Genesis 3:1 English Standard Version (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Is this where the nature of the snake oil salesman originated, in original sin. That however is not what gets credit for the term. Most searches will reveal this as the source of the term.
Snake oil salesmen – a term now used to refer to charlatans peddling their fraudulent wares – got the idea from Chinese laborers working on the First Transcontinental Railroad. They used the oils produced by the Chinese water snake, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to soothe sore muscles or treat arthritis. (credit goes to many different sources)
We see manipulation in so many areas of our lives that we just take it for granted. We want something, anything, and we try to find a way to get what we want. When others do it we call it salesmanship. During this internet age it appears as spam or phishing. Every ad uses some degree of manipulation to either play on our emotions or our fears.
Some are so blatantly sinful as to play directly to the sin nature of those trapped in a constant loop of unsatisfying appetites that others easily avoid. Most of those only want money and could care less how their “customers” are afflicted.
It is in our original sin nature where selfish designs appear. Even if it is a good thing, we still “want it”.
Some of us have God given gifts. Then we recognize that we “want” to use it. We “want” others to recognize and appreciate it. We “want” a bigger audience and seek a bigger stage, a network, followers, and slowly but surely our sin nature goes from servant to salesman.
It doesn’t matter what “goods” we peddle if self does the “wanting”.