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God promises a new heaven and earth and says he will never remember the former things

KJV Isaiah 65 : 17

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

The promise ushers in a change of diet and attitude amongst former foes

KJV Isaiah 65 : 25

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

But somehow only the serpent is said to eat dust which was previously his diet as a result of the curse in the beginning.

KJV Genesis 3 : 14

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Why does the serpent continue to eat dust in the new settings?

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  • Great and perceptive question. +1.
    – Dottard
    May 12 at 22:03

1 Answer 1

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This has been noticed by several commentators:

Pulpit Commentary:

Dust shall be the serpent's meat. Here we have a new feature, not contained in the earlier description. Serpents shall become harmless, anal instead of preying upon beasts, or birds, or reptiles, shall be content with the food assigned them in the primeval decree, "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (Genesis 3:14). Mr. Cheyne appositely notes that "much dust is the food of the shades in the Assyrio-Babylonian Hades" (see the "Legend of Ishtar" in the 'Records of the Past,' vol. 1. p. 143, line 8).

Barnes:

And dust shall be the serpent's meat - There is evidently here an allusion to the sentence pronounced on the serpent in Genesis 3:14. The meaning of the declaration here is, probably, that dust should continue to be the food of the serpent. The sentence on him should be perpetual. He should not be injurious to man - either by tempting him again, or by the venom of his fangs. The state of security would be as great under the Messiah as if the most deadly and poisonous kinds of reptiles should become wholly innocuous, and should not attempt to prey upon people.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

and dust—rather, "but dust," &c. The curse shall remain on the serpent [Horsley], (Ge 3:14; Mic 7:17). "To lick the dust" is figurative of the utter and perpetual degradation of Satan and his emissaries (Isa 49:23; Ps 72:9).

Thus, it appears that the perpetual curse of the snake (Gen 3:14) is to be a reminder of the complete triumph of God and Jesus over the great serpent, the Devil. This is presumably similar to the persistent scars of Jesus as displayed in John 20:24-29.

However, some commentators also take Isa 65 & 66 as entirely figurative and thus the perpetual curse on the serpent as figurative - I do not subscribe to this view as it would severely distort the entire narrative of Isa 65 & 66.

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