Bronze Serpent Staff




Bronze, wood


Religious object


Tabernacle Priests

"Do not make the same assumption about the serpent staff as some have made toward Samson's famous hair. These things possess no power of their own. But rather, the power comes from the creator; the very living God himself!"
Branan, on the serpent staff[src]

The bronze serpent staff is the holy object Moses created to save the Israelites from a plague of snakes in the Sinai wilderness, as recorded in Numbers 21:4-9. After their exodus from Egypt, the Hebrews begin to murmur and complain about their hardships in the desert of testing and about Moses's leadership in particular. To punish their grumbling and rebellion against their appointed leader Moses, the Lord sends venomous serpents into the camp to bite the people, and many die.

When the Israelites return to Moses, pleading with him to intercede on their behalf to the Lord for forgiveness, God directs Moses to fashion a bronze serpent and fix it to a wooden pole. Everyone who got bitten may look up at the bronze serpent and be healed. The bronze staff was thereafter stored with the other holy articles in the Lord's tabernacle at Shiloh.

In the Son of Samson comic, the Philistine Lord Amalek wrests the bronze serpent from the tabernacle priests when they remove it from Shiloh and tour the neighboring towns with it to boost morale among the Hebrews. For a whole month, the town of Lod suffers under a curse because of the stolen holy artificat that lies in Amalek's citadel. Part of this curse is that with Amalek secluded in his fortress, Aziza, the Witch of Endor, is free to wreak havoc in the town with her ogre-like demonic creatures. Aziza similarly covets the serpent staff, as she believes that by obtaining it, she will be granted eternal life.

With this goal in mind, Aziza seeks Branan out and, pretending to be nothing more than an innocent Lodite girl who just wants to end the blight on her town, begs him to help her retrieve the staff and return it to the Shiloh priests. Branan eventually agrees and joins her group of adventurers to bust into Amalek's citadel and pilfer the staff.

When Branan and Aziza reach the top of Amalek's citadel and find the staff laying on his altar, Aziza positions herself behind a curtain out of Branan's sight and conjures up a false apparition of Samson. While Branan is thus distracted with the illusion, Aziza's brother Jareb quietly removes the bronze serpent from the altar and hands it over to Aziza. Triumphant, Aziza raises the staff in praise of Ashtoreth, and a lightning bolt hits the roof of the citadel, setting the fortress ablaze. Branan escapes the fire by grabbing the serpent staff and jumping over the side of the citadel, miraculously landing on his feet unhurt.

A few days later, Branan packs up the staff and his supplies and rides off on his camel toward Shiloh. While traveling in the desert, two lions hunters named Yitzhak and Mizzah invite Branan for supper and to share their campsite for the night. Unfortunately, the two hunters are also thieves and make off with Uzal, the staff, and Branan's other supplies during the night, leaving Branan completely stranded in the middle of the desert without any provisions at all.

After hours of wandering arounds in circles, Branan collapses from thirst and exhaustion into the hot desert sand. Thankfully, a lion Branan rescued earlier drags him by the scruff of his clothes to the nearest water source, saving his life. After slaking his thirst with deep draughts of water, Branan stumbles upon the Philistine army encampment and sneaks inside disguised as a Philistine sentry. Overhearing Lord Pathrus and Sidon's plot to raid the Hebrew town of Shiloh for the ark of the covenant, Branan knows he must reach Shiloh before the attack begins and warn the priests.

When Branan reaches the livestock pen of the camp looking for a camel to borrow, he notices that Uzal is tied up there and the serpent staff is still safely packed away. The lion Branan had saved a while back reappears and frightens off Sidon's sentries when they surround Branan and demand his surrender. Branan is thus able to ride Uzal over to Shiloh and inform the priests of the impending Philistine raid.

Unfortunately, there are no soldiers left in Shiloh when Branan arrives, so the high priest Zedekias suggests that Branan return the bronze serpent to the tabernacle and wait inside to receive some divine guidance from the Lord. Branan reverently enters the tabernacle, replaces the snake, and kneels before the golden altar in prayer. When he opens his eyes, the archangels Uriel and Raphael are standing before him, volunteering to help him fight the Philistines, who are merely hours away from invading Shiloh.

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