Gen 3:15 (snakes)

Noel O'Riordan nor at
Tue Nov 30 13:48:47 EST 1999

Hello there

Concerning the speaking serpent.  There is no element of surprise in the
text concerning this trait of the serpent, we are not told that 'only' the
serpent could speak, perhaps all the animals could?  Jewish myth contains
this position.

'And on that day ( of expulsion from Eden ) was closed the mouth of all
beasts, and of cattle, and of birds, and of whatever walks, and of whatever
moves, so that they could no longer speak: for they had all spoken one with
another with one lip and with one tongue.'

Jubilees 3:28

The idea that Serpent=Satan is no where evident in the text, nor is the
equation of Cain as the seed.  ALL such ideas are extrapolations.  The text
supports nothing more than it says!

To me the Serpent Character is a literary device incorporated into the text
as a catalyst to introduce sin.  In this way it helps deflect the cause of
the sin of Eve and more importantly Adam, for he is plainly the greater
sinner, from God himself.  Although because he created the Serpent, he is of
course implicated in manufacturing a flawed creation.  Why a Serpent/snake,
do you know any everyday person who likes them?  It is a natural candidate.
The snake in other cultures has been invested with a trait of Wisdom, an
analogous concept to craftiness ( Isn't that a snake that twists around a
sword,I think, in the symbol for medicine )

All of the above  paragraph is my interpretation however but its better
supported by the text than most of the claptrap that you read about the

Anyway that's my tuppence worth

Noel O Riordan

----- Original Message -----
From: George Athas <gathas at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
Sent: 29 November 1999 20:59
Subject: Re: Gen 3:15 (snakes)

> >
> > Peter, do "ordinary" snakes speak and have knowledge of
> > divine and human matters?
> That's probably why the snake was "more cunning" than all the other
animals (Gen 3:1). It
> wasn't your ordinary, garden variety snake (excuse the pun).
> :)
> George Athas
>  Dept of Semitic Studies,
>  University of Sydney
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