Adder [N] [S]

( Psalms 140:3 ; Romans 3:13 , "asp") is the rendering of,

  • Akshub ("coiling" or "lying in wait"), properly an asp or viper, found only in this passage.
  • Pethen ("twisting"), a viper or venomous serpent identified with the cobra (Naja haje) ( Psalms 58:4 ; 91:13 ); elsewhere "asp."
  • Tziphoni ("hissing") ( Proverbs 23:32 ); elsewhere rendered "cockatrice," Isaiah 11:8 ; 14:29 ; 59:5 ; Jeremiah 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 Palestine.
  • Shephiphon ("creeping"), occurring only in Genesis 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.

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Adder". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Adder

    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 )

    Source: A King James Dictionary. (Used with permission. Copyright © Philip P. Kapusta)

    Bibliography Information

    "Entry for 'Adder'". A King James Dictionary.

    Adder. [N] [E]

    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:

    1. Acshub is found only in ( Psalms 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 ( Proverbs 23:32 ) it is it is translated adder, and in ( Isaiah 11:8 ; 14:29 ; 59:5 ; Jeremiah 8:17 ) it is rendered cockatrice . From Jeremiah we learn that it was of a hostile nature, and from the parallelism of ( Isaiah 11:8 ) it appears that the Tsiphoni was considered even more dreadful than the Pethen .
    4. Shephipon occurs only in ( Genesis 49:17 ) where it is used to characterize the tribe of Dan. The habit of lurking int he sand and biting at the horses 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.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Adder'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.


    ad'-er (`akhshubh (Psalms 140:3); pethen (Psalms 58:4); tsiph`oni (Proverbs 23:32); shephiphon (Genesis 49:17); tsepha` (King James Version margin; Isaiah 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

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

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

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