The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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NEHUSHTAN – ...the Israelites from the bites of the poisonous serpents to which they were exposed (Num. xxi. 4-10). The Rabbis regarded the word "Nehushtan" as in the dual number, and believed that sacrifice to it involved 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 ...The assumption that the tradition about "Nehushtan" is not older than the time of Hezekiah is, however, not contested.Bibliography:
  • SERAPHIM – ...serpents and dragons; and a brazen serpent, Nehushtan, stood in the Temple at Jerusalem, and was an object of worship until the time of Hezekiah, who destroyed it as being idolatrous (II Kings xviii. 4 et seq.
    BRAZEN SERPENT – "neḥushtan." The sufferers, when they looked upon the image from any part of the camp, were healed of their sickness (Num. xxi. 4-9). This "brazen serpent" became an object of adoration to Israel, and so ...the "seraphim," or swiftly changing lightning and cloud-shapes of the sky, a mode of the divine self-manifestation similar to that of the Cherubs. The name "neḥushtan" suggests ...signifying in Hebrew "brass" as well as "serpent." It is likely that neḥushtan as an object used in the ancient Semitic cult was a species of totem-pole, surmounted by the reproduction-perhaps in wood—of a serpent, and...
    COPPER – ...times. Moses, however, is represented as having made a serpent of brass ("neḥushtan," Num. xxi.9), which was later on worshiped in the Temple of Jerusalem, and which Hezekiah "brake in pieces" (II Kings xviii. 4 ...for a worker in brass (Hiram). Ex. xxxviii. is also an instance of anachronism, the furnishings of Solomon's Temple being taken as a pattern; while the neḥushtan of II Kings xviii. 4, if it actually belongs to...
    ELOHIST – ...xviii. 12, xxiv. 11). "Maẓebot" are very frequently mentioned as though legitimate. Idols are known, and Rachel steals those of her father. Holy trees are recognized (Gen. xxxv. 4; Josh. xxiv. 26). The "neḥushtan...