Bible Articles on the Topic of Serpent

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Leviathan

Among the ancient civilizations there are myths about dragons. The Babylonian creation myth contains a battle between Merodach and a dragon (Tiamet). The destruction of this dragon turns into the creation of the earth and the ascendancy of Merodach.

Bible Basics: What Happened In Eden?

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4-5)

The Slanderer in the Torah

Evil speaking is sometimes worse than evil doing. In the Messianic age to come, because God by His grace removes the evil yetzer [the evil inclination, Heb. yetzer hara], the source of all slander, His people are able to do and to be good. Consequently, the Shechinah [God’s glorious presence] can once more rest and dwell among them.

The Serpent in Eden

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Your Father the Devil

John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it”.

How the Serpent Became Satan

Introduced as “the most clever of all of the beasts of the field that YHWH God had made,” the serpent in the Garden of Eden is portrayed as just that: a serpent. Satan does not make an appearance in Genesis 2–3, for the simple reason that when the story was written, the concept of the devil had not yet been invented. Explaining the serpent in the Garden of Eden as Satan would have been as foreign a concept to the ancient authors of the text as referring to Ezekiel’s vision as a UFO (but Google “Ezekiel’s vision” now, and you’ll see that plenty of people today have made that connection!). In fact, while the word satan appears elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, it is never a proper name; since there is no devil in ancient Israel’s worldview, there can’t yet have been a proper name for such a creature.

Eve Saw the Serpent Eat the Fruit and Live

Our attempt in the January Testimony to explain in simple terms the temptation of our first parents in Eden is freely criticized by an Australian reader, A.R.D.M. He writes: You endow the serpent with “human” intelligence. That, to me, is contrary to Scripture, and is far too superficial, and subject to ridicule. You will certainly say that the Scriptural record plainly states that the serpent and Eve “spoke” to each other, but that does not necessarily mean that the dialogue between them was literal, any more than the record in 2 Kings 14:9 about the “thistle” and the “cedar.”

Parshat Chukat: Healing and the Coiled Snake

Enough is enough! We have had it with these #@$%*$! snakes in this #@$%*$! desert!

Wrested Scriptures: Symbolic Serpent or Literal? (Genesis 3:1)

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field . . .”

Serpent

(Hebrew: nahash; Greek: ophis), frequently noticed in Scripture. More than forty species are found in Syria and Arabia. The poisonous character of the serpent is alluded to in Jacob’s blessing on Dan (Genesis 49:17; see Proverbs 30:18, 19; James 3:7; Jeremiah 8:17). (See ADDER.)

Asp

(פתן, pethen (Deuteronomy 32:33; Job 20:14, 16; Isaiah 11:8); ἀσπίς, aspís (Romans 3:13)); Any poisonous snake, or even poisonous snakes in general, would satisfy the context in all the passages cited. Pethen is also translated ADDER (which see) in Psalms 58:4; 91:13. Most authors have supposed the Egyptian cobra (Naia haje, L.) to be the snake meant, but while this is widely distributed throughout Africa, its occurrence in Southern Palestine seems to rest solely on the authority of Canon Tristram, who did not collect it. There are Other poisonous snakes in Palestine, any one of which would satisfy the requirements of these passages. See SERPENT. While the aspis of classical Greek literature may well have been the Egyptian cobra, it is to be noted that Vipera aspis, L., is confined to central and western Europe.

Basilisk

baz ́i-lisk (צפע, cepha‛, צפעוני, ciph‛ōnī, from obsolete root צפע, cāpha‛, “to hiss”: Isaiah 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jeremiah 8:17; Proverbs 23:32 m. In Proverbs 23:32, the King James Version has “adder,” margin “cockatrice”; in the other passages cited the King James Version has “cockatrice,” margin “adder” (except Jeremiah 8:17, no margin)): The word is from βασιλίσκος, basilískos, “kinglet,” from basileús, “king,” and signifies a mythical reptile hatched by a serpent from a cock’s egg. Its hissing drove away other serpents. Its look, and especially its breath, was fatal. According to Pliny, it was named from a crown-like spot on its head. It has been identified with the equally mythical COCKATRICE (which see). In all the passages cited, it denotes a venomous serpent (see ADDER; SERPENT), but it is impossible to tell what, if any, particular species is referred to. It must be borne in mind that while there are poisonous snakes in Palestine, there are more which are not poisonous, and most of the latter, as well as some harmless lizards, are commonly regarded as deadly. Several of the harmless snakes have crownlike markings on their heads, and it is quite conceivable that the basilisk myth may have been founded upon one of these.

Dragon

drag ́un (תּנּין, tannīn, plural תּנּים, tannīm, תּנּות, tannōth; δράκων, drákōn):

Leviathan

lḗ-vi ́a-than (לויתן, liwyāthān (Job 41:1-34), from  לוה, lāwāh, “to fold”; compare Arabic name of the wry neck, Iynx torq̱uilla, abū-luwā, from kindred, lawā, “to bend”):

Nehushtan

nḗ-hush ́tan (נהשׁתּן, neḥushtān; compare נחשׁת, neḥōsheth, “brass,” and נחשׁ, nāḥāsh, “serpent”):

Serpent

Serpents are not particularly abundant in Palestine, but they are often mentioned in the Bible. In the Hebrew there are 11 names. The New Testament has four Greek names and the Septuagint employs two of these and three others as well as several compound expressions, such as ὄφις πετάμενος, óphis petámenos, “flying serpent,” ὄφις θανατῶν, óphis thanatṓn, “deadly serpent,” and ὄφις δάκνων, óphis dáknōn, “biting” or “stinging serpent.” Notwithstanding this large vocabulary, it is impossible to identify satisfactorily a single species. Nearly every reference states or implies poisonous qualities, and in no case is there so much as a hint that a snake may be harmless, except in several expressions referring to the millennium, where their harmlessness is not natural but miraculous. In Arabic there is a score or more of names of serpents, but very few of them are employed at all definitely. It may be too much to say that the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine consider all snakes to be poisonous, but they do not clearly distinguish the non-poisonous ones, and there are several common and well-known species which are universally believed to be poisonous, though actually harmless. Of nearly 25 species which are certainly known to be found in Syria and Palestine, four are deadly poisonous, five are somewhat poisonous, and the rest are absolutely harmless. With the exception of ḳippōz, “dart-snake” (Isaiah 34:15) which is probably the name of a bird and not of a snake, every one of the Hebrew and Greek names occurs in passages where poisonous character is expressed or implied. The deadly poisonous snakes have large perforated poison fangs situated in the front of the upper jaw, an efficient apparatus like a hypodermic syringe for conveying the poison into the depths of the wound. In the somewhat poisonous snakes, the poison fangs are less favorably situated, being farther back, nearly under the eye. Moreover, they are smaller and are merely grooved on the anterior aspect instead of being perforated. All snakes, except a few which are nearly or quite toothless, have numerous small recurved teeth for holding and helping to swallow the prey, which is usually taken into the stomach while living, the peculiar structure of the jaws and the absence of a breast-bone enabling snakes to swallow animals which exceed the ordinary size of their own bodies.

Viper

vī ́pẽr (אפעה, ‘eph‛eh (Job 20:16; Isaiah 30:6; 59:5); ἄχιδνα, échidna (Matthew 3:7 = Luke 3:7; Matthew 12:34; 23:33; Acts 28:3)): Several vipers are found in Palestine, but it is not certain that ‘eph‛eh referred definitely to any of them. See SERPENT.

Serpent

Serpent, The frequent mention of this creature in the Bible, together with the important part which it plays in early mythology, justifies a fuller treatment of the subject here than could well be given under the special terms by which the several species are designated. To these, however, we also refer as affording further details on certain points.

Viper

Viper, is the uniform rendering, in the A.V., of עֶפעֶה, eph‘êh (from פָּעִה, prob. to hiss), which occurs only in Job 20:16; Isaiah 30:6; 59:5; and of ἔχιδνα (Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7; Acts 28:3). In all instances a venomous serpent is evidently denoted, but the particular kind, if anything more than a generic term, is indeterminable. The English name is derived from the Latin vivipara, which signifies “bringing, forth its young alive;” but, though the young are thus produced, they are previously formed in an egg within the parent’s ovary, and hence Isaiah’s allusion to the hatching of vipers (Isaiah 59:5) is perfectly justified by physiology and natural history. Hence it is used tropically for deceitful and wicked men (Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7). From the earliest ages the “viper” has been dreaded for its venomous bite, and made the emblem of everything that is hurtful and destructive; indeed, its poison is one of the most active and dangerous in the animal kingdom. The true viper is the adder (Pelias berus or Vipera berus), which retains its eggs until hatched. Its bite, however, is not necessarily fatal. So terrible was the nature of these creatures that they were very commonly thought to be sent as executioners of divine vengeance upon mankind for enormous crimes which had escaped the course of justice. The people of Melita showed that they were thoroughly imbued with this superstition when Paul was shipwrecked on the island (Acts 28:3). Such a dangerous serpent is known in the East by the name of leffah (i.e. el-effah, equivalent to the Heb. word); it is thus described by Shaw and Jackson as the most venomous of the serpent tribe in Northern Africa and South-western-Asia. It is remarkable for its quick and penetrating poison; it is about two feet long, and as thick as a man’s arm, beautifully spotted with yellow and brown, and sprinkled over with blackish specks similar to the horn-nosed snake. These serpents have a wide mouth with which they inhale a. great quantity of air, and when inflated therewith they eject it with such force as to be heard a considerable distance. The modern Oriental name is derived from an Arabic word which signifies “to burn,” whence some have inferred that the fiery serpents sent to chastise the Israelites in the desert were leffahs, or vipers. SEE SERPENT.

Aaron’s Rod Changed into a Serpent

Serpent

Aaron Cast Down His Rod Before Pharaoh

serpent

A Viper Fastened on to Paul’s Hand

Serpent

Bizarre Church

serpent

Controversial Tree (acrylic on paper)

Serpent

Cursed, Huh?

serpent

Curse of the Serpent

Serpent

God Makes the Snake

Serpent

Good and Evil (2007 gouache and colored pencil)

Serpent

Miracle of St. Paul on the Island of Malta

Serpent

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh (1537 oil on wood)

Serpent

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh

Serpent

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh

Serpent

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh

Serpent

Moses and Aaron before the Pharaoh (ca. 1585)

Serpent

Moses and the Serpent (1966 lithograph)

Serpent

Moses Changing Aaron’s Rod into a Snake

Serpent

Moses Changing Aaron’s Rod into a Snake

Serpent

Moses Changing Aaron’s Rod into a Snake

Serpent

Paul and the Snake

Serpent

Paul at Melita

Serpent

Paul Bitten by a Viper (17th c. engraving)

Serpent

Paul Bitten by a Viper

Serpent

Paul Shipwrecked on Malta

Serpent

Paul shook off the snake

Serpent

Paul Shook Off the Snake into the Fire

Serpent

The Rods of Moses and the Magicians Turned into Serpents

Serpent

The Rod of Aaron Devours the Other Rods (gouache on board)

Serpent

Saint Paul on Malta (detail)

Serpent

Saint Paul on Malta

Serpent

The Serpent

Serpent

Sheep Among Wolves (2004 etching)

Serpent

Staffs to Snakes

Serpent

The Story of Adam and Eve (2013 bronze relief)

Serpent

What Is This You Have Done?

serpent

Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves

Serpent

Serpents in the Bible

Serpents (Hebrew: נחש nāḥāš) are referred to in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. The symbol of a serpent or snake played important roles in religious and cultural life of ancient Egypt, Canaan, Mesopotamia and Greece. The serpent was a symbol of evil power and chaos from the underworld as well as a symbol of fertility, life and healing. Nachash, Hebrew for “snake,” is also associated with divination, including the verb-form meaning to practice divination or fortune-telling. In the Hebrew Bible, Nachash occurs in the Torah to identify the serpent in Eden. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, it is also used in conjunction with saraph to describe vicious serpents in the wilderness. Tanniyn, a form of dragon-monster, also occurs throughout the Hebrew Bible. In the Book of Exodus, the staffs of Moses and Aaron are turned into serpents, a nachash for Moses, a tanniyn for Aaron. In the New Testament, the Book of Revelation makes use of ancient serpent and the Dragon several times to identify Satan or the devil. (Revelation 12:9; 20:2) The serpent is most often identified with the hubristic Satan, and sometimes with Lilith.