This question deals exclusively with the metaphorical interpretation of the Serpent as Satan/evil inclination/Devil/etc, not as a biological species.

The Serpent was cursed by God with :

"וַיֹּאמֶר ה"א אֶל־הַנָּחָשׁ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת
אָרוּר אַתָּה מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה
עַל־גְּחֹנְךָ תֵלֵךְ וְעָפָר תֹּאכַל כָּל־יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ׃"
"Then God said to the serpent, “Because you did this,
more cursed shall you be than all cattle and all the wild beasts:
On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life." Gen 3.14

The commentators I looked at unanimously interpret "נחש" here as a species, completely ignoring the idea of it being a metaphorical evil being .

For the metaphorical נחש, what does the curse mean?

  • You may want to read from the introduction the Guide for the Perplexed, about the two kinds of Meshalim. It could be the [metaphorical] story with the serpent would fit the second category (at least according to Maimonides).
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 24 at 8:48
  • @TamirEvan Yes, this is exactly my point, you have to explain all phenomena with that hypothesis. You can't use the metaphorical hypothesis for some versions and the literal animal hypothesis for others.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 24 at 9:07
  • Actually, in the second type of Mashal I alluded to, only some elements of the Mashal have a Nimshal. So, if a commentator feels that a part of the Mashal, that doesn't have a corresponding Nimshal, needs interpretation, he interprets it - literally (in the context of the Mashal). Those that have a Nimshal, he interprets metaphorically (in the context of the Nimshal). At least according to the Guide, it's not an either-or situation - it can be both.
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 24 at 9:37

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