What Do Scorpions Symbolize In The Bible?

The Bible is never silent. From creation to the prophesy on folding up of the world, it has mentioned several things including animate and inanimate objects. The scorpion both literal and symbolic, has been mentioned in the Old and New Testament with reference to a number of scenarios. In the sections below, we shall dive deep into the specific areas where the Bible talks of scorpions in a bid to find out what exactly what the Bible means.

Scorpions as Symbols of Punishment and Pain

Scorpions as Symbols of Punishment and Pain

In the book of 1 Kings 12:11, the Bible says,

“My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”

Rehoboam, the son of Solomon and King of Judah faces a dilemma following the death of his father. Solomons reign was characterized by heavy taxation to finance the luxurious lifestyle of the palace.

When Jeroboam, one of the former officials of king Solomon warns Rehoboam about the continuation of the taxation and other punitive measures his father did, Rehoboam responds harshly.

He threatens to scourge the Israelites with scorpions in place of the whips his father’s administration used. This is not just a symbol of severe punishment but also pain and torture for no apparent reason.

Symbols of Danger

Addressing his disciples, Jesus said to them in Luke 10:19 that

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Snakes and scorpions were and still are some of the most dangerous creatures on earth. In referencing scorpions, Jesus was speaking about the dangers and the evils in the world around and about his time.

It was a collective term for things such as sicknesses, deaths, demonic oppression, and other works of Satan. Inasmuch as these creatures are terrifying, Jesus wanted the disciples and by extension all of us to have the confidence that the authority given to us is greater than the danger posed by the creatures.

Symbols of Undesirable Gifts

God the Father always desires the best for his children. In the Book of Luke 11:11-12, the Bible says

“Which of you fathers if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion?”

God is drawing parallels between earthly fathers and him (Heavenly Father).

The context was that of prayer and Jesus was emphasizing that whatever we ask, it shall be given to us. God is not evil that he gives us undesirable gifts symbolized by scorpions when we ask, seek, and knock in his name.

The foundation of faith must be solid enough that the children of God do not doubt the ability of God to grant their petition.

God always has our best interest at heart and unlike our earthly fathers, he is not limited neither is he evil to the extent of giving us harmful things instead of the things we ask for.

Symbols of God Provision Amidst Adversity

In the Bible, one of the most difficult journeys was that of the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. On the way, they encountered so many challenges including lack of water, rough terrain full of thorns and thistles. In addition, they came across scorpions and snakes.

In Deuteronomy 8:15, the Bible reaffirms this by saying

“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents, and scorpions and thirsty grounds where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint.”

In this book of Deuteronomy, the Bible summarizes some of the experiences of the children of Israel recorded in the first five books of the Bible. The mention of scorpions here brings two dimensions albeit one stronger than the other.

While the scorpions are dangerous or even poisonous, the Bible shifts the perspective of the audience or readers to the provision of God amidst the dangers. God gave them what they needed to make it through without being harmed.

Symbols of Destruction

Symbols of Destruction

In the Book of Revelation 9:1-3, the Bible continues through the lens of John to describe ethe end times. In this passage of scripture, the Bible talks of the 5th angel blowing the trumpet. It also talks of the opening of the bottomless pit and smoke coming out of it that darkens the sun and the air.

Of interest is the last section which says,

“then from the smoke came locusts on the earth and they were given power like the powers of the scorpion of the earth.”

The locusts are usually mentioned as symbols of destruction and in this passage, which is part of the great tribulation, they are given the power of scorpions.

This means in addition to their destructive nature; the power of scorpions gives them an additional layer to inflict pain on the target victims. Axe is sometimes seen as a similar portrait of destruction.

Symbols of Torment

According to the Bible, before the earth is folded up, there will be severe torment on the people of the earth. In the Book of Revelation, several episodes of tribulation are described in detail including passages such as Revelation 9:5 where the Bible says,

“They were allowed to torment them for 5 months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.”

The immediate audience of the Book of Revelation may have had a difficult time trying to figure out the nature of the end time torment.

However, the Bible brings the experience closer to them by likening it to the stings of a scorpion. It is painful, poisonous, and lasts for a long time. In the passage, the Bible talks of 5 months of constant, unending torment.

In a way, the Bible is warning the people of the earth that they should make amends and return to the straight and narrow before the day of torment comes.

Conclusion

In several places the Bible mentions the scorpion either as a symbol of terror, torment, punishment, or to help illustrate the provision of God to his people. Whatever the case, the Bible is very clear of all instances and they role the scorpion plays.

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