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Nehustan (or Nehushtan) (meaning "thing of brass" or "thing of bronze") was the name given to the metallic likeness of a serpent mounted on a pole. In Numbers 21, God sent poisonous serpents among the Israelites as punishment for rebelling against Moses. When the people appealed to Moses to deliver them, God told Moses to create a metallic serpent mounted on a pole. If anyone was bitten by a serpent, he or she could then look at the metallic serpent and be saved. Although this was intended as a sign by God of His power and mercy (as well as a foreshadowing of Christ, as indicated by Jesus Himself in John 3:14), the people later came to regard the serpent on the pole itself as an idol, and began to worship it. This remained the case until the much-later reign of King Hezekiah of Judah (as recounted in 2 Kings 18) when the king (who considered the serpent to be a mere "thing" -- as implied by its name -- with no special power or significance) destroyed it.
In Hebrew the name sounds like the phrase נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת (nÿkhash hannÿkhoshet), “bronze serpent.” -- https://classic.net.bible.org/verse.php?book=2Ki&chapter=18&verse=4 "(1) Nehushtan was the (sacred) name by which the brazen serpent was known during the years 'the children of Israel did burn incense to it'; (2) the word is derived from nachash, 'serpent'; and (3) it was used in the sense of 'The Serpent.'" —Lindsay B. Longacre Bible Dictionaries - Easton's Bible Dictionary - Nehushtan: Nehushtan [N] [H] [S] of copper; a brazen thing a name of contempt given to the serpent Moses had made in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8 -- 8 And the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live."), and which Hezekiah destroyed because the children of Israel began to regard it as an idol and "burn incense to it." The lapse of nearly one thousand years had invested the "brazen serpent" with a mysterious sanctity; and in order to deliver the people from their infatuation, and impress them with the idea of its worthlessness, Hezekiah called it, in contempt, "Nehushtan," a brazen thing, a mere piece of brass (2 Kings 18:4 --2 Kings 18:4 Hezekiah Reigns in Judah: 2 K. 18:4 He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan)."). [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible [H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary Nehushtan In Bible versions: Nehushtan: NET AVS NIV NRSV NASB TEV the name applied to the bronze serpent Moses had made. a trifling thing of brass Hebrew Strongs #05180: Ntvxn N@chushtan Nehushtan = "a thing of brass" 1) name by which the brazen serpent made by Moses in the wilderness was worshipped in the time of king Hezekiah of Judah before he destroyed it 5180 Nchushtan nekh-oosh-tawn' from 5178; something made of copper, i.e. the copper serpent of the Desert:-Nehushtan. Ryrie says that "what 700 years before was a means of healing (Num. 21:8-9) had become an idol that was worshipped. 'Nehustan' means a mere piece of bronze--a contemptuous unmasking of what the relic really was. To destroy it was the only wise course of action. Today, we as Christians have to 'put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.' An illustration of obedience to this command is in Acts 19:19 which says, 'And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.'"
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