Should we despise snakes?

Do you ever wonder what it is about snakes that people don’t like? Why are snakes so despised? Why are snakes the metaphor for sneaky, deceptive behavior? The Bible has an answer for this, and the answer not only explains why people don’t like snakes, it also demonstrates God’s control over all things.

Genesis 2 & 3 tell us that the serpent was instrumental in deceiving the woman into disobeying God’s command; thus, causing sin to enter the world. After inquiring about what had happened,Yahweh handed out some punishment, starting with the serpent. Notice the words “cursed” and “enmity” in the following verses.

Gen. 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

God clearly cursed the serpent. In our culture, we associate cursing with using foul language. In Biblical culture cursing was more like putting a spell on someone or something so that something bad would happen to them. Verse 14 says the serpent was more cursed than all the animals. Verse 15 was part of the curse and states clearly that God put enmity between serpents and people. This is why snakes are despised even to this day: God cursed snakes as punishment for what happened in the Garden of Eden. (The Bible doesn’t say whether or not people should choose to despise snakes, it simply says snakes will be despised.)

This also demonstrates God’s control over all things. God cursed snakes at the beginning of human history and put enmity between people and snakes. After 6,000 years of human history, there is still enmity between people and snakes, just as God decreed. This is evidence that God’s promises will be fulfilled. Whether it is a reward or punishment, God is in control and He will do what the Bible tells us He will do.


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”