There is a peculiar sort of symmetry when it comes to deception in Genesis. Each of these deceptions take place between husband and wife. In the first two cases, the husband deceives the wife. In the second set of cases, the wife deceives the husband. All these deceptions speak of a lack of trust between husband and wife; they do not trust their partner to understand and therefore trick them instead. It's quite sad to look at it from that perspective; one wonders how events could have proceeded differently if only they could have trusted each other.
ג וּמִפְּרִי הָעֵץ, אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹךְ-הַגָּן--אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ, וְלֹא תִגְּעוּ בּוֹ: פֶּן-תְּמֻתוּן.
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said: Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'
~Genesis 3: 3
Eve was not present when God warned Adam not to eat of the Tree of Life; the Rabbis infer from this that she received the injunction from her husband. Adam did not trust Eve with the truth; instead he gave over his version of the truth, telling her that she was forbidden to touch the tree in addition to eating from it. The serpent used this against her; he pushed her against the tree and she did not die from contact with it; he then logically and persuasively argued she would not die of eating from it.
ב וַתָּמָת שָׂרָה, בְּקִרְיַת אַרְבַּע הִוא חֶבְרוֹן--בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וַיָּבֹא, אַבְרָהָם, לִסְפֹּד לְשָׂרָה, וְלִבְכֹּתָהּ.
2 And Sarah died in Kiriatharba--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
~Genesis 23: 2
Abraham did not tell Sarah the truth; in the written text he does not even speak to her about God's command that he offer up their son. He does not trust her; he does not believe that she will abide by God's decree. To spare her the mental anguish he determines that he will do this on his own, informing her, if he tells her anything, that he is going to take a trip with his son. In the meantime, Satan comes and informs Sarah of what her husband means to do; the shock is so great that she suffers from a heart attack and dies. Is it not awful that it was Satan who broke the news to Sarah and not Abraham? The suggestion is that Abraham ought to have trusted his wife, to have told her the truth, to gently have explained to her that their son had been required of them by God. He should have trusted her to have the strength to follow God's decree. Instead, in attempting to spare her pain he brought her more pain; perhaps it was not merely the shock of being told what Abraham meant to do to Isaac that killed her, but the fact that Abraham had not trusted her, had deceived her.
יג וַתֹּאמֶר לוֹ אִמּוֹ, עָלַי קִלְלָתְךָ בְּנִי; אַךְ שְׁמַע בְּקֹלִי, וְלֵךְ קַח-לִי.
13 And his mother said unto him: 'Upon me be thy curse, my son; only hearken to my voice, and go fetch me them.'
~Genesis 27: 13
Rebecca does not trust Isaac to see that Jacob is the one who deserves the blessings; she does not even bother to speak with him and express her misgivings. Instead, she conceives of a plot whereby she can achieve her ends; she will trick her husband into giving the blessings to her son Jacob. According to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, blessings achieved by these means do not truly belong to Jacob and he must actually return them to Esau (since they were ill-gotten gains.)
כה וַיְהִי בַבֹּקֶר, וְהִנֵּה-הִוא לֵאָה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-לָבָן, מַה-זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לִּי--הֲלֹא בְרָחֵל עָבַדְתִּי עִמָּךְ, וְלָמָּה רִמִּיתָנִי.
25 And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban: 'What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?'
~Genesis 29: 25
Rachel and Jacob predict that Laban will attempt to marry Jacob off to the wrong daughter. For this reason they arrange for a series of signs by which Jacob will know that he has actually married the right woman. Rachel, however, gave Leah these signs (or in one particularly worrisome rendition, was in the same room during the time of consummation and spoke the signs so that Jacob would hear her voice and assume that Leah was she.) Instead of speaking to Jacob and informing him of the situation, hoping that he would take pity upon Leah, she deceived and betrayed him. And Jacob was not such a monster- in the morning he could have spoken angry words to Leah, calling her harsh names. And yet the verse says "he said to Laban." Rachel ought to have trusted him with the truth.
If these husbands and wives had trusted one another, perhaps Eve would never have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, Sarah would not have died in such a sudden and unforeseen manner, Jacob would have received the correct blessings in their proper time and Jacob would have chosen to marry Leah in addition to Rachel (which would perhaps have led to his having loved Leah more, not finding it necessary to "hate" her.)
Isn't it peculiar that none of our early ancestors seem to epitomize a true, loving and honest relationship? That they all deceive and betray one another rather than trusting each other to understand their point of view?
This leads me to wonder where we do find true and honest relationships in Tanakh. The first one that comes to mind is that of Jonathan and David, who were wholly honest with one another. I'm hard-pressed to think of another at the moment.