BAR 33:02, Mar/Apr 2007
The Mystery Nechushtan
Why did King Hezekiah of Judah destroy the bronze serpent that Moses had fashioned to protect the Israelites?
After all, it had been fashioned by Moses himself a half millennium earlier—and for good purpose.
In the Biblical passage that tells us what Hezekiah did, we learn of several other things the late-eighth century B.C.E. king destroyed: “He abolished the high places (or shrines; Hebrew bamot) and smashed the pillars (or sacred pillars; Hebrew matzevot) and cut down the sacred pole (or post; Hebrew asherah). He also broke into pieces the bronze serpent (Nechushtan)” (2 Kings 18:4).