2 Timothy 2:26
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
The devil is a fowler, beholds the world like a great and spacious forest full of all kinds of beasts and birds, and setteth snares and gins in every corner to catch them.
1. In a snare there is subtlety, so in Satan's temptations.
(1) He never propounds a temptation in his own name. No, should he do so, his plot would be discerned prevented. How cunningly crept he into the serpent and seduced the woman? He conveyed himself into such things as we are least suspicious of. Who would have thought that any snare had been in the words of the apostle, Master pity thyself? Yet doth not Christ reply, "Get thee behind Me, Satan"?
(2) He can lay a snare in the very Scriptures. Though they be milk for babes, strong meat for grown men, he can poison all. Let Christ answer him by Scripture, straight he replies, tempting him by a place of Scripture. "Cast thyself down; for it is written, God shall give His angels charge over Thee that thou dash not Thy foot against a stone."(3) He can convey a temptation in the frame of a man's spirit. He conceives that some are apt to pride, malice, coveteousness, melancholy, mirth, silence, liberalness of speech, and according to our natural inclination he sets his gins for us. Thus he provides a wanton object in the time of idleness, a beautiful woman washing herself, and so the good king is caught in his net. What way the tree leans he thrusts it, and where the fence is weakest he seeks to enter. So subtley will he here lay a snare that we will hardly be brought to believe it is a temptation of Satan, but think rather it proceeds solely from our natural disposition.
2. In a snare there is cruelty; so here. He is called Abaddon, Apollion, a murderer, a destroyer.
3. In a snare is strength, and is it not to be found in Satan's temptations?
4. You shall find in Satan's temptations, as in snares, pleasures and suddenness. Were it not thus they were not snares properly. Was not the tree, in the eye of Eve, good for meat, pleasant, and to be desired to get knowledge (Genesis 3:6)? Were not the daughters of men fair (Genesis 6:2)? And in these was not a bait to catch the beholders? Have not fowlers a lure and call, as if they were birds themselves, to allure and deceive? Will they not scatter corn and all to seduce and bring within danger the little-suspicious birds? Do they not creep on their hands and knees, stand in close and secret places, and when the fowl is within reach how suddenly is the net pulled! Per adventure, when she is singing, playing, suspecting nothing, she is wound in. When Satan assaults, how eagerly, busily, and suddenly will he follow the prey? He sets a man's affections on fire, kindles such a heat within him that for the present the object of temptation seems wonderful fair, delightful, honourable; though when he is ensnared he perceives no such thing, but the direct contrary.
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.