A poinonous snake of the genus Vipera.
An agamid is a large lizard that commonly grows to three feet in length. Agamids are covered with scales and thorny protrusions that make them look frightening even though they are harmless. They aren’t mentioned specifically by name in the Bible, but scholars believe the word “tortoise” in Leviticus 11:29 might be the agamid.
Asp (See Cobra)
Deuteronomy 32:33; Job 20:16, 14
The word Asp represents four Hebrew names for the snake:
1. Pethen, which has deadly venom, which is most likely the cobra (naja aspis). (Deuteronomy 32:33, Job 20:16, 14).
2. Shahal, which may be a scribal error for a snake that is now unidentifiable.
3. Akhshubh, a deadly kind of viper (perhaps the toxicoa, the echis arenicola or scytale of the Pyramids which was commonly found in Syria and North Africa.)
4. Cphoni, “the hisser”, which is generally translated basilisk or regulus. People believed that the snake was so poisonous that even its hiss or glance could be fatal. The snake is most likely a cerastes (a small viper), or, according to Cheyne, the daboia zanthina.
The Basilisk is a mythical creature that frightened the ancients. According to legends, this half cock, half snake terror was so deadly that even its glance could be fatal. It quickly became a symbol of the devil based on Psalm 91:13 which says “you will tread on the adder and the basilisk.”
The chameleon is a lizard that has the ability to change color. The interesting thing about the chameleon is that it doesn’t change its color to chamoflauge itself, but rather, it changes colors due to emotion and temperature changes. Also unique to the chameleon is that each eye can move independently, allowing it to look two ways at once.
Isaiah 11:8, 50:5; Jeremiah 8:17
A cockatrice is a ficticious serpent thought to be hatched from a chicken egg rather than a snake egg. Early Bible translations included it in their passages, but later ones changed the name to adder and so forth.
Egyptians worshipped the crocodile as one of their gods, and as such, the Israelites didn’t like them.
Psalm 91:13; Ezekiel 22:33
Many ancient cultures believed in–and even revered–dragons. Dragons were thought to be wise and powerful. Even so, the Bible equates them with evil.
Leviticus 11:10; Matthew 7:10
Eels were found in the salty Mediterranean and in the freshwater lakes of Palestine. Under Levitical law they were forbidden to be consumed as a food source because they have neither scales nor fins. It is probable that the word “serpent” should have been translated “eel” in Matthew 7:10 when Jesus asked, “If his son asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent [eel]?” An eel would have been worthless to a devout hungry Jew, and certainly would have portrayed a clearer message to the listeners.
Exodus 8:1-14; Psalms 78:45, 105:34; Revelation 16:13
Frogs were the second plague of ten sent to the Egyptians in Exodus 8:1-14, and were considered “unclean” by the Israelites. (The fact that Egyptians actually worshipped the frog god Hequet made frogs all the more loathesome.) In Revelation 16:13, John sees “three unclean spirits like frogs” in his vision. Clearly, the Biblical view of frogs is negative.
Common to the Middle East, the gecko is a large lizard. In Leviticus 11:30, early translators added “ferret” to the list of “creeping things”, but since there have never been ferrets in Palestine, more recent translations more accurately replace “ferret” with “gecko”.
Early folklore said leprosy could be caused by a gecko walking on one’s body. (Many Arabs today believe that a gecko poisons all it touches.)
Psalm 74:14; Job 41:1
What, exactly, is Leviathan? Is it a mythical creature, a spirit, a dinosaur, or an ancient sea mammal? Interestingly, Hebrew beliefs coincide with other cultures when it comes to fantastic creatures such as dragons, unicorns, and basilisk. Were they real at one time? Were they Nephilim? Were they destroyed in the Flood? We do not know the answers to these questions, but they are still asked today. Many people believe Job was describing a crocodile in Job 41, but his peers believed “Leviathan” was a large sea monster. One legend about Leviathan was that it was incapable of reproducing because God knew if too many leviathans existed, they would crowd the other creatures out of the ocean due to their enormous size!
Leviticus 11:30; Psalm 58:8
There are multiple varieties of lizards in the Holy Land, which may explain why Bible translators were so ambiguous in their translations of them. Scholars now know the sand lizard was likely the “snail” in Leviticus 11:30 and Psalm 58:8. Common lizards were the Nile Monitor, the Land Crocodile, the Chameleon, the Gecko, and the Agamid.
Familiar to Egypt, the Nile Monistor is a large, sand-colored lizard that grows to be 5-6 feet in length.
Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9
Since Genesis, the Bible has been a symbol of evil.
Isaiah 30:6; Proverbs 23:22
Proverbs 6:6; 30:25
More than twelve species of ants exist in Israel, the most common being of the genus Atta. Atta barbara ants are dark colored ants, and atta structor are brown. Unlike northern country ants, these ants store up corn for winter use, which explains why the men in Proverbs are called wise.
1 Samuel 24:14, 26:20
Exodus 8:16; Matthew 23:24
Exodus 10:4; Leviticus 11:22; Joel 1:4; Matthew 3:4; Revelaton 9:3
Job 7:5, 17:14, 21:26; Isaiah 14:11; Mark 9:48
Matthew 6:19; Isaiah 50:9, 51:8
1 Kings 12:11, 14; Luke 10:19; Revelation 9:3, 5, 10
Okay, so a snail isn’t an insect.
Isaiah 66:24; Jonah 4:7