The Snake

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

In one of the most told and retold stories from the Bible, the snake became associated with the fall of man when he whispered in Eve’s ear and encouraged her to eat from the Tree of Life while Adam and Eve were still living in the Garden of Eden.

The Bible:

Genesis 3, Verse  1: NOW the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.   And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye said not eat of every tree of the garden.

2: And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.

3: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden.  God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4: And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5: for God doth know that in the say ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be opened, and ys shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

8: And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

9: And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

10: And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11: And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldnest not eat?

12: And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13: And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life.

14: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel.

In most cases, snakes represent sin or Satan in funerary art.  There are exceptions, though, as in the case of the Ouroboros, the Rod of Asclepius, and the Caduceus.

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

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