Are reptiles really mentioned in the Bible?

Keyword: snake

Snakes are very common in the land of the Bible because the climate and soil are particularly suitable for them.

The common Hebrew term for snake is "nahas," but there are a number of other terms in Hebrew. Therefore, it is not always possible to reliably identify a species mentioned in the Bible. In the land of the Bible, the climate and soil are particularly suitable for reptiles. Snakes feel comfortable there, but there are no large and few poisonous species.

In many species of snakes, the females lay their eggs in large numbers in burrows (so-called nests). Protected in this way, the young develop and usually hatch in the same period. They are then already fully developed and can go looking for food.

The biblical stories reflect the conflicting feelings that people have probably had towards snakes at all times: They fear the snakes, but are at the same time fascinated by them. Because a snake sheds its skin in spring, it is a symbol of self-renewing life; Since a snake bite can bring illness and death, it also stands for life-threatening evil.

In the biblical story of the so-called »Fall« (Genesis 3), the negative aspect dominates. There the serpent appears as a seductress who tries to question the relationship between man and God.

In Numbers 21: 4-9, the positive aspect is in the foreground. There it is reported how the people of Israel were plagued by a plague of snakes during the time of the desert migration. Moses erects a bronze snake sculpture. Whoever looks up to her will be healed.

In the New Testament, in the Gospel of John, this report from the Old Testament receives a surprising new interpretation (John 3: 14-15): The exaltation of the bronze serpent by Moses points to the exaltation of Jesus on the cross. Those who look to Jesus crucified will experience salvation for their life.