IF ANYONE IS BITTEN AND LOOKS AT THE FIERY SERPENT, HE SHALL LIVE.
The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.”
At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.” Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, “Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.” So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.
V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.