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Bible Animals: Asp or Adder

Bible AnimalsAsp or Adder
Asp or Adder in the ancient World.

Ancient Asp or Adder. THE terms Asp and Adder are used almost as synonyms in the Scriptures. The true asp was a most venomous reptile, whose bite was followed by dimness of vision, swelling, pain, stupor, convulsions, and death. The poison was contained in a small sac in the mouth, and was ejected through a groove or orifice in one of the teeth, which was so constructed as to lie flat on the roof of the mouth, except in the act of biting, when it was elevated to penetrate the flesh. The term adder is used in the Scriptures to describe several species of snake. The adder is made by Jacob to characterize the tribe of Dan : Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." - Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible 
Adder in Easton's Bible Dictionary 
(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 passer-by.

Adder in Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Five times in the Old Testament KJV, and thrice in margin for "cockatrice" (Isaiah 11:8; Isaiah 14:29; Isaiah 59:5 ). Four Hebrew terms stand for it. (1) Akshub, (2) Pethen, (3) Tziphoni, and (4) Shephiphon. (1) Akshub, ("one that lies in ambush"), swells its skin, and rears its head back for a strike. Psalm 140:3 quoted in Romans 3:13, "the poison of asps." (2) Pethen, Psalm 58:4; Psalm 91:13, "adder" (compare margin), but elsewhere translated "asp"; from a Hebrew root "to expand the neck." The deadly haje naja, or cobra of Egypt, fond of concealing itself in walls and holes. Serpents are without tympanic cavity and external openings to the ear. The deaf adder is not some particular species; but whereas a serpent's comparative deafness made it more amenable to those sounds it could hear, in some instances it was deaf because it would not hear (Jeremiah 8:17; Ecclesiastes 10:11). So David's unrighteous adversaries, though having some little moral sense yet left to which he appeals, yet stifled it, and were unwilling to hearken to the voice of God...

Adder in Naves Topical Bible 
-A venomous serpent Ge 49:17; Ps 91:13; 58:4; 140:3; Pr 23:32

Adder in Smiths Bible Dictionary 
This word is used for any poisonous snake, and is applied in this general sense by the translators of the Authorized Version. The word adder occurs five times in the text of the Authorized Version (see below), and three times int he margin as synonymous with cockatrice, viz., Isa 11:8; 14:29; 59:5 It represents four Hebrew words: 1. Acshub is found only in Ps 140:3 and may be represented by the Toxicoa of Egypt and North Africa. 2. Pethen. [ASP] 3. Tsepha, or Tsiphoni, occurs five times in the Hebrew Bible. In Pr 23:32 it is it is translated adder, and in Isa 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer 8:17 it is rendered cockatrice. From Jeremiah we learn that it was of a hostile nature, and from the parallelism of Isa 11:8 it appears that the Tsiphoni was considered even more dreadful than the Pethen. 4. Shephipon occurs only in Ge 49:17 where it is used to characterize the tribe of Dan. The habit of lurking int he sand and biting at the horse's heels here alluded to suits the character of a well-known species of venomous snake, and helps to identify it with the celebrated horned viper, the asp of Cleopatra (Cerastes), which is found abundantly in the dry sandy deserts of Egypt, Syria and Arabia. The cerastes is extremely venomous. Bruce compelled a specimen to scratch eighteen pigeons upon the thigh as quickly as possible, and they all died in nearly the same interval of time.

Adder in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE 
ad'-er (`akhshubh (Ps 140:3); pethen (Ps 58:4); tsiph`oni (Prov 23:32); shephiphon (Gen 49:17); tsepha` (King James Version margin; Isa 14:29)): This word is used for several Hebrew originals. In each case a poisonous serpent is clearly indicated by the context. It is impossible to tell in any case just what species is meant, but it must be remembered that the English word adder is used very ambiguously. It is from the Anglo-Saxon noedre, a snake or serpent, and is the common English name for Vipera berus, L, the common viper, which is found throughout Europe and northern Asia, though not in Bible lands; but the word "adder" is also used for various snakes, both poisonous and non-poisonous, found in different parts of the world. In America, for instance, both the poisonous moccasin (Ancistrodon) and the harmless hog-nosed snakes (Heterodon) are called adders. See SERPENT. Alfred Ely Day

Adder in Wikipedia 
A poisonous snake of the genus Vipera. The word, unused in the D.V., stands in the A.V. for four different Hebrew names of serpents.

Adder Scripture - Genesis 49:17 
Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

Adder Scripture - Psalms 58:4 
Their poison [is] like the poison of a serpent: [they are] like the deaf adder [that] stoppeth her ear;

Adder Scripture - Psalms 91:13 
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Asp in Easton's Bible Dictionary 
(Heb. pethen), Deut. 32:33; Job 20:14, 16; Isa. 11:8. It was probably the Egyptian cobra (Naja haje), which was very poisonous (Rom. 3:13; Gr. aspis). The Egyptians worshipped it as the _uraeus_, and it was found in the desert and in the fields. The peace and security of Messiah's reign is represented by the figure of a child playing on the hole of the asp. (See ADDER)

Asp in Naves Topical Bible 
-A venomous serpent De 32:33; Job 20:14,16; Isa 11:8; Ro 3:13 -Venom of, illustrates the speech of the wicked Ps 140:3; Ro 3:13 -Injurious effects of wine De 32:33; Pr 23:32 -Deprived of venom, illustrates conversion Isa 11:8,9

Asp in Smiths Bible Dictionary 
(Heb. pethen), translated (adder in) Ps 58:4; 91:13 Probably the Egyptian cobra, a small and very poisonous serpent, a dweller in the holes of walls, Isa 11:8 and a snake upon which the serpent-charmers practiced their art.

Asp in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE 
(pethen (Dt 32:33; Job 20:14,16; Isa 11:8); aspis (Rom 3:13)); Any poisonous snake, or even poisonous snakes in general, would satisfy the context in all the passages cited. Pethen is also translated ADDER (which see) in Ps 58:4; 91:13. Most authors have supposed the Egyptian cobra (Naia haje, L.) to be the snake meant, but while this is widely distributed throughout Africa, its occurrence in Southern Israel seems to rest solely on the authority of Canon Tristram, who did not collect it. There are Other poisonous snakes in Israel, any one of which would satisfy the requirements of these passages. See SERPENT. While the aspis of classical Greek literature may well have been the Egyptian cobra, it is to be noted that Vipera aspis, L., is confined to central and western Europe. Alfred Ely Day

Asp in Wikipedia Asp. — This word, which occurs eleven times in D.V., stands for four Hebrew names: (1) Péthén [Deut., xxxii, 33; Job, xx, 14, 16; Psalms., lvii (Hebr., lviii), 5; Isaiah, xi, 8]. From several allusions both to its deadly venom (Deuteronomy 32:33), and to its use by serpent-charmers [Ps., lvii (Hebr., lviii), 5, 6], it appears that the cobra (naja aspis) is most probably signified. Safely to step upon its body, or even linger by the hole where it coils itself, is manifestly a sign of God's particular protection [Ps., xc (Hebr., xci), 13; Is., xi, 8]. Sophar, one of Job's friends, speaks of the wicked as sucking the venom of péthén, in punishment whereof the food he takes shall be turned within him into the gall of this poisonous reptile (Job 20:16, 14). (2) 'Akhshûbh, mentioned only once in the Hebrew Bible, namely Ps., cxl (Vulg., cxxxix), 4, but manifestly alluded to in Ps., xiii, 3, and Rom., iii, 13, seems to have been one of the most highly poisonous kinds of viper, perhaps the toxicoa, also called echis arenicola or scytale of the Pyramids, very common in Syria and North Africa. (3) Sháhál is also found only once to signify a snake, Ps., xci (Vulg., xc), 13; but what particular kind of snake we are unable to determine. The word Sháhál might possibly, owing to some copyist's mistake, have crept into the place of another name now impossible to restore. (4) çphônî (Isaiah 59:5), "the hisser", generally rendered by basilisk in ID.V. and in ancient translations, the latter sometimes calling it regulus. This snake was deemed so deadly that, according to the common saying, its hissing alone, even its look, was fatal. It was probably a small viper, perhaps a cerastes, possibly the daboia zanthina, according to Cheyne.

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