adders in the Bible

“Adder” (Psalm 140:3; Romans 3:13, “asp”) is the translation of the following Hebrew words in some English Bible translations. Other translations say viper, deaf adder, cobra.

  1. Akshub (“coiling” or “lying in wait”), an asp or viper, found only in this passage.

  2. Pethen (“twisting”), a viper or venomous serpent identified with the cobra (Naja haje) (Psalm 58:4; 91:13); elsewhere “asp.”

  3. 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 King James Version. The Revised King James Version has “basilisk.” This may have been the yellow viper, the Daboia xanthina, the largest and most dangerous of the vipers of Israel.

  4. 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.

More information