It is obvious to me that of all the beasts of the field, it seems that the serpent is doomed to wear the bad boy image. This is probably rightfully so, but not for the reasons that most people would offer. The snake is always the representation of evil and is portrayed, for all appearances sake, as the ultimate of slithering ugliness. This is a deliberate scheme hatched by the serpent himself, with full cooperation from religion and all forms of media.

The nature of the serpent is tied directly to the Hebrew word for him. The word in Hebrew is nachash (נחש). If you look this word up in a common lexicon you will find such descriptions as, to shine, shining one, to enchant, or even to hiss or whisper. You have to go to the classical Hebrew and to an etymological dictionary to get the verb or action root of this character. From the very beginning, the serpent, or the enemy of the seed of the woman, is the representation of learning by experience. The best use of this word's verbal root is in Bere’shiyt (Genesis):

Bere’shiyt 29:27And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry; for I have learned by experience that YHVH hath blessed me for thy sake.

As it is with most Hebrew words in their introductory context, the immediate story surrounding the word is directly connected to the meaning. This is especially true with names. The first move of the serpent is to pervert the word of YHVH and deceive Chavah (Eve) into eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is another way of simply learning by experience. Our Father loves us as children, and it is His desire to raise us according to His nurturing ways, according to His words, knowing the end from the beginning. The very nature of the serpent is to convince the people of YHVH to follow their own ways. This can be accomplished on an individual basis or as active members of large groups. To resign ones' self to believing that the devil and all that is evil is represented by horned creatures with pitch forks or charismatic preachers offering tubs of purple kool-aid is naive at best.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Messiah. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

Shalom Alecheim!