Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Numbers 21:6

    Numbers 21:6 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And Jehovah sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Then the Lord sent poison-snakes among the people; and their bites were a cause of death to numbers of the people of Israel.

    Webster's Revision

    And Jehovah sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    World English Bible

    Yahweh sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many people of Israel died.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    Clarke's Commentary on Numbers 21:6

    Fiery serpents - הנחשים השרפים hannechashim hasseraphim. I have observed before, on Genesis 3. that it is difficult to assign a name to the creature termed in Hebrew nachash; it has different significations, but its meaning here and in Genesis 3.is most difficult to be ascertained. Seraphim is one of the orders of angelic beings, Isaiah 6:2, Isaiah 6:6; but as it comes from the root שרף saraph, which signifies to burn, it has been translated fiery in the text. It is likely that St. Paul alludes to the seraphim, Hebrews 1:7 : Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a Flame Of Fire. The animals mentioned here by Moses may have been called fiery because of the heat, violent inflammation, and thirst, occasioned by their bite; and consequently, if serpents, they were of the prester or dipsas species, whose bite, especially that of the former, occasioned a violent inflammation through the whole body, and a fiery appearance of the countenance. The poet Lucan has well expressed this terrible effect of the bite of the prester, and also of the dipsas, in the ninth book of his Pharsalia, which, for the sake of those who may not have the work at hand, I shall here insert.

    Of the mortal effects of the bite of the dipsas in the deserts of Libya he gives the following description: -

    "Signiferum juvenem Tyrrheni sanguinis Aulum

    Torta caput retro dipsas calcata momordit.

    Vix dolor aut sensus dentis fuit: ipsaque laeti

    Frons caret invidia: nec quidquam plaga minatur.

    Ecce subit virus tacitum, carpitque medullas

    Ignis edax, calidaque incendit viscera tabe.

    Ebibit humorem circum vitalia fusum

    Pestis, et in sicco linguam torrere palato

    Coepit: defessos iret qui sudor in artus

    Non fuit, atque oculos lacrymarum vena refugit."

    Aulus, a noble youth of Tyrrhene blood,

    Who bore the standard, on a dipsas trod;

    continued...

    Barnes' Notes on Numbers 21:6

    Fiery serpents - The epithet Deuteronomy 8:15; Isaiah 14:29; Isaiah 30:6 denotes the inflammatory effect of their bite. The peninsula of Sinai, and not least, the Arabah, abounds in mottled snakes of large size, marked with fiery red spots and wavy stripes, which belong to the most poisonous species, as the formation of the teeth clearly show.

    Wesley's Notes on Numbers 21:6

    21:6 Fiery serpents - There were many such in this wilderness, which having been hitherto restrained by God, are now let loose and sent among them. They are called fiery from their effects, because their poison caused an intolerable heat and burning and thirst, which was aggravated with this circumstance of the place, that here was no water, Num 21:5.