A venomous snake.
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf ADDER that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. ( Psalm 58:3-5 )
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., ( Isaiah 11:8 ; 14:29 ; 59:5 ) It represents four Hebrew words:
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.
Alfred Ely Day
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