Serpent charming

SERPENT CHARMING (לָחַשׁ, H4317, to whisper, to charm; the technical term for snake charming).

Serpents were numerous in Pal. and the art of snake charming was practiced in the country. Some snakes were susceptible to charming (Eccl 10:11) and others resisted the techniques of the charmer (Ps 58:4, 5; Jer 8:17). Isaiah 3:3 may also refer to snake charming. In Jeremiah 8:17 serpent charming is used metaphorically to describe the enemies of Judah who are “serpents, adders which cannot be charmed”; and in Psalm 58:4, 5 to characterize the wicked who are “like the deaf adder that stops its ear, so that it does not hear the voice of charmers.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

-charm’-ing: Allusion to this art, widely practiced by the ancients (see references in DB, under the word; especially Bothart, Hieron., III, 161, 164, etc.), as by modern Orientals, is found in Ps 58:5; Ec 10:11; Jer 8:17; Sirach 12:13, perhaps in Jas 3:7. The skill displayed in taming snakes, often without removing the poison fangs, is very surprising. Bruce, Davy, and other travelers give striking illustrations. See especially the interesting account of serpent-charming in Hengstenberg’s Egypt and the Books of Moses, English Translation, 100-104.