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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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The poison referred to in Romans 3:13, James 3:8 is animal, not vegetable. From the first the Hebrews had been but little interested in the medicinal, military, or malicious use of poisons. Their experience of venomous reptiles had furnished them with a vivid symbol of sin (cf. Numbers 21:6-9, Deuteronomy 8:15, John 3:14, Psalms 58:4; Psalms 140:3). The NT singles out for mention the part of the body which corresponds to the serpent’s weapon of attack, the mouth, i.e. the lips and tongue. Here the poison is concentrated and active. Attention is directed to the stored-up venom which awaits its chance to inject itself into its victim, the insidiousness and sting of the attack, the fierce and uncontrollable pain, the violence and deadliness which mark its effects.

C. A. Beckwith.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Poison'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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