Serpent

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(creeper). The Hebrew original embraces the entire serpent genus. Serpents numerous and venomous in Bible lands. The word appears in Scripture under various names; adder, supposedly the cerastes (Gen. 49:1717Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. (Genesis 49:17)); asp, or cobra (Deut. 32:3333Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. (Deuteronomy 32:33)); cockatrice (Jer. 8:1717For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:17)); viper (Job 20:1616He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him. (Job 20:16)). Subtile (Gen. 3:11Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1)); wise (Matt. 10:1616Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)); poisonous (Prov. 23:3232At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (Proverbs 23:32)); sharp-tongued (Psa. 140:33They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah. (Psalm 140:3)); charmed (Psa. 58:55Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. (Psalm 58:5)); emblem of wickedness (Matt. 23:3333Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33)); cruelty (Psa. 58:44Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; (Psalm 58:4)); treachery (Gen. 49:1717Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. (Genesis 49:17)); the devil (Rev. 12:9-159And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (Revelation 12:9‑15)); fiery serpents sent as a punishment (Num. 21:66And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. (Numbers 21:6)); sight of “brazen serpent,” an antidote for poison of bite (Num. 21:8-98And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:8‑9)); “fiery flying serpent,” a probable allusion to dragon (Isa. 14:2929Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. (Isaiah 14:29)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

The Hebrew word most commonly translated serpent is nachash, agreeing with ὅφις in the New Testament, so called because of its “hissing.” These words are used for the serpent that beguiled Eve (Gen. 3:1-141Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (Genesis 3:1‑14); 2 Cor. 11:33But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)), and in other passages where Satan is alluded to (Isa. 27:11In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. (Isaiah 27:1); Rev. 12:9-159And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (Revelation 12:9‑15); Rev. 20:22And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)). SERPENT (COBRA).
The Lord bade His disciples be as wise as serpents, probably an allusion to Genesis 3:11Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1). The word “subtle” there is translated by the same word in the LXX as used in this passage. It is “prudence.”

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Serpent charming has from remote times been practiced among Oriental nations. While there is doubtless imposture often associated with the exhibitions of serpent charmers, yet there are many carefully observing travelers who give it as their opinion, from their own observation, that there are men who, in some way, can detect the presence of serpents in houses and old walls, and can draw them out and keep them from doing mischief by the power of shrill musical notes. Since none of the serpent tribe have any external ear, and consequently can only hear very sharp sounds, it is hardly necessary to explain the deafness of the adder as willful, occasioned, as some old travelers have gravely asserted, by putting one ear to the dust and stopping the other with its tail.
Some travelers give it as their opinion that all the serpents exhibited by the charmers have previously had their fangs extracted, while others assert that some of the serpents thus sported with have afterward given unmistakable evidence of still possessing the death-dealing power. Forbes gives a curious illustration of this. He once painted the picture of a cobra de capello, which a Hindu snake charmer kept dancing on the table for a whole hour, while the artist was at his work. During this time he “frequently handled it to observe the beauty of the spots and especially the spectaclos on the hood, not doubting but that its venomous fangs had been previously extracted.” The next morning his servant informed him, very much to his astonishment, that “while purchasing some fruit in the bazar he had observed the man who had been with me on the preceding evening entertaining the country people with his dancing snakes. They, according to their usual custom, sat on the ground around him, when, either from the music stopping too suddenly, or from some other cause irritating the vicious reptile which I had so often handled, it darted at the throat of a young woman, and inflicted a wound of which she died in about half an hour” (Oriental Memoirs, vol.1, p. 44).
Besides the text, reference is made to serpent charming in several other passages. Solomon refers to it in Ecclesiastes 10:1111Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. (Ecclesiastes 10:11): “Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.” In the prophecy of Jeremiah, there is allusion made to the same custom: “For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord” (Jer. 8:1717For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:17)).