Serpent Worship



Traces of this superstition are thought by certain critics to be discoverable in the religion of Israel. Stade mentions that W. R. Smith supposed the serpent to be the totem of the house of David (Geschichte, I, 465). H. P. Smith says: "We know of a Serpent's Stone near Jerusalem, which was the site of a sanctuary (1 Kings 1:9), and this sanctuary was dedicated to Yahweh" (Hist of Old Testament, 239, 240). Special reliance is placed on the narrative of the brazen serpent, which Hezekiah is recorded to have destroyed as leading to idolatry, (2 Kings 18:4). "In that case," says H. P. Smith, "we must treat the Nehushtan as a veritable idol of the house of Israel, which had been worshipped in the temple from the time of its erection. Serpent worship is so widespread that we should be surprised not to find traces of it in Israel" (ut supra). In the same line, see G. B. Gray, Nu, 275-76. The fancifulness of these deductions is obvious.


James Orr

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SERPENT WORSHIP'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.