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What is the Serpent?
     In its ordinary scriptural use, this word does not denote any definite species, but snakes as a class, or some one or more kinds made definite by the context. The serpent is a creature distinguished for its subtility, Gen 3:1, and wisdom in avoiding danger. Matt 10:16, as well as for the instinctive dread which it inspires in man and most animals. About one-sixth of all the species known are venomous. The devil is called "the serpent" and "the old serpent," Rev 12:9, 2 Kgs 22:14, 2 Sam 20:15, probably in allusion to his subtility and malice, and also to the fact that in tempting our first parents to disobey God he employed a serpent or assumed the form of one. 2 Cor 11:3. The serpent is used by the sacred writers as an emblem of wickedness. Matt 23:33, cruelty, Ps 58:4; Prov 23:32; Eccl 10:11, and treachery. Gen 49:17. There is allusion to the art of taming and charming these reptiles in Ps 58:5; Eccl 10:11; Jer 8:17; Jas 3:7. Eating dust is ascribed to it, Gen 3:14; Isa 65:25; Mic 7:17, because it is swallowed by the serpent with its food, or the expression is figurative for its life in the dust. There is no reason to suppose that this creature was able to go otherwise than on its belly before the fall, but subsequent to that event its normal mode of progression was constituted a mark of condemnation. The worship of these reptiles is very common in India and other parts of the Old World, and probably originated, in part at least, from fear of the more venomous and powerful kinds. "It was probably from a tradition of the instrumentality of the serpent in the fall of man that it was used throughout the East as an emblem of the spirit of disobedience and of the evil spirit. The doctrine of Zoroaster - that the evil one, in the guise of a serpent, first taught men to sin - is a plain tradition of the history of the fall. "To this we may add that on the monuments of Egypt there not unfrequently occurs the figure of a man in regal costume (probably an incarnate deity) piercing with a spear the head of a large serpent - remarkably suggestive of a tradition of the prophecy that 'the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.'" - Tristrim. The sacred symbol of the globe and serpent is found on almost all the monuments of Egypt, See Adder, Asp, Cockatrice, Viper.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'serpent' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

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