And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
a. NLT: Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!”
b. NIV: The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”
c. YLT: And Jehovah saith unto Moses, 'Make for thee a burning serpent, and set it on an ensign; and it hath been, every one who is bitten and hath seen it -- he hath lived.
d. Amplified Bible Classic: And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent [of bronze] and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.
e. Septuagint: And Moses prayed to the Lord for the people; and the Lord said to Moses, Make thee a serpent, and put it on a signal-[staff]; and it shall come to pass that whenever a serpent shall bite a man, every one [so] bitten that looks upon it shall live.
f. Stone Edition Chumash: HASHEM said to Moses, “Make for yourselves a fiery [serpent] and place it on a pole, and it will be that anyone who was bitten will look at it and live.”
1. “And the LORD said unto Moses…”
a. the LORD [3068 * Yhovah] [Strong: from 1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:--Jehovah, the Lord.]
b. said [559 * 'amar] [Strong: a primitive root; to say (used with great latitude):--answer, appoint, avouch, bid, boast self, call, certify, challenge, charge, + (at the, give) command(-ment), commune, consider, declare, demand, X desire, determine, X expressly, X indeed, X intend, name, X plainly, promise, publish, report, require, say, speak (against, of), X still, X suppose, talk, tell, term, X that is, X think, use (speech), utter, X verily, X yet.]
c. unto Moses Moses [4872 * Mosheh] [Strong: from 4871; drawing out (of the water), i.e. rescued;Mosheh, the Israelite lawgiver:--Moses.]
2. “…Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole…”
a. make thee [6213 * `asah aw-saw' a primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application (as follows):--accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress(-ed), (put in) execute(-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, (fight-)ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfill, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ((a feast)), X indeed, + be industrious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, pracise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be (warr-)ior, work(-man), yield, use.]
b. a fiery serpent [8314 * saraph] [Strong: from 8313; burning, i.e. (figuratively) poisonous (serpent); specifically, a saraph or symbolical creature (from their copper color):--fiery (serpent), seraph.]
c. and set it on [7760 * suwm, or siym] [Strong: a primitive root; to put (used in a great variety of applications, literal, figurative, inferentially, and elliptically):--X any wise, appoint, bring, call (a name), care, cast in, change, charge, commit, consider, convey, determine, + disguise, dispose, do, get, give, heap up, hold, impute, lay (down, up), leave, look, make (out), mark, + name, X on, ordain, order, + paint, place, preserve, purpose, put (on), + regard, rehearse, reward, (cause to) set (on, up), shew, + stedfastly, take, X tell, + tread down, ((over-))turn, X wholly, work.]
d. a pole [5251 * nec] [Strong: nace from 5264; a flag; also a sail; by implication, a flagstaff; generally a signal; figuratively, a token:--banner, pole, sail, (en-)sign, standard.]
3. “…and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
a. every one that is bitten [5391 * nashak] [Strong: a primitive root; to strike with a sting (as a serpent); figuratively, to oppress with interest on a loan:--bite, lend upon usury.]
b. when he looketh upon it [7200 * ra'ah raw-aw' a primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitive, intransitive and causative):--advise self, appear, approve, behold, X certainly, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, gaze, take heed, X indeed, X joyfully, lo, look (on, one another, one on another, one upon another, out, up, upon), mark, meet, X be near, perceive, present, provide, regard, (have) respect, (fore-, cause to, let) see(-r, -m, one another), shew (self), X sight of others, (e-)spy, stare, X surely, X think, view, visions.]
1). Contrast the Hebrew word used for “look upon it” and “beheld”
a). when he beheld [5027 * nabat] [Strongs: to scan, look intently at; by implication to regard with pleasure, cause to consider, behold, look.] [Note: Strongs gave a wide variety of definitions and I was respectful of those that applied to the context.]
2). The note in the Classic translation of the Amplified is revealing.
a). Amplified Bible Note: under Numbers 21:9. “Jesus said that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, “that everyone who believes in Him—who cleaves to Him, trusts and relies on Him-- may not perish, but have eternal life and actually live forever!” (John 3:14, 15). Obviously this implies that the look that caused the victim of a fiery serpent to be healed was something far more than a casual glance. A “look” would save, but what kind of look? The Hebrew text here means “look attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze.” Or as Jesus said in the last verse of the chapter quoted above, “He who believes on, has faith in, clings to, relies on the Son has (now possess) eternal life.” But whoever does not so believe in, cling to, and rely on the Son, “will never see…life.” The look that saves is not just a fleeting glance, it is a God honoring, God answered, fixed and absorbing gaze!”
3). In defense of healing in the New Covenant F.F. Bosworth gives a very good point.
a). Christ the Healer, F.F. Bosworth, Published by Fleming H. Revell Company, 1973, Reprint of 8th Edition, Copyright, R.V. Bosworth, p.20. “If healing was not in the Atonement, why were these dying Israelites required to look at the type of the Atonement for bodily healing? Since both healing and forgiveness came through the type of the Atonement, why not to us through Christ the antitype? If we cannot, then the type is placed in higher ground than Christ Himself, and the type becomes a false prophecy.”
c. shall live [2425 * chayay] [Strong: a primitive root (Compare 2421); to live; causatively to revive:--live, save life.]