Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Horace Hummel

Scripture References in this Resource

2 Kings 18:4; Exodus 7:8-13; Genesis 3:14; Genesis 30:27; Genesis 49:17; Genesis 8:6-12; Isaiah 27:1; Jeremiah 8:17; Leviticus 19:26; Matthew 10:16; Micah 7:17; Numbers 21:4-9; Numbers 23:23; Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 23:32; Proverbs 30:19; Psalm 104:26; Psalm 41:1; Psalm 74:14; Psalm 89:10; Revelation 12:9-15; Romans 3:13


In Numbers 21:4-9 the story is told of how Yahweh punished the Israelites by sending "fiery serpents" into their midst. After hearing the people's confession, Yahweh provided the means of healing in the form of the Bronze Serpent. This serpent was not heard of again until the time of Hezekiah, over five-hundred years later. It was destroyed as part of Hezekiah's reform, where it was designated as Nehushtan. What happened to the Bronze Serpent in the interim? And what was the theme of Nehushtan worship? This paper will endeavor to shed light on these questions by surveying the use of the serpent symbol in the ancient world, focusing especially on Canaanite sites and worship themes, the text of 2 Kings 18:4, and the religious milieu leading up to the days of Hezekiah. The syncretistic practices of Israel, which gave birth to Nehushtan worship, provide potent lessons for our generation.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.