Brass occurs in the Auth. Vers. of the O.T. as the rendering of נחשֶׁת, necho'sheth (i.e. the shining), and other kindred forms, but doubtless inaccurately, as brass is a factitious metal, and the Hebrews were not acquainted with the compound of copper and zinc known by that name. In most places of the O.T. the correct translation would be copper, although it may sometimes possibly mean bronze (χαλκὸς κεκραμένος), a compound of copper and tin, as in the Chaldee form (נחָשׁ, nechash') used by Daniel. Indeed, a simple metal was obviously intended, as we see from De 8:9, "out of whose hills thou mayst dig brass;" and Job 28:2, " Brass is molten out of the stone ;" and De 33:25, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass," which seems to be a promise that Asher should have a district rich in mines, which we know to have been the case, since Eusebius (viii, 15, 17) speaks of the Christians being condemned to work in them (τοῖςκατὰ Φαινὼ τῆς Παλαιστίνης χαλκοῦ μετάλλοις, Lightfoot, Cent. Chorofr. c. 99). Some such alloy as bronze is probably also the metal denoted in the N.T. by χαλκός, as this was used for coin, the cps of the Romans. The "fine brass" of Re 1:15; Re 2:18, however, is χαλκολίβανον, the chashnmal' (הִשׁמִל) of the Hebrews, a brilliant compound, probably of gold and silver, like the famous " Corinthian brass." SEE AMBER.
Copper was known at a very early period, and the invention of working it is attributed to Tubal-Cain (Ge 4:24; comp. Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 3:'43; comp. "Prius aeris erat quam ferri cognitus usus," Lucr. v. 1292). Its extreme ductility (χαλκός, from χαλάω) made its application almost universal among the ancients (see Smith, Diet. of Class. Ant. s.v. Ms). See COPPER.
The same word is used for money in both Testaments (Eze 16:36; Mt 10:9, etc.). SEE COIN.
Brass (to retain the word) is in Scripture the symbol of insensibility, baseness, and presumption or obstinacy in sin (Isa 48:4; Jer 6:28; Eze 22:18). It is often used in metaphors, e.g. Le 26:9, " I will make your heaven as iron and your earth as brass," i.e. dead and hard. This expression is reversed in De 28:23 (comp. Coleridge's "All in a hot and copper sky,'"' etc., Anc. Mar.). "Is my flesh of brass," i.e. invulnerable, Job 6:12. Brass is also a symbol of strength (Ps 107:16; Isa 48:4; Mic 4:13; Zec 6:1, etc.). So in Jer 1:18; Jer 15:20, brazen walls signify a strong and lasting adversary or opponent. The description of the Macedonian empire as a kingdom of brass (Da 2:39) will be better understood when we recollect that the arms of ancient times were mostly of bronze; hence the figure forcibly indicates the warlike character of that kingdom. Hence the "brazen thighs" of the mystic image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream were a fit symbol of the "brazen-coated Greeks" (ςΑχαιοι χαλκοχίτωνες, as Homer usually styles them). The mountains of brass, in Zec 6:1, are understood by Vitringa to denote those firm and immutable decrees by which God governs the world, and it is difficult to affix any other meaning to the phrase (comp. Ps 36:6). SEE METAL; SEE BRAZEN.