A snake evidently so called from its darting and springing on its prey, in the manner of the rattlesnake. The Hebrew root from which the name is derived seems to be related to an Arabic root verb meaning “jump” or “leap.” The arrow snake is mentioned in the prophecy of Isaiah (34:15) as one of the creatures to inhabit Edom. This would emphasize the fact that Edom was to become such a desolate ruin that it would become a safe place for the arrow snake to ‘make its nest and lay eggs and hatch them and gather them together under its shadow.’ Most snakes lay eggs, and this text may refer to the practice of some snakes of coiling around their eggs. Says H. W. Parker’s book Snakes: A Natural History (1977, p. 55): “The ‘brooding’ habit and coiled body give a measure of temperature control as well as protection because the mother can cover or uncover her eggs at will as the weather varies and so ensure a more uniform, and probably higher, temperature; at the same time coiling reduces the exposed surfaces.”
Samuel Bochart (1599-1667), in his work Hierozoicon (Leipzig, 1796, Vol. 3, Part II, Book III, chap. XI, pp. 194-204), made a detailed study of the Hebrew word qip·pohzʹ and concluded that it refers to the snake called in Greek a·kon·tiʹas and in Latin jaculus—the arrow snake. However, modern lexicographers are not in agreement regarding the meaning of this Hebrew word.