6. The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people--That part of the desert where the Israelites now were--near the head of the gulf of Akaba--is greatly infested with venomous reptiles, of various kinds, particularly lizards, which raise themselves in the air and swing themselves from branches; and scorpions, which, being in the habit of lying in long grass, are particularly dangerous to the barelegged, sandaled people of the East. The only known remedy consists in sucking the wound, or, in the case of cattle, in the application of ammonia. The exact species of serpents that caused so great mortality among the Israelites cannot be ascertained. They are said to have been "fiery," an epithet applied to them either from their bright, vivid color, or the violent inflammation their bite occasioned.
Bronze Snake from Lachish, Late Bronze Age
Number 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.ARCHAEOLOGY
Ancient Standard with Two Snakes
Bronze Standard from Hazor showing the head of a goddess and two snakes.
The Tabernacle of Moses
The ancient Tabernacle of Moses illustration with the curtain fence, the bronze laver, the bronze altar, the holy place, and the badger skin covering. (Click to Enlarge)
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The Old Testament