“You will not die.” The Hebrew text much more graphically shows the boldness of the serpent than do most English versions. Once the Devil knew that Eve was not clear on what God said, he blatantly and powerfully contradicted it, ending his sentence here in Genesis 3:4 with the same two verbs with the same verb tenses that God had used in His command in Genesis 2:17 when He said, “die, yes, die,” but the Devil changed God’s singular verbs to plural verbs to include both Adam and Eve and said that they would not “die, yes, die.” God used the figure polyptoton for emphasis in Genesis 2:16-17, and the Devil used it here to renounce what God had said. God said if they ate they would “die, yes, die.” The serpent basically quoted God but in the negative, saying, “You will not ‘die, yes, die.’”
The Devil’s lie, that Adam and Eve would not die, is still believed among many people today, that a person never actually dies. Many Christians believe that the “soul” (the real person) continues to live.
[For more on the figure of speech polyptoton, see commentary on Genesis 2:16. For more on death being actual total death, see Appendix 4, “The Dead are Dead.”]