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Serpent (40 Occurrences)

Matthew 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

John 3:14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Revelation 12:14 Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Revelation 12:15 The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Has God really said,'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, "You won't surely die, (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 3:13 Yahweh God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 3:14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 49:17 Dan will be a serpent in the way, an adder in the path, That bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Exodus 4:3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Exodus 7:9 "When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying,'Perform a miracle!' then you shall tell Aaron,'Take your rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent.'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)

Exodus 7:10 Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as Yahweh had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)

Exodus 7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. Behold, he goes out to the water; and you shall stand by the river's bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Numbers 21:7 The people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against Yahweh, and against you. Pray to Yahweh, that he take away the serpents from us." Moses prayed for the people. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Numbers 21:8 Yahweh said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard: and it shall happen, that everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Numbers 21:9 Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it on the standard: and it happened, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of brass, he lived. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Deuteronomy 8:15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where there was no water; who brought you forth water out of the rock of flint; (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah: and he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for to those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Job 26:13 By his Spirit the heavens are garnished. His hand has pierced the swift serpent. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Psalms 58:4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Psalms 91:13 You will tread on the lion and cobra. You will trample the young lion and the serpent underfoot. (WEB JPS ASV NAS RSV NIV)

Psalms 140:3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent. Viper's poison is under their lips. Selah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Proverbs 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Proverbs 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maiden. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Ecclesiastes 10:8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Ecclesiastes 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Isaiah 14:29 Don't rejoice, O Philistia, all of you, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent's root an adder will emerge, and his fruit will be a fiery flying serpent. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 27:1 In that day, Yahweh with his hard and great and strong sword will punish leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and leviathan the twisted serpent; and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 30:6 The burden of the animals of the South. Through the land of trouble and anguish, of the lioness and the lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they carry their riches on the shoulders of young donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to an unprofitable people. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain," says Yahweh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 46:22 The sound of it shall go like the serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as wood cutters. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me, he has made me an empty vessel, he has, like a monster, swallowed me up, he has filled his maw with my delicacies; he has cast me out. (See NIV)

Amos 5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

Amos 9:3 Though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out there; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it will bite them. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Micah 7:17 They will lick the dust like a serpent. Like crawling things of the earth they shall come trembling out of their dens. They will come with fear to Yahweh our God, and will be afraid because of you. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Serpent (40 Occurrences)
... 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.). ...
/s/serpent.htm - 46k

Serpent's (7 Occurrences)
... Multi-Version Concordance Serpent's (7 Occurrences). ... Psalms 140:3 They have sharpened
their tongue like a serpent; vipers' venom is under their lips. ...
/s/serpent's.htm - 8k

Serpent-charming. << Serpentcharming, Serpent-charming. Serpents >>. Int.
Standard Bible Encyclopedia SERPENT-CHARMING. -charm ...
/s/serpent-charming.htm - 6k

Nehushtan (1 Occurrence)
... Of copper; a brazen thing a name of contempt given to the serpent Moses had made
in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8), and which Hezekiah destroyed because the ...
/n/nehushtan.htm - 11k

Adder (9 Occurrences)
... (2.) Pethen ("twisting"), a viper or venomous serpent identified with the cobra
(Naja haje) (Psalm 58:4; 91:13); elsewhere "asp.". ... 2. (n.) A serpent. ...
/a/adder.htm - 11k

Cockatrice (3 Occurrences)
... The mediaeval name (a corruption of "crocodile") of a fabulous serpent supposed
to be produced from a cock's egg. ... 2. (n.) A representation of this serpent. ...
/c/cockatrice.htm - 10k

Basilisk (3 Occurrences)
... (in RV, Isaiah 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jeremiah 8:17), the "king serpent," as the ... (see
COCKATRICE.). Noah Webster's Dictionary. 1. (n.) A fabulous serpent, or dragon. ...
/b/basilisk.htm - 9k

Leviathan (5 Occurrences)
... As used in Isaiah 27:1, "leviathan the piercing [RV `swift'] serpent, even
leviathan that crooked [RV marg. `winding'] serpent," the ...
/l/leviathan.htm - 10k

Bitten (6 Occurrences)
... Numbers 21:8 Yahweh said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard:
and it shall happen, that everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall ...
/b/bitten.htm - 8k

Crooked (31 Occurrences)
... 3:9); (3) difficulties (removed by God, Isaiah 42:16). SERPENT, CROOKED.
krook'-ed: With reference to the constellation round the ...
/c/crooked.htm - 17k

4436. puthon -- Python, a mythical serpent slain by Apollo ...
... Python, a mythical serpent slain by Apollo, divination. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: puthon Phonetic Spelling: (poo'-thone) Short Definition ...
/greek/4436.htm - 6k

3789. ophis -- a snake
... a snake. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: ophis Phonetic Spelling:
(of'-is) Short Definition: a serpent Definition: a serpent, snake; used of ...
/greek/3789.htm - 6k

2062. herpeton -- a creeping thing
... herpeton Phonetic Spelling: (her-pet-on') Short Definition: a creeping creature,
reptile Definition: a creeping creature, reptile, especially a serpent. ...
/greek/2062.htm - 6k

1404. drakon -- a dragon (a mythical monster)
... monster). Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: drakon Phonetic Spelling:
(drak'-own) Short Definition: a dragon or huge serpent Definition: a dragon ...
/greek/1404.htm - 7k

2191. echidna -- a viper
... a viper. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: echidna Phonetic Spelling:
(ekh'-id-nah) Short Definition: a serpent, snake, viper Definition: a serpent ...
/greek/2191.htm - 6k

785. aspis -- an asp
... asp. Of uncertain derivation; a buckler (or round shield); used of a serpent (as
coiling itself), probably the "asp" -- asp. (aspidon) -- 1 Occurrence. ...
/greek/785.htm - 6k

3644. olothreutes -- a destroyer
... destroyer. From olothreuo; a ruiner, ie (specially), a venomous serpent -- destroyer.
see GREEK olothreuo. (olothreutou) -- 1 Occurrence. << 3643b, 3644. ...
/greek/3644.htm - 6k

Smith's Bible Dictionary

The Hebrew word nachash is the generic name of any serpent. The following are the principal biblical allusions to this animal its subtlety is mentioned in (Genesis 3:1) its wisdom is alluded to by our Lord in (Matthew 10:18) the poisonous properties of some species are often mentioned, see (Psalms 58:4; Proverbs 25:32) the sharp tongue of the serpent is mentioned in (Psalms 140:3; Job 20:16) the habit serpents have of lying concealed in hedges and in holes of walls is alluded to in (Ecclesiastes 10:8) their dwelling in dry sandy places, in (8:10) their wonderful mode of progression did not escape the observation of the author of (Proverbs 30:1) ... who expressly mentions it as "one of the three things which were too wonderful for him." ver. 19. The art of taming and charming serpents is of great antiquity, and is alluded to in (Psalms 58:5; Ecclesiastes 10:11; Jeremiah 8:17) and doubtless intimated by St. James, (James 3:7) who particularizes serpents among all other animals that "have been tamed by man." It was under the form of a serpent that the devil seduced Eve; hence in Scripture Satan is called "the old serpent." (Revelation 12:9) and comp. 2Cor 11:3 Hence, as a fruit of the tradition of the Fall, the serpent all through the East became the emblem of the spirit of evil, and is so pictured even on the monuments of Egypt. It has been supposed by many commentators that the serpent, prior to the Fall, moved along in an erect attitude. It is quite clear that an erect mode of progression is utterly incompatible with the structure of a serpent; consequently, had the snakes before the Fall moved in an erect attitude they must have been formed on a different plan altogether. The typical form of the serpent and its mode of progression were in all probability the same before: the Fall as after it; but subsequent to the Fall its form and progression were to be regarded with hatred and disgust by all mankind, and thus the animal was cursed above all cattle," and a mark of condemnation was forever stamped upon it. Serpents are said in Scripture to "eat dust," see (Genesis 3:14; Isaiah 65:25; Micah 7:17) these animals which for the most part take their food on the ground, do consequently swallow with it large portions of sand and dust. Throughout the East the serpent was used as an emblem of the evil principle, of the spirit of disobedience and contumacy. Much has been written on the question of the "fiery serpents" of (Numbers 21:6,8) with which it is usual to erroneously identify the "fiery flying serpent" of (Isaiah 14:29) and Isai 30:6 The word "fiery" probably signifies "burning," in allusion to the sensation produced by the bite. The Cerastes , or the Naia haje , or any other venomous species frequenting Arabia, may denote the "serpent of the burning bite" which destroyed the children of Israel. The snake that fastened on St. Paul's hand when he was at Melita, (Acts 28:5) was probably the common viper of England, Pelias berus . (See also ADDER; ASP] When God punished the murmurs of the Israelites in the wilderness by sending among them serpents whose fiery bite was fatal, Moses, upon their repentance, was commanded to make a serpent of brass, whose polished surface shone like fire, and to set it up on the banner-pole in the midst of the people; and whoever was bitten by a serpent had but to look up at it and live. (Numbers 21:4-9) The comparison used by Christ, (John 3:14,15) adds a deep interest to this scene. To present the serpent form, as deprived of its power to hurt, impaled as the trophy of a conqueror was to assert that evil, physical and spiritual, had been overcome, and thus help to strengthen the weak faith of the Israelites in a victory over both. Others look upon the uplifted serpent as a symbol of life and health, it having been so worshipped in Egypt. The two views have a point of contact, for the serpent is wisdom . Wisdom, apart from obedience to God, degenerates to cunning, and degrades and envenoms man's nature. Wisdom, yielding to the divine law, is the source of healing and restoring influences, and the serpent form thus became a symbol of deliverance and health; and the Israelites were taught that it would be so with them in proportion as they ceased to be sensual and rebellious. Preserved as a relic, whether on the spot of its first erection or elsewhere the brazen serpent, called by the name of Nehushtan , became an object of idolatrous veneration, and the zeal of Hezekiah destroyed it with the other idols of his father. (2 Kings 18:4) [NEHUSHTAN]

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


1. General:

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 ophis petamenos, "flying serpent," ophis thanaton, "deadly serpent," and ophis daknon, "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 qippoz, "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.

2. Serpents of Palestine and Syria:

The following list includes all the serpents which are certainly known to exist in Palestine and Syria, omitting the names of several which have been reported but whose occurrence does not seem to be sufficiently confirmed. The range of each species is given.

(1) Harmless Serpents.

Typhlops vermicularis Merr., Greece and Southwestern Asia; T. simoni Bttgr., Palestine; Eryx jaculus L., Greece, North Africa, Central and Southwestern Asia; Tropidonotus tessellatus Laur., CentraI and Southeastern Europe, Central and Southwestern Asia; Zamenis gemonensis Laur., Central and Southeastern Europe, Greek islands, Southwestern Asia; Z. dahlii Fitz., Southeastern Europe, Southwestern Asia, Lower Egypt; Z. rhodorhachis Jan., Egypt, Southwestern Asia, India; Z. ravergieri Menatr., Southwestern Asia: Z. nummifer Renss., Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, Asia Minor; Oligodon melanocephalus Jan., Syria, Palestine, Sinai, Lower Egypt; Contia decemlineata D. and B., Syria, Palestine; C. collaris Menerr., Greek islands, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine; C. rothi Jan., Syria, Palestine; C. coronella Schleg., Syria, Palestine

(2) Somewhat Poisonous Serpents.

Tarbophis savignyi Blgr., Syria, Palestine, Egypt; T. fallax Fleischm., Balkan Peninsula, Greek islands, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine; Coelopeltis monspessulana Herre., Mediterranean countries, Caucasus, Persia; Psammophis schokari Forsk., North Africa, Southwestern Asia; Micrelaps muelleri Bttgr., Syria, Palestine

(3) Deadly Poisonous Serpents.

Vipera ammodytes L., Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, Syria; Vipera lebetina L., North Africa, Greek islands, Southwestern Asia; Cerastes cornutus Forsk., Egypt, Sinai, Arabia; Echis coloratus Gthr., Southern Palestine, Arabia, Socotra.

To this list should be added the scheltopusik, a large snake-like, limbless lizard, Ophiosaurus apus, inhabiting Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, Persia, Syria and Palestine, which while perfectly harmless is commonly classed with vipers.

Of all these the commonest is Zamenis nummifer, Arabic `aqd-ul-jauz, "string of walnuts," a fierce but non-poisonous snake which attains the length of a meter. Its ground color is pale yellow and it has a dorsal series of distinct diamond-shaped dark spots. Alternating with spots of the dorsal row are on each side two lateral rows of less distinct dark spots. It is everywhere considered to be fatal. Another common snake is Zamenis gemonensis, Arabic chanash, which attains the length of two meters. It is usually black and much resembles the American black snake, Zamenis constrictor. Like all species of Zamenis, these ire harmless. Other common harmless snakes are Zamenis dahlii, Tropidonotus tessellatus which is often found in pools and streams, Contia collaris, Oligodon melanocephalus, a small, nearly toothless snake with the crown of the head coal black.

Among the somewhat poisonous snakes, a very common one is Coelopeltis monspessulana, Arabic al-chaiyat ul-barshat, which is about two meters long, as larke as the black snake. It is uniformly reddish brown above, paler below. Another is Psammophis schokari. Arabic an-nashshab, "the arrow." It is about a meter long, slender, and white with dark stripes. Many marvelous and utterly improbable tales are told of its jumping powers, as for instance that it can shoot through the air for more than a hundred feet and penetrate a tree like a rifle bullet.

The commonest of the deadly poisonous snakes is Vipera lebetina, which attains the length of a meter, has a thick body, a short tail, a broad head and a narrow neck. It is spotted somewhat as Zamenis nummifer, but the spots are less regular and distinct and the ground color is gray rather than yellow. It does not seem to have a distinct name. Cerastes cornutus, having two small horns, which are modified scales, over the eyes, is a small but dangerous viper, and is found in the south. Not only are the species of poisonous serpents fewer than the non-poisonous species, but the individuals also appear to be less numerous. The vast majority of the snakes which are encountered are harmless.

3. Names:

As stated above, all of the Hebrew and Greek names except qippoz, which occurs only in Isaiah 34:15, are used of snakes actually or supposedly poisonous. This absence of discrimination between poisonous and non-poisonous kinds makes determination of the species difficult. Further, but few of the Hebrew names are from roots whose meanings are clear, and there is little evident relation to Arabic names.

(1) The commonest Hebrew word is nachash, which occurs 31 times and seems to be a generic word for serpent. While not always clearly indicating a venomous serpent, it frequently does: e.g. Psalm 58:4; Psalm 140:3 Proverbs 23:32 Ecclesiastes 10:8, 11 Isaiah 14:29 Jeremiah 8:17; Amos 5:19. According to BDB it is perhaps from an onomatopoetic nachash, "to hiss." It may be akin to the Arabic chanash, which means "snake" in general, or especially the black snake. Compare Ir-nahash (1 Chronicles 4:12); Nahash

(a) (1 Samuel 11:1 2 Samuel 10:2),

(b) (2 Samuel 17:27),

(c) (2 Samuel 17:25); also nechosheth, "copper" or "brass"; and nechushtan, "Nehushtan," the brazen serpent (2 Kings 18:4). But BDB derives the last two words from a different root.

(2) saraph, apparently from saraph, "to burn," is used of the fiery serpents of the wilderness. In Numbers 21:8, it occurs in the singular: "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard." In 21:6 we have ha-nechashim ha-seraphim, "fiery serpents"; in Deuteronomy 8:15 the same in the singular: nachash saraph, also translated "fiery serpents"; in Isaiah 14:29; Isaiah 30:6 we have saraph me`opheph, "fiery flying serpent." The same word in the plural seraphim, is translated "seraphim" in Isaiah 6:2, 6.

(3) tannin, elsewhere "dragon" or "seamonster" (which see), is used of the serpents into which the rods of Aaron and the magicians were transformed (Exodus 7:9, 10, 12), these serpents being designated by nachash in Exodus 4:3; Exodus 7:15. Tannin is rendered "serpent" (the King James Version "dragon") in Deuteronomy 32:33, "Their wine is the poison of serpents," and Psalm 91:13, "The young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under foot." On the other hand, nachash seems in three passages to refer to a mythical creature or dragon: "His hand hath pierced the swift serpent" (Job 26:13); "In that day Yahweh.... will punish leviathan the swift serpent and leviathan the crooked serpent" (Isaiah 27:1); ".... though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them" (Amos 9:3).

(4) zochale is translated "crawling things" in Deuteronomy 32:24 (the King James Version "serpents") and in Micah 7:17 (the King James Version "worms").

(5) `akhshubh, occurs only in Psalm 140:3, where it is translated "adder" Septuagint aspis, Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) aspis), "adders' poison is under their lips." It has been suggested (BDB) that the reading should be `akkabhish, "spider" (which see). The parallel word in the previous line is nachash.

(6) pethen, like most of the other names a word of uncertain etymology, occurs 6 times and it is translated "asp," except in Psalm 91:13, "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder." According to Liddell and Scott, aspis is the name of the Egyptian cobra, Naia haje L., which is not included in (2) above, because it does not certainly appear to have been found in Palestine The name "adder" is applied to various snakes all of which may perhaps be supposed to be poisonous but some of which are actually harmless. Aspis occurs in Romans 3:13 in a paraphrase of Psalm 140:3 (see (5) above); it occurs frequently, though not uniformly, in Septuagint for (2), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (10).

(7) tsepha`, occurs only in Isaiah 14:29 where it is translated "adder" (the King James Version "cockatrice," the English Revised Version "basilisk," Septuagint ekgona aspidon, Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) regulus). The root tsapha`, of (7) and (8) may be an onomatopoetic word meaning "to hiss" (BDB).

(8)..., or tsiph`oni, occurs in Proverbs 23:32, "At the last it biteth like a serpent (nachash), and stingeth like an adder" (tsiph`oni). In Isaiah 11:8; Isaiah 59:5, and Jeremiah 8:17, the American Standard Revised Version has "adder," while the King James Version has cockatrice" and the English Revised Version has "basilisk."

(9) shephiphon, occurs only in Genesis 49:17:

"Da shall be a serpent (nachash) in the way,

An adder (shephiphon) in the path,

That biteth the horse's heels,

So that his rider falleth backward."

This has been thought to be Cerastes cornulus, on the authority of Tristram (NHB), who says that lying in the path it will attack the passer-by, while most snakes will glide away at the approach of a person or large animal. He adds that his horse was much frightened at seeing one of these serpents coiled up in a camel's footprint. The word is perhaps akin to the Arabic siff, or suff, which denotes a spotted and deadly snake.

(10) 'eph'eh, is found in Job 20:16 Isaiah 30:6; Isaiah 59:5, and in English Versions of the Bible is uniformly translated "viper." It is the same as the Arabic 'af`a, which is usually translated "viper," though the writer has never found anyone who could tell to what snake the name belongs. In Arabic as in Hebrew a poisonous snake is always understood.

(11) qippoz, the American Standard Revised Version "dart-snake," the English Revised Version "arrowsnake," the King James Version "great owl," only in Isaiah 34:15, "There shall the dart-snake make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shade; yea, there shall the kites be gathered, every one with her mate." "This is the concluding verse in a vivid picture of the desolation of Edom. The renderings "dart-snake" and "arrowsnake" rest on the authority of Bochert, but Septuagint has echinos, "hedgehog," and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) ericeus, "hedgehog." The rendering of the King James Version "great owl" seems preferable to the others, because the words "make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shade" are as a whole quite inapplicable to a mammal or to a reptile. The derivation from qaphaz (compare Arabic qafaz), "to spring," "to dart," suits, it is true, a snake, and not a hedgehog, but may also suit an owl. Finally, the next word in Isaiah 34:15 is "kites," dayyoth; compare Arabic chida'at.


(12) ophis, a general term for "serpent," occurs in numerous passages of the New Testament and Septuagint, and is fairly equivalent to nachash.

(13) aspis, occurs in the New Testament only in Romans 3:13 parallel to Psalm 140:3. Seeunder (5) `akhshubh and (6) pethen. It is found in Septuagint for these words, and also for 'eph`eh (Isaiah 30:6).

(14) echidna, occurs in Acts 28:3, "A viper came out.... and fastened on his (Paul's) hand," and 4 times in the expression "offspring (the King James Version "generation") of vipers," gennemata echidnon (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33 Luke 3:7). The allied (masculine?) form echis, occurs in Sirach 39:30, the Revised Version (British and American) "adder."

(15) herpeton, "creeping thing," the King James Version "serpent," is found in James 3:7.

That the different Hebrew and Greek names are used without clear distinction is seen from several examples of the employment of two different names in parallel expressions:

"Their poison is like the poison of a serpent (nachash);

They are like the deaf adder (pethen) that stoppeth her ear" (Psalm 58:4).

"They have sharpened their tongue like a serpent (nachash); Adders' (`akhshubh) poison is under their lips" (Psalm 140:3).

"For, behold, I will send serpents (nechashim), adders (tsiph`onim), among you, which will not be charmed; and they shall bite you, saith Yahweh" (Jeremiah 8:17).

"They shall lick the dust like a serpent (nachash): like crawling things of the earth (zohale 'erets) they shall come trembling out of their close places" (Micah 7:17).

"He shall suck the poison of asps (pethen): The viper's ('eph`eh) tongue shall slay him" (Job 20:16).

"Their wine is the poison of serpents (tanninim), and the cruel venom of asps (pethanim)" (Deuteronomy 32:33).

"And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp (pethen), and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's (tsiph`oni) den" (Isaiah 11:8).

See also (8) and (9) above.

4. Figurative:

Most of the Biblical references to serpents are of a figurative nature, and they usually imply poisonous qualities. The wicked (Psalm 58:4), the persecutor (Psalm 140:3), and the enemy (Jeremiah 8:17) are likened to venomous serpents. The effects of wine are compared to the bites of serpents (Proverbs 23:32). Satan is a serpent (Genesis 3 Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). The term "offspring of vipers" is applied by John the Baptist to the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7) or to the multitudes (Luke 3:7) who came to hear him; and by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33). Dan is a "serpent in the way.... that biteth the horse's heels" (Genesis 49:17). Serpents are among the terrors of the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:15 Isaiah 30:6). Among the signs accompanying believers is that "they shall take up serpents" (Mark 16:18; compare Acts 28:5). It is said of him that trusts in Yahweh:

"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:

The young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under foot" (Psalm 91:13).

In the millennium, "the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den" (Isaiah 11:8). The serpent is subtle (Genesis 3:1 2 Corinthians 11:3); wise (Matthew 10:16); accursed (Genesis 3:14); eats dust (Genesis 3:14 Isaiah 65:25 Micah 7:17). The adder is deaf (Psalm 58:4). The serpent lurks in unexpected places (Genesis 49:17 Ecclesiastes 10:8 Amos 5:19). Serpents may be charmed (Psalm 58:5 Ecclesiastes 10:11 Jeremiah 8:17). Among four wonderful things is "the way of a serpent upon a rock" (Proverbs 30:19).

Alfred Ely Day


wur'-ship: Traces of this superstition are thought by certain critics to be discoverable in the religion of Israel. Stade mentions that W. R. Smith supposed the serpent to be the totem of the house of David (Geschichte, I, 465). H. P. Smith says: "We know of a Serpent's Stone near Jerusalem, which was the site of a sanctuary (1 Kings 1:9), and this sanctuary was dedicated to Yahweh" (Hist of Old Testament, 239, 240). Special reliance is placed on the narrative of the brazen serpent, which Hezekiah is recorded to have destroyed as leading to idolatry, (2 Kings 18:4). "In that case," says H. P. Smith, "we must treat the Nehushtan as a veritable idol of the house of Israel, which had been worshipped in the temple from the time of its erection. Serpent worship is so widespread that we should be surprised not to find traces of it in Israel" (ut supra). In the same line, see G. B. Gray, Numbers, 275-76. The fancifulness of these deductions is obvious.


James Orr


krook'-ed: With reference to the constellation round the North Pole, in Job 26:13, the Revised Version (British and American) "the swift serpent," margin "fleeing"; and Isaiah 27:1, the Revised Version margin "winding." In the first part of the latter passage, the King James Version "piercing serpent" is changed in the Revised Version (British and American) to "swift serpent," margin "gliding" or "fleeing."

See ASTRONOMY, sec. II, 1.




krook'-ed sur'-pent.








See SERPENT, 3, (2).

Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Hebrews nahash; Gr. 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.)

This word is used symbolically of a deadly, subtle, malicious enemy (Luke 10:19).

The serpent is first mentioned in connection with the history of the temptation and fall of our first parents (Genesis 3). It has been well remarked regarding this temptation: "A real serpent was the agent of the temptation, as is plain from what is said of the natural characteristic of the serpent in the first verse of the chapter (3:1), and from the curse pronounced upon the animal itself. But that Satan was the actual tempter, and that he used the serpent merely as his instrument, is evident (1) from the nature of the transaction; for although the serpent may be the most subtle of all the beasts of the field, yet he has not the high intellectual faculties which the tempter here displayed.

(2.) In the New Testament it is both directly asserted and in various forms assumed that Satan seduced our first parents into sin (John 8:44; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; Revelation 12:9; 20:2)." Hodge's System. Theol., ii.

Serpent, Fiery

(LXX. "deadly, " Vulg. "burning"), Numbers 21:6, probably the naja haje of Egypt; some swift-springing, deadly snake (Isaiah 14:29). After setting out from their encampment at Ezion-gaber, the Israelites entered on a wide sandy desert, which stretches from the mountains of Edom as far as the Persian Gulf. While traversing this region, the people began to murmur and utter loud complaints against Moses. As a punishment, the Lord sent serpents among them, and much people of Israel died. Moses interceded on their behalf, and by divine direction he made a "brazen serpent," and raised it on a pole in the midst of the camp, and all the wounded Israelites who looked on it were at once healed. (Comp. John 3:14, 15.) (see ASP.) This "brazen serpent" was preserved by the Israelites till the days of Hezekiah, when it was destroyed (2 Kings 18:4). (see BRASS.)

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Any reptile of the order Ophidia; a snake, especially a large snake. See Ophidia.

2. (n.) Fig.: A subtle, treacherous, malicious person.

3. (n.) A species of firework having a serpentine motion as it passes through the air or along the ground.

4. (n.) The constellation Serpens.

5. (n.) A bass wind instrument, of a loud and coarse tone, formerly much used in military bands, and sometimes introduced into the orchestra; -- so called from its form.

6. (v. i.) To wind like a serpent; to crook about; to meander.

7. (v. t.) To wind; to encircle.

Strong's Hebrew
5175. nachash -- a serpent
... << 5174, 5175. nachash. 5176 >>. a serpent. Transliteration: nachash Phonetic
Spelling: (naw-khawsh') Short Definition: serpent. Word ...
/hebrew/5175.htm - 6k

8577. tannin -- serpent, dragon, sea monster
... serpent, dragon, sea monster. Transliteration: tannin Phonetic Spelling: (tan-neen')
Short Definition: monster. ... dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale. ...
/hebrew/8577.htm - 6k

8314. saraph -- fiery serpent
... << 8313, 8314. saraph. 8314a >>. fiery serpent. Transliteration: saraph Phonetic
Spelling: (saw-rawf') Short Definition: serpent. fiery serpent, seraph ...
/hebrew/8314.htm - 5k

8314a. saraph -- fiery serpent
... << 8314, 8314a. saraph. 8314b >>. fiery serpent. Transliteration: saraph Short
Definition: serpents. Word Origin from saraph Definition ...
/hebrew/8314a.htm - 5k

3882. Livyathan -- "serpent," a sea monster or dragon
... << 3881, 3882. Livyathan. 3883 >>. "serpent," a sea monster or dragon. Transliteration:
Livyathan Phonetic Spelling: (liv-yaw-thawn') Short Definition: Leviathan ...
/hebrew/3882.htm - 6k

5180. Nechushtan -- the name of Moses' bronze serpent
... Nechushtan. 5181 >>. the name of Moses' bronze serpent. Transliteration: Nechushtan
Phonetic Spelling: (nekh-oosh-tawn') Short Definition: Nehushtan. ...
/hebrew/5180.htm - 6k

2120. zocheleth -- a crawling thing, serpent
... zocheleth. 2121 >>. a crawling thing, serpent. Transliteration: zocheleth Phonetic
Spelling: (zo-kheh'-leth) Short Definition: Zoheleth. Word Origin fem. ...
/hebrew/2120.htm - 6k

5904. Ir Nachash -- "city of a serpent," a city in Judah
... Ir Nachash. 5905 >>. "city of a serpent," a city in Judah. Transliteration: Ir Nachash
Phonetic Spelling: (eer naw-khawsh') Short Definition: Ir-nahash. ...
/hebrew/5904.htm - 6k

6848a. tsepha -- a serpent
... tsepha. 6848b >>. a serpent. Transliteration: tsepha Short Definition: viper. Word
Origin from an unused word Definition a serpent NASB Word Usage viper (1). ...
/hebrew/6848a.htm - 5k

8197a. Shephupham -- "serpent-like," a Benjamite
... << 8197, 8197a. Shephupham. 8197b >>. "serpent-like," a Benjamite. Transliteration:
Shephupham Short Definition: Shephupham. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/8197a.htm - 5k



Serpent Worship

Serpent: Constriction of

Serpent: Curse Upon

Serpent: Feeds Upon the Dust

Serpent: Fiery (Poisonous), Sent As a Plague Upon the Israelites

Serpent: Figurative

Serpent: Mentioned in Solomon's Riddle

Serpent: Satan Appears to Eve in the Form of

Serpent: Sea Serpent

Serpent: Subtlety of

Serpent: The Apostles Given Power Over

Serpent: The Charming of

Serpent: The Seventy Disciples (The Best Mss Have "Seventy-Two") Endued With Power Over

Serpent: The Staff of Moses Transformed Into

Serpent: The Wound of, Miraculously Healed by Looking Upon the Bronze Snake, Erected by Moses

Serpent: Unfit for Food

Serpent: Venom of

Related Terms

Serpent's (7 Occurrences)


Nehushtan (1 Occurrence)

Adder (9 Occurrences)

Cockatrice (3 Occurrences)

Basilisk (3 Occurrences)

Leviathan (5 Occurrences)

Bitten (6 Occurrences)

Crooked (31 Occurrences)

Viper (8 Occurrences)

Fiery (47 Occurrences)

Worship (332 Occurrences)

Ensign (21 Occurrences)

Pole (21 Occurrences)

Biteth (5 Occurrences)

Asp (3 Occurrences)

Eve (5 Occurrences)

Whale (2 Occurrences)

Flying (22 Occurrences)

Elohim (38 Occurrences)

Expectingly (7 Occurrences)

Subtil (3 Occurrences)

Serpents (18 Occurrences)

Scorpion (6 Occurrences)

Subtilty (9 Occurrences)

Subtle (5 Occurrences)

Standard (42 Occurrences)


Fleeing (38 Occurrences)

Snake (43 Occurrences)

Setteth (116 Occurrences)

Brass (168 Occurrences)

Staff (91 Occurrences)



Enchantment (4 Occurrences)

Rod (138 Occurrences)

Brazen (42 Occurrences)

Bit (46 Occurrences)

Venom (8 Occurrences)

Zoheleth (1 Occurrence)

Nahash (9 Occurrences)

Gliding (4 Occurrences)

Emerge (2 Occurrences)

Deceives (14 Occurrences)

Deceived (55 Occurrences)

Monster (10 Occurrences)

Michael (16 Occurrences)

Philistia (12 Occurrences)

Porcupine (3 Occurrences)

Palestina (3 Occurrences)

Beguiled (10 Occurrences)

Bites (5 Occurrences)

Crawl (5 Occurrences)


Sting (5 Occurrences)

Subtlety (3 Occurrences)


Bite (13 Occurrences)

Animals (224 Occurrences)

Eagle (27 Occurrences)


Bel (3 Occurrences)

Beheld (95 Occurrences)

Sign (181 Occurrences)

Bronze (146 Occurrences)

Animal (163 Occurrences)

Dragon (20 Occurrences)

Punish (84 Occurrences)

Poison (17 Occurrences)

Present (577 Occurrences)

Astray (116 Occurrences)

Images (158 Occurrences)

Testament (13 Occurrences)

Adversary (100 Occurrences)

Adam (29 Occurrences)

Fall (522 Occurrences)

Hezekiah (124 Occurrences)

Fleeth (54 Occurrences)

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