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The Whisperer

One of the Hebrew words for a serpent, or snake, is (pronounced) naw-kawsh, a word that is used in the Scriptures for both an actual serpent/snake (e.g. Exodus 4:3), and for Satan (e.g. Genesis 3:1). The word naw-kawsh is however actually based on an earlier Hebrew word, pronounced naw-kash, which means to hiss, or to whisper. Satan is called a serpent because of the whisperer origin of the "serpent" word (i.e. he is a low-down, sneaking, "snake in the grass"), not because he actually looks like a snake (see the Fact Finder question below).


Snake Most-often, references to whispering in the Bible apply to evil behavior:

"Yea, I hear the whispering of many - terror on every side! - as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in Thee, O Lord, I say, "Thou art my God." My times are in Thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors!" (Psalm 31:13-15 RSV)

"All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me." (Psalm 41:7 RSV)

"A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends." (Proverbs 16:27-28 RSV)

"A fool's lips bring strife, and his mouth invites a flogging. A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to himself. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body." (Proverbs 18:6-8 RSV)

"For lack of wood the fire goes out; and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases." (Proverbs 26:20 RSV)

Fact Finder: Although Satan is often portrayed variously as an actual serpent/snake, or as a very evil-looking individual (or as a comic-book character with horns and a pitchfork), what does Satan actually look like?
See What Does Satan Look Like?

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