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The Meaning and the Function of the Serpent (Exod 7:8-13) in the Plagues Narrative

DAE JUN JEONG 1

1광신대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aim to discuss the incident of the serpent in the plagues narrative of Exod 7:8-13. In this paper, I would like to argue that the incident of the serpent is included as one of the plagues as a starting point that leads up to the God’s judgment. In order to prove my opinion, firstly, I analyze the Hebrew words that mean the serpent or the snake, and search their usages in cognate languages. Especially, by focusing on !yNIT; and vx'n" mentioned in Exod 7, I investigate that such words meaning a serpent could have a positive or negative meaning depending in the context. Secondly, by comparing the story of Eve and the serpent in Gen 3, which is a similar story with the incident of the serpent in Exod 7, I suggest a new interpretation for this incident. Finally, I explore the literary structure of the plagues narrative and the relationship between the plagues and the Egyptian gods. It reveals that the incident of the serpent is the starting point of the plagues narrative and at the same time, also one of the plagues in this narrative. This study highlights not only the importance of the incident of the serpent (which is easy to miss), but helps us to understand the delicate literary structure of the plagues narrative the narrator designs. In addition, it makes us understand that YHWH is clearly showing the Egyptians as well as to the Israelites and also to the reader, that the Egyptian gods worshiped by the Egyptians are worthless through the plagues (with the incident of the serpent) in this narrative.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.