Brass = Bronze = Copper




Click on the following link to learn more about BRONZE/COPPER:

BRONZE: Biblical/Spiritual Implications

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In summary, Bronze, (chiefly copper) representing human nature which is noted in the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:9) — representing the justified human nature of YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH (JESUS; not Yeshua!) that was sacrificed for us to remove our sins. In other words, the goat hair covering represents our old nature (the fleshly nature), in which we have our spiritual hopes.

The following is a very useful Detailed Teaching on The Brazen/Copper Serpent (click on the following link for the full Teaching):

Nehushtan (Hebrew), the Copper Serpent: Its Origins and Fate


The TORAH describes Moshe building a COPPER SERPENT to heal the Israelites. According to Kings, Hezekiah destroys it because it was being worshiped. Archaeology and history clarify the religious and political meaning of this image.

The mysterious account of the copper (or bronze) serpent (Num 21:4-9) is part of a catalogue of stories in the TORAH that involve Israelite grumbling—generally about the dearth of food or water in the wilderness—and the consequences of that grumbling. In this story, once again, YAH has had enough and decides to punish the Israelites, this time, sending saraph serpents to attack them.

Hebrew: Numbers 21:6

במדבר כא:ו וַיְשַׁלַּח יְ-הוָה בָּעָם אֵת הַנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים וַיְנַשְּׁכוּ אֶת הָעָם וַיָּמָת עַם רָב מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. כא:ז וַיָּבֹא הָעָם אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמְרוּ חָטָאנוּ כִּי דִבַּרְנוּ בַי-הוָה וָבָךְ הִתְפַּלֵּל אֶל יְ-הוָה וְיָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אֶת הַנָּחָשׁ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל מֹשֶׁה בְּעַד הָעָם.

Num 21:6 YAHUVEH sent saraph serpents against the people. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died. 21:7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned by speaking against YAHUVEH and against you. Intercede with YHWH to take away the serpents from us!” And Moses interceded for the people (NJPS with adjustments).

To ameliorate the deadliness of the attack, Moses is told to make a model of a serpent, which, when looked upon, heals those who were bitten:

במדבר כא:ח וַיֹּאמֶר יְ-הוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שָׂרָף וְשִׂים אֹתוֹ עַל נֵס וְהָיָה כָּל הַנָּשׁוּךְ וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ וָחָי. כא:ט וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה נְחַשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת וַיְשִׂמֵהוּ עַל הַנֵּס וְהָיָה אִם נָשַׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ אֶת אִישׁ וְהִבִּיט אֶל נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת וָחָי.

Num 21:8 Then YAHUVEH said to Moses, “Make a saraph figure and mount it on a standard. And if anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.” 21:9 Moses made a COPPER SERPENT and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the COPPER SERPENT and recover.

This story may reflect sympathetic magic, where one uses a symbolic model of an object to affect what happens to the real object—like a voodoo doll. The model is used here apotropaically, to protect or in this case to heal the Israelites from the venom of the real snakes that this object is meant to represent.

King Hezekiah Destroys the Nehushtan

This COPPER SERPENT appears one other time in the Bible, in the description of a religious reform said to have been carried out by King Hezekiah in the 8th century  B.C.E, as a part of which he destroys it (2 Kings 18:4):

הוּא הֵסִיר אֶת הַבָּמוֹת
וְשִׁבַּר אֶת הַמַּצֵּבֹת
וְכָרַת אֶת הָאֲשֵׁרָה
וְכִתַּת נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה מֹשֶׁה כִּי עַד הַיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה הָיוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מְקַטְּרִים לוֹ וַיִּקְרָא לוֹ נְחֻשְׁתָּן.

He (=Hezekiah) abolished the shrines
And smashed the pillars
And cut down the sacred post (asherah).
He also broke into pieces the COPPER SERPENT that Moses had made, for until that time the Israelites had been offering sacrifices to it; it was called NEHUSHTAN.

Implicit in the above narrative is that before Hezekiah’s reform, the Israelites venerated a copper serpent.

An Etiological Tale About An Exiting Statue

The author of Numbers 21 was familiar with this image (Nehushtan) either in fact or by reputation, and felt that the presence of such a figure among the Israelites, perhaps even in the Temple itself, needed explaining. Thus, he insisted that, despite how people may have treated it, the copper serpent was never meant as a representation of a deity, but was designed for healing. Its construction was commanded by YAHUVEH and implemented by no less a figure than Moses.

Deuteronomic Polemic against Forbidden Forms of Worship


Whereas the story in Numbers is endorsing the copper snake, the story in Kings, which is part of the Deuteronomistic History (the books of Deuteronomy through 2 Kings), sees it as idolatrous. In fact, the Book of Deuteronomy, which forms the ideological underpinning of the Deuteronomistic tradition, is strongly iconoclastic, telling the Israelites of the necessity to destroy all forms of idolatry. For example, Moses instructs the people in Deuteronomy 12:3:

נִתַּצְתֶּם אֶת מִזְבּחֹתָם
וְשִׁבַּרְתֶּם אֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם
וַאֲשֵׁרֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ
וּפְסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם תְּגַדֵּעוּן
וְאִבַּדְתֶּם אֶת שְׁמָם מִן הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא.

Tear down their altars,
smash their pillars,
put their sacred posts to the fire,
and cut down the images of their gods,
obliterating their name from that site.

The מַצֵּבֹת (pillars) and the item translated “their sacred posts” (אֲשֵׁרֵיהֶם) in this list correspond to two of the items destroyed by Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18. The copper serpent, Nehushtan, the third object Hezekiah destroyed, would certainly fall into the larger category of פְּסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם (images of their gods), since 2 Kings 18 indicates that the people were offering sacrifices to it, treating it as a deity Apparently, not even a suggested Mosaic origin for this figure could overcome the Deuteronomistic aversion to icons that had become objects of worship.

Whence a Copper Serpent?


Pillars (מַצֵּבֹת) were common in ancient Israel. So too were sacred trees or poles (אֲשֵׁרָה), which functioned as symbols of the cult of the fertility goddess Asherah, and were part of the “cultic paraphernalia” of YHWH throughout Iron Age Israel Serpent images, such as Nehushtan, however, popular in Bronze Age Canaan, disappeared in the Iron Age and were not popular among the ancient Israelites for most of their history. Thus, the presence of Nehushtan as a venerated icon in ancient Judah is anomalous

Theory One: Bronze Age Canaanite Vestige

One explanation is that Nehushtan was a vestige of pre-Israelite practices. Iconographic evidence from Late Bronze Age Palestine shows an association between sacred trees and serpents as symbols of fertility. Specifically, Karen Randolph Joines describes a number of items discovered in several excavations in Israel dating to the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1200 B.C.E.), including at Tell Beit Mirsim, Shechem, Beit Shemesh, Hazor, and Gezer, all of which depict what appears to be a fertility goddess, perhaps Asherah, accompanied by serpent images
Bronze serpents have also been discovered in what appear to be cultic environments in Late Bronze Age levels at Tell Mevorakh, Hazor, Gezer, and Timna. This suggests that the pre-Israelite/Canaanite population of Palestine venerated the serpent alongside the Asherah, most probably as a chthonic image of fertility. Thus, although as a rule serpent images disappear with the advent of the Iron Age and the Israelite culture, Nehushtan may have been an exception to this rule, a cultic image that stood in a Canaanite temple (perhaps in Jerusalem itself) and was inherited and kept by the Israelites.

Egyptian Influence in the 8th Century

uraeus on the golden mask of Psusennes I 1047–1001 BC.
Another possibility, if we focus on iconographic evidence, is that the statue reflects Egyptian culture. Serpents were seen by Egyptian rulers as symbols of life, healing, and protection. Deities and kings were often pictured with uraei (serpent heads) on their foreheads or otherwise pictured in association with protective uraei. The image of a protective uraeus works well with the image of life and healing granted by looking at the serpent in the story in Numbers 21.
Although absent during the early Iron Age, serpent imagery reappears in the Levant on the seals and seal impressions dated to the reign of Hezekiah, during whose early reign the influence of Egypt was particularly strong. After all, Hezekiah reversed his father Ahaz’ submission to Assyria and, in 701 B.C.E., led a rebellion against Assyria in alliance with Egypt.[16]
While Hezekiah himself seems to have preferred other Egyptian motifs, the winged sun disc with ankh (sign for life) or the winged scarab,[17] other royal officials made use of the winged uraeus.[18] As the Judean rulers moved politically closer to Egypt to help stall the Assyrian advance that brought down the northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E., it is not surprising that Egyptian iconography emerged as popular symbols in the royal court of Hezekiah.