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Snake in the Bible Meaning

May 02, 2021

Snake in the Bible Meaning

The Snake represents a multitude of meanings in different areas. In some tribes, it symbolizes countless representations:

  • Mythology, especially from Ancient Greece, has its own images that this reptile represents for the Greek people. It also has a bad reputation on its murderous and dangerous image, however, some consider it as a symbol of good, knowledge, wisdom.
  • The Bible also has something to say about the symbolism of the snake, its influence on this ecosystem. Indeed, in the books of the Bible, the snake also has its place, it represents many things.

And in this article, we are interested especially on the symbolism of the snake in this last field, more precisely, the subject of this article is the representation of the snake in the Bible.

It is important to address and expose all that we hear about snakes from the biblical point of view and also to analyze a little more deeply the real symbols of the snake in the Christian Bible.

In order to get better organized, looking at this representation in the biblical books of the Old Testament is essential, and then approaching everything that this animal represents in the New Testament is of great importance for those who are in Christianity.

1. Old Testament

In the book of Genesis chapter 3, it says that the serpent is the most cunning animal that was conceived by God. This biblical book says that he deceived Eve who is the first woman conceived by God and made her eat the forbidden fruit even though God told her not to eat the fruit. He convinces her to eat it under the pretext that it will not kill her.

In this context, the animal represents the Temptation. And then man knew good and evil like God. Therefore, he became the Tempter of men who are in search of wisdom, of knowledge. It is said that Satan metamorphosed into a snake and that he is responsible for Eve's sin by pushing her to eat the fruit of the tree of life which led to the fall of man.

The serpent is also a sign of lie. God called the liars as descendants of the serpent who deceived Eve. The serpent is also a representation of Satan and this last one is the guide of all the demons, hence it is the sign of Evil.

In the book of Exodus, chapter 7, the snake has a completely different image, it symbolizes the strength, and especially the greatness of God, his power. This symbolism is translated by a demonstration before the Pharaoh of Egypt.

In the verses of this chapter 7, God tells Moses and his brother Aaron to go to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let the children of Israel, the Jewish people who are God's chosen people to leave the lands of Egypt and not to be his slaves anymore and God knew that he was not going to accept. And the two men obeyed their God and left for Egypt.

God also added that if the Egyptian King asked to make incredible demonstrations and that Aaron had to throw his cane on the ground and that it will turn into a snake.

The two men went before the Pharaoh and did what God asked them to do, as soon as the Egyptian King said to show an impressive trick, Aaron did as God told him, he threw the cane and it turned into a snake.

Everyone was amazed because God said so and everything happened according to the word of God. It was a symbol of the power, the greatness, the strength of the God of the Israelites that is the incarnation of the serpent in this book of the Bible.

According to the scriptures that were written in the book of numbers in chapter 21, the children of Israel complained to God and Moses after the road on which Moses led them in the desert and that there was only bread to eat and nothing else and there was also nothing to drink during their exile.

As a result of these complaints, God was angry and sent fiery serpents that slaughtered many people and caused terror to the Israelites.

Hence the symbol of terror brought by the serpent in these biblical texts of this book of the Old Testament. The people begged Moses to ask the Divine King to forgive them and to remove the snakes that He sent. God ordered His servant to make a snake out of copper and put it on a tree. All those who were bitten by the fiery serpents and looked at the copper snake were healed. From this we can see that the serpent also refers to a God-given symbol of healing.

In the book that was by an Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, in chapter 8 verse 17, it is written that Jehovah said that he was going to send snakes to attack people and to bite them. In the context of this biblical text, God wants to punish and show the believers that he is capable of doing everything without exception. The snake is used here to give an image of evil and terror.

In the verses of the book of Psalms, the serpent is spoken of a lot in chapter 58, 91, 140. In these three chapters, we hear about two kinds of snakes which are vipers and snakes. The point that is mostly discussed in this book is the poisonous poison of snakes. A deadly poison contained in the venom.

This characteristic of the snake that is made by an injection during a bite alludes to the bad image of the snake, the symbol that evokes the snake here is evil, mortality, toxicity, murder. Indeed, the snake is considered in this part of the Bible as evil and deadly.

2. New Testament

In the book of Mark, chapter 16, the snake is seen rather as a symbol of healing (the caduceus) because it is said that when a believer takes a snake in his hand, he can heal all those he touches. And that, even if this believer drinks deadly poison, he would feel nothing as if he had not drunk anything.

This image given to the snake spreads the symbol of immunity, as if the one who takes it is immune to any existing poison.

In all the other books, as in Luke and John, which speak of the snake in the New Testament, the snake is mostly used to illustrate bad things, metaphors to say bad intentions or bad connotations. Thus, we can say that in these books, the snake is mostly a symbol of evil. The term "snake" is only used to illustrate evil.

In conclusion, these are the most relevant representations of the snake in the text of the Bible, in the other books of the Old and New Testaments, the symbolism evoked by the snake is the same as those discussed above.

In all the Christian bibles, that is to say all the versions of the Christian Bible, whether for Protestants or Catholics, the ideas of representation of the serpent are all the same. It is clear that religion and science have taken very distinct paths. Here, in this article, the subject is the representation of the snake in the Bible, but it is obvious that science has its own representations of snakes.

An article that addresses this ideology of the snake will be very interesting. It is also clear that literary scholars such as historians and philosophers have their own views on the symbol that the snake brings, a rather interesting and very cultivating subject. Addressing these other points of view will be a nice topic for an article.


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