viper Summary and Overview
viper in Easton's Bible Dictionary
In Job 20:16, Isa. 30:6; 59:5, the Heb. word eph'eh is thus rendered. The Hebrew word, however, probably denotes a species of poisonous serpents known by the Arabic name of 'el ephah. Tristram has identified it with the sand viper, a species of small size common in sandy regions, and frequently found under stones by the shores of the Dead Sea. It is rapid in its movements, and highly poisonous. In the New Testament "echidne" is used (Matt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33) for any poisonous snake. The viper mentioned in Acts 28:3 was probably the vipera aspis, or the Mediterranean viper. (See ADDER T0000085.)
viper in Smith's Bible Dictionary
viper in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
VI'PER . This word in the O.T. possibly designates some particular species of hissing and venomous serpent, but its exact application cannot be determined. In the N.T. the Greek word thus rendered was used for any poisonous snake. The viper which fastened on Paul's hand, Acts 28:1-6, was doubtless the snake of that name (Vipera aspis), still common in the Mediterranean islands. It has now disappeared from Malta with the woods to which it is partial. The viper is an emblem of whatever is deceitful and destructive. Matt 3:7; Matt 12:34; Acts 23:33; Luke 3:7. See Cockatrice and Asp.
viper in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See ADDER; SERPENT.) Epheh (Isaiah 59:5); viviparous, as the derivation of viper implies. Symbol of hypocrisy and malignity (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33).