which is an alloy of copper and zinc, was not known till the thirteenth century. What is designated by this word in Scripture is properly copper ( Deuteronomy 8:9 ). It was used for fetters (Judg. 16:21 ; 2 Kings 25:7 ), for pieces of armour ( 1 Samuel 17:5 1 Samuel 17:6 ), for musical instruments ( 1 Chronicles 15:19 ; 1 Corinthians 13:1 ), and for money ( Matthew 10:9 ).
The serpent of brass was made by Moses at the command of God ( Numbers 21:4-9 ), and elevated on a pole, so that it might be seen by all the people when wounded by the bite of the serpents that were sent to them as a punishment for their murmurings against God and against Moses. It was afterwards carried by the Jews into Canaan, and preserved by them till the time of Hezekiah, who caused it to be at length destroyed because it began to be viewed by the people with superstitious reverence ( 2 Kings 18:4 ). (See NEHUSHTAN .)
The word nechosheth is improperly translated by "brass." In most places of the Old Testament the correct translation would be copper, although it may sometimes possibly mean bronze a compound of copper and tin. Indeed a simple metal was obviously intended, as we see from ( 8:9 ; 33:25 ; Job 28 ) Copper was known at a very early period. ( Genesis 4:22 )