archived 08-21-00
Archive file# b082100d
donated by L. Savage

Hebrew and Greek Words
Used for Snakes in the Bible

The following words come from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. This font does not do the words justice, but for now it will have to do. I've not taken either Hebrew or Greek, but it appears that just as in English, a word can have a variety of meanings depending upon context. Hebrew especially uses a variety of words that have roots describing a snake's behavior (hissing, twisting, coiling).

Hebrew Words

  • akshûwb - a coiled serpent
  • epheh - a hissing, probably venomous snake
  • livyâthân - serpent or sea-monster, constellation of the Dragon
  • nâchâsh - a hissing serpent
  • pethen - a twisting snake, asp
  • sârâph - a burning (poisonous) serpent, seraph
  • shephîyphôn - a gaping or snapping serpent, adder
  • tannâh - female jackal or dragon
  • tannîyn - dragon, sea-monster, jackal, serpent
  • tsepha or tsiphônîy - an extruding (thrusting the tongue) snake
  • zâchal - to fear, serpent, worm

Greek Words

  • aspis - a buckler, or round shield, used of a serpent as coiling itself
  • drakon - a fabulous serpent
  • echidna - an adder or other poisonous snake
  • herpeton - reptile, small animal, serpent. (We get "herpetology" from this word.)
  • ophis - a snake (type of sly cunning), artful malicious person

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