Bible was the best of the King James Bibles on the market. He had no idea that there was even an issue with his Bible and assumed that his text was as good as the next guys. The serpent has used subtilty to take back the King James Bible and most Christians simply dismiss it as the young man in Proverbs dismissed the woman as harmless, as Amnon dismissed his dear friend Jonadab as harmless, and as Eve dismissed the serpent as simply a silly little creature.