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2 Kings 18:4

    2 Kings 18:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for to those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    He removed the high places, and brake the pillars, and cut down the Asherah: and he brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made; for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    He had the high places taken away, and the stone pillars broken to bits, and the Asherah cut down; and the brass snake which Moses had made was crushed to powder at his order, because in those days the children of Israel had offerings burned before it, and he gave it the name Nehushtan.

    Webster's Revision

    He removed the high places, and brake the pillars, and cut down the Asherah: and he brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made; for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.

    World English Bible

    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 to those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    He removed the high places, and brake the pillars, and cut down the Asherah: And he brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made; for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.

    Clarke's Commentary on 2 Kings 18:4

    Brake in pieces the brazen serpent - The history of this may be seen in Numbers 21:8 (note), Numbers 21:9 (note).

    We find that this brazen serpent had become an object of idolatry, and no doubt was supposed to possess, as a telesm or amulet, extraordinary virtues, and that incense was burnt before it which should have been burnt before the true God.

    And he called it Nehushtan - נהשתן. Not one of the versions has attempted to translate this word. Jarchi says, "He called it Nechustan, through contempt, which is as much as to say, a brazen serpent." Some have supposed that the word is compounded of נחש nachash, to divine, and תן tan, a serpent, so it signifies the divining serpent; and the Targum states that it was the people, not Hezekiah, that gave it this name. נחש nachash signifies to view, eye attentively, observe, to search, inquire accurately, etc.; and hence is used to express divination, augury. As a noun it signifies brass or copper, filth, verdigris, and some sea animal, Amos 9:3; see also Job 26:13, and Isaiah 26:1. It is also frequently used for a serpent; and most probably for an animal of the genus Simia, in Genesis 3:1 (note), where see the notes. This has been contested by some, ridiculed by a few, and believed by many. The objectors, because it signifies a serpent sometimes, suppose it must have the same signification always! And one to express his contempt and show his sense, has said, "Did Moses hang up an ape on a pole?" I answer, No, no more than he hanged up you, who ask the contemptible question. But this is of a piece with the conduct of the people of Milan, who show you to this day the brazen serpent which Moses hung up in the wilderness, and which Hezekiah broke in pieces two thousand five hundred years ago!

    Of serpents there is a great variety. Allowing that נחש nachash signifies a serpent, I may ask in my turn, What kind of a serpent was it that tempted Eve? Of what species was that which Moses hung up on the pole, and which Hezekiah broke to pieces? Who of the wise men can answer these questions? Till this is done I assert, that the word, Genesis 3:1, etc., does not signify a serpent of any kind; and that with a creature of the genus Simia the whole account best agrees.

    Barnes' Notes on 2 Kings 18:4

    He removed the high places - This religious reformation was effected in a violent and tumultuous manner (marginal reference). The "high places," though forbidden in the Law (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, Deuteronomy 12:11-14; compare Leviticus 26:30), had practically received the sanction of Samuel 1 Samuel 7:10; 1 Samuel 9:12-14, David 2 Samuel 15:32, Solomon 1 Kings 3:4, and others, and had long been the favorite resorts of the mass of the people (see 1 Kings 3:2 note). They were the rural centers for the worship of Yahweh, standing in the place of the later synagogue;, and had hitherto been winked at, or rather regarded as legitimate, even by the best kings. Hezekiah's desecration of these time-honored sanctuaries must have been a rude shock to the feelings of numbers; and indications of the popular discontent may be traced in the appeal of Rab-shakeh 2 Kings 18:22, and in the strength of the reaction under Manasseh 2 Kings 21:2-9; 2 Chronicles 33:3-17.

    The brasen serpent - See the marginal reference. Its history from the time when it was set up to the date of Hezekiah's reformation is a blank. The present passage favors the supposition that it had been brought by Solomon from Gibeon and placed in the temple, for it implies a long continued worship of the serpent by the Israelites generally, and not a mere recent worship of it by the Jews.

    And he called it Nehushtan - Rather, "And it was called Nehushtan." The people called it, not "the serpent" נחשׁ nāchâsh, but "the brass," or "the brass thing" נחשׁתן nechûshtān. Probably they did not like to call it "the serpent," on account of the dark associations which were attached to that reptile (Genesis 3:1-15; Isaiah 27:1; Psalm 91:13; etc.).