The viper (ʾepʿeh) occurs three times in the Hebrew Bible, always in poetic contexts to describe negative environments or sensations. Third-millennium texts from Mesopotamia attest to the veneration of a god Ibaʾum, etymologically related to Heb. ʾepʿeh.
A third-millennium Akkadian seal depicting a fully developed snake-dragon is dedicated to a god i-ba-um (R. M. Boehmer, Die Entwicklung der Glyptik während der Akkad-Zeit [Berlin 1965] Tafel XLVIII no. 570). This sna…