Click to donate today!
The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
Bronze figure of a serpent which was broken in pieces by Hezekiah at the beginningof his reign (2 Kings 18:4). It was identified with the bronze serpent raised by Moses in the desert in order to heal the Israelites from the bites of the poisonous serpents to which they were exposed (Numbers 21:4-10). The Rabbis regarded the word "Nehushtan" as in the dual number, and believed that sacrifice to it involved the loss both of the present and of the future life (Midr. Esfah in Yalá¸³., Num. 764). In the baraita Ber. 10b, which was incorporated in the Mishnah (Pes. 4:8), the additional information is given that the destruction of the bronze serpent was applauded by the people.
Modern exegesis holds two different opinions in regard to the meaning of the word "Nehushtan," which is explained either as denoting an image of bronze, and as entirely unconnected with the word "naá¸¥ash" (serpent), or as a lengthened form of "naá¸¥ash" (comp. Î½ÎµÎµÏÎ¸Î¬Î½ in the Septuagint), and thus as implying that the worship of serpents was of ancient date in Israel. The assumption that the tradition about "Nehushtan" is not older than the time of Hezekiah is, however, not contested.
- Schenkl, Bibellexikon, s. Schlange;
- Herzog-Hauck, Real-Encyc. s. Schlange;
- Hastings, Dict. Bible.
These files are public domain.
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Nehushtan'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/n/nehushtan.html. 1901.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26