From the above one can determine that the terms nachash/Serpent and tannin/dragon refer to entirely different entities, one is unearthly the other is earthly, with the earthly dragon being created before man, and the serpent/nachash making its debut on the earth in the Garden of Eden. So what is the connection between the two?
As pointed out in post 239 above the first use of the Heb. word translated dragon, is at Gen 1:21 ...So God created the great creatures of the sea
(rendered dragons, sea monsters,etc) (Gen 1:21 NIV). So the dragon was most likely a prehistoric crocodile of some kind.
...Of the many species on earth today that can trace their ancestry back to prehistoric times, evolution has touched crocodiles perhaps least...What distinguished the first crocodiles from the first dinosaurs was the shape and musculature of their jaws, which tended to be much more prominent and powerful... It was only during the late Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era that crocodiles evolved the distinguishing traits they still have today: stubby legs, armored scales, and a preference for marine habitats
In Egypt Aaron's rod most probably turned into the much-feared man-eater of the Nile, a freshwater crocodile. At that time ...Pharaoh also called his wise men and the sorcerers, and the magic practising priests of Egypt ...so they threw down their rods and they became dragons/crocodiles
(Ex 7:11,12). Moses refers to this tannin (8577) crocodile at De 32:33. ...Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras
Hold on, slow down a bit, there is no mention of a crocodile/tannin
here. Let’s see what the interlinear has to say.
Reading from right to left.
(highlights, arrows, text, and strike-through mine)
So a native Hebrew language speaker would have read ... The fury of the dragons is their wine, and the head of cruel venomous snakes
To understand why this verse appears to have been deliberately mistranslated, one needs to read it in context. At De 31:25-29, Moses had castigated a branch of the Levitical priesthood for rebelliousness, saying ...For I well know that after my death you will without fail act ruinously... and calamity will befall you at the close of the days
. What they had done was to substitute Israel’s Rock/Tsur (De 32:4) for another Rock/Tsur, which was later called by its Greek name, Tyre. Moses said to them The Rock/Tsur who fathered you, you proceeded to forget
... He told Israel ...Their Rock/Tsur is not like our Rock
/Tsur...(De 32:4, 17, 18,31). See post 156, here
. The gods of the Rock/Tsur/Tyre extolled the accumulation of wealth, and the power to control. Read Ezekiel chapters 27 & 28, and note that chapter 28 is addressed to the prince
/ruler of Tyre (Ezk 28:2).
Judaic maritime history begins with the association of the Judahites with the Kinanu, as the so-dubbed "Phoenicians" called themselves. One of many evidences of Judahite exports with the sea-faring Canaanites of Tyre and Sidon is the appearance of the Judahite royal stamp lmlk ("of the king") on the handles of wine jars in Canaanite cargos and in stock in Carthage
... see also Traders in the Mishnah
on the same site
Other Mishnaic narratives bear directly on the involvement of Jews in international trade. The great halachic sage, Rabbi Chiyya bar Abba, is among those mentioned in the Mishnah who are involved in shipping merchandise to and from the East. R'Chiyya is stated to have dealt specifically with products made of glass, silk, and flax, the three basic goods of East-West trade. It is related that he travelled widely in trading in these indicative products... R'Chiyya had followed his mentor, the great Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi ("the Prince," 135-219 C.E.)
(cf Ezk 28:2) into Palestine from Babylonia. It was a traumatic time. The suppression of the Jews after the crushing of the second Jewish revolt and the destruction of the center of Judaic national culture in Jerusalem created a hiatus that Rabbi Ha-Nasi filled. He became the principal architect of the Mishnah. The Canaanites and the Jews
Members of the tribe of Levi were responsible for all things pertaining to the priestly office (De 31:25,26), including the copying and preservation of scripture. Constrained to copy what was written and not agreeing with what Moses had said about them, they replaced it with an oral tradition, the one espoused by the Scribes and Pharisees. And little by little the import of Moses's words were marginalized and obscured. When the Bible was translated into common languages the KJV translation set the benchmark for lexicographers and all English translations. For the KJV usage of the word poison
, Strong's 2543 at De 32:33, see Blueletter Bible Lexicon, Strong's 2543
. Out of 124 places where this word occurs in scripture, it is rendered poison
in only six verses.
And at the Biblehub interlinear Deut. 32:33
site open the link of Strong’s number above the indicated words. For Strong’s 7219 rosh, definition venom
, one must dig a little deeper. Scroll down the left-hand column to the heading, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
, see HEBREW rosh
, and click on that link, which takes one to #7218 rosh
, definition ‘head
’. Both 7219 and 7218 are the same Hebrew word. The right-hand column of the 7218 site shows that rosh has been translated head
or similar, in a total of 599 verses, including Gen 3:15 & Ezk 38:3.
The Hebrew/Aramaic native speaker would have understood what these words meant and to whom they applied. And so those that had replaced Israel’s Rock with the Rock, Tyre, had to tread with care. But by replacing the written Law with traditions that were later written down in the Mishnah and the Talmud. They were able to marginalize what Moses had said and in time remove it from memory. For Christians, the Latin translation and later the King James finished the job of obfuscation.
So what is the nachash and how does it work and produce an earthly crop of dragons ( e.g. Neh 2:13; Ezk 29:3)? Before examining its seed (Gen 3:15), one needs to understand how the nachash works.
YHWH has insight into the heart of man and so uses the nachash to draw out his innermost thoughts and desires. He knew Pharaoh’s nature and coached Moses in what he should say so that he would dig his heels in and become obstinate... As for me I shall let his heart become obstinate
...(Ex 3:19; 4:21)
When the nachash spoke to Adam and Eve, she was deceived but Adam wasn't. Although the nachash addressed his remarks to Eve his target was Adam. What he said was something that Adam had already considered and had thought about, and that is why he didn't stop Eve from taking the fruit and eating it. And that is also why he blamed God when confronted with his disloyalty, saying: ... the woman you gave me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate
... (Gen 3:12).
God used the nachash to incite David to number Israel, it would have been something he had considered and dwelt on ... And again the anger of YHWH blazed against Israel when he incited David against them: saying "Go take a count of Israel and Judah
. David had known what the law required when taking a census. And when God used the nachash to incite him, to go ahead, and even though Joab had tried to talk him out of it ... the king's word prevailed
... with the result of seventy thousand dead in Israel (2 Sam 24:1-15).
God also used the nachash to draw Jesus out, offering him possibilities he had already considered (Mt 4:1-11). But Jesus who had only just forty days earlier at his Baptism, heard God acknowledge him as his son, did not fall into the trap and remained loyal to YHWH and his purpose.
But most of us fall short somewhere along the line, but it is not that which condemns us, rather it is how we act when confronted with our wrongdoing that shows our mettle. Compare Saul’s reaction to David's, at 1Sam15:30 and 2 Sam 24:10, 13,14. Does that make Saul a bad person, not suited to live in a world ruled by God’s anointed king? No, but at that time it made him unfit for the role of king.
So what am I implying with the above, that God uses the nachash, Satan/the adversary, to temp man and get him to do wrong, and as in the case of Job, to curse God (Job 1:6,11)? No, he uses the nachash to bring one's innermost thoughts and desires to the surface so that they can be dealt with. In Job’s case, what surfaced was his self-righteousness. He couldn’t make sense of what had happened to him and thus considered himself more righteous than God (Job 35:2). Once that was pointed out to him he was able to make a retraction and change his thinking and self-image.
When the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus concerning her sons, asking him to ..."Give the word that these my two sons may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left hand, in your kingdom"
Jesus answered ...You men do not know what you are asking for... but this sitting down at my right hand or left hand belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by my father
... (Mt 20: 20-23) Many may yet be selected for that purpose. ... I tell you many will come from eastern parts and western parts to recline at the table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens, whereas the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness outside. There is where the weeping and gnashing of their teeth will be
... (Mt 8:8,9,10,11,12 cf. Mt 24:48-51). YHWH knows what qualities he requires for kings of his kingdom.
Like their heavenly father human sons and daughters of God, including Jesus, can see alternative paths of action and can be drawn out by their desires, which then become temptations. Jesus did not dwell on thoughts that came to him after God had acknowledged him as his son. He understood the process that leads to wrong actions. When he told the Jews ... “You heard that it was said ‘you must not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart
... he explained the process. (Mt 5:27,28).
So being able to see different courses of action is normal for man made in Gods image, he is free-willed and can weigh up the pros and cons of each action. But if he continues to dwell on it, even as David did, and all of us at one time or another have done, it becomes a forceful temptation. And that is why Jesus tells us to ask the Father not
to lead us into temptation
, but to deliver us from evil
... with deliver
being an imperative verb, we are asking him to do whatever it takes to stop us (Mt 6:13)
And, yes, the Bible has been tampered with, and YHWH has allowed it, but thanks to modern technology things that have been covered over are being uncovered. ...for there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered and secret that will not become known
... (Mt 10:26).
If what I have written here is confronting and makes inroads into what one believes, how does one react? Does one reject it out of hand or does one investigate it further, looking inside to see one's motivating spirit? How one reacts shows their mettle, it exposes the spirit that moves them, as was the case with James and John who were prepared to burn down a Samaritan village. Jesus had rebuked them saying, ..."you do not know of what spirit you are
... see, Biblehub Interlinear, Lu 9:53-55
. This rebuke has also been filtered out of most translations, omitted because it does not align with traditional 21st-century religious teaching which has tended to put the apostles on pedestals.
Remember, it is not about striving for perfection but rather about learning to walk, one step at a time, along the road that leads to life (Mt 7:14).