(in R.V., Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17), the "king
serpent," as the name imports; a fabulous serpent said to be
three spans long, with a spot on its head like a crown. Probably
the yellow snake is intended. (See COCKATRICE ¯T0000854.)
bottles, an encampment of the Israelites during the wanderings
in the wilderness (Num. 33:43), the first after the setting up
of the brazen serpent.
(Heb. 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 (Gen. 49:17; see Prov. 30:18, 19; James 3:7; Jer. 8:17).
(See ADDER ¯T0000085.)
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 (Gen. 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; Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3, 14;
Rev. 12:9; 20:2)." Hodge's System. Theol., ii. 127.
of copper; a brazen thing a name of contempt given to the
serpent Moses had made in the wilderness (Num. 21:8), and which
Hezekiah destroyed because the children of Israel began to
regard it as an idol and "burn incense to it." The lapse of
nearly one thousand years had invested the "brazen serpent" with
a mysterious sanctity; and in order to deliver the people from
their infatuation, and impress them with the idea of its
worthlessness, Hezekiah called it, in contempt, "Nehushtan," a
brazen thing, a mere piece of brass (2 Kings 18:4).
(LXX. "deadly," Vulg. "burning"), Num. 21:6, probably the naja
haje of Egypt; some swift-springing, deadly snake (Isa. 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 ¯T0000348.) This
"brazen serpent" was preserved by the Israelites till the days
of Hezekiah, when it was destroyed (2 Kings 18:4). (See BRASS
the mediaeval name (a corruption of "crocodile") of a fabulous
serpent supposed to be produced from a cock's egg. It is
generally supposed to denote the cerastes, or "horned viper," a
very poisonous serpent about a foot long. Others think it to be
the yellow viper (Daboia xanthina), one of the most dangerous
vipers, from its size and its nocturnal habits (Isa. 11:8;
14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17; in all which the Revised Version renders
the Hebrew _tziph'oni_ by "basilisk"). In Prov. 23:32 the Hebrew
_tzeph'a_ is rendered both in the Authorized Version and the
Revised Version by "adder;" margin of Revised Version
"basilisk," and of Authorized Version "cockatrice."
which is an alloy of copper and zinc, was not known till the
thirteenth century. What is designated by this word in Scripture
is properly copper (Deut. 8:9). It was used for fetters (Judg.
16:21; 2 Kings 25:7), for pieces of armour (1 Sam. 17:5, 6), for
musical instruments (1 Chr. 15:19; 1 Cor. 13:1), and for money
It is a symbol of insensibility and obstinacy in sin (Isa.
48:4; Jer. 6:28; Ezek. 22:18), and of strength (Ps. 107:16;
The Macedonian empire is described as a kingdom of brass (Dan.
2:39). The "mountains of brass" Zechariah (6:1) speaks of have
been supposed to represent the immutable decrees of God.
The serpent of brass was made by Moses at the command of God
(Num. 21:4-9), and elevated on a pole, so that it might be seen
by all the people when wounded by the bite of the serpents that
were sent to them as a punishment for their murmurings against
God and against Moses. It was afterwards carried by the Jews
into Canaan, and preserved by them till the time of Hezekiah,
who caused it to be at length destroyed because it began to be
viewed by the people with superstitious reverence (2 Kings
18:4). (See NEHUSHTAN ¯T0002700.)
The brazen serpent is alluded to by our Lord in John 3:14, 15.
(See SERPENT ¯T0003287.)
(Ps. 140:3; Rom. 3:13, "asp") is the rendering of, (1.) Akshub
("coiling" or "lying in wait"), properly an asp or viper, found
only in this passage. (2.) Pethen ("twisting"), a viper or
venomous serpent identified with the cobra (Naja haje) (Ps.
58:4; 91:13); elsewhere "asp." (3.) Tziphoni ("hissing") (Prov.
23:32); elsewhere rendered "cockatrice," Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5;
Jer. 8:17, as it is here in the margin of the Authorized
Version. The Revised Version has "basilisk." This may have been
the yellow viper, the Daboia xanthina, the largest and most
dangerous of the vipers of Israel. (4.) Shephiphon
("creeping"), occurring only in Gen. 49:17, the small speckled
venomous snake, the "horned snake," or cerastes. Dan is compared
to this serpent, which springs from its hiding-place on the
a transliterated Hebrew word (livyathan), meaning "twisted,"
"coiled." In Job 3:8, Revised Version, and marg. of Authorized
Version, it denotes the dragon which, according to Eastern
tradition, is an enemy of light; in 41:1 the crocodile is meant;
in Ps. 104:26 it "denotes any large animal that moves by
writhing or wriggling the body, the whale, the monsters of the
deep." This word is also used figuratively for a cruel enemy, as
some think "the Egyptian host, crushed by the divine power, and
cast on the shores of the Red Sea" (Ps. 74:14). As used in Isa.
27:1, "leviathan the piercing [R.V. 'swift'] serpent, even
leviathan that crooked [R.V. marg. 'winding'] serpent," the word
may probably denote the two empires, the Assyrian and the
the serpent-stone, a rocky plateau near the centre of the
village of Siloam, and near the fountain of En-rogel, to which
the women of the village resort for water (1 Kings 1:5-9). Here
Adonijah (q.v.) feasted all the royal princess except Solomon
and the men who took part with him in his effort to succeed to
the throne. While they were assembled here Solomon was
proclaimed king, through the intervention of Nathan. On hearing
this, adonijah fled and took refuge in the sanctuary (1 Kings
1:49-53). He was afterwards pardoned.
Zoheleth projects into or slightly over-hangs the Kidron
valley. It is now called ez-Zehwell or Zahweileh.
one who practises serpent-charming (Ps. 58:5; Jer. 8:17; Eccl.
10:11). It was an early and universal opinion that the most
venomous reptiles could be made harmless by certain charms or by
sweet sounds. It is well known that there are jugglers in India
and in other Eastern lands who practise this art at the present
In Isa. 19:3 the word "charmers" is the rendering of the
Hebrew _'ittim_, meaning, properly, necromancers (R.V. marg.,
"whisperers"). In Deut. 18:11 the word "charmer" means a dealer
in spells, especially one who, by binding certain knots, was
supposed thereby to bind a curse or a blessing on its object. In
Isa. 3:3 the words "eloquent orator" should be, as in the
Revised Version, "skilful enchanter."
denounced by God against the serpent (Gen. 3:14), and against
Cain (4:11). These divine maledictions carried their effect with
them. Prophetical curses were sometimes pronounced by holy men
(Gen. 9:25; 49:7; Deut. 27:15; Josh. 6:26). Such curses are not
the consequence of passion or revenge, they are predictions.
No one on pain of death shall curse father or mother (Ex.
21:17), nor the prince of his people (22:28), nor the deaf (Lev.
19:14). Cursing God or blaspheming was punishable by death (Lev.
24:10-16). The words "curse God and die" (R.V., "renounce God
and die"), used by Job's wife (Job 2:9), have been variously
interpreted. Perhaps they simply mean that as nothing but death
was expected, God would by this cursing at once interpose and
destroy Job, and so put an end to his sufferings.
(1.) Heb. tannim, plural of tan. The name of some unknown
creature inhabiting desert places and ruins (Job 30:29; Ps.
44:19; Isa. 13:22; 34:13; 43:20; Jer. 10:22; Micah 1:8; Mal.
1:3); probably, as translated in the Revised Version, the jackal
(2.) Heb. tannin. Some great sea monster (Jer. 51:34). In Isa.
51:9 it may denote the crocodile. In Gen. 1:21 (Heb. plural
tanninim) the Authorized Version renders "whales," and the
Revised Version "sea monsters." It is rendered "serpent" in Ex.
7:9. It is used figuratively in Ps. 74:13; Ezek. 29:3.
In the New Testament the word "dragon" is found only in Rev.
12:3, 4, 7, 9, 16, 17, etc., and is there used metaphorically of
"Satan." (See WHALE ¯T0003805.)
The Hebrew word _tan_ (plural, tannin) is so rendered in Job
7:12 (A.V.; but R.V., "sea-monster"). It is rendered by
"dragons" in Deut. 32:33; Ps. 91:13; Jer. 51:34; Ps. 74:13
(marg., "whales;" and marg. of R.V., "sea-monsters"); Isa. 27:1;
and "serpent" in Ex. 7:9 (R.V. marg., "any large reptile," and
so in ver. 10, 12). The words of Job (7:12), uttered in bitter
irony, where he asks, "Am I a sea or a whale?" simply mean,
"Have I a wild, untamable nature, like the waves of the sea,
which must be confined and held within bounds, that they cannot
pass?" "The serpent of the sea, which was but the wild, stormy
sea itself, wound itself around the land, and threatened to
swallow it up...Job inquires if he must be watched and plagued
like this monster, lest he throw the world into disorder"
The whale tribe are included under the general Hebrew name
_tannin_ (Gen. 1:21; Lam. 4:3). "Even the sea-monsters
[tanninim] draw out the breast." The whale brings forth its
young alive, and suckles them.
It is to be noticed of the story of Jonah's being "three days
and three nights in the whale's belly," as recorded in Matt.
12:40, that here the Gr. ketos means properly any kind of
sea-monster of the shark or the whale tribe, and that in the
book of Jonah (1:17) it is only said that "a great fish" was
prepared to swallow Jonah. This fish may have been, therefore,
some great shark. The white shark is known to frequent the
Mediterranean Sea, and is sometimes found 30 feet in length.
The Hebrews were devout students of the wonders of the starry
firmanent (Amos 5:8; Ps. 19). In the Book of Job, which is the
oldest book of the Bible in all probability, the constellations
are distinguished and named. Mention is made of the "morning
star" (Rev. 2:28; comp. Isa. 14:12), the "seven stars" and
"Pleiades," "Orion," "Arcturus," the "Great Bear" (Amos 5:8; Job
9:9; 38:31), "the crooked serpent," Draco (Job 26:13), the
Dioscuri, or Gemini, "Castor and Pollux" (Acts 28:11). The stars
were called "the host of heaven" (Isa. 40:26; Jer. 33:22).
The oldest divisions of time were mainly based on the
observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the
"ordinances of heaven" (Gen. 1:14-18; Job 38:33; Jer. 31:35;
33:25). Such observations led to the division of the year into
months and the mapping out of the appearances of the stars into
twelve portions, which received from the Greeks the name of the
"zodiac." The word "Mazzaroth" (Job 38:32) means, as the margin
notes, "the twelve signs" of the zodiac. Astronomical
observations were also necessary among the Jews in order to the
fixing of the proper time for sacred ceremonies, the "new
moons," the "passover," etc. Many allusions are found to the
display of God's wisdom and power as seen in the starry heavens
(Ps. 8; 19:1-6; Isa. 51:6, etc.)
life; living, the name given by Adam to his wife (Gen. 3:20;
4:1). The account of her creation is given in Gen. 2:21, 22. The
Creator, by declaring that it was not good for man to be alone,
and by creating for him a suitable companion, gave sanction to
monogamy. The commentator Matthew Henry says: "This companion
was taken from his side to signify that she was to be dear unto
him as his own flesh. Not from his head, lest she should rule
over him; nor from his feet, lest he should tyrannize over her;
but from his side, to denote that species of equality which is
to subsist in the marriage state." And again, "That wife that is
of God's making by special grace, and of God's bringing by
special providence, is likely to prove a helpmeet to her
husband." Through the subtle temptation of the serpent she
violated the commandment of God by taking of the forbidden
fruit, which she gave also unto her husband (1 Tim. 2:13-15; 2
Cor. 11:3). When she gave birth to her first son, she said, "I
have gotten a man from the Lord" (R.V., "I have gotten a man
with the help of the Lord," Gen. 4:1). Thus she welcomed Cain,
as some think, as if he had been the Promised One the "Seed of
who is like God? (1.) The title given to one of the chief angels
(Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). He had special charge of Israel as a
nation. He disputed with Satan (Jude 1:9) about the body of
Moses. He is also represented as warning against "that old
serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
world" (Rev. 12:7-9).
(2.) The father of Sethur, the spy selected to represent Asher
(3.) 1 Chr. 7:3, a chief of the tribe of Issachar.
(4.) 1 Chr. 8:16, a Benjamite.
(5.) A chief Gadite in Bashan (1 Chr. 5:13).
(6.) A Manassite, "a captain of thousands" who joined David at
Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:20).
(7.) A Gershonite Levite (1 Chr. 6:40).
(8.) The father of Omri (1 Chr. 27:18).
(9.) One of the sons of king Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 21:2, 4). He
was murdered by his brother Jehoram.
serpent. (1.) King of the Ammonites in the time of Saul. The
inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead having been exposed to great danger
from Nahash, sent messengers to Gibeah to inform Saul of their
extremity. He promptly responded to the call, and gathering
together an army he marched against Nahash. "And it came to pass
that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them
[the Ammonites] were not left together" (1 Sam. 11:1-11).
(2.) Another king of the Ammonites of the same name is
mentioned, who showed kindness to David during his wanderings (2
Sam. 10:2). On his death David sent an embassy of sympathy to
Hanun, his son and successor, at Rabbah Ammon, his capital. The
grievous insult which was put upon these ambassadors led to a
war against the Ammonites, who, with their allies the Syrians,
were completely routed in a battle fought at "the entering in of
the gate," probably of Medeba (2 Sam. 10:6-14). Again Hadarezer
rallied the Syrian host, which was totally destroyed by the
Israelite army under Joab in a decisive battle fought at Helam
(2 Sam. 10:17), near to Hamath (1 Chr. 18:3). "So the Syrians
feared to help the children of Ammon any more" (2 Sam. 10:19).
(3.) The father of Amasa, who was commander-in-chief of
Abasolom's army (2 Sam. 17:25). Jesse's wife had apparently been
first married to this man, to whom she bore Abigail and Zeruiah,
who were thus David's sisters, but only on the mother's side (1
adversary; accuser. When used as a proper name, the Hebrew word
so rendered has the article "the adversary" (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7).
In the New Testament it is used as interchangeable with
Diabolos, or the devil, and is so used more than thirty times.
He is also called "the dragon," "the old serpent" (Rev. 12:9;
20:2); "the prince of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30); "the
prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2); "the god of this
world" (2 Cor. 4:4); "the spirit that now worketh in the
children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). The distinct personality
of Satan and his activity among men are thus obviously
recognized. He tempted our Lord in the wilderness (Matt.
4:1-11). He is "Beelzebub, the prince of the devils" (12:24). He
is "the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom,
of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood
and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every
possible way." His power is very great in the world. He is a
"roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). Men are
said to be "taken captive by him" (2 Tim. 2:26). Christians are
warned against his "devices" (2 Cor. 2:11), and called on to
"resist" him (James 4:7). Christ redeems his people from "him
that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14).
Satan has the "power of death," not as lord, but simply as
whom Jehovah has strengthened. (1.) Son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2
Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom of
Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history
of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18:20, Isa. 36-39, and 2
Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public
life he followed the example of his great-granfather Uzziah. He
set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among
other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the "brazen
serpent," which had been removed to Jerusalem, and had become an
object of idolatrous worship (Num. 21:9). A great reformation
was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2
On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son
Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay
the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the
king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league
with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of
Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16), who took forty cities,
and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the
demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three
hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (18:14).
But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1),
and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings
18:17; 2 Chr. 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the
destruction of Sennacherib's army. Hezekiah prayed to God, and
"that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the
camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." Sennacherib fled with the
shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen
years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and
Sharezer (2 Kings 19:37). (See SENNACHERIB ¯T0003273.)
The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery
is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various
ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among
them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2
Kings 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and
was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the
"chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chr.
32:27-33). He had "after him none like him among all the kings
of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2 Kings 18:5). (See
red, a Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the
same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was
the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and
subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in
the first book of Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). "God created man
[Heb., Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he
him; male and female created he them."
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was
formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and
God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him
dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was
placed after his creation in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate
it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: "Of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the
beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought
to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to
fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his
ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a
woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her
as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken
out of Man." He called her Eve, because she was the mother of
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat
the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat.
Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all
the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the
Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen.
3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. They were expelled
from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame,
which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life
(Gen. 3). How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her
first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of
only three of Adam's sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is
obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He
died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race.
Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of
the human race. The investigations of science, altogether
independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that
God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on
all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom. 5:12-12; 1
Fall of man
an expression probably borrowed from the Apocryphal Book of
Wisdom, to express the fact of the revolt of our first parents
from God, and the consequent sin and misery in which they and
all their posterity were involved.
The history of the Fall is recorded in Gen. 2 and 3. That
history is to be literally interpreted. It records facts which
underlie the whole system of revealed truth. It is referred to
by our Lord and his apostles not only as being true, but as
furnishing the ground of all God's subsequent dispensations and
dealings with the children of men. The record of Adam's
temptation and fall must be taken as a true historical account,
if we are to understand the Bible at all as a revelation of
God's purpose of mercy.
The effects of this first sin upon our first parents
themselves were (1) "shame, a sense of degradation and
pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of
guilt, and the consequent desire to hide from his presence.
These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of
innocence but of original righteousness, and, with it, of the
favour and fellowship of God. The state therefore to which Adam
was reduced by his disobedience, so far as his subjective
condition is concerned, was analogous to that of the fallen
angels. He was entirely and absolutely ruined" (Hodge's
But the unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought
not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also
the same sad consequences on all their descendants. (1.) The
guilt, i.e., liability to punishment, of that sin comes by
imputation upon all men, because all were represented by Adam in
the covenant of works (q.v.). (See IMPUTATION ¯T0001878.)
(2.) Hence, also, all his descendants inherit a corrupt
nature. In all by nature there is an inherent and prevailing
tendency to sin. This universal depravity is taught by universal
experience. All men sin as soon as they are capable of moral
actions. The testimony of the Scriptures to the same effect is
most abundant (Rom. 1; 2; 3:1-19, etc.).
(3.) This innate depravity is total: we are by nature "dead in
trespasses and sins," and must be "born again" before we can
enter into the kingdom (John 3:7, etc.).
(4.) Resulting from this "corruption of our whole nature" is
our absolute moral inability to change our nature or to obey the
law of God.
Commenting on John 9:3, Ryle well remarks: "A deep and
instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw
some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has
thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a
platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man
had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing
divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems,
God's works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have
been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming
of the church of elect sinners is the means of 'showing to
principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God' (Eph.
3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the
Cross and the Gospel."
On the monuments of Egypt are found representations of a deity
in human form, piercing with a spear the head of a serpent. This
is regarded as an illustration of the wide dissemination of the
tradition of the Fall. The story of the "golden age," which
gives place to the "iron age", the age of purity and innocence,
which is followed by a time when man becomes a prey to sin and
misery, as represented in the mythology of Greece and Rome, has
also been regarded as a tradition of the Fall.