The Copperhead


Wade Webster

Paul had many friends; and maybe, even more enemies. Among Paul’s enemies was a coppersmith named Alexander (2 Tim. 4:14). Like others in Scripture, Alexander was identified by his occupation (Acts 9:43; Mt. 3:1). Alexander was a coppersmith. He pounded out sheets of metal for a living. Evidently, this wicked man pounded on Paul the way that a blacksmith might pound upon a piece of metal. He did Paul “much evil” (2 Tim. 4:14). Like David in the imprecatory psalms, Paul prayed for God to reward this man according to his works (2 Tim. 4:14; cf. Psalm 58:5-6).

Jokingly, I sometimes refer to this man as Alexander the copperhead. After all, he reminds me of the poisonous snake that bears this name. As you may know, copperheads are masters of camouflage. The copperhead’s brownish color and cross band pattern allows it to blend in perfectly with its environment. Although copperheads sometimes hunt for prey, they are generally ambush predators. They simply sit and wait for prey to move into range. Perhaps, like a copperhead, Alexander camouflaged himself and waited for Paul to get close enough to strike. Likely, Alexander appeared as a minister of righteousness, rather than as the snake that he was (2 Cor. 11:13-15; cf. Mt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33).

To keep others from being bitten by Alexander the copperhead, Paul exhorted them to be “ware” also (2 Tim. 4:15). In like manner today, we must also warn men of the copperheads that we come across in life that they might avoid them (Rom. 16:17).