(Heb. pethen), Deuteronomy 32:33 ; Job 20:14 Job 20:16 ; Isaiah 11:8 . It was probably the Egyptian cobra (Naja haje), which was very poisonous ( Romans 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 .)
A snake, serpent.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the ASP, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. ( Isaiah 11:8-9 )
(Heb. pethen ), translated (adder in) ( Psalms 58:4 ; 91:13 ) Probably the Egyptian cobra, a small and very poisonous serpent, a dweller in the holes of walls, ( Isaiah 11:8 ) and a snake upon which the serpent-charmers practiced their art.
(pethen (Deuteronomy 32:33; Job 20:14,16; Isaiah 11:8); aspis (Romans 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 Psalms 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 Palestine seems to rest solely on the authority of Canon Tristram, who did not collect it.
There are Other poisonous snakes in Palestine, 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
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