According to the Bible, Nehushtan was a metal serpent mounted on a staff that Moses had made, by God's command, to cure the Israelites of snake bites while wandering in the desert. The symbol of snakes on a staff or pole is a motif that is widespread in both the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean. This symbol held such cultural power that it is still around today in our modern world, like other ancient symbols we encounter almost daily, often without even realizing it. Humanity has a way of collecting images and holding onto them, subtly changing their context to fit the contemporary cultural system.

More about: Nehushtan


  • c. 900 BCE
    Tentative date of the composition of the Torah's E source.