A general term for the various snakelike creatures found in the ancient Near East (Heb. nāḥāš, kārāp̱; Gk. óphis).
Representations of serpents in literature and other media (chiefly clay and bronze) occur throughout the ancient Near East. Serpents functioned largely as objects of worship or charms against evil, often that of snakebite. Enuma Elish depicts Tiamat, herself perhaps a serpentlike creature, as allied with a horde of creatures — many serpentine — in her battle with Marduk. While Gilgamesh is swimming, a serpent steals the plant that is to give immortality.
In the Gen. 3 story of the fall of humanity, a crafty serpent (cf. Matt. 10:16) talks Eve into eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which she then hands to Adam. God pronounces the consequences on the serpent, Eve, Adam, and the ground (only the serpent and the ground are cursed).This explains why the serpent has no legs; for humanity, it means …