Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897)/Serpent
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 (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 (Genesis 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
- 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.
- 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. 127.