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Home » CHFWeb Forum » HotTopics » Bronze Snake
Bronze Snake [message #814452] Thu, 29 October 2015 20:42 Go to next message
Jamie
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
Senior Member
What transpired between the time of Numbers 21 and II Kings 18 specifically when it came to the bronze snake?

As a refresher, the people were speaking against both God and Moses for taking yet another detour as well as their dissatisfaction for the diet provided by God in the wilderness (they had food, they were just sick of it). As a result, God sent fiery serpents (poisoned snakes) to attack the people. Moses prayed, but God gave him instructions to build a serpent and raise it up...that any who should look upon it in faith would be saved. Now, this was after the 10 commandments which included the thou shalt not for graven images, and it was after the people made the golden calf. Personally, I find the whole thing a bit confusing and can see it as a mixed message - which maybe (?) is what happened in the by and by, because a thousand years later, the king of Judah (Hezekiah) is purifying the temple and scraping the kingdom from high places, and the images that they hold...which includes, chapter 18 says, this very bronze snake. By this time, the snake had become used in or was the focus of worship or some such ... even though it was created by His command, and used for his purpose (and symbolized Messiah, according to Jesus himself when speaking to Nehemiah in the gospel of John). Regardless, it's now given a name: Nehushtan (which is really similar to my English reading eyes to the Hebrew word for snake anyway (which is nachash). And, depending on the scholarly efforts of others, has a really neat breakdown of root words when you know about the scripture in John). So, I don't know if there was an actual snake god (as in those who surrounded them) that they transferred their worship to, or if this was like some iconoclastic type thing similar to some of the Christian religions, wherein an object becomes the thing prayed to/through/for?

But, my real question is - and one I can't find in the bible (and have not really had luck with Mr. Google) is what actually transpired during those thousand years specifically where the bronze serpent was concerned? I'd like to know, even if from non-biblical or extra-biblical sources a bit of history that might carry that part of the story. It's a long shot, but I'd like to hear if anyone has anything or theories?


Peace
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814456 is a reply to message #814452 ] Fri, 30 October 2015 11:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
Jamie wrote on Thu, 29 October 2015 20:42

What transpired between the time of Numbers 21 and II Kings 18 specifically when it came to the bronze snake?
But, my real question is - and one I can't find in the bible (and have not really had luck with Mr. Google) is what actually transpired during those thousand years specifically where the bronze serpent was concerned? I'd like to know, even if from non-biblical or extra-biblical sources a bit of history that might carry that part of the story. It's a long shot, but I'd like to hear if anyone has anything or theories?


I have read on blogs & in books, from theologians who study ancient near-eastern religion & history, comments about Israel's history and how it is written about in the bible and archeological record.
I have also seen "the snake" mentioned in Midrash.
To comment further, this would need to be moved to Hot Topics, I think.
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814458 is a reply to message #814456 ] Fri, 30 October 2015 16:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jamie
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
Senior Member
Hyzenthlay wrote on Fri, 30 October 2015 11:14

Jamie wrote on Thu, 29 October 2015 20:42

What transpired between the time of Numbers 21 and II Kings 18 specifically when it came to the bronze snake?
But, my real question is - and one I can't find in the bible (and have not really had luck with Mr. Google) is what actually transpired during those thousand years specifically where the bronze serpent was concerned? I'd like to know, even if from non-biblical or extra-biblical sources a bit of history that might carry that part of the story. It's a long shot, but I'd like to hear if anyone has anything or theories?


I have read on blogs & in books, from theologians who study ancient near-eastern religion & history, comments about Israel's history and how it is written about in the bible and archeological record.
I have also seen "the snake" mentioned in Midrash.
To comment further, this would need to be moved to Hot Topics, I think.



I'll see if I can get Tamara to move it. I'm more interested in real studies than the average Joe's blog speculations (there are so many unstudied experts out there, you know).


Peace
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814462 is a reply to message #814458 ] Fri, 30 October 2015 17:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
Jamie wrote on Fri, 30 October 2015 16:06



I'll see if I can get Tamara to move it. I'm more interested in real studies than the average Joe's blog speculations (there are so many unstudied experts out there, you know).



I read blogs & books by actual doctoral scholars who teach in seminaries & publish for lay persons.Wink
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814466 is a reply to message #814462 ] Fri, 30 October 2015 21:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jamie
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
Senior Member
Hyzenthlay wrote on Fri, 30 October 2015 17:09

Jamie wrote on Fri, 30 October 2015 16:06



I'll see if I can get Tamara to move it. I'm more interested in real studies than the average Joe's blog speculations (there are so many unstudied experts out there, you know).



I read blogs & books by actual doctoral scholars who teach in seminaries & publish for lay persons.Wink

Ok, you can fill me in - we've been moved to HT. I'm eager to see what histories are too hot for the Bible board, LOL.

[Updated on: Fri, 30 October 2015 21:44]


Peace
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814510 is a reply to message #814466 ] Tue, 03 November 2015 09:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
[quote title=Jamie wrote on Fri, 30 October 2015 21:43

Ok, you can fill me in - we've been moved to HT. I'm eager to see what histories are too hot for the Bible board, LOL.
[/quote]

I don't think they are so "HOT", but as I understand the different boards, we are going off Bible.
I was away over the weekend and have many appointments today & tomorrow. This will take a bit to explain, so...


I'll be back !
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814537 is a reply to message #814510 ] Wed, 04 November 2015 13:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
I will have to post in sections, since the print I'm quoting from is so-o-o small. Laughing

From the notes in "The Jewish Study Bible", from the Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation.

Kings : 4-9
This incident is the final recurrence of wilderness murmuring. Complaints again center around a lack of water and poor food. The bronze serpent as an apotropaic (evil averting, from Gk "turn from")symbol seems to be the etiological account for the bronze serpent, Nehushtan, which was worshipped in Jerusalem until the late 8th century when King Hezekiah destroyed it. Winged serpents associated with the divine are attested in Isaiah (6:6-7, 14: 20-30) and elsewhere in the Ancient Near East. In Egypt, the uraeus, an amulet of an upreared cobra, symbolized kingship and divinity. It was worn on the pharaoh's forehead and was believed to protect him with its fiery saliva. A serpent attached to a staff is the source of the caduceus symbol of the modern medical profession.
4.
5.-
6. Seraph serpents, based on the verb, means "burning serpents", because of their poisonous bite.
9. A copper serpent more likely refers to one made of bronze, a copper tin alloy. Heb "nehoshet" (copper) resembles the word for snake, "nahash". Rabbinic interpreers were disturbed by the magical nature of this cure, and suggested that it was the glance of the afflicted to their Father in heaven (which is why the seraph was placed on a standard), rather than the snake itself, which effected the cure.( b. Rosh Hash 29a, cited in Rashi)
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814551 is a reply to message #814537 ] Thu, 05 November 2015 08:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
2 Kings:4

Elimination of the open shrines concentrated worship in Jerusalem ( see verse 22) The author describes Nehushtan, a form of the word for serpent, as an ancient relic associated with miraculous healings in the wilderness ( Number 2 8-9) held sacred by Israelites. Noting that the Heb actually says " he called it" (and not it was called), Rashi suggests that Hezekia, the active subject of the sentence , labeled it "bronze serpent thing , "nehushtan" in Heb, as a pejorative.
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814552 is a reply to message #814551 ] Thu, 05 November 2015 08:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraph

History of seraph has it's origin in the word serpent.

Links can't be posted in Bible Issues Wink

Got an appointment, need to run.
Re: Bronze Snake [message #814616 is a reply to message #814552 ] Mon, 09 November 2015 07:56 Go to previous message
Hyzenthlay
Messages: 769
Registered: April 2009
Location: NEPA
Senior Member
"The History of the Ancient World", by Susan Wise Bauer, has been helpful to me in placing and understanding surrounding civilizations. The political, military changes going on are broken down to show progressive changes across the world.

I have not bought or read, but the "Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch"

and "The Dictionary of the Historical Books",

both from the IVP Bible Dictionary Series, have been recommended for understanding the culture, history, etc. for a lay person.

I'm still searching for articles I may have saved. Unfortunately a lot of my reading time was while waiting through lessons & rehearsals and done on my phone and not saved. Or done in the dark on my Kindle, so I could read a book in a parking lot, and haven't started looking through that.

Becky
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