And Moses made a serpent of brass
Which was the most proper metal to make it of, that it might resemble the fiery serpents, whether of a golden or scarlet colour: and Diodorus Siculus F4 speaks of some of the colour of brass, whose bite was immediately followed with death, and by which, if anyone was struck, he was seized with terrible pains, and a bloody sweat flowed all over him; and this was chosen also, because being burnished and bright, could be seen at a great distance, and with this metal Moses might be furnished from Punon, the next station to this, where they now were, Zalmonah, as appears from ( Numbers 33:42 ) a place famous for brass mines, and which Jerom
and put it upon a pole;
as he was directed:
and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he
beheld the serpent of brass, he lived:
which was very marvellous, and the more so, if what physicians say is true, as Kimchi relates F6, that if a man bitten by a serpent looks upon a piece of brass he dies immediately: the lifting up of this serpent on a pole for such a purpose was a figure of the lifting up of Christ, either upon the cross, or in the ministry of the word, that whosoever looks unto him by faith may have healing, (See Gill on John 3:14),where this type or figure is largely explained: the station the Israelites were now at, when this image was made, is called Zalmonah, which signifies an image, shadow, or resemblance, as the brazen serpent was; from Mount Hor, where they were last, to this place, according to Bunting F7, were twenty eight miles: this serpent did not remain in the place where it was set, but was taken with them, and continued until the days of Hezekiah, ( 2 Kings 18:4 ) .
F4 Bibliothec. l. 17. p. 560.
F5 De locis Heb. fol. 91. G.
F6 Sepher Sherash. rad. (vxn)
F7 Travels of the Patriarchs 83.