What Does the Bible Say About Adders? Unveiling the Truth

Many people have heard the term "adder" used in reference to the Bible, but what exactly is an adder? Is it just another word for a snake, or does it have a deeper meaning? In this article, we will explore what the Bible has to say about adders and uncover the truth behind this mysterious creature.

  1. What is an Adder in the Bible?
  2. What Does the Bible Say About Adders?
  3. Symbolism of Adders in the Bible
    1. Deceitfulness
    2. Wisdom and Discernment
    3. Salvation and Healing
  4. Conclusion

What is an Adder in the Bible?

An adder is a type of venomous snake that is native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. In the Bible, the word "adder" is used to refer to a specific type of snake, although it is unclear exactly which species this refers to. Some Bible translations use the word "asp" instead of adder, but the meaning is generally the same.

What Does the Bible Say About Adders?

The Bible mentions adders several times throughout the Old and New Testaments. Here are a few examples:

  • Psalm 140:3 - "They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips."
  • Proverbs 23:32 - "At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."
  • Isaiah 11:8 - "And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den."

These verses paint a picture of adders as dangerous and venomous creatures, capable of causing harm with their bite. However, they are also used as metaphors for the wicked and deceitful, emphasizing the danger of falling into sin and temptation.

Symbolism of Adders in the Bible

Like many animals in the Bible, adders are often used as symbols and metaphors for deeper spiritual truths. Here are a few examples:


Adders are often associated with deceit and treachery in the Bible. In Psalm 140:3, adders' poison is said to be "under their lips," referring to the wicked who use their words to deceive and harm others. Similarly, Proverbs 23:32 warns that indulging in excess and drunkenness will ultimately lead to harm, "biting like a serpent" and "stinging like an adder."

Wisdom and Discernment

Despite their negative associations, adders can also be used to symbolize wisdom and discernment. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus tells his disciples to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves," using the adder as an example of a creature that is shrewd and clever in its actions.

Salvation and Healing

In the Old Testament, adders are also associated with salvation and healing. In Numbers 21:6-9, the Israelites are bitten by venomous snakes and begin to die, but God instructs Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. When the people look at the serpent, they are healed and saved from death. This story is later referenced in John 3:14-15, where Jesus compares himself to the bronze serpent, saying that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.


While adders are certainly not the most pleasant creatures to think about, they serve an important role in the Bible as symbols of both danger and wisdom. Whether we see them as cautionary tales of sin and deception, or as reminders of God's power to heal and save, adders are a fascinating and meaningful part of the biblical landscape.

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