The Ark and the Cherubim 3161554329, 9783161554322, 9783161592645

The most important objects in the Hebrew Bible are a wooden box, styled in English "the ark" or "the ark

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The Ark and the Cherubim
 3161554329, 9783161554322, 9783161592645

Table of contents :
Cover
Title
Acknowledgements
Table of Contents
Abbreviations
General Introduction
1. The Ark: Introduction
1.1 Uniqueness
1.2 Contexts
1.2.1 Pentateuch and Former Prophets
1.2.2 Chronicles and Other Books
1.2.3 The Versions
1.2.4 Absences
1.3 Status
1.3.1 Origin
1.3.2 Formal Position
1.3.3 Physical Position
1.3.4 Restrictedness
1.3.5 Psychological Importance
1.4 Designations
1.4.1 ’ărôn hā‘ēdût
1.4.2 ’ărôn hā’ĕlōhîm
1.4.3 ’ărôn yhwh
1.4.4 ’ărôn bərît yhwh
1.4.5 Other Designations
1.5 Name
1.5.1 Orthography
1.5.2 Vocalization
1.5.2.1 Masorah
1.5.2.2 Josephus
1.5.3 Gender
1.5.4 Cognates and Etymology
1.5.5 Translations
1.5.5.1 Greek Translators, Peshitta
1.5.5.2 Targumim
1.5.5.3 Vulgate
1.5.5.4 Medieval Translations
2. The Ark: Overall Form
2.1 Biblical Data
2.1.1 Priestly Account
2.1.2 Other Biblical Texts
2.1.3 Name
2.1.4 Conclusion: Chest
2.2 Other Interpretations
2.2.1 May and Garfinkel: Miniature Temple
2.2.1.1 May
2.2.1.2 Garfinkel
2.2.2 Critique of May and Garfinkel
2.2.2.1 General
2.2.2.2 May
2.2.2.3 Garfinkel
2.2.3 Morgenstern: Tent-Shrine
2.2.4 Critique of Morgenstern
2.3 Parallels
2.3.1 Egypt
2.3.2 Aegean
2.3.3 Levant and Mesopotamia
2.3.4 Discussion
3. The Ark: Details of Form
3.1 Acacia Wood Construction
3.1.1 Biblical Data
3.1.2 Parallels
3.1.3 Why Acacia?
3.2 Dimensions
3.2.1 Biblical Data
3.2.2 Parallels
3.3 Gold Overlay
3.3.1 Biblical Data
3.3.2 Parallels
3.4 zer
3.4.1 Biblical Data
3.4.2 What Is a zēr? Survey of Interpretation
3.4.2.1 Septuagint and Letter of Aristeas: Guilloche Molding
3.4.2.2 Aquila(?): Rim
3.4.2.3 Targumim, Vulgate, Rabbinic Exegetes: Crown
3.4.2.4 Modern Scholarship: Misc
3.4.3 New Proposal: Cavetto Cornice; Parallels
3.4.3.1 Ark
3.4.3.2 Table
3.4.3.3 Incense Altar
3.4.3.4 Conclusion
3.5 pə‘āmōt
3.5.1 Biblical Data
3.5.2 What Are pə‘āmōt? Survey of Interpretation
3.5.2.1 Septuagint et al.: Sides
3.5.2.2 Targumim et al.: Corners
3.5.2.3 Pseudo-Jonathan, Ibn Ezra, et al.: Feet
3.5.2.4 Nahmanides et al.: Lower Corners or Footsteps
3.5.3 Proposal: Feet; Parallels
3.5.3.1 The Word pa‘am
3.5.3.2 Problem with pə‘āmōt? as Feet
3.5.3.3 Proposed Solution
3.5.4 Coda: mṭbḥ
3.6 ṣəlā‘ōt
3.6.1 Biblical Data
3.6.2 What Are ṣəlā‘ōt?
3.6.3 Survey of Interpretation
3.6.3.1 Septuagint, Targumim, Vulgate: Nonspecific Sides
3.6.3.2 Josephus, Sforno: Long Sides
3.6.3.3 Kimhi: Lateral Sides
3.6.4 Proposal: Lateral Sides
4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus
4.1 Rings
4.1.1 Biblical Data
4.1.2 Parallels
4.1.3 Number
4.1.4 Vertical Position
4.1.4.1 Survey of Interpretation
4.1.4.2 New Proposal: On Underside
4.1.5 Horizontal Alignment
4.1.5.1 Survey of Interpretation
4.1.5.2 Proposal: On Long Sides
4.2 Poles
4.2.1 Biblical Data
4.2.2 Parallels
4.2.3 Number
4.2.4 Method of Carriage
4.3 Inseparability of Poles
4.3.1 Biblical Data
4.3.2 Parallels
4.3.3 The Problem: Contradiction with Num 4:6
4.3.4 Survey of Interpretation
4.3.4.1 Saadiah Gaon et al.: wəśāmû Means “adjust”
4.3.4.2 Jacob of Orleans et al.: wəśāmû Means “put on shoulders”
4.3.4.3 Anonymous: wəśāmû Means “transfer to second set of rings”
4.3.4.4 Bekhor Shor: wəśāmû Is a One-Time Command
4.3.4.5 Joseph Kara: lō yāsūrû Does Not Preclude Intentional Removal
4.3.4.6 Ibn Ezra: lō yāsūrû Does Not Apply to Tabernacle Disassembly
4.3.4.7 Isaiah di Trani: Each Command Refers to Different Poles
4.3.4.8 Ehrlich et al.: No Solution
4.3.5 New Proposal: wəśāmû Means “draw out”
4.3.5.1 Semantics of wəśāmû
4.3.5.2 Parallels
4.3.5.3 Conclusion
5. The Ark: Contents
5.1 Biblical Data
5.1.1 Two Stone Tablets
5.1.2 The Covenant of YHWH
5.1.3 The edut
5.1.4 Discussion
5.2 Parallels
5.3 Other Purported Contents
5.3.1 New Testament: Manna, Staff
5.3.2 Talmud: Fragments, Scroll, Rods, Names
5.3.3 Other Traditions: Misc
5.3.4 Modern Scholars: Sacred Stones, Images
6. The Ark: Function
6.1 Introduction: Marker of the Divine Presence
6.1.1 Biblical Data
6.1.2 Parallels
6.1.3 The Problem
6.2 Survey of Interpretation
6.2.1 Reichel, Dibelius, et al.: Throne
6.2.2 Critique of Reichel, Dibelius, et al
6.2.3 Cassuto, Haran, et al.: Footstool
6.2.4 Critique of Cassuto, Haran, et al
6.2.5 Reimpell, de Vaux: Pedestal
6.2.6 Winckler, Hartmann, et al.: Coffin
6.2.7 Gressmann, Hoffmeier, Noegel: Procession Shrine or Bark
6.2.8 Metzger, Görg: Throne-Base
6.3 Proposal: Undefinable Marker
6.4 Other Portrayals of YHWH’s Presence in the Bible
6.4.1 The Temple
6.4.2 Beyond the Temple
7. The kappōret
7.1 Contexts
7.2 Separateness
7.3 Status
7.4 Name
7.4.1 Cognates and Etymology
7.4.2 Translations
7.4.2.1 Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate: Propitiatory
7.4.2.2 Septuagint (II), 4QtgLev, et al.: Lid
7.4.2.3 Vulgate (II): Oracle
7.4.2.4 Gressmann: Canopied Shrine
7.4.2.5 Tur-Sinai: Lions
7.4.2.6 Görg: Footrest
7.4.2.7 Gerleman: Mirror
7.4.3 Proposal: Lid
7.5 Form
7.5.1 Biblical Data
7.5.2 Parallels
7.6 Function
7.6.1 Biblical Data
7.6.2 Parallels
7.7 Explanation of Separateness
8. The Cherubim: Introduction
8.1 Contexts
8.2 Status
8.3 Name
8.3.1 Orthography
8.3.2 Cognates and Etymology
8.3.2.1 Midrashic Etymologies
8.3.2.2 West Semitic
8.3.2.3 Akkadian
8.3.2.4 Greek
8.3.2.5 Conclusion
9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts
9.1 Ezekiel 8–11
9.1.1 Introduction: What Are These Creatures?
9.1.2 Survey of Interpretation
9.1.2.1 Cooke: Just the Chebar Creatures
9.1.2.2 Eichrodt: The Ark Cherubim Combined with the Chebar Creatures
9.1.2.3 Zimmerli: The Ark Cherubim Becoming the Chebar Creatures
9.1.2.4 Houk: The Laver-Stand Cherubim Becoming the Chebar Creatures
9.1.2.5 Keel: YHWH’s Riding Cherub Combined with the Chebar Creatures
9.1.2.6 Greenberg: The Ark Cherubim alongside the Chebar Creatures
9.1.3 New Proposal: The Chebar Creatures Becoming the Ark Cherubim
9.1.4 1 Chronicles 28:18
9.1.5 Conclusion
9.2 2 Samuel 22:11 ≈ Psalm 18:11
9.2.1 Introduction
9.2.2 The Problem: Unsuitability of the Cherub Image
9.2.3 Proposed Solution
9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm
9.3.1 Introduction: What Does the Phrase Mean?
9.3.2 Survey of Interpretation
9.3.2.1 Septuagint et al.: “who is seated upon the cherubim”
9.3.2.2 Targum of Psalms et al.: “who dwells between the cherubim”
9.3.2.3 Sibylline Oracles: “who settles the cherubim”
9.3.2.4 Arnold, Wood: “the occupant of the cherubim”
9.3.2.5 Houtman: “who is enthroned amidst the cherubim”
9.3.2.6 Propp, Wood: “ruler of the cherubim”
9.3.3 New Proposal: “who dwells among the cherubim”
9.3.3.1 Grammatical Analysis
9.3.3.2 Identity of the Cherubim
9.3.3.3 yhwh ṣəbāôt
9.3.3.4 The Ark
9.4 Genesis 3:24
9.4.1 Introduction: A Forgotten Reading of the Verse
9.4.2 The Witnesses
9.4.3 Analysis
9.4.3.1 wyškn ’t hkrbym
9.4.3.2 mqdm lgn ‘dn
9.4.3.3 Conclusion
9.4.4 Evaluation
9.4.4.1 Similar Instances
9.4.4.2 Grammar and Style
9.4.4.3 Conceptions
10. The Cherubim: Overall Form
10.1 Methodological Remarks
10.2 Survey of Interpretation
10.2.1 Midrash Haggadol et al.: Winged Humans
10.2.2 Samuel b. Meir et al.: Birds
10.2.3 Bekhor Shor et al.: Winged Bovines
10.2.4 Dillmann: Griffins
10.2.5 Albright, de Vaux, et al.: Winged Sphinxes
10.2.6 Gilboa: Winged Snakes
10.2.7 Ibn Ezra et al.: Composite Creatures in General
10.3 Proposal: Winged (Adult) Humans
10.3.1 Upright Creatures
10.3.1.1 Tabernacle Cherubim
10.3.1.2 Temple Cherubim
10.3.1.3 Other Cherubim
10.3.2 Proportions of Temple Ark Cherubim
11. The Cherubim: Details of Form
11.1 Composition
11.1.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data
11.1.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels
11.1.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data
11.1.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels
11.1.5 Chronicles
11.2 Dimensions
11.2.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data
11.2.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels
11.2.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data
11.2.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels
11.2.5 Chronicles
11.3 Position and Posture
11.3.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data
11.3.1.1 Facing Each Other
11.3.1.2 ’el hakkappōret
11.3.1.3 Outspread Wings
11.3.1.4 ləma‘lâ
11.3.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels
11.3.2.1 Overview
11.3.2.2 Setting
11.3.2.3 ləma‘lâ
11.3.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data
11.3.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels
11.3.5 Chronicles
12. The Cherubim: Function
12.1 Survey of Interpretation
12.1.1 Schmidt, Albright, et al.: The Throne of YHWH
12.1.2 Critique of Schmidt, Albright, et al
12.1.2.1 Not the Stated Function
12.1.2.2 There Is No Throne
12.1.2.3 Cherubim Not Suitable for Throne
12.1.2.4 The Divine Presence Is underneath the Cherubim’s Wings
12.1.2.5 The Cherubim Are Secondary to the Ark and Its Contents
12.1.2.6 Rebuttal of Positive Arguments
12.1.3 Tur-Sinai, Kaufmann: Symbol of YHWH’s Chariot
12.1.4 Metzger: Firmament Bearers
12.2 Proposal: Winged Shelterers
12.2.1 Overview
12.2.2 Challenges
12.2.3 Cherubim and Wings in the Hebrew Bible
General Conclusion
Biblical Data
Parallels
Further Implications
Historical Context
Ideology
Bibliography
List of Figures
Plates
Index of Sources
Index of Modern Persons
Index of Subjects

Citation preview

Forschungen zum Alten Testament Edited by

Konrad Schmid (Zürich) ∙ Mark S. Smith (Princeton) Hermann Spieckermann (Göttingen) ∙ Andrew Teeter (Harvard)

146

Raanan Eichler

The Ark and the Cherubim

Mohr Siebeck

Eichler, Raanan, born 1980; 2004 BA; 2008 MA; 2016 PhD; since 2017 Senior Lecturer of Bible at Bar-Ilan University. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2634-806X

ISBN 978-3-16-155432-2 / eISBN 978-3-16-159264-5 DOI 10.1628/978-3-16-159264-5 ISSN 0940-4155 / eISSN 2568-8359 (Forschungen zum Alten Testament) The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbiblio­ graphie; detailed bibliographic data are available at http://dnb.dnb.de. © 2021 Mohr Siebeck Tübingen, Germany. www.mohrsiebeck.com This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that permitted by copyright law) without the publisher’s written permission. This applies particularly to reproductions, translations and storage and processing in electronic systems. The book was typeset by Martin Fischer in Tübingen using Minion typeface, printed on non-aging paper by Gulde-Druck in Tübingen, and bound by Buchbinderei Spinner in Ottersweier. Printed in Germany.

Acknowledgements Writing this book has made me realize how much help I need from others to create anything. Its core is a doctoral dissertation that I submitted to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2015. I was fortunate to have Baruch J. Schwartz as an adviser. He helped with countless matters great and small, provided unflagging, much-needed encouragement, and at the same time granted me the freedom to carry out the project in my own way. One of Baruch’s virtues as a mentor is that he urged me to seek input from other experts when relevant questions came up. The following people stood out by their patience in sharing their knowledge with me in their respective specialties: Emanuel Tov in textual criticism, Tallay Ornan in iconography, Arlette David in Egyptology, Chanan Ariel in the Hebrew language, and Hillel Gershuni in the Talmud and masorah. Idan Dershowitz, Shira Golani, and Liat Naeh read sections of the work at various stages and made helpful comments that were not limited to any one field. Other scholars who helped along the way are Israel Knohl, Thomas Staubli, Daniel Schwartz, Yedidia Stern, Jan Joosten, Peter Machinist, Dalit Rom-Shiloni, Meira Polliack, Michael Segal, Shimon Gesundheit, Konrad Schmid, Michael Avioz, and Jonathan Jacobs. No doubt there are more who deserve to be mentioned. Institutions that gave their support include the Jean Nordmann Foundation, the University of Fribourg, the Mandel Scholion Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Humanities and Jewish Studies, the Israel Democracy Institute, the Rothschild Foundation, Harvard University, Tel Aviv University, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, Bar-Ilan University, and the Beit Shalom Kyoto, Japan Foundation. The staff of Mohr Siebeck turned the work into a real book. And I can’t forget the citizens of Israel, who managed to provide much of the funding and almost all of the security that made this and thousands of other scholarly projects possible, while meeting untold and unparalleled challenges with humanity and courage. My father, David Eichler, and my brothers, Maor, Ari, and Noam Eichler, contributed their insights in many a fruitful discussion. The same is true of my mother and teacher, Aviva Weisel Eichler, of blessed memory. I wish she were still here. If this work shows any curiosity, intellectual honesty, brilliance, clarity of thought, or true modesty, it has some of her in it.

VI

Acknowledgements

Throughout the process, I have had a partner: my beloved wife, Hayah Goldlist Eichler. Had she not shouldered most of the responsibility for our children (while also doing other things, such as writing several articles a day for a major newspaper or helping teach robots how to debate, not to mention creating the aforementioned children), I could not have completed this book by now, if ever. Above all, since we joined our lives fourteen years ago, her enlivening, animating presence has brought me, and, consequently, my work, the kind of invaluable and indefinable enrichment that I aspire at least partly to reciprocate and that the phrase “far more precious than coral” (Prov 31:10) is an attempt to express. This work is dedicated to her. Jerusalem, Israel, 2021

Raanan Eichler

Table of Contents Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . V Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . XV

General Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1. The Ark: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.1 Uniqueness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.2 Contexts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1.2.1 Pentateuch and Former Prophets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.2.2 Chronicles and Other Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.2.3 The Versions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.2.4 Absences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.3 Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.3.1 Origin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.3.2 Formal Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.3.3 Physical Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.3.4 Restrictedness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 1.3.5 Psychological Importance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1.4 Designations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1.4.1 ’ărôn hā‘ēdût . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 1.4.2 ’ărôn hā’ĕlōhîm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 1.4.3 ’ărôn yhwh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 1.4.4 ’ărôn bərît yhwh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 1.4.5 Other Designations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 1.5 Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 1.5.1 Orthography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 1.5.2 Vocalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 1.5.2.1 Masorah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 1.5.2.2 Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 1.5.3 Gender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 1.5.4 Cognates and Etymology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 1.5.5 Translations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 1.5.5.1 Greek Translators, Peshitta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 1.5.5.2 Targumim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 1.5.5.3 Vulgate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 1.5.5.4 Medieval Translations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

VIII

Table of Contents

2. The Ark: Overall Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 2.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

2.1.1 Priestly Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 2.1.2 Other Biblical Texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 2.1.3 Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 2.1.4 Conclusion: Chest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 2.2 Other Interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 2.2.1 May and Garfinkel: Miniature Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 2.2.1.1 May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 2.2.1.2 Garfinkel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 2.2.2 Critique of May and Garfinkel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 2.2.2.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 2.2.2.2 May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 2.2.2.3 Garfinkel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 2.2.3 Morgenstern: Tent-Shrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 2.2.4 Critique of Morgenstern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 2.3 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 2.3.1 Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 2.3.2 Aegean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 2.3.3 Levant and Mesopotamia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 2.3.4 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

3. The Ark: Details of Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 3.1 Acacia Wood Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

3.1.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 3.1.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 3.1.3 Why Acacia? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 3.2 Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 3.2.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 3.2.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 3.3 Gold Overlay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 3.3.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 3.3.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 3.4 zēr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 3.4.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 3.4.2 What Is a zēr? Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 3.4.2.1 Septuagint and Letter of Aristeas: Guilloche Molding . . . . . . . . . . 58 3.4.2.2 Aquila(?): Rim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 3.4.2.3 Targumim, Vulgate, Rabbinic Exegetes: Crown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 3.4.2.4 Modern Scholarship: Misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 3.4.3 New Proposal: Cavetto Cornice; Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 3.4.3.1 Ark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 3.4.3.2 Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 3.4.3.3 Incense Altar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 3.4.3.4 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

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3.5 pə‘āmōt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

3.5.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 3.5.2 What Are pə‘āmōt? Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 3.5.2.1 Septuagint et al.: Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 3.5.2.2 Targumim et al.: Corners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 3.5.2.3 Pseudo-Jonathan, Ibn Ezra, et al.: Feet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 3.5.2.4 Nahmanides et al.: Lower Corners or Footsteps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 3.5.3 Proposal: Feet; Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 3.5.3.1 The Word pa‘am . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 3.5.3.2 Problem with pə‘āmōt as Feet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 3.5.3.3 Proposed Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 3.5.4 Coda: mṭbḥ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 3.6 ṣəlā‘ōt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 3.6.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 3.6.2 What Are ṣəlā‘ōt? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 3.6.3 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 3.6.3.1 Septuagint, Targumim, Vulgate: Nonspecific Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 3.6.3.2 Josephus, Sforno: Long Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 3.6.3.3 Kimhi: Lateral Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 3.6.4 Proposal: Lateral Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 4.1 Rings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

4.1.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 4.1.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 4.1.3 Number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 4.1.4 Vertical Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 4.1.4.1 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 4.1.4.2 New Proposal: On Underside . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 4.1.5 Horizontal Alignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 4.1.5.1 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 4.1.5.2 Proposal: On Long Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 4.2 Poles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 4.2.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 4.2.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 4.2.3 Number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 4.2.4 Method of Carriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 4.3 Inseparability of Poles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 4.3.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 4.3.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 4.3.3 The Problem: Contradiction with Num 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 4.3.4 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 4.3.4.1 Saadiah Gaon et al.: wəśāmû Means “adjust” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 4.3.4.2 Jacob of Orleans et al.: wəśāmû Means “put on shoulders” . . . . . . 108 4.3.4.3 Anonymous: wəśāmû Means “transfer to second set of rings” . . . 109 4.3.4.4 Bekhor Shor: wəśāmû Is a One-Time Command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

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4.3.4.5 Joseph Kara: lō yāsūrû Does Not Preclude Intentional Removal . 109 4.3.4.6 Ibn Ezra: lō yāsūrû Does Not Apply to Tabernacle Disassembly . 111 4.3.4.7 Isaiah di Trani: Each Command Refers to Different Poles . . . . . . 111 4.3.4.8 Ehrlich et al.: No Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 4.3.5 New Proposal: wəśāmû Means “draw out” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 4.3.5.1 Semantics of wəśāmû . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 4.3.5.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 4.3.5.3 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

5. The Ark: Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 5.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

5.1.1 Two Stone Tablets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 5.1.2 The Covenant of Yhwh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 5.1.3 The ēdūt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 5.1.4 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 5.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 5.3 Other Purported Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 5.3.1 New Testament: Manna, Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 5.3.2 Talmud: Fragments, Scroll, Rods, Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 5.3.3 Other Traditions: Misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 5.3.4 Modern Scholars: Sacred Stones, Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

6. The Ark: Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 6.1 Introduction: Marker of the Divine Presence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

6.1.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 6.1.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 6.1.3 The Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 6.2 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 6.2.1 Reichel, Dibelius, et al.: Throne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 6.2.2 Critique of Reichel, Dibelius, et al. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 6.2.3 Cassuto, Haran, et al.: Footstool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 6.2.4 Critique of Cassuto, Haran, et al. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 6.2.5 Reimpell, de Vaux: Pedestal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 6.2.6 Winckler, Hartmann, et al.: Coffin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 6.2.7 Gressmann, Hoffmeier, Noegel: Procession Shrine or Bark . . . . . . . . . . . 146 6.2.8 Metzger, Görg: Throne-Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 6.3 Proposal: Undefinable Marker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 6.4 Other Portrayals of Yhwh’s Presence in the Bible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 6.4.1 The Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 6.4.2 Beyond the Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

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7. The kappōret . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 7.1 Contexts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 7.2 Separateness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162 7.3 Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162 7.4 Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

7.4.1 Cognates and Etymology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 7.4.2 Translations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 7.4.2.1 Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate: Propitiatory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 7.4.2.2 Septuagint (II), 4QtgLev, et al.: Lid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 7.4.2.3 Vulgate (II): Oracle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166 7.4.2.4 Gressmann: Canopied Shrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 7.4.2.5 Tur-Sinai: Lions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 7.4.2.6 Görg: Footrest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 7.4.2.7 Gerleman: Mirror . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 7.4.3 Proposal: Lid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 7.5 Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 7.5.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 7.5.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171 7.6 Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 7.6.1 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 7.6.2 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 7.7 Explanation of Separateness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

8. The Cherubim: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 8.1 Contexts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 8.2 Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 8.3 Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 8.3.1 Orthography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 8.3.2 Cognates and Etymology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 8.3.2.1 Midrashic Etymologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 8.3.2.2 West Semitic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 8.3.2.3 Akkadian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181 8.3.2.4 Greek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 8.3.2.5 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 9.1 Ezekiel 8–11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 9.1.1 Introduction: What Are These Creatures? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 9.1.2 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186 9.1.2.1 Cooke: Just the Chebar Creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186 9.1.2.2 Eichrodt: The Ark Cherubim Combined with the Chebar Creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 9.1.2.3 Zimmerli: The Ark Cherubim Becoming the Chebar Creatures . 188

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9.1.2.4 Houk: The Laver-Stand Cherubim Becoming the Chebar Creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 9.1.2.5 Keel: Yhwh’s Riding Cherub Combined with the Chebar Creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 9.1.2.6 Greenberg: The Ark Cherubim alongside the Chebar Creatures . 190 9.1.3 New Proposal: The Chebar Creatures Becoming the Ark Cherubim . . . . 191 9.1.4 1 Chronicles 28:18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 9.1.5 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 9.2 2 Samuel 22:11 ≈ Psalm 18:11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 9.2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 9.2.2 The Problem: Unsuitability of the Cherub Image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 9.2.3 Proposed Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 9.3.1 Introduction: What Does the Phrase Mean? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 9.3.2 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 9.3.2.1 Septuagint et al.: “who is seated upon the cherubim” . . . . . . . . . . 196 9.3.2.2 Targum of Psalms et al.: “who dwells between the cherubim” . . . 198 9.3.2.3 Sibylline Oracles: “who settles the cherubim” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199 9.3.2.4 Arnold, Wood: “the occupant of the cherubim” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 9.3.2.5 Houtman: “who is enthroned amidst the cherubim” . . . . . . . . . . . 201 9.3.2.6 Propp, Wood: “ruler of the cherubim” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 9.3.3 New Proposal: “who dwells among the cherubim” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 9.3.3.1 Grammatical Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 9.3.3.2 Identity of the Cherubim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 9.3.3.3 yhwh ṣəbāôt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206 9.3.3.4 The Ark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207 9.4 Genesis 3:24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 9.4.1 Introduction: A Forgotten Reading of the Verse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 9.4.2 The Witnesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210 9.4.3 Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 9.4.3.1 wyškn ’t hkrbym . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 9.4.3.2 mqdm lgn ‘dn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 9.4.3.3 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 9.4.4 Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 9.4.4.1 Similar Instances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 9.4.4.2 Grammar and Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 9.4.4.3 Conceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 10.1 Methodological Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 10.2 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222 10.2.1 Midrash Haggadol et al.: Winged Humans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 10.2.2 Samuel b. Meir et al.: Birds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 10.2.3 Bekhor Shor et al.: Winged Bovines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226 10.2.4 Dillmann: Griffins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228 10.2.5 Albright, de Vaux, et al.: Winged Sphinxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228

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10.2.6 Gilboa: Winged Snakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 10.2.7 Ibn Ezra et al.: Composite Creatures in General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 10.3 Proposal: Winged (Adult) Humans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 10.3.1 Upright Creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 10.3.1.1 Tabernacle Cherubim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 10.3.1.2 Temple Cherubim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 10.3.1.3 Other Cherubim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 10.3.2 Proportions of Temple Ark Cherubim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 11.1 Composition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249

11.1.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 11.1.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 11.1.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 11.1.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254 11.1.5 Chronicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 11.2 Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257 11.2.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257 11.2.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 11.2.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 11.2.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 11.2.5 Chronicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 11.3 Position and Posture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 11.3.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 11.3.1.1 Facing Each Other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 11.3.1.2 ’el hakkappōret . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260 11.3.1.3 Outspread Wings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 11.3.1.4 ləma‘lâ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 11.3.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 11.3.2.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 11.3.2.2 Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 11.3.2.3 ləma‘lâ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 11.3.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 11.3.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 11.3.5 Chronicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265

12. The Cherubim: Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281 12.1 Survey of Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281 12.1.1 Schmidt, Albright, et al.: The Throne of Yhwh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281 12.1.2 Critique of Schmidt, Albright, et al. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283 12.1.2.1 Not the Stated Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283 12.1.2.2 There Is No Throne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283 12.1.2.3 Cherubim Not Suitable for Throne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285 12.1.2.4 The Divine Presence Is underneath the Cherubim’s Wings . 285

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12.1.2.5 The Cherubim Are Secondary to the Ark and Its Contents . 286 12.1.2.6 Rebuttal of Positive Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287 12.1.3 Tur-Sinai, Kaufmann: Symbol of Yhwh’s Chariot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288 12.1.4 Metzger: Firmament Bearers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289 12.2 Proposal: Winged Shelterers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291 12.2.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291 12.2.2 Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292 12.2.3 Cherubim and Wings in the Hebrew Bible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293

General Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301 Biblical Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301 Parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302 Further Implications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303 Historical Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303 Ideology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307 List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329 Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337 Index of Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347 Index of Modern Persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377 Index of Subjects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384

Abbreviations Bibliographic abbreviations in this book follow the lists in Patrick H. Alexander et al. (eds.), The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999) and Billie J. Collins et al. (eds.), The SBL Handbook of Style: For Biblical Studies and Related Disciplines (2nd ed.; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014). Additionally, the following abbreviations are used: BkM

Collection of the Brooklyn Museum. Online: www.brooklynmuseum.org/o​p​e​n​c​ o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​/collections. BM Collection of the British Museum. Online: www.britishmuseum.org/research. CAL The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon. Online: cal.huc.edu. DJBA Sokoloff, Michael. A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic of the Talmudic and Geonic Periods. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University, 2002. DJPA Sokoloff, Michael. A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine Period. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University, 1990. DULAT Olmo Lete, Gregorio del and Joaquín Sanmartín. A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson. 2 vols. Boston: Brill, 2002. EHLL Khan, Geoffrey, ed. Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. 4 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2013. Online: http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/b​r​o​w​s​e​/​e​n​c​y​ c​l​o​p​e​d​i​a​-of-hebrew-language-and-linguistics. EM Sukenik, Eleazar L. et al., eds. Encyclopaedia Biblica (‫)אנציקלופדיה מקראית‬. 9 vols. Jerusalem: Bialik, 1950–1988. Hebrew. IMJ Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Online: www.imj.org.il/imagine/c​o​ l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​s​/. MFA Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Online: www.mfa.org/collections. ML Collection of the Musée du Louvre. Online: www.louvre.fr/en/moteur-de-r​e​c​h​e​ r​c​h​e​-oeuvres. MMA Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Online: www.metmuseum.org/ collection. OED Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press. Online: www.oed. com. OI Collection of the Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago. Online: https:// oi-idb.uchicago.edu. OLD Glare, P. G. W., ed. Oxford Latin Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon, 1982. Repr. 1983. PDAE Shaw, Ian and Paul Nicholson. The Princeton Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. Rev. ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008 (1995). SMB Collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Online: www.smb.museum.

General Introduction A casual reading of the Hebrew Bible creates the impression that the most important objects in ancient Israel, those which constituted the focal point of all Israelite worship deemed proper by the biblical authors, were a certain wooden container whose basic name was ‫ה ָארֹון‬,ָ conventionally styled in English “the ark” or “the ark of the covenant”, along with two statues of winged creatures, called ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫ה ְּכ‬,ַ “the cherubim”, which surmounted it. In some passages, this complex contains an additional element, ‫ה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ often translated as “mercy seat”, which was situated atop the ark and from which the cherubim projected. The present study is an attempt to understand these objects using the full gamut of data and tools available to the modern scholar. The central questions around which the study is structured are: (1) What were the form and function of each of these objects in the eyes of the biblical authors who described them? (2) How, if at all, do these forms and functions relate to those of objects known from the ancient Near East?1 A relatively large amount of space in this study is devoted to the history of interpretation concerning the various questions raised. This feature is prompted by a belief that the formation and presentation of a clear picture of previous efforts toward the same goal constitute both a vital part of a rigorous research process and an important service provided to readers by the nonexperimental researcher. Being so central to the world portrayed in the Hebrew Bible and to the traditions influenced by it, the ark and the cherubim have in fact received a great deal of attention in both premodern and modern biblical scholarship. Thus, the present study may be valuable not because too little has been said about these objects, but because so much of what has been said is open to question. New extrabiblical data are constantly becoming available, and many modern treatments of the objects under discussion fail to use even contemporarily available data, especially in the realms of iconography and Egyptology. Thus, it will be argued, regarding the cherubim, that both their form and function have largely been misunderstood by modern scholars. Regarding the ark, it will be argued that a tendency to adduce invalid parallels to it has hindered a 1  The term “Near East” is used here and throughout the study in a broad sense, as including Egypt, Cyprus, the Aegean region, and the Phoenician Mediterranean colonies, in addition to Southwest Asia.

2

General Introduction

complete, nuanced understanding of its form and function and in many cases has led to misunderstandings. The study is evidence-oriented and designed for maximal logical independence from theories that do not enjoy solid consensus among experts. Thus, the consistent avoidance of, for example, the question of when the various components of the Pentateuch were created should not be interpreted as a rejection of any particular theory, but as an acknowledgment that there is much reasonable disagreement on this question and as the product of a desire to ensure that the study be relevant to as many readers as possible. The structure of this study, some sections of which are developed from previous publications,2 is straightforward. The first six chapters are devoted to the ark. The ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ which appears in relatively few biblical passages, is dealt with in a single chapter, the seventh. The last five chapters are dedicated to the cherubim. A distillation of the main ideas is presented, with some further reflections, in a General Conclusion.

2  § 3.4: Eichler, “Meaning of zēr”; § 3.5: idem, “Meaning of pa‘am”; § 4.3: idem, “Poles of the Ark”; § 9.3: idem, “Meaning of ‫ § ;”י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬9.4: idem, “When God Abandoned”; § 10.2: idem, “Cherub”; § 12: idem, “Function of the Ark Cherubim”.

1. The Ark: Introduction The common noun ‫ ֲארֹון‬or ‫ ָארֹון‬is attested 202 times in the Hebrew Bible.1 In one instance, it denotes a receptacle for the mummified corpse of Joseph in Egypt (Gen 50:26). In six others, it designates a receptacle placed in the compound of the Jerusalem temple for collecting public contributions of silver (2 Kgs 12:10, 11 ≈ 2 Chr 24:8, 10, 11i–ii). In its remaining 195 attestations, the word appears always to refer to a revered object closely associated with the God of Israel. In these occurrences, the word is conventionally rendered in English as “ark”.

1.1 Uniqueness As seems to have been understood by nearly all interpreters of the relevant texts,2 the biblical writers who used the word in these 195 occurrences intended thereby to denote a single, well-known object. In other words, these writers knew of, and expected their readers to know of, only one sacred ark. This is evidenced by three facts: First, in almost all of these occurrences, the word is, or is potentially, in the determinate state, either having an affixed definite article (‫)ה ָארֹון‬, ָ or forming part of a construct chain that ends either in a proper noun (e. g., ‫)ארֹון ה׳‬ ֲ or in a common noun to which the definite article is affixed (e. g., ‫)ארֹון ַה ְּב ִרית‬. ֲ The sole exceptions (Exod 25:10; Deut 10:1, 3) are found within what we may refer to as origin stories (Exod 25:10–22 ≈ 37:1–9 + 40:20–21; Deut 10:1–9) and designate an object that is only contemplated or was just recently manufactured and thus would not yet have attained any renown. Second, the word occasionally has a definite article affixed to it (‫)ה ָארֹון‬ ָ even upon its first appearance in the given context (Lev 16:2; Num 3:31; 2 Sam 11:11; 1 Chr 6:16; arguably Num 10:35). Third, no biblical passage speaks of or implies the existence of more than one sacred ark. 1  Even-Shoshan, in its entry on the word, enumerates only 201 occurrences, because the second and third occurrences in 1 Sam 5:8 are erroneously counted as one. The entry also fails to note that there are two separate occurrences in 1 Sam 14:18, but it proceeds with the numbering correctly. 2 E. g., the rabbis in y. Sheqalim 6:1 ≈ y. Sotah 8:3 ≈ Yalqut Shim‘oni 1:367 (Terumah) ≈ ibid. 2:101 (1 Samuel); Abraham ibn Ezra, commentary on Deut 10:1, in Cohen, Deuteronomy, 63, 65; Isaac Abrabanel, commentary on Num 10:31, in Shaviv, Numbers, 69–76; Tur-Sinai, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 538, 547; Grintz, “Ark of the Covenant”, 460; Zobel, “’ arôn”, 364–365; Seow, “Ark of the Covenant”, 386.

4

1. The Ark: Introduction

To be sure, there is an alternative opinion, according to which the biblical authors knew and spoke of more than one ark. The earliest form of this view, found in the Talmud and attributed variously to R. Judah b. Lakish or R. Judah b. Ilai (both of whom were Tannaim of the second century CE), is that there were two separate arks, one of which was brought into battles and is referred to in Num 10:33, the other of which was kept in the sanctuary and is referred to in Num 14:44.3 The implausibility of R. Judah’s view is underscored by the fact that both of the cited passages use exactly the same name for the object to which they refer: ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬. ֲ In the early twentieth century, Arnold, consciously building on R. Judah’s view, claimed that there were many arks, each associated with one of the various sanctuaries that possessed a consecrated priesthood, and that the early biblical authors knew of them, the notion of a single ark being a “Deuteronomistic conceit”.4 Two decades later, Arnold’s view was repeated in a major journal of Semitics, accompanied by the statement: “[t]hat there was more than one ark is now quite generally accepted”.5 A plurality of sacred arks, at least in historical fact if not in the awareness of the biblical authors, has been assumed or considered by some scholars in more recent years as well.6 Arnold’s central argument was his assertion that the twice-occurring construct phrase ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ֲארֹון ֱא‬1 Sam 3:3; 4:11) is indeterminate, “the genitive ‫אלהים‬ being employed generically and adjectivally”, and that it therefore indicates an acquaintance with a plurality of sacred arks; just as, for example, ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ִאיׁש ֱא‬e. g., 1 Kgs 13:1) is indeterminate and indicates a familiarity with many such personages. This argument is incorrect. Syntactically, while the phrase ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ ֲארֹון ֱא‬can be construed as indeterminate (“an ark of God”), it can also be determinate (“the ark of God”), since ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ ֱא‬is most often a proper noun (e. g., Gen 1:1; 3:3; 20:3). As noted by Kaufmann, in one of the two occurrences of the phrase (1 Sam 4:11), it is obvious that ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ ֲארֹון ֱא‬is in fact determinate, because it refers to a specific object mentioned several times immediately beforehand (vv. 3, 4i–ii, 5, 6). It is thus clear that in this pericope (1 Sam 4), ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ ֲארֹון ֱא‬is interchangeable with the indisputably determinate phrases ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ָה ֱא‬v. 4) and ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ֲארֹון ָה ֱא‬vv. 13, 3  See the talmudic sources in the previous note, as well as t. Sotah 7:18; Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan 6:18–25 ≈ Leqah Tov on Exod 37:1 ≈ Midrash Agadah (Buber) on Exod 35:30; Sifre Zuta and Leqah Tov on Num 10:33. R. Judah’s opinion was endorsed by Rashi and Hezekiah b. Manoah for reasons unrelated to the considerations in the Talmud; see Rashi’s comments on Num 10:33, in Cohen, Numbers, 60, and on Deut 10:1, in Cohen, Deuteronomy, 62; Hezekiah’s commentary on Num 2:17, in Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 12. Nahmanides took a middle ground, maintaining that all biblical references to the ark except for those in Deut 10:1–5 referred to a single sacred object; see commentary on Deut 10:1, 5, in Cohen, Numbers, 63, 65. 4  Arnold, Ephod, 24–122. 5  May, “Ark”, 219. See also Morgenstern, Ark, 112–131. For additional scholars who held this view, see Schmitt, Zelt, 168–173 and notes. 6  Van der Toorn and Houtman, “David and the Ark”, 229–231; Levin, “Was the Ark”; Garfinkel, Ganor, and Hasel, Footsteps, 162; Metzler, “Ark”, 35–36, 43–44.

1.2 Contexts

5

17, 18, 19, 21, 22).7 Moreover, there exist additional construct phrases with ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ֱא‬ as the modifying noun that are certainly determinate: not only the Chronicler’s ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ֵּבית ֱא‬2 Chr 34:9), which clearly refers to the one, well-known temple in Jerusalem, and which is interchangeable with ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ֵּבית ָה ֱא‬35:8);8 but also ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ּגַ ן ֱא‬ (Ezek 28:13, in apposition to the proper noun ‫;ע ֶדן‬ ֵ 31:8i–ii), which clearly refers to the one, well-known garden of God, and which is interchangeable with ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ּגַ ן ָה ֱא‬ (31:7); as well as ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ִעיר ֱא‬Ps 46:5), which is interchangeable with ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ִעיר ָה ֱא‬ (Ps 87:3). Thus, the notion that the biblical authors referred to more than one sacred ark must be rejected.

1.2 Contexts All but two of the biblical references to the ark – that is, 193 references – are found within the two major historiographical sections of the Hebrew Bible: the Pentateuch and Former Prophets (the “Primary History”), and Chronicles.

1.2.1 Pentateuch and Former Prophets Of these, 145 references are found in the Pentateuch and Former Prophets, mostly in Samuel (61), Joshua (30), and Exodus (26), but also in Kings (12), Deuteronomy (8), Numbers (6), Leviticus (1), and Judges (1). A naïve reading of the references to the ark in this section of the Bible yields an overall chronology of the object that is remarkably coherent, though neither continuous nor entirely free of inconsistencies. The ark is made in the wilderness and secreted in the tabernacle (Exod 25–40; Lev 16:2). When on the move, it is carried by Levites (Num 3–7; Deut 10, 31). It travels ahead of the people on the journey from the mountain of Yhwh (Num 10:33), although it remains in the camp during the battle of Hormah (Num 14:44). Under the tenure of Joshua, the ark leads the people during the crossing of the Jordan (Josh 3–4) and at the conquests of Jericho and Ai (Josh 6–7), and it is present again at the ceremony on Mount Ebal (Josh 8). During the affair of the concubine at Gibeah, it is located at Bethel under the ministration of Phineas ben Eleazar (Judg 20:27). Later, we find the ark in Shiloh under the care of Eli (1 Sam 3:3). From there it is taken to the battle of Aphek, where it is captured by the Philistines and brought to the towns of Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron in turn; 7 Kaufmann, Toledot, 2:349 n. 1. Because this instance of ‫ ארון אלהים‬directly contradicts his interpretation of the phrase, Arnold was forced to conjecture that it is a secondary scribal emendation of an original ‫ארון האלהים‬, supposedly made in order to avoid “the vocal sequence ‫האלהים‬ ‫( ”נלקח‬p. 36 n. 1). This concession leaves his entire argument for an indeterminate ‫ ארון‬resting on a single instance (1 Sam 3:3), a fact that he seems to have taken pains to obscure. 8  Arnold dismissed this instance as a peculiarity of the Chronicler’s style (p. 31).

6

1. The Ark: Introduction

after seven months, the Philistines return it to Beth-Shemesh, whence it is transferred onward to Kiriath Yearim and placed under the care of Abinadab and his son Eleazar (1 Sam 4–7). During the reign of Saul, it shows up at the battle of Michmas (1 Sam 14:18i–ii). King David brings the ark from Kiriath Yearim to Jerusalem with great public fanfare, but he detains it for three months at the estate of Obed Edom before depositing it in a dedicated tent in the city of David. There it remains, despite David’s earnest desire to provide a permanent structure in which to house it (2 Sam 6–7). It is later said to be present at the siege of Rabbah (2 Sam 11:11). It is brought out of Jerusalem briefly during David’s flight from Absalom but is returned by Zadok and Abiathar (2 Sam 15), the latter of whom is later recalled to have been a porter of the ark (1 Kgs 2:26). It is still in Jerusalem during the reign of Solomon (1 Kgs 3:15), who builds a temple to house it (1 Kgs 6:19) and finally deposits it there in an elaborate public ceremony (1 Kgs 6–8).

1.2.2 Chronicles and Other Books The picture presented in Chronicles (48 references) is also quite coherent and overlaps almost entirely with the one that arises from the Pentateuch and Former Prophets. David facilitates the provision of a permanent resting place for the ark (1 Chr 6:16). He brings it from Kiriath Yearim to Jerusalem but detains it at the estate of Obed Edom (1 Chr 13) before bringing it to a dedicated tent (1 Chr 15–17). David instructs the leaders to help Solomon bring the ark to the temple (1 Chr 22:19) and makes the necessary preparations for the task (1 Chr 28). After remaining in Jerusalem for some time (2 Chr 1:4; 8:11), the ark is indeed brought to the temple in a public ceremony (2 Chr 5–6). Centuries later, Josiah tells the Levites that the deposition of the ark in the temple should free them to perform other duties (2 Chr 35:3). There remain only two explicit references to the ark in the Hebrew Bible. The first is a recollection by an anonymous psalmist of the efforts of David to find a permanent place for it (Ps 132:8). The second is a Jeremian prediction that in the future the ark’s importance will give way to that of Jerusalem as a whole (Jer 3:16). There may be additional allusions to the ark, which scholars have tended to see especially in Psalms.9

1.2.3 The Versions The nonmasoretic textual witnesses present several variations from this set of references to the ark. In the pilgrimage commandments of the “Covenant Code” 9 Davies, “Ark in the Psalms”; Seow, “Ark of the Covenant”, 388; Day, “Ark and the Cherubim”.

1.2 Contexts

7

(Exod 23:17) and the law code of Exodus 34 (v. 23), the destination of the pilgrimage is specified in the Samaritan Pentateuch – supported, naturally, by the Samaritan Targum – as ‫פני הארון ה׳‬, “the face of the ark of Yhwh”, in place of the reading ‫ּפנֵ י ָה ָאד ֹן ה׳‬, ְ “the face of the Lord Yhwh”, attested in the Masoretic Text and supported by all the other textual witnesses. A passage at the end of Joshua that appears only in the Septuagint states that after the death of Phineas, the Israelites took the responsibility for the ark upon themselves (Josh 24:33a). The relevant segment reads ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ λαβόντες οἱ υἱοὶ Ισραηλ τὴν κιβωτὸν [τῆς διαθήκης] τοῦ θεοῦ περιεφέροσαν ἐν ἐαυτοῖς, which has been retroverted as follows: ‫*ביום ההוא לקחו בני ישראל את‬ ‫ארון [ברית] האלהים ויסבו בתוכם‬.10 This reading, or one similar to it, is reflected in Damascus Document 5:2–5.11 The Septuagint also contains a few additional references to the ark within the accounts of the tabernacle’s construction (Exod 38:5, 11: ‫ )*הארון‬and of the ark’s wanderings in Philistia (1 Sam 5:11ii: ‫*ארון אלהי‬ ‫ ;ישראל‬6:20: ‫)*ארון ה׳‬. Conversely, in the Septuagint the ark is absent from the battle of Michmas: both masoretic references to it there (1 Sam 14:18i–ii) are represented in this work as τὸ εφουδ = ‫*האפוד‬, “the ephod”. Several manuscripts and editions of the rabbinic work Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan support this reading with ‫האפוד‬, while another manuscript conflates ‫ האפוד‬with ‫ארון האלהים‬.12 Additionally, several of many masoretic references to the ark in the accounts of the tabernacle’s construction (Exod 37:5i–ii; 40:20iii), the conquest of Jericho (Josh 6:4, 6i–ii), and the bringing of the ark to the temple (1 Kgs 8:4) are absent from the Septuagint, because the textual segments in which they appear are not represented therein. In four further instances in Joshua, the phrase ‫ל ְפנֵ י ֲארֹון ה׳‬,ִ “in front of the ark of Yhwh”, in the Masoretic Text appears in the Septuagint as ‫*לפני ה׳‬, “in front of Yhwh” (Josh 4:5; 6:7, 13i; 7:6). Finally, in one of the many references to the ark in Chronicles’ account of the deposition of the ark in the temple, ‫אׁשי‬ ֵ ‫וַ ּיֵ ָראּו ָר‬ ‫ה ַּב ִּדים ִמן ָה ָארֹון‬,ַ “the ends of the poles were visible from the ark” (2 Chr 5:9), several masoretic manuscripts and the Septuagint attest the text ‫אׁשי ַה ַּב ִּדים ִמן‬ ֵ ‫וַ ּיֵ ָראּו ָר‬ ‫הּק ֶֹדׁש‬,ַ 13 “the ends of the poles were visible from the holy place”, which is also the 10  Rofé, “End”, 19, 21; Tov, Textual Criticism, 298. Rofé conjectures (pp. 26–28) that the text originally read ‫ אנשי בית אל‬instead of ‫בני ישראל‬, and he associates it with Judg 20:27, which places the ark in Bethel. Shelly (Hebrew Translation, 20) retroverts ‫ אותו אליהם‬instead of ‫בתוכם‬. 11 For more on references to the ark in nonbiblical texts from the Judean Desert, see Porzig, “Ark”, passim ≈ idem, Lade, 256–277. 12 Kirschner, Baraita, 179 apparatus; similarly, Abraham ibn Ezra in his short commentary on Exod 28:6, in Cohen, Exodus II, 97. These Hebrew readings, which are not mentioned in BHS, are noted by Segal (Books of Samuel, 107). The Septuagintal reading corresponds to v. 3 according to all witnesses and is generally held as original. However, some scholars favor the masoretic reading: Arnold, Ephod, 12–17; Davies, “Ark or Ephod”; Bartal, “For the Ark”; Ahlström, “Travels”, 145; van der Toorn and Houtman, “David and the Ark”, 210–219; Levin, “Was the Ark”. 13  The segment is not represented at all in the Peshitta, the Vulgate, and Targum of Chronicles.

8

1. The Ark: Introduction

masoretic reading in the parallel verse in Kings (1 Kgs 8:8). The primary masoretic reading in Chronicles is evidently erroneous.

1.2.4 Absences The ark is entirely absent from biblical wisdom literature, which is to be expected given that this corpus exhibits a general lack of concern with Israelite cultic matters. Moreover, with one or two exceptions (Jer 3:16; 2 Chr 35:3), the ark is not mentioned in prophetic literature or in any passage that is set after the time of Solomon. This has prompted some scholars to posit that the ark was historically no longer in existence throughout much of the monarchic period.14 But this conjecture has no positive evidence to support it, and it has difficulty contending with the noted exceptions. A simpler explanation emerges from the fact that the biblical writers’ interest in the ark is confined almost exclusively to its manufacture, its movements, its location, and the identity of its caretakers. Once the ark is brought to the temple, which is seen by all texts that refer to it as the ark’s permanent resting place, the biblical writers have little cause to mention it. Why this is so will be discussed further below (§ 6.4).

1.3 Status It may be said at the outset that the ark is consistently portrayed in the biblical texts as the most important cultic object in ancient Israel. This preeminence is expressed in several ways.

1.3.1 Origin The ark’s two origin stories agree in granting it essentially the same venerable pedigree, stating that it was created under the auspices of Moses during the wilderness period at the command of Yhwh himself at the mountain of revelation. In the priestly account, Moses is charged at Mount Sinai (Exod 24:16) with the crafting of all the ark’s parts and appurtenances (‫ית‬ ָ ‫וְ ָע ִׂש‬, etc.: 25:11–21) as well as 15 But the actual execution of the ark, with all its parts its final positioning (40:3). 14  E. g., Haran, “Disappearance”, 46–58. For a recent, detailed discussion of the ultimate fate of the ark, with extensive bibliography, see Day, “Whatever Happened”. (Another perspective is presented in Metzler, “Ark”, 8–37.) For analysis of post-biblical traditions concerning this fate, see Milikowsky, “Where is the Lost Ark”; Fisher, “Memories”, 150–165. 15 The instruction for making the ark itself (Exod 25:10) involves textual disunity. The operative word in the Masoretic Text is ‫וְ ָעׂשּו‬, which may mean “they shall make” and refer to the Israelites, who are mentioned beforehand by name in v. 2 and alluded to in v. 9 (thus Nahmanides on v. 10, in Cohen, Exodus II, 71). More likely, it means “there shall be made” and refers to no one in particular, the subject being indefinite (see GKC, § 144f; Joüon, § 155b). The masoretic

1.3 Status

9

and appurtenances, is credited to Bezalel (‫וָ ּיַ ַעׂש‬: 37:1–8), in accordance with the general statement that he and his assistant Oholiab made everything concerning which Moses was commanded (‫וְ ָעׂשּו‬, ‫יַ ֲעׂשּו‬: 31:6–11); only the final assembly and positioning of the ark is attributed directly to Moses (40:20–21). In the Deuteronomic account, Moses simply states that he was instructed by Yhwh at “the Mountain” (Deut 10:1) – presumably Horeb (9:8) – to make the ark (‫ית ְּלָך‬ ָ ‫וְ ָע ִׂש‬: 10:1), and that he did so (‫וָ ַא ַעׂש‬: v. 3; ‫יתי‬ ִ ‫ע ִׂש‬: ָ v. 5). A passage in Kings also presupposes that the ark was in existence at the time of Moses (1 Kgs 8:9; cf. 2 Chr 5:10).

1.3.2 Formal Position In the priestly tabernacle account, the ark is always mentioned first among the tabernacle objects (though occasionally after some structural elements of the tabernacle itself). This primacy is found in the commands for constructing the elements of the tabernacle (Exod 25:10–22) and the account of their fulfillment (37:1–9); in the commands for assembling the tabernacle (40:3) and the account of their fulfillment (40:20–21); and in the commands for disassembling the tabernacle (Num 4:5–6). It is also observed in brief lists: the list of objects to be anointed with the holy oil (Exod 30:26); the list of items to be prepared by Bezalel and Oholiab (31:7); the list of items to be prepared by the skilled Israelites (35:12); the list of items completed and brought to Moses (39:35); and the list of items under the care of the Qohathites (Num 3:31). Another indication of the primacy of the ark is that people and objects often have their position defined by the statement that they are located “in front of” (‫)ל ְפנֵ י‬ ִ it. This occurs once in the priestly tabernacle account (Exod 40:5) but mostly outside of it: in Joshua (4:5; 6:4, 6, 7, 13; 7:6),16 Samuel (1 Sam 5:3, 4; 2 Sam 6:4), Kings (1 Kgs 3:15; 8:5), and Chronicles (1 Chr 15:24; 16:4, 6, 37i–ii; 2 Chr 5:6).

1.3.3 Physical Position The ark is described as being placed at the focal point of the Israelite cult. In the priestly tabernacle account, this spot is the “holy of holies”, the inner cella of the tabernacle, behind the curtain that screens off this space (Exod 26:33–34; 40:3 = 21; Lev 16:2). Correspondingly, in Kings, the ark is said to be situated in the ‫ּד ִביר‬,ְ the inner cella of the temple (1 Kgs 6:19; 8:6 = 2 Chr 5:7). reading is supported by the Peshitta, the targumim, and Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.134). However, the Vulgate has the plural imperative “make”, reflecting the variant vocalization ‫*וַ ֲעׂשּו‬ and certainly referring to the Israelites. The Samaritan Pentateuch has ‫ועשית‬, “you shall make”, referring to Moses; this reading is supported by the Septuagint. 16  All six occurrences of the phrase in Joshua are absent in the Septuagint, which instead reflects either ‫ לפני ה׳‬or nothing at all (see § 1.2.3).

10

1. The Ark: Introduction

Moreover, several passages indicate that the very purpose of the temple was to house the ark. The original proposal to build a temple is phrased, in the mouth of David, as follows: “Now look, I am living in a cedar palace, while the ark of God lives in a tent” (2 Sam 7:2 ≈ 1 Chr 17:1). The temple, then, is “a cedar palace” for the ark. Later, in the account of the temple’s construction, we read that the temple’s inner cella was built “so that the ark of Yhwh’s covenant could be placed there” (1 Kgs 6:19). Accordingly, the construction of the temple was consummated when the ark was brought into the cella (1 Kgs 8:6–11 ≈ 2 Chr 5:7–14). This idea is further alluded to when speaking of the “resting place” of Yhwh and his ark, evidently the temple (Ps 132:8 ≈ 2 Chr 6:41). When on the move, the ark also occupies a preeminent position, though there is disagreement as to whether this position is at the center or the front of the people – the heart or the head, as it were. In the priestly tabernacle account, it is implied that the ark always travels at the center of the people (Num 2:17; 10:21), and this positioning seems to be mirrored, in a strictly military context, in the narrative of the conquest of Jericho (Josh 6:8–9, 13). But according to other accounts, the ark traveled ahead of the people on the journey from the mountain of Yhwh (Num 10:33) and when crossing the Jordan (Josh 3:3–4, 6, 11, 14; 4:11).17

1.3.4 Restrictedness In accordance with its lofty status, the ark has designated custodians, namely the Levites. This is a detail that many passages make a point of emphasizing, usually expressing the custodianship via the verb ‫נָ ַׂשא‬, “carry”. In the priestly tabernacle account, the ark, along with the other major tabernacle objects – the table, the lampstand, the bronze altar, the incense altar, their ancillary objects, and the tabernacle’s entrance screen – is under the care specifically of ‫ּבנֵ י ְק ָהת‬,ְ “the Qohathites” (Num 3:29–31), who constitute the branch of ‫ּבנֵ י ֵלוִ י‬,ְ “the Levites” (v. 15), to which Moses and Aaron belong (Num 26:58–59; Exod 6:18, 20). In other sources, the designated handlers of the ark are identified with similar labels: ‫ׁש ֶבט ַה ֵּלוִ י‬, ֵ “the tribe of Levi” (Deut 10:8); ‫ה ְלוְ ּיִ ם‬,ַ “the Levites” (Deut 31:25; 1 Sam 6:15; 2 Sam 15:24; 1 Chr 15:2, 26, 27; 2 Chr 5:4); ‫ּבנֵ י ַה ְלוְ ּיִ ם‬,ְ “the sons of the Levites” (1 Chr 15:15); ‫הּכ ֲֹהנִ ים ְּבנֵ י ֵלוִ י‬,ַ “the Levitical priests” (Deut 31:9); and ‫הּכ ֲֹהנִ ים ַה ְלוְ ּיִ ם‬,ַ “the Levite priests” (Josh 3:3; 8:33). Occasionally, the handlers of the ark are called simply ‫הּכ ֲֹהנִ ים‬,ַ “the priests” (Josh 3:6, 8, 13–15, 17; 4:9–10, 16, 18; 6:6, 12; 17 Rashi (comment on Num 10:33, in Cohen, Numbers, 60; cf. comment on Josh 3:3, in Cohen, Joshua, 10) and Hezekiah b. Manoah (on Num 2:17, in Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 12) deployed the “two arks” hypothesis (see § 1.1 and esp. n. 3) to resolve the contradiction; whereas Abraham ibn Ezra (on Num 10:31, in Cohen, Numbers, 61), Gersonides (on Num 10:33, ibid.), Abrabanel (on Num 10:33–36, in Shaviv, Numbers, 74–76), and Obadiah Sforno (on Num 10:33, in Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 80) addressed it by maintaining that the ark usually traveled at the center of the host but that there were exceptions to this rule.

1.4 Designations

11

1 Kgs 8:3, 6).18 Only isolated passages indicate in their present form that anyone other than Levites/priests could legitimately care for the ark (1 Sam 7:1; 2 Sam 6).19 When the tabernacle is disassembled, according to the priestly account, the Qohathites may only handle the ark and other aforementioned objects, excluding the screen, after they are covered by Aaron and his sons (Num 4:5–6, 15). An unauthorized person will die if he touches the ark or any of the other major tabernacle objects (4:15; cf. 1:51), or even if he sees them exposed (4:20). Correspondingly, in Samuel, specific episodes are described in which people are in fact struck dead by the Deity as a result of touching the ark (2 Sam 6:6–8 = 1 Chr 13:9–11) or of seeing it exposed (1 Sam 6:19–20).

1.3.5 Psychological Importance Finally, the ark is portrayed as having immense psychological importance to biblical characters. In the “Ark Narrative” (1 Sam 4–6), when Eli, the elderly leader of the Israelites (1 Sam 4:18), is awaiting news concerning the battle between his people and the Philistines at Aphek, he is described as worried about the fate of the ark (1 Sam 4:13), rather than that of the Israelites or even his own two sons who are on the battlefield (v. 11). When he is in fact told of Israel’s defeat, the death of his two sons, and the loss of the ark, it is the news of the ark that causes him to fall off his seat in shock and die (vv. 17–18). Eli’s daughter-in-law, too, is grieved primarily by the loss of the ark, and only secondarily by the deaths of her husband and father-in-law (1 Sam 4:19–21). It is the loss of the ark, rather than of Eli, the leader, that prompts her to proclaim that “majesty (‫)ּכבֹוד‬ ָ has departed from Israel” (v. 22).

1.4 Designations While the simple, indeterminate ‫( ארֹון‬3 occurrences) and the simple, determinate ‫( ָה ָארֹון‬53 occurrences) are used throughout the Bible to denote the ark, this word is usually combined with one or more genitives, creating a variety of designations for the object to which it refers.20 18 Other verses identify certain priestly individuals as the porters of the ark in particular episodes: Hophni and Phineas (implied in 1 Sam 4:4; cf. v. 11), Ahijah (1 Sam 14:18 MT), and Abiathar (1 Kgs 2:26), all of whom are Elide priests (1 Sam 1:3; 14:3; 22:20). Note the overlap with the idea that the ephod (‫)אפֹוד‬ ֵ was carried by the Elides generally (1 Sam 2:28) and by Ahijah (1 Sam 14:3) and that a linen ephod (‫)אפֹוד ָּבד‬ ֵ was carried by Ahitub and the priests of Nob (1 Sam 22:18). 19 For varying views regarding the history of the idea that the Levites were the exclusive caretakers of the ark, see Haran, Temples, 78–80; Seeligmann, “Beginning of Midrash”, 25–29; Porzig, “Postchronistic Traces”, passim. 20  Early efforts to classify the designations of the ark include those of Seyring (“alttestamentliche Sprachgebrauch”, passim), Couard, (“religiös-nationale Bedeutung”, 54–70), Sevensma (Ark, 88–100), and Arnold (Ephod, n.p. [fold-out table at end of volume]).

12

1. The Ark: Introduction

1.4.1 ’ărôn hā‘ēdût The epithet ‫( ֲארֹון ָה ֵע ֻדת‬12 occurrences), usually translated as “the ark of the testimony”, is characteristically priestly, being the only designation for the ark (other than the simple ‫)ה ָארֹון‬ ָ in the priestly tabernacle account. With a single exception, it is endemic to this account (Exod 25:22; 26:33, 34; 30:6, 26; 39:35; 40:3, 5, 21; Num 4:5, 7:89; note also ‫ ָה ָאר ֹן ָל ֵע ֻדת‬in Exod 31:7), where it appears only – and immediately – after the text makes clear that an ‫ע ֻדת‬, ֵ “testimony”, provided by Yhwh is to be placed in the ark (Exod 25:16, 21; see also 40:20). The epithet is obviously related to the idea expressed in this instruction, an idea which is likewise confined to the priestly tabernacle account, that what the ark contains is the ‫( ֵע ֻדת‬see § 5.1.3). The ark in these passages is thus named after its contents. Other objects are named after the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬in the priestly tabernacle account. The sanctuary itself is called ‫( ִמ ְׁש ַּכן ָה ֵע ֻדת‬Exod 38:21; Num 1:50, 53[× 2]; 10:11) and ‫( א ֶֹהל ָה ֵע ֻדת‬Num 9:15; 17:22, 23; 18:2; also 2 Chr 24:6), and the inner curtain that screens the ark is once called ‫( ָּפר ֶֹכת ָה ֵע ֻדת‬Lev 24:3). Additional objects have their location defined in relation to the ‫ע ֻדת‬. ֵ The ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ in one or two instances, is figuratively said to be “upon” (‫)על‬ ַ the ‫( ֵע ֻדת‬Lev 16:13; Exod 30:621), despite the fact that in a physical sense it would be – and is – more properly said to be upon the ark (Exod 25:21; 26:34; 31:7; 40:20; Lev 16:2; Num 7:89). The aforementioned inner curtain is figuratively said to be “upon” the ‫( ֵע ֻדת‬Exod 27:21) despite not being adjacent to it. Other objects are placed “in front of” (‫)ל ְפנֵ י‬ ִ it, including the container of manna preserved for future generations (Exod 16:33–34), the holy incense (Exod 30:36), the staves of the tribal chiefs, and Aaron’s flowering staff in particular (Num 17:19, 25). The sole use of ‫ ֲארֹון ָה ֵע ֻדת‬outside the priestly tabernacle texts occurs in Joshua (4:16) and is textually dubious. While Targum Jonathan and the Peshitta agree with the Masoretic Text, the Vulgate here reads arcam foederis (rather than arcam testimonii, with which it renders ‫ ֲארֹון ָה ֵע ֻדת‬in the Pentateuch), reflecting the reading ‫*ארון הברית‬, as in previous instances in the same pericope (3:6, 8, 11, 14; 4:9). The Septuagint here reads τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς διαθήκης τοῦ μαρτυρίου κυρίου, reflecting the conflated reading ‫*ארון ברית עדות ה׳‬. There are many instances of priestly language in Joshua.22 Whether original or not, the masoretic reading should be regarded as one of them.

21  The relevant text, ‫ל ְפנֵ י ַה ַּכּפ ֶֺרת ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ָה ֵע ֻדת‬,ִ is missing in the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, many manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, and all witnesses to the parallel verse 40:26; it is evidently a doublet of the previous phrase, ‫ל ְפנֵ י ַה ָּפר ֶֺכת ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ֲאר ֺן ָה ֵע ֻדת‬.ִ 22  See Boorer, “Envisioning”.

1.4 Designations

13

1.4.2 ’ărôn hā’ĕlōhîm The epithet ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ארֹון ָה ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of God” (44 occurrences), is found only in Samuel and Chronicles. It appears in various accounts within Samuel, including those of the capture of the ark (1 Sam 4:13, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22; 5:1, 2, 10i–ii), the battle of Michmas (1 Sam 14:18i–ii), the bringing of the ark to the city of David (2 Sam 6:2, 3, 4i, 6, 7, 12i–ii), David’s exchange with Nathan (2 Sam 7:2), and David’s flight from Jerusalem (2 Sam 15:24ii, 25, 29). It also appears in the Chronicler’s account of the bringing of the ark to the city of David (1 Chr 13:5, 7, 12, 14; 15:15, 24i; 16:1) and in references to this episode (1 Chr 15:1, 2i; 2 Chr 1:4). In the account of the capture of the ark in Samuel we also find the variants ‫ֲארֹון‬ ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫( ֱא‬1 Sam 3:3; 4:11; see § 1.1) and, when the perspective of the Philistines is presented, ‫ֹלהי יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬ ֵ ‫ארֹון ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of the God of Israel” (1 Sam 5:7, 8i–iii, 10iii, 11; 6:3). In the Chronicler’s account of the bringing of the ark to the city of David we find the additional variants ‫ֹלהינּו‬ ֵ ‫ארֹון ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of our [i. e., the Israelites’] God” (1 Chr 13:3), and ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫יֹוׁשב ַה ְּכ‬ ֵ ‫ֹלהים ה׳‬ ִ ‫( ֲארֹון ָה ֱא‬v. 6; see § 9.3). All occurrences of these forms in Chronicles are either copied from or influenced by specific occurrences of these designations in Samuel, and none appear elsewhere in the Bible. This indicates that these forms are peculiar either to one or more of the sources used in Samuel, or to an editor of the book whose activity preceded the composition of Chronicles.

1.4.3 ’ărôn yhwh The epithet ‫ארֹון ה׳‬, ֲ “the ark of Yhwh” (38 occurrences), is interspersed with ‫ֲארֹון‬ ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ ָה ֱא‬in Samuel (1 Sam 4:6; 5:3, 4; 6:1, 2, 8, 11, 15, 18, 19, 21; 7:1i–ii; 2 Sam 6:9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17) and in Samuel-dependent material in Chronicles (1 Chr 15:2ii, 3; 16:4; 2 Chr 8:11). Unlike the previous designation, however, it is also found in Joshua (4:11; 6:6ii, 7, 11, 12, 13i–ii; 7:6) and Kings (1 Kgs 8:4). The same range is displayed collectively by its variants: ‫ארֹון ה׳ ֲאדֹון ָּכל ָה ָא ֶרץ‬, ֲ “the ark of Yhwh, the Lord of all the world” (Josh 3:13); ‫ֹלהי יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬ ֵ ‫ארֹון ה׳ ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of Yhwh, the God of Israel (1 Chr 15:12, 14); ‫יכם‬ ֶ ‫ֹלה‬ ֵ ‫ארֹון ה׳ ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of Yhwh, your [i. e., the Israelites’] God” (Josh 4:5); and ‫ארֹון ֲאד ֹנָ י ה׳‬, ֲ “the ark of the Lord Yhwh” (1 Kgs 2:26). Notably, however, in the Septuagint no form of this designation appears outside of Samuel and dependent material in Chronicles. It is possible, then, that this designation, too, is peculiar to source material or an early editor of Samuel.23

23  In any case, the absence of ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ארֹון ָה ֱא‬, ֲ ‫ארֹון ה׳‬, ֲ and their variants from the priestly texts is not peculiar to those texts. Therefore, contrary to the argument of Seow (“Designation”, 186–191), it does not indicate a deliberate attempt by the priestly author to dissociate the ark from the divine name.

14

1. The Ark: Introduction

1.4.4 ’ărôn bərît yhwh An additional group of designations is defined by the presence of the element ‫ּב ִרית‬,ְ “covenant” (42 occurrences). The standard designation within this group is ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬, ֲ “the ark of the covenant of Yhwh”, which occurs in Numbers (10:33; 14:44), Deuteronomy (10:8; 31:9, 25), Joshua (4:7, 18; 6:8; 8:33), Samuel (1 Sam 4:3, 5), Kings (1 Kgs 6:19; 8:1, 6), Jeremiah (3:16), and Chronicles (1 Chr 15:25, 26, 28, 29; 16:37i; 17:1; 22:19; 28:2, 18; 2 Chr 5:2, 7). A minor variant is ‫ָה ָארֹון ְּב ִרית‬ ‫( ה׳‬Josh 3:17). Extended forms are ‫יכם‬ ֶ ‫ֹלה‬ ֵ ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳ ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of the covenant of Yhwh, your [i. e., the Levites’ or the Israelites’] God” (Deut 31:26; Josh 3:3), and ‫( ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬1 Sam 4:4i; see § 9.3). More substantial variants are ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ֲאד ֹנָ י‬, ֲ “the ark of the covenant of the Lord” (1 Kgs 3:15); ‫ֲארֹון‬ ‫ה ְּב ִרית ֲאדֹון ָּכל ָה ָא ֶרץ‬,ַ “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the world” (Josh 3:11); and ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ָה ֱא‬, ֲ “the ark of the covenant of God” (Judg 20:27; 1 Sam ֲ “the ark of the 4:4ii; 2 Sam 15:24i; 1 Chr 16:6). The abbreviated form ‫ארֹון ַה ְּב ִרית‬, covenant” (Josh 3:6i–ii, 8; 4:9; 6:2), along with its minor variant ‫( ָה ָארֹון ַה ְּב ִרית‬Josh 3:14), are confined to Joshua.24 The designations of this group are the only ones that appear in the Deuteronomic account (other than the simple ‫ ֲארֹון‬and ‫)ה ָארֹון‬. ָ They also occur in all four books of the Former Prophets and in Jeremiah, which are known to have close ties to this work. But they are also used twice in Numbers, in passages usually ascribed to the Yahwistic Source. And, in Chronicles, they are not only preserved in passages copied from Kings (2 Chr 5:2, 7), but are also introduced in passages unknown from elsewhere in the Bible (1 Chr 16:6, 37i; 22:19; 28:2, 18) and are even changed from other designations in copied passages (1 Chr 15:25, 26, 28, 29; 17:1).25 This group of designations is obviously connected to the idea that the ark contains ‫ּב ִרית ה׳‬,ְ “the covenant of Yhwh”, which is expressed explicitly in Kings and implicitly in Deuteronomy (see § 5.1.2). For these reasons, the attribution of this group of designations to “the Deuteronomists”26 is somewhat, but not entirely, justified.

1.4.5 Other Designations Two final, rare designations of the ark (3 occurrences) are confined to Chronicles and to the single occurrence of the word ‫ ארֹון‬in Psalms. These are ‫ארֹון ַהּק ֶֹדש‬, ֲ 24 Despite its limited range in the Hebrew Bible, this abbreviated form is the popularly used designation of the ark today in English speech (“the ark of the covenant”), presumably because its Greek equivalent is the only designation of the ark used in the New Testament (Heb 9:4; Rev 11:19). 25  It has been argued that the Chronicler’s penchant for the term ‫ ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬is an intentional choice meant to sustain his views of kingship, and especially the kingship of David; see van den Eynde, “Chronicler’s Use”, passim. 26  Seow, “Ark of the Covenant”, 387.

1.5 Name

15

“the holy ark” (2 Chr 35:3), and ‫ארֹון ֻעּזֶ ָך‬, ֲ “the ark of your [i. e., Yhwh’s] might” (Ps 132:8 ≈ 2 Chr 6:41).

1.5 Name The properties of the word ‫ ארֹון‬itself will now be examined.

1.5.1 Orthography In the Masoretic Text, the word is usually spelled in the plene form: ‫ארֹון‬. Defective spellings occur only in the three middle books of the Pentateuch: Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. This finding agrees with the general observation that these three books display more conservative (i. e., less likely to use matres lectionis) spelling than any other book in the Bible.27 Within these books, the word is always spelled defectively when preceded by the article ‫;)ה ָאר ֹן( ה‬ ָ this occurs nineteen times (Exod 25:14i–ii, 15, 16, 21i–ii; 31:7; 35:12; 37:1, 5i–ii; 40:3, 20i–iii, 21; Lev 16:2; Num 3:31, 10:35). When the word is not preceded by the article ‫ ה‬in these books, it is defective only occasionally; this occurs in five instances, all in the construct phrase ‫( ֲאר ֹן ָה ֵע ֻדת‬Exod 25:22; 30:6; 39:35; Num 4:5; 7:89). In the biblical texts from the Judean Desert, all extant occurrences of the word have the plene spelling. These include several occurrences whose parallels in the Masoretic Text are spelled defectively (Exod 25:14ii and 25:15 in 4QpaleoGen-Exodl; Exod 25:21ii in 4QpaleoExodm; Exod 40:20i–iii in 4QExod-Levf;28 and Num 4:5 in 4QLev-Numa). In the Samaritan Pentateuch as well, the word consistently has the plene spelling, in accordance with the general tendency of this work.

1.5.2 Vocalization A question that deserves direct attention pertains to the vocalization of the word. Is the basic form of the word ‫ארֹון‬, ָ i. e., should the aleph be pointed with a qamets?29 Or is it ‫ארֹון‬, ֲ i. e., should the aleph be pointed with a khatef patakh?30 Or are both forms basic?31

and Forbes, Spelling, 313–314. the orthography of this scroll, see Freedman, “Massoretic”. 29  Gesenius, Thesaurus; Fuerst, Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. 30 BDB; HALOT; DCH; Tur-Sinai, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 546 (EM); Zobel, “’ arôn” (TDOT). 31  Even-Shoshan. 27 Andersen 28 For

16

1. The Ark: Introduction

1.5.2.1 Masorah In the Tiberian masoretic manuscripts, when the word is unaccompanied by a prefix, the aleph is always pointed with a khatef patakh: ‫( ֲארֹון‬or ‫)אר ֹן‬. ֲ When the word is preceded by the article ‫ה‬, the aleph is always pointed with a qamets: ‫ָה ָארֹון‬ (or ‫)ה ָאר ֹן‬. ָ When the word is accompanied by other prefixes, namely ‫ו‬, ‫ב‬, and ‫ל‬ (there are no instances of ‫)כ‬, the pattern remains consistent: namely, when the prefix is pointed with a patakh – that is, when the prefix was understood not to contain a syncopated ‫ה‬ – the aleph is always pointed with a khatef patakh: e. g., ‫ ַ;ל ֲארֹון‬but when the prefix is pointed with a qamets – that is, when the article ‫ה‬ was understood to be present – the aleph is always pointed with a qamets: e. g., ‫ל ָארֹון‬.ָ In the Babylonian masoretic manuscripts, the pattern is the same.32 Because the word is always pointed ‫ ֲארֹון‬when unaccompanied by the definite article, it might seem indisputable that this is its basic form. Other biblical nouns with an initial guttural and identical pointing exist, including ‫הדֹום‬,ֲ ‫חגֹור‬,ֲ ‫חלֹום‬,ֲ ‫חמֹור‬,ֲ and ‫עבֹות‬. ֲ However, because almost all occurrences of ‫ ארֹון‬refer to the sacred ark (see § 1.0), and because almost all occurrences referring to the sacred ark that are not preceded by the definite article are indicated by their context to be in the construct state (see § 1.1), some scholars have been led to say that the basic form of the word is rather ‫ ָארֹון‬and that ‫ ֲארֹון‬is merely its construct form. There are indeed similarly structured biblical nouns, such as ‫אדֹון‬, ָ ‫אתֹון‬, ָ ‫ּגָ רֹון‬, and ‫חרֹון‬,ָ as well as ‫ּגָ חֹון‬, ‫המֹון‬,ָ ‫זָ דֹון‬, ‫חזֹון‬,ָ ‫לׁשֹון‬,ָ ‫עֹון‬, ָ ‫קלֹון‬,ָ ‫רצֹון‬,ָ and ‫שאֹון‬, ָ which behave in this way. The two instances in which the word is unaccompanied by the definite article and is shown clearly by its context to be in the absolute state are then explained away in some manner by these scholars. These are the statement in Kings, ‫( וַ ּיִ ַּקח יְ הֹויָ ָדע ַהּכ ֵֹהן ֲארֹון ֶא ָחד‬2 Kgs 12:10), “Jehoiada the priest took an ‫”ארֹון‬, and its parallel text in Chronicles, ‫אמר ַה ֶּמ ֶלְך וַ ּיַ ֲעׂשּו ֲארֹון ֶא ָחד‬ ֶ ֹ ‫( וַ י‬2 Chr 24:8), “at the King’s command, an ‫ ארֹון‬was made”.33 Thus, the medieval Hebrew grammarian Jonah ibn Janah (first half of the eleventh century) maintained that the basic form of the word is ‫ארֹון‬, ָ and that the occurrence in Kings is an example of the rare phenomenon of a word appearing in a construct state when it is being modified by the following word and would normally appear in the absolute state.34 But the other examples of this phenomenon that he cited – ‫( ְּבנֵ י ִׁש ֵּל ִׁשים‬Gen 50:23), ‫( ְּבנֵ י ְר ִב ִעים‬2 Kgs 10:30), ‫( ֵחיל ָּכ ֵבד‬2 Kgs 32 See Yeivin, Hebrew, 2:910. The khatef patakh is not used in Babylonian pointing; wherever this sign appears under the aleph of ‫ ארון‬in the Tiberian manuscripts, the corresponding patakh appears in the Babylonian manuscripts (most notably in 2 Chr 24:8 – see below). See also DJBA, “‫”ארֹונָ א‬. ֲ 33  A possible third instance of ‫ ארֹון‬in the absolute state without a prefix is also vocalized the same way: ‫( וְ ָעׂשּו ֲארֹון ֲע ֵצי ִׁש ִּטים‬Exod 25:10). However, this occurrence can plausibly be understood in context as being in the construct form: see n. 37 below and Propp, Exodus, 379–380. 34  Wilensky, Sefer Hariqmah, 1:240–241 (Chapter 19). For a modern description of this phenomenon, see Gai, “On the Origin”.

1.5 Name

17

18:17 = Isa 36:2), ‫יתן‬ ָ ‫( נְ וֵ ה ֵא‬Jer 49:19), ‫( ַאנְ ֵׁשי ְבנֵ י ְב ִלּיַ ַעל‬Judg 19:22), ‫( נִ ְט ֵעי נַ ֲע ָמנִ ים‬Isa 17:10), ‫( ֵמי ַה ָּמ ִרים‬Num 5:23), and ‫( ַח ְרבֹות ֻצ ִרים‬Josh 5:2) – all appear to be established phrases, whereas ‫ ֲארֹון ֶא ָחד‬is clearly not an established phrase. Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–1164) and David Kimhi (ca. 1160–1235) also supposed that the basic form of the word is ‫ארֹון‬, ָ and they explained away the two problematic instances in a different manner, offering far-fetched interpretations of the passages in order to maintain that the word is properly in the construct state. Thus, the passage in Kings is interpreted by both Ibn Ezra and Kimhi as meaning, “Jehoiada the priest took the ‫ ארֹון‬of a certain person”.35 The passage in Chronicles is similarly understood by Kimhi as meaning, “at the King’s command, an ‫ ארֹון‬of a certain person was modified [to receive silver]”.36 Besides being eminently implausible, these interpretations also lack any trace in the ancient translations and talmudic literature, demonstrating that they were contrived only to solve the problem.37 A third way to explain the problematic instances while maintaining that ‫ָארֹון‬ is the basic form would be to say that these instances exemplify the phenomenon in which the numeral ‫ ֶא ָחד‬is in the genitive.38 However, only one other clear example of this supposed phenomenon is proposed: ‫( ִמ ְׁש ַּפט ֶא ָחד‬Lev 24:22),39 and this also appears to be an established phrase. Furthermore, the ‫ ֶא ָחד‬in ‫ִמ ְׁש ַּפט‬ ‫ ֶא ָחד‬actually enumerates, whereas the ‫ ֶא ָחד‬in ‫ ֲארֹון ֶא ָחד‬merely indicates indetermination.40 It is thus evident from the two aforementioned verses that the basic form of the word in the Masoretic Text is ‫ארֹון‬. ֲ It must be concluded that the aleph was pointed with a qamets only under the influence of the article ‫ה‬, when it is expressly present or when it was believed to be present through syncopation. A similar process has been observed in the words ‫א ֶרץ‬, ֶ ‫הר‬,ַ ‫חג‬,ַ ‫עם‬, ַ and ‫ּפר‬, ַ whose initial vowels are lengthened in the Masoretic Text following the article ‫ה‬: ‫ה ָא ֶרץ‬,ָ ‫ה ָהר‬,ָ ‫ה ָחג‬,ֶ ‫ה ָעם‬,ָ ‫ה ָּפר‬.ָ 41

35  Kimhi: commentary ad loc., in Cohen, Kings, 213; Ibn Ezra: short commentary on Exod 25:10, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70. 36  Commentary ad loc., in Cohen, Chronicles, 245. For an earlier, different attempt by Kimhi to explain this instance, see Rittenberg, Sefer Mikhlol, 154. 37  The possible third instance (Exod 25:10) is similarly interpreted by Ibn Ezra (short commentary ad loc., in Cohen, Exodus II, 70) and Samuel b. Meir (commentary ad loc., in Cohen, ibid.) as “they shall make an acacia-wood ‫”ארֹון‬. Here the interpretation is plausible. 38  Chanan Ariel and Alexey Yuditsky, personal communications, 2014. 39  Davidson, Hebrew Syntax, § 35 Rem. 2; IBHS, 275; Gibson, Davidson’s Introductory Hebrew Grammar, § 45. 40  GKC, § 125b; Joüon, § 137u. 41  GKC, § 35o; Joüon, § 35 f.

18

1. The Ark: Introduction

1.5.2.2 Josephus We are provided with another datum pertaining to the vocalization of the word by Josephus, who wrote that the ark “is called ἐρὼν in our language” (Jewish Antiquities 3.134). This statement can be seen as consistent with the identification of the word’s basic masoretic vocalization as ‫ארֹון‬. ֲ Thus, it has been argued that “the apparent reason for the epsilon instead of an alpha at the beginning of the word is that the Hebrew has a hataf pathah under the aleph”.42 Actually, in transcriptions of Hebrew words occurring in Josephus, both initial ‫ ֲא‬and initial ‫ ָא‬in the Masoretic Text are usually paralleled by alpha; conversely, initial epsilon in Josephus usually corresponds to an initial guttural pointed with a segol, khatef segol, or tsere in the Masoretic Text.43 Nevertheless, it is more plausible that an epsilon in Josephus would correspond to a khatef patakh rather than to a qamets in the masorah, because the khatef patakh does not always preserve the precise quality of the original vowel, which may have been preserved only in Josephus.44 Indeed, there are a fair number of proper names which Josephus spells with an initial epsilon and which, in the Masoretic Text, are spelled with an initial aleph or other guttural pointed with a khatef patakh.45 Thus, we find  Ἐρωίδης (Jewish Antiquities 2.182) for ‫רֹודי‬ ִ ‫( ֲא‬Gen 46:16);  Ἐβιδᾶς (Ant. 1.238) for ‫ֲא ִב ָידע‬ (Gen 25:4);  Ἐχίας (Ant. 6.107) for ‫( ֲא ִחּיָ ה‬1 Sam 14:3);  Ἐδώραμος (Ant. 1.147) for ‫דֹורם‬ ָ ‫( ֲה‬Gen 10:27 = 1 Chr 1:21); Εὐίλης (Ant. 1.147) for ‫( ֲחוִ ָילה‬son of Joktan: Gen 10:29 = 1 Chr 1:23); Εὐίλας (Ant. 1.134) for, again, ‫( ֲחוִ ָילה‬son of Cush: Gen 10:7 = 1 Chr 1:9); and  Ἔμμωρος (Ant. 1.337, 339) for ‫( ֲחמֹור‬Gen 34:2). While there are four instances in which an initial epsilon in Josephus appears to correspond to an initial guttural with qamets in the Masoretic Text, a closer look at each instance reveals independent signs that Josephus had a different tradition of vocalization than the Masoretes, and thus there is no true correspondence. The first such instance is the name of the assistant craftsman of the tabernacle, spelled  Ἐλίαβος in Josephus (Ant. 3.200) and ‫יאב‬ ָ ‫ ָא ֳה ִל‬in the Masoretic Text (Exod 31:6 = 38:23). Here the initial vowel in the Hebrew is a qamets khatuf, derived from a holem (‫ ;)א ֶֹהל‬it is very difficult to imagine that this vowel could be indicated by an epsilon, even if it were granted that the vowel indicated by a regular qamets could be. In this particular case, we also note a confusion on the part of Josephus, who elsewhere (Ant. 3.105) calls the same person  Ἐλίβαζος. It seems that, just as the latter spelling reflects a tradition of pronunciation that differs consonantally from that reflected in the masorah, the former spelling reflects a divergent vocalization influenced by the more common biblical name  Robertson, “Account”, 124, citing a personal communication from Louis H. Feldman.  See Schalit, Namenwörterbuch, passim. 44  Chanan Ariel, personal communication, August 2014; and see Yeivin, “Changes”. 45  It should be borne in mind, however, that transcription of proper names in Josephus’s writings is “heavily influenced by contemporary Greek”: Yuditsky, “Transcription”, n.p. 42 43

1.5 Name

19

‫יאב‬ ָ ‫א ִל‬. ֱ Similarly, the Septuagint renders our name as Ελιαβ, and the Peshitta spells it ’lyhb. The name of Gideon’s hometown in the territory of Manasseh is spelled  Ἐφρά by Josephus (Ant. 5.229, 232) and appears in the Masoretic Text as ‫( ָע ְפ ָרה‬Judg 8:27). Here again the initial vowel in the Hebrew is qamets khatuf (from ‫)ע ֶֹפר‬. That this toponym may have had conflicting traditions of vocalization is indicated by the fact that another site, located in the territory of Benjamin, is called both ‫( ָע ְפ ָרה‬Josh 18:23; 1 Sam 13:17) and ‫( ֶע ְפ ַריִ ן‬2 Chr 13:19 Q [‫ עפרון‬K]) in the Masoretic Text.46 Josephus’s vocalization may also be influenced by the more well-known biblical toponyms ‫ ֶא ְפ ָר ָתה‬/ ‫ ֶא ְפ ָרת‬and ‫פריִם‬ ַ ‫;א‬ ֶ thus, throughout Judges, ‫ ָע ְפ ָרה‬of Manasseh is consistently (Judg 6:11, 24; 8:27, 32; 9:5) rendered by the Septuagint as Εφραθα. Nothing can be made of Josephus’s  Ἐρασαμός (Ant. 7.308) for the masoretic ‫רפם‬ ָ ‫( ָ ֽח‬2 Sam 23:9)  / ‫( ַּפס ַּד ִּמים‬1 Chr 11:13), as even the consonantal text is disputed within the Masoretic Text, and Josephus’s spelling does not match either of the masoretic readings precisely. Furthermore, the Hebrew form that Josephus had in mind seems to have been closer to ‫ּפס ַּד ִּמים‬, ַ which does not begin with a guttural and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion, than to ‫רפם‬ ָ ‫ח‬. ֽ ָ If Josephus had read ‫רפם‬ ָ ‫ ָ ֽח‬here, he would likely not have understood it as a place name at all, but rather as a form of the verb ‫ח ַרף‬,ָ as it was, in fact, understood by all the ancient translations of Samuel (Septuagint, Peshitta, Targum Jonathan, and Vulgate). In the case of Abraham’s ally, named  Ἔννηρος in Josephus (Ant. 1.182) and ‫ ָענֵ ר‬in the Masoretic Text (Gen 14:13, 24), we find again serious confusion even regarding the consonantal text. In the Samaritan Pentateuch, the name is spelled ‫ ;ענרם‬the Genesis Apocryphon has rnm; and the Septuagint reads Αυναν, presumably under the influence of the more commonly occurring biblical name ‫( אֹונָ ן‬Gen 38:4, 8, 9; 46:12; Num 26:19; 1 Chr 2:3), which it consistently renders the same way. Thus, there is no justification for assuming that Josephus had the same tradition of vocalizing this name as did the Masoretes. Even if he had, it is likely that he would still have deviated from the natural spelling in order to avoid confusion with the common Greek word ἀνήρ, “man”. In summary, the Masoretes understood the basic form of the word as ‫ארֹון‬. ֲ Josephus, using the Greek alphabet, spelled it ἐρὼν. Presumably, these reflect one and the same tradition of vocalization.47

46 For a discussion of the different vocalizations of the Benjaminite toponym, see Elitzur, Ancient, 314–337. 47  Jewish Palestinian Aramaic ‫ ארון‬and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic ‫ ארונא‬are also pointed with a khatef patakh on the aleph: see DJPA, “‫;”ארֹון‬ ֲ DJBA, “‫”ארֹונָ א‬. ֲ Conversely, in the Samaritan pentateuchal vocalization tradition, ‫ ארון‬is consistently pronounced with a qamets under the aleph: see Ben-Hayyim, Literary and Oral Tradition, 4:32–33.

20

1. The Ark: Introduction

1.5.3 Gender As noted by the medieval Hebrew grammarians Jonah ibn Janah, Solomon ibn Parhon (twelfth century), and David Kimhi, although the word ‫ ארון‬is usually treated in the biblical texts as masculine, there are two instances in which it is clearly treated as feminine (1 Sam 4:17; 2 Chr 8:11).48 It has been suggested, based on these instances, that in Ps 132:6 the feminine pronominal suffixes of ‫נּוה‬ ָ ‫ׁש ַמ ֲע‬, ְ “we heard of it”, and ‫אנּוה‬ ָ ‫מ ָצ‬, ְ “we found it”, also refer to the ark, which is mentioned by name two verses later (v. 8).49 The inconsistency in gender continues in later inscriptional Hebrew50 and in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic.51

1.5.4 Cognates and Etymology The word has cognates in several Semitic languages. Particularly helpful are Phoenician and Punic, as several extant objects bearing inscriptions in these languages are labeled with the word ’rn.52 These include stone sarcophagi (note Gen 50:26), such as the rectangular sarcophagus of Ahiram from around 1000 BCE [Figure 1.1]53 and the anthropoid sarcophagus of Tabnit from the end of the sixth century BCE [Figure 1.2];54 an ossuary; and a small (11.2 × 5.2 cm) ivory box lid dated to the early seventh century BCE [Figure 1.3].55 Sarcophagi are labeled with the word ‫ ארון‬in later inscriptional Hebrew as well.56 Ugaritic arn denotes an item listed alongside scales (mznm) in an inventory of equipment or personal effects.57 Aramaic ‫ ארון‬is attested earliest in the late sixth or early fifth century BCE, denoting some type of portable object; in later occurrences, it unambiguously denotes a chest, a coffin, and a sarcophagus.58 Akkadian arānu, attested in Standard Babylonian and Neo-Babylonian, denotes in various 48 Ibn Janah: Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 47; Ibn Parhon: Stern and Rapoport, Mahberet Ha‘Arukh, 6b; Kimhi: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 55; comment on 1 Sam 4:17, in Cohen, Samuel, 27; comment on 2 Chr 8:11, in Cohen, Chronicles, 199. For the phenomenon of gender-variable nouns, see Joüon, § 134m. 49  HALOT, “‫”ארֹון‬. ֲ 50  Avigad, “Excavations at Beth She‘arim 1955”, 245; idem, “Excavations at Beth She‘arim 1958”, 207, 209. 51  DJPA, “‫”ארֹון‬. ֲ 52  DNWSI, “’rn1”. 53 Montet, Byblos et l’Égypte, 228–236, pls. 128–138; KAI 1:1, 2; Gibson, Textbook, 3.4 (3:12– 16); COS 2.55 (2:181). 54  Bey and Reinach, nécropole royale, 86–109, pl. 44; KAI 13:2, 3, 5; Gibson, Textbook, 3.27 (3:101–105); COS 2.56 (2:181–182). 55  KAI 29:1; Gibson, Textbook, 3.20 (3:71–72); Mitchell, “Phoenician Inscribed Ivory Box”; BM, “120528”. 56  Avigad, “Excavations at Beth She‘arim 1955”, 241–242, 244, 245; idem, “Excavations at Beth She‘arim 1958”, 207, 209. 57  KTU 4.385:5; DULAT, “arn [I]”. 58  Porten and Yardeni, Textbook, A2.5:4 (1:18–19); CAL, “’rwn, ’rwn’” [cited 8 July 2014]; DJPA, “‫”ארֹון‬. ֲ

1.5 Name

21

instances a type of household item made of wood, a cashbox (note 2 Kgs 12:10, 11 ≈ 2 Chr 24:8, 10, 11i–ii), and a stone receptacle for a dead body.59 Arabic ’irān denotes a chest, a bier, and similar objects.60 The Amoraim R. Hiyya the Great (end of the second century CE) and R. Yannai (early third century CE) are recorded to have midrashically associated biblical ‫ ארון‬with ‫אֹורה‬, ָ “light”, and ‫א ַרר‬, ָ “curse” (y. Berakhot 4:5). The medieval Hebrew grammarians Menahem ibn Saruq (tenth century), Jonah ibn Janah, Abraham ibn Ezra, David Kimhi, and Solomon ibn Parhon all identified the root of ‫ ארון‬as ‫ארנ‬. The only other word they attributed to this root is the hapax legomenon ‫( א ֶֹרן‬Isa 44:14), which is indicated by its context to denote a kind of tree.61 This view continued to be advocated well into the modern period.62 Certain nineteenth-century lexicographers alternatively derived the word from the root ‫ארה‬, adducing the biblical noun ‫( ֻא ְרוָ ה‬1 Kgs 5:6; 2 Chr 32:28) / ‫( ֻא ְריָ ה‬2 Chr 9:25)  / ‫( ֲאוֵ ָרה‬2 Chr 32:28), which denotes a structure for holding horses or other domestic animals.63 Others made the association with the Semitic verb ‫א ָרה‬, ָ “collect, gather”, thus “contain” (Song 5:1; Ps 80:13; conjecturally Isa 28:4),64 and further noted that ‫ ארון‬would thus match the biblical words ‫ ָלׁשֹון‬and ‫ּגָ רֹון‬, which are extended with the suffix ān.65 This is the more compelling derivation, particularly in light of the fact that the aforementioned cognates all denote types of containers. Nevertheless, some still consider the etymology of the word to be unknown.66 The Hebrew form ‫ארֹון‬, ֲ which was demonstrated above to be the basic form of the word, fits the Semitic noun pattern *qitāl, which is relatively rare in West Semitic languages other than Arabic, and it corresponds to the Arabic cognate ’irān. In this manner, ‫ ֲארֹון‬resembles biblical words such as ‫חמֹור‬,ֲ cognate with Arabic ḥimār and Akkadian imērum/emārum. The form ‫ארֹון‬, ָ only attested when accompanied by the article, fits the more common noun pattern *qatāl and corresponds to the Akkadian cognate arānu.67 Notably, the Akkadian arānu is  CAD, “arānu”.  Kazimirski, Dictionnaire Arabe-Francais, 27: bier, litter; Hava, Al-Faraid, 7: litter, coffin; Steingass, Learner’s English-Arabic Dictionary, 25: hearse; BDB, “‫”ארֹון‬: ֲ chest; HALOT, “‫”ארֹון‬: ֲ bier. 61  Ibn Saruq: Filipowski, Hebraicae et Chaldaicae Lexicon, 34; Ibn Janah: Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 47; Ibn Ezra: short commentary on Exod 25:10, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70; Kimhi: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 55; Ibn Parhon: Stern and Rapoport, Mahberet Ha‘Arukh, 6b. 62  E. g., BDB, “‫;”ארֹון‬ ֲ Avinery, Heical Hammishqalim, 340. 63  Gesenius, Thesaurus, “‫;”ארֹון‬ ָ Fuerst, Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, “‫ ָא ָרה‬IV” (145), “‫”ארֹון‬ ָ (146). 64 See BDB, “[‫ ]ארה‬I”; Sevensma, Ark, 2; HALOT, “‫ ארה‬II”. 65  Bauer and Leander, Historische Grammatik, 1:469. 66  Zobel, “’ arôn”, 363; George et al., “Ark of the Covenant”, 745. 67 Bauer and Leander, Historische Grammatik, 1:469; Fox, Semitic Noun Patterns, 84, 184, 223–227. 59 60

22

1. The Ark: Introduction

feminine, whereas the Northwest Semitic cognates are masculine;68 this may help explain the gender variation of the Hebrew noun.

1.5.5 Translations The word ‫ארֹון‬, ֲ when referring to the ark, has always been rendered by translators with a word meaning “chest”, “coffer”, “box”, or the like. 1.5.5.1 Greek Translators, Peshitta The Septuagint consistently uses the word κιβωτός to denote the ark. It uses this word also for the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Jehoash (in 2 Kgs 12:10–11) and consistently for the word ‫ּת ָבה‬, ֵ which denotes Noah’s giant floating vessel made of wood (Gen 6–9) and Moses’s small floating vessel made of reeds (Exod 2:3, 5). This Greek word is used in ancient treasure lists to refer to a container “probably of a large size […] sometimes provided with a lid”, which in one instance contains coins;69 it is defined as “box, chest, coffer”.70 Similarly, the Peshitta consistently employs the word qbwt’, which it uses also to render the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Jehoash (in 2 Chr 24:8–11) as well as the ‫ ֵּת ָבה‬of Noah and of Moses. This word is defined as “a chest, coffer, coffin; a wooden cage for wild beasts” and is understood as being etymologically related to the Greek κιβωτός.71 Aquila (on Exod 25:10 [25:9]; 37:1 [38:1]; etc.) and Theodotion (on 1 Kgs 6:19 [6:18]) dub the ark γλωσσόκομον. This word is used also in the Septuagint to render the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Jehoash (in 2 Chr 24:8–11). It is construed as a form of γλωσσοκομεῖον and defined as “case, casket”, “money-box” and “coffin”.72 1.5.5.2 Targumim The Jewish Aramaic translations, including Targum Onqelos, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Targum Neofiti, the Fragmentary Targumim (on Num 10:35, 36; Deut 1:1; 27:12), the Genizah Targum (on Exod 12:2; Deut 1:1; 27:15), Targum Jonathan, Targum of Psalms, Targum of Chronicles, Targum of Job (on 14:11), Targum of Song of Songs (on 1:14; 3:4, 10), and Targum of Qoheleth (on 10:9), as well as the Samaritan Targum, all call the ark ‫ארון‬. This Aramaic word, which, as noted above (§ 1.5.4), is attested from around the turn of the fifth century BCE, is used by some of these works and others (Tg. Onq., Tg. Neof., and Sam. Tg. on  CAD, “arānu”; DNWSI, “’rn1”.  Andrianou, Furniture, 111. 70 LSJ, κιβωτός. 71  Payne Smith, qbwt’. 72  LSJ, γλωσσόκομον. An Aramaic form of this word, ‫ גלוסק(ו)מא‬or ‫גלוסקמה‬, is used in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, a reading of Targum Neofiti, and the Fragmentary Targumim to render the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Joseph (Gen 50:26). 68 69

1.5 Name

23

Gen 50:26; Neof. Marg. on Num 9:6; Tg. Ps.-J. on Exod 13:19; Tg. Ps. on 80:2) also for the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Joseph, and by some (Tg. Neb. on 2 Kgs 12:10, 11; Tg. Chr. on 2 Chr 24:8, 10, 11; Peshitta on 2 Kgs 12:10, 11) for the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Jehoash. The Aramaic word is defined as “ark, chest, coffin”.73 1.5.5.3 Vulgate The Vulgate consistently designates the ark as arca, a word that it uses also to render the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Jehoash (on 2 Chr 24:8, 10, 11) and the ‫ ֵּת ָבה‬of Noah. The primary definitions given to the word are “chest (esp. one for keeping money in), coffer, box”, and “coffin”.74 The Vulgate was followed by English sources with “ark”, from as early as the ninth century in the Vespasian Psalter (“erc”). Since then, “ark” has been used in almost all English translations of the Bible, including those not based on the Vulgate, and is adopted in the present study. The English word appears in nonbiblical contexts from the tenth century onward, with the general meaning of “chest, box, coffer, close basket or similar receptacle”,75 though its currency outside of biblical contexts seems to have declined. 1.5.5.4 Medieval Translations Menahem ibn Saruq stated that the meaning of ‫ ארון‬is similar to that of ‫ארגז‬.76 This is a rare biblical word denoting some kind of container (1 Sam 6:8, 11, 15); by the Middle Ages it seems to have come to refer generally to any solid container (e. g., Midrash Agadah [Buber] on Num 3:46; Leqah Tov on Qoh 2:8). David Kimhi maintained that the meaning of ‫ ארון‬is similar to that of ‫תיבה‬,77 a word whose biblical meanings were noted above (§ 1.5.5.1) and which is used in the talmudic literature to designate both a household container for clothes (m. Teharot 8:2) and a central, portable item in the Synagogue, presumably the container for biblical scrolls (e. g., m. Ta‘anit 2:1). Indeed, the talmudic sages themselves took for granted that the ark is a ‫( תיבה‬Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan 7:1–4; y. Sheqalim 6:1, Sotah 8:3; Song of Songs Rabbah on Song 1:11). Rashi (1040–1105), while also mentioning ibn Saruq’s ‫ארגז‬, described the ark with the Old French term ‫( אשקרין‬escrin).78 This word is cognate with Old English “scrin” and Middle English “schryne” (forerunners of Modern English “shrine”), which are used in some early works to denote the ark. All three forms derive from Latin scrinium, which means a container for books and papers.79  DJPA, “‫”ארֹון‬. ֲ “arca”. 75 OED, “ark, n.”, 1. 76 Filipowski, Hebraicae et Chaldaicae Lexicon, 34. 77  Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 55. 78  Comment on Exod 25:10, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70. 79  OED, “shrine, n.”, 1. 73

74 OLD,

24

1. The Ark: Introduction

All the surveyed translations of ‫ ֲארֹון‬are essentially correct in that they accord with the meanings of the word in its rare non-cultic biblical occurrences and with the meanings of its apparent Semitic cognates. The biblical authors knew of a single object with a colorful history that they considered the most important object in proper Israelite worship, and their names for it were “the Chest”, “Yhwh’s Chest”, “God’s Chest”, etc.

Fig. 1.1: Sarcophagus of Ahiram.

1.5 Name

Fig. 1.2: Sarcophagus of Tabnit.

25

26

Fig. 1.3: Ivory box lid, Ur.

1. The Ark: Introduction

2. The Ark: Overall Form The question of the ark’s overall form is so fundamental that it will be beneficial to present the data and reach a conclusion before discussing other interpretations.

2.1 Biblical Data The priestly account of the tabernacle contains a detailed, formal description of the ark and its carrying apparatus, along with the other elements of the tabernacle. Other, nonpriestly biblical texts provide scattered details regarding the ark’s form, and some information may be gleaned from its name. These details will be analyzed in depth in the following chapters, but they may be outlined here.

2.1.1 Priestly Account According to the priestly account, the ark is made of acacia wood (Exod 25:10a = 37:1a; see § 3.1), and its dimensions in cubits are 2.5 L. × 1.5 W. × 1.5 H. (25:10b = 37:1b; see § 3.2). It is overlaid with pure gold inside and out (25:11a = 37:2a; see § 3.3) and is provided with an encircling, golden ornament called a ‫( זֵ ר‬25:11b = 37:2b; see § 3.4). It has four golden rings (25:12aα = 37:3aα; see § 4.1) placed by its four ‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬, ְ which should be understood as feet (25:12aβ = 37:3aβ; see § 3.5), with two of these rings positioned on each of its two ‫( ְצ ָלעֹות‬25:12b = 37:3b; see § 3.6). It has gilded, acacia-wood ‫ּב ִּדים‬,ַ which are universally understood as carrying poles (25:13 = 37:4; 40:20aβ; see § 4.2). These ‫ ַּב ִּדים‬are housed in its rings and positioned along each of its ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬to enable its carriage (25:14 = 37:5); they are fixed permanently in the rings, thus never parting from it (25:15; see § 4.3). The ark contains an item or items called ‫ה ֵע ֻדת‬,ָ “the testimony”, given to Moses by Yhwh and placed therein by Moses (Exod 25:16, 21; 40:20; see § 1.4.1, § 5.1.3). The ark is surmounted by an object called a ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ made of pure gold, whose length and width are the same as those of the ark and which should be understood as a lid (25:17 = 37:6; 25:21a; 26:34; 40:20b; see § 7.5.1). The ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ has, on each of its two edges, a ‫ּכרּוב‬,ְ “cherub”, made of gold and of a piece with it (25:18–19 = 37:7–8; see § 11.1.1). These cherubim spread their wings over the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ facing each other and the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬25:20 = 37:9; see § 11.3.1).

28

2. The Ark: Overall Form

2.1.2 Other Biblical Texts There are several striking points of agreement regarding the form of the ark between, on the one hand, its systematic description in the priestly texts, and, on the other hand, the scattered details pertaining to the ark elsewhere. Most notably, we read in the Deuteronomic account that the ark is made of acacia wood (Deut 10:1, 3), and, in Kings, that it has ‫( ַּב ִּדים‬1 Kgs 8:7–8 = 2 Chr 5:8–9). In Chronicles, these ‫ ַּב ִּדים‬are also called ‫ מֹטֹות‬and are explicitly characterized as aids for carrying the ark (1 Chr 15:15). Furthermore, in Joshua and Chronicles, the ark is described as being carried by more than one person at a time (Josh 3:3, 6, 8, 13–15, 17; 4:9–10, 16, 18; 1 Chr 15:15), from which we can infer that it is light enough to be portable but heavy enough to require more than one person for transport; this is consistent with the size specified by the priestly author.1 The Deuteronomic account states that the ark contains two stone ‫לחֹת‬,ֻ “tablets”, inscribed with the words that Yhwh spoke to the Israelites (Deut 10:1–5; see § 5.1.1). In Kings, the contents of the ark are similarly described as two stone tablets representing the covenant of Yhwh with the Israelites (1 Kgs 8:9 ≈ 2 Chr 5:10) or simply as the covenant of Yhwh with the Israelites (1 Kgs 8:21 ≈ 2 Chr 6:11; see § 5.1.2). No nonpriestly passage speaks of a ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ but sculpted cherubim surmounting the ark in a different manner are described in Kings (1 Kgs 8:6–7 ≈ 2 Chr 5:7–8; see § 11.1.3), and an association of the ark with cherubim is suggested in Samuel (1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2 ≈ 1 Chr 13:6; see § 9.3.3.4). The priestly account and the Deuteronomic account differ in that the former portrays the ark as an exceedingly ornate object, overlaid with gold and topped by a solid gold lid with projecting solid gold statues, while the latter portrays it as a simple, wooden object. However, the priestly account does not deny that the body of the ark proper was made of mere wood, despite its claim that the lampstand, which it regards as less important than the ark, was made of solid, pure gold (Exod 25:31 = 37:17). Moreover, the Deuteronomic account does not actually deny that the ark was ornate, though it could easily have done so.

2.1.3 Name The information concerning the ark’s form that can be gleaned from its name, ‫ארֹון‬, ֲ is, while neither plentiful nor certain, entirely consistent both with its systematic priestly description and with the scattered details in other biblical passages. We have seen that this word elsewhere in the Bible, along with its cognates in 1 One passage in Samuel describes the ark not being carried by humans at all but transported on a cart drawn by two cows (1 Sam 6:7–15); however, the narrative makes clear that this is an extraordinary method of transportation resulting from the peculiar circumstances. Another passage in the book similarly has the ark mounted on a cart drawn by cattle (2 Sam 6:3–7 ≈ 1 Chr 13:7–10), but here, too, it is suggested that the usual method of its carriage is by human porters on foot (2 Sam 6:13 ≈ 1 Chr 15:15, 26).

2.2 Other Interpretations

29

other Semitic languages, always refers to some sort of solid container, and that it has universally been translated accordingly when referring to the ark. Certain other details pertaining to the overall form of objects denoted by the word ‫ ֲארֹון‬within the Bible can be squeezed from the texts. It will be recalled that the mummified corpse of Joseph was placed in an ‫( ֲארֹון‬Gen 50:26). We know that in Egypt mummies were placed in containers made of wood, metal, or pottery, conventionally known as “coffins”; of stone, called “sarcophagi”; and of plastered linen, dubbed “cartonnages”. Coffins could be rectangular or anthropoid in shape.2 The narrator in Kings who describes the ‫ ֲארֹון‬for depositing silver reveals in passing that it had a ‫ּד ֶלת‬,ֶ “door”, and that an aperture could be made in this element (2 Kgs 12:10). Making an aperture in stone or metal would be pointlessly difficult, and an aperture in pottery could not easily be made aesthetically. It is therefore most natural to assume that the writer had in view that the ‫ּד ֶלת‬,ֶ and presumably the entire object, was made of wood. Moreover, while the writer does not state this explicitly, it is clearly his intent to convey that the silver was inserted into the ‫ ֲארֹון‬through the aperture, which indicates that the aperture was located on the top of the ‫ארֹון‬. ֲ Thus, the ‫ ֶּד ֶלת‬is probably a hinged lid. As for the writer of the parallel account in Chronicles, he assumes that this ‫ ֲארֹון‬could be carried by people (2 Chr 24:11).

2.1.4 Conclusion: Chest If we combine the characteristics of the sacred ark that pertain to its form and that are agreed upon by more than one biblical source, the following picture emerges. The ark is a solid container (P, D, Kings, its name) for a sacred object or objects (P, D, Kings). It is made of wood (P, D, possibly its name), specifically acacia wood (P, D). It is small and light enough to be normally carried by people but big and heavy enough to require more than one porter at a time (P, Joshua, Chronicles, possibly its name). For this purpose, it has carrying poles (P, Kings, Chronicles). In short, the ark is a large, wooden chest or coffer,3 designed to be transported by people.

2.2 Other Interpretations Consistent with the data presented above, the ark’s overall form as a chest was universally taken for granted until the twentieth century. However, the past  Lapp and Niwínski, “Coffins, Sarcophagi and Cartonnages”.  The English word “coffer” has been used occasionally to designate the ark since the fourteenth century; see OED, “coffer, n.”, 2. 2 3

30

2. The Ark: Overall Form

eighty-five years have seen two scholarly attempts to characterize the ark as having an overall form other than that of a chest.

2.2.1 May and Garfinkel: Miniature Temple 2.2.1.1 May May, a member of the Chicago archaeological expedition to Megiddo, argued in 1936 that the biblical ark was, in its form, not a chest but a miniature temple, and as such was analogous to the pottery miniature temples excavated by his team at the Iron Age temple in stratum IV of Megiddo [Figures 2.1a–b],4 which, he recognized, were “models of actual buildings or conventionalized representations of such buildings”.5 He maintained, following Arnold, that there were many sacred arks in ancient Israel, with at least one at each important sanctuary. He did not reject the priestly and Deuteronomic statements that the ark was made of wood rather than pottery, or the priestly claim that, unlike these models, the ark was overlaid with gold and had a ‫( זֵ ר‬which he understood as a molding) around it. Rather, he suggested that arks fitting this description existed alongside equivalent pottery objects, but the former would not be discoverable by archaeologists, because their wood would have perished due to climatic conditions, and those of them that were overlaid with gold would have been destroyed for their valuable metal. May raised several arguments in favor of this identification. First, the ark, according to both the priestly account and Kings, was adorned or associated with cherubim. This feature would be understandable, he argued, if the ark were a model temple, because, according to the biblical description, cherubim decorated Solomon’s Temple (1 Kgs 6:29–35). Second, the biblical divine epithet ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻרע‬ ‫בים‬,ִ which, following Arnold, he argued means “the occupant of the cherubim” or “the inhabitant of the cherubim” (see § 9.3.2.4), is natural in a metonymic sense if the ark, which is adorned with cherubim, is a miniature temple and thus a dwelling-place of Yhwh. Third, the ark signified the presence of the deity (1 Sam 4:7, 22; 2 Sam 6:21), implying, May believed, that he dwelled within it. Fourth, the ark was “called by the name of” Yhwh (2 Sam 6:2); this is an idiom used in the Bible for the temple (1 Kgs 8:43, etc.), suggesting an equivalence between the ark and the temple. Finally, May adduced the later Jewish institution of the “Torah ark”: Fortunately, we do not have to depend entirely on the conscious memory of pre-Exilic Israel for the picture of the early ark. Institutions of an earlier period may persist even though the people of the later period are not conscious of a definite relation between their own institutions and those which have existed before. […] We cannot but believe that the coffers  May, Material Remains, 6–8; OI, “A32273”.  May, “Ark”. His view is mentioned briefly by Seow (“Ark of the Covenant”, 388).

4 5

2.2 Other Interpretations

31

or arks used by the Jews of the later period to hold the sacred rolls of the Torah or law are a development of the arks of the earlier period. […] It would be surprising if these arks did not preserve something of the form as well as of the function of the pre-Exilic arks.6

May argued that these Torah arks took the form of miniature buildings, “and we cannot but compare them with that class of objects represented by the model shrines illustrated in this article”. His argument was thus that, since the early ark developed into the Torah ark, and since the Torah ark takes the form of a miniature building, which is comparable to the model shrines of Megiddo, the early ark must have shared the form of the Megiddo models. 2.2.1.2 Garfinkel The identification of the ark with miniature temples from the land of Israel has been revived in recent years by Garfinkel, the excavator of Khirbet Qeiyafa.7 Garfinkel’s team discovered three temple models at the site: a simple pottery model [Figure 2.2a], an adorned pottery model [Figure 2.2b], and a carved-stone model [Figure 2.2c]. Garfinkel proposes that the stone model is an “ark of God”, i. e., that the biblical term refers to objects that were similar to the model. He characterizes this model as “a closed box in which a divine symbol was situated” and draws several parallels between it and the ark. First, he states that the model was “suitable for carrying from place to place” because it is stable yet has side holes which could have been used to affix it to a carrier, just as many biblical traditions agree that the ark was portable. He further argues that arks, because they were portable, could not have been overly large and heavy; yet, because they were used in public contexts, could not have been very small, and would have to be unique and conspicuous. The stone model, at 35 cm high, unusually shaped and displaying traces of red paint, shares these qualities, in his view. Finally, Garfinkel asserts that the biblical arks are most frequently mentioned in late-eleventh-century and early-tenth-century settings, chronologically matching the model. Garfinkel acknowledges some of the elements of the priestly description of the ark that differ from the formal characteristics of the stone model, but he does not address the discrepancies other than by suggesting that there was more than one ark in ancient Israel and that the stone model is merely “an […] instance of the phenomenon designated ‘the Ark of God’ in the Bible”. He does not state whether he believes that the ark or arks referred to in other biblical narratives, including 1 Sam 4–7 (which is set in the lowland region of Khirbet Qeiyafa), were separate objects from the ark described in the priestly texts, and, if so, whether they would have been more similar in form to the stone model.  May, “Ark”, 225.  Garfinkel, Ganor, and Hasel, Footsteps, 150–163. May is not cited in this work. See also Shtull-Trauring, “Archaeological find”; Maeir, “Yossi Garfinkel”; Garfinkel and Mumcuoglu, Solomon’s Temple and Palace, 106, 117, 126. 6 7

32

2. The Ark: Overall Form

2.2.2 Critique of May and Garfinkel 2.2.2.1 General It is obvious at first glance that the ark, as described in the priestly texts and as reflected in other biblical traditions, has virtually nothing in common with miniature temples. The ark is singular; miniature temples are cheap and common. The ark is made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold; miniature temples are made of pottery or stone. The ark is designed as a container, oblong and with a solid lid at its top; miniature temples are designed as display cases and imitations of buildings, upright and open at the front. The ark has an encircling golden ‫ זֵ ר‬and four feet; miniature temples have no characteristic encircling feature or feet. The ark is designed to be transported and is equipped with a sophisticated carrying apparatus; miniature temples do not possess such an apparatus. One could not defend the characterization of the ark as a miniature temple by dismissing the priestly account of the object as inauthentic, because many of the characteristics of the ark just listed are independent of that account. That the ark is made of acacia wood is stated in the Deuteronomic account as well; that it has carrying poles is mentioned in Kings, and that it is designed for portability is suggested in many passages. The fact that it is a container and not a miniature structure is evident from its mention in Kings as well as from its very name. 2.2.2.2 May May’s attempts to find hints in the Bible that the ark is really a kind of temple are unsuccessful. That both the ark and Solomon’s temple are said to be decorated with cherubim is of no significance in this regard, because both the biblical text and the archaeological data suggest that many objects can be decorated with cherubim, a fact that May acknowledged but with which he did not contend. Regarding the shared idiom “called by the name of Yhwh”, May admitted that it is applied in the Bible to several different entities, and he gave no justification for selecting two of these entities, the ark and the temple, and equating them with one another. May’s attempts to find indications that Yhwh was thought to dwell inside the ark are similarly unconvincing. Neither the phrase ‫( י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬regardless of how it is interpreted; see § 9.3) nor the verses adduced by May showing that the ark signified the presence of the Deity support a view that Yhwh was inside the ark against other possibilities, such as the view, explicit in the priestly texts, that Yhwh was present upon or above the ark (Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89; see § 6.3). But even if it were granted that Yhwh dwelled inside the ark, this would not constitute evidence that the ark was a model temple, as there are other types of objects, aside from a model temple, in which a deity can dwell, such as a coffin (see § 6.2.6).

2.2 Other Interpretations

33

As for the postbiblical Torah arks, May gave no justification for his characterization of these objects as “miniature buildings”. Even if the validity of this characterization were granted, there would still be no basis for drawing an equivalence between them and the model shrines, which bear no special resemblances to the Torah arks and which are glaringly different from them in size, material, and other properties. 2.2.2.3 Garfinkel The stone model from Qeiyafa, being made of a heavy material, being especially tall and narrow, and having no evident mechanism for grasping, would be especially ill-suited for carriage of any kind. The object’s thick bottom and wide back would give it stability at rest but would be useless on the move. It is also doubtful whether the two holes in the object’s back vertical wall could be used to affix such a heavy object to a carrier, as Garfinkel suggests in his comparison of the object to the ark. This is underlined by the fact that Garfinkel himself, in his formal description of the object, offers three different explanations for the holes, none of which involve a carrier. That the stone is 35 cm high and is painted is hardly an argument for identifying it with the ark. The priestly texts claim the ark to be twice that height, and no text states or implies in any way that it is painted. That the paint and “unusual shape” make the stone model “conspicuous” is insignificant, since conspicuity is never said to be an essential characteristic of the ark. In any case, countless other objects would have fulfilled these criteria for conspicuity. The dating of the object to the late-eleventh or early-tenth century is equally insignificant, since temple models from a wide range of dates are extant,8 and this date is merely one, arbitrarily selected instance from that range.

2.2.3 Morgenstern: Tent-Shrine The appearance in 1910 of a study by Musil describing abu ẓhûr al-markab, a sacred, camel-borne litter or “tent-shrine” used by the Ruwala bedouin,9 was followed by several scholarly attempts to compare sacred biblical objects with it and similar structures. The biblical objects adduced for this purpose included the tent of meeting10 and the cherubim of the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬see § 7.4.2.4,  8 Kletter, Ziffer, and Zwickel, Yavneh, 25–45. For overviews of ancient Near Eastern miniature temples, see Bretschneider, Architekturmodelle; Muller, maquettes architecturales; idem, Maquettes antiques.  9  Die Kultur 11 (1910); excerpted in Hartmann, “Zelt und Lade”, 220–221. On the Ruwala bedouin, see Lancaster, “Ruwala”. 10  Hartmann, ibid.; Cross, “Tabernacle”, 45–68; Irwin, “Sanctuaire”, 161–184; de Vaux, Bible, 138–139. This comparison was dismissed by Haran, “‘Uṭfāh”, 215–221. For a more cautious comparison, see Homan, To Your Tents, 89–93.

34

2. The Ark: Overall Form

§ 12.1.3),11 but the ark was especially singled out.12 While most of the scholars who made this comparison limited it to the functions or societal roles of the objects involved, Morgenstern dedicated an entire book to the thesis that the actual form of the ark was that of a tent-shrine.13 He argued that the ark is primarily identifiable with, and was the historical forerunner of, various camel-borne structures of this type used in the Arab world in different periods. These include, first and foremost, the qubbāh or ḳubbe, a pre-Islamic portable tent of red leather, used for carrying betyls or sacred stones; second, the maḥmal, a richly decorated litter used in pilgrimages, consisting of a wooden frame with a pyramidal top, and containing one or two copies of the Koran or another holy book, attested in writing since the end of the seventeenth century and reputed to originate in the thirteenth century [Figure 2.3];14 third, the ‘uṭfāh or ‘oṭfe, a decorated litter used in battle, attested since the first half of the nineteenth century [Figure 2.4]; and fourth, the aforementioned abu ẓhûr al-markab [Figure 2.5], which Morgenstern saw as an atypical example of the ‘uṭfāh. He also maintained that early representations of the qubbāh can be seen on artifacts from the Roman period, such as a terra-cotta sculpture from an unspecified location in Syria [Figure 2.6]15 and a bas-relief from Palmyra [Figure 2.7].16 Morgenstern based his case primarily on what he saw as similarities between the ark and the qubbāh in function and disposition. First, he believed (based on 1 Sam 6 and Num 10:33), the ark had control over the direction and course of its own movement and could thereby guide its followers in journeys; by implication at least, the deities within the qubbāh too, by driving the camel bearing them, determined the proper course in migrations of the tribe holding the object. Second, the ark participated in decisive battles (Num 10:35–36; 1 Sam 4; 2 Sam 11:11), just as the qubbāh was carried into the thick of critical battles in order to motivate the warriors. Third, the ark abode in a sanctuary in immediate proximity to the dwelling place of a leader (Eli: 1 Sam 3:2–5; David: 2 Sam 6); the pre-Islamic Arab 11  Torczyner, Bundeslade, 47–51; Tur-Sinai (idem), Language and the Book, 3:73–77; idem, “Ark (Ark of God)”. 12  A comparison of the ark with the markab, uṭfāh, and maḥmal (see below) had already been made by Schwally (Semitische Kriegsaltertümer, 11) and dismissed by Sevensma (Ark, 114). The Persian historian al-Tabari (839–923) reported that the seventh-century revolutionary alMukhtar had expressly compared the chair of Ali, which was to be transported on a mule and bring victory in battle, with the ark of the Israelites; see Fishbein, Victory, 69–73, and Schwally, ibid. For the comparison since Musil, see Lammens, “ culte des bétyles”, 125, 159; Morgenstern, “Book of the Covenant”; idem, Ark; May, “Ark”, 227–231; idem, “Review”, 279–280; Albright, From the Stone Age, 203 and n. 92; Staubli Image der Nomaden, 222–229; Seow, “Ark of the Covenant”, 388; Keel, Geschichte Jerusalems, 1:215–216; George et al., “Ark of the Covenant”, 749–750. This comparison, too, was dismissed by Haran (“‘Uṭfāh”, 219–220). 13 Morgenstern, Ark. In “Book of the Covenant” he did not yet argue that the ark had the form of a tent-shrine. 14  Buhl and Jomier, “Maḥmal”. See also BM, “Egypt and the Mahmal”. 15  Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, “IN 2809”. 16  Seyrig, “Antiquités Syriennes”, 159–165, pl. 19.

2.2 Other Interpretations

35

tribal chieftain dwelled near the qubbāh as well. Fourth, he claimed (based on 1 Sam 2:22; cf. Exod 38:8), the ark had female attendants; in much the same way, the qubbāh had two female attendants in processions and, like the later ‘uṭfāh, was accompanied in battle by young women who exposed themselves in order to motivate the male fighters. Finally, Morgenstern, like May, believed that the ark housed the Deity (1 Sam 4:6–9) by containing one or two betyls or sacred stones representing him (see § 5.3.4); the qubbāh also usually contained two betyls or sacred stones representing deities. Morgenstern was aware that the ark is characterized by its name and by the detailed priestly description of it as a box-like object rather than a tent-like structure. Adducing the story of the ark’s arrival in Beth-Shemesh (1 Sam 6), he dismissed the priestly description and claimed that the ark could not have been as described in Exod 25:10–22 and 37:1–9, where it has a golden lid (the ‫)ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ because then “the people of Beth Shemesh would not have found it such a simple, easy and natural thing to raise the heavy lid and open the ark to see what it might contain”. As for the ark’s name, he maintained that the ark of which the Bible speaks was one of a class of similar objects known as “ephod”, and that ‫ הארון‬was its proper name, probably because there was something distinctive in its peculiar shape or appearance which suggested this name, and thus distinguished it fittingly from other tent-shrines of a somewhat different shape or appearance, yet of the same general class of clan or tribal cult-objects.17

Morgenstern also advanced three positive arguments for the ark having been a tent-like structure. First, he noted that the ark is represented as a small tent in the painting depicting its departure from the Temple of Dagon (1 Sam 6) on the wall of the third-century CE synagogue at Dura-Europos [Figure 2.8a / Plate 2a].18 The artist, he argued, must have relied on an ancient tradition which, though it left no trace in the Hebrew Bible, survived in the periphery of Jewish life. Next, Morgenstern asserted that the terms describing the transportation of the ark and the tent-like qubbāh are equivalent: ‫ נָ ָׂשא‬for the ark, and the Arabic ḥamala (from which the word maḥmal is derived) for the qubbāh. His final argument returned to the narrative of the ark’s departure from Philistia (1 Sam 6), which features the term ‫( ַא ְרּגַ ז‬vv. 8, 11, 15; see § 1.5.5.4). He maintained that this word is to be identified with the Arabic rijāzat, one of the meanings of which is an object suspended from a howdah (a canopied litter carried by a camel) for balance or ornamentation. His argument seems to be that the ‫ ַא ְרּגַ ז‬is such an object, and, since it appears in association with the ark, the ark must be the howdah from which it is suspended.

 Morgenstern, Ark, 113.  See Kraeling et al., Synagogue, 99–105, pl. 56.

17 18

36

2. The Ark: Overall Form

2.2.4 Critique of Morgenstern Most of the purported similarities in function and disposition between the ark and the qubbāh dissolve under scrutiny. In some cases, the characteristics attributed to the ark are inaccurate. First, the ark does not have “female attendants” in the biblical narratives. The verses that supposedly indicate as much do not refer to the ark but to the tent of meeting; and even regarding the tent of meeting they say only that there was a custom of women assembling or serving at its entrance. They give no indication that the activity of the women was anything like that of the women associated with the qubbāh and ‘uṭfāh.19 Second, according to no biblical source does the ark contain betyls or sacred stones representing a deity. In the Deuteronomic account and in Kings, the contents of the ark are defined as “stone tablets” (‫ ֻ;לחֹת ֲא ָבנִ ים‬see § 5.1.1), but these are not the same as stones (‫)א ָבנִ ים‬ ֲ or betyls (‫)מ ֵּצבֹות‬. ַ A tablet (‫)לּוח‬ ַ is a flat object specifically intended to be written upon (Isa 30:8; Jer 17:1; Hab 2:2; Prov 3:3; 7:3). And nowhere in the Bible is there the slightest hint that the contents of the ark were thought to “represent” a deity. While Num 10:33 does seem to indicate that the ark directed the Israelites in their migrations through the wilderness (though this is only one of several competing traditions; see Exod 13:17–22; 14:19a, b; 40:36–38; Num 9:15–23; 10:11– 28, 29–32; Deut 1:33; Ezek 20:6), this capacity cannot justifiably be attributed to the qubbāh. Morgenstern based his case in this matter on a single instance recorded by Lammens: “The Banoū Yād possessed a camel endowed with supernatural powers. In times of public calamity the entire tribe would abandon itself blindly to its guidance.”20 However, there is no indication that this instance involved a qubbāh in any way, and Lammens mentioned it merely to establish that the camel was sacred among Arabs. The remaining putative parallels, namely that both objects were brought into battle and that both were normally located near the chief’s residence, indeed constitute similarities, but they are rather generic and seem to be natural consequences of the fact that both were sacred objects. A more substantive comparison is not justified by the evidence. The nonspecific nature of these characteristics is illustrated by the aforementioned fact that other objects in the Hebrew Bible, such as the tent of meeting and the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ have been compared by scholars to the qubbāh as well.21 19  For recent studies of these verses, see Greenstein, “Recovering”; Everhart, “Serving Women”; Ackerman, “Mirrors”. Everhart cites Morgenstern’s view approvingly but does not present new arguments in its favor. 20  Lammens, “culte des bétyles”, 117–118; translation from Morgenstern, Ark, 63 n. 91. 21  Indeed, Morgenstern himself compared the tent of meeting as well as the ephods at Dan, Ophra, and Nob to the qubbāh, after arguing that all these objects were of the same nature as the ark.

2.2 Other Interpretations

37

As for the priestly description of the ark as a box, Morgenstern’s dismissal of it rests on the claim that the Beth-Shemesh narrative indicates that it was a “simple, easy and natural” thing to open the ark. However, the Beth-Shemesh narrative in no way indicates this, and, indeed, there is no clear-cut statement that the ark was opened during the episode at all. Moreover, the priestly description implies that the lid could be placed on the ark without noteworthy difficulty, possibly by a single person (Exod 25:21; 40:20). Thus, even if the Beth-Shemesh story were to be taken as indicating that the lid could be removed with ease through the joint effort of all the people in a town, this would hardly contradict the conception of the ark in the priestly account. Morgenstern’s explanation for the ark’s name, ‫ה ָארֹון‬,ָ namely that it was not a box or chest at all but was merely somewhat similar to a box relative to other members of its class of objects, ephods, is an entirely groundless conjecture put forth solely to solve the problem posed to his theory. Moreover, the identification of the ark as one instance of an ephod creates problems of its own, as there is no evidence that ephods are tent-like objects either. On the contrary, they seem to be made of metal (Judg 8:24–27) and carried by a person rather than on camelback (1 Sam 14:3). Morgenstern failed to deal with these issues convincingly. Finally, his theory fails to contend with the fact that ‫ ָה ָארֹון‬is not merely a proper name: both the priestly and Deuteronomic accounts of its origin, by omitting the definite article in their first uses of the word ‫( ֲארֹון‬Exod 25:10; Deut 10:1, 3, 5), state clearly that the ark was not merely called ‫ ָה ָארֹון‬but was an ‫ארֹון‬. ֲ The positive arguments adduced by Morgenstern in support of the theory that the ark was a tent-like structure are just as flawed. The ark is not, in fact, depicted as a tent-like structure in the Dura-Europos synagogue paintings. In the representation of the ark’s capture by the Philistines, the ark is clearly a solid, gold colored object [Figure 2.8b / Plate 2b],22 consistent with its priestly description. In the representation of the ark’s departure from the temple of Dagon to which Morgenstern referred, the ark is essentially the same, but portrayed as housed inside a tent-like object and viewed through its opening. The ark and its housing are separate objects.23 The parallel drawn between the term ‫ נָ ָׂשא‬for the ark and ḥamala for the qubbāh is of no consequence whatsoever. Both verbs simply mean “carry”, and the fact that two objects are carried does not imply that they are similar in form. The verb ‫ נָ ָׂשא‬in the Hebrew Bible is used for a wide variety of objects,24 including the  See Kraeling et al., Synagogue, 95–99, pl. 54. the rippled, pink fabric of the housing, which matches the fabric in which the Philistine priests on the scene are clad, suggests that the housing was provided by the Philistines. Presumably, it is meant to be part of the cart (‫עגָ ָלה‬: ֲ 1 Sam 6:7, 8, 10, 11, 14) that the Philistines prepared for the ark in the biblical account. 24  As well as non-objects; see Schwartz, “Bearing of Sin”. For a detailed treatment of the verb ‫ נָ ָׂשא‬generally, see Zbili, “Collocational Properties”. 22

23 Moreover,

38

2. The Ark: Overall Form

table of the tabernacle, (Exod 25:27; 37:14, 15), to cite just one example. Indeed, the contexts in which ‫ נָ ָׂשא‬is used highlight another essential difference between the ark and the qubbāh. The qubbāh and its related objects are carried on the back of a camel; in fact, this is the only thing that all of these objects have in common. The ark, on the other hand, is never carried on the back of a camel, or of any other animal, but by people, or, on two occasions, in a cattle-drawn cart (1 Sam 6:7–15; 2 Sam 6:3–7 ≈ 1 Chr 13:7–10). As for the similarity between the ark’s purportedly suspended ‫( ַא ְרּגַ ז‬1 Sam 6) and the suspended rijāzat of the howdah, the use of the prepositional modifiers ‫( ִמ ִּצּדֹו‬v. 8) and ‫( ִאּתֹו‬v. 15) to define the relationship between the ‫ ַא ְרּגַ ז‬and the ark indicates that the ‫ ַא ְרּגַ ז‬is an object separate from it. If the ‫ ַא ְרּגַ ז‬were a part of, or an attachment to, the ark, as Morgenstern asserted, we would expect the pronominal suffix ‫ ‑ֹו‬or the modifier ‫ לֹו‬instead. There is also no justification for Morgenstern’s understanding of ‫ ַא ְרּגַ ז‬in the specific sense of an object suspended from a howdah. The Arabic word rijāzat can also denote a small variety of the howdah itself, and the similar Syriac word rgāz(ō)tā means a bag or plaited ַ basket generally.25 None of these meanings, if applied to the biblical word ‫א ְרּגַ ז‬, would support Morgenstern’s theory. To summarize the case against Morgenstern: First, there is no positive evidence whatsoever that the ark is a tent-like object. Second, there are no special similarities between the ark as described in the Hebrew Bible and the qubbāh or related objects. Third, the characterization of the ark as a tent-like structure is contradicted by the two pentateuchal accounts of its origin as well as by its very name, ‫ ָ;ה ָארֹון‬no biblical source counterweighs either of the origin accounts, and Morgenstern’s explanation of its name seems contrived.

2.3 Parallels The data analyzed above support the traditional identification of the ark as a wooden chest. The closest formal parallels to the ark are thus the thousands of extant wooden chests, boxes, and similar objects from the ancient Near East, along with depictions thereof. It is quite surprising that no systematic comparison of the ark to these objects has yet been undertaken, especially given that the ark has been compared by scholars, in terms of its form or function, to many different types of object from the ancient Near East. Such a comparison will be undertaken in the next chapters, but first a brief overview of the data is in order.26

 Arabic: Lane, 3:1036, noted by Morgenstern; Syriac: Payne Smith, 528.  For furniture in the ancient world generally, see Baker, Furniture; Simpson, “Furniture”; various articles in Herrmann, Furniture; Cholidis, Möbel. 25 26

2.3 Parallels

39

2.3.1 Egypt From Egypt, where the climate is conducive to the preservation of wood, a plethora of relevant items is available.27 Dozens of objects classified as chests and boxes are extant, dating from the predynastic period down to the late period.28 From the tomb of Tutankhamun alone, fifty objects are classified as boxes and chests.29 Also of interest, for what they can potentially teach about styles and techniques of Egyptian cabinet-making, are other objects more or less similar to chests; these include coffins,30 canopic chests, which are funerary equipment for containing internal organs,31 shabti boxes, which are small containers for anthropomorphic funerary figurines,32 and naoi, which are upright objects housing divine images.33 The distinction between all these types of objects is not always clear-cut.

2.3.2 Aegean The Aegean world also yields much useful data.34 From the Minoan-Mycenaean period, we have many terra-cotta larnakes (chest-shaped burial containers), which resemble Egyptian wooden chests in style.35 From the archaic period onward, numerous artistic representations of chests – on vases, on reliefs, and in the round – and literary references thereto are extant; these items continue to exhibit features known from the Egyptian chests.36 From the fourth-century Greek cultural sphere, wooden coffins in the form of chests have been found in Abusir (Busiris), Egypt, and in southern Russia.37

27  For furniture and woodworking in ancient Egypt generally, see Fischer, “Möbel”; Müller, “Holz und Holzverarbeitung”; Killen, Egyptian Woodworking and Furniture; idem, “Ancient Egyptian Carpentry”; idem, “Wood [Technology]”; idem, “Furniture”; idem, “Woodworking”; der Manuelian, “Furniture in Ancient Egypt”, esp. 1633. 28  Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II; Busch, Altägyptische Kastenmöbel. 29  Reeves, Complete Tutankhamun, 188–193. 30  Lapp and Niwínski, “Sarg”; Taylor, Egyptian Coffins; Lapp and Niwínski, “Coffins, Sarcophagi and Cartonnages”. 31  Martin, “Kanopenkasten”; Dodson et al., Canopic Equipment; Dodson, “Canopic Jars and Chests”; Shaw and Nicholson, PDAE, 76–78. 32  Spanel, “Funerary Figurines”. 33  Helck, “Kapellen”; Wildung, “Naos”; Müller, “Schrein”; Shaw and Nicholson, PDAE, 217, 303–304; and see above (§ 2.2.1). 34  For furniture in the Aegean generally, see Richter, Furniture ; Andrianou, Furniture. 35  For images and discussions of these objects, see Richter, ibid., 10–11, figs. 28–30; Vermeule, “Painted Mycenaean Larnakes”; Watrous, “Origin”. 36  Richter, Furniture, 72–77, figs. 383–406; Andrianou, Furniture, 63–81, 110–113. 37  Watzinger, Griechische Holzsarkophage, 77–78, figs. 408–410.

40

2. The Ark: Overall Form

2.3.3 Levant and Mesopotamia Unfortunately, very little that is relevant has survived from the Levant or Mesopotamia.38 The wooden artifacts found in the Bronze Age tombs of Jericho include an intact wooden toilet box with a sliding lid and several fragmented boxes of a similar nature.39 A small, Egyptian-style box of obsidian from the eighteenth century BCE was found in Byblos [Figure 3.13 / Plate 4b].40 A similarly shaped, presumably wooden box from Pella in Jordan, from the sixteenth/fifteenth century or earlier, can be reconstructed by its preserved ivory inlays.41 Ivory and bone inlays from various other sites in the southern Levant, in contexts ranging from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-thirteenth century, are extant but tell us little about the wooden boxes that they are supposed to have adorned.42 A small, square, open, ivory “box” from Megiddo, decorated with winged lions in relief,43 may actually be a socket for a piece of furniture.44 The Phoenician sphere yields only a few late Punic chests from North Africa.45 From Mesopotamia, we have a pottery box of Nabopolassar from the Shamash Temple in Sippar, dated to the early seventh century BCE. The box was found containing the “sun god tablet”, made of stone, along with a broken cover and a replacement cover for the tablet, both made of clay [Figure 5.2].46

2.3.4 Discussion While the extant material from the presumably immediate environment in which the Bible emerged, namely the land of Israel, is, unfortunately, relatively scant, the abundant Egyptian material constitutes a good proxy with which to reconstruct a picture of wooden chests in this region in antiquity. By the New Kingdom, 38  For western Asian furniture generally, see the works cited in n. 26. For Phoenician furniture, see further Gubel, Phoenician Furniture. For Mesopotamian furniture, see further Moorey, Ancient Mesopotamian Materials. 39 Kenyon, Excavations at Jericho, esp. 332, 339–340 fig. 133, pl. 15/5; 503, 510–512 figs. 222– 223, pl. 35/1. 40 Montet, “fouilles de Byblos”; idem, Byblos et l’Égypte, 157–159, pl. 78–79. 41 Potts, “Ivory-Decorated Box”; idem, “Bronze Age Ivory-Decorated Box”, 59–71. 42  Ben-Tor, “Decorated Jewellery Box” and references; idem, “Decorated Box”. Intriguingly, the fragments described in the last publication include a bone box lid carved with an image of a “Hathor fetish” or goddess head; the dimensions of the lid (13.5 × 6 cm) are comparable to those of the ivory lid discussed above (§ 1.5.4), which is inscribed with the label ’rn and dedicated to the goddess Ashtart. 43  Loud, Megiddo Ivories, cat. 1 (p. 13, pls. 1–3). 44  Baker, Furniture, 217. 45 Gubel, Phoenician Furniture, 271–272, citing Harden, Phoenicians, 131 and Benichou-Safar, tombes puniques, 253–255. 46  BM, “91004”. For other potentially relevant items from Mesopotamia and adjacent regions, see ibid., “118582”, “117012”, and “135856”; MMA, “55.142”; Baker, Furniture, 160–161; Moorey, Ancient Mesopotamian Materials, 54, 91, 114, 139, 161, 180.

2.3 Parallels

41

Egyptian furniture was highly prized throughout the ancient Near East,47 and the similarity of Aegean chests to their Egyptian counterparts has already been noted. Killen states that “[t]he close connections between Egypt and Western Asia make it probable that similar techniques [for making furniture] were employed in both areas”.48 Examination of the ancient Near Eastern artifacts and depictions that provide overall formal parallels to the ark reveals real-life parallels for almost every formal detail of the ark as well, both those agreed upon by separate biblical sources, such as its acacia wood construction and its carrying poles, and those claimed only in the detailed description in the priestly tabernacle pericopes. The functional aspects of the ark also find parallels. These will be discussed in the following chapters.

Fig. 2.1a: Pottery temple model, Megiddo.  Fischer, “Möbel”, 181; Killen, “Furniture”, 580.  Killen, “Carpentry”, 13.

47 48

42

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.1b: Pottery temple model (restored), Megiddo.

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.2a: Simple pottery temple model, Khirbet Qeiyafa.

43

44

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.2b: Adorned pottery temple model, Khirbet Qeiyafa.

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.2c: Stone temple model, Khirbet Qeiyafa.

45

46

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.3: Stripped maḥmal.

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.4: ‘Uṭfāh.

Fig. 2.5: Abu ẓhûr al-markab.

47

48

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.6: Terra-cotta sculpture, Syria.

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.7: Bas-relief, Temple of Bel, Palmyra.

49

50

2. The Ark: Overall Form

Fig. 2.8a: Dura-Europos Synagogue panel WB 4.

Fig. 2.8b: Dura-Europos Synagogue panel NB 1.

3. The Ark: Details of Form Aspects of the ark’s form are mentioned throughout the Bible, although only the priestly tabernacle account provides a deliberate, comprehensive description of the ark in all of its features. For the sake of convenience, the investigation of the details of the ark’s form here will proceed according to the order in which they are presented in the priestly description, with the evidence emerging from the nonpriestly texts adduced whenever appropriate. The present chapter will discuss the form of the ark itself; the following chapter will address the ark’s attached carrying apparatus.

3.1 Acacia Wood Construction 3.1.1 Biblical Data According to the priestly account, the ark is made of ‫( ֲע ֵצי ִׁש ִּטים‬Exod 25:10a = 37:1a), as are its carrying poles (25:13a = 37:4a). This term undoubtedly refers to wood from the acacia (Acacia) tree [Figure 3.1].1 This is the only type of wood mentioned for use in the tabernacle (25:3–8; 35:5–9, 22–28). It serves to manufacture the table (25:23 = 37:10) and its carrying poles (25:28 = 37:15), the frames (26:15 = 36:20) and their bolts (26:26 = 36:31), the posts for the curtain (26:32 = 36:36) and for the entrance screen (26:37), the bronze altar (27:1 = 38:1) and its carrying poles (27:6 = 38:6), and, finally, the golden altar (30:1 = 37:25) and its carrying poles (30:5 = 37:28).2 A separate tradition in the Deuteronomic account (Deut 10:1, 3) is in agreement that the ark is made of ‫ע ֵצי ִׁש ִּטים‬,ֲ though this account is entirely oblivious of the tabernacle.

1 The Hebrew ‫ׁש ִּטים‬ ִ is a loanword from Egyptian šnḏ.t: BDB; Löw, Flora der Juden, 2:377–391; HALOT; Zevit, “Timber”; Feliks, Trees, 236–242; Amar, Flora, 151–152; Kislev, “Identifying the Acacia Trees”; and references. 2 Regarding the only other wooden objects in the tabernacle, the posts for the courtyard and for the courtyard entrance screen, the type of wood is not explicitly mentioned. The only major tabernacle objects made of solid gold with no wood are the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 25:17 = 37:1) and the lampstand (Exod 25:31 = 37:17).

52

3. The Ark: Details of Form

3.1.2 Parallels Wood was the predominant material used in making Egyptian furniture.3 Of the fifty boxes and chests from the tomb of Tutankhamun, forty-one are made of this material.4 The type of wood used for these objects is usually unknown, but among ancient Egyptian furniture items whose type of wood has been identified, acacia is one of the most common types used, and several boxes are made of the timber,5 including two small “cylinder-boxes”.6 Other noteworthy items known to be made of acacia wood include a table from the Seventeenth or Eighteenth Dynasty [Figure 3.14] and coffins from the late period.7 It is possible that many other extant objects are made of acacia wood but have not been individually identified as such: the authors of a recent study on wood types in ancient Egypt state that many identifications of wood from Egyptian objects as cedar are almost certainly erroneous, and that acacia wood, which, like cedar wood, has a reddish hue, was widely used to make Egyptian furniture.8 Acacia wood was also used to make tables, stools/benches, a bed, and other objects in the Bronze Age Jericho tombs.9

3.1.3 Why Acacia? It is far from natural that the ark and the other tabernacle elements would be described as being made of acacia wood specifically. One would expect that the ark, in keeping with its lofty status, would be made of the highest quality wood. This is even truer of the tabernacle, which, with its enormous amounts of gold, silver, bronze, and other precious materials, is clearly meant to be an edifice of the greatest opulence. The biblical writers display a keen awareness of the relative values of woods. The quality wood par excellence is ‫( ֶא ֶרז‬Isa 9:9; Jer 22:14–15; Song 1:17; 8:9), namely Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani).10 Accordingly, Lebanon cedar is used so extensively in the temple of Solomon (1 Kgs 5:20; 1 Chr 22:4) – for the paneling and roof beams (1 Kgs 6:9, 10, 15, 16, 18; 7:3, 7), the courtyard (6:36; 7:12), and the inner altar (6:20) – that this edifice is actually called “a cedar palace” (2 Sam 7:7 = 1 Chr 17:6). The second temple is also built of Lebanon cedar (Ezra 3:7), as are the palaces of David (2 Sam 5:11 ≈ 1 Chr 14:1; 2 Sam 7:2 ≈ 1 Chr 17:1; 2 Chr 2:2) and Solomon (1 Kgs 7:2, 11). Another prized wood is  Fischer, “Möbel”.  Reeves, Complete Tutankhamun, 193.  5  Liphschitz, “Timber Identification”.  6  Busch, Altägyptische Kastenmöbel, 33, cats. VIII-H.2 (pp. 243–244, pl. 23a–c), VIII-Z. 4 (p. 251, pl. 38a–d).  7  Gale, Gasson, and Hepper, “Wood [Botany]”, 336.  8  Ibid., 335–336, 349.  9  Cartwright, “Bronze Age Wooden Tomb Furniture”. This fact is sufficient to invalidate Heinemann’s (“Lade”, 40) argument that the acacia-wood construction of the ark indicates an Egyptian origin. 10  HALOT, “‫;”א ֶרז‬ ֶ Feliks, Trees, 152–158; Amar, Flora, 83–84.  3  4

3.1 Acacia Wood Construction

53

‫ּברֹוׁש‬,ְ juniper (Juniperus),11 which is occasionally mentioned together with Lebanon cedar (Ezek 27:5; Song 1:17) and is correspondingly used in the temple of Solomon alongside it (1 Kgs 5:22; 2 Chr 2:7) – for the flooring (1 Kgs 6:15), doors (6:34), and, according to the Chronicler, paneling (2 Chr 3:5). Other types of wood are occasionally extolled, but acacia is never among them. In fact, acacia wood is never mentioned in the Bible outside the descriptions of the ark and the tabernacle. The acacia as a living tree, ‫ׁש ָּטה‬, ִ is mentioned once (Isa 41:19), and it occurs as an element in the toponyms ‫( ַה ִּׁש ִּטים‬Num 25:1; Josh 2:1; 3:1; Mic 6:5; see also Hos 5:2), ‫אָבל ַה ִשּׁ ִטּים‬ ֵ (Num 33:49), ‫( נַ ַחל ַה ִּׁש ִּטים‬Joel 4:18), and ‫ֵּבית ַה ִּׁש ָּטה‬ (Judg 7:22). The talmudic sages were troubled by the apparent inadequacy of acacia wood and made energetic attempts to account for its use in the construction of the ark and the tabernacle. One of their solutions was to assert that ‫ ִׁש ִּטים‬actually refers to a type of ‫א ֶרז‬, ֶ by exploiting the conjunction of the two terms in the aforementioned Isaianic verse: ‫( ֶא ֵּתן ַּב ִּמ ְד ָּבר ֶא ֶרז ִׁש ָּטה‬Leqah Tov on Exod 25:10; Tanhuma [Buber] Terumah 9; cf. b. Rosh HaShanah 23a = Bava Batra 80b; Song of Songs Rabbah on Song 3:9; Numbers Rabbah 12:4). Similarly, Philo had simply asserted that the tabernacle was made of cedar wood (On the Life of Moses 2.77, 90). Another suggestion was that the choice of ‫ ִׁש ִּטים‬wood anticipated the future sin of the Israelites at the location named ‫( ַה ִּׁש ִּטים‬Num 25) and was meant to expiate it in advance (Exodus Rabbah 50:3; Tanhuma [Buber] Wayaqhel 9; Leqah Tov on Exod 26:15). A punning variant of this idea is that the ‫ ִׁש ִּטים‬wood expiated the sin of the golden calf (Exod 32), which constituted a ‫שטות‬, folly (Tanhuma [Warsaw] Terumah 10). It seems that the author of the Septuagint was also troubled by this problem. Here, the term ‫ ֲע ֵצי ִׁש ִּטים‬is consistently rendered as ξύλα ἄσηπτα, “undecaying wood”. This peculiar translation is made possible – through midrashic logic – by the phrase ‫( ֲע ֵצי ִׁש ִּטים ע ְֹמ ִדים‬Exod 26:15 = 36:20), with ‫ ע ְֹמ ִדים‬construed to mean “enduring” or “durable” (see b. Yoma 72a, Sukkah 45b). It is unlikely that this choice of translation was spurred by uncertainty as to the genus of wood meant, as the Old Greek translators of the Prophets were confident enough to translate ‫( ִׁש ָּטה‬Isa 41:19) as πύξος, “boxwood”, and the toponym ‫( ַה ִּׁש ִּטים‬Joel 4:18; Mic 6:5) as ὁι σχοῖνοι, “the Rushes”; in any case, the translator of the Pentateuch could have transliterated the word if unsure of its meaning, as he was wont to do in these cases. The adjective ἄσηπτα is used by Theophrastus (Historia plantarum 4.2.8), a Greek writer who preceded the composition of the Septuagint, to describe the “black” species of acacia. It may be that the author of the Septuagint knew that ‫ ִׁש ִּטים‬refers to acacia and chose to emphasize a known positive quality of the wood rather than its genus, in order to avoid bringing the problem of acacia wood’s lowly status to the forefront of his readers’ minds.  HALOT, “‫;”ּברֹוש‬ ְ Feliks, Trees, 172–175; Amar, Flora, 159–161.

11

54

3. The Ark: Details of Form

The motive of plausibility is, perhaps, sufficient to explain why the priestly author stated that the tabernacle was constructed of acacia wood. The amount of wood involved, which includes forty-eight wooden frames (Exod 26:18, 20, 25 = 36:23, 25, 30), each of which is ten cubits high and one and a half cubits wide (26:17 = 36:21), is extremely large. The Israelites might not be expected to have brought so much wood with them from Egypt. At the same time, the setting for the construction of the tabernacle is the wilderness between Egypt and the land of Israel, where species such as Lebanon cedar are not found. The tree that does grow in this wilderness is acacia,12 which is thus the tree that could credibly be said to have been employed. The motive of design uniformity in the tabernacle is then sufficient to explain why each of the tabernacle’s various furnishings, including the ark, is said to be made of acacia wood. However, the Deuteronomic author, who never speaks of a tabernacle, had no such constraint. Presumably, he could have allowed the ark to be made of Lebanon cedar, or any other high-quality wood, as the amount required for making it would be minimal and could conceivably have been available to Moses. A simple explanation for both sources’ specification that the ark was made of acacia wood is that they were both aware of a strong, existing tradition stating as much. The aforementioned parallels demonstrate how such a tradition could come into being. Since acacia wood was commonly used to make furniture in the ancient world, it would be natural for the ark to be made of the material.

3.2 Dimensions 3.2.1 Biblical Data In the priestly account, the ark is described as being 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high (Exod 25:10b = 37:1b). No further comment is made about its overall shape. The tabernacle’s table (25:23 = 37:10), bronze altar (27:1 = 38:1), and golden altar (30:2 = 37:25) are treated the same way. When a writer specifies the dimensions of an object and neglects to provide any other information concerning its shape, we can and do assume that he means to convey the idea of a rectangular cuboid. (In the case of the table, of course, we imagine that five of the faces are open.) We therefore rightly imagine the ark as “box”-shaped. In its dimensions, the ark exhibits three noteworthy properties. First, like all of the measured objects in the tabernacle, its length, width, and height are all stated in terms of cubits.13 Second – and this is a consequence of the first property – the ark has simple proportions. Third, its width and height are equal. The last  Gale, Gasson, and Hepper, “Wood [Botany]”, 335.  The breast-piece is a ‫זֶ ֶרת‬, “span”, in length and width (Exod 28:16 = 39:9; cf. 1 Sam 17:4; Isa 40:12; Ezek 43:13). This unit equals half a cubit; see Propp, Exodus, 439. 12 13

3.2 Dimensions

55

property is not shared by any of the other tabernacle objects (though it is implicitly shared by the tabernacle itself 14). These dimensions seem not to include the ark’s various appurtenances, namely its encircling ornament (‫)זֵ ר‬, rings, carrying poles (‫)ּב ִּדים‬, ַ and lid (‫)ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ which are first mentioned (25:11–20; 37:2–9) after the dimensions are specified. But they do seem to include its feet (‫ּפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬: ַ 25:12 = 37:3),15 which are not treated as added elements at all but taken for granted as integral parts of the ark and only mentioned because they are needed to define the position of the rings (25:12 = 37:3), exactly like the table’s legs (‫רגְ ָליו‬:ַ 25:26 = 37:13), which are obviously included in the table’s dimensions.

3.2.2 Parallels Almost all known Egyptian boxes and chests share the overall shape of the priestly ark.16 To take a defined set, of the fifty such objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamun and listed by Reeves, forty-five are rectangular cuboids, three are cartouche-shaped, and two have other forms.17 Like the ark, Egyptian chests, when their lids and other appurtenances are discounted but their feet are counted, often possess dimensions based on the cubit, feature relatively simple proportions, and have equal height and width.18 However, their ratio of length to width and height, unlike that of the ark, may be based not on whole and half cubits but on the ratio of the square’s diagonal to its side (√2), approximated as 10/7, a close simple fraction. Two examples will suffice for illustration, the two largest chests from the tomb of Tutankhamun. The dimensions of the larger of these, a round-lidded chest [Figure 3.2], are specified by Carter, the excavator, as 90 L. × 63 W. × 77 H. in centimeters. The height of the lid is given as 13.7 cm, so without the lid the chest’s height is 63.3 cm.19 Thus, the object is exactly 2 “short cubits” long;20 its length is exactly 14  Homan, To Your Tents, 159–167. For other views regarding the tabernacle’s dimensions, see ibid., 167–185; Propp, Exodus, 502–506. 15  For the conclusion that ‫ ַּפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬denotes the ark’s feet, see below (§ 3.5). 16  See survey in Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II. 17 Reeves, Complete Tutankhamun, 193. 18  Admittedly, many Egpytian chests do not share these properties. On proportionality in Egyptian furniture, see de Bruyne, Vorm. 19  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 101; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 55, fig. 62, pl. 46. 20  The Egyptian short cubit equals 6 palms, 24 fingers, or 6/7 of a royal cubit. Its absolute value varies slightly but is about 45 cm. Two recent evaluations are 44.82 cm (Grandet, “ Weights and Measures”) and 44.9 cm (Shaw and Nicholson, PDAE, 195). The six royal cubit rods from the tomb of Tutankhamun itself, as measured by Carter (Malek, Tutankhamun, Objects 50dd, 50ee, 50ff), range in length from 52.4 to 52.8 cm, with a median of 52.6 cm. If these rods were precisely subdivided they would yield short cubits of 44.91 cm to 45.26 cm, with a median of 45.09 cm. The rods do have subdividing marks, but they are unequally spaced. The talmudic literature records a disagreement between R. Meir and R. Judah on the length of the cubits of the ark. The former, followed by R. Johanan and the school of R. Yannai, maintained that a cubit of six palms (a “medium cubit”) was meant, while the latter argued that a cubit of five palms was

56

3. The Ark: Details of Form

10/7 of its width, which is therefore exactly 7/5 cubits; and its height is equal, within a few millimeters, to its width, giving the object a square cross-section whose diagonal is approximated by the object’s length. The dimensions of the second object, a gable-lidded chest equipped with carrying poles [Figure 3.3a / Plate 3a], are specified as 83 L. × 60.5 W. × 63.5 H. in centimeters.21 Its dimensions without its lid and protruding cornice are not provided, but examination of Carter’s sketches [Figure 3.3b–c] reveals that these are about 75 L. × 52.5 W. × 52.5 H. Thus, the width and height are again the same, each 52.5 cm, or 1 royal cubit.22 The length is, again, 10/7 of the width and height, or an approximation of the diagonal of the cross-section.23 Both of these objects are smaller than the ark as described in the priestly account. The smaller size of the two objects is not surprising, given that they were found in a context where a great many containers served for storage in the same place. Depictions of portable chests which are about as large as or larger than the priestly ark, as seen by the relationship between their visible dimensions and those of the people carrying them, can be found on Egyptian wall reliefs from the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, such as one from the mastaba of Meryrenufer at Giza [Figure 3.4], a second from the mastaba of Idu at Saqqara [Figure 3.5], and others [Figures 4.3–4.5].24 The use of large chests continued into the first millennium. A Greek terra-cotta pinax (a kind of tablet) from Locri dated to about 470–460 BCE depicts in profile a woman placing a folded textile in a household chest [Figure 3.6]. Its length is not visible, but its height and width are similar to those of the ark. The Greek legend of Danaë involves the premise that a human mother and her infant could be hidden in a chest, and several fifth-century BCE works depicting this episode show chests of comparable size [Figure 3.7].25

meant (Baraita De Melekhet Hamishkan 6:1–17; y. Shabbat 1:1, Sukkah 1:1, Sotah 8:3, Sheqalim 6:1; b. Sukkah 5b, Bava Batra 14a; Numbers Rabbah on Num 4:1). 21  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 32; Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.); Krauss et al., Tutanchamun, 116–117; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 51–53, figs. 60–61, pl. 43. 22 The Egyptian royal cubit equals 7 palms or 28 fingers. Its absolute value is about 52.5 cm, gauged by Grandet (“Weights and Measures”) as 52.3 cm and by Shaw and Nicholson (PDAE, 195) as 52.4 cm. See above, n. 20. 23 It bears noting that the lids of these two chests are based on the concept of the circumscribing circle. Thus, the round lid of the first chest approximates a section of an imaginary circle circumscribing the chest’s cross-section. The gabled lid of the second chest has its apex on the circumference of the circle circumscribing the chest’s cross-section. 24  For additional examples, see Falk, “Ritual Processional Furniture”, 495, 504, 505, 516, 517, 518, 520, 521, 522, 525, 527, 528, 529, 534. 25  See Richter, Furniture, 72–74, figs. 384–386; MMA, “17.230.37a, b”; MFA, “03.792”, “13.200”.

3.3 Gold Overlay

57

3.3 Gold Overlay 3.3.1 Biblical Data The ark in the priestly account is coated with ‫זָ ָהב ָטהֹור‬, “pure gold”, ‫ּומחּוץ‬ ִ ‫מ ַּביִת‬, ִ “inside and out” (Exod 25:11a= 37:2a). Similarly, the table is coated with pure gold (25:23 = 37:11), and the incense altar has pure gold laid over “its roof, its walls round about, and its horns” (30:3 = 37:26).26 The carrying poles of the ark are coated with ‫זָ ָהב‬, ordinary gold (25:13 = 37:4), as are those of the table (25:28 = 37:15) and incense altar (30:5 = 37:28). The frames of the tabernacle and their bolts are coated with ordinary gold (26:29 = 36:34), as are the posts for the curtain (26:32 = 36:36) and for the tabernacle’s entrance screen (26:37; cf. 36:38).27

3.3.2 Parallels Coating with gold is a practice well known in ancient Egypt, where “[g]ilding was a […] popular means of finishing or decorating timber”.28 Moreover, specifically pure gold was preferred for gilding, because it could be made into thin leaves more easily than could ordinary gold.29 Known box-like objects coated with gold inside and out include the four sarcophagus shrines [Figure 3.8]30 and the small golden naos [Figure 3.9 / Plate 3b]31 from the tomb of Tutankhamun.32 26  Within the priestly tabernacle account, the following additional items are said to be made of ‫זָ ָהב ָטהֹור‬: the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 25:17 = 37:6); the ancillary items of the table (Exod 25:29 = 37:16); the lampstand (25:31 = 37:17; 25:36 = 37:22) and its ancillary items (25:38, 39 = 37:23, 24); and various elements of Aaron’s garments, including the chains of the shoulder settings (28:14) and of the breast-piece (28:22 = 39:15), the bells on the hem of the robe (39:25), and the headpiece (28:36 = 39:30). Outside of the priestly tabernacle account, the term ‫ זָ ָהב ָטהֹור‬appears only three times, all in Chronicles. It specifies the material: of the tables’ [sic] ancillary items in the itemization of the treasures prepared by David for the temple in Jerusalem (1 Chr 28:17), perhaps as an interpretation of ‫ זָ ָהב ָסגּור‬in 1 Kgs 7:50 and/or influenced by Exod 25:29 = 37:16; of Solomon’s interior coating for the temple porch (2 Chr 3:4), perhaps as an interpretation of ‫זָ ָהב‬ ‫ ָסגּור‬in 1 Kgs 6:21; and of the coating for Solomon’s ivory throne (2 Chr 9:17), evidently as an interpretation of ‫מּופז‬ ָ ‫ זָ ָהב‬in the parallel 1 Kgs 10:18. 27 The bronze altar, as its name implies, is overlaid with bronze (27:2 = 38:2), as are its poles (27:6 = 38:6). In sum, all the acacia wood in the tabernacle is covered with expensive metal. Intriguingly, the only wooden tabernacle objects not overlaid, the posts of the courtyard and its entrance screen, are precisely those objects whose wood is not explicitly identified as acacia. 28  Killen, “Wood [Technology]”, 367. 29  Ogden, “Metals”, 164. 30  Malek, Tutankhamun, Objects 207, 237, 238, 239. 31 Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 108; Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 25 (n.p.); Krauss et al., Tutanchamun, 112–115. 32  The widespread use of gold leaf supports the talmudic view attributed to R. Simeon b. Lakish (third century CE) that the ark’s gold coating was just that, against the view attributed to R. Hanina that the coating consisted of solid gold boxes enclosing and enclosed by the ark (Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan 7:1; y. Sheqalim 6:1, Sotah 8:3; Song of Songs Rabbah on Song 1:11).

58

3. The Ark: Details of Form

3.4 zēr 3.4.1 Biblical Data In the priestly tabernacle account, the ark is adorned with a ‫( זֵ ר‬Exod 25:11b = 37:2b). A ‫ זֵ ר‬also adorns the table (25:24 = 37:11), the table’s ‫( ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬25:25 = 37:12), and the incense altar (30:3, 4 = 37:26, 27). The word appears nowhere else in the Bible. In all four cases, the text specifies that the ‫ זֵ ר‬is made of ‫זָ ָהב‬, gold, and is situated ‫ס ִביב‬, ָ “around”, the object it adorns (25:11 = 37:2; 25:24 = 37:11; 25:25 = 37:12; 30:3 = 37:26).

3.4.2 What Is a zēr? Survey of Interpretation What is a ‫ ?זֵ ר‬What form does it take? And where on the objects is it located: top, bottom or middle? The history of attempts to interpret the word is rich and varied. Of special interest are the Septuagint and the Letter of Aristeas. 3.4.2.1 Septuagint and Letter of Aristeas: Guilloche Molding The Septuagint renders the word ‫זֵ ר‬, in the case of the ark and the table, as κυμάτια στρεπτά (25:11) and στρεπτά κυμάτια (25:24), “twisted moldings”; in the case of the table’s ‫מ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬ – ִ as στρεπτòν κυμάτιον (25:25), “twisted molding”; and in the case of the incense altar – as στρεπτὴν στεφάνην (30:3, 4), “twisted crowning”.33 The word κυμάτιον is an architectural term denoting a type of molding. In ancient Greek inscriptions, κυμάτιον refers to what are known today as “ovolo” (convex quarter-round) and “cyma reversa” (double-curved with the upper part

33  The five remaining occurrences of ‫ זֵ ר‬in the MT are in the section Exod 35–40, where the Septuagint deviates drastically from the Hebrew text. Of these five, four (37:11, 12, 26, 27) are not represented in the Septuagint, but in Origen’s reconstruction they all appear as κυμάτιον. In the final occurrence (37:2 [LXX 38:2]), which pertains to the ark, ‫ זר‬is represented in Codex Alexandrinus of the Septuagint as κυμάτιον, but the entire phrase in which it appears is missing in Codex Vaticanus. Wevers (Text History, 257) argues that the longer text is original and the shorter text is due to parablepsis. But, unlike all the undisputedly original Septuagintal renditions of ‫זֵ ר‬, the modifier στρεπτòν is missing in the longer reading; and κυμάτιον is in the singular, whereas the Septuagint’s translation of the parallel verse pertaining to the ark (25:11) has the plural κυμάτια. In both details the longer text is identical to the Origenian reconstructions. Therefore it seems more likely that the shorter text is original and the longer text is the product of a later attempt at harmonization with the MT. Lastly, in Exod 27:3, the Septuagint contains the instruction to make a στεφάνην for the bronze altar, where no such instruction exists in the MT; the reading in the Septuagint must reflect a different Vorlage, but it may be said that στεφάνην here is equivalent to MT ]‫יר[תיו‬ ָ ‫ּס‬, ִ which is phonetically similar to ‫ ;זֵ ר‬see also Jer 52:18.

3.4 zēr

59

convex and the lower part concave)34 moldings [Figure 3.10a–b].35 In the Latin nomenclature of Vitruvius, a cymatium can adorn such elements as the abacus of a Doric column, the corona of a Doric entablature, or the capital of an Ionic column (De architectura, 4.3.4, 6, 8). Etymologically, κυμάτιον is defined as a diminutive of κῦμα, which itself denotes an architectural feature but primarily means “wave” or “swelling”.36 Certain early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies 6.11) and Cosmas Indicopleustes (Christian Topography 2.134–135; 3.173–174; 5.201–202), stated that the cymatia surrounding the table of the tabernacle represent the ocean surrounding the earth, suggesting that they understood them as evoking ocean waves.37 But κυμάτιον probably never had any direct connection with water, merely meaning “small swelling”. Indeed, in the Lexicon of Hesychius of Alexandria, the word is defined simply as a projection (ὑπεροχαί) in carpentry and masonry.38 The Septuagint presumably uses the singular κυμάτιον in the case of the table’s ‫מ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬, ִ rather than the plural κυμάτια, which it uses for the table and the ark, because the ‫מ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬, ִ being itself an added element to the table and only a handbreadth thick (Exod 25:25), would not be large enough for multiple moldings. The word employed by the Septuagint to render the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the incense altar, στεφάνη, translated above as “crowning”, is a more common term, defined as “anything that surrounds or encircles the head, etc., for defence or ornament”.39 The same word is used in the Septuagint to render the table’s ‫ ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬itself (25:25[× 2], 27), so it could not have been used to render the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the ‫ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬ without creating considerable awkwardness. Thus, it may be that the translator regarded στεφάνη as the best translation for ‫זֵ ר‬, but allowed himself to use it only in the case of the incense altar because it was most distant from the table’s ‫ִמ ְסּגֶ ע‬ ‫ ֶרת‬in the text. The word’s range of meanings, along with the Septuagint’s use of it to translate ‫ ַמ ֲע ֶקה‬in Deut 22:8, an addition to a roof serving to prevent people from falling off, indicate that the translator envisioned the ‫זֵ ר‬, at least in the case of the incense altar, as located at the top of the object.40 In all four cases, the translator adds the adjective στρεπτός (“twisted”, “wreathed”, etc.), which he also uses as a substantive equivalent to ‫ ּגְ ִד ִלים‬in Deut 34  A molding of the opposite shape, concave in its upper part and convex in its lower part, is known today as a “cyma recta”. The term “cyma” is derived from the Greek κῦμα (see below), and its synonym “cymatium” is derived from our Greek κυμάτιον. See OED, “cyma, n.”, “cymatium, n.” 35 Robertson, Greek and Roman Architecture, 382–383. 36 LSJ, “κυμάτιον”, “κῦμα”. 37 See also Philo, Questions and Answers on Exodus 2.55. 38  Hesychius of Alexandria, Lexicon, “κυμάτια”. 39  LSJ. 40  See Wevers, Notes on Exodus, 397.

60

3. The Ark: Details of Form

22:12, a word designating some sort of attachment to a garment.41 This reveals that he associated the word ‫ זֵ ר‬with the root ‫ׁשזר‬, a fabric-related root peculiar to the Exodus tabernacle pericopes (21 occurrences, all in the participial hophal form ‫)מ ְׁשזָ ר‬. ָ 42 The root is usually understood as carrying the sense of “spin” (thread), and it is translated by the Septuagint itself with the verbs κλώθειν and νήθειν, both of which have that meaning. The reason the Septuagint uses στρεπτός and not forms of κλώθειν or νήθειν to describe the ‫ זֵ ר‬is probably that the former is more suitable for gold; it is used elsewhere in conjunction with the metal (Herodotus, Histories 3.20). The description “twisted” is somewhat vague but is clarified by a section in the Letter of Aristeas (51–82; excerpted in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 12.60– 84) that describes a table granted by Ptolemy Philadelphus to the temple in Jerusalem. The table, which is said (56) to be constructed according to the Jewish scriptures (i. e., Exod 25:23–30) insofar as they provide explicit instructions, has a crowning (στεφάνη = ‫)מ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬ ִ with twisted cymatia (κυμάτια στρεπτά = ‫)זֵ ר‬. It is added (58–60) that these cymatia take the form of ropes (σχοινίδον) with precious stones interwoven between them. This more detailed description accords with the Septuagint and immediately brings to mind the guilloche a.k.a. plaitband pattern, which decorates moldings – particularly convex moldings – on Greek architecture in all periods43 and is seen, for example, in the Erechtheum [Figure 3.11 / Plate 4a].44 Thus, it can be concluded that the authors of the Septuagint and the Letter of Aristeas interpret the ‫ זֵ ר‬as a guilloche molding. 3.4.2.2 Aquila(?): Rim A marginal comment in Greek Catenae manuscripts, possibly deriving from Aquila,45 translates ‫ זֵ ר‬in Exod 38:2 (pertaining to the ark) with the peculiar form χείλωμα, which is evidently related to χεῖλος. The latter is defined as “lip” and metaphorically as “edge, brink, rim”,46 and it is the word consistently used by Aquila to render ‫ׂש ָפה‬. ָ 47 This translation, which appears to be a contextual guess, has in view a projection encircling the ark’s top.

according to BDB and HALOT.  Jastrow agrees with the Septuagint’s implied etymological view of ‫ׁשזר‬, understanding the verb to be a shaphel form of biblical ‫זור‬. In HALOT, too, ‫ ׁשזר‬is derived from II ‫זור‬, to which is attributed an essential meaning of “to turn”. See also Akkadian zēru, defined in CAD as “braided, plaited”, and zâru A, “to twist”. 43  Lyttelton, “Guilloche”. 44  BM, “1857,1212.10”; Spawforth, Complete Greek Temples, 69. 45  The reading is ascribed to Aquila in Field’s edition of the Hexapla but not in the Göttingen Septuagint (Wevers, Exodus). 46  LSJ. 47  Reider and Turner, Index to Aquila, 254, 312. 41 Tassels, 42

3.4 zēr

61

3.4.2.3 Targumim, Vulgate, Rabbinic Exegetes: Crown Targum Onqelos and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan render ‫ זֵ ר‬as ‫ זיר‬or ‫דיר‬. Neither form is otherwise known to have any meaning in Jewish Aramaic that makes sense in this context. In Syriac, zyr’ means “collar” and, later, “crown”,48 but there is no reason to suppose that the audience for whom these targumim were intended was familiar with these meanings, which may themselves be influenced by interpretations of the word ‫ זֵ ר‬in Exodus. Thus, it seems that these two targumim simply transcribe the word without taking a stand on its meaning. In Targum Neofiti, Fragmentary Targum V, the Peshitta, and the Samaritan translation of the Pentateuch, ‫ זֵ ר‬is rendered as ‫כליל‬, “crown”. This translation evidently stems from the assumption that ‫ זֵ ר‬is related to biblical ‫נֵ זֶ ר‬, also “crown”. Indeed, when ‫ נֵ זֶ ר‬in the Hebrew Bible refers to a concrete object separate from the human body, it is almost always translated by Targum Neofiti and the Peshitta, and by the other Aramaic Targumim, as ‫( כליל‬e. g., Exod 29:6; 39:30). Also holding this position is the Tanna R. Simeon b. Yohai (mid-second century CE) in Exodus Rabbah (34:2; followed by Rashi49), who indicates that ‫ זֵ ר‬means ‫;כתר‬ and such an understanding seems to underlie two homilies of the Amora R. Johanan (ca. 180 – ca. 279) in b. Yoma 72b as well. The Vulgate, too, translates ‫ זֵ ר‬in most cases as corona,50 though this is not the word it uses to translate ‫נֵ זֶ ר‬.51 The view of the ‫ זֵ ר‬as a crown accords with the notion that the ark’s ‫ זֵ ר‬was situated at its top and projected above its lid, a notion expressed opaquely by the Amora R. Judah (d. 299) in b. Yoma (ibid.) and later more clearly by Rashi.52 Abraham ibn Ezra shared this conception but deduced it from the text’s use of the preposition ‫ע ָליו‬, ָ “upon it”.53 Menahem ibn Saruq, while allowing for the possibility of a relation between ‫ זֵ ר‬and ‫נֵ זֶ ר‬, preferred to associate the former with the verbal form ‫ית‬ ָ ‫( זֵ ִר‬Ps 139:3) and explained it as a thing that surrounds.54 This etymology was accepted by Jonah ibn Janah55 and by Rashi, Ibn Ezra, David Kimhi, and Menahem Meiri (1249–1316).56  Sokoloff, Syriac Lexicon, 379.  Commentary on Exod 25:11, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70. 50  In the case of the table, the Vulgate confusingly renders the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the table itself as labium, “lip” (Exod 25:24; 37:11); the ‫ ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬as coronam interrasilem, “embossed crown” (25:25; 37:12; cf. 1 Kgs 7:28), and coronam, “crown” (25:27; 37:14); and the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the ‫ ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬as coronam … ‑olam, “little crown” (25:25; cf. 1 Kgs 7:29), and coronam (37:12). See further comments in Houtman, Exodus III, 376–377. 51  The translation “crown” is also used in the early modern Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva, Bishops, and King James Bibles, and in early revisions of the last: Webster’s, RV, ASV, and JPS. 52  Commentary on b. Yoma 72b; commentary on Exod 25:11, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70. 53 Short commentary on Exod 25:11, in Cohen, ibid. 54  Sáenz-Badillos, Mĕnaḥem ben Saruq, 158*–162*. 55  Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 136–137. 56 Commentaries on Ps 139:3, in Cohen Psalms II, 216–217; Ibn Ezra’s short commentary on Exod 25:11, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70. Perhaps the verb ‫ זרה‬in Zech 2:2, 4i–ii, whose subject is 48 49

62

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Joseph Bekhor Shor (twelfth century),57 followed by Hezekiah ben Manoah (mid-thirteenth century),58 implausibly explained the ‫ זֵ ר‬of all the cultic objects said to have it not as a distinct feature at all, but simply as a gold coating for the parts that are not included in the separate instructions to coat the objects with gold. For the ark this means the upper, horizontal thickness of the sides; for the table – the vertical thickness of its top; for the table’s ‫מ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬ – ִ its upper and side surfaces; and for the incense altar – the vertical thickness of the board forming its top. An opinion appearing in Midrash Haggadol (on Exod 25:11) and cited by Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon (1186–1237),59 on the other hand, attributes a practical function to the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the ark: it holds the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in place. Gersonides (1288–1344) generalized this idea to include the table and its ‫ ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬as well: the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the table holds whatever is placed on the table, and the ‫ זֵ ר‬of its ‫ ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬holds the top of the table itself.60 Gersonides did not propose a function for the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the incense altar. 3.4.2.4 Modern Scholarship: Misc. In BDB, ‫ זֵ ר‬is defined equivocally as “circlet, border” (“orig. that which presses, binds”) and is derived from ‫ זור‬III (“press down and out”).61 In HALOT, we find it defined as “frame, border” (HALAT: “Randleiste”) but derived from Akkadian zirru, meaning “reed hedge”.62 A similarly generic definition with a different etymology was proposed by Grintz, who, with the aforementioned Catenae comment, took the word to mean an encircling rim and noted that ḏr in Egyptian means, among other things, “boundary” and “enclosing wall”.63 Some modern commentators on Exodus offered more specific descriptions of the ‫זֵ ר‬. Cassuto expressed a definite opinion on both its position and its form, maintaining that the ‫ זֵ ר‬of the ark is “an adornment in the form of a garland of flowers or leaves running right round the four sides of the ark on the outside, bisecting its height, and resembling in its form a similar adornment that was to be made for the table and its frame and for the altar of incense”.64 Unfortunately, he did not explain his reasoning. Jacob argued that the ‫ זֵ ר‬possessed the same status as the rings and poles, inferring from this that the purpose of each ‫ זֵ ר‬is to ‫ק ָרנֹות‬, ְ “horns”, should be interpreted in this sense as well, instead of the usual “scatter”. Horns do not scatter things, but they do encircle them – e. g., the altars. 57  Commentary on Exod 25:11, 24, 25; 30:3, in Cohen, Exodus II, 71, 75, 119. 58  Commentary ibid., in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:90, 97, 157. 59 Margulies, Midrash Haggadol, 578; Sassoon, Commentary, 390. 60  Commentary on Exod 25:11, 24, 25, in Cohen, Exodus II, 71, 75. 61  BDB, “‫זִ יר‬, ‫”זּור‬. 62 HALOT, “‫”זֵ ר‬. In congruence with these lexica, and possibly influenced by the Septuagint, many modern English-language translations of the Bible render ‫ זר‬as “border” (Darby, NET), the similar “molding” (RSV, ESV, NRSV, NKJV, NAB, NJB, NIV, NLT, NJPS), or both (NASB). 63  Grintz, “Ancient Terms”, 39:17. 64  Cassuto, Commentary, 329.

3.4 zēr

63

fasten the rings to the object.65 Finally, Propp, critiquing Jacob, suggests that the ‫ זֵ ר‬is positioned around the middle of the ark’s height and serves the structural purpose of supporting the rings below it.66

3.4.3 New Proposal: Cavetto Cornice; Parallels The survey above demonstrates that a compelling identification of the ‫ זֵ ר‬has not been reached and suggests that etymology cannot lead to such an identification. What none of the surveyed exegetes appear to have done, however, is to search ancient Near Eastern wooden artifacts resembling the ark, the table, and the incense altar for features that correspond to the ‫זֵ ר‬. The cavetto cornice, a common element in Egyptian architecture and crafts, consists of a concave molding with a quarter-circular profile that surrounds the top of an object or structure [Figure 3.12]. This feature is at least as old as the Third Dynasty.67 3.4.3.1 Ark The cavetto cornice commonly appears on portable wooden boxes and chests from the Fifth Dynasty onward.68 Such items from the Eighteenth Dynasty alone include a box with a shrine lid, several boxes from the tomb of Yuia and Thuiu, and several objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun, among them the gable-lidded chest discussed above (§ 3.2.2) [Figure 3.3a–c / Plate 3a].69 Like the biblical ‫זֵ ר‬, the cavetto cornice could be made of gold. This is illustrated by a beautiful specimen found on the aforementioned (§ 2.3.3) obsidian box from Byblos, which bears the name of the Twelfth-Dynasty pharaoh Amenemhet IV (ca. 1798–1790 BCE) [Figure 3.13 / Plate 4b]. The excavator, Montet, describes it thus: [The cornice has] three parts: 1. a rectangular frame made of gold, laid flat, exhibiting both inside and outside a small ledge; 2. a band, laid on edge, 10 millimeters high, and just long enough to settle around the two rails [on the underside of the box’s lid]; 3. four sheets of gold  soldered  to each  other to form  a necking in a  very refined  style. The  dimensions are calculated so that they can rest, at the bottom, on the edges of the box and, at the top, on the ledge of the flat frame. It is likely that the space between the band and the

 Jacob, Second Book, 772–773.  Propp, Exodus, 380–381. 67 Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 17–19. 68  Ibid. 69  Box with a shrine lid: ibid., 37, pl. 28. Boxes from the tomb of Yuia and Thuiu: ibid., 46–49, figs. 57–58. Objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun: Malek, Tutankhamun, Objects 32, 111 + 115, 279, 315, 316, 317, and 540 + 551. 65 66

64

3. The Ark: Details of Form

necking was filled with a cementing material and penetrated by six pegs, placed in the holes made in the thickness of the box.70

3.4.3.2 Table The cavetto cornice also adorned ancient Egyptian wooden tables. Depictions of tables with cavetto cornices already appear in the Sixth-Dynasty mastaba of Mereruka (ca. 2340 BCE), and two actual examples, from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Dynasties, are extant [Figures 3.14, 3.15].71 These tables display additional similarities to the table of the tabernacle as described in the Pentateuch: one is known to be made of acacia wood and sports proportions of approximately 2 W. × 3 H. × 4 L. (see Exod 25:23 = 37:10).72 And both have a horizontal frame of stretchers connecting the legs at about mid-height, which may correspond to the table’s ‫( ִמ ְסּגֶ ֶרת‬Exod 25:25[× 2], 27 = 37:12[× 2], 14). Depictions of similar tables with cavetto cornices appear in several Phoenician artworks from the first millennium BCE.73 3.4.3.3 Incense Altar As for wooden incense altars, they were not used in ancient Egypt,74 and the present writer is unaware of any extant examples of such objects from elsewhere in the ancient Near East. However, many monolithic stone incense altars from ancient Israel have cornices.75 On the most carefully made specimens, such as an altar from Megiddo [Figure 3.16],76 the flaring of the cornice appears to be concave, indicating that the constructors were aiming for a cavetto-type cornice. This is even clearer on the two altars from the temple in Arad [Figure 3.17];77 on these, however, the cornice protrudes from a groove and so its edges are in line with the sides of the altar.

70 Montet, Byblos et l’Égypte, 157–159; translated by the present writer. The original text reads: “[…] une cornice en trois parties: 1° un cadre rectangulaire en or, posé à plat, présentant à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur un petit rebord; 2° un ruban, posé sur tranche, haut de 10 millimètres et juste assez long pour se fixer autour des deux traverses; 3° quatre feuilles d’or se soudant l’une à l’autre pour former une gorge de style très pur. Les dimensions en sont calculées pour qu’elles puissant s’appuyer, en bas, sur les bords du coffret et, en haut, sur le rebord du cadre plat. Il est probable que l’intervalle entre le ruban et la gorge était rempli d’un ciment où pénétraient six chevilles placées dans les trous pratiqués dans l’épaisseur du coffret.” 71 Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture I, 66, pls. 108, 109; MMA, “14.10.5”; BkM, “37.41E”. 72 MMA, ibid. 73  Gubel, Phoenician Furniture, 241–249. 74 Nielsen, Incense in Ancient Israel, 3. 75  For a large corpus of altars from Israel with a summary of their forms, see Gitin, “Incense Altars”. Gitin refers to the cornice as a “rim”. 76  May, Material Remains, 6, pl. 12 (no. 2982); IMJ, “IAA I-3567”. 77  Aharoni, “Excavations”, 247–248, pl. 47.

3.5 pə‘āmōt

65

Many of these altars display additional features of the incense altar as described in the Pentateuch: proportions of approximately 1 W. × 1 L. × 2 H., and horns (see Exod 30:2 = 37:25). The altars are often encircled at mid-height or above with a conspicuous wide, rectangular-profile band. Gitin suggests equating this band with the ‫ זֵ ר‬and the cornice with the ‫ ַּכ ְרּכֹב‬casually mentioned in Exodus (27:5 = 38:4) as a feature of the bronze altar.78 But the text implies that the ‫ ַּכ ְרּכֹב‬is at the altar’s middle, not its top. Thus, even without considering the ark and the table, the reverse is more likely: the band should be equated with the ‫ּכ ְרּכֹב‬,ַ 79 and the cornice should be equated with the ‫זֵ ר‬. In Egypt, large, stone altar platforms were usually furnished with typical cavetto cornices,80 as were some of the small, Syrian-influenced horned stone altars that appear in the Hellenistic period, such as the one at Karnak (Ipet-Isut) [Figure 3.18].81 3.4.3.4 Conclusion In summary, the cavetto cornice corresponds in every way with the biblical ‫זֵ ר‬, and it appears to be the only feature of ancient Near Eastern material culture to do so. A reasonable conclusion is that they are one and the same. This conclusion is consistent with all the proposed etymologies covered in the survey above except the one reflected in the Septuagint. Thus, the word ‫ זֵ ר‬can confidently be provided with a definition without a resolution of the question of its etymology.

3.5 pə‘āmōt 3.5.1 Biblical Data The priestly account reveals in passing, in the course of specifying the position of the ark’s rings (see § 4.1 below), that the ark has four ‫( ְּפ ָעמֹות‬Exod 25:12a = 37:3a). The only other biblical occurrence of the word ‫ ַּפ ַעם‬in the context of furniture, which is also the only other occurrence of the peculiar plural form ‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬, ְ is found in the Kings account of the establishment of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 5:15–9:9), which includes a detailed description of ten bronze laver stands placed in the temple’s courtyard (7:27–39a). The Masoretic Text of 1 Kgs 7:30 reads: ‫אֹופּנֵ י נְ ח ֶֹׁשת ַל ְּמכֹונָ ה ָה ַא ַחת וְ ַס ְרנֵ י נְ ח ֶֹׁשת וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו ְּכ ֵתפֹת ָל ֶהם‬ ַ ‫וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה‬ ‫מ ַּת ַחת ַל ִּכּיֹר ַה ְּכ ֵתפֹות יְ ֻצקֹות ֵמ ֵע ֶבר ִאיׁש ֹליֹות‬. ִ This very difficult and likely corrupt verse may be translated provisionally, following the masoretic cantillation signs,  Gitin, “Incense Altars”, 61*.  As maintained by Cassuto (Commentary, 363–364), Milgrom (“Altar”, 762), and Propp (Exodus, 423). 80  Arnold, Encyclopaedia, 8–9 (“Altar”). 81  Soukiassian, “autels”; Quagebeur, “L’autel-à-feu”. 78 79

66

3. The Ark: Details of Form

as follows: “Four bronze wheels on each laver stand, with bronze axles; and on its four ‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬ – ְ shoulders; the shoulders – cast under the laver; wreaths at the side of each one”. The entire description of the laver stands, including their ‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬, ְ is absent from the parallel account of the establishment of the temple in Chronicles (2 Chr 1:18–7:22). The occurrence of the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬in 1 Kgs 7:30 has received somewhat less attention than those in the tabernacle account, perhaps because it is overshadowed by the awkwardness of the text. So difficult is MT here that its two most pertinent words alone, ‫וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬, contain two vexing grammatical problems. First, what is the “it” referred to in the possessive suffix ‫ ‑יו‬that possesses the ‫?ּפ ָעמֹות‬ ְ The obvious choice would be ‫]ּמכֹונָ ה ָה ַא ַחת‬ ְ ‫[ה‬, ַ “each laver stand”, but ‫]ּמכֹונָ ה‬ ְ ‫[ה‬ ַ ‫ ָה ַא ַחת‬is feminine, whereas the suffix ‫ ‑יו‬is masculine. Second, why is the number of the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬in the masculine – ‫א ְר ָּב ָעה‬ – ַ when the form of ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬itself is the feminine plural? Some have in fact suggested emending the text to ‫יה‬ ָ ‫וְ ַא ְר ַּבע ַּפ ֲעמ ֵֹת‬,82 83 or at least the second word to ‫יה‬ ָ ‫פ ֲעמ ֵֹת‬. ַ A similar proposed emendation is ‫וְ ַא ְר ַּבע‬ ‫ה ְּפ ָעמֹת ָהיּו‬.ַ 84 More drastic suggestions are to view the word ‫ ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬as a scribal error, either for 85‫אֹותיו‬ ָ ‫ ֵּפ‬or for ‫ּנֹותיו‬ ָ ‫( ִּפ‬to match the word used in the similar v. 34),86 or to dismiss ‫ וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬altogether as a careless gloss.87 If the word ‫ ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬is not deleted or replaced, however, then the passage in Kings is akin to the verses in Exodus in that it does not state specially that the laver stands had ‫;ּפ ָעמֹות‬ ְ it rather assumes the existence of the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as obvious and only mentions them in the course of divulging that they had “shoulders” (‫)ּכ ֵתפֹת‬. ְ

3.5.2 What Are pə‘āmōt? Survey of Interpretation The question that arises, in Exodus and in Kings, is: what are these ‫?ּפ ָעמֹות‬ ְ 3.5.2.1 Septuagint et al.: Sides An early, clumsy attempt to answer this question was made in the Septuagint, which rendered ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬in Exod 25:12 (LXX 25:11) as κλίτη, plural of κλίτος. (In Exod 37:3 [LXX 38:3], the entire phrase containing ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬is not represented in the Septuagint.) The word κλίτος, extremely rare in Greek, is used in the Septuagint, especially within Exod 25–40, as a catchall for the sense of “side” or “end”.88 Most significantly, it is used to translate ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬twice in this very same verse as well  Stade, “Kesselwagen”, 172; BHK; BHS; Gray, I and II Kings, 192. “Kesselwagen Salomos”, 75 n. 12. 84  Friedrich Böttcher, cited by Mulder, 1 Kings, 337. 85  Bernhard Stade and August Klostermann, cited in Stade, “Kesselwagen”, 171. 86  Adolf Kamphausen and Rudolf Kittel, cited in Stade, ibid.; BDB, “‫”ּפ ַעם‬ ָ (821–822). 87  Noth, Könige, 142, 144. 88  Within this section, κλίτος is used to translate ‫( ֵּפ ָאה‬of the tabernacle: Exod 26:18; of its court: 27:9[× 2], 11; 38:11, 12, 13 [LXX 37:9, 10, 11]); ‫( ָק ֶצה‬of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬:ַ 25:18, 19[× 3]; of the 82

83 Weippert,

3.5 pə‘āmōt

67

as in v. 14 and twice in the parallel 37:3 (LXX 38:3),89 indicating that the translator saw ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as synonymous with ‫צ ָלעֹות‬.ְ 90 This translation cannot be accepted, as our verse differentiates explicitly between the two by stating that the ark has four ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬but only two ‫צ ָלעֹות‬.ְ An approach that is similar but avoids internal contradiction is taken in the Septuagint to 1 Kgs 7:30 (LXX 7:17), where ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬is translated as μέρη, from μέρος, a far more common word whose essential meaning is “part”.91 The issue of the Septuagint’s understanding of the word here is somewhat complicated by the fact that its equivalent for the entire phrase ‫ וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו ְּכ ֵתפֹת ָל ֶהם‬is καὶ τέσσερα μέρη αὐτῶν, ὠμίαι …, “and their four sides, shoulder pieces …”; this reflects a variant consonantal reading of the Hebrew text, presumably ‫*וארבע הפ�ע‬ ‫ כתפת‬,‫ מת להם‬or even ‫ כתפת‬,‫*וארבע פעמתיהם‬. But whatever the case, the translator’s use of the genitive αὐτῶν shows that he understood the text such that the existence of the μέρη was self-evident. Theodotion on Exod 25:12 also translated ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as μέρη; he used the word elsewhere in the sense of “end” or “side”.92 This translation also appears in several witnesses to the Septuagint on Exod 37:3.93 Symmachus on Exod 25:12 renders ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as πλευράς, from πλευρά, “rib/ side”.94 The Vulgate on 1 Kgs 7:30 uses partes, meaning “parts” or “sides”, similarly to the Greek translations in both books. It is followed, naturally, by the translations of Wycliffe (“partis”) and Douay (“sides”) to the verse. Finally, the medieval Hebrew lexicographers Jonah ibn Janah and Solomon ibn Parhon interpret the word in Exodus as “sides”, presumably having reached the same conclusion independently.95 bronze altar’s grating: 27:4; of the tabernacle: 26:28[× 2]); ‫( ַצד‬of the lampstand: 25:32[× 2]); ‫ָּכ ֵתף‬ (of the court: 27:14, 15); and ‫( יָ ֵרְך‬of the tabernacle: 40:22, 24). 89  And elsewhere (of the tabernacle: Exod 26:20, 27[× 2]; of the incense altar: 30:4; cf. LXX 38:10). 90 This approach is perhaps influenced by Gen 2:21–23, a passage that contains the only prior occurrences of the noun ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬in the Pentateuch, and in which ‫ ַּפ ַעם‬may be interpreted as its synonym (though neither the Septuagint nor any of its revisions translate ‫ ַּפ ַעם‬that way in Genesis). 91  The word is used in the Septuagint on Samuel-Kings to render ‫( ָק ֶצה‬of Samuel’s town: 1 Sam 9:27; of the cherubim’s wings: 1 Kgs 6:24[× 2]; of the Aramean camp: 2 Kgs 7:5, 8); ‫( ַצד‬of the ark: 1 Sam 6:8; of a hill: 1 Sam 23:26; 2 Sam 13:34); and ‫( ֵע ֶבר‬figuratively, of the people: 1 Kgs 12:31; 13:33; of Solomon: 1 Kgs 5:4). 92  Theodotion uses the word to translate ‫( ֵּפ ָאה‬of the table: Exod 37:13 [38:11]); ‫( ָק ֶצה‬Judg 7:11; Isa 7:18); ‫רּוח‬ ַ (Jer 52:23); ‫( ִמן ְק ָצת‬Dan 2:42); and ‫( ֵקץ‬Dan 11:45). 93  Within Exod 25–40, μέρος is used by the Septuagint to translate ‫( ֵּפ ָאה‬of the table: Exod 25:26); ‫( ָק ֶצה‬of the tabernacle cloths: 26:4, 5; of the ephod: 28:7; 39:4 [LXX 36:11]; of the breastpiece: 39:17 [LXX 36:24]; of the altar’s grating: 38:5 [LXX 38:24]); ‫( ַצד‬of the lampstand: 37:18 [LXX 38:14]); ‫( יָ ד‬of the tabernacle frames: 26:19[× 2]); ‫( ֵצ ָלע‬of the tabernacle: 26:26, 35[× 2]); and ‫( ֵע ֶבר‬of the tablets of testimony: 32:15). 94  Symmachus uses the word in one other place, to translate ‫( ַצד‬of a person: Isa 66:12). This word is used in the Septuagint on Exodus 25–40 once, to render ‫( ֵצ ָלע‬of the bronze altar: 27:7). It is also the word the Septuagint uses to translate ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬in Gen 2:21–22; see n. 90. 95 Ibn Janah in Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 406: “sides and corners” (cf. below); Ibn Parhon in Stern and Rapoport, Mahberet Ha‘Arukh, 54c: “sides”.

68

3. The Ark: Details of Form

3.5.2.2 Targumim et al.: Corners Others translated ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as “corners”.96 These include: the author of a minuscule-script correction in Codex F of the Septuagint (on Exod 25:12) with γωνιάσματα; Targum Onqelos on Exodus with ‫ויָתיה‬ ֵ ָ‫ז‬, followed by Rashi, David Kimhi, Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon, Meir of Rothenburg (ca. 1215–1293), and Gersonides;97 Targum Neofiti on Exodus with ‫זוייתא‬/‫( זוויתא‬Exod 25:12) and ‫זיוי‬/‫( זויתיה‬37:3); and Targum Jonathan on Kings with ‫זויתיה‬, followed by Rashi, Joseph Kara (before ca. 1060–1070), and Gersonides.98 The Peshitta on Exodus also has zwyth, and the Peshitta on Kings has zwyt’, but its equivalent to the entire phrase ‫ וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה ַפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו ְּכ ֵתפֹת ָל ֶהם‬is w’rb‘ zwyt’ mdbqn lhyn wktpt’ ’yt lhyn …, presumably reflecting another variant reading, such as ‫*וארבע הפעמת דבקת להם‬, ‫וכתפת להם‬. Saadiah Gaon (882–942) translated the word in Exodus as gh’th. The Samaritan translation of the Pentateuch used ‫ פב[א]תה‬from Aramaic ‫פאה‬, which can mean both “side” and “corner”. The Vulgate on Exodus has angulos, followed by Wycliffe and all the early modern English Bible translations ad loc. The MT-based early modern English translations of the Bible have “corners” in Kings as well. Gressmann, DeVries, and Würthwein similarly understand the word as meaning “corner-posts”.99 3.5.2.3 Pseudo-Jonathan, Ibn Ezra, et al.: Feet Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus rendered the word as ‫( איזתוורוי‬25:12) and ‫( איסתוורוי‬37:3); both are forms of ‫איסתורא‬, “foot or leg of a piece of furniture”.100 Regarding the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬of the ark as well, Abraham ibn Ezra rejected the “corners” translation of Targum Onqelos and Rashi, arguing that he was unable to find such a meaning for the word anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, and grudgingly posited that the ark had feet.101 He was followed by Chaim Paltiel, Hezekiah b. Manoah, and Isaac Abrabanel.102 In modern scholarship, this has become the prevailing view, advocated by many commentators on Exodus, including Keil and Delitzsch,   96  For creative attempts to explain why ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬should mean “corners”, see the following commentaries on Exod 25:12: Gersonides, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73; Horowitz, Panim Yafos, 227–228; Weisser (Malbim), Otzar HaPerushim, 1:400–402; Durham, Exodus, 356–357.   97 Rashi and Gersonides: commentaries on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73; Kimhi: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 592; Abraham b. Moses: Sassoon, Commentary, 390; Meir of Rothenburg: tosafot on b. Yoma 72a, s. v. ‫( כתיב‬the tosafot on Tractate Yoma were edited by Meir of Rothenburg; see Urbach, Tosaphists, 2:610–611).  98  Commentaries ad loc., in Cohen, Kings, 55.  99  Gressmann, Lade, 2 (“Eckpfosten”); DeVries, 1 Kings, 105; Würthwein, Erste Buch der Könige, 79 (“Eckpfosten”). 100  CAL, “’ystwr, ’ystwr’” [cited 7 January 2013]; DJBA, 123. 101  Long commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72; Yesod Mora 9.3, in Cohen and Simon Yesod Mora, 162–163. 102  Paltiel: Lange, Chaim Paltiel’s Commentaries, 309; Hezekiah: commentary on Exod 25:12, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:90–91; Abrabanel: Shaviv, Exodus, 438.

3.5 pə‘āmōt

69

Dillmann, Driver, Cassuto, Houtman, and Propp;103 by commentators on Kings, including Keil, Lumby, Montgomery and Gehman, Gray, and Mulder;104 and in major dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew.105 3.5.2.4 Nahmanides et al.: Lower Corners or Footsteps Nahmanides raised a possibility, within a line of thinking that he rejected, that ‫ְּפע‬ ‫ ָעמֹות‬in Exodus refers specifically to the lower corners of the ark.106 Similar views were advocated by Jacob (in his studies on the Pentateuch) and Noth.107 However, Nahmanides’s preferred explanation, adopted by Bahya b. Asher (thirteenth century), Obadiah Sforno (ca. 1470 – ca. 1550), and, to an extent, Hirsch and Jacob (in his commentary on Exodus), is that the word means “footsteps” and in this case refers to the footsteps of the priests bearing the ark.108

3.5.3 Proposal: Feet; Parallels An examination of the data leads to the inescapable conclusion that ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬in the three cited instances means “feet”, namely short projections at the bottom of the object that bear its weight. 3.5.3.1 The Word pa‘am A first indication of this is that the feminine noun ‫ּפ ַעם‬, ַ despite usually taking the ‫ ‑ִים‬plural or (where appropriate) the ‫ ‑ָיִ ם‬dual, takes the ‫ ‑ֹות‬plural in these instances; this is normal when a word denoting a body part is used figuratively as a part of an object.109 There can be no doubt that “foot” is a basic meaning of ‫ּפ ַעם‬: ַ In Isa 26:6, ‫ַּפ ַעם‬ is formally parallel to ‫רגֶ ל‬,ֶ which ordinarily means “leg” or “foot”. In this context it is noteworthy that the two words are equivalent (both carrying the meaning 103 K&D, Pentateuch, 2:167; Dillmann, Bücher Exodus und Leviticus, 311; Driver, Book of Exodus, 269; Cassuto, Commentary, 329; Houtman, Exodus III, 377; Propp, Exodus, 381. 104  Keil, Commentary, 130–132; Lumby, First Book of the Kings, 76; Montgomery and Gehman, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 176; Gray, I and II Kings, 195; Mulder, 1 Kings, 337. Cogan (I Kings, 260) renders the word here as “legs”, while Sweeney (I and II Kings, 119, 123) deliberates between “steps, feet” and “brackets”. 105  BDB; HALOT; DCH; Sæbø, “p‘m; pa‘am; pa‘amôn”, 47 (TDOT). 106  Commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73. 107 Jacob, Pentateuch, 165; Noth, Exodus, 204. 108 Chavel, Rabbenu Bahya, 2:274; Hirsch, in Levy, Pentateuch, 2:436; Jacob, Second Book, 774. 109 Cassuto, Commentary, 329; Michel, Grundlegung einer hebräischen Syntax, 56, 70. It was suggested in the sixteenth century by Elijah b. Abraham Mizrahi (commentary on Exod 25:12), and later so presented in Even-Shoshan, that the noun here is actually ‫;*ּפ ַע ָמה‬ ַ see Phillip, Humash HaRe’em, 407; Even-Shoshan, 955. But this would be an otherwise unattested word, so there are no grounds to hypothesize its existence here. See also Sæbø, “p‘m; pa‘am; pa‘amôn”, 45–46.

70

3. The Ark: Details of Form

“time” in the numerical sense) in phrases with clearly identical meanings. In festival legislation, we find that pilgrimages must take place “three ‫ ְּפ ָע ִמים‬a year” (Exod 23:17; 34:23, 24; Deut 16:16; cf. 1 Kgs 9:25; 2 Chr 8:13) or “three ‫… ְרגָ ִלים‬ a year” (Exod 23:14); and in the Balaam story, characters recall thrice-repeated actions as occurring “three ‫ ְּפ ָע ִמים‬now” (Num 24:10; cf. Judg 16:15) or “three ‫ ְרגָ ִלים‬now” (Num 22:28, 32, 33). In Isa 26:6, one could perhaps understand ‫ ַּפ ַעם‬in the sense of “step”, “tread”, or the like without running afoul of the parallelism with ‫רגֶ ל‬,ֶ but the concrete meaning of “foot” is seen unambiguously in 2 Kgs 19:24b = Isa 37:25b “and with the soles of my ]‫ פעמי[ם‬I dried up all the rivers of Egypt” (feet have soles, steps do not) and Ps 58:11b “he will bathe his ]‫ פעמי[ם‬in the blood of the wicked” (feet can be bathed, steps cannot).110 The meaning “foot” is carried by the word p‘m in Phoenician and Punic writings as well.111 Ugaritic features the word p‘n with this meaning,112 and Akkadian has pēmu, “thigh”.113 3.5.3.2 Problem with pə‘āmōt as Feet Why, then, have so many translators and commentators, particularly early ones, been reluctant to interpret the word in this sense?114 The reason seems to be the casual manner in which the text brings it up. It does not seem self-evident that an ark would have feet. If the text wanted to convey that the ark was to have them, one would expect an explicit command to make them and an explicit account of the command being carried out – just as we find in the cases of the ark’s rings, poles, ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ and ‫זֵ ר‬.115 This is probably why Rashi took pains to emphasize that the ark was a footless object that rested on its underside.116 The same problem exists in the case of the laver stands in Kings. One would expect the description 110  Other than the three instances constituting the topic of this section, the word ‫ ַּפ ַעם‬is attested 115 times in the Hebrew Bible; “foot” is the probable meaning in 13 of them (Judg 5:28; 2 Kgs 19:24 = Isa 37:25; Isa 26:6; Pss 17:5; 57:7; 58:11; 74:3; 85:14; 119:133; 140:5; Prov 29:5; Song 7:2). In almost all the others, the word carries the aforementioned meaning of “time” in the numerical sense. “Foot” is in fact the only meaning of the word as a tangible thing, with the possible exception of Isa 41:7, where it may mean “anvil”. In some instances, the word might have a nontangible intermediate meaning between “foot” and “time”: in Judg 5:28, it may mean “footfall/hoof-beat”; in 1 Sam 6:28 and the already cited Isa 41:7, it may mean “blow/strike” (in the nominal sense). Compare also the Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic verb ‫( פעם‬Gen 41:8; Judg 13:25; Ps 77:5; Dan 2:1, 3), which, based on its contexts, means something like “buffet/stir”. The evolution of the various meanings is not relevant here. 111  DNWSI, 2:928–929. 112  DULAT, 2:660. 113  CAD, 12:321–323. For discussions of the cognates see also BDB, 821–822; HALOT, 3:952; Sæbø, “p‘m; pa‘am; pa‘amôn”, 44. 114  The talmudic sages presumably did not understand ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as feet either: see below (§ 4.1.4.1). 115  Jacob (Second Book, 774) articulates this argument explicitly in rejecting the “feet” interpretation. 116  Commentary on Exod 25:10, in Cohen, Exodus II, 70.

3.5 pə‘āmōt

71

of their form to include explicit mention of the feet, just like the wheels, frames, axles, and shoulders, as well as the decorations of lions, oxen, cherubim, wreaths, and palm trees. The ancient translators were thus forced to translate the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as elements that the ark or the laver stands would self-evidently possess four of, which can only be sides or corners. In choosing the precise word, they may have glanced at similar verses. In Kings, Targum Jonathan and the Peshitta apparently identified the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬of the laver stands with the ‫ ִּפּנֹות‬of v. 34, which both of them, as well as the Septuagint and Vulgate, quite reasonably understood as “corners”. The identification between v. 30 and v. 34 is made explicitly by Rashi and Joseph Kara.117 In Exodus, the similar verses are those that describe the placement of rings on other tabernacle objects: the table, whose rings are at the four ‫ ֵּפאֹות‬of its four legs (Exod 25:26 = 37:13); the bronze altar, whose rings are at the four ‫ ָקצֹות‬of its grating (27:4 = 38:5); and the golden altar, whose (two) rings are at its two ‫ְצ ָלעֹות‬ or ‫( ִצ ִּדים‬30:4 = 37:27). The Septuagint’s name for the ring locations of the ark, κλίτη, is the word it uses for the ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬of the golden altar (30:4)118 and one of the words it uses for the ‫ ָקצֹות‬of the bronze altar (27:4).119 The Vulgate’s angulos is employed for the ‫ ֵּפאֹות‬of the table (25:26 = 37:13) and once for the ‫ ָקצֹות‬of the bronze altar (27:4).120 And the various forms of “corner” used by Targum Onqelos, Targum Neofiti, and the Peshitta are used consistently for the ‫ ֵּפאֹות‬of the table (25:26 = 37:13) and for the ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬of the golden altar, and inconsistently for the ‫ ָקצֹות‬of the bronze altar (all in 38:5; only Targum Neofiti in 27:4).121 3.5.3.3 Proposed Solution With regard to the tabernacle ark, Dillmann addressed the problem by arguing that it is, in fact, self-evident that the ark would have feet, because objects like it were usually provided with them. “The feet are merely mentioned, not specially commanded, because it was probably common to equip such an ‫[ ָארֹון‬sic] with (probably only short) feet”.122 However, as he did not present any evidence for this assertion, his theory, while plausible, remains in the realm of speculation. Can evidence be found to support Dillmann’s suggestion?

 Commentaries on 1 Kgs 7:34, in Cohen Kings, 56, 57. parallel verse (37:27) is entirely missing in the Septuagint. 119  In 38:5, the Septuagint renders ‫ ָקצֹות‬as μερῶν; see n. 93. 120  In 38:5, the Vulgate renders ‫ ָקצֹות‬as summitates, “ends”. 121 In 27:4, Targum Onqelos and the Peshitta render ‫ ָקצֹות‬as ‫סטרוהי‬, “sides”. 122  Dillmann, Bücher Exodus und Leviticus, 311. Followed by Houtman, Exodus III, 377; Propp, Exodus, 381. Quote from Dillmann translated by the present writer. The original text reads: “Die Füsse werden bloss erwähnt, nicht besonders befohlen, weil es wohl gewöhnlich war, einen solchen ‫ ָארֹון‬mit (wohl nur kurzen) Füssen zu versehen”. 117

118 The

72

3. The Ark: Details of Form

A survey of the ancient Egyptian items of furniture described by Killen shows that almost all of the boxes and chests in his study do indeed have four feet.123 (Gardiner Q5), and for Moreover, the Egyptian classifiers for “box, chest”, (Gardiner Q6), both depict objects with feet, demonstrating that “coffin”, Egyptian writers visualized typical chests in this way. This evidence suggests that the author of the priestly tabernacle pericopes could in fact have taken the ark’s feet for granted, just as he took its sides (‫צ ָלעֹות‬:ְ Exod 25:12, 14 = 37: 3, 5) for granted, only mentioning them incidentally, because their very existence goes without saying. The same is the case with the ]‫ רגלי[ם‬of the table in the tabernacle (25:26 = 37:13), which are also mentioned only in the course of describing the position of the table’s rings: it goes without saying that a table would have legs.124 There is also evidence that the feet on the bronze laver stands in the temple mentioned in Kings would have been “virtually self-evident”, as Mulder phrased it.125 Three wheeled bronze stands from Cyprus that are considered the closest parallels to the Solomonic laver stands all have four lower supporting projections. On two of these stands, which are unprovenanced, the projections are fairly short [Figures 3.19, 3.20].126 The projections on another one from Larnaka are long enough to be more aptly called “legs” [Figure 3.21], but the difference is not critical. Four short supporting projections are also seen on wheel-less bronze stands from Megiddo [Figure 3.22],127 from Enkomi [Figure 3.23],128 and from an unknown origin [Figure 3.24].129

3.5.4 Coda: mṭbḥ A possible fourth occurrence of the noun ‫ ַּפ ַעם‬in Northwest Semitic as denoting part of an artificial object, or perhaps an edifice, occurs in a Punic inscription housed in the British Museum.130 The inscription includes the following phrase: ḥdš wp‘l ’yt hmṭbḥ z dl p‘mm ‘srt h’šm ’š ‘l hmqdšm …. These words would appear to refer to a mṭbḥ that has p‘mm. Whether mṭbḥ means “slaughtering table”, “altar”, or “slaughterhouse”,131 it is not given a detailed description; thus, the problem that arose with regard to understanding ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as “feet” of the  Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, passim.  The word ‫ ֶרגֶ ל‬does not denote a part of an object anywhere else in the Hebrew Bible. In at least some cases (most clearly Deut 28:57; 1 Sam 17:6; Isa 7:20; Ezek 1:7) ‫ רגלים‬are specifically “legs” as opposed to feet. 125 Mulder, 1 Kings, 337. 126 BM, “1946,1017.1”. 127  IMJ, “1936–1961”. 128 BM, “1897,0401.1296”. 129  BM, “1920,1220.1”. These objects are all discussed at length in Weippert, “Kesselwagen Salomos”. 130  CIS 1.175; KAI 80; BM, “125263”. 131  The word occurs in Isa 14:21, but its meaning there is also unclear. 123 124

3.6 ṣəlā‘ōt

73

aforementioned objects would not arise with regard to the p‘mm of the mṭbḥ in the Punic text, even if the reference to them were merely incidental. And indeed, many scholars have understood these p‘mm as “feet/legs”. In this view, the phrase dl p‘mm may mean “in disrepair at its feet/legs”,132 “not including its feet/legs”,133 or simply “with feet/legs”.134 Some scholars have disagreed, suggesting various other translations.135 The present discussion, while it can contribute but little to the understanding of this inscription, provides some confirmation for “feet” as a plausible translation for p‘mm.

3.6 ṣəlā‘ōt 3.6.1 Biblical Data The priestly account also reveals in passing, in the course of defining the position of the ark’s rings (Exod 25:12[× 2] = 37:3[× 2]) and carrying poles (25:14 = 37:5), that the ark has two ‫צ ָלעֹות‬.ְ The word ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬is used in an equivalent manner to designate parts of two more of the five major tabernacle objects within the priestly tabernacle account. The text says of the bronze altar, in the course of defining the position of its carrying poles, that it has two ‫( ְצ ָלעֹות‬27:7 = 38:7), and it says of the incense altar, in the course of defining the position of its rings, that it has two ‫( ְצ ָלעֹות‬30:4 = 37:27). The table is not said to have ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬or any equivalent parts. The word is also used to refer to parts of the tabernacle structure itself – specifically, its sides (Exod 26:20, 26, 27[× 2], 35[× 2] ≈ 36:25, 31, 32). Other than these occurrences, it appears in the Bible only to designate the following: the part of the primordial man from which God constructed the primordial woman (Gen 2:21, 22); a part of a hill on which one can walk (2 Sam 16:13); and parts of the temple structure in Kings (1 Kgs 6:5, 8, 15[× 2], 16, 34; 7:3) and Ezekiel (41:5, 6[× 4], 7, 8, 9[× 2], 11, 26).136

3.6.2 What Are ṣəlā‘ōt? The use of the word in the case of the tabernacle structure makes it clear that the ark’s ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬are two of its sides. Since we would already have assumed, from the implication that the ark is a rectangular cuboid in shape, that it has sides, the  Lidzbarski, Kanaanäische Inschriften, 53.  Slouschz, Collection, 162 134  KAI 2:98; DNWSI, 2:928–929; cf. DISO, 232. 135 An old suggestion is “stairs”; see CIS 1:1:269–270 (no. 1.175); Cooke, Text-book, 130; Harris, Grammar, 138. Hoffmann proposed “twice” (dl p‘mm = “twice in disrepair”); cited in Lidzbarski, Ephemeris, 1:22 n. 1, and in idem, Kanaanäische Inschriften, 53. Yet another possibility is “yards” (dl p‘mm ‘srt = “of ten yards”); see Mulder, “Pa‘am”, 180. 136  See further Fabry, “ṣēlā”. 132 133

74

3. The Ark: Details of Form

very mention of ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬here does not inadvertently provide new information to the modern reader as did the mention of ‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬, ְ except in that it confirms a prior assumption. What remains to be determined is which two of the ark’s four sides are designated here. The determination will be relevant for understanding the position of the rings and carrying poles. The a priori possibilities are that the word refers to sides distinguished by absolute qualities, in which case it may denote either (1) the two longer sides, somewhat like the English noun “broadside”,137 or (2) the two shorter sides, similar to the English noun “end”.138 It may also refer to a distinction based on perspective and could then denote either (3) the two lateral (i. e., left and right) sides, similar to the English nouns “flank” and “wing”,139 or (4) the front and back. If the distinction is perspective-based, it still remains to be determined whose perspective is in mind: that of the person entering the holy of holies and facing the ark when it is at rest, or that of the person carrying it. Finally, the word may simply refer to (5) any two opposing sides, in which case the text fails to specify precisely how the ark’s rings and poles are aligned.

3.6.3 Survey of Interpretation 3.6.3.1 Septuagint, Targumim, Vulgate: Nonspecific Sides The ancient biblical translations all render the word in a manner consistent with Possibility 5. However, because this interpretation is nonspecific, it is unclear whether it is a conscientious choice or whether it is a result of hedging due to doubt or a lack of awareness of other possibilities. The Septuagint renders the word ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬in the description of the ark and related occurrences inconsistently. It uses κλίτος in the case of the ark (Exod 25:12 [25:11] ≈ 37:3 [38:3]; 25:14 [25:13]) and πλευρόν in the case of the bronze altar (27:7). In the case of the incense altar, it renders ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬with κλίτος and ‫ ַצד‬with πλευρόν (30:4). Various early revisions and corrections to the Septuagint use πλευρόν; these include a minuscule-script correction in Codex F of the Septuagint on the first description of the ark (25:12 [25:11]), Theodotion and others in the second description of the ark (37:5 [38:4]), and Origen in the second description of the incense altar (where ‫ ַצד‬is rendered as κλίτος, reversing the Septuagint: 37:27). Aquila in the second description of the ark (37:3ii [38:3ii]) uses μέρος. As seen above (§ 3.5.2.1), κλίτος, πλευρόν/πλευρά,140 and μέρος are all nonspecific terms: the first two essentially mean “side”, and the last essentially means “part”. Indeed, all three words are used in the Greek translational literature to render 137 OED,

“broadside, n.”, 1d.  Ibid., “end, n.”, 3a. 139  Ibid., “flank, n. 1”, 5; ibid., “wing, n.”, 6a–b. 140  The words πλευρόν and πλευρά are identical in meaning; see LSJ, “πλευρόν”. 138

3.6 ṣəlā‘ōt

75

‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬, ְ of which the ark has four, in the very same verse that first mentions the ark’s ‫( ְצ ָלעֹות‬25:12 [25:11]): κλίτος – by the Septuagint, πλευρά – by Symmachus, and μέρος – by Theodotion.141 The Aramaic translations and the Vulgate are more consistent. The Aramaic translations all use various forms of the word ‫( סטר‬Peshitta: sṭr; Targum Onqelos and Targum Neofiti: ‫ ;סטר‬Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: ‫ציטר‬/‫ ;סיטר‬Samaritan translation: ‫אצטר‬/‫)איצר‬, while the Vulgate uses latus. All these works use the same word throughout the tabernacle pericopes for ‫צ ָלע‬,ֵ including in the description of the bronze altar, and for ‫ ַצד‬and ‫ק ֶצה‬.ָ The words ‫ סטר‬and latus essentially mean “side”.142 This approach is followed by virtually all English translations of the Bible, which render ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬in these cases as “side”.143 3.6.3.2 Josephus, Sforno: Long Sides Josephus wrote that two of the ark’s rings were placed on each of its τοῖχον τῶν ἐπιμηκεστέρων, “long walls” (Jewish Antiquities 3.134), in what is clearly an interpretation of ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬in line with Possibility 1. Obadiah Sforno also endorsed this possibility, maintaining that “the long side is called ‫”צלע‬, both in the case of the ark and generally.144 Accordingly, he maintained that ‫ ַצד‬is the term denoting the short side.145 Similarly, Sevensma interpreted ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬here as referring to the long sides.146 3.6.3.3 Kimhi: Lateral Sides David Kimhi opted for Possibility 3, stating that ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬generally refer to “two sides, the right and the left”.147 This seems already to be the understanding of Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan, which states (7:6–7) that the ark had two rings on “the north” and two on “the south” without taking the trouble to clarify  For more on these words in the Greek translational literature, see above (§ 3.5.2.1).  The word ‫ סטר‬is defined in CAL [cited 6 June 2014] as “side”. The word latus is defined in OLD as “One or other of the vertical, or approximately vertical, surfaces of a solid object, a side”. 143  The talmudic sages apparently understood ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬as nonspecific sides as well. The sages following the Amora R. Judah b. Ezekiel (third century CE), who maintained that the ark’s poles were aligned with its short sides, and that these were also its lateral sides (b. Menahot 98a–b), did not mention the biblical text’s use of the word ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬either to support or to challenge their view. Furthermore, R. Samuel b. Nahman or R. Simeon b. Lakish (both contemporaries of R. Judah) could explain the ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬in Gen 2:21, 22 as the front and back ‫סטרי‬, “sides”, of the primordial human without being challenged on the point (Genesis Rabbah on Gen 1:26; Leviticus Rabbah on Lev 12:2). 144  Commentary on Exod 25:12, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:90. HALOT (“I ‫”צ ָלע‬ ֵ [3:1030]), while defining ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬as “rib/side”, also specifies, without stating its reasoning, that in the case of the ark the word refers to the longer side. 145  Commentary on Gen 6:15, in Katzenelnbogen, Genesis, 1:99. 146  Sevensma, Ark, 5. 147  Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 626–627. 141

142

76

3. The Ark: Details of Form

whether these are the long or the short sides. Propp translates ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬here as “flank” and argues that the word “often connotes the sides of structures”.148

3.6.4 Proposal: Lateral Sides Looking again at the tabernacle structure, we see that ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬usually refers to the northern or southern side of the edifice (Exod 26:20 = 36:25; 26:35a, b), as opposed to the western side, which is normally called ‫( יַ ְר ָּכ ַתיִ ם‬26:22 = 36:27; 26:23 = 36:28; 26:27b = 36:32b). Although ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬also refers in a single instance to the western side of the tabernacle (26:27b),149 when it is used without qualification the reader is expected to understand that it means the northern or southern side (26:26 = 36:31; 26:27a = 36:32a). The northern and southern sides of the tabernacle are its longer sides, its lateral sides (from the perspective of one entering the edifice), and its only two opposing sides (the eastern end lacks a solid vertical surface); they are not its shorter sides or its front and back. These data leave possibilities 1, 3, and 5 viable while ruling out 2 and 4. Possibility 1 is challenged by the fact that the bronze and incense altars, which, as we have seen, are each said to have ‫צ ָלעֹות‬,ְ are both square and have no longer or shorter sides (Exod 27:1 = 38:1; 30:2 = 37:25).150 One might answer that the word ‫צ ָלעֹות‬,ְ unqualified, usually refers to the longer sides and does so in the case of the ark, but in the special case of a square object it refers to any two opposing sides. However, the explicit statement that the altars have only two ‫( ְצ ָלעֹות‬27:7; 30:4 = 37:27) seems to invalidate this answer and thus rule out the first possibility. A separate argument against Possibility 1 is that the author of the priestly tabernacle account has another term which he uses to denote long sides, and which he could have used in the case of the ark: ‫( ֵּפ ָאה … ָּבא ֶֹרְך‬Exod 27:11). A final consideration is that the word ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬is paralleled in several ways by the word ‫צד‬.ַ Within the priestly tabernacle account, the latter word refers, like the former, to the northern and southern sides of the tabernacle structure (Exod 26:13). In the description of the incense altar, the two words are used side by side in what appears to be a conflation or explanatory gloss (30:4 = 37:27). Elsewhere, ‫צד‬,ַ exactly like ‫צ ָלע‬,ֵ denotes a surface of a structure (Gen 6:16), a part of the human body (Num 33:55 ≈ Josh 23:13 [cf. Judg 2:3]; 2 Sam 2:16; Isa 60:4; 66:12; Ezek 4:4, 6, 8[× 2], 9; 34:21), or a part of a hill (1 Sam 23:26[× 2]; 2 Sam Exodus, 382. by Abraham ibn Ezra in his long commentary on Exod 25:19, in Cohen, Exodus II, 74. Note that the word is absent in the parallel 36:32b. 150 Obadiah Sforno, who endorsed Possibility 1, creatively defanged the challenge posed by the incense altar by explaining that its ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬are any two of its vertical faces, which (because the incense altar’s dimensions are 1 L. × 1 W. × 2 H.) are all “long sides” relative to its top and bottom; see Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:157. However, he ignored the challenge posed by the bronze altar. 148 Propp,

149 Emphasized

3.6 ṣəlā‘ōt

77

13:34).151 These data suggest that ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬and ‫ ַצד‬are synonymous or very nearly so. In the tabernacle pericopes, ‫ ַצד‬refers to the parts of the lampstand from which its branches emerge (Exod 25:32[× 3] = 37:18[× 3]). The dimensions of the body of the lampstand are not specified, and it cannot be imagined to have “long” or “short” sides. Thus, possibilities 1 and 2 cannot be the meaning of ‫צד‬.ַ More importantly, ]‫ צדי[ם‬is contrasted in the description of the tabernacle structure (Exod 26:13) with ]‫פני[ם‬, “front” (v. 9), and ]‫אחֹרי[ם‬, “back” (v. 12), indicating that it refers, when used without further qualification, to the lateral sides. Because ‫ ֵצ ָלע‬is synonymous with ‫ ַצד‬or very nearly so, this seems to confirm the view of Kimhi and Propp, i. e., Possibility 3, that ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬are the lateral sides. The discontinuation in use of objects that were part of the real-life setting of ancient Israel has led to exegetical difficulties and errors regarding the priestly description of the ark and other biblical texts of a technical nature. In this chapter, investigation of archaeologically discovered ancient Near Eastern objects, both actual and depicted, has been used to help solve these difficulties and rectify these errors.

Fig. 3.1: Umbrella thorn acacia (Acacia tortilis). 151  It can also refer to the area or direction marked by a particular side of a person (1 Sam 20:20, 25; Ps 91:8), object (Deut 31:26; 1 Sam 6:8), city (Josh 3:16; 12:9), or group of people (Ruth 2:14).

78

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.2: White-painted, round-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Fig. 3.3a: Gable-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.3b: Excavator’s ruled sketch of previous object.

Fig. 3.3c: Excavator’s ruled sketch of previous object.

79

80

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.4: Relief, mastaba of Meryrenufer.

Fig. 3.5: Relief, mastaba of Idu.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.6: Terra-cotta pinax, Locri.

Fig. 3.7: Attic terra-cotta stamnos.

81

82

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.8: Innermost sarcophagus shrine, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Fig. 3.9: Golden shrine, tomb of Tutankhamun.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

83

Fig. 3.10a: Profile and shadow pattern of ovolo molding.

Fig. 3.10b: Profile and shadow pattern of cyma reversa molding.

Fig. 3.11: Nineteenth-century drawing of a guilloche pattern from an Ionic capital at the Erechtheum.

84

Fig. 3.12: Cavetto cornice.

Fig. 3.13: Obsidian box, Byblos.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.14: Acacia-wood table, Thebes.

Fig. 3.15: Table, Thebes.

85

86

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.16: Stone altar, Megiddo.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.17: Stone altars, Arad.

87

88

Fig. 3.18: Stone altar, Karnak.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.19: Wheeled bronze stand, Cyprus.

89

90

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.20: Wheeled bronze stand, Cyprus.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.21: Wheeled bronze stand, Larnaka.

91

92

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.22: Bronze stand, Megiddo.

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.23: Bronze stand, Enkomi.

93

94

3. The Ark: Details of Form

Fig. 3.24: Bronze stand, unprovenanced.

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus In the priestly account, the ark, like three other tabernacle furniture items, is equipped with a sophisticated carrying apparatus consisting of rings and poles. The notions that the ark, in particular, has poles and that it is carried are expressed in other biblical sources as well.

4.1 Rings 4.1.1 Biblical Data The priestly account describes the ark as having ‫ט ְּבעֹת זָ ָהב‬, ַ “gold rings”, with four rings on its four ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬and two on each of its two ‫( ְצ ָלעֹות‬Exod 25:12, 14– 15 ≈ 37:3, 5). The table also has four gold rings on the four ‫ ֵּפאֹת‬of its four legs (25:26–27 = 37:13–14). The incense altar has two gold rings under its ‫זֵ ר‬, on its two ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬or ]‫( צדי[ם‬30:4 = 37:27). The bronze altar has four bronze rings on the four ‫ ָקצֹות‬of its network (27:4, 7 ≈ 38:5, 7).1 The stated function of the rings on all four objects is to hold the object’s carrying poles.

4.1.2 Parallels One extant chest from ancient Egypt, already discussed (§ 3.2.2), has rings that house carrying poles [Figures 4.1a–b].2 The rings on this chest are made of bronze.3 The chest is similar in other ways to the ark as described in the priestly 1  The verb used to describe the creation of the ark’s rings, in both verses, is ‫יָ ַצק‬, “cast”. Elsewhere in the tabernacle pericopes, this verb is used only inconsistently, regarding the rings of the table (only 37:13) and of the bronze altar (only 38:5), the silver bases generally (only 38:27) and for the posts of the curtain (only 36:36), and the bronze bases for the posts of the entrance screen (only 26:37). The fashioning of the rings is otherwise denoted with the generic verb ‫ע ַׂשה‬, ָ “make”, but clearly the author always has casting in mind. Gold casting was occasionally employed in ancient Egypt, “often in conjunction with hand-wrought work” (Ogden, “Metals”, 165). Elsewhere in the Bible, ‫ יָ ַצק‬is used in the context of metal only regarding various bronze works in the temple (1 Kgs 7:46 = 2 Chr 4:17), including the “sea” (1 Kgs 7:23 = 2 Chr 4:2) and some of its decorations (1 Kgs 7:24 ≈ 2 Chr 4:3), the capitals of the columns (1 Kgs 7:16), and certain elements of the laver stands (1 Kgs 7:30, 33). 2  Kitchen (“Tabernacle”, 125*; On the Reliability, 280) notes this parallel. 3  Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.)

96

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

account. It is made of wood; all three of its dimensions are based on the cubit and its width equals its height; and it is circled by what we have identified (§ 3.4.3) as a ‫זֵ ר‬.4 Depicted chests from ancient Egypt with rings that house carrying poles are found in reliefs from the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, including one from the tomb of Sahure at Abusir (Busiris) [Figure 4.2],5 another from the mastaba of Ankhmahor at Saqqara [Figure 4.3],6 and several from the mastabas of Mereruka [Figure 4.4]7 and Mereruka’s son Meryteti [Figure 4.5]8 at the same site.

4.1.3 Number It is obvious to the casual reader of the priestly text that the ark is meant to have four rings and that the two rings on each of the two ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬are the same as the four rings on the four ‫ּפ ָעמֹות‬. ְ The text was clearly understood in this manner by the Septuagint and Vulgate on both relevant verses and in Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan (7:6–8). Rashi, Samuel b. Meir (ca. 1085–1158), Abraham ibn Ezra, Gersonides, and Leqah Tov all go to the trouble of pointing out that this is the ְ (Exod 25:12 = 37:3) is then meaning of the text.9 The initial waw of the first ‫ּוׁש ֵּתי‬ a waw explicativum, a type of conjunction that has been amply described by scholars.10 Yet, true to character, many tosafists, including Joseph Bekhor Shor, Isaiah di Trani (d. ca. 1280), Aharon b. Yose, Meir of Rothenburg, Hezekiah b. Manoah, and Jacob b. Asher (1270?–1340) read the aforementioned waw as a standard waw copulativum and concluded that the ark had two sets of four rings each – one set on the four ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬and one set on the two ‫צ ָלעֹות‬ – ְ for a total of eight rings.11 Abraham ibn Ezra also mentioned this view in his short commentary on

 4 The ark is made of acacia wood (§ 3.1). Noting that the Tutankhamun chest’s wood is red, certain scholars have asserted that it is “probably” or “certainly” cedar: Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.); Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 51. (But see § 3.1.2.)  5 Borchardt, Grabdenkmal, 2:67, 125, pl. 60.  6  Capart, rue de tombeaux, 2: pl. 64.  7  Duell, Mastaba of Mereruka, pls. 69, 72, 75, 76; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 19–20, fig. 40.  8 Kanawati and Abder-Raziq, Mereruka, pls. 30, 31(a), 33, 34(b), 35(a), 35(b), 36(b).  9  Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, short commentary of Ibn Ezra, Gersonides on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73; Leqah Tov ad loc. 10 GKC, § 154a n. 1(b). More recently: Wilton, “More Cases”. 11 Bekhor Shor: commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73, and in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 37 par. 2; Isaiah di Trani: in Gellis, ibid., 43 par. 7; Aharon b. Yose: Hagan, in Gellis, ibid., 37 par. 2; Meir of Rothenburg: comment on b. Yoma 72a, s. v. ‫( כתיב‬on the identification of this tosafist as Meir, see ch. 3 n. 97), also in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 41–43 par. 6; Hezekiah b. Manoah: commentary on Exod 25:12, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:91; Jacob b. Asher: commentary ad loc., in Complete Commentary of the Tur, 1:470 and in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 39 par. 14; see also ibid., 38 par. 7.

4.1 Rings

97

the Pentateuch and even endorsed it in his long commentary.12 A similar view appears in a medieval commentary from the Cairo Genizah.13 If the intuitive understanding of the ark as having only four rings requires proof, it can be found in the fact that both of the cited verses speak of only four rings being fashioned, and in the fact that the other three major tabernacle objects with rings indisputably have only one set of rings, totaling four rings (in the case of the table and the bronze altar) or only two (in the case of the incense altar). Furthermore, the extant Egyptian chest with rings [Figures 4.1a–b] and the depicted chests of this type [Figures 4.2–5] display only one set of rings and are not consistent with the view of the tosafists. The extant chest still differs from the ark, in that its set of rings consists of a pair of rings at each corner, totaling eight functioning rings, whereas the ark, according to any view regarding the number of its rings, has one functioning ring at each of its four corners. The purpose of the double rings at each corner is presumably to keep the poles straight. This aim could also be achieved using only one ring for each pole either by ensuring that the poles fit snugly in the rings or by giving the bands that form the rings substantial width. The chests depicted in the mastabas of Ankhmahor [Figure 4.3] and Meryteti [Figure 4.5] in fact have one ring at each corner.

4.1.4 Vertical Position A long-standing question concerns the vertical position of the ark’s rings in the priestly description. Does the author envision them at the top of the ark, at the bottom, or somewhere in between? The question is tied to the interpretation of ‫ §( ְּפ ָעמֹות‬3.5), since the text states that the ark’s rings are located ‫ַעל ַא ְר ַּבע ַּפ ֲעמ ָֹתיו‬ (Exod 25:12 = 37:3). 4.1.4.1 Survey of Interpretation An anonymous maxim cited in the Talmud (b. Shabbat 92a) in the context of the ark and the tabernacle is that all loads that were lifted by means of carrying poles were positioned with “one third [of their height] above [the poles] and two thirds below”. Since the carrying poles of the ark and of the table, bronze altar, and incense altar are clearly housed in the rings, this maxim seems to reflect the view that the rings were located on the vertical faces of the ark and of the other three objects, one third of the distance from the top. The maxim, interpreted in this manner, was endorsed by Jacob b. Asher.14  Both on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73.  De Lange, Greek Jewish Texts, 110–111 lines 11–12. 14  Commentary on Exod 25:12, in Complete Commentary of the Tur, 1:470, and in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 39 par. 14. 12

13

98

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

On the other hand, Rashi, who followed Targum Onqelos in interpreting the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬of the ark as “corners”, maintained that the rings were set rather on the upper corners of the ark adjacent to the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ He was followed by Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon.15 Nahmanides, who understood ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬as “footsteps”, endorsed a third possibility, maintaining that the ark’s rings were set on its lower corners, adjacent to its base. He was followed by Asher b. Jehiel (ca. 1250–1327) and Obadiah Sforno.16 All three of the views attested in rabbinic and medieval Jewish sources are represented in early medieval artistic depictions of the ark as well. A fifth-century mosaic panel from the northeastern side of the nave at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome shows the ark being carried on poles attached near its top [Figure 4.6a]. Two other mosaic panels from the same location and date depict the poles as attached to its bottom [Figures 4.6b–c]. The ninth-century Utrecht Psalter similarly contains one illustration in which the ark’s pole-rings are attached to its lid [Figure 4.7a] and another in which they are attached to the bottoms of its feet [Figure 4.7b]. The Golden Psalter of St. Gall [Figure 4.8] and the Bible of San Paolo fuori de Mura [Figure 4.9], both from the ninth century as well, show the ark’s rings at its top. The apsidal mosaic in the Oratory of Germigny-des-Prés near Orleans, from the same century, depicts the ark with its carrying poles about a third of the vertical distance from the top [Figure 4.10 / Plate 5a], as does the tenth-century Bible of San Isidoro de León [Figures 4.11].17 However, in the earliest extant depiction of the ark with its carrying poles, from the Dura-Europos synagogue, the poles are not attached to the ark at all, but to a stepped pedestal underneath it [Figure 2.8b / Plate 2b]. 4.1.4.2 New Proposal: On Underside All of these interpretations, except for the illustration from the Utrecht Psalter in which the rings are attached to the bottoms of the ark’s feet, understand the rings as being attached somewhere on the vertical faces of the ark or on its top. In this they share a problem: the ark as described in the tabernacle pericopes, with its solid gold lid and cherubim sculptures, would be very heavy. If the gold rings were attached anywhere on the vertical faces of the ark or on its top, it seems 15  Rashi: commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72; Abraham b. Moses: Sassoon, Commentary, 390. Contrary to the claim of Asher b. Jehiel (Complete Commentary of the Tur, 1:470), Rashi’s view is not consistent with the talmudic view above, as Rashi states that the ark’s rings were placed on its “upper corners, adjacent to the lid”, meaning at or near its very top, not two-thirds of the way up. 16  Nahmanides: commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73; Asher b. Jehiel: cited by his son Jacob b. Asher, commentary ad loc., in Complete Commentary of the Tur, 1:470, and in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 38 par. 11; Sforno: commentary ad loc., in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:90. 17  For more on medieval artistic depictions of the ark, see Revel-Neher, L’arche, and below (§ 4.1.5.1, § 4.2.3).

4.1 Rings

99

that the heavy weight of the ark would, when it was being carried, apply a great upward force on the rings, shearing them off. The conclusion above (§ 3.5.3) that the ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬of the ark are feet allows for a different understanding of the positioning of the ark’s rings. They may be set on its underside, at its feet, not on them. This way, the ark’s weight would push the poles upward against the body of the ark rather than pull the rings away from the ark; in other words, the rings would not have to bear any of the ark’s weight but would simply have to keep the poles in place, which is in fact just what they are described as doing. This is also precisely the positioning of the rings on the red chest from the tomb of Tutankhamun, whose rings are attached to boards fixed to its underside [Figures 4.1a–b],18 and on the depicted chests with rings [Figures 4.2–4.5]. This conclusion helps to make sense of the statements concerning the position of the rings on the other three objects in the tabernacle. In all cases, the rings should be understood as being positioned in such a way that the poles they house can push up against a horizontal surface, thus bearing the weight of the object. The table’s four rings are placed ‫( ַעל ַא ְר ַּבע ַה ֵּפאֹת ֲא ֶׁשר ְל ַא ְר ַּבע ַרגְ ָליו‬Exod 25:26 = 37:13); this wording should be understood as referring to the four angles of the table surface’s underside created by the four legs. The bronze altar’s four rings are placed on the four edges of its network (27:4 ≈ 38:5), and the network reaches up to the ‫( ַּכ ְרּכֹב‬27:5 ≈ 38:4). Apparently, the purpose of this arrangement is that the rings, and the poles they house, can rest against the underside of the ‫ּכ ְרּכֹב‬,ַ which, in light of the discussion of this word above (§ 3.4.3.3), should be understood as a projecting band circling the altar at about mid-height. Because the bronze altar has no feet or legs and therefore no underside, this is the best feasible option. Finally, the incense altar’s two rings are set ‫( ִמ ַּת ַחת ְלזֵ רֹו‬30:4 = 37:26); in light of the above (§ 3.4.3), this should be understood as meaning: under the projecting curve of the cavetto cornice. Either the priestly author does not imagine the incense altar to have a ‫ּכ ְרּכֹב‬,ַ or, because of this object’s tall, narrow structure, it is important to have the poles at the top rather than around mid-height, in order to avoid the risk of the object tipping over during transportation.

4.1.5 Horizontal Alignment It remains to be determined whether the rings, and the poles that they house, are set on the ark’s long sides or its short sides. The question is tied to the interpretation of ‫ §( ְצ ָלעֹות‬3.6), because the text states that both the rings (Exod 25:12 = 37:3) and their poles (25:14 = 37:5) are situated on the ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬of the ark.

 Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.)

18

100

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

4.1.5.1 Survey of Interpretation The talmudic view is that the poles were set on the ark’s short sides (t. Menahot 11:5). The stated rationale for this view, credited to the Amora R. Judah, is that two porters, one for each pole, would have to fit in the space between the poles, and the cubit-and-a-half width of the ark would not suffice for this (b. Menahot 98b). The talmudic view is explicitly accepted by Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, Hezekiah b. Manoah, an anonymous tosafist in the commentary Hadar Zeqenim, and Gersonides.19 However, the stated rationale is plainly faulty, because the porters might walk on the outside of the poles rather than between them. In fact, in the case of the incense altar, whose length and width are both only one cubit (Exod 30:2 = 37:25), even less than the width of the ark, they would have to do so. It seems that the ostensible basis for the talmudic interpretation, namely the presumed need for two porters to fit in the space between the poles, is a rationalization after the fact, and that the rabbis’ insistence that the poles were set on the ark’s short sides is rather an inevitable corollary of the combination of two independently held talmudic ideas regarding the alignment of the ark. The first of these ideas is that the ark is positioned in the sanctuary with its length perpendicular to the sanctuary’s axis; in other words, the viewer entering the holy of holies faces a long side of the ark. This conception is stated explicitly in several places.20 It is plausible in the case of the tabernacle, because there Yhwh speaks to Moses from upon the ‫“ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬from between (‫)מ ֵּבין‬ ִ the two cherubim” (Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89). The cherubim must therefore be, from Moses’s perspective, on the left and right of the place from which Yhwh speaks; if one of them were in front of Yhwh, he would be speaking from behind it, and the word “between” would not be apt. The cherubim seem to be, and are universally understood as, positioned on the short sides of the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬see § 11.3.1): this is the aesthetically agreeable arrangement, in which there is room between them for Yhwh’s presence and no awkward and unnecessary protuberance of the ark in the front and/ or back.21 Therefore, it seems that the author of the priestly tabernacle account indeed intended for his readers to envision the ark as placed with its long sides perpendicular to the axis of the tabernacle. The second talmudic idea is that the ark’s poles are aligned parallel to the sanctuary’s axis; in other words, they project toward the viewer entering the holy of 19 Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, Gersonides: commentaries on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73; Hezekiah b. Manoah: commentary on Exod 25:12, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:90–92; Hadar Zeqenim: Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 31 par. 10. 20  Sifra on Lev 24:8; t. Menahot 11:5; anonymous baraita in b. Menahot 98a; Numbers Rabbah on Num 4:5. 21  The cherubim are said each to be on a ‫ ָק ֶצה‬of the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬25:18–19 = 37:7–8). Strictly speaking, ‫ ָק ֶצה‬can refer to the long side (Exod 26:5 = 36:12) as well as the short side (Exod 26:28 = 36:33; 28:25 = 39:18).

4.1 Rings

101

holies. This conception too, is expressed in several places.22 It stems from an interpretation of the biblical statement that, in the temple, the heads of the ark’s poles could be seen from the Holy Place (1 Kgs 8:8 = 2 Chr 5:9) as meaning that they projected toward the entrance to the holy of holies; it also deploys a midrashic interpretation of the poetic statement ‫ּבין ָׁש ַדי יָ ִלין‬,ֵ “he lies between my breasts” (Song 1:13), as meaning that the poles jutted into the entrance curtain, appearing “like a woman’s two breasts”. In summary, the talmudic view is that (1) the ark’s long sides are perpendicular to the axis of the sanctuary and (2) its poles are parallel to this axis; therefore (3) the ark’s poles must be aligned with its short sides. Conversely, we have seen (§ 3.6.3.2) that Josephus and Obadiah Sforno understood the rings as being set on the ark’s long sides. Nahmanides also maintained that the poles were situated on the ark’s long sides, accepting the talmudic conception that the poles were aligned with the sanctuary’s axis but rejecting the principle that the ark’s long sides were perpendicular to this axis.23 Similarly, two ninth-century CE pictorial depictions of the ark, one from the Germigny-des-Prés mosaic [Figure 4.10 / Plate 5a], the other from the Utrecht Psalter [Figure 4.7b; see also Figure 4.7a], both of which depict the ark in three dimensions and which faithfully reflect the biblical text in other details, thereby suggesting a conscientious attempt to interpret the text visually, also show the ark’s rings and poles aligned with its long sides. 4.1.5.2 Proposal: On Long Sides The extant Egyptian chest with carrying poles has its rings and poles aligned with its long sides, consistent with the interpretation of Josephus, Nahmanides, and Sforno. Another chest-like container from the tomb of Tutankhamun with carrying poles attached to an underlying wooden sledge rather than rings also has its poles aligned with its long sides (see further § 4.2.2) [Figure 4.12 / Plate 5b].24 A hypothesis that seems to fit all of the data is as follows. The priestly author had in mind that the ark’s rings and poles were aligned with its long sides, like 22  Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan 7:6–19; t. Yoma 2:15; anonymous baraita in b. Yoma 54a and Menahot 98a–b; y. Sheqalim 6:1; presupposed in m. Yoma 5:1. 23  Commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73. Nahmanides was misinterpreted by supercommentators who were eager to harmonize his view with that expressed in the Talmud: Chaim D. Chavel, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:91 n. 79, citing Kur Zahav; Lieberman, Tuv Yerushalaim, 2:343; Dvir, Bet HaYayin, 2:328. 24 The depicted chests with carrying poles also have their rings and poles aligned with the visible horizontal dimension, which, because it is greater than the height, is most easily understood as the length. However, this datum is not demonstrative, because aspects are often mixed in Egyptian art. For example, the curvature of vaulted lids on chests is occasionally depicted as being aligned with what appears to be their length, whereas in fact the curvature of these lids was aligned with the width: see Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 17.

102

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

the extant Egyptian chests. This means that he also imagined the poles to be perpendicular to the axis of the tabernacle. When the author says that the rings are aligned with the ‫צ ָלעֹות‬,ְ which we have interpreted as the lateral sides (§ 3.6.4), he is referring to the lateral sides from the perspective of those carrying the ark rather than those viewing it at rest. This identification of the perspective referred to by the author seems to be supported by the statement that the ‫ ַּב ִּדים‬of the bronze altar should be “on the two ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬of the altar when it is carried” (‫ִּב ְׂש ֵאת‬ ‫אֹתֹו‬: Exod 27:7). If the talmudic interpretation of the biblical statement concerning the poles of the ark in the temple (1 Kgs 8:8 = 2 Chr 5:9), according to which they were aligned with the temple’s axis, is correct, and if the author of this biblical statement also imagined the poles to be aligned with the ark’s long sides, then he must have imagined the ark as oriented with its long sides aligned with the temple’s axis, as opposed to the priestly author’s view of the ark’s orientation in the tabernacle as universally understood.

4.2 Poles 4.2.1 Biblical Data As noted above (§ 2.1.1–2), three separate biblical sources agree that the ark had carrying poles. In the tabernacle pericopes, these poles are called ‫ּב ִּדים‬,ַ 25 are made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and are housed in the ark’s four gold rings (Exod 25:13–15 ≈ 37:4–5; 35:12aα; 39:35a; 40:20aβ; Num 4:6b). The same is true of the table (Exod 25:27–28 ≈ 37:14–15; 35:13; Num 4:8). The golden altar has similar poles housed in two gold rings (Exod 30:4–5 ≈ 37:27–28; 35:15; Num 4:11), while the bronze altar has poles overlaid with bronze and housed in four bronze rings (Exod 27:6–7 ≈ 38:5–7; 35:16; 39:39; Num 4:14). The fifth major tabernacle object, the lampstand, has no ‫ ַּב ִּדים‬and is carried, along with its ancillary objects, on a ‫( מֹוט‬Num 4:10), as are the miscellaneous ancillary objects of the tabernacle (v. 12). A passage in Kings also holds that the ark had ‫( ַּב ִּדים‬1 Kgs 8:7–8 ≈ 2 Chr 5:8– 9).26 And a passage in Chronicles with no parallel elsewhere in the Bible states that the ark was carried by means of ‫( מֹטֹות‬1 Chr 15:15), which is a similar term.27

 In Ezekiel (17:6; 19:14), ‫ ַּב ִּדים‬designate grapevine branches.  This similarity prompts McCormick (“From Box to Throne”, 182) to posit that 1 Kgs 8:8 is a post-Deuteronomistic priestly supplement. 27  Like ‫ּב ִּדים‬,ַ ‫ מֹטֹות‬are used for carrying objects (Num 4:10, 12; 13:23) and are typically made of wood (Jer 28:13). 25 26

4.2 Poles

103

4.2.2 Parallels The single extant ancient chest with carrying poles housed in rings, from the tomb of Tutankhamun, has been discussed (§ 3.2.2, § 4.1.2). Its poles are made of ebony, have circular cross sections, and are rounded at the outer ends. Each pole slides through a pair of rings by one of the chest’s feet and has a flat surface on its inner segment to keep it from rotating within the rings [Figure 4.1a].28 Like the poles of the ark as described in Exodus, these poles are made of wood (see Exod 25:13 = 37:4), they are slid through metal rings near each of the chest’s four feet (see Exod 25:12 = 37:3), and they are aligned along two of the chest’s sides (see Exod 25:14 = 37:5). Earlier depictions of chests with carrying poles held by rings have also been discussed (§ 4.1.2) [Figures 4.2–4.5]. A separate item from the tomb of Tutankhamun, a pylon-shaped chest surmounted by a statue of Anubis, has carrying poles that are attached to an underlying wooden sledge [Figure 4.12 / Plate 5b].29 Significantly, these poles are coated with gold, like those of the ark.30 Egyptian depictions of chests equipped with carrying poles not held by rings are attested from as early as the Fourth Dynasty, in a scene from the mastaba of Queen Meresankh III at Giza [Figure 4.13].31

4.2.3 Number Neither the priestly account, nor the passage in Kings, nor the ‫ מֹטֹות‬passage in Chronicles, specifies how many poles the ark has. Oddly, this question has almost never been directly addressed by commentators, but the priestly account has usually been understood to mean that the ark has two long poles, each of which juts out at both ends and is slid through two rings. Menahem Meiri explicitly wrote that the ark has two poles,32 and it can be inferred from the comments of other medieval Jewish scholars that they thought the same.33 This is also how the ark is depicted in the Germigny-des-Prés mosaic [Figure 4.10 / Plate 5a], the psalters 28  Malek, Tutankhamun, Carter card 032–2; Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.); Krauss et al., Tutanchamun, 117; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 53. 29  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 261. Hoffmeier (Ancient Israel, 213–214) notes the similarity between these poles and those of the ark, adding that the Egyptian chest (which he, like Carter, calls a “shrine”) and the ark are of similar dimensions. The object, at L. 95 × W. 37 × H. 54.3, is actually somewhat smaller than both the ark and the round-lidded chest discussed above (§ 3.2.2). 30 See Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel, 214. A text from the Ugaritic Baal Cycle (KTU 1.4.i.36–7) refers to a couch or palanquin (na‘la) with golden yubalū. Propp (Exodus, 382) speaks of “golden carrying poles” in accordance with the translation of Wyatt (Religious Texts from Ugarit, 92). The relevant word is translated as “handles” by Smith and Pitard (Ugaritic, 398). 31  Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 19–20. 32  Ravitz, Beit Habhira, 214–215. 33  See Rashi, Isaac b. Judah Halevi, an anonymous tosafist, and Meir of Rothenberg below (§ 4.3.4.1).

104

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

of Utrecht [Figure 4.7b; see also Figure 4.7a] and St. Gall [Figure 4.8], the Bible of San Paolo fuori de Mura [Figure 4.9], and the Bible of San Isidoro de León [Figures 4.11].34 Keil and Delitzsch casually stated that the ark has four poles.35 Propp is silent in his comments but presents two illustrations, each showing the ark with two poles.36 But the fact that, in the priestly account, the golden altar has poles (in the plural) and only two rings shows that each pole is held by only one ring. This suggests that the ark, which has four rings, has four poles. To be sure, both arrangements of carrying poles are attested in ancient Egypt. The red chest from the tomb of Tutankhamun [Figure 4.1a], along with the depicted chests from the tombs of Sahure [Figure 4.2], Ankhmahor [Figure 4.3], Mereruka [Figure 4.4], and Meryteti [Figure 4.5] have four poles, one at each corner; while the Anubis chest from the tomb of Tutankhamun [Figure 4.12 / Plate 5b], along with the depicted chests from the mastabas of Meryrenufer [Figure 3.4] and Idu [Figure 3.5], have two long poles, each of which juts out at two corners. However, all of the chests, both actual and depicted, that have rings have four poles. This lends further support to the interpretation of the priestly account as intending to give the ark four poles.

4.2.4 Method of Carriage The agreement among separate biblical sources regarding the ark’s poles extends to the method of its carriage. The priestly author states that the Qohathites carry their burdens, which include the ark, “on the shoulder” (‫ּב ָּכ ֵתף‬:ַ Num 7:9). In Chronicles, we read in two separate verses that the ark’s porters carry it “on the shoulder” (‫ּב ָּכ ֵתף‬: ַ 2 Chr 35:3) or “on their shoulder” (‫ּב ְכ ֵת ָפם‬: ִ 1 Chr 15:15); though, admittedly, the latter verses may be derived by the Chronicler from the former.37 While the depicted chests with rings and carrying poles that we have seen are all shown as being carried underhand, there are several depictions of ringless chests carried by means of poles placed on the shoulders, such as a relief from the early Nineteenth-Dynasty tomb of Merymery at Saqqara [Figure 4.14].38

34  In the older Dura-Europos painting depicting the capture of the ark [Figure 2.8b / Plate 2b] and the Santa Maria Maggiore mosaics [Figures 4.6a–c], it is not clear whether two poles or four are intended. 35  K&D, Pentateuch, 2:167 36  Propp, Exodus, figs. 1a, 1b. 37 For other biblical references to carrying objects on shoulders, see Exod 28:12; Judg 16:3; Ezek 12:6, 7, 12; Isa 46:7; 49:22. 38  Schneider and Raven, Egyptische Oudheid, 96, 98, fig. 84b. For additional examples, all from the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Dynasty, see Falk, “Ritual Processional Furniture”, 542, 552, 555, 563, 590.

4.3 Inseparability of Poles

105

4.3 Inseparability of Poles 4.3.1 Biblical Data In the priestly account of the commands for the construction of the ark (Exod 25:10–16), after it is specified that the carrying poles are to be inserted into four gold rings at each of the ark’s four feet (vv. 12–14), it is added that the poles are to stay in the ark’s rings and never to part from it (‫ְּב ַט ְּבעֹת ָה ָאר ֹן יִ ְהיּו ַה ַּב ִּדים לֹא יָ ֻסרּו‬ ‫מ ֶּמּנּו‬: ִ v. 15). This requirement is not paralleled in the cases of the other three tabernacle objects with carrying poles – the table, the bronze altar, and the incense altar – nor is it repeated in the account of the ark’s construction (Exod 37:1–5). It is, however, comparable to two other requirements within the priestly tabernacle texts: first, that the breast-piece is to be tied to the ephod and is not to come loose from it (Exod 28:28 = 39:21); second, that the robe of the ephod is to have a binding around its opening and is not to tear (Exod 28:32 ≈ 39:23). The command regarding the poles can be understood to mean that they are to be inserted into the rings in such a way that it is not possible for them to part from it. This understanding was proposed by the Amora R. Aha b. Jacob (ca. 300 CE) and rejected in the Talmud (b. Yoma 72a). It may also be reflected in the Septuagint, which has in place of the phrase ‫ לֹא יָ ֻסרּו ִמ ֶּמּנּו‬the single word ἀκίνητοι, “immovable”.39 But the command is more commonly understood to mean that it is not permissible for the poles to part from the ark. Hence, the Amoraim R. Eleazar (d. 279) and Abbaye (278–338) considered their removal a violation of a pentateuchal prohibition (b. Yoma 72a, Makkot 22a). Either way, the text creates a picture in which, in practice, the poles never part from the ark. Here, too, there is an agreement with a separate tradition in Kings, which states that the ark retained its poles when it was brought to rest in the temple and that the poles remained there “to this day” (1 Kgs 8:7–8 ≈ 2 Chr 5:8–9).

4.3.2 Parallels The tradition is consistent with the Egyptian material data. The poles of the red chest from the tomb of Tutankhamun have a collar at their inner end that is wider than the ring [Figure 4.1a], which “stops the poles from being totally withdrawn from their mounting”.40

39 NETS: “fixed”. The Greek word, however, may also describe a thing that can be moved but should not be, as in Herodotus, Histories 6.134 (regarding the nefarious intentions of Miltiades in the Shrine of Demeter near Paros): κινήσοντά τι τῶν ἀκινήτων, “moving something that should not be moved”. 40  Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 53; see also Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.)

106

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

4.3.3 The Problem: Contradiction with Num 4:6 However, in the priestly instructions regarding the packing up of the tabernacle (Num 4), we read that in the course of preparing the ark for transport, Aaron and his sons are to “put in”41 its carrying poles (‫וְ ָׂשמּו ַּב ָּדיו‬: v. 6). The same action is prescribed for the table (v. 8), the incense altar (v. 11), and the bronze altar (v. 14), and these three objects pose no problem. But if the ark’s poles are always “in”, how can they be “put in” when packing up the tabernacle? It cannot be answered that the author of Num 4 was adhering heedlessly to a rigid formula, because this is clearly not the case. On the contrary, he included two peculiarities in the instructions for the ark vis-à-vis the other objects: it was to be wrapped in the tabernacle’s own screening curtain (v. 5) as opposed to a generic dyed cloth (vv. 7, 9, 11, 12, 13), and its leather covering was to be wrapped again in a “pure blue” cloth (v. 6).

4.3.4 Survey of Interpretation This contradiction has received a great deal of attention, especially from medieval Jewish commentators on the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. It is never addressed in the Talmud itself, although the aforementioned colloquy on the ark’s poles in b. Yoma 72a, which raised related issues, triggered and influenced later discussions of it. 4.3.4.1 Saadiah Gaon et al.: wəśāmû Means “adjust” Saadiah Gaon may have been spurred by the problem when translating the word ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו‬in Num 4:6 (and in vv. 8, 11, 14) into Judeo-Arabic as ‫ויצלחו‬, which carries the sense of “adjust” or “fix”.42 This translation suggests – or at least allows for – an understanding of the instruction that is compatible with Exod 25:15: the ark’s carrying poles in fact never part from it, and the instruction in Num 4:6 does not mean that they are to be inserted, but that they are to be adjusted so that they are ready for use. In the modern period, Gray and Jacob each cited this as one of two possible solutions, and Greenstone advocated it as well.43 Various other commentators have followed this line of thinking and offered more specific ideas as to how the poles would have been adjusted. 41 As translated in the following English-language Bibles: Wycliffe and Douay (Vulgate: inducent), Tyndale, King James, Webster’s, RV, ASV, RSV, and ESV. Other translations include “put […] therein” (Coverdale), “put to” (Geneva), “put to it” (Darby), “put in place” (NAB, NIV, NJPS, NRSV, NLT), “place” (YLT), “set” (JPS), and “insert” (NASB, NKJV, NET; cf. Septuagint: διεμβαλοῦσιν). 42  Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 22. 43  Gray, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 34–35; Jacob, Pentateuch, 166; Greenstone, Numbers, 34.

4.3 Inseparability of Poles

107

Rashi neglected to address the contradiction directly in his written works, but the answer he gave to his student Judah b. Abraham, when the latter asked him about it, is recorded in a gloss by Shemaiah of Troyes (eleventh century) on Rashi’s commentary to Num 4:6 (preserved in MS Leipzig 1). The poles could slide back and forth, he responded, but nevertheless could not fall out of the rings because their ends were too thick to pass through. The meaning of the instruction ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו ַּב ָּדיו‬is thus that when the ark was being prepared for transport, the poles were to be slid so that they protruded equally from both ends of the ark, thereby distributing its weight equally among its porters; they were then to be fastened in that position. When the Israelites camped, the poles were restored to their original state, in which they could move back and forth.44 It is clear that Rashi imagined the ark as having two poles. The latent inspiration for his understanding of the poles’ original position is the statement in 1 Kgs 8:8 (≈ 2 Chr 5:9) ‫וַ ּיַ ֲא ִרכּו‬ ‫ה ַּב ִּדים‬,ַ which indicates that the ark’s poles were movable and could be made to extend more or less in each direction. More opaquely worded solutions proposed by other medieval commentators can be understood in the same vein as Rashi’s characteristically lucid remarks. Eliakim b. Meshullam of Speyer (twelfth century) posited that the poles could be pulled outward within the rings but could not fall out of them completely, and thus they were always attached to the ark, “like our door-bolts, which are attached to the wall”.45 Nahmanides, quoting the words ‫ וַ ּיַ ֲא ִרכּו ַה ַּב ִּדים‬in Kings, explained the instruction in Num 4:6 as meaning that the poles were to be extended within the rings so that they could be used to carry the ark.46 Both commentators seem to have understood ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו ַּב ָּדיו‬as an instruction to slide the poles in some manner. The tosafist Isaac b. Judah Halevi, citing a certain Moses, followed Rashi but added that when the ark was at rest in the tabernacle, the poles were in fact slid all the way to one end, so that they jutted into the entrance curtain “like a woman’s breasts”.47 This interpretation fulfills 1 Kgs 8:8 (although this verse speaks of the temple, not the tabernacle) as well as the aforementioned midrash on Song 1:13 (see § 4.1.5.1). An anonymous tosafist adduced the same midrash in his solution but seems to have explained the sliding of the poles in the opposite manner. He wrote that, when the ark was at rest, the poles were pushed “inward” (i. e., away from the curtain, perhaps so as not to create an obstacle for one approaching it). It was when they were so positioned that they protruded (i. e., from the ark) like  Cohen, Numbers, 17–18. See also Penkower, “Two Scholars”, 241–243.  Commentary on b. Yoma 72a, in Genachowski, Commentarius, 222. Through conjectural textual emendation, Eliakim credited the aforementioned talmudic colloquy with raising the problem, and he put his solution in the Talmud’s mouth. As he admitted, no actual manuscript supported his reading. 46  Commentary on Num 4:6, in Cohen, Numbers, 19. Nahmanides was followed by Isaac Abrabanel, in Shaviv, Numbers, 20–21. 47  Comment on Exod 25:15, in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 41 par. 5, see also par. 3. 44 45

108

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

a woman’s breasts. Num 4:6 means that the poles were to be pulled outward (presumably so that they protruded equally at both ends).48 An idea floated by Meir of Rothenburg in a better known comment, and rejected for a reason outside the scope of this discussion, appears to constitute a compromise between the two preceding views: the instruction in Num 4:6 is to pull the poles outward, and this action made them jut into the curtain, fulfilling 1 Kgs 8:8.49 This view, however, is especially problematic, because Num 4:6 refers to a stage at which the curtain has already been taken down (v. 5).50 Similar and more detailed remarks were made by Menahem Meiri, who stated that when the ark was at rest its poles were pulled “behind” it.51 However, it is not clear whether by “behind” he meant, as Isaac b. Judah, toward the curtain, or, as the anonymous tosafist and Meir of Rothenburg, away from the curtain. Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon suggested that, when the Israelites camped, each pole was removed from one of its two rings but left in the other, and was reinserted in preparation for transport.52 According to a proposal by Hezekiah b. Manoah, the words ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו ַּב ָּדיו‬mean that the rings should be settled into prepared slits in the poles to prevent the ark from sliding along the poles when carried on an incline.53 Meyuhas b. Elijah explained the instruction as meaning that those engaged in the packing should expose the poles, after they were covered according to vv. 5–6b, so that they can be used to carry the ark.54 4.3.4.2 Jacob of Orleans et al.: wəśāmû Means “put on shoulders” Another suggestion, attributed by Meir of Rothenburg to Jacob of Orleans (d. 1189), advocated by Abraham ibn Ezra and Eleazar b. Judah of Worms (ca. 1165 – ca. 1230), and mentioned by Nahmanides and Hezekiah b. Manoah, is that ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו‬in Num 4:6 should be understood in the sense of “put on”; specifically, on the shoulders of the ark’s porters.55 Jacob also cited this as the second of 43–44 par. 10; Sassoon, Sefer Moshav Zeqenim, 202. on b. Yoma 72a., s. v. ‫כתיב‬. 50  Because of this difficulty, the nineteenth century rabbinic scholar Samuel Strashun (“Notes”) made a conjectural emendation to the text of the comment and interpreted the tosafist’s idea as being identical to that of Isaac b. Judah. Strashun’s reading was echoed by his contemporary Naftali Z. Y. Berlin (Torat Elohim, 27). 51  Commentary on b. Yoma 72a, in Ravitz, Beit Habhira, 214–215. 52  Sassoon, Commentary, 390. Like Eliakim b. Meshullam, he attributed his solution to the aforementioned talmudic colloquy. 53  Commentary on Exod 25:15, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:92; commentary on Num 4:6, in Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 22. The idea also appears in a similar text found in Moshav Zeqenim, (Sassoon, Sefer Moshav Zeqenim, 426). 54  Freilich Rabbenu Meyuhas, 8. 55  Meir of Rothenburg: aforementioned tosafot on b. Yoma; Ibn Ezra: long commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73; also cited in commentary on Num 4:6, in Cohen, Numbers, 19; Eleazar b. Judah: commentary on Num 4:6, in Klugmann and Sons, Rokeach, 3:15; 48 Ibid.,

49 Tosafot

4.3 Inseparability of Poles

109

two possible solutions.56 However, if this were the intended meaning, we would expect the porters’ shoulders to be mentioned in the sentence. Furthermore, as Meir of Rothenburg pointed out in rejecting this possibility, Num 4:15 prohibits the porters from entering the premises until the process of packing up the major tabernacle objects is completed. 4.3.4.3 Anonymous: wəśāmû Means “transfer to second set of rings” Ibn Ezra cited – but balked at accepting – the view of unnamed contemporaries who believed that the ark had two sets of rings and explained Num 4:6 as meaning that the poles were to be transferred from one set to the other.57 In this scenario, Exod 25:15 is also fulfilled in a sense, because, barring the brief moment of transfer, the poles of the ark are always in its rings, even if the identities of those rings change. The implausibility of attributing two sets of rings to the ark has been noted (§ 4.1.3). The common flaw to all the proposals seen until now is that they do not include a justification for their various interpretations of the word ‫וְ ָׂשמּו‬, and they do not explain how the biblical writer could use the verb in these peculiar senses and expect to be understood. 4.3.4.4 Bekhor Shor: wəśāmû Is a One-Time Command Joseph Bekhor Shor conjectured that Num 4:6 was a one-time command whose goal was to allow the priests to attach the poles to the ark; after that event, he speculated, the poles were permanently left in place, fulfilling Exod 25:15.58 But it is clear that Num 4 intends to describe the regular procedure for disassembling the tabernacle. 4.3.4.5 Joseph Kara: lō yāsūrû Does Not Preclude Intentional Removal An explanation first attested in a comment by Joseph Kara is that the poles were in fact removed from the ark when it was at rest, and that the instruction in Exod 25:15 is merely to fix them firmly in the rings whenever they are inserted, so that the ark does not slip this way and that when being carried.59 The proposal was cited anonymously by Bekhor Shor, who rejected it based on the Talmud’s position that the poles were never to be removed.60 In any case, the proposal relies Nahmanides: commentary on Num 4:6, in Cohen, Numbers, 19; Hezekiah b. Manoah: commentary on Num 4:6, in Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 22. 56  Jacob, Pentateuch, ibid. 57 Long commentary on Exod 25:12, in Cohen, Numbers, 19. 58  Commentary on Exod 25:15, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73. 59  Mack, “New Fragments”, 551–552. 60  Commentary on Exod 25:15, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73. See also Jacobs, Bekhor Shoro, 102–103.

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4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

on an interpretation of Exod 25:15 which, although it was later taken up by Moses b. Jacob of Coucy (thirteenth century),61 simply does not fit the wording of the verse, according to which the poles are to be “in” (‑‫)ּב‬ ְ the rings and are not to “part” (‫ )יָ ֻסרּו‬from it. Ehrlich, in his German-language commentary, explained that the command in Exod 25:15 means that the poles should be made to fit precisely into the rings, so that they don’t slip out accidentally.62 Ehrlich’s solution differs from Joseph Kara’s in identifying the mishap that Exod 25:15 is meant to prevent as complete detachment of the poles from the rings and the ark, rather than mere sliding. Thus, it fits the wording of the verse better. This proposal has been seconded more recently by Houtman.63 Propp floats this idea yet again, but he characterizes it as “difficult” because “[a]ccording to 1 Kgs 8:8 the Chest retained its poles in Solomon’s Temple, as if Exod 24:15 [sic] were understood as an eternal proscription”.64 Ehrlich had recognized this difficulty, but it is not easy to accept his response to it, which is that the author of 1 Kgs 8:8 misunderstood Exod 25:15. There are other problems with Ehrlich’s explanation of Exod 25:15, aside from that noted by Propp. First, if the instructions in this verse were specifications regarding the physical manner in which the poles were to be attached to the ark, as this explanation requires us to believe, we would expect them to be included in the account of the actual assembly of the ark (Exod 37:5), just as the comparable instructions regarding the breast-piece (28:28) and the robe (28:32) are reported to have been carried out in the accounts of the manufacture of their respective items (39:21, 23). The fact that the instructions of Exod 25:15 are not reported to have been carried out implies that they are rather about the later handling of the ark and thus irrelevant to the account of the ark’s assembly.65 Second, the danger of the poles accidentally slipping out of the rings would apply equally to the table and the two altars as to the ark, so why does the instruction to prevent such an accident appear only in reference to the ark? Ehrlich’s answer, which is that once the instructions were provided for the ark their applicability to the other objects would be self-evident, is weak. The last thing that can be said of the priestly author is that he tried to avoid repetition, and two related details that would have a greater claim to being self-evident after having been stated once, namely that the purpose of the rings is to hold the poles and that the purpose of the poles is to carry the object, are both repeated  Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 41 par. 4. See also Mack, “New Fragments”, 552.  Ehrlich, Randglossen, 1:366–367. 63 Houtman, Exodus III, 378–379. 64  Propp, Exodus, 383. 65  This argument is valid against any interpretation of Exod 25:15 as applying to the physical attachment of the carrying poles to the ark, including that suggested by R. Aha b. Jacob and cited above (§ 4.3.1), and that underlying Joseph Kara’s solution. 61 62

4.3 Inseparability of Poles

111

in the instructions for the table and the altars after first being introduced in the instructions for the ark. 4.3.4.6 Ibn Ezra: lō yāsūrû Does Not Apply to Tabernacle Disassembly Abraham Ibn Ezra posed the idea that the disassembly of the tabernacle is the one exception to the instruction in Exod 25:15.66 This idea was advocated without credit by Keil and Delitzsch and by Noordtzij.67 Ibn Ezra was right to abandon this idea in his later commentary,68 for if the author of Exod 25:15 intended for there to be exceptions to his rule, we would expect him to have said so. 4.3.4.7 Isaiah di Trani: Each Command Refers to Different Poles An even more far-fetched variation on the “two sets of rings” suggestion (§ 4.3.4.3), advocated by Isaiah di Trani and Hezekiah b. Manoah, is that the ark had two sets of poles as well as two sets of rings: one set of poles never parted from it, fulfilling Exod 25:15; the second set was removed when the ark was at rest and inserted before transport, fulfilling Num 4:6.69 4.3.4.8 Ehrlich et al.: No Solution Some modern commentators have concluded that the two verses, Exod 25:15 and Num 4:6, do indeed contradict each other. Ehrlich, in his earlier, Hebrew commentary, speculated that the instruction in Exod 25:15, and the corresponding statement in 1 Kgs 8:8, are agenda-driven glosses meant to legitimize the Levitical practice of carrying the ark on tours of the country for pay. The glossators, he proposed, hoped that an authoritative affirmation of the poles’ inseparability from the ark would prove that the ark was intended to be carried around. According to Ehrlich, the corrupting Levites would also have liked to delete the instruction in Num 4:6 to serve their agenda, but they could not do so for fear that the resulting lacuna would be recognized, especially given the equivalent instructions in Num 4:8, 11, and 14.70 Ehrlich’s proposal is extremely implausible. It does not follow from the ark’s poles being inseparable that the ark was intended to be carried around. If anything, it would sooner follow that the poles were decorative rather than functional: otherwise, why would they have to be attached even when they could not be used? Thus, even if we were to agree that this purported Levitical agenda existed 66  Short commentary on Exod 25:15, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72; commentary on Num 4:6, in Cohen, Numbers, 19. 67 K&D, Pentateuch, 3:25; Noordtzij, Numbers, 44. 68  Long commentary on Exod 25:15, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73. 69  Isaiah di Trani: commentary on Exod 25:15, in Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 43 par. 7, and see 41 par. 3; Hezekiah b. Manoah: commentary on Num 4:6, in Katzenelnbogen, Numbers, 22. 70  Ehrlich, Mikrâ ki-Pheschutô, 188–190.

112

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

and that its advocates had the power to make additions to existing biblical texts, that would still not explain why they would make this addition, and not, say, an addition that simply said that the ark could be carried on tours. Gray also acknowledged a contradiction between the two verses in question and suggested that it is due to Num 4:6 belonging to a secondary stratum of P.71 A similar view was later expressed by Noth.72 But even if the hypothesis of a stratified P is accepted, it cannot easily explain contradictions, as there is no reason why the author of a secondary stratum, who was by definition familiar with the original, would be more willing than the first author to introduce contradictions into the text. Moreover, the author of Num 4, in particular, displays great care in preserving detailed consistency with the description of the tabernacle in Exodus, such as in his listing of the ancillary objects of the table (v. 7; cf. Exod 25:29; 37:16), the lampstand (v. 9; cf. Exod 25:38; 37:23), and the bronze altar (v. 14; cf. Exod 27:3; 38:3). The most recent word on the problem would seem to be that of Propp, who, after discussing it at some length, despairingly writes: “Perhaps the Priestly Writer just made a mistake in Num 4:6, or there was a contradiction in his sources”.73

4.3.5 New Proposal: wəśāmû Means “draw out” 4.3.5.1 Semantics of wəśāmû The two verses are only contradictory if ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו‬in Num 4:6, 8, 11, and 14 is understood in the sense of “put in”. But this sense begs an indirect object (e. g., ‫*וְ ָׂשמּו‬ ‫)ע ָליו ַּב ָּדיו‬, ָ which is absent here. Every other time the verb ‫ ִׂשים‬appears in the tabernacle pericopes without an indirect object, it conveys the broader sense of “set up”. These occurrences are all in Exod 40: in v. 8, the verb pertains to the tabernacle’s court, and it is paralleled in v. 33 by ‫וַ ּיָ ֶקם‬, “erect”. In v. 18, it pertains to the frames; and in v. 21, it pertains to the curtain. To these we should probably add two parallel occurrences in vv. 5 and 28, which pertain to the entrance screen, though in these instances the word ‫ ַל ִּמ ְׁש ָּכן‬might be understood as an indirect object rather than part of the name of the screen. These data suggest that the four occurrences of ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו ַּב ָּדיו‬in Num 4 do not mean “and they shall put in its poles”, but rather “and they shall set up its poles”; 71 Gray, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 2–3, 34–35. The hypothesis that Num 4 is part of a secondary stratum of P had been expressed earlier; see Kuenen, Historico-Critical Inquiry, 91–92. See also Knohl (Sanctuary, 63, 73), who ascribes Exod 25:10–27:19 to P and Num 4 to the later H. 72  Noth, Numbers, 41–42. 73  Propp, Exodus, 383. A final noteworthy anecdote is that Cassuto (Commentary, 330) addressed the contradiction and tantalizingly wrote: “The meaning of the words and shall put in its poles in Num, iv 6 we shall discuss when we come to that passage.” As noted by the translator, Cassuto unfortunately died before writing a commentary on Numbers.

4.3 Inseparability of Poles

113

in other words, Aaron and his sons should do whatever needs to be done so that the poles of each object are in the proper position for transport. The author of the chapter need not have had in mind that the precise physical operations involved in setting up the poles would be identical in all cases.74 The poles of the table and the altars might very well need to be inserted into their rings, whereas setting up the poles of the ark might only involve positioning them correctly within the rings, as stated or implied by Saadiah Gaon, Rashi, and other rabbinic commentators surveyed (§ 4.3.4.1).75 4.3.5.2 Parallels But what sort of positioning could the priestly writer have had in mind? Let us return to the chest with carrying poles from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Most significantly for our discussion, these carrying poles are retractable: “When the chest was not being carried, the poles could be pushed back until the collars of two axially opposite poles were touching each other and the poles were then entirely concealed from view.”76 In other words, the poles could be slid under the chest, in the space between its underside and the bottoms of its feet, while still held by the metal rings [Figures 4.15a–b]. When the chest was to be carried, the poles could be drawn out again in preparation, still held by the rings. In the judgment of Killen and of Busch, the poles that are slid through rings in the earlier depictions of chests from Old Kingdom Egypt [Figures 4.2–4.5] were designed to slide underneath the chests in the same manner.77 4.3.5.3 Conclusion If carrying poles on ancient Egyptian-type chests were normally retractable, as Fischer seems to conclude from this evidence,78 or at least if this was the case during the time of the composition of Num 4:6, then the author of the verse and his audience would expect that the ark’s poles would need to be “set up” in preparation for transport, even if they had never been removed from it: they would still need to be drawn out from underneath it so that they could be grasped by its porters. If this is so, Exod 25:15 does not contradict Num 4:6. As stipulated by the former verse, the poles of the ark were indeed never to part from it or to leave its rings; and ‫ וְ ָׂשמּו ַּב ָּדיו‬in the latter verse simply means that in preparation for transport they were to be drawn out, while still in their rings, from underneath the ark’s body.  Pace Milgrom, Numbers, 301 n. 8. idea that the operation on the ark’s poles is intended as different from the operations on the poles of the other objects was explicitly stated by Hirsch (Levy, Pentateuch, 5:42). 76  Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.) 77 Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 20; Busch, Altägyptische Kastenmöbel, 38. 78  Fischer, “Möbel”, 182. 74

75 The

114

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

This possibility can also explain why the requirement that the poles stay on the ark is not paralleled in the cases of the table and the altars.79 Only chests are shaped in such a way that their carrying poles can be hidden from sight while still attached to them, as their feet create a low, narrow space between their lower surface and the ground. Thus, only in the case of the ark would such a requirement be compatible with the goal of an aesthetic tabernacle. The carrying poles of the table and altars would presumably need to be removed and stowed elsewhere. It has been shown in this chapter that every element of the ark’s carrying apparatus has parallels in ancient Egyptian chests. Based on these parallels, it was argued that the arrangement of the apparatus as described by the priestly author has been misunderstood throughout the history of biblical interpretation, and an essentially new picture of this arrangement was presented. In addition, a new solution was offered to a particularly vexing exegetical difficulty arising in the priestly description.

79 The most attractive explanation for the existence of this requirement in the first place is that it is a measure to prevent people from touching the body of the ark, an action which, according to a tradition in 2 Sam 6:6–7, is fatal (See § 1.3.4; Bekhor Shor on Exod 25:15, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73). However, the priestly Num 4:15 indicates that it would be fatal even for a designated porter to touch the body of any of the major tabernacle objects; so, by the same token, the table and altars should have permanently attached poles as well.

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

115

Fig. 4.1a: Underside of gable-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun (see Figure 3.3a), with poles removed from rings.

Fig. 4.1b: Detail of previous item (see Figure 3.3a).

116

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.2: Relief, tomb of Sahure.

Fig. 4.3: Relief, mastaba of Ankhmahor.

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.4: Relief, tomb of Mereruka.

Fig. 4.5: Relief, tomb of Meryteti.

117

118

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.6a: Part of nave mosaic panel D13, depicting the ark crossing the Jordan, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Fig. 4.6b: Part of nave mosaic panel D12, depicting the ark during the life of Moses, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Fig. 4.6c: Part of nave mosaic panel D15, depicting the ark at the battle of Jericho, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

119

Fig. 4.7a: Utrecht Psalter, folio 66r (p. 138).

Fig. 4.7b: Utrecht Psalter, folio 75r (p. 156).

120

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.8: Golden Psalter of St. Gall, p. 66.

Fig. 4.9: Bible of San Paolo fuori le Mura, folio 32v.

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.10: Apsidal mosaic, Oratory of Germigny-des-Prés.

121

122

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.11: Bible of San Isidoro de León, folio 50.

Fig. 4.12: Pylon-shaped chest surmounted by the statue of Anubis, tomb of Tutan­ khamun.

123

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.13: Scene from the mastaba of Queen Meresankh III, Giza.

Fig. 4.14: Relief, tomb of Merymery, Saqqara.

124

4. The Ark: Carrying Apparatus

Fig. 4.15a: Excavator’s ruled sketch of gable-lidded chest’s (see Figure 3.3a) pole mechanism.

Fig. 4.15b: Gable-lidded chest (see Figure 3.3a) with poles retracted.

5. The Ark: Contents As seen above (§ 2.1), the ark’s name presupposes that it contains something, and the nature and origin of these contents is addressed in several biblical passages.

5.1 Biblical Data Generally speaking, we see striking agreement among the priestly pentateuchal texts, Deuteronomy, and Kings regarding the ark’s contents. Two sources agree that the contents are two stone tablets (Deut 10:3; 1 Kgs 8:9 ≈ 2 Chr 5:10) and that they are associated with a covenant of Yhwh (‫)ּב ִרית ה׳‬ ְ made with Israel when they came out of Egypt (Deut 10:8 [cf. 4:13; 9:9–17]; 1 Kgs 8:21 ≈ 2 Chr 6:11); two sources agree that they were given to Moses by Yhwh (Exod 25:16, 21; Deut 10:4); and all three sources hold that the contents were placed in the ark by Moses during the Israelite sojourn at the Mountain in the wilderness (Exod 40:20; Deut 10:5; 1 Kgs 8:9 ≈ 2 Chr 5:10).

5.1.1 Two Stone Tablets In the Deuteronomic account, the contents of the ark are two stone tablets (‫ְׁשנֵ י‬ ‫)לחֹת ֲא ָבנִ ים‬. ֻ The tablets were carved by Moses and carried by him in his arms up the Mountain (Deut 10:1, 3), where they were inscribed by Yhwh with “the words that were on the original tablets which you [i. e., Moses] smashed” (v. 2), alternatively “the ten words which Yhwh spoke to you [i. e., Israel] at the Mountain from the midst of the fire” (v. 4). They were then given by Yhwh to Moses (v. 4), brought down the Mountain, and placed in the ark, where they remained (vv. 2, 5). Consistent with this account, a verse in Kings describes the contents of the ark thus: ְ�‫ֵאין ָּב ָארֹון ַרק ְׁשנֵ י ֻלחֹות ָה ֲא ָבנִ ים ֲא ֶׁשר ִהּנִ ַח ָׁשם מ ֶֹׁשה ְּבח ֵֹרב ֲא ֶׁשר ָּכ ַרת ׳ה׳ ִעם ְּבנֵ י יִ ׂש‬ ‫אתם ֵמ ֶא ֶרץ ִמ ְצ ָריִ ם‬ ָ ‫“ ָ;ר ֵאל ְּב ֵצ‬There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets that Moses placed there [i. e., in the ark] at Horeb, when Yhwh covenanted (‫)ּכ ַרת‬ ָ with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kgs 8:9). The Septuagintal reading of the verse contains the plus “the tablets of the covenant” after “the two stone tablets”, but this is apparently a harmonizing addition of the same nature as those found in the Aramaic translations of this verse. The parallel

126

5. The Ark: Contents

verse in Chronicles is essentially the same, with minor variations: it reads ‫ה ֻּלחֹות‬,ַ “the … tablets”, instead of ‫לחֹות ָה ֲא ָבנִ ים‬,ֻ “the … stone tablets”; has the word ‫נָ ַתן‬ (“put”) instead of the roughly synonymous word ‫“( ִהּנִ ַח‬placed”); omits the word ‫ׁשם‬, ָ “there”; and reads ‫מ ִּמ ְצ ָריִ ם‬, ִ “of Egypt”, instead of ‫מ ֶא ֶרץ ִמ ְצ ָריִם‬, ֵ “of the land of Egypt” (2 Chr 5:10).1 The Deuteronomic text repeatedly states that the two stone tablets of the ark constitute replacements for and equivalents of previous tablets (Deut 10:1, 2, 3, 4). The complete Deuteronomic account regarding the original tablets is that Moses went up the Mountain to receive them (Deut 9:9) and Yhwh gave them to him after they had been inscribed by “a divine finger” with “all the words that Yhwh spoke to you [i. e., Israel] at the Mountain” (vv. 10–11). Moses then carried the tablets down the Mountain on his arms (v. 15), and, upon seeing the sin of the golden calf, grabbed them, threw them down from his arms, and smashed them (v. 17). A consistent, almost identical account of the two stone tablets, albeit with no mention of the ark, is provided in Exodus, in non-priestly passages that are by and large attributed to the Elohistic source.2 Moses carved the tablets (Exod 34:1, 4) and carried them up the Mountain (vv. 2, 4). There they were inscribed by Yhwh with “the words that were on the original tablets that you [i. e., Moses] smashed” (v. 1), and carried by Moses back down the Mountain (v. 29). The tablets were equivalent to previous tablets (v. 1). These, in turn, were given to Moses after he went up the Mountain to receive them on orders from Yhwh (24:12; 31:18). They were inscribed by a “divine finger” (31:18) or engraved with “divine writing” (32:16) on both sides (v. 15), constituting “divine work” (v. 16). Moses carried them down the Mountain (v. 15), and, upon seeing the golden calf, threw them down and smashed them at the foot of the Mountain (v. 19).

5.1.2 The Covenant of Yhwh A second verse in Kings describes the contents of the ark thus: ‫ְּב ִרית ה׳ ֲא ֶׁשר ָּכ ַרת‬ ‫הֹוציאֹו א ָֹתם ֵמ ֶא ֶרץ ִמ ְצ ָריִ ם‬ ִ ‫;עם ֲאב ֵֹתינּו ְּב‬ ִ “the covenant (‫)ּב ִרית‬ ְ of Yhwh, which he 1  Some maintain that the verses must contain the word ‫ּב ִרית‬,ְ “covenant”, as a direct object for ‫ ָּכ ַרת‬and as an antecedent for ‫א ֶׁשר‬, ֲ and that therefore the Septuagintal reading in Kings is original and the masoretic reading in both books is nonsensical (e. g., Haran, Biblical Collection, 2:298–299 n. 62). However, the verb ‫ ָּכ ַרת‬does appear elsewhere without a direct object (1 Sam 20:16 MT; 22:8; 2 Chr 7:18; possibly Isa 57:8; Hag 2:5 MT), and the word ‫ ֲא ֶׁשר‬can mean “when”, but this is admittedly rare (Neh 2:3). See also Mulder, 1 Kings, 393–394; Fisher, “Memories”, 96–97. 2 Schwartz, “What Really Happened”, 26, 27; Baden, “Deuteronomic Evidence”, 336–342. Propp (Exodus, 107, 147–154, 319, 540, 584–585) inclines to seeing the account as a product of the redaction of the Elohistic Source with the Yahwistic Source, but admits (p. 150) that this view is problematic: “the first tablets come from E, the second tablets from J; the idea of two Covenants comes from RedactorJE. […] however […] is it really possible that E’s account ended with broken tablets, i. e., no covenant?”

5.1 Biblical Data

127

made (‫)ּכ ַרת‬ ָ with our [i. e., Israel’s] forefathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kgs 8:21). The parallel verse in Chronicles is similar but has simply ‫ּבנֵ י יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬,ְ “the Israelites”, instead of ‫אב ֵֹתינּו … ִמ ְצ ָריִם‬, ֲ “our forefathers … Egypt” (2 Chr 6:11). This description in both its versions is consistent with the designation of the ark as ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬, ֲ which occurs in the Deuteronomic account, Numbers, the four books of the Former Prophets, Jeremiah, and Chronicles (see § 1.4.4).

5.1.3 The ēdūt In the priestly texts of the Pentateuch, the contents of the ark are consistently called ‫ה ֵע ֻדת‬.ָ Like the ‫ ְּב ִרית‬tablets of the Deuteronomic account, the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬is given to Moses by Yhwh at the Mountain and placed by Moses in the ark (Exod 25:16, 21; 40:20). Correspondingly, the ark in the priestly pentateuchal texts is consistently called ‫( ֲארֹון ָה ֵע ֻדת‬see § 1.4.1), a name that contrasts with ‫ ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬of the Deuteronomic account and other texts. In the priestly tabernacle account, it is, strictly speaking, the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬that is treated as the primary object in the tabernacle, and the ark’s primacy (see § 1.3) stems from its containing it. The primacy of the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬is indicated by the fact that other elements of the tabernacle are frequently named after it or have their position defined in relation to it when there is no physical reason to do so (see § 1.4.1). Through metonymy, objects and people can also be defined in relation to an object more closely associated with the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬than they. Thus, the curtain, which is itself associated with the ‫ע ֻדת‬, ֵ is also defined as sheltering (Exod 40:3, 21) or as being “upon” (Exod 30:6) the ark, whose association with the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬is closer. Similarly, the golden altar is placed “in front of” the ark (Exod 40:5). The golden altar is also placed, perhaps, “in front of” the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 30:6);3 and to enter the most holy place is to come “in front of” the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Lev 16:2). The golden altar, yet again, is placed “in front of” the curtain (Exod 30:6; 40:26), while the lampstand (Exod 27:21) and the table (Exod 40:22) are located “outside” the curtain (30:6; 40:26). In these cases, the text rarely fails to remind us of the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬which is at the core of it all.

5.1.4 Discussion There is no tension between the three biblical terms for the ark’s contents. Indeed, it seems likely that they are alternate terms describing the same thing. Stone, being durable and inerasable, is the obvious material on which to write important content such as a divine covenant. The tablet, ‫לּוח‬, ַ in particular is mentioned several times in the Bible as a model of an enduring writing material  See ch. 1 n. 21 (§ 1.4.1).

3

128

5. The Ark: Contents

(Isa 30:8; Jer 17:1; Hab 2:2; Prov 3:3 = 7:3). An explicit identification between stone tablets and the record of Yhwh’s covenant is expressed repeatedly, though not in direct relation to the ark, in the Deuteronomic account, which states that the original stone tablets given to Moses were inscribed by Yhwh with “the ten words” that constitute “his covenant (‫)ּב ִריתֹו‬ ְ that he commanded you to perform” (Deut 4:13), and which accordingly calls these objects “the tablets of the covenant” (‫לחֹת ַה ְּב ִרית‬:ֻ Deut 9:9, 11, 15). In Exodus, too, the writing on the second pair of stone tablets is said to record “the words of the covenant” (‫ּד ְב ֵרי ַה ְּב ִרית‬:ִ Exod 34:28). As for the ‫ע ֻדת‬, ֵ Schwartz derives the word from the root ‫עוד‬, “to testify”. He rightly notes that the priestly author never tells us what the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬is, and that we cannot simply see the word as this author’s replacement for ‫ּב ִרית‬,ְ because his use of ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬in general does not parallel that of ‫ ְּב ִרית‬in other sources.4 Nevertheless, there are several indications that the word ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬would evoke a similar concept to that evoked by ‫ּב ִרית‬.ְ 5 First, ‫ ְּב ִרית‬is directly collocated within the Bible with the related words ‫( ֵעד ֹת‬Pss 25:10; 132:12) and ‫( ֵע ְדת‬2 Kgs 17:15; 2 Chr 34:31). Second, the word ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬itself is associated with words that are strongly associated with ‫ּב ִרית‬.ְ These include ‫ּתֹורה‬ ָ (Pss 19:8; 78:5; 119:85, 88; see Jer 31:31; Hos 8:1; Ps 78:10), ‫( חֹק‬Ps 81:5–6; see Josh 24:25; Isa 24:5; 1 Chr 16:17; Ps 105:10), ‫( ִמ ְׁש ָּפט‬Ps 81:5–6; see Josh 24:25; Hos 10:4), ‫( ִּפ ֻּק ִדים‬Ps 19:8–9; see Ps 103:18), ‫( ִמ ְצֹות‬Ps 119:86, 88; see 2 Kgs 23:3), ‫( ֻח ִּקים‬Ps 119:83, 88; see Ps 50:16), ‫ִא ְמ ָרה‬ (Ps 119:82, 88; see Deut 33:9), and ‫( ָּד ָבר‬Ps 119:81, 88; see Ps 105:8). Third, there exist words in three different languages that are cognate with ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬and are semantically similar to ‫ּב ִרית‬.ְ These are the Egyptian ‘dwtỉ or ‘dt, attested from the time of Ramesses III (ca. 1170) as a West Semitic loanword meaning “conspiracy”, i. e., a treaty or agreement among parties hostile to the speaker;6 the Aramaic ‫עדי‬, meaning “treaty”, attested in the mid-eighth century treaties contracted by the rulers ‫ בר גאיה‬and ‫;מתעאל‬7 and the Neo-Assyrian / Neo-Babylonian adû, also meaning “treaty”.8 The choice of ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬accords with the priestly writer’s manifest penchant for ‫עד‬ roots, as in ‫מֹועד‬ ֵ ‫ א ֶֹהל‬and ‫ע ָדה‬. ֵ 9 Moreover, by choosing ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬to designate the contents of the ark, he is able to achieve a poetic resonance between the ark’s name and the description of Yhwh’s presence above it, juxtaposing ‫ ֲארֹון ָה ֵע ֻדת‬with ‫נֹוע ְד ִּתי‬ ַ ְ‫( ו‬Exod 25:22) and again with ‫מֹועד‬ ֵ ‫( א ֶֹהל‬Num 7:89).

4 Schwartz,

“Priestly Account”, 126–127.  See Seow, “Designation”, 192–193; Propp, Exodus, 383–385. 6 Grintz, “Ancient Terms”, 39:171; Kitchen, “Egypt”, 460. 7  KAI 222, 223, 224. 8  CAD, “adû A” (1:1:131–134). 9  Similarly Propp, Exodus, 385. For theological explanations of the choice, see Seow, “Designation”, 193–195; Knohl, Sanctuary, 142–146. 5

5.2 Parallels

129

The particular appropriateness of tablets as a medium on which to preserve an ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬is highlighted by the Neo-Assyrian / Neo-Babylonian term ṭuppī adê, “treaty tablets”.10 An explicit unification of the notion that the ark contains the ‫ֵע ֻדת‬ with the notion that the ark contains tablets occurs in three verses in Exodus, which speak of Yhwh giving ‫ ֻלחֹת ָה ֵע ֻדת‬to Moses on the Mountain (Exod 31:18; 32:15; 34:29). Recent source-critical treatments attribute this unification to the pentateuchal Redactor.11

5.2 Parallels Large, inscribed stone stelae in the ancient Near East are now such a well-known phenomenon that they require no elaboration here. More importantly, inscribed stone tablets of sufficiently small dimensions that they can be placed in a chest or carried in a person’s arms are common in the Mesopotamian sphere. Many of these are extant, with dozens in the collection of the British Museum alone. Of these, complete specimens include: two alabaster or limestone tablets from the Temple of Mamu in Balawat [Figure 5.1],12 found in a thick, lidded limestone coffer13 and extolling Assurnasirpal II; and an alabaster tablet from the Temple of Ishtar Kidmuri in Nimrud (Kalhu), extolling the same king.14 The Akkadian term ṭuppī adê, which suggests a practice of inscribing an ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬on tablets, was mentioned above (§ 5.1.4). Boxes or chests for holding inscribed stone tablets are also a common phenomenon in this sphere.15 A well-known textual reference to a box containing such a tablet is found in the opening of the Gilgamesh Epic, whose standard version states (1.24–27) that the Epic can be read from a tablet of lapis lazuli that is stored in a box of cedar16 or copper17 in the foundations of Uruk.18 Mention was made (§ 2.3.3) of the Sippar pottery box which contains the stone “sun god tablet” [Figure 5.2].  CAD, 1:1:133; ibid., “ṭuppu A” (19:144).  Knohl, Sanctuary, 67 n. 21 and references (Redactor as H); Schwartz, “Priestly Account”, 126–127; Propp, Exodus, 319, 367. See, however, Haran (Biblical Collection, 2:151, 162 n. 81, 229–231), who ascribes the term ‫ ֻלחֹת ָה ֵע ֻדת‬to P. 12  BM, “90980”, “90981”. 13  BM, “135121”. 14  BM, “92986”. 15  George (Israel’s Tabernacle, 167–174; “Ark”, 751–752) argues that P’s depiction of the ark draws upon the ancient Near Eastern custom of depositing such inscriptions in the walls or foundations of buildings. 16  George, Epic of Gilgamesh, 2. 17  Foster, Epic of Gilgamesh, 3. 18  For other Akkadian textual references to tablet boxes and stone tablets, see CAD, “ṭuppu A” (19:129–149) at 146–147, 147–148. 10 11

130

5. The Ark: Contents

5.3 Other Purported Contents No biblical text claims that the ark contained anything other than two stone tablets, the covenant of Yhwh, or the ‫ע ֻדת‬, ֵ which, as we have seen, are naturally understood as different names for the same thing, i. e., an important document or documents. The practice of storing precisely these contents in boxes is both demanded by common sense and well-attested in the ancient Near East. This biblical unanimity is further reflected by the ark’s widespread appellation ‫ֲארֹון‬ ‫ ְּב ִרית ה׳‬and its variants, and a twice-occurring biblical passage explicitly states that the ark contained nothing else (1 Kgs 8:9 ≈ 2 Chr 5:10). Despite all this evidence, the (im)pious custom of imagining other items for the ark to have “really” contained in addition to, or instead of, those actually attributed to it in the Bible has a long history and endures in contemporary scholarship as well. Moreover, in Pythonesque feats of reasoning, the very proclamation that the ark contained nothing else is adduced as evidence that the ark contained something else, either by reading its wording ‫ ֵאין … ַרק‬as a double negative that necessarily implies a positive (talmudic sages), or by invoking the principle “the lady doth protest too much” (modern scholars). The chief manifestations of this custom will now be surveyed briefly.

5.3.1 New Testament: Manna, Staff In the New Testament, the ark is described as containing three items: στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος Ἀαρὼν ἡ βλαστήσασα καὶ αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης, “the golden jar containing the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Heb 9:4). The presence of the list’s first two items seems to stem from a misunderstanding of certain statements regarding them in the priestly pentateuchal account (see § 1.4.1). In this account, a measure of manna is put into ‫צנְ ֶצנֶ ת ַא ַחת‬,ִ “a jar” (‫ ִצנְ ֶצנֶ ת‬is a hapax legomenon; LXX: στάμνον χρυσοῦν ἕνα, “a golden jar”), and placed ‫ל ְפנֵ י ה׳‬,ִ “in front of Yhwh” (LXX: ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ), or ‫ל ְפנֵ י ָה ֵע ֻדת‬,ִ “in front of the ‫”ע ֻדת‬ ֵ (LXX: ἐναντίον τοῦ μαρτυρίου), for posterity (Exod 16:33–34). Additionally, ‫מ ֵּטה ַא ֲהר ֹן‬, ַ “Aaron’s staff” (LXX: ῥάβδος Ἀαρων), which flowered (Num 17:23 ‫;ּפ ַרח‬ ָ LXX: ἐβλάστησεν), is likewise placed ‫ ִל ְפנֵ י ָה ֵעדּות‬for posterity (v. 25; cf. v. 18), and this location is portrayed as being identical to ‫( ִל ְפנֵ י ה׳‬vv. 22, 24). Neither ‫ ִל ְפנֵ י ה׳‬nor ‫ ִל ְפנֵ י ָה ֵע ֻדת‬ever appear to mean “inside the ark”, nor is either term rendered that way by the Septuagint.

5.3.2 Talmud: Fragments, Scroll, Rods, Names The talmudic literature is replete with opinions on objects that were placed in the ark (Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan 6:3–17 ≈ y. Sotah 8:3 ≈ Sheqalim 6:1

5.3 Other Purported Contents

131

≈ b. Bava Batra 14a–b ≈ Numbers Rabbah on Num 4:17; b. Berakhot 8b, Sotah 42b–43a, Menahot 99a). The general consensus, shared by such sages as the Tannaim R. Meir and R. Judah (both second century CE) as well as the Amoraim R. Huna (second half of the third century) and R. Joseph (d. 333), is that the ark contained the fragments of the original tablets that were smashed by Moses. R. Meir further maintained that the ark contained a Torah scroll. This is a reference to the Scroll of Teaching said in the Deuteronomic account to have been entrusted by Moses to the Levite custodians of the ark. This scroll, however, is unequivocally said to have been placed ‫מ ַּצד‬, ִ “beside”, the ark rather than inside it (Deut 31:26). The view was opposed by R. Judah, who followed the literal meaning of the verse regarding the Torah scroll, but who also believed that the ark contained otherwise unmentioned “rods” (‫)עמודין‬, relying on a midrashic reading of Song 3:10. Yet another view, attributed to R. Simeon b. Yohai, is that the divine “name and all its epithets” were placed in the ark.

5.3.3 Other Traditions: Misc. The pseudepigraphal work Antiquitatum Biblicarum states (26:9–15) that after the death of Joshua, a leader named Kenaz (see Judg 3:9) took wonderful precious stones similar to those on the breast-piece of the high priest and placed them in the ark, where they remain “to this day”.19 According to various Islamic exegetes, the ark contained Moses’s or Aaron’s staff or garments, Moses’s sandals, a golden basin, or a wooden bowl.20

5.3.4 Modern Scholars: Sacred Stones, Images Various nineteenth‑ and twentieth-century scholars have added their own ideas regarding the purported “true” contents of the ark. One line of speculation, based on a sort of deconstruction of the biblical statement that the ark contained two stone tablets, is that it originally contained one or two “sacred stones” that were later reinterpreted as tablets.21 These sacred stones could be oracles or lots, the ark being essentially a priestly divination device (a nature supposedly revealed in 1 Sam 14:18).22 Alternatively, they might be confederation tokens (of a pre-Mosaic coalition of Sinai-dwellers);23 meteorites (supposedly associated with Yhwh  See Stemberger in George et al., “Ark of the Covenant”, 754.  Tottoli in George et al., ibid., 761. 21  Bibliography (in addition to that listed below) and discussion in Schmitt, Zelt, 102–106; Porzig, Lade, 281–282. 22  Vatke, Biblische Theologie, 320–321; Holzinger, Exodus, 123; Arnold, Ephod, 132–136; May, “Ark”, 220 n. 11. 23 Schmitt, Zelt, 104, citing Richard Kraetzschmar, Die Bundesvorstellung im Alten Testament in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwickelung (Marburg: Elwert, 1896). 19 20

132

5. The Ark: Contents

the storm-god);24 slingstones (which, having once brought victory in battle, were worshipped as a war-god);25 or other types of “stone fetishes” or betyls in which Yhwh supposedly dwelled.26 Other scholars were bold enough to reject the claimed lithic nature of the ark’s contents entirely, proposing that the ark was actually empty, housing only “the numen”,27 or that it contained an image,28 specifically a wooden image covered with gold or silver (alongside an oracle instrument),29 or a golden statue of Yhwh in the form of a calf alongside a second figure of his wife.30 Such conjectures may be motivated by the desire to have the ark’s nature as a container be directly related to its stated higher function, which will be discussed in the next chapter.

 Stade, Geschichte, 457–458; idem, Religion, 117 (§ 56).  Couard, “religiös-nationale Bedeutung”, 75–76. 26  Meyer and Luther, Israeliten, 214; Morgenstern, Ark, 2–4, 84, 89, 94–95. See also Zobel, “’arôn”, 371 and n. 50. 27  Schwally, Semitische Kriegsaltertümer, 9–17. 28  Bibliography (in addition to that listed below) and discussion in Schmitt, Zelt, 107–110; Porzig, Lade, 283–284. 29  Sevensma, Ark, 158–161. 30  Gressmann, Lade, 17–44, 68–69. 24 25

Fig. 5.1: Stone tablets, Balawat.

5. The Ark: Contents

133

134

5. The Ark: Contents

Fig. 5.2: Pottery box with limestone “sun-god” tablet and pottery covers, Sippar.

6. The Ark: Function 6.1 Introduction: Marker of the Divine Presence Aside from containing the covenant tablets, numerous biblical passages attest that the ark was perceived as marking the divine presence. As von Rad phrased it, “where the ark is – there is Yhwh”.1 This function amply explains the unique importance attributed to the ark by the biblical authors and their characters (see § 1.3).

6.1.1 Biblical Data The setting out of the ark is interpreted as the arising of Yhwh (Num 10:35), and its coming to rest is construed as Yhwh’s return (v. 36). These twin notions are combined in the equation of the arising of the ark toward its resting place with the arising of Yhwh toward his resting place (Ps 132:8 ≈ 2 Chr 6:41). Moreover, in the account of the battle of Hormah, the juxtaposition of the statement, put in the mouth of Moses, that Yhwh would not be with the advancing Israelites (Num 14:42–43; cf. Deut 1:42), together with the otherwise pointless statement that the ark did not go with them (v. 44), indicates that the presence of the ark is the same as the presence of Yhwh, or at least strongly tied to it. In the account of the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines at Aphek, we see that the elders of Israel believe that the presence of the ark in battle will ensure that Yhwh will be present and that he will bring them victory (1 Sam 4:3). The people seem to agree, since they carry out the plan (vv. 4–5), and the Philistines believe, too, that the presence of the ark in the camp of their adversaries is tantamount to the presence of the divinity “who struck the Egyptians” and to the recruitment of his power by the Hebrews (vv. 6–9). While the fact that the plan backfires (vv. 10–12) indicates that the narrator is criticizing this belief, the fact that Yhwh continues to act wherever the ark is (5:6–7, 9, 11; 6:19) indicates that the target of the narrator’s criticism is not the notion that Yhwh is present wherever the ark is, but the notion that one can therefore ensure the aid of the 1  Von Rad, “Tent”, 109. And see already Stade, Geschichte, 457: “die Gegenwart der Lade die Gegenwart Jahwes bedeutet”; idem, Religion, 116 (§ 56): “Jahve gegenwärtig ist, wo die Lade ist”; ibid., 117: “Wo sie war, war Jahve inmitten Israels”.

136

6. The Ark: Function

former by manipulating the latter. The narrator later has the residents of BethShemesh describing the ark’s leaving their vicinity as Yhwh’s leaving their vicinity (6:20–7:1); and when the Israelites lament their loss of Yhwh, it is because the ark is unavailable (7:2).2 Being in the presence of the ark is portrayed as a sufficient (though not necessary) condition for being “in front of Yhwh” (‫)ל ְפנֵ י ה׳‬. ִ 3 This portrayal is achieved through juxtaposition of the two concepts in the Deuteronomic definition of the Levites’ duties (Deut 10:8)4 and in the accounts of the Israelites’ entry into Canaan (Josh 4:11, 13), the conquest of Jericho (Josh 6),5 the Concubine of Gibeah episode (Judg 20:26–27), and the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6). The equivalence between the presence of the ark and the presence of Yhwh is expressed even more strongly in the masoretic version of the Jericho account, where the exact same statements are repeated, thrice with ‫( ִל ְפנֵ י ָה ָארֹון‬Josh 6:4) or ‫( ִל ְפנֵ י ֲארֹון ה׳‬vv. 6, 13) and once with ‫( ִל ְפנֵ י ה׳‬v. 8).6 The account of David’s proposal to build a temple reveals that housing the ark is equivalent to housing Yhwh. It will be recalled that the problem that spurred the proposal was that “the ark of God lives in a tent” (§ 1.3.3). Yhwh’s response is: “Shall you build me a house to live in?!” Yhwh continues: “Why, I have never lived in a house from the time I brought the Israelites up from Egypt until now; rather I have been moving around in tent and tabernacle” (2 Sam 7:5–6 ≈ 1 Chr 17:4–5). It is, of course, the ark that has been moving around in tent and tabernacle (Exod 40:21; 1 Sam 3:3; 7:1). This equivalence is the reason why it is precisely when the ark is brought into the temple’s cella that the temple is filled with the Majesty of Yhwh (1 Kgs 8:6–11 ≈ 2 Chr 5:7–14). Finally, in the priestly tabernacle account, Yhwh meets with Moses and communicates with him from above the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ which is to say above the ark, since the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬itself is situated upon the ark (Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89). This is the particular form in which the priestly ideal of Yhwh dwelling in the midst of the Israelites (Exod 25:8; 29:45–46; Lev 16:16; Num 5:3; 35:34) is realized.

2  The case that 1 Sam 4–6 endorses the notion that Yhwh is present with the ark is made powerfully by Metzler (“Ark”, 147–162), refuting Sommer (Bodies, 101–107). 3  The phrase ‫ ִל ְפנֵ י ה׳‬occurs some 220 times in the Hebrew Bible; in many of these occurrences it carries a concrete, spatial sense. See further Haran, Temples, 26 n. 24; Fowler, “Meaning of lipnê YHWH”; Simian-Yofre, “pānîm”, 609–611. 4 See Wilson, “Merely a Container”. 5  For other possible hints that the ark symbolizes the divine presence in Joshua, see Coats, “Ark”. 6 In the Septuagint, both vv. 8 and 13 reflect ‫*לפני ה׳‬, and the references to the ark in vv. 4 and 6 are absent (see § 1.2.3).

6.1 Introduction: Marker of the Divine Presence

137

6.1.2 Parallels In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the marker of the divine presence was typically the cult image, an institution that is widely condemned in the Bible.7 By marking the divine presence while being essentially non-iconic, the ark would be the biblically legitimate counterpart of a cult image.8 This correspondence is recognized and used by the author of the “Ark Narrative”, who has the ark of Yhwh encountering and defeating the (statue of the) Philistine deity Dagon in the latter’s house (1 Sam 5:2–5). The common ancient Near Eastern practices of capturing the cult image of the enemy and of returning it (for any number of reasons), practices that were familiar to the biblical authors (Jer 7:48; 49:3; Isa 46:2; possibly Nah 2:8), are paralleled by the Philistines’ capture and return of the ark in this narrative.9

6.1.3 The Problem The question of the ark’s function is not answered, however, until it is determined in what manner the ark marks the divine presence. Four broad possibilities can be outlined. First, the substance of the ark itself might be an embodiment or manifestation of Yhwh. Second, the ark might house Yhwh inside of it, as, for example, a shrine or a coffin. Third, it might support Yhwh, as a throne, a pedestal, or the like. Finally, the manner in which it marks Yhwh’s presence may have been considered undefinable. In the first two possibilities, the ark would exemplify what Mettinger terms “material aniconism”; in the last two, it would exemplify what he terms “empty-space aniconism”.10 The relationship of this function with the ark’s apparent nature as a container (§ 1.5, § 2, § 5) must also be clarified. Because of these two issues, scholars addressing the ark’s function have usually attempted to identify the ark with some specific kind of object found in the ancient Near East that can signify the presence of a person/deity. In many cases, they have argued that this kind of object is a container of the type that the Bible portrays the ark as being or that it can double as one. These attempts will now be surveyed.

 Curtis, “Idol, Idolatry”, 377.  For possible similarities between the processions of the ark (as described in 2 Sam 6; 1 Kgs 8; Ps 132) and certain ancient Near Eastern rituals involving cult images, see Fleming, “David”.  9  Delcor, “Jahweh et Dagon”, 138; Miller and Roberts, Hand of the Lord, 9–17. 10  Mettinger, No Graven Image, 20.  7  8

138

6. The Ark: Function

6.2 Survey of Interpretation 6.2.1 Reichel, Dibelius, et al.: Throne Many scholars, particularly in late nineteenth‑ and early twentieth-century Germany, saw the ark as the throne of Yhwh. Reichel characterized the ark as an empty, portable throne whose nature is illuminated by what he saw as its closest parallel, the empty chariot-throne of the Sun God in the army of Xerxes as described by Herodotus (Histories 7.40).11 Meinhold attemped to explain why the ark was called ‫ ֲארֹון‬despite being a throne, stating that this name was due to the ark’s having the outward appearance of a chest. He also identified the ark specifically with the Egyptian “box-shaped” throne.12 Dibelius developed further the notion of the ark as a throne with an extensive study of the relevant biblical passages and of thrones in the ancient Near East.13 The characterization of the ark as, authentically, a throne was reiterated by Gunkel and von Rad and taken for granted by Albright and Bright.14 It was, however, rebutted on several grounds around the turn of the twentieth century by Budde and Sevensma, and it was viewed as somewhat less than likely by Zobel.15 Recently, this characterization has been rejuvenated by Metzler, who compares the ark to the chair of Nergal in the Mesopotamian myth of Nergal and Ereshkigal.16 A single passage in the Bible (Jer 3:16–17) does indeed indicate that there were those who conceived of Yhwh as seated upon the ark. The speaker in this passage predicts that in future times the ark will have no importance because Jerusalem will be called “the throne (‫)ּכ ֵּסא‬ ִ of Yhwh”. The clear implication is that to the speaker’s audience, the ark is important because, at present, it is called “the throne of Yhwh”.17  Reichel, Über vorhellenische Götterculte, 22–29, 33–34.

11

12 Meinhold, Die “Lade Jahves”; idem, “Die Lade Jahves”. See also Reichel, “Zur ‘Lade Jahves’”.

Lade. “Lade”; von Rad, “Tent”; Albright, From the Stone Age, 203, 229–230; Bright, History of Israel, 155, 168–169. 15 Budde, “Imageless Worship in Antiquity”; Sevensma, Ark, 123–147; Zobel, “’ arôn”, 368. For further discussion and bibliography related to the view of the ark as fundamentally a throne and to the rejection of this view, see Haran, “Ark”, 31 n. 1; Maier, Vom Kultus zur Gnosis, 59 n. 10; Schmitt, Zelt, 110–128; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:352–358, esp. 352–353 and notes. 16  Metzler, “Ark”, esp. 62–71; 103–129. 17  The contrast is almost universally understood in this manner by modern scholars; see Weinfeld, “Jeremiah”, 20; Soggin, “Ark”, 218, 221; Carroll, Jeremiah, 150; Holladay, Jeremiah, 1:121; McKane, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 1:74; Lundbom, Jeremiah, 314; Allen, Jeremiah, 58. It was already interpreted this way in the commentaries of Rashi and Isaiah di Trani ad loc. Joseph Kara and David Kimhi (ibid.), influenced by Targum Jonathan, interpret the contrast differently, i. e., that the ark will not be required for aid in war, because Jerusalem will be called “the throne of Yhwh” (and therefore no one will dare to attack it). This approach seems to depend on a curious understanding of the phrase ‫ וְ לֹא יֵ ָע ֶׂשה עֹוד‬as meaning “it will not be brought into war anymore”. A third interpretation is preferred by Menahem b. Simon of Posquières. See Cohen, Jeremiah, 24–25. These latter commentators are presumably motivated by discomfort 13 Dibelius, 14 Gunkel,

6.2 Survey of Interpretation

139

Moreover, the form of the ark as a chest (§ 2), while it would by no means invite its interpretation as a throne, would certainly allow for it in a culture that basically imagined Yhwh anthropomorphically. Chests and large boxes are suitably shaped for sitting upon, and one occasionally observes people sitting on them even today. The human practice of sitting on chests was known in ancient times, as attested by its depictions on various Greek artifacts, including an Attic red-figure hydria (jug) from the early fourth century BCE, in which the seated individual is Helen of Troy;18 a terra-cotta arula (portable altar) dated on stylistic grounds to the same period, in which an unidentified female is seated; and other objects.19 The practice of sitting on a ‫( תיבה‬see § 1.5.5.4) is also mentioned several times in the talmudic literature (Sifra on Lev 15:4; m. Teharot 8:2, Kelim 19:9; t. Kelim 10:3–4).20 The notion of a chest functioning as a seat specifically for a deity also has a parallel in Greek visual art. Among the decorations of the east pediment of the Parthenon in Athens are two sculptures of female figures, thought to be the goddesses Demeter and Persephone, seated on chests as on chairs [Figure 6.1]. The chests have flat, hinged lids and low, plain feet.21 Furthermore, the paradigm of the tabernacle and the temple is one of a human dwelling-place. Both edifices are furnished with one or more tables (Exod 26:35 ≈ 40:22; 1 Kgs 7:48 ≈ 2 Chr 4:19) and with one or more lampstands (Exod 26:35 ≈ 40:24; 1 Kgs 7:49 ≈ 2 Chr 4:20). Thus one might expect a chair or throne as well, Indeed, a table, a chair (‫)ּכ ֵּסא‬, ִ and a lampstand are named in the Hebrew Bible, along with a bed, as the essential furnishings required to make a place fit for human habitation (2 Kgs 4:10).22 Due to its position, the ark would have been the perfect candidate for such a throne. Taking note of dimensions, we see that the priestly description of the ark suggests that its upper surface is flat, amply sized (see § 7.5.1), and slightly more than 1.5 cubits (about 75 cm) from the ground (§ 3.2.1), a height that is at the upper range of a reasonable seat for a human. The table in the priestly texts is said to possess dimensions in cubits of 2 L. × 1 W. × 1.5 H. (about 100 cm L. × 50 cm W. × 75 cm H.), not unlike the dimensions of tables for personal use that are used regarding the anthropomorphism inherent in the concept of the throne. Tur-Sinai (“Ark [Ark of God]”, 543–544), who interpreted the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬above the ark as a symbol of a chariot (§ 12.1.3), understood the contrast as meaning that Yhwh will abide permanently in Jerusalem and therefore the symbol of mobility will be unnecessary. 18 SMB, “V. I. 3768”. 19  Salapata, “ Exceptional Pair”, esp. 40 and n. 173, fig. 1h. 20  See further Kirshenbaum, Furniture, 279–283, 291–292. 21 BM, “1816,0610.94”; Richter, Furniture, 75 and notes. 22  The fact that a bed does not appear among the objects of the tabernacle or the temple is consistent with the absence of any attribution of sexuality to Yhwh in the Hebrew Bible and with the assertion that he does not sleep (Isa 5:27; Ps 121:4; and see 1 Kgs 18:27). For a discussion of the function of the god’s bed in Mesopotamian cult, see Porter, “Beds”.

140

6. The Ark: Function

by humans today, and approximately fifty percent greater in each dimension than the actual acacia-wood table from Thebes mentioned above (§ 3.4.3.2) [Figure 3.14].23 The implication in this description that the ark was a simple block in shape and would have had no element that could function as a chair-back would have posed no problem for its conception as a ‫ּכ ֵּסא‬,ִ “chair” or “throne”. A separate biblical passage divulges by chance that this term included backless seats (1 Sam 4:18).

6.2.2 Critique of Reichel, Dibelius, et al. Notwithstanding all of the above, the scholarly characterization of the ark as a throne misses the mark. While Jer 3:16–17 recognizes a view of the ark as a throne, the speaker in the passage does not endorse this view. In fact, not only does he doom it to oblivion; in the same breath he also promotes a competing conception of the entire city of Jerusalem as constituting the throne of Yhwh. Nor is this competing conception consigned to the distant future. It is expressed in two other passages in the same book. The first of these is the plea to Yhwh ‫ַאל‬ ‫בֹודָך‬ ֶ ‫ּתנַ ֵּבל ִּכ ֵּסא ְכ‬, ְ “do not disgrace your majestic throne” (Jer 14:21). The most proximate candidate for a referent of “throne” here is ‫צּיֹון‬,ִ “Zion” (v. 19). The second passage is the panegyric ‫ּכ ֵּסא ָכבֹוד ָמרֹום ֵמ ִראׁשֹון ְמקֹום ִמ ְק ָּד ֵׁשנּו‬,ִ “A majestic throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary” (Jer 17:12; the words ‫ ֵמ ִראׁשֹון ְמקֹום‬are not reflected in the Septuagint). Here the throne is explicitly equated with ‫מקֹום ִמ ְק ָּד ֵׁשנּו‬, ְ which could be understood a priori either as the temple or Jerusalem as a whole, but not as the ark.24 Thus, the Bible nowhere advocates a conception of the ark as a throne, and the one book that recognizes such a view advocates a conception that is incompatible with it. Moreover, there is no evidence that anyone ever perceived the ark primarily as a throne or that divine thrones from the ancient Near East would constitute substantially valid or illuminating parallels to the ark. Even those who believed that the ark was Yhwh’s seat still recognized it by the name ‫ארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬, ֲ “the Chest of Yhwh’s Covenant” (Jer 3:16), and must have shared the conception that it was, in essence, a chest. As for Meinhold’s Egyptian “box-shaped” throne, this object is better understood today and is now conventionally known as a “block throne” [Figure 6.2]. There is no evidence that it was associated with boxes or any other sort of container.25  The dimensions of the tabernacle’s lampstand are not stated.  A figure of speech for describing the temporary focus of the attention and power of Yhwh on the land of Elam, also in Jeremiah, is that Yhwh places his throne there (49:38). 25  Kuhlmann, Thron, 57–60, 82–83. See also Metzger, Königsthron, 1:359–361 for a survey of block-like thrones from the ancient Near East. For photographed items, see, e. g., MMA, “22.5.1” (pictured); BM, “EA 37”, “EA 63”, “EA 589”, “EA 51822”, “EA 64620”. 23 24

6.2 Survey of Interpretation

141

6.2.3 Cassuto, Haran, et al.: Footstool The scholarly idea of the ark as a throne has largely given way to the related view, developed by Cassuto, Haran, and others, that the ark was the footstool for a throne formed by the cherubim above it (see § 12.1.1).26 Scholars who hold this view, while conceding that the major passages describing the ark and its placement in the sanctuary do not express a conception of it as such, point to four verses in the Bible that refer, in the context of the sanctuary, to Yhwh’s ‫ֲהד ֹם‬ ]‫( רגלי[ם‬Lam 2:1; Pss 99:5; 132:7; 1 Chr 28:2). In Ugaritic literature, this term refers to a portable object on which the feet rest, namely a footstool.27 These scholars maintain that some or all of the biblical references to Yhwh’s ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ַליִם‬may denote the ark. These scholars are also willing to characterize the overall form of the ark as that of a chest, and they accept that the ark also functions as one, storing the divine covenant. They argue, however, that footstools of gods in the ancient Near East were often used to store treaties, as attested by texts that speak of such documents being placed or found “beneath the feet” of deities. Cassuto cites an example: [I]n a letter from Ramses II king of Egypt to the king of Mira, it is stated that the document of the oath whereby he obligated himself to keep the terms of his covenant with the king of the Hittites was placed beneath the feet of Tešub the god of the Hittites […] similarly, the document of the oath of the king of the Hittites to keep that agreement was placed beneath the feet of the sun god […]28

6.2.4 Critique of Cassuto, Haran, et al. Analysis of each of the four verses cited by the ark-as-footstool advocates leads to the conclusion that they most likely refer to the temple or the Temple Mount ָ ‫ֵא‬ and not to the ark.29 We begin with Lam 2:1: ְ�‫ ִהׁש‬/ ‫יכה יָ ִעיב ְּב ַאּפֹו ֲאד ֹנָ י ֶאת ַּבת ִציןֹון‬ ‫ וְ לֹא זָ ַכר ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו ְּביֹום ַאּפֹו‬/ ‫ליְך ִמ ָּׁש ַמיִם ֶא ֶרץ ִּת ְפ ֶא ֶרת יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬.ִ Here there is no particular indication that ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬refers to the ark. Indeed, Lamentations Rabbah, Targum of Lamentations, and Leqah Tov all assert without any equivocation that 26  Cassuto, Commentary, 330–336; Haran, “Ark”, 89–92 = idem, Temples, 254–257; see also de Vaux, “chérubins”; idem, Bible, 136–151; additional bibliography in Maier, Vom Kultus zur Gnosis, 83 n. 146; Schmitt, Zelt, 124–128; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:358. For the distinction between the ark as throne and the ark as footstool, see for example Clements, God and Temple, 30–31. 27 Fabry, “hadhōm”, 330. 28 Cassuto, Commentary, 229–230. For similar comments see Haran, “Ark”, 89–90. See also Tur-Sinai, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 542. 29 The present writer is not aware of any premodern commentator who raised the possibility that these verses refer to the ark. However, interpretations of some of the verses in this vein that precede the development of the view being discussed can be found in August Klostermann, Der Pentateuch: Beiträge zu seinem Verständnis und seiner Entstehungsgeschichte (Leipzig: Deichert, 1893), 73, cited in Jeremias, Old Testament, 124; Dibelius, Lade, 43; Gressmann, Lade, 21, 43.

142

6. The Ark: Function

the phrase is an appellation for the temple.30 The ark is not explicitly mentioned at all in the chapter in which the verse appears, or elsewhere in the book. But the temple, Jerusalem, and Judah are mentioned in the chapter and in the book with a wide variety of designations. Furthermore, in the verse itself, ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬is parallel to ‫ ַּבת ִציֹון‬and ‫ִּת ְפ ֶא ֶרת יִ ְׂשע‬ ‫ר ֵאל‬.ָ The phrase ‫ ַּבת ִציֹון‬cannot possibly refer to the ark; elsewhere in the chapter ‫ ַּבת ִציֹון‬has a city wall (vv. 8, 18), and in v. 15 ‫רּוׁש ָל ִם‬ ָ ְ‫ ַּבת י‬is plainly a city, so ‫ַּבת‬ ‫ ִציֹון‬must mean the city of Jerusalem. The phrase ‫ ִּת ְפ ֶא ֶרת יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬must also denote the temple and not the ark: elsewhere, the temple is referred to as ‫ְמׂשֹוׂש ִּת ְפ ַא ְר ָּתם‬ (Ezek 24:25; cf. v. 21), ‫( ֵּבית ָק ְד ֵׁשנּו וְ ִת ְפ ַא ְר ֵּתנּו‬Isa 64:10), and ‫( ֵבית ִת ְפ ַא ְר ִתי‬Isa 60:7), and it is characterized with the word ‫ ִּת ְפ ֶא ֶרת‬in other instances (1 Chr 22:5; 2 Chr 3:6); Yhwh’s heavenly abode is called ‫ זְ ֻבל ׇק ְד ְשָך וְ ִת ְפ ַא ְר ֶתָך‬as well (Isa 63:15).31 It appears, therefore, that ‫הד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬,ֲ like its two parallel terms, designates the temple or Jerusalem. Admittedly, one might suggest that the phrase nevertheless denotes the ark and the verse gradually focuses the reader’s gaze from Jerusalem to the temple to the ark. But this is improbable, because in the next verse the scope is wider and all three of its terms (‫ּכל נְ אֹות יַ ֲעקֹב‬,ָ ‫הּודה‬ ָ ְ‫מ ְב ְצ ֵרי ַבת י‬, ִ ‫יה‬ ָ ‫)מ ְמ ָל ָכה וְ ָׂש ֶר‬ ַ are similar to each other in this sense. Moreover, the object of the lamentation is obviously the conquest of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. If our verse referred to the ark, it would clash with the other biblical accounts of this event (2 Kgs 25 = Jer 52; Jer 39; 2 Chr 36:17–21), in all of which the ark is conspicuously absent, even though they include a detailed list of precious objects taken from the temple (2 Kgs 25:13–17 ≈ Jer 52:17–23). It is implausible that these texts would simply ignore the destruction or capture of the ark. Rather, they presuppose that the ark was not affected by the disaster, perhaps because it had been removed or destroyed beforehand.32 Psalms 99:5 and 132:7 contain exhortations for prostration before Yhwh’s ]‫הד ֹם רגלי[ם‬.ֲ Psalm 99:5 reads: ‫ֹלהינּו וְ ִה ְׁש ַּת ֲחוּו ַל ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו ָקדֹוׁש הּוא‬ ֵ ‫רֹוממּו ה׳ ֱא‬. ְ Like Lam 2, this psalm does not contain any explicit mention of the ark,33 and ‫ֲהד ֹם‬ ‫ ַרגְ ָליו‬parallels ‫הר ָק ְדׁשֹו‬,ַ “his holy mountain”, in the structure of the poem (v. 9). 30 The midrashim are followed by Rashi and Isaiah di Trani; see commentaries ad loc., in Cohen, Five Scrolls, 98–99. Joseph Kara and Joseph Kaspi (ibid.), influenced by Isa 66:1, interpreted the phrase as designating, to a degree, the whole world, but they did not entertain the possibility that it refers to the ark. 31  Thus, the ‫ ִּת ְפ ֶא ֶרת‬of Ps 96:6, which, a priori, may denote either the sanctuary or the ark within it, should also be understood as denoting the former, notwithstanding Day, “Ark and the Cherubim”, 71–72. As for Ps 78:61, see below (§ 6.4.1). 32 See ch. 1 n. 14 (§ 1.2.4). 33 Thus, David Kimhi and Menahem Meiri assert unequivocally that the term refers to the temple; see commentaries ad loc., in Cohen, Psalms II, 93. While Abraham ibn Ezra (ibid., 92) interpreted the term as ‫מקום הארון‬, “the place of the ark”, it seems that he meant the place rather than the ark itself; in his view, the ark is a ‫דמות כסא‬, “figure of a throne” (long commentary on Exod 25:22, in Cohen, Exodus II, 75; see § 6.2.1), and so the place of the ark is the place of Yhwh’s feet.

6.2 Survey of Interpretation

143

These two observations indicate that ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬in this occurrence, too, refers to the Temple Mount and not the ark. In Ps 132:7, ‫ נִ ְׁש ַּת ֲחוֶ ה ַל ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬/ ‫נֹותיו‬ ָ ‫בֹואה ְל ִמ ְׁש ְּכ‬ ָ ָ‫נ‬, the term ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬parallels ‫נֹותיו‬ ָ ‫מ ְׁש ְּכ‬. ִ The meaning of ‫מ ְׁש ָּכנֹות‬, ִ from the root ‫ׁשכן‬, “to dwell”, approximates that of “dwelling”, be it a tent (Num 24:5; Isa 54:2; Jer 30:18; Job 21:28), a house (Ps 49:12; Job 39:6), or an entire settlement (Pss 78:28; 87:2). Within the psalm itself, the word is paralleled with ‫מקֹום‬, ָ “place” (v. 5; cf. Job 18:21). It is thus clear that ‫נֹותיו‬ ָ ‫ ִמ ְׁש ְּכ‬refers to Yhwh’s dwelling – presumably the temple or, by extension, the Temple Mount or Zion – and not to the ark. Additionally, as Haran notes, the entire verse parallels Ps 5:8, ‫יכל ָק ְד ְׁשָך‬ ַ ‫ ֶא ְׁש ַּת ֲחוֶ ה ֶאל ֵה‬/ ‫יתָך‬ ֶ ‫אבֹוא ֵב‬, ָ where the place of ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬is taken by ‫יכל ָק ְד ְׁשָך‬ ַ ‫ה‬,ֵ an indisputable reference to the temple.34 The ark is explicitly mentioned once in Ps 132, in v. 8: ‫ ַא ָּתה‬/ ‫נּוח ֶתָך‬ ָ ‫קּומה ה׳ ִל ְמ‬ ָ ‫וַ ֲארֹון ֻעּזֶ ָך‬. This verse demonstrates that the ark is not Yhwh’s ]‫נּוח[ה‬ ָ ‫מ‬, ְ “resting place”. Indeed, v. 13 identifies Yhwh’s ]‫נּוח[ה‬ ָ ‫ ְמ‬as Zion. Rather, the ark moves to the ‫נּוחה‬ ָ ‫מ‬, ְ and its movement thither signifies Yhwh’s movement (see § 6.1.1). In the poem as a whole, ‫ ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬and ‫נּוחה‬ ָ ‫ ְמ‬appear to be two in a collection of rather interchangeable terms for Yhwh’s permanent and static location, also including ‫ ָמקֹום‬in v. 5, ‫ ִמ ְׁש ָּכנֹות‬in vv. 5 and 7, and ‫מֹוׁשב‬ ָ in v. 13 (note also the implicit comparison with David’s ‫ א ֶֹהל ַּביִת‬and ]‫צּועי[ם‬ ִ ְ‫ ֶע ֶרׂש י‬in v. 3 as well as his ‫ ִּכ ֵּסא‬in vv. 11 and 12). It seems, then, that ‫הד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬,ֲ ‫נּוחתֹו‬ ָ ‫מ‬, ְ and ‫נֹותיו‬ ָ ‫ ִמ ְׁש ְּכ‬are all epithets for the temple and for Zion, not for the ark, which is clearly distinguished from the ‫נּוחה‬ ָ ‫ ְמ‬the one and only time it is mentioned in the psalm.35 This leaves us with 1 Chr 28:2, in which David is reported as saying, ‫ֲאנִ י ִעם ְל ָב ִבי‬ ‫ֹלהינּו‬ ֵ ‫נּוחה ַל ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳ וְ ַל ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ֵלי ֱא‬ ָ ‫ל ְבנֹות ֵּבית ְמ‬.ִ If this verse does indeed express the notion that the ark is Yhwh’s footstool, it would be the only such passage in the Hebrew Bible. This is precisely the view of Japhet, who thus concludes that the concept of the ark as Yhwh’s footstool is a late development, an innovation of the Chronicler.36 This alone would suffice to reject the view under discussion, that the ark as described in the Hebrew Bible is primarily a footstool; at most it would be the idiosyncratic view of the Chronicler and no one else. However, upon further examination it appears that even in Chronicles this notion is not expressed. If the phrase ‫ֹלהינּו‬ ֵ ‫ וְ ַל ֲהד ֹם ַרגְ ֵלי ֱא‬in this verse indeed referred to the ark, it would be entirely redundant, because the ark is mentioned immediately beforehand (‫)ל ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬. ַ Pleonasm is not to be expected in this pericope (28:1–10), which is a prose speech, and indeed we do not find any other instances of pleonasm in it. For this reason, various scholars have maintained that ‫וְ ַל ֲהד ֹם‬ 34  Haran, “Ark”, 91 n. 13. Other similar passages in Psalms do not refer explicitly either to the temple or to the ark in the place of ‫הד ֹם ַרגְ ָליו‬.ֲ These passages are: ‫ נִ ְב ְר ָכה ִל ְפנֵ י‬/ ‫ּבֹאּו נִ ְׁש ַּת ֲחוֶ ה וְ נִ ְכ ָר ָעה‬ ‫( ה׳ ע ֵֹׂשנּו‬95:6); and ‫ ִה ְׁש ַּת ֲחוּו ַלה׳ ְּב ַה ְד ַרת ק ֶֹדׁש‬/ ‫רֹותיו‬ ָ ‫( ְׂשאּו ִמנְ ָחה ּובֹאּו ְל ַח ְצ‬96:8b–9a ≈ 2 Chr 16:29). 35  See also Janowski, “Keruben”, 245–246. 36  Japhet, Ideology, 71–73.

144

6. The Ark: Function

‫ֹלהינּו‬ ֵ ‫ ַרגְ ֵלי ֱא‬refers not to the ark but to the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ 37 A more likely possibility was suggested by Haran, which is that the phrase does not parallel ‫ ַל ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬at all but refers back to ‫נּוחה‬ ָ ‫ּבית ְמ‬.ֵ Yhwh’s footstool, then, is again the temple, and the meaning of the verse is: “It was my intention to build a house of rest for the ark, a house that will be the footstool of our God”.38 This reading is supported by the fact that the prefix -‫ל‬, in several instances in this very pericope, means “to be” or “that will be”. Thus, ‫יהּודה ָּב ַחר ְלנָ גִ יד‬ ָ ‫ ִב‬in v. 4 means “He chose Judah to be a leader”; ‫ ָב ַח ְר ִּתי בֹו ִלי ְל ֵבן‬in v. 6 means “I have chosen him to be my son”; and ‫ַּביִת‬ ‫ ַל ִּמ ְק ָּדׁש‬in v. 10 means “a house that will be the holy place”. Haran’s reading of v. 2 is also supported by the Septuagint ad loc., in which the equivalent of ‫וְ ַל ֲהד ֹם‬ is καὶ στάσιν, in the accusative rather than the genitive, meaning the footstool is the thing that is to be built. Hence, it appears that Haran is correct in his assessment that that all four verses refer to the temple or the Temple Mount, and that the ark is never spoken of as a footstool in the Bible.39 The concept of the Temple Mount as Yhwh’s footstool has, as noted by Metzger, parallels in ancient Near Eastern iconography, where footrests for deities are decorated with a scale pattern signifying mountains, as, e. g., on the Hammurabi Stele [Figure 6.3].40 A conception of the ark as a footstool would also be manifestly incompatible with the formal descriptions of the ark in the priestly tabernacle account. This account specifies the dimensions of the ark in cubits as 2.5 L. × 1.5 W. × 1.5 H. (see § 3.2.1), which gives a volume of 5.625 cubic cubits, whereas the dimensions of the table are only 2 L. × 1 W. × 1.5 H. (Exod 25:23 = 37:10), yielding a volume of 3 cubic cubits. If the priestly author meant to allow such a conception, he would be describing a dwelling for Yhwh in which the footstool is as tall as the table, greater than it in length and width, and almost twice as voluminous – an absurdity. The ark as described is also, as we shall see presently, dozens of times more voluminous than, and differently proportioned from, the actual footstools from ancient Egypt, whose height falls far short of their width. The supposed parallel to the ark as a container-footstool, the textually attested ancient Near Eastern practice of placing documents “beneath the feet” of gods, also falls apart under scrutiny. An archaeological find demonstrates what this practice actually consisted of. At Dahshur, an alabaster tablet inscribed with a

37  Benzinger, Bücher der Chronik, 65; Curtis and Madsen, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 296; Davies, “Footstool”; Maier, Vom Kultus zur Gnosis, 84–85; Fabry, “hadhōm”, 334. 38  Haran “Ark”, 90 n. 12. 39  Haran, “Ark”, 90–91. Haran, a major advocate of the view being discussed, nevertheless maintains that these references constitute an “indirect expression” of an archaic ark-footstool equation. This claim relies on external arguments, which will be dealt with presently. 40  Metzger, Königsthron, 1:358.

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145

passage from the Book of the Dead was found under a naos containing an upright statue.41 This method does not involve a footstool. Moreover, our knowledge of actual ancient Near Eastern footstools is incompatible with the notion of a footstool doubling as a chest.42 Ten such artifacts are extant, all from the tomb of Tutankhamun. These rectangular objects were made with their right and left sides open and have no bottom surface [Figure 6.4].43 Thus they could not have held anything. Presumably, rectangular-profile footstools represented in ancient Near Eastern pictures had similar structures. In sum, the interpretation of the ark as fulfilling the function of a footstool should be thoroughly rejected.

6.2.5 Reimpell, de Vaux: Pedestal Several other interpretations of the mode in which the ark functions as the marker of the divine presence have been proposed by modern scholars, each interpretation with its own purported parallel in the material world of the ancient Near East. Unlike the interpretations surveyed above, these alternative proposals lack an attempt to adduce positive evidence that any biblical author believed in, or was even aware of, such an interpretation. Therefore, in what follows they will only be presented, and not systematically critiqued. Reimpell proposed that the ark was a “sacred stage”, like the stepped stone structures found in Petra [Figure 6.5] and Asia Minor. He conjectured that such a stone stage existed at Sinai and was imitated by Moses, but that it was changed into a hollow, wooden chest so that it would be portable.44 Similarly, de Vaux accepted the footstool view examined above, but believed that the ark predated the cherubim and must therefore have originally been understood as something unrelated to a throne. Thus, he characterized the ark as having originally been a “support of the invisible godhead, a pedestal”. He also believed that the ark had the form of a chest, and maintained, like the footstool 41  De Morgan, Fouilles, 92–94 figs. 215–217 ; paradoxically cited by De Vaux (Bible, 148) as support for the characterization of the ark as a footstool. 42  This is admitted by de Vaux (“chérubins”, 255). 43  Malek, Tutankhamun, Objects 30, 88, 90 (pictured), 92, 378, 414, 442b, 442e, 592, and 613; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 87–91. Object 511, which Carter tentatively identified as a “travelling footstool”, is really a box and not a footstool, as shown by Killen (ibid., 17). An additional footstool-like object from Late Period Egypt, which functioned perhaps as a shower platform, lacks bottom, front, and back surfaces and does not have solid top; see Baker, Furniture, 139, fig. 213; Killen, ibid., 91. See also Fabry, “hadhōm”, 329. 44 Reimpell, “Ursprung”, citing evidence from Dalman, Petra und seine Felsheiligtümer, esp. 85, figs. 49, 152 (pictured); idem, Neue Petra-Forschungen, 57. Dalman (Petra und seine Felsheiligtümer, 58, 166) himself compared the ark to one of these structures, which, however, he characterized as a divine throne. Reimpell’s suggestion was rejected immediately by Hartmann (“Zelt un Lade”, 243–244). Zobel (“’ arôn”, 369) states that it “has rightly found no advocates”. It is mentioned briefly, without comment, by Seow (“Ark of the Covenant”, 388).

146

6. The Ark: Function

advocates, that the ancient Near Eastern practice of placing texts beneath the feet of a god demonstrates that there would have been no contradiction between the notion of the ark as a pedestal and the notion of the ark as a receptacle. As parallels for this “chest-pedestal” he adduced two items: first, an eighth century BCE enameled brick from Assur that depicts a god standing on a rectangular pedestal “in the form of a simple chest” [Figure 6.6]; second, a stele from Ugarit that shows a figure, possibly a goddess associated with Baal, standing on a socle (a plinth or pedestal) [Figure 6.7]. De Vaux argued that the socle appears to have a lid and must therefore be a chest .45

6.2.6 Winckler, Hartmann, et al.: Coffin The view of the ark as a coffin was briefly presented by Winckler and later developed by Völter, Jeremias, and Hartmann.46 Winckler connected the ark to the “dying god” myth, maintaining that the newborn Yhwh lay in the ark as the Egyptian god Osiris and the Babylonian god Tammuz did in their coffins. Jeremias noted that the word ‫ ארון‬designates a coffin or similar object in the Joseph story (Gen 50:26; see § 1.0, § 1.5.4). Hartmann adduced visual depictions of the Osiris coffin from ancient Egypt. He argued that in one such depiction the four cornerposts of the coffin correspond to the ‫ ְּפ ַעמֹות‬of the ark (Exod 25:12; see § 3.5.2.2), and that the flanking figures of Isis and Nephthys mourning the dead god correspond to the cherubim (see § 11.3.2).47 Aside from the absence of any positive evidence in its favor, this view is incompatible with the dimensions attributed to the ark in the priestly account. The length of 2.5 cubits, about 125 cm, is far too short for an adult human body. Even if the priestly author imagined Yhwh, for some reason, as smaller than an adult human, the proportions of 5 L. × 3 W. × 3 H. would still be odd for a coffin.

6.2.7 Gressmann, Hoffmeier, Noegel: Procession Shrine or Bark Gressmann likened the ark as described in the priestly texts, with its ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ to Egyptian portable shrines carried on procession barks [Figure 6.8], and more 45 De Vaux, “chérubins”, 255–258; idem, Bible, 147–150. Assur brick: SMB, “VA Ass 00897”; Ugarit stele: Louvre, “Stela Depicting the Storm God Baal” (AO 15775). 46  Winckler, Geschichte, 9; Völter, Aegypten, 92–102; significantly revised in the second edition of ibid. (1909), 102–118; Jeremias, Old Testament, 2:126–128; Hartmann, “Zelt und Lade”, 236–239; briefly mentioned by Seow (“Ark of the Covenant”, 388). 47 The correspondence between the ark and the ‫ ֲארֹון‬of Joseph, in that the same word denotes both of them and that the bones of Joseph were, like the ark, associated with Moses (Exod 13:19) and brought into Canaan (Josh 24:32), was already noted and exploited for midrashic purposes by the talmudic sages (Mekilta, Mekilta of Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, Pesiqta of Rab Kahana, and Tanhuma [Warsaw] Beshalah 2; t. Sotah 4:7; b. Sotah 13a–b; y. Berakhot 2:3; Pesiqta Rabbati 22:2). See also Görg, “Lade als Sarg”; Porzig, Lade, 1–7.

6.3 Proposal: Undefinable Marker

147

particularly to procession coffins used in the Osiris cult [Figure 6.9]. His main argument in favor of the comparison was the fact that both the ark (according to the priestly description) and the procession shrines are transported by carrying poles.48 The similarity between the ark and Egyptian portable shrines in their carrying apparatus has been emphasized more recently by Hoffmeier.49 Noegel has also argued that the Egyptian sacred bark and the biblical ark “share much in common in both design and function” and that the former served as a model for the latter.50 For views that the ark not only functioned as a shrine but also took the form of a certain type of ancient Near Eastern shrine or shrine model, see above (§ 2.2).

6.2.8 Metzger, Görg: Throne-Base Metzger explained the ark as a portable base for an invisible, mobile, divine throne. He admitted that no biblical passage expresses that the ark was understood in this manner, stating that his hypothesis was based on the formal similarities between the ark as described in the priestly texts and certain instances of such throne-bases in Egypt [Figure 6.10].51 A similar idea was proposed by Görg, who combined it with his view that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬above the ark was a footrest (see § 7.4.2.6).52 Kitchen merges Metzger’s idea into the ark-as-footstool view, stating that “the Ark was both base-box and footstool”.53

6.3 Proposal: Undefinable Marker An inescapable conclusion from the aforegoing discussion is that, while many biblical passages speak of the ark as marking the presence of Yhwh, they all avoid stating the mode in which it did so or suggesting any kind of corporeal form for this presence. While it is difficult to prove a negative, the impression is that the authors of these passages believed the mode in which the ark marked Yhwh’s presence to be undefinable. This tendency is especially striking in the account of the ark’s stay in the house of the Philistine deity Dagon (1 Sam 5:2–5), which does present tangible details regarding Dagon: he is portrayed as being actually embodied by an object that has a head and hands (v. 4) and can fall (vv. 3, 4), presumably an anthropomorphic statue. 48 Gressmann, Lade, esp. 2–17; Zobel (“’ arôn”, 378) states that the view has “rightly been rejected”; it is mentioned briefly by Seow (“Ark of the Covenant”, 388). 49 Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel, 213–214. 50 Noegel, “Egyptian Origin”, esp. 229–230. 51  Metzger, Königsthron, 1:359–365, 367. See also Zwickel, Salomonische Tempel, 106. 52  Görg, “Lade als Thronsockel”. 53  Kitchen, “Tabernacle”, 125* and notes; idem, On the Reliability, 280.

148

6. The Ark: Function

The account of the introduction of the ark to the temple (1 Kgs 8:1–11 ≈ 2 Chr 5:2–14), by emphasizing that the ark was placed under the wings of the cherubim in the cella (1 Kgs 8:6–7 ≈ 2 Chr 5:7–8; see 11.3.3), implies that the presence of Yhwh could be said to be under the wings, as that detail would seem to lack significance otherwise. It also states that the cloud and Majesty accompanying Yhwh filled the entire temple edifice (1 Kgs 8:10–11 ≈ 2 Chr 5:13–14). But it does not offer anything more precise. In the priestly tabernacle account, the ark is portrayed as underlying and supporting the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ which provides the precise location of Yhwh’s presence. Clearly, in this view, Yhwh is located above the ark. Yet the ark is not portrayed here as a throne, a footstool, a pedestal, or any other object that scholars have proposed as parallels. Verbs such as ‫ יָ ַׁשב‬or ‫ ָע ַמד‬do not appear in this context at all. Nor is any other expression employed that would evoke corporeal notions of precisely how Yhwh is imagined to abide in the priestly tabernacle. Thus, here too, the manner in which the ark marks the divine presence is undefinable. The biblical authors’ insistence on indefinability perfectly explains their choice of a container as the marker of the divine presence. Because a cult image or even an object that indirectly suggests a corporeal presence, such as a throne, are deemed inappropriate, the best object to fulfill this function is the one that contains the items that were given by the Deity and that embody his relationship with his people. In this regard, and in this regard only, the ark is without parallel in the ancient Near East.54 Indeed, this is the reverse of the ancient Near Eastern phenomenon of placing important documents “beneath the feet” of a god (§ 6.2.3). The tablets are not placed in the ark because that is where Yhwh is thought to be; rather, Yhwh is thought to be at the ark because his tablets are in it.

6.4 Other Portrayals of Yhwh’s Presence in the Bible Significantly, the priestly tabernacle account appears to be the only section of the Bible to express the idea that the ark can mark the divine presence, in any manner, after being installed in the sanctuary.

6.4.1 The Temple Other biblical authors seem to believe that, once the mobile ark was placed permanently in the fixed temple of Solomon, the latter took over this function from the former. This shift is hinted at in Nathan’s prophecy (2 Sam 7 ≈ 1 Chr 17). It is 54  Porter (“Blessings”) assembles documentation of deified non-anthropomorphic objects in Mesopotamian culture. Unlike the ark, these objects do not seem to serve as central markers for the presence of a major deity.

6.4 Other Portrayals of Yhwh’s Presence in the Bible

149

also refected in the fact that certain laudatory nouns associated with the divine presence, such as ‫כּבֹוד‬,ָ ‫ּת ְפ ֶא ֶרת‬, ִ and ‫עֹז‬, are attached to the ark in passages set before its installation in the temple (1 Sam 4:21–22; Ps 78:61; 132:8 = 2 Chr 6:41) but are attached to the temple in passages set after this event (1 Kgs 8:11 = 2 Chr 5:14 = 7:2; Isa 60:7, 13; 64:10; Ezek 24:21, 25; 43:4–5; 44:4; Hag 2:3, 7, 9; Ps 26:8; 1 Chr 22:5; etc). Accordingly, the prophetic literature ignores or de-emphasizes the very existence of the ark and its cherubim and consistently portrays the presence of Yhwh as being tied to the temple as a whole or to a transcendent realm that is perceived at and through the temple as a whole. In doing so, these passages reject even an undefinable connection between the divine presence and any tangible object. Most of them, however, speak of a throne and/or divine body parts, promoting a more corporeal mental image55 of the divine presence than do the passages that spotlight the ark and the cherubim.56 Presumably, the greater detachment from cultic material allowed a stronger expression of the anthropomorphic conception of the divine that all biblical authors seem to have shared. Thus, as we have seen, Jer 3:16–17 and two other passages in Jeremiah endorse the idea that Jerusalem or the temple constitutes the throne of Yhwh (§ 6.2.2). A similar notion is expressed in Isaiah’s inaugural vision (Isa 6), in which Y ­ hwh’s throne is observed in the temple (vv. 1, 4), but the throne or its occupant is “high and exalted” (v. 1); it is accompanied by a retinue of supernatural winged creatures, the seraphim (v. 2), who make a point of reminding the observer (and the reader) that the Majesty of Yhwh in fact fills the entire earth (v. 3); and its observation involves an overwhelming of both the venue (v. 4) and the observer (v. 5). The ark is not mentioned. The same pattern is repeated in Ezekiel’s various Majesty visions, which feature a moving throne (Ezek 1:1–3:14; 3:22–5:17; 8–11; 40–48). While the throne and the Majesty of Yhwh that it seats are first observed in Chaldea (1:3; 3:23), their proper place is in the temple, whence they are observed departing (8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 15, 18–19; 11:22–23) and whither they are observed returning (43:1–9). These visions are first experienced as a result of heaven opening up (1:1); the throne is (not unlike the throne in Isaiah 6) accompanied by animate supernatural creatures called ‫חּיֹות‬,ַ “living beings” (1:1–3:14), or “cherubim” (8–11; see § 9.1); the creatures fly and bear the throne through the realm of storm-winds, cloud (1:4), and lightning (1:13), and the platform of the throne is ‫[ה ָ]ר ִק ַיע‬, ָ “the sky-plate” (1:26).57  See Mettinger, No Graven Image, 20.  Cf. Smith, Where the Gods Are, 30. 57  The creatures seem to represent the four winds and the four corners of the earth; see Noegel, “On the Wings”, esp. 21–22. These visions later developed into the complex of Jewish divine throne/chariot theology (1 Chr 28:18; Dan 7:9–10; Enoch 14:18–23; etc.), which is not our concern here. 55 56

150

6. The Ark: Function

When Yhwh in Ezekiel (43:7) dubs the future temple ‫מקֹום ִּכ ְס ִאי‬, ְ “the place of my throne”, along with ‫מקֹום ַּכּפֹות ַרגְ ַלי‬, ְ “the place of the soles of my feet”, we should understand “the place of my throne” in light of the vision of Isaiah and the other Majesty visions of Ezekiel: the temple is somehow the place of the throne, but the throne transcends the temple. “The place of the soles of my feet” is paralleled by Isaiah’s ‫יכל‬ ָ ‫ׁשּוליו ְמ ֵל ִאים ֶאת ַה ֵה‬ ָ ְ‫ו‬, “and his skirts filled the palace” (Isa 6:1). The ark, again, is nowhere to be found. Similar is Isa 60:13, which features the term ‫מקֹום ַרגְ ַלי‬, ְ “the place of my [Yhwh’s] feet”. The referent must be the temple, for two reasons. First, because it is something that Yhwh promises to glorify (‫)א ַכ ֵּבד‬ ֲ by having various types of expensive wood brought in; the temple is said to have originally been furnished with various types of expensive wood (see § 3.1.3), and its rebuilding with wood is described elsewhere with the same verb, “glorify” (Hag 1:8 K ‫ואכבד‬, Q ‫)וְ ֶא ָּכ ְב ָדה‬. Second, because the term is paired with ‫מקֹום ִמ ְק ָּד ִׁשי‬, ְ which obviously denotes the temple or the Temple Mount. Consistent with all these passages are the four verses that speak of Yhwh’s footstool (Lam 2:1; Pss 99:5; 132:7; 1 Chr 28:2), whose referent, as shown above (§ 6.2.4), is the temple or the Temple Mount. Also consistent with them is the double statement in a poetic context that ‫יכל ָק ְדׁשֹו‬ ַ ‫ה׳ ְּב ֵה‬, “Yhwh is in his holy palace”, while at the same time ‫ּב ָּׁש ַמיִם ִּכ ְסאֹו‬,ַ “his throne is in heaven” (Ps 11:4); ‫יכל ָק ְדׁשֹו‬ ַ ‫ ֵה‬is clearly a terrestrial edifice in at least one instance (Ps 79:1). Finally, the throne in the vision of Micaiah is, perhaps, observed in a particular terrestrial location, while its transcendent nature is demonstrated by the fact that it is surrounded by ‫צ ָבא ַה ָּׁש ַמיִ ם‬,ְ “the host of heaven” (1 Kgs 22:19 = 2 Chr 18:18), an order that is generally represented by the stars (Gen 2:1; Deut 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kgs 23:5; Jer 8:2; Dan 8:10), and one member of which is explicitly identified in the passage as “the wind” (1 Kgs 22:21–23 = 2 Chr 18:20–22).

6.4.2 Beyond the Temple Even these images were not sublime enough for other biblical writers, who rejected the possibility of pinning Yhwh down to any particular place. A late prophet, who clearly has Ezek 43:7 in view and is alluding to it in order to polemicize against the notion it expresses, has Yhwh saying, “Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool. Where could you build me a house? And where could the place of my home be?” (Isa 66:1). Similarly, poetic verses that speak of the throne of Yhwh all portray it in global and cosmic terms. This throne is located in heaven (Ps 103:19). It has existed from eternity (Ps 93:2), and it will continue to exist for eternity (Lam 5:19) despite the desolation of Mount Zion (v. 18). Upon it, Yhwh rules over the whole world (Ps 47:8–9) but also hears the complaints of individuals (Ps 9:5) and judges

6.4 Other Portrayals of Yhwh’s Presence in the Bible

151

the entire world justly (v. 9). Indeed, the very foundation of the throne is law (Ps 9:8) or justice and law (Pss 89:15; 97:2).58 The theology of the Prayer of Solomon goes even further, holding that, while Yhwh is located in heaven in a sense (1 Kgs 8:22, 30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49, 54 ≈ 2 Chr 6:13, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 33, 35, 39; 7:14; see also Deut 26:15), even heaven and “heaven’s heaven” cannot really contain him (1 Kgs 8:27 = 2 Chr 6:18 ≈ 2 Chr 2:5). The temple is not the locus of divine presence at all, but merely the focus of divine attention. In the eyes of the biblical authors who focus on the ark, this cultic object marks the presence of Yhwh. It is thus the counterpart of the ancient Near Eastern cult image. Unlike cult images, however, it marks the divine presence in a corporeally undefinable way. It therefore has no close functional parallel in the ancient Near East. Other biblical authors disconnect the divine presence from the ark entirely, moving it to the temple as a whole or beyond, which is why they hardly speak of the ark. The parade of alleged functional parallels to the ark that scholars have marched in since the end of the nineteenth century – thrones, footstools, pedestals, coffins, procession shrines, and throne-bases – all of which we have argued herein to be invalid, may be partially responsible for the surprising absence of any systematic comparison of the ark to ancient Near Eastern boxes and chests, even as dozens of these objects and depictions thereof were being unearthed. This comparison was undertaken for the first time above and illuminated many of the ark’s formal aspects (§ 3, § 4).

 For further analysis of Yhwh’s throne in the Bible, see Fabry, “kisse’”.

58

152

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.1: Marble statues from the east pediment of the Parthenon, Athens.

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.2: Diorite statue of Amenhotep III.

153

154

Fig. 6.3: Top of Hammurabi Stele.

6. The Ark: Function

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.4: Footstool, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Fig. 6.5: Stepped stone structure, Petra.

155

156

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.6: Enameled painting on brick orthostat, Assur.

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.7: Detail of “Baal with Thunderbolt” stele, U ­ garit.

157

158

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.8: Depiction of procession bark, Karnak (Ipet-Isut).

Fig. 6.9: Sketch of image “found on the bandages of a mummy belonging to Signor [Giovanni] d’Athanasi”.

6. The Ark: Function

Fig. 6.10: Relief, solar temple of Nyuserre, Abu Ghurab.

159

7. The kappōret In the priestly account, and only there, the ark is surmounted by an object called the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ This word occurs twenty-seven times in the Bible.1

7.1 Contexts Of these occurrences, twenty-six are in the priestly texts of the Pentateuch. In Exodus, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is mentioned in the instructions for its manufacture (Exod 25:17, 18, 19, 20[× 2], 21, 22) and the parallel account of its actual manufacture (37:6, 7, 8, 9[× 2]); in the instructions for the arrangement of the major interior tabernacle objects (26:34); in the account of the deposition of these objects (40:20); to define the location of the incense altar (30:6); and in lists of tabernacle objects (31:7; 35:12; 39:35). In Leviticus, it is mentioned in the Atonement Day pericope as playing a central role in the rituals of the day (Lev 16:2[× 2], 13, 14[× 2], 15[× 2]). In Numbers, it is mentioned once in the account of Moses’s regular meetings with Yhwh (Num 7:89). The ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is not directly mentioned in any other biblical tradition, but in Chronicles, in the one remaining occurrence of the word, a location in the temple is dubbed ‫( ֵּבית ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬1 Chr 28:11).2 This term presumably refers to the inner cella of the temple and is apparently influenced by the priestly texts, especially the Atonement Day pericope, in which the inner cella is characterized by the presence of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬within it and is referred to as ‫( ִמ ֵּבית ַל ָּפר ֶֹכת‬Lev 16:2, 15).3 The Chronicler’s term is taken up in the Talmud, where it carries the cited sense

1 Even-Shoshan

counts only 26, because it misses one of the two occurrences in Lev 16:15.  The segment mentioning the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in Exod 30:6 is absent in many textual witnesses: see ch. 1 n. 21 (§ 1.4.1). The Samaritan Pentateuch reads ‫ הכפרת‬in Exod 40:3, in place of the masoretic ‫ה ָּפר ֶֹכת‬.ַ The parallel verse 40:21 shows that the masoretic reading is original. Conversely, the Septuagint reflects the improbable reading ‫ הפרכת‬in Exod 26:34, in place of the masoretic ‫ה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ In Amos 9:1, the Septuagint seems to reflect the reading ‫ הכפרת‬where the Masoretic Text attests ‫ה ַּכ ְפּתֹור‬.ַ The proximity of the word ‫ ַסּף‬and the collocation of ‫ ַכּ ְפתֹּור‬with ‫ ַסּף‬in Zeph 2:14 indicate that, here too, the masoretic reading is original. 3  Japhet (I and II Chronicles, 494–495) argues that the Chronicler’s use of the term serves to equate the Solomonic temple with the desert tabernacle. 2

162

7. The kappōret

(m. Middot 1:1, 5:1; t. Zevahim 7:1, Temurah 4:8; b. Berakhot 30a, Menahot 97b, Temurah 30b, Tamid 27a).4

7.2 Separateness Certain points in the priestly account create the impression that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is a distinct object unto itself, separate from the ark. First, the instructions for the manufacture of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬are lengthier than the instructions for the ark proper, and they include the specification of the required dimensions, an element that is never present with ancillary objects and parts. Second, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is mentioned in the instructions for the deposition of the major objects in the tabernacle (Exod 26:33–35), where ancillary objects and parts such as poles are not mentioned. Third, it is mentioned by name in the list of items to be prepared by Bezalel and Oholiab, where ancillary parts such as poles are not mentioned and ancillary objects are mentioned only collectively (Exod 31:7–11). Fourth, it never takes a possessive suffix, in contrast to the poles of the ark and of the table and altars, which often do (Exod 27:7i; 35:12, 13, 15, 16; 39:35, 39). Fifth, in the Atonement Day pericope (Lev 16), it is mentioned several times without reference to the ark, except once initially (v. 2) to define its location.5 On the other hand, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is omitted in some of the lists of tabernacle items, including the list of objects to be anointed with the holy oil (Exod 30:26–28), the list of items that Yhwh commands Moses to set up in the tabernacle (Exod 40:3–8), and the list of objects under the care of the Qohathites (Num 3:31). These omissions create the opposite impression, namely, that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is a part of the ark, like its poles, and therefore does not need to be mentioned separately. Through these inconsistencies, the priestly author portrays the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in an intermediate manner: neither as entirely separate from the ark nor as a mere part of it, but as a semi-independent object.

7.3 Status The genesis of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is the same as that of the ark proper and its appurtenances in the priestly account: Yhwh instructs Moses to make it (‫ית‬ ָ ‫וְ ָע ִׂש‬: Exod 25:17), and the execution of the task is credited to Bezalel (‫וָ ּיַ ַעׂש‬: 37:6). Its final positioning, like that of the ark and its poles, is carried out by Moses (40:20). 4 For the Aramaic equivalent to this term, ‫בית כפורי‬, as well as the similar Hebrew expression ‫בית הפרכת‬, in rabbinic literature, see Hurvitz, “Terms”, 172–174. 5  Scholars who have sought to emphasize the separateness of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬have largely missed these points: Jacob, Second Book, 775; Torczyner, Bundeslade, 12–14 ≈ Tur-Sinai (idem), Language and the Book, 3:22–24 ≈ idem, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 540; Haran, “Ark”, 32–35.

7.4 Name

163

Like the ark proper, and by virtue of being joined to it, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is physically positioned in the most prestigious spot possible. It is placed ‫על ָה ָאר ֹן ִמ ְל ָמ ְע ָלה‬, ַ “on top of the ark” (Exod 25:21 = 40:20), or ‫על ֲאר ֹן ָה ֵע ֻדת ְּבק ֶֹדׁש ַה ֳּק ָד ִׁשים‬, ַ “upon the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies” (Exod 26:34). Its location is correspondingly said to be ‫על ֲאר ֹן ָה ֵע ֻדת‬, ַ “upon the ark of the testimony” (Exod 25:22 = Num 7:89; Exod 31:7); ‫על ָה ָאר ֹן‬, ַ “upon the ark” (Lev 16:2); and ‫על ָה ֵע ֻדת‬, ַ “upon the testimony” (Exod 30:6; Lev 16:13; see § 1.4.1). However, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬does not enjoy formal preeminence, a distinction that the priestly account reserves for the ark proper (§ 1.3.2) and the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬within it (§ 5.1.3). While there are exceptional instances in which people and objects have their position defined by the statement that they are located in front of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ these are not demonstrative. In Lev 16:2, the location of one entering the holy of holies is described with the words ‫אל ְּפנֵ י ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ָה ָאר ֹן‬, ֶ “in front of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬that is upon the ark”; but it is clear from the sequel, ‫ִּכי ֶּב ָענָ ן ֵא ָר ֶאה ַעל ַה ַּכ ֹּפע‬ ‫רת‬,ֶ “for I appear in cloud upon the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ that this wording is used only because a particular function of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is directly in view (see § 7.6.1). In Exod 30:6, the incense altar is said to be placed ‫ל ְפנֵ י ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ָה ֵע ֻדת‬,ִ but this clause is textually dubious (see § 1.4.1). Even in these two instances, the text reminds us in the very same breath of the preeminence of the ark and its ‫ע ֻדת‬,ֵ by describing the location of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬itself in relation to one of them. Finally, in Lev 16:14 and 15, Aaron is said to sprinkle blood ‫ל ְפנֵ י ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ִ “in front of the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬. ַ But this wording is clearly triggered by the immediately preceding words ‫[ּפנֵ י] ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ְ ‫ַעל‬ ]‫[ק ְד ָמה‬, ֵ “on [the front of] the ‫[ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬to the east]”, which are in turn necessary to convey the physical position of the blood. Furthermore, the aforementioned recollection of the preeminence of the ‫ע ֻדת‬, ֵ by defining the position of the ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ itself in terms of that object, is carried out in the preceding v. 13: ‫ֶאת ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת ֲא ֶׁשר‬ ‫על ָה ֵעדּות‬, ַ “the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬that is upon the ‫”עדּות‬. ֵ

7.4 Name 7.4.1 Cognates and Etymology The word ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is a common noun with a feminine ending,6 apparently from the root ‫כפר‬. It is always spelled defectively in the Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the biblical texts from the Judean Desert. The masoretic vocalization points to the nominal form qattāl or qattūl.7 The word itself does not have any 6 The word never receives a verb or an adjective. In the Masoretic Text, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is referred to with female pronominal suffixes (‫ ָא ְר ָּכּה … ָר ְח ָּבּה‬Exod 25:17 = 37:6) but also with a masculine pronominal suffix (‫צֹו[ו]תיו‬ ָ ‫ ְק‬Exod 25:19 = 37:8). In the Samaritan Pentateuch, the pronominal suffixes referring to it are consistently masculine. 7  GKC, § 84bg-h; Joüon, § 88Ic.

164

7. The kappōret

other use in the Hebrew Bible, nor does it have any apparent cognates in other languages. However, the root ‫ כפר‬is expressed in an abundance of lexemes in Biblical Hebrew. The a priori closest lexemes, because of their doubled middle radical, are the piel verb (1) ‫ּכ ֵּפר‬,ִ which is especially common in the priestly texts and whose conventional provisional translation is “atone”, and its related abstract noun (2) ‫ּכּפ ִרים‬, ֻ which is endemic to the priestly texts. Another noun or group of homonymic nouns possessing this root is ‫ּכ ֶֹפר‬, meaning (3) a waterproofing material – this meaning has an accompanying qal verb (4) ‫ּכ ַפר‬,ָ a hapax legomenon (Gen 6:14) – (5) a kind of plant (Song 1:14; 4:13; 7:12), (6) “ransom”, or (7) a type of human settlement (1 Sam 6:18; 1 Chr 27:25; Josh 18:24). We also find the nouns (8) ‫ּכ ִפיר‬,ְ meaning a lion or type thereof, after which the town (9) ‫ַה ְּכ ִפ ָירה‬ (Josh 9:17; 18:26), (10) ‫( ְּכ ִפ ָירה‬Ezra 2:25 = Neh 7:29), or (11) ‫( ְּכ ִפ ִירים‬Neh 6:2) is presumably named; and ‫ּכפֹור‬,ְ which refers to (12) a weather phenomenon (Exod 16:14; Ps 147:16; Job 38:29) and (13) a type of cultic vessel (1 Chr 28:17[× 6]; Ezra 1:10[× 2]; 8:27). The semantics and etymology of the root ‫כפר‬, and especially of (1) ‫ּכ ֵּפר‬,ִ have been the focus of an enormous quantity of scholarly literature, summarized by Schwartz.8 The concern of the present section is limited to the word ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ

7.4.2 Translations 7.4.2.1 Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate: Propitiatory The Septuagint almost always renders ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as ἱλαστήριον. This is a noun that is extremely rare outside the Septuagint and later texts,9 but it is obviously related to the verb ἱλάσκομαι, which means “appease” or “expiate”10 and is used occasionally in the Septuagint to translate (1) ‫( ִּכ ֵּפר‬Pss 65:4 [64:4]; 78:38 [77:38]; 79:9 [78:9]). In 1 Chr 28:11, the Old Greek translation uses the similar word ἐξιλασμός, which is also lacking outside the Septuagint and later texts but is obviously related to the verb ἐξιλασκομαι, which means “propitiate” or “atone for”11 and is the usual word used by the Septuagint to translate ‫( ִּכ ֵּפר‬e. g., Exod 30:10i, 15, 16; 32:20). These translations are clearly based on a derivation of ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬from ‫ּכ ֵּפר‬,ִ a derivation that could be prompted by the repeated collocation of the two words in Lev 16.12

 8  Schwartz, “Prohibitions”, 51–54; see also idem, “‘Term’ or Metaphor”, 149–150; idem, “Bearing”, 3–7.  9 LSJ cites two occurrences of the word in Koan Inscriptions 81 and 347, for which see Paton and Hicks, Inscriptions of Cos, 126, 225–226. 10  LSJ. 11 Ibid. 12  See further Koch, “Some Considerations”.

7.4 Name

165

The Peshitta, similarly, has ḥwsy’, meaning “atonement” or “forgiveness”.13 The Vulgate, too, renders the word in most instances (Exod 25:17, 20i, iii, 22; 26:34; 30:6; 31:7; 35:12; 37:7, 8, 9; 39:35; Lev 16:2i; Num 7:89ii) as propitiatorium, a noun from which English “propitiatory” is derived, and which is related to atonement and reconcilement; it is the equivalent of the Greek ἱλαστήριον. In 1 Chr 28:11, the Vulgate uses the related abstract noun propitiato, “propitiation”, demonstrating that its author understood ‫ ֵּבית ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as “the place of propitiation” rather than “the place of the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬. ַ Beginning with the twelfth-century work Ormulum14 and later in the Vulgate-based translations of Wycliffe and Douay, ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is rendered with the English noun “propitiatory”. Both of the latter have “propitiation” in 1 Chr 28:11.15 Martin Luther rendered the Vulgate’s idea in German as Gnadenstuhl, a term that he borrowed from the New Testament’s ὁ θρόνος τῆς χάριτος (Heb 4:16).16 Luther’s term was, in turn, translated into English as “mercy seat” in all early modern English Bibles (except Douay) and in most English Bibles since. Whether intentionally or not, this translation introduces a connotation of a literal seat or chair; unsurprisingly, it has facilitated the characterization of the ark underneath the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as a throne (see § 6.2.1).17 7.4.2.2 Septuagint (II), 4QtgLev, et al.: Lid In its first instance (Exod 25:17), and only there, the word ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is rendered by the Septuagint as ἱλαστήριον ἐπίθημα. This is a double translation, the first element of which was discussed above.18 The second element means “lid, cover” and is used to refer to lids of chests in texts as early as Homer.19 This element appears on its own, without ἱλαστήριον, as a translation of ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in certain revisional witnesses to the Septuagint (on Exod 25:17 [25:16]) and in Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.134). The Judean Desert composition Targum Leviticus (4QtgLev 1:6) similarly translates the word (Lev 16:14i–ii) into Aramaic as ‫כסיא‬,20 “covering”.21 This is generally the understanding of interpreters in the Jewish tradition,  CAL [cited 9 July 2014].  OED, “propitiatory, n. and adj.” 15  This translation was favored by Driver (Book of Exodus, 269–270) and is preserved in the Catholic NAB. 16  Laato, “kappōret”, 138. 17  Josephus states (Jewish Antiquities 3.137) that the cherubim of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬were attached to it as πρόστυποι (“low reliefs”) and that Moses claimed to have seen them προστυπεῖς (“adherent”) to the throne of God. This suggests that in Josephus’s view the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬was akin to the throne of God. 18 The double translation is preserved in some modern English Bible translations, including NIV, NET, and NLT. 19  LSJ. 20  De Vaux, Qumrân grotte 4, 87. 21  CAL [cited 15 July 2014]. 13 14

166

7. The kappōret

including the Sifra (on Lev 16:2), Saadiah Gaon, Jonah ibn Janah, Menahem ibn Saruq, David Kimhi, Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, Abraham ibn Ezra, and Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon.22 (The targumim, including the Samaritan Targum, simply transliterate the word and express no opinion on its meaning.) In support of this interpretation, the Karaite scholar Japheth b. Eli (second half of the tenth century) conjectured that the piel verb (1) ‫ ִּכ ֵּפר‬also carries the sense of “cover”, and he adduced the phrase ‫ּכסּוי ֲח ָט ָאה‬,ְ “whose sin is covered” (Ps 32:1), to which, he suggested, the action denoted by the verb ‫ ִּכ ֵּפר‬is equivalent.23 David Kimhi and Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon did not attribute such a meaning to ‫ּכ ֵּפר‬,ִ but they noted that the qal verb (4) ‫ּכ ַפר‬,ָ according to its context, carries a meaning similar to “cover”.24 In the modern era, these and other arguments, such as the existence of an Arabic word kafara, “cover”, led to a widely held view that “to cover” is the primary meaning of the root ‫כפר‬, a view that, in the words of Schwartz, has been “established conclusively [as] entirely erroneous”.25 However, the unassailable observation of Kimhi and Abraham b. Moses is sufficient to support a plausible etymology consistent with the interpretation of ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as “lid” or “cover”.26 Grintz accepted that the word ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬means “cover” but proposed an alternative etymology for it. He derived it from the Egyptian word k3p, which ordinarily denotes a vessel used for incense, but which, along with its variants, can also refer to certain types of covers, such as the roof of an edifice, the lid of a jug, or the dome of heaven. He suggested that both meanings of the Egyptian word were operative in the choice of ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬to denote the ark’s lid, as incense is associated with the object in Lev 16.27 7.4.2.3 Vulgate (II): Oracle The Vulgate, in a significant minority of instances (Exod 25:20ii; 40:20; Lev 16:2ii, 13, 14, 15; Num 7:89i), renders ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as oraculum, a noun from which English “oracle” is derived, and which refers to a place of divine announcement. The

22 Saadiah: translation of Exod 25:17, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:93; Ibn Janah: Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 228; Ibn Saruq: Filipowski, Hebraicae et Chaldaicae Lexicon, 109; Kimhi: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 168; Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, Ibn Ezra: commentaries (Ibn Ezra: short and long commentaries) on Exod 25:17, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73; Abraham b. Moses: Sassoon, Commentary, 390. 23 Cited in Abraham ibn Ezra’s long commentary on Exod 25:17, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73. 24  Kimhi: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 168; Abraham b. Moses: Sassoon, Commentary, 390. 25 Schwartz, “Prohibitions”, 54 and references. For subsequent discussions, see Laato, “kappōret”, 139–140; Propp, Exodus, 466–467; Feder, “On kuppuru”, 537. 26  This interpretation of ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is preserved in the modern Jewish Bible translations JPS and NJPS, and it is favored by Durham (Exodus, 356, 359). 27  Grintz, “Ancient Terms”, 39:163–167.

7.4 Name

167

Vulgate explicitly states that the oraculum and the propitiatorium are the same thing (Exod 37:6). This translation is obviously inspired by the statement that Yhwh speaks from above the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89) and is presumably an attempt to make the translation conceptually accessible to typical Latin speakers. The Latin word was then translated into English as “answering place” in the Wycliffe Bible and as “oracle” in the Douay Bible. 7.4.2.4 Gressmann: Canopied Shrine Gressmann, claiming that the etymology of ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is obscure, stated that it has the same form as, and, therefore, probably a related meaning to, ‫ּפר ֶֹכת‬, ָ whose Akkadian cognate parakku means “shrine”. He suggested that ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬may originally have designated a canopied shrine, though he conceded that in the priestly tradition its meaning had come to be limited to one part of such a shrine, namely its floor, just as the word ‫ ָּפר ֶֹכת‬itself had come to be limited to the curtain canopy of a shrine. This hypothesis served Gressmann’s theory that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬was a portable replica of the holy of holies, essentially corresponding to Egyptian shrines, and that the ark underneath it was a procession coffin (see § 6.2.7).28 He did not provide any other argument in favor of the translation. It hardly needs to be stated that it is fallacious to infer a similarity in meaning between two words from a similarity in form. 7.4.2.5 Tur-Sinai: Lions Tur-Sinai suggested that the word ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is related to (8) ‫ּכ ִפיר‬,ְ that it was perhaps originally vocalized as ‫*ּכ ִפר ֹת‬, ְ and that it was only secondarily associated through midrashic thinking with atonement. The name would have referred to lions, which, he speculated, may have been the form of the two cherubim of the ‫כפרת‬.29 Tur-Sinai did not succeed, however, in presenting valid evidence that the cherubim on the ‫ כפרת‬had the form of lions (see § 10). As for why the ‫ כפרת‬would be named after the form of its cherubim, Tur-Sinai maintained that the ‫ כפרת‬had no substance other than the cherubim and their wings.30 This position cannot by any means be reconciled with the text, which speaks of the ‫ כפרת‬proper as a solid object with planar dimensions before mentioning its cherubim (Exod 25:17 = 37:6), which specifies that the ‫ כפרת‬proper is made of pure gold (ibid.) whereas its cherubim are made of ordinary gold (25:18 = 37:7), which states that the cherubim merely emerge from the “edges” of the ‫ כפרת‬proper (Exod 25:18–19

 Gressmann, Lade, 11–12.  Tur-Sinai, Language and the Book, 3:36–37; idem, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 542. 30  Idem, Language, 27 28 29

168

7. The kappōret

= 37:7–8), and which equates the location “between the cherubim” with “above/ upon the ‫( ”כפרת‬Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89). 7.4.2.6 Görg: Footrest Görg proposed an alternative Egyptian etymology for the word. He explained it as a technical term and a contraction from Egyptian kp (n) rdwy, “soles of the feet”, and interpreted it as the place where the feet rest or stand, i. e., a footrest.31 Görg noted Ezek 43:7 and later incorporated into this interpretation the idea that the ark was a throne-base (see § 6.2.8).32 The interpretation has little to recommend it, since ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬so neatly matches the widely used Hebrew root ‫ כפר‬and is consciously associated with it in the priestly texts (Lev 16); because these texts give no indication whatsoever that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬has anything to do with feet; because there is no particular reason to suppose that the elements of which the Egyptian term is comprised would be contracted in this manner; and because Biblical Hebrew has another term, ‫הד ֹם‬,ֲ that essentially means “footrest” (see § 6.2.3). 7.4.2.7 Gerleman: Mirror Yet another interpretation of the word ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ proposed by Gerleman, is “(polished) mirror”, based on the idea that (1) ‫ ִּכ ֵּפר‬means “stroke, wipe, polish”.33 While “wipe away” is indeed a meaning of ‫ּכ ֵּפר‬,ִ 34 the link between “wipe away” and “mirror” is tenuous. And, again, the texts give no indication whatsoever that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is a mirror. Biblical Hebrew has other terms for “mirror”: ‫( ַמ ְר ָאה‬Exod 38:8) and ‫( ְר ִאי‬Job 37:18).35

7.4.3 Proposal: Lid As will be shown below, it is undeniable that in the pericopes describing the tabernacle, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬formally is a lid. Furthermore, given the aforementioned connections between the root ‫ כפר‬and covering, it is plausible that ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬would have been an established word meaning “lid” or that it was a neologism of the priestly author that would naturally be understood as such by the reader. Conversely, there is no hint in these texts that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬has anything to do with propitiation, atonement, and so on (only that it is a place of revelation); this association is found only in the Atonement Day pericope. It is difficult to 31  Görg, “neue Deutung für kăpporæt”; idem, “Nachtrag zu kapporet”. The interpretation is accepted by Mettinger (Dethronement, 88), cited without criticism by Milgrom (Leviticus, 1014), and mentioned, albeit as “far-fetched” speculation, by Propp (Exodus, 386). 32 Görg, “Lade als Thronsockel”; see also idem, “Keruben in Jerusalem”, 112–113. 33  Gerleman, “Wurzel kpr”, 18–21. 34 Schwartz, “Prohibitions”, 51–53 and references. 35  See BDB, HALOT.

7.5 Form

169

imagine that the author of the pericopes describing the tabernacle would call the object a “propitiatory” without providing an immediate explanation for the choice of the name. It seems most likely, then, that ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬fundamentally means “lid”. The fact that another biblical term exists to denote the lid of a chest, ‫ּד ֶלת‬,ֶ literally “door” (2 Kgs 12:10),36 poses no challenge to this understanding. That term would only be apt for a lid that is hinged, like a door, whereas the ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ by all indications is not hinged (see § 7.5.1). The easy association of the word ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬with propitiation, or rather with atonement, an association that is taken full advantage of in Lev 16, is merely a secondary layer of meaning, whether present by luck or design.

7.5 Form 7.5.1 Biblical Data The ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is made of ‫זָ ָהב ָטהֹור‬, “pure gold”; its length is 2.5 cubits, and its width is 1.5 cubits (Exod 25:17 = 37:6). It has two golden ‫ּכ ֻר ִבים‬,ְ cherubim, which are of a piece with it (see § 11.1.1), one on each of its two extremities (Exod 25:18–19 = 37:7–8). The ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is placed ‫על‬, ַ “upon”, the ark (Exod 25:21; 26:34; 40:20), ‫ִמ ְל ָמע‬ ‫ע ָלה‬, ְ “from above” (Exod 25:21; 40:20). Several facts indicate that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is essentially a lid for the ark. First, it is placed on top of the ark. Second, it has the exact same planar dimensions as the ark (see § 3.2.1).37 And third, it is implied that the ark must be filled with its contents before the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬can be placed on it (Exod 25:21; 40:20). The fact that it is treated as a semi-separate object and that it is “placed” on the ark provides further information, i. e., that it is a removable lid, as opposed to a hinged lid.38 The fact that the height of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is not specified shows further, as already noted by Philo (On the Life of Moses 2.96), that this dimension is insignificant and, therefore, that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is thin and flat, as opposed to, e. g., vaulted, gabled, or sloped. This is clearly the case with the other tabernacle objects with a missing dimension: the tabernacle curtains (Exod 26:2) and the curtains for the tent over the tabernacle (v. 8), which have no “height”; the frames of the tabernacle  Noted by Propp, Exodus, 386.  The aesthetic quality of this correspondence was lauded by Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.134). 38 Curiously, Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.134) asserted that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬was attached to the ark with στρόφιγγες, pivots or hinges. Robertson (“Account”, 128) speculates that this may be Josephus’s interpretation of the ark’s ‫( זֵ ר‬see § 3.4), which Josephus does not otherwise mention. But Josephus also attributed στρόφιγγες to the tabernacle frames (Ant. 3.117), clearly as an interpretation of ‫( יָ דֹות‬Exod 26:17, 19 = 36:22, 24), and to the bars of these frames (Ant. 3.120). Perhaps he inferred that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬must have hinges from his received view that it was an ἐπίθημα, a chest lid (§ 7.4.2.2). 36 37

170

7. The kappōret

(v. 16), which have no “length”; and the breast-piece (28:16; 39:9), which has no “height”. A baraita cited numerous times in the Talmud and attributed to the school of R. Yannai states that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬was a handbreadth thick, making an even ten handbreadths when combined with the height of the ark, whose 1.5 cubits are understood by this school to constitute nine handbreadths (y. Shabbat 1:1, Sukkah 1:1; b. Sukkah 4b, Sanhedrin 7a, Eruvin 4b, Shabbat 92a). This theory is implausible. Besides the fact that we would expect the text to specify the thickness of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬if this dimension were substantial, the ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ would be impossibly heavy if it were a handbreadth thick. The surface area of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is 3.75 square cubits, which, even using the smallest possible absolute length of a cubit, amounts to 7,500 square centimeters. Truly pure gold weighs 19.3 grams per cubic centimeter. Thus, if the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬were made of truly pure gold, each centimeter in its thickness would add at least 144.75 kilograms to its weight. Even being exceedingly “generous” and slashing this amount by half to allow for the fact that the ‫ זָ ָהב ָטהֹור‬of the priestly author would not have been truly pure,39 we are still left with 72 kilograms per centimeter of thickness. A handbreadth equaling at least 7 centimeters, a handbreadth-thick ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ – ַ not including its golden cherubim! – would weigh 500 kilograms, or half a tonne, at the very least, and probably far more. The ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬would then seemingly be too heavy for the ark and its poles to support and for its human porters to carry. Moreover, a ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬of this thickness would use up too much of the gold dedicated to the tabernacle, whose total quantity is specified as 29 talents and 730 shekels (Exod 38:24), i. e., 87,730 shekels. With a shekel estimated at 11.3325 grams,40 this equals slightly over 994 kilograms. The lampstand with its utensils takes up one talent (25:39 = 37:24), i. e., 3,000 shekels, a tad less than 34 kilograms. This leaves 84,730 shekels, or slightly over 960 kilograms, for everything else, including the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ It does not seem realistic either that the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ – ַ not including the cherubim – would weigh 15 times more than the lampstand with all its utensils, which are also made of solid, pure gold (Exod 25:31–40 = 37:17–24), or that less than half of the total amount of tabernacle gold would be left for all the other needs combined, which include, again, the cherubim as well as double-sided gold coating for the 48 frames, each of which possesses dimensions of 10 × 1.5 cubits (Exod 26:15–29 = 36:20–34).

39  Egyptian gold jewelry in the Middle and New Kingdoms was typically between 70 and 85 percent in purity (Ogden, “Metals”, 163–164). Note that the non-gold material in impure gold consists of other high-density metals. 40  Kletter, “24-Sheqel Judean Weight”, 239.

7.5 Form

171

7.5.2 Parallels Two fourth-century BCE larnakes (chest-shaped burial containers), supposedly belonging to Philip II of Macedon and his wife, were found in the royal tombs at Vergina in northern Greece. They are made of solid gold and have flat, solid gold lids, similar to the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ although the lids are hinged [Figures 7.1a–b / Plate 6a]. The larnakes are shaped to mimic wooden boxes, having, for example, vertical bands that represent the four upright cornerposts of such boxes.41 Notably, the larnax of “Philip” was found by the middle of the western wall in the main (inner) chamber of the tomb. The dimensions of this vaulted chamber are L. 4.46 m, W. 4.46 m, H. 5.30 m. Thus it is exactly ten cubits long and ten cubits wide, just as the inner cella of the tabernacle has traditionally been understood to be.42 The chamber’s height, excluding the vault, may also be ten cubits, extending the correspondence to all three dimensions.43 In Egypt, flat-lidded boxes and chests are known from as early as the Third Dynasty,44 and of the fifty objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun classified by Reeves as “boxes and chests”,45 twenty have flat lids [Figure 7.2].46 Of the four additional lids found without boxes in Reeves’s list, two are flat.47 One of the remaining two lids, a small, openwork piece, while vaulted rather than flat, is made of gold, like the ‫[ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Figure 7.3].48 The present writer is not aware of any extant solid gold box lids from ancient Egypt. Accessible solid gold objects would be among the first things to be stolen by tomb robbers, who broke into almost all Egyptian royal tombs, including that of Tutankhamun,49 and at least one rectangular wooden box from that tomb was found with its lid missing.50 However, other (relatively inaccessible) solid gold objects from ancient Egypt are extant (see § 11.1.2), demonstrating that the manufacture of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as described would have been practicable in the ancient Near East.

 Androcinos, Vergina, 97.  Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 3.115, 122, 125; Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan 1:7; Friedman, “Tabernacle”, 295–296. 43  Each larnax contained the crown or diadem of the occupant wrapped in purple cloth. One wonders if this may shed light on the ‫ נֵ זֶ ר‬and the ‫ ֵעדּות‬placed on Jehoash at his coronation (2 Kgs 11:12 = 2 Chr 23:11), given that ‫ נֵ זֶ ר‬means “crown” and ‫ ֵעדּות‬denotes the contents of the ark in the tabernacle pericopes. 44 Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 7–14 figs. 7–21. 45 Reeves, Complete Tutankhamun, 193. 46  Malek, Tutankhamun, Objects 1l, 12n + 79 +574, 42, 50, 54 (pictured), 54ddd, 56, 68, 141, 178, 178a, 271, 271a, 376 + 548, 386 + 388 + 537, 403, 546 + 550, 547 + 615, 585, and 618. 47 Ibid., Objects 54hh, 620(121). 48  Ibid., Object 267c. 49  Carter, Lucas, and Carnarvon, “Notes on the Robberies”. 50  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 14a. 41 42

172

7. The kappōret

7.6 Function 7.6.1 Biblical Data Aside from the function of sealing in the contents of the ark (i. e., the ‫)ע ֻדת‬, ֵ which is a corollary of its form as a lid, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬seems to have two interrelated functions. First, and most importantly, it provides the space for the presence of Yhwh. In the tabernacle pericopes, it is ‫מ ַעל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת ִמ ֵּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ֵ “from upon the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ from between the two cherubim”, where Yhwh meets Moses (‫נֹוע ְד ִּתי‬ ַ ְ‫ו‬ ‫לָך‬:ְ Exod 25:22) and speaks with him (‫וְ ִד ַּב ְר ִּתי ִא ְּתָך‬: ibid.; ‫וַ יְ ַד ֵּבר ֵא ָליו‬: Num 7:89). A different expression of the same idea, found in the Atonement Day pericope, is that Yhwh is visible (‫)א ָר ֶאה‬ ֵ in cloud ‫על ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ “upon the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ (Lev 16:2); therefore it is essential that the high priest, who is the only person ever to enter the inner cella, cover the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬with an incense cloud as he makes his entry (v. 13). The secondary function, described in the Atonement Day pericope (Lev 16), is a ritual one: to have atoning blood sprinkled on it. In order to approach the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬without dying (v. 2), Aaron, after burning incense in the inner cella so that the incense cloud will shroud the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ is to take some of the blood of a purification-offering bull and sprinkle it with his finger, once on the east face – i. e., the front, from his perspective – of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ and seven times in front of it (vv. 11– 14). He is then to do the same thing with the blood of a purification-offering goat (v. 15). The purpose of the sprinkling is to purge the impurities, transgressions, and sins of the Israelites from the sanctuary (v. 16). This procedure, along with others, is to be a permanent practice performed on the tenth day of the seventh month (v. 29), namely Atonement Day.

7.6.2 Parallels In ancient Egypt, gods occasionally appear on the lids or upper surfaces of chests and similar objects, although these objects do not constitute central markers for the gods’ presence. The Egyptian god Anubis is often depicted in canine form crouching on a pylon-shaped chest.51 A well-known example of this motif, from the tomb of Tutankhamun [Figure 4.12 / Plate 5b], has already been mentioned. A similarly common motif is Osiris lying on the lid of a coffin [Figure 11.14]. The Greek motif of goddesses sitting on chests has also been discussed (§ 6.2.1) [Figure 6.1]. The practice of purging the sanctuary by means of a complex ritual involving the sprinkling of liquid in the cella in the presence of the god is known from the Babylonian New Year’s festival.52 And, of course, the practice of sprinkling blood  Doxey, “Anubis”; Falk, “Ritual Processional Furniture”, 199–202.  Milgrom, Leviticus, 1067–1070.

51 52

7.7 Explanation of Separateness

173

on objects or people to purify or consecrate them is legislated in several contexts in the priestly texts. Blood is sprinkled on the altar, to purify it (Lev 16:19); on the priests and their vestments, to consecration them (Exod 29:21 = Lev 8:30); on the inner curtain, as part of the purification offerings of the high priest (Lev 4:6) and the community (v. 17); on the side of the altar, as part of the graduated purification offering (5:9); on an infected person (14:7) or house (v. 51), to purify them; and opposite the sanctuary, in preparing the red heifer mixture (Num 19:4). But the present writer is not aware of any parallel practice of sprinkling blood or any other liquid on or toward a marker of the divine presence.

7.7 Explanation of Separateness That the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is simply the lid of the ark explains why it is mentioned in no biblical sources other than the priestly one. The question that arises is: why does the priestly author choose to treat the lid of the ark as a semi-separate object and to attribute the functions of providing the space for the divine presence and receiving the purgation blood to the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ rather than to the ark? In other words, why does the priestly author not simply say that Yhwh meets with Moses above the ark and that the purgation blood is sprinkled at the top of the ark? The answer, it seems, lies in the biblical authors’ aforementioned aim of avoiding any suggestion of corporeality in Yhwh’s presence at the ark (§ 6.3). The priestly author wished to specify that the precise location of this presence was in the space above the ark. However, because the ark is a chest, and because chests happen to be suited for humans to sit on, there was a danger that his readers would imagine Yhwh sitting on it as on a throne, as the audience of Jer 3:16 indeed did (see § 6.2.1). Therefore, he skillfully turned the upper surface of the ark into a semi-separate object, making Yhwh present not upon the ark at all but upon a mere plate that bears no resemblance to any seat used by humans and does not evoke a corporeal image. If so, the very concept of a ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬was invented to advocate the indefinability of the divine presence in the sanctuary.

174

7. The kappōret

Fig. 7.1a: Gold larnax, Vergina.

Fig. 7.1b: Second gold larnax, Vergina.

7. The kappōret

Fig. 7.2: Box, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Fig. 7.3: Gold box lid, tomb of Tutankhamun.

175

8. The Cherubim: Introduction In the priestly description of the tabernacle and in the descriptions of the temple in Kings and Chronicles, the ark is surmounted by two ‫ּכ ֻר ִבים‬.ְ This is the plural form of the masculine common noun ‫ּכרּוב‬,ְ which is attested ninety-one times in the Hebrew Bible. (The same form occurs twice as a proper noun [Ezra 2:59 = Neh 7:61], but these occurrences have no bearing on our topic.) The plural form is conventionally transliterated into English as “cherubim”, and the singular form – as “cherub”. The materials, size, and position of the cherubim differ between the tabernacle and the temple.

8.1 Contexts The biblical contexts in which cherubim appear can be briefly outlined as follows. First, actual, living cherubim are associated with the garden of Eden. Following the expulsion of the primordial human from the garden, “the cherubim” are located, along with “the spinning-sword-flame”, east of the garden (Gen 3:24). “The sheltering cherub” or “the anointed sheltering cherub” is a character in the garden of Eden as depicted in Ezekiel’s dirge over the King of Tyre (Ezek 28:14, 16). Second, actual cherubim seem to feature in theophanies. Yhwh rides an airborne cherub when coming to save his beleaguered supplicant from enemies (2 Sam 22:11 ≈ Ps 18:11). And in Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek 8–11), cherubim appear in multiple and confusing roles (9:3; 10:1, 2[× 2], 3, 4, 5, 6, 7[× 3], 8, 9[× 3], 14, 15, 16[× 2], 18, 19, 20; 11:22), but overall in association with the divine Majesty and in parallel with the ‫( ַחּיֹות‬living beings) of Ezekiel’s inaugural vision (Ezek 1:1–3:14). Third, as we have seen, sculptures of cherubim are positioned above the ark. In the tabernacle, two golden cherubim are fashioned on either end of the ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ over the ark of the testimony (Exod 25:18, 19[× 3], 20[× 2] = 37:7, 8[× 3], 9[× 2]), and Yhwh speaks from between them (Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89; cf. Lev 16:2). In the temple, two gilded wooden cherubim are fashioned for the inner cella (1 Kgs 6:23, 24[× 2], 25[× 2], 26[× 2], 27[× 2], 28[× 2] ≈ 2 Chr 3:10, 11[× 2], 12[× 2], 13), and the ark of Yhwh’s covenant is brought underneath their outspread wings (1 Kgs 8:6, 7[× 2] ≈ 2 Chr 5:7, 8[× 2]). In the Chronicler’s account of the temple,

178

8. The Cherubim: Introduction

golden cherubim shelter the ark of Yhwh’s covenant and appear to be equated with “the image of the chariot” (1 Chr 28:18). These sculptures constitute the topic of inquiry in this section. Fourth, two-dimensional representations of cherubim are found in the tabernacle and the temple. Cherubim are a feature of the cloths that form the tabernacle (Exod 26:1 = 36:8), of the curtain partitioning off its inner sanctum (Exod 26:31 = 36:35), and of the curtain partitioning off the inner cella of the temple in the Chronicler’s account (2 Chr 3:14). Cherubim decorate the walls of the temple, along with ‫מר ֹת‬ ֹ ‫ ִּת‬and ‫טּורי ִצ ִּצים‬ ֵ ‫( ְּפ‬1 Kgs 6:29) or alone (2 Chr 3:7), as well as the doors of the inner cella (1 Kgs 6:32[× 2]) and of the temple itself (v. 35). Similarly, in Ezekiel’s temple-of-the-future vision, Janus-faced cherubim alternate with ‫ ִּתמ ִֹרים‬as a decoration circling the walls of the temple (Ezek 41:18[× 4], 20) and its doors (v. 25). In Kings, cherubim, along with lions and cattle (1 Kgs 7:29) or lions and ‫מר ֹת‬ ֹ ‫( ִּת‬v. 36), also decorate different parts of the laver stands in the temple courtyard. Fifth and finally, Yhwh is titled ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, which can be translated provisionally as “the cherubim sitter/dweller” (1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2 = 1 Chr 13:6; 2 Kgs 19:15 = Isa 37:16; Pss 80:2; 99:1). The overall impression created by all these occurrences is that the word ‫ ְּכרּוב‬denotes a type of creature that was associated with Yhwh, the God of Israel, and whose depictions served as the main motif in Israelite temple iconography.1

8.2 Status The ark cherubim in the tabernacle, being parts of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ are said to have the same origin as that of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬proper and the ark: Yhwh commands Moses to ָ ‫וְ ָע ִׂש‬: Exod 25:18–19), while the exemake them (3‫ … ַּת ֲעׂשּו‬2‫ית … ַּת ֲע ֶׂשה … וַ ֲע ֵׂשה‬ cution is credited to Bezalel (‫וַ ּיַ ַעׂש … ָע ָׂשה … ָע ָׂשה‬: 37:7–8). The creation of the cherubim of the temple is attributed to Solomon (‫וַ ּיַ ַעׂש‬: 1 Kgs 6:23 = 2 Chr 3:10), like the other elements of the temple (1 Kgs 6:2, 11–12, 14, 21; 7:48, 51) excepting the bronze works, whose execution is credited to Hiram (7:13–14, 40, 45). Chronicles emphasizes that the gold for the temple cherubim was provided in advance by David (1 Chr 28:18). 1 The nonmasoretic textual witnesses present no significant variations from this set of references to cherubim. 2 The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint attest the reading ‫ יֵ ָעׂשּו‬here. In this reading, the word is connected to the preceding text: ‫מ ְּׁשנֵ י ְקצֹות ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת יֵ ָעׂשּו‬. ִ 3  The Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, the Peshitta, and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan all attest the reading ‫ ַּת ֲע ֶׂשה‬here. BHS cites several masoretic witnesses that agree, including a Cairo Genizah fragment, the lost Codex Hillel, and other manuscripts, along with some manuscripts of Targum Onqelos.

8.3 Name

179

In terms of their physical position, the cherubim of the tabernacle project from the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 25:18–19 = 37:7–8; for details see § 11.3.1); they must therefore be located upon the ark and in the holy of holies, though the priestly author never points this out explicitly,4 presumably because it goes without saying. The cherubim of the temple, which are freestanding, are explicitly said to be located in the inner cella (1 Kgs 6:23 ≈ 2 Chr 3:10; 1 Kgs 6:27) and in the immediate vicinity of the ark (1 Kgs 8:6–7 = 2 Chr 5:7–8; 1 Chr 28:18). Neither the cherubim of the tabernacle nor those of the temple are ever given any formal preeminence in the texts. They never appear first (or at all) in lists, and neither people nor objects ever have their position defined by the statement that they are located “in front of” the cherubim. On the contrary, outside of the accounts of their creation and deposition, the authors of the relevant texts hardly ever have occasion to mention the cherubim, both pairs being referred to only to state their function (see § 12), which is clearly ancillary to the ark, in the case of the temple (1 Kgs 8:6–7 = 2 Chr 5:7–8; 1 Chr 28:18), or to the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ in the case of the tabernacle (Exod 25:22 = Num 7:89). Moreover, no special restrictedness or psychological importance is attributed to the cherubim. In the eyes of the biblical authors, the preeminent element of the ark system is the ark proper (§ 1.3), or, in the priestly account, the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬within it (§ 5.1.3), not the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬or the cherubim.

8.3 Name 8.3.1 Orthography In the Masoretic Text, the word always has the plene spelling when in its singular form: ‫ּכרּוב‬.ְ When the word is in its plural form, the spelling varies by book.5 In the Samaritan Pentateuch, all occurrences of the word are plene, in accordance with the general tendency of this work. Similarly, in the biblical texts from the Judean Desert, all but one of the extant occurrences of the word have the plene spelling. These include several occurrences whose parallels in the Masoretic Text are spelled defectively (Exod 25:18, 20ii in 4QpaleoGen-Exodl; 2 Sam 6:2 in

4  Exodus 25:22 is no exception, as the antecedent of the words ‫ ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ֲאר ֹן ָה ֵע ֻדת‬in this verse is not the cherubim mentioned immediately beforehand, but rather the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬mentioned earlier in the verse. This is demonstrated by the parallel verse Num 7:89 and by the repeated use of the words ‫ ַעל ָה ָארֹון‬to define the position of the ‫ §( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬7.3). 5 In the Pentateuch, Samuel, and Isaiah, the plural form is always spelled defectively, ‫ּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ְ whether it is accompanied by a prefix or not. Conversely, in its two occurrences in Psalms, it has the plene spelling, ‫רוּבים‬ ִ ‫ּכ‬,ְ once with a prefix (Ps 80:2) and once without (99:1). In the other books in which it appears, namely Kings, Ezekiel, and Chronicles, it always occurs with the plene spelling when it lacks a prefix and usually occurs with the plene spelling when it has a prefix (the exceptions are 1 Kgs 6:25, 27ii, 8:7ii, 2 Kgs 19:15; Ezek 10:1, 2, 3, 7ii, 8; 1 Chr 28:18).

180

8. The Cherubim: Introduction

4QSama; Isa 37:16 in 1QIsaa). The exceptional occurrence is Exod 25:19i in 4QpaleoGen-Exodl, which uniquely reads ‫ כרב‬in the singular.

8.3.2 Cognates and Etymology The masoretic vocalization of the word matches the common Hebrew noun form ‫קטּול‬, ְ to which belong the words ‫ּכלּוב‬,ְ ‫זְ כּור‬, ‫רכּוש‬,ְ ‫יקּום‬, ‫ּגְ בּול‬, ‫לבּוׁש‬,ְ ‫ּגְ דּוד‬, ‫זְ ֻבל‬, ‫ּגְ מּול‬, ‫יְבּול‬, ‫נְ ֻאם‬, and ‫זְ בּוב‬, and, with an initial guttural, ‫אבּוס‬, ֵ ‫אטּון‬, ֵ ‫אמּון‬, ֵ ‫אסּור‬, ֵ and ‫עזּוז‬. ֱ Many of these nouns may belong to the broader Semitic forms qitūl and qutūl.6 The word’s root is presumably ‫כרב‬. However, this root seems to be otherwise unattested in Biblical Hebrew, other than in the aforementioned proper noun, suggesting that ‫ ְּכרּוב‬may be a loanword. 8.3.2.1 Midrashic Etymologies Two ancient midrashic etymologies of the word are known. Philo interpreted the name of the cherubim as meaning “vast knowledge and science” (On the Life of Moses 2.97), presumably parsing ‫ (ה)כרבים‬as ‫הכר רבים‬. R. Abbahu of Caesarea (ca. 300) interpreted it as ‫כרביא‬, “like a child”, the word ‫ רביא‬meaning “child” in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic (b. Hagigah 13b, Sukkah 5b). 8.3.2.2 West Semitic The few possible expressions of the root ‫ כרב‬in Ugaritic and Phoenician are discussed in detail by Wood, who convincingly concludes that they do not shed light on the Hebrew word.7 In Aramaic, in relatively late dialects, ‫ כרב‬carries the sense of “plow” and is expressed in various forms: as the G-stem verb ‫כרב‬, meaning “to plow”; the verbal noun ‫כרב‬, meaning “plowing”, “furrow”, and “plowed field”; and two homonymic nouns ‫כר(ו)ב‬, meaning “plowman” and “a land measure”. Nouns of the form ‫ כרב‬also denote certain types of plants, probably as a loanword from Greek κράμβη; and also, possibly, “stump of a palm branch” and “crow”. There is also a Gt verb ‫ כרב‬meaning “to be twisted”.8 Joseph Bekhor Shor, along with Isaac of Vienna (ca. 1180 – ca. 1250) and others, was aware of the Aramaic verb ‫ כרב‬meaning “to plow” (from b. Bava Batra 12a) and argued that the Hebrew word ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is related to it.9 In the Modern era, Tur-Sinai maintained that the root ‫ כרב‬possesses this meaning in Biblical Hebrew as well. He emended the phrase in Hos 10:11 ‫א ְר ִּכיב ֶא ְפ ַריִ ם‬, ַ “I will have Ephraim ridden”, which is parallel to ‫הּודה‬ ָ ְ‫יַ ֲחרֹוׁש י‬, “Judah will plow”, and to ‫יְ ַׁש ֶּדד לֹו יַ ֲעקֹב‬, § 84ap–q; Joüon, § 88Eh; Fox, Semitic Noun Patterns, 211–212.  Wood, Of Wings, 144–148. 8  CAL [cited 27 July 2014]. 9  Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 1:148. 6 GKC, 7

8.3 Name

181

“Jacob will harrow”, to read ‫אכריב אפרים‬, “I will make Ephraim plow”.10 Isaac b. Judah Halevi adduced the same occurrence of the Aramaic word but understood it as carrying the meaning “mix”.11 8.3.2.3 Akkadian The root krb is expressed in many forms in Akkadian. It generally carries the sense of “bless” and is semantically equivalent to the Hebrew root ‫ברכ‬. Its forms carrying this sense include the verb karābu; the nouns ikribu, karābu, karūbu, kir(ī)bu, kiribtu, and kurbu; and the adjective kāribu (fem. kāribtu). Some scholars have proposed that Hebrew ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is cognate with karābu and especially with its affiliated adjective kāribu.12 However, this is unlikely, as the latter word merely describes “a person performing a specific religious act” and “a deity represented as making a gesture of adoration”;13 it does not denote any particular type of being. What does denote a particular type of being is the noun kurību, attested in Standard Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian and meaning a “representation of a protective genius with specific nonhuman features”. One source in which it is attested, from the time of Esarhaddon, speaks of golden sculptures of kurību creatures placed in the temple facing each other,14 recalling the golden cherubim in the tabernacle, which also face each other. Hence, scholars who have proposed that this word is cognate with 15‫ ְּכרּוב‬seem to be correct. An additional, long-abandoned proposal is that Hebrew ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is cognate with kurūbu,16 “a bird”.17 Yet another early alleged cognate in Akkadian was kirûbu, which supposedly denoted the winged human-headed bull colossi found in Assyrian palaces in mid-nineteenth century excavations.18 However, this suggestion was soon shown to be based on erroneous readings,19 and CAD does not list kirûbu as a word.

 Tur-Sinai, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 541–542.  Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 1:148–149 par. 8. 12 Langdon, Babylonian Epic of Creation, 190 n. 3; Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”, 335– 336. 13  CAD. 14 Ibid. 15  Pfeiffer, “Cherubim”; Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”; Freedman and O’Connor, “kerûḇ”; Mettinger, “Cherubim”; Wood, Of Wings, 149–155. 16  Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 135–136, citing Friedrich Delitzsch, Assyrische Studien (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1874), 107–108. 17  CAD. 18  Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 125–126; Delitzsch Wo Lag das Paradies, 153. 19  Foote, “Cherubim”, 279. 10 11

182

8. The Cherubim: Introduction

8.3.2.4 Greek Certain scholars, especially in nineteenth-century Germany, associated ‫ ְּכרּוב‬with the phonetically similar Greek word γρύψ (stem γρυπ‑),20 which is the ancestor (through Latin gryphus) and semantic equivalent of the English word “griffin”, i. e., a fabulous raptor-headed winged lion.21 This type of creature, attested visually in Greek and other iconographic traditions, was known throughout the Near East by the fourteenth century BCE.22 Related Greek words are γρυπάετος, “a kind of griffin or wyvern”, and γρυπαλώπηζ, “griffin-fox”.23 Presumably, these words refer to the designated creatures’ typically curved beaks, as similar words carry the sense of “curve” or “hook”, including γρυπόομαι, “to become hooked”; γρυπάνιος, “wrinkled”; γρυπανίξο, “become wrinkled”; γρυπός, “hook-nosed, aquiline […] generally, hooked […] curved”; and γρυπότης, “hookedness, of the nose […] of the beak […] of talons”.24 Notably, γρύψ itself is used in the Septuagint to translate ‫ּפ ֶרס‬, ֶ a type of bird (Lev 11:13 = Deut 14:12).25 The word γρύψ first appears in the works of the fifth-century BCE writers Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Ctesias. Aeschylus uses it (Prometheus Bound 803– 804) to denote “sharp-beaked” creatures that are found in the far east of the world and are associated with a river of gold. This description recalls the cherubim of the Eden Narrative, which are found “east of the garden of Eden” (Gen 3:24), a garden that is the source of a river, Pishon, that winds through a land of gold (2:10–12). Herodotus also associates the creatures named γρύψ with gold (Histories 3.116) and characterizes them as “gold-guarding” (χρυσοφύλακας: Hist. 4.13 [quoting the seventh century poet Aristeas], 4.27), recalling again the cherubim of Eden, whose function is “to guard” (‫ל ְׁשמֹר‬,ִ LXX φυλάσσειν) the way to the tree of life. Herodotus further reveals that these creatures were represented in sculpture (Hist. 4.79, 152), as the cherubim are said to have been (Exod 25:18, etc.). A full description of the creatures is provided by Ctesias (Fragments F45.26, F45h), who places them in the mountains of India – again, guarding gold – and states: “These are four-footed birds the size of a wolf with legs and claws like a lion. The feathers on the breast are red while those covering the rest of the body are black.” A polychromatic depiction matching this description can be found, for example, on a Caeretan hydria dated to the late sixth century BCE.26 20  Eichhorn, Einleitung, 3:80, 160–161; Vatke, Biblische Theologie, 1:325–326; Delitzsch, Wo Lag das Paradies, 151; Wellhausen, Prolegomena, 304 ; de Vaux, “chérubins”, 238 ; Brown, “Literary Contexts”, 184–188. Early bibliography in Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 119 n. 1. 21 LSJ; OED, “griffin | griffon | gryphon, n. 1”. 22  Black and Green, Gods, 99–101 (“griffin”). 23  LSJ. 24  Ibid. 25  This is the origin of the English name “griffon vulture” for the avian species Gyps fulvus; see OED, “griffin | griffon | gryphon, n. 1”, 2. 26  BM, “1923,0419.1”.

8.3 Name

183

8.3.2.5 Conclusion There is substantial evidence that Hebrew ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is etymologically related to both Akkadian kurību and Greek γρύψ, which would establish it as a cultural word. Both of the latter words are phonetically similar to ‫ ְ;ּכרּוב‬like the Hebrew word, they denote a type of marvelous creature; and the creatures they denote share specific similarities in function and disposition with the cherubim. The fact that γρύψ has several related Greek words carrying the sense of “hooked” suggests that it is original to the Greek language. Perhaps, then, both ‫ ְּכרּוב‬and kurību derive from γρύψ.27 This might also explain why the long vowel in the Hebrew is u whereas the long vowel in the Akkadian is i: the sound represented by the Greek upsilon, which is midway between u and i, was shifted in a different direction in the move to each of the Semitic languages. Possibly, Akkadian kurūbu also derives from γρύψ. Thus, the ark is accompanied by two sculptures of a kind of creature that appears in various contexts in the Bible and whose name points to other, fabulous beings in the ancient Near East. The biblical contexts of these creatures will be examined in detail in the next chapter.

27  Heijmans, “Greek Loanwords”, n.p.: “The Bible contains some Greek loanwords, although only the three musical instruments mentioned in the Aramaic of Dan. 3 are undisputed: ‫יתרֹוס‬ ָ ‫ִק‬ ]…[ ‫ […] ְּפ ַסנְ ֵּת ִרין‬and ‫סּומּפֹנְ יָ ה‬ ְ […] The Greek origin of several other Biblical words is a matter of controversy, e. g., ‫ּפילגֶ ׁש […] ִל ְׁש ָּכה‬ ֶ ]…[ ‫ ]…[ ַא ִּפ ְריֹון‬and ‫”אטּון‬. ֵ

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts While the biblical authors know of only one sacred ark (§ 1.1), cherubim are a type of creature that appears in a number of contexts (§ 8.1). Our primary interest is in the sculpted cherubim that surmount the ark, but this chapter will digress to examine some appearances of cherubim in other biblical contexts that may help shed light on aspects of the ark cherubim.

9.1 Ezekiel 8–11 9.1.1 Introduction: What Are These Creatures? Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek 8–11) appears to contain the most extensive account of cherubim anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, one that includes a fairly detailed formal description. Within this vision, which is set in the temple compound, the cherubim are mentioned mainly in Chapter 10, but also in 9:3 and 11:22, and are possibly alluded to in 8:4 and 11:23. They are described, formally and functionally, in a virtually identical manner to creatures in Ezekiel’s inaugural vision by the Chebar River (Ezek 1:1–3:14), which, however, are consistently called ‫חּיֹות‬,ַ “living beings”. The text in the Jerusalem vision explicitly equates the cherubim with the living beings of the Chebar vision three times (10:15, 20, 22). While the parts of the Jerusalem vision that refer to the cherubim are confused to the point of incoherence, leading many commentators to conclude that the passages underwent a complex process of expansion and editing,1 they may be provisionally summarized as follows. In these passages, the cherubim support and facilitate the movement of a ‫ּדמּות ִּכ ֵּסא‬,ְ “figure of a throne”, that carries ‫ֹלהי יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬ ֵ ‫ ְּכבֹוד ֱא‬/ ‫ּכבֹוד ה׳‬,ְ the divine Majesty (10:1, 18–19; 11:22–23; cf. 8:4; 9:3; 10:4), as the living beings of the Chebar vision do (1:26–28; 3:12–13). They are accompanied by animate ‫אֹופּנִ ים‬, ַ “wheels”, presumably to enable this movement (10:8–13, 16–19; 11:22), as the living beings of the Chebar vision are (1:15–21; 3:13). And they are associated with ‫גַ ֲח ֵלי ֵאׁש‬, “fiery coals”, or ‫אׁש‬, ֵ “fire” (10:2,

1 See,

e. g., Hiebel, Ezekiel’s Vision Accounts, 99, 104 and bibliography.

186

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

6–7), as the living beings of the Chebar vision are (1:13); these coals or fire are given to a “man clothed in linen” (10:2, 6–7).2 While the cherubim of the Jerusalem vision are virtually identical to the living beings of the Chebar vision, almost every element of their formal description contradicts what we know about the appearance of cherubim from elsewhere in the Bible. These cherubim have four wings (10:21), like the Chebar creatures (1:6, 11, 23), while cherubim elsewhere have two (1 Kgs 6:24, 27). These have four faces (10:14, 21), like the Chebar creatures (1:6, 10), while cherubim elsewhere have one (Exodus 25:21 = 37:9). These have arms under their wings (10:7, 8, 21), like the Chebar creatures (1:8), a feature not attributed to cherubim elsewhere. And these have accompanying wheels (10:9–14, 16–19; 11:22), like the Chebar creatures (1:15–22; 3:13), a feature that is also not attributed to cherubim elsewhere. Thus, before any conclusions can be drawn from the Jerusalem vision regarding cherubim generally, the nature of the creatures in this vision must be determined. Are they really cherubim? If so, why are they so different from other cherubim but identical to creatures called ‫?חּיֹות‬ ַ If not, why are they called “cherubim”? The various existing interpretations of these creatures will be surveyed, and then a new proposal will be presented.

9.1.2 Survey of Interpretation 9.1.2.1 Cooke: Just the Chebar Creatures According to Cooke, the cherubim of the Jerusalem vision are in fact the same as the beings of the Chebar vision.3 Cooke’s point of departure is a reading of 10:20 at face value; Cooke considers this verse part of the original core of Chapter 10, along with vv. 2, 7, 18, and 19. In v. 20, the prophet states that he realized at this point that the creatures he had seen earlier at the Chebar River were cherubim, implying that he did not call them cherubim at the time because he had not been aware of their nature as such. Cooke elaborates upon this by saying that the creatures’ proximity to the Temple in this prophecy triggered Ezekiel’s understanding that they were the same beings as the cherubim of the inner cella. In Cooke’s own words: At first, when they appeared in Babylonia, by the Grand Canal, he could only call them ḥayyôth, for want of a better name; he had never seen or heard of anything quite like them. But when he saw them again, this time in Jerusalem and beside the temple, he realized what they were. True, the ark was not present, nor the kappōreth; but these mighty forms, 2 The Chebar vision, in turn, is referenced in Ezek 3:23, and both the Chebar and the Jerusalem destruction visions are referenced (and explicitly equated to one another) in 43:3. Note also Enoch 14:18–23, a synthesis of these visions with the throne vision of Dan 7:9–10; here cherubim are mentioned, but their position vis-à-vis the throne is not specified. 3  Cooke, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 88–128; similarly, Kaufmann, Toledot, 3:490.

9.1 Ezekiel 8–11

187

attendant on the throne of Jahveh and giving it the motion of a chariot, must be none other than the Cherubim of the inner sanctuary[…]!4

Cooke’s suggestion assumes that a chronological development of the prophet’s awareness of the creatures’ nature is reflected in detail in the text, but it does not provide a coherent explanation how such a development would have taken place. Either Ezekiel was aware of the appearance of the cherubim of the inner cella or he was not. If he was, why did he not note their similarity to the creatures of the divine vehicle the first time he saw the latter, and if he was not, why would he suddenly become aware of it during the Jerusalem vision, when nothing in the text suggests that he even saw the cherubim of the inner cella on this occasion? Moreover, this suggestion fails to provide an adequate explanation for the fact that the creatures of the divine vehicle are not similar to the cherubim of the inner cella, as detailed above (§ 9.1.1). 9.1.2.2 Eichrodt: The Ark Cherubim Combined with the Chebar Creatures Eichrodt maintained that the cherubim in the Jerusalem vision, which take the place of the “living beings” in the Chebar vision, are the result of an attempt in later revisions of the text to combine two separate concepts for theological purposes: the divine throne vision of the Chebar pericope (which did not originally involve wheels); and a hypothesized wheeled apparatus in the Temple for moving the ark (with its cherubim) for public processions. The theological benefit of this combination was to introduce a mobile throne for God, not tied to the temple, and thus not affected by its destruction. Its result was the unification of the ark’s cherubim and the divine throne’s living beings into a single concept in the text. According to this view, only parts of vv. 2 and 7 are original to Chapter 10. All mention of the cherubim and of the throne throughout the vision, including in the context of the retrieval of fiery coals, are secondary. The coals were originally retrieved from the altar of incense.5 Eichrodt’s imagined wheeled temple apparatus, upon which his theory rests, is highly questionable. If such an object existed in the temple, why is it not mentioned in 1 Kings 6 or reflected in Exodus 25, or anywhere else? More importantly, no explanation is offered for how the author who equated the throne creatures of the Chebar vision with the cherubim of the ark could expect his readers to accept such an equation. Not only are the two types of beings different in form (§ 9.1.1), but they are different in number: there are four throne creatures and two ark cherubim.

 Cooke, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 113–114.  Eichrodt, Ezekiel, 105–146.

4 5

188

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

9.1.2.3 Zimmerli: The Ark Cherubim Becoming the Chebar Creatures According to Zimmerli, the text of the Jerusalem vision originally spoke of the cherubim above the ark in the inner cella (or more precisely, to one of those two cherubim – the cherub facing the entrance to the cella), but it was revised to incorporate the mobile throne vision of the Chebar pericope. As a result, the description of the cherubim was changed to fit the concept of the mobile throne creatures, but they retained their name.6 This view is similar to Eichrodt’s in assuming that the final form of Chapter 10 stems from a combination of the ideas in the Chebar vision and the ark cherubim, but it assumes a different developmental history for the text. Emphasizing the distinction between singular “cherub” and plural “cherubim”, Zimmerli finds the original text of Chapter 10 in vv. 2, 4, and 7 and parts of 18 and 19. In the original story, the Majesty of Yhwh leaves the Temple from its perch upon the cherub facing the cella door. At the same time, the man clothed in linen is commanded to take fire from under that cherub. Only in the later revision of the chapter does the Majesty of Yhwh move upon a chariot of cherubim (plural), influenced by the Chebar vision. Many of the problems in Zimmerli’s approach lie in his hypothesized original text. Though according to his theory this text has not yet been influenced by the mobile throne vision in Chapter 1, it contains elements that seem appropriate only in the context of that vision and are hard to explain without it. How came there to be fiery coals in the inner cella, and what is a ‫ ּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬doing there (vv. 2, 7)? Zimmerli does not provide adequate explanations. Other aspects of the presumed original text are also unclear. Why would Yhwh’s Majesty rest upon just one cherub in the inner cella and not both of them? Furthermore, it seems odd that the inanimate sculpted cherub of the inner cella in 10:2, 4 can become an active agent in 10:7. Zimmerli’s reference to the seraphim in Isaiah 6 to explain this phenomenon is of little help for his case, as those seraphim are at no point in Isaiah 6 implied to be inanimate temple apparata, nor do we have any reason to believe that such apparata existed. 9.1.2.4 Houk: The Laver-Stand Cherubim Becoming the Chebar Creatures A unique interpretation was advanced by Houk, according to which references to “cherubim” were part of the original text of Chapter 10, but they applied specifically to the decorative cherubim carved on the panels of the laver stands situated south and north of the temple edifice (1 Kgs 7:27–37). Similarly, the ‫ּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬ 6  Zimmerli, Ezekiel, 1:230–254. The overall approach is followed by Wood (Of Wings, 95–138) and Hiebel (Ezekiel’s Vision Accounts, 99–118). Wood, however, declines to decide whether the original cherub is one of the pair of sculptures over the ark or an engraving on the temple wall (per 1 Kgs 6:35). Hiebel suggests that the original “cherub” is really a collective singular that refers to both sculptures.

9.1 Ezekiel 8–11

189

originally referred to the wheels of the laver stands, and the fiery coals from ‫ֵּבינֹות‬ ‫ ַלּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬and ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫( ֵּבינֹות ַל ְּכ‬10:2, 6) referred to the fire upon the altar, which stood between the laver stands to the north and the laver stands to the south. The chapter was later reworked with extensive influence from Chapter 1, in the process of which the cherubim were turned into the creatures of the Chebar vision, while retaining their names, and the ‫ ּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬was turned into the ‫אֹופּנִ ים‬ ָ of that vision.7 According to Houk, the original material in Chapter 10 is to be found in vv. 2–3, part of 4, and 6–7. Originally it was an “altar vision” and a part of Chapter 9 (located between 9:2 and 9:3). The fiery coals were to be scattered over the city merely to mark the foreheads of the faithful. The editor who separated this material from its original context and reworked it did so in order to convey a more severe message: that the perversions in the Temple necessitated not merely Jerusalem’s purification, but its destruction, and that they brought about the departure of the divine Majesty from the city. To this end, he worked the cherubim into a narrative describing Yhwh’s departure, based on the vehicle concept in the Chebar vision. As with Zimmerli, the original text of the chapter that Houk posits seems to have no logic to it. This text speaks of the fiery coals upon the altar as being located ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫ּבינֹות ַל ְּכ‬,ֵ “between the cherubim” (vv. 2, 7), and ‫ּבינֹות ַלּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬,ֵ “between the wheel-work” (v. 2). Even if we accept that this can mean between the cherubim and wheels on the south side of the temple edifice and the cherubim and wheels on the north side of the temple edifice, as Houk’s interpretation requires, this is an exceedingly unusual and confusing way of specifying the location of the coals. Why not simply say “upon the altar”? Why define the location of the coals as between the laver stands, which are fairly minor temple apparati not said to be particularly close to the altar? Further, even if the text did choose to involve the laver stands, why not actually say “between the laver stands”, as opposed to mentioning specific parts of them – their wheels and one of the carved decorations upon them? Furthermore, Houk’s placement of the original text within Chapter 9 is doubtful. Houk’s rendering requires the mark that the man with the scribes’ kit is to place on the foreheads of the faithful (9:3–4) be made with the coals and not with the scribes’ kit.8 What, then, is the point of relating that the man carried a scribes’ kit? 9.1.2.5 Keel: Yhwh’s Riding Cherub Combined with the Chebar Creatures Keel agrees with Zimmerli regarding the identity of the original stratum of Chapter 10, the significance of the distinction between single “cherub” and plural “cherubim”, and the hypothesis that the original stratum described Yhwh  Houk, “Final Redaction”.  Ibid., 53–54.

7 8

190

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

ascending from the single cherub in the temple and gradually abandoning the temple. However, unlike Zimmerli, who understood the single cherub as referring to one of the cherubim above the ark, Keel understands it as referring originally to a cherub such as the one that Yhwh mounts or rides in the Song of David (2 Sam 22:11 ≈ Ps 18:11). The redactor of the Jerusalem vision, according to Keel, combined this cherub with the creatures of the Chebar vision. In doing so, he turned the former from a single entity to multiple creatures and reinterpreted the latter as cherubim, although the Chebar creatures are basically anthropomorphic while cherubim are, according to Keel, zoomorphic (see § 10.2.5). Through this process, which culminated in multiple cherubim, both visions were harmonized not only with each other but also with what Keel sees as the concept of Yhwh enthroned upon the ark cherubim in the Jerusalem temple (see § 9.3.2.1).9 This interpretation avoids the problems that beset that of Zimmerli. It accounts for the presence of the fiery coals in the hypothesized original stratum of Ezekiel 10, as fiery coals are a straightforward element of the riding cherub vision in the Song of David (2 Sam 22:13 ≈ Ps 18:13, 14; cf. 2 Sam 22:9 ≈ Ps 18:9). Keel also accounts for the presence of the ‫ ּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬in the original stratum of Ezekiel 10 by explaining it (following Ps 77:19) as an accumulation of clouds, lightning, glowing coals, and thunder that characterizes a thunderstorm, various elements of which feature in the Song of David vision (2 Sam 22:8–16 ≈ Ps 18:8–16); Keel attributes the text’s characterization of the ‫ ּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬as a wheel and its equation with the ‫אֹופּנִ ים‬ ָ of the Chebar vision (10:13) to a later reworking. This interpretation also neatly accounts for the fact that the cherub of the original stratum is singular (9:3; 10:2, 4, 7) and that it is an active agent (10:7). The difficulty with this interpretation is in imagining why the original stratum of Ezekiel 10, as Keel envisions it, would involve Yhwh’s riding cherub. In the Song of David, this motif is apt: Yhwh swoops in from heaven on a flying creature to rescue his earthly supplicant. But in the context of Yhwh abandoning the temple, it is unsuitable: a living cherub suddenly appears in the temple when we had never heard of one being there, only to be pushed out of the picture immediately as Yhwh, inexplicably, abandons the scene on his own and parts from his riding creature just when he needs to use it. Besides being pointless, this motif would also be in unresolved competition both with the motif of the living beings of Ezekiel’s Chebar vision and with the motif of the two cherubim above the ark. 9.1.2.6 Greenberg: The Ark Cherubim alongside the Chebar Creatures Greenberg, who methodologically dealt with the entire text as an intentional product as opposed to a patchwork, identified two separate types of cherubim in the narrative. Mentions of a singular “cherub” (9:3; 10:4) refer to the two sculpted  Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 175–273.

9

9.1 Ezekiel 8–11

191

cherubim of the inner cella, while mentions of plural “cherubim” (10:2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 15, 18, 19, 20) refer to the four celestial cherubim that carry the divine mobile throne and are identical to the ‫ ַחּיֹות‬of the Chebar vision. Greenberg explained the name-change of the celestial creatures from ‫ ַחּיֹות‬in the Chebar vision to “cherubim” in the Jerusalem vision similarly to Cooke, by taking 10:20 at face value: only now does Ezekiel realize that the creatures he had seen earlier are in fact cherubim.10 If Ezek 8–11 is an intentional coherent whole, as Greenberg maintained, and if we interpret it as he suggested, it is marked by unnecessarily confusing terminology. It uses the same term, ‫ּכרּוב‬,ְ for two separate sets of objects, despite the fact that it had another term, ‫חּיָ ה‬,ַ at its disposal, which it could have used to distinguish between them. The text instead chooses to make the distinction through the exceedingly subtle hint of using the singular form for one and the plural form for the other. Furthermore, the singular/plural distinction is inconsistently used, since in 10:2 the singular form is used (alongside the plural in the same verse) to refer to the celestial creatures.

9.1.3 New Proposal: The Chebar Creatures Becoming the Ark Cherubim The cherubim in the present form of the Jerusalem vision have two functions in the narrative. It is reasonable to assume that when they were first introduced into the text (whether this was during the original composition of the text or later), they were introduced in order to fill one or both of those functions. The first is to have the throne of the divine Majesty or the divine Majesty itself be ‫על‬, ַ “upon”, them (9:3; 10:1, 4, 18–19; 11:22) or ‫מ ְל ָמ ְע ָלה‬, ִ “above”, them (10:19; 11:22). The second is to have fiery coals retrieved -‫מ ֵּבינֹות ל‬, ִ “from between”, them (10:2, 6, 7) or from ‫ּבינֹות ַלּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬,ֵ “between the wheel-work” (10:2, 6) that is ‫ּת ַחת ַל ְּכרּוב‬, ַ “under the cherub” (10:2). Both of these functions immediately bring to mind the mobile throne creatures as they are depicted in the Chebar vision. Those creatures have the throne of the divine Majesty -‫מ ַּמ ַעל ל‬, ִ “above”, the sky-plate (1:26), which is in turn ‫על‬, ַ “upon”, their heads (1:22[× 2], 25, 26); they have the figure of fiery coals moving about ‫ּבין‬,ֵ “between”, them (1:13); and they have accompanying wheels (1:15–22; 2:13). On the other hand, neither of these functions immediately recalls cherubim elsewhere in the Bible. No cherubim in the Bible have accompanying wheels or

10 Greenberg, “Vision of Jerusalem”; appears with minor additions in idem, Ezekiel, 192–206. The same overall approach is followed by Block (Book of Ezekiel, 314–327) and Kasher (Ezekiel, 1:259–263) and is modified slightly by Kopilovitz (“Ezekiel’s Theology”, 317–324), who sees only 9:3 as referring to the sculpted cherubim. It is inspired by the traditional Jewish interpretation of these texts, as expressed in Targum Jonathan, Rashi, David Kimhi, and Joseph Kara on 9:3, in Cohen, Ezekiel, 44–45, and Isaiah di Trani on 10:4, in Cohen, ibid., 49.

192

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

wheel-work as a defining feature.11 None are associated with fiery coals except for the cherub in the Song of David, and even there the association is vague; the position of the coals is not defined in relation to the cherub at all, much less as “between” or “under” it.12 And no cherubim elsewhere are ever said to have the divine presence ‫ ַעל‬or ‫ ֵמ ַעל‬them, except, again, for the cherub in the Song of David, and even that cherub differs from the cherubim in the Jerusalem vision in the entity that is situated upon it (Yhwh vs. the Majesty of Yhwh/God). These considerations, and the almost exact similarity of appearance between the cherubim of the Jerusalem vision and the living beings of the Chebar vision, along with the explicit testimony of the text in its present form at 10:13, 15, 20, and 22, strongly suggest that the cherubim of the Jerusalem vision, whatever the history of that pericope’s development, were meant, at the point they were introduced, to be the same as the creatures of the Chebar vision. If this conclusion is accepted, the only significant problem is the question of why these creatures are called ‫ ַחּיֹות‬in the Chebar vision and “cherubim” in the Jerusalem vision. The former term seems reasonable and natural: the creatures, as described in both visions, resembled nothing else in Israelite tradition (at least as far as is known to us from the Bible), and thus would have had no established name. The neutral and generic term “living beings” would have been a logical term with which to denote these heretofore unknown creatures. But why introduce the term “cherubim”, which was already in use to denote different types of creatures? A satisfactory explanation is that as Ezekiel’s creatures and the mobile throne, or “chariot”, that they bore began to occupy an increasingly important position in Jewish angelology and mysticism, a process that is reflected in many later texts,13 the need would have been felt to give them a respectable pedigree, and this could be done most easily by equating them with the well-known cherubim, sculptures of which were known to have stood at the focal point of the Israelite cult of yore.14 Ezekiel’s Jerusalem vision, which is set in the temple, would have provided the perfect opportunity to change the name of the creatures from ‫ ַחּיֹות‬to ‫ּכ ֻר ִבים‬.ְ This could have been done either by the scribe who first inserted the passages speaking of the creatures into the vision (if, in fact, they were a later insertion) or by a later editor of the pericope.

11  Although Naphtali Meshel has noted (personal communication, May 2016) that the “spinning-sword-flame” that accompanies cherubim in Gen 3:24 (see § 9.4) may resemble a wheel. 12  Thus Keel (Jahwe-Visionen, 160) is forced to surmise that the multiple occurrences of the phrase ‑‫ ֵּבינֹות ל‬in Ezek 10 are secondary. 13  While the word ‫מ ְר ָּכ ָבה‬, ֶ “chariot”, does not actually occur in either of the visions of Ezekiel under discussion, it is of course an intuitive term for the mobile throne described in these visions, which description eventually became known as ‫מעשה מרכבה‬. For an extended discussion of this process, see Greenberg, Ezekiel, 205–206. 14  See already Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 191.

9.1 Ezekiel 8–11

193

9.1.4 1 Chronicles 28:18 The identification of Ezekiel’s creatures with the better-known cherubim is carried even further in 1 Chr 28:18, where the cherubim of the ark are called ‫ַּת ְבנִ ית‬ ‫( ַה ֶּמ ְר ָּכ ָבה‬the image of the chariot). While the person who called Ezekiel’s creatures “cherubim” in the Jerusalem vision merely sought to present these creatures as belonging to the same type as the winged beings above the ark, the author of 1 Chr 28:18 defined the latter as being the very image of the former. Ezekiel’s unique creatures became the ark cherubim. This designation should be seen as an expression of the tendency exhibited in this passage, and in Chronicles as a whole, to synthesize, to collect as many traditions as possible and interpret them as being relevant to the topic at hand. Thus, many details in the passage are drawn from the priestly texts in the Pentateuch that speak of the tabernacle, a different institution. These include the existence of a divine plan for the temple (v. 11; from Exod 25:9), a room with a ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬v. 19; chiefly from Lev 16; see § 7.1), “forks” (‫מזְ ָלגֹות‬: ִ v. 17; from Exod 27:3 ≈ 38:3; Num 4:14), and “jars” (‫ק ָׂשת‬: ְ v. 17; from Exod 25:29 ≈ 37:16; Num 4:7); as well as the characterization of the golden altar as an incense altar (v. 18; from Exod 30:1–10, etc.). The existence of other objects is inferred from texts that list valuables looted from the temple at its destruction, although these texts do not state that the items were in the temple from the time of its establishment; these include “bowls” (‫פֹורים‬ ִ ‫ּכ‬:ְ v. 17; from Ezra 1:10) and corresponding silver objects for many of the gold objects (vv. 14–17; from 2 Kgs 25:15 ≈ Jer 52:19; Ezra 1:9– 11). Further details seem to be inspired by Ezekiel’s temple-of-the-future vision, such as the instructions from Yhwh coming in written form (v. 19; from Ezek 43:11), and the existence of multiple tables (v. 16; as in 2 Chr 4:8, 19; from Ezek 40:39–43), although the Ezekiel text is clearly referring to a different sort of table.

9.1.5 Conclusion The interpretation proposed here most resembles that of Keel: both share the conjecture that the ‫ ַחּיֹות‬of the Chebar vision were renamed “cherubim” in the Jerusalem vision in an attempt to harmonize them with the ark cherubim. However, the interpretation offered here seems to be simpler than Keel’s in that it does not require any additional conjecture. In particular, it does not need to posit an original stratum of Ezek 10 referring to a Song-of-David-type riding cherub. It also explains the presence of the ‫ ּגַ ְלּגַ ל‬and the fiery coals in Ezek 10 more straightforwardly, as being taken directly from the Chebar vision, to which the text of the chapter explicitly refers three times. According to this interpretation, the very use of the word “cherub” in Ezekiel’s Jerusalem vision is entirely inauthentic, meaning that this vision, all the more so the Chebar vision, provides no information whatsoever concerning any aspect of

194

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

cherubim as they were originally conceived. According to the surveyed interpretations of Eichrodt, Zimmerli, Houk, and Keel, the word “cherub”, while authentic to the Jerusalem vision, was not originally related to the formal description of the creatures presented therein and in the Chebar vision, meaning that these descriptions are still of no value in determining the original form of cherubim. Only according to the interpretations of Cooke and Greenberg is the name originally related to the formal descriptions, making the descriptions valuable in this sense.

9.2 2 Samuel 22:11 ≈ Psalm 18:11 9.2.1 Introduction The Song of David (2 Sam 22 ≈ Ps 18) contains a nine-verse description of a theophany (2 Sam 22:8–16 ≈ Ps 18:8–16) in which Yhwh saves his distressed supplicant, identified in the song’s caption as David (2 Sam 22:1 ≈ Ps 18:1). The description of the theophany includes one verse (2 Sam 22:11 ≈ Ps 18:11) that describes Yhwh flying while being transported by a cherub or cherubim. In the Masoretic Text of Ps 18:11, it reads as follows: ‫רּוח‬ ַ ‫ וַ ּיֵ ֶדא ַעל ַּכנְ ֵפי‬/ ‫וַ ּיִ ְר ַּכב ַעל ְּכרּוב וַ ּיָ עֹף‬, “He rode a cherub and flew / He swooped in on the wings of the wind”. The entity on which Yhwh rides is a single cherub in the Masoretic Text of 2 Sam 22:11 as well, and the same is reflected in the Peshitta on both verses and in the Hebraicum version of the Vulgate on Ps 18:11. However, the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the targumim on both verses, as well as a targumic tosefta on 2 Sam 22:11, reflect the reading ‫*כרבים‬, in the plural.15

9.2.2 The Problem: Unsuitability of the Cherub Image It has been noted that the cherub image (however it is read) is anomalous, as nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible is Yhwh depicted as “riding” (‫ ָ)ר ַכב‬on a cherub or cherubim.16 It is also somewhat of a non sequitur in its textual setting, whose imagery otherwise consists of thunderstorm elements. The usual impulse of scholars who have felt troubled by this problem is to understand the cherub in the Song of David as symbolizing, personifying, embodying, or in some other way representing storm-clouds.17 However, this interpretation does nothing but shift the eccentricity from the notion of Yhwh riding on a cherub to the notion 15  Another textual variant in the verse pertains to ‫וַ ּיֵ ֶדא‬, “He swooped in”, which, in 2 Sam 22:11, appears in the chief manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, one reading of Targum Jonathan, and a targumic tosefta as ‫וַ ּיֵ ָרא‬, “he appeared”. The difference does not bear on the remarks made herein. 16  E. g., Briggs and Briggs, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 1:153; Shnider, “Psalm XVIII”, 388. 17  E. g., Foote, “Cherubim”, 281; Weiser, Psalms, 190–191; Maré, “Theophany Report”, 107.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

195

of a cherub representing a storm-cloud. As pointed out by Keel, cherubim are nowhere else associated with clouds, and the functions and associations that they do have are not readily reconcilable with the idea of a cloud.18

9.2.3 Proposed Solution If the verse originally read not ‫ וידא על כנפי רוח‬/ ‫וירכב על כרוב ויעף‬, but ‫*וירכב על‬ ‫ וידא על כנפי רוח‬/ ‫עב ויעף‬, “He rode on a cloud and flew / He swooped in on the wings of the wind”,19 then the entire verse would be strikingly similar, conceptually and stylistically, to Ps 104:3, which reads ‫ ַה ְמ ַה ֵּלְך ַעל‬/ ‫ ַה ָּׂשם ָע ִבים ְרכּובֹו‬/ … ‫רּוח‬ ַ ‫ּכנְ ֵפי‬,ַ “… / He makes the clouds his riding-vehicle / And moves on the wings of the wind”. It would also be in agreement with Isa 19:1, ‫… ִהּנֵ ה ה׳ ר ֵֹכב ַעל ָעב‬ … ‫קל‬,ַ “ … Look, Yhwh is riding on a swift cloud …”, and with the common biblical motif of Yhwh traveling in or on a cloud (Exod 13:21; 19:9; 34:5; Num 11:25; 12:5; 14:14; Deut 1:33; Ps 68:5), which is rooted in ancient Near Eastern storm-god imagery.20 A scribal error turning ‫ *עב‬to ‫( *כרב‬with the mater lectionis ‫ ו‬being added later)21 could easily occur through “reverse ligature”, i. e., the components of the letter ‫ ע‬in Aramaic script separating into ‫כר‬, and/or as a result of confusion caused by the adjacent and orthographically similar word ‫וַ ּיִ ְר ַּכב‬. It may be proposed that this is what happened, and, as a result, that the image of Yhwh “riding” on a cherub in the Song of David is inauthentic and can provide no information regarding the cherubim in biblical tradition.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm 9.3.1 Introduction: What Does the Phrase Mean? The phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬is attested seven times in the Hebrew Bible as an epithet of Yhwh (1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2 = 1 Chr 13:6; 2 Kgs 19:15 = Isa 37:16; Pss 80:2; 99:1).22 It is reflected once more in the Song of the Three Young Men, an apocryphal work extant in Greek (Dan 3:55 [OG] = Dan 3:54 [Theodotion] = Odes  Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 24 n. 16, 153 n. 48. And see already Kaufmann, Toledot, 2:352–353

18

n. 7.

 Or ‫*וירכב על עבים ויעף‬, “He rode on clouds and flew”, instead of ‫*וירכב על כרבים ויעף‬.  KTU 1.2 IV 8. 21 The defective spelling of single ‫ כרב‬occurs in 4QpaleoGen-Exodl (see § 8.3.1). Note that the word is spelled defectively in the reconstruction of the Song of David’s original form by Cross and Freedman (“Royal Song”, 24). 22  In one occurrence, the article ‫ ה‬is absent (‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫י ֵֹׁשב ְּכ‬: Ps 99:1). In this occurrence and two others, one or both words of the phrase have the plene spelling (‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ‬: Ps 80:2; ‫יֹוׁשב ַה ְּכע‬ ֵ ‫רּובים‬: ִ 1 Chr 13:6). 19 20

196

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

8:54). The phrase consists of the masculine singular active participle of the qal verb ‫ יָ ַׁשב‬followed by the definite (in Ps 99:1, the indefinite) plural form of ‫כרּוב‬.ְ Precise understanding of the phrase is hampered by two problems. The first is the absence of a connecting preposition and the consequently unclear relationship between the two words of which it is composed. The second is the wide semantic range of the qal verb ‫יָ ַׁשב‬, whose meanings extend from “be seated” through “dwell” to “remain”, and possibly also “reign”.23 These two problems are compounded somewhat further by the opaqueness of the word ‫( ְכרּוב‬see § 8.1); though it is fairly clear that this word denotes some type of winged creature, it is not obvious what specific type of creature is intended or whether the referent is the living creature itself or artificial representations thereof.

9.3.2 Survey of Interpretation Existing interpretations of the phrase begin with the Septuagint and can be divided, based on the biblical passages by which they are explicitly or implicitly inspired, into six groups. These are discussed below in the chronological order of their first appearance in the history of interpretation. 9.3.2.1 Septuagint et al.: “who is seated upon the cherubim” Six of the seven occurrences of the epithet in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the one apocryphal occurrence, are rendered in the Septuagint as ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τῶν χερουβιν or an equivalent phrase, meaning “the one seated upon the cherubim”. Only in the one remaining occurrence (1 Sam 4:4) is the translation somewhat noncommittal: καθημένου χερουβιμ, “seated one of cherubim”; while the participle is understood as in the other cases, the positional relation of the subject with the cherubim is left unspecified.24 Similarly, the Peshitta translates the epithet as ytb ‘l krwb’, “who sits/dwells upon cherubim”; though, in some manuscripts, the noncommittal ytb krwb’ is attested for 1 Sam 4:4 and 2 Sam 6:2. Likewise, Targum Jonathan and Targum of Chronicles render the epithet as ‫די שכינתיה שריא עיל מן כרוביא‬, “whose Immanence is situated above the cherubim”, or an equivalent phrase. (The targumim frequently introduce the divine Immanence into their renditions in order to avoid anthropomorphization; see § 9.4.3.1.) The Vulgate, too, renders the epithet in most occurrences as qui sedes super cherubin, “who sit[s] upon cherubim”, or an equivalent phrase. The exceptions 23 See the entry ‫ יׁשב‬in BDB, HALOT, and DCH, as well as Görg, “yāšaḇ; môšāḇ”, 424–432 (TDOT). 24  Similar is the Theodotionic rendering of the phrase in Isa 37:16 (attested in a single manuscript) as καθημενε τα χερουβιμ, “seated one of the cherubim”. Meanwhile, the Lucianic minuscules on 1 Sam 4:4 read ου επεκαθητο τα χερουβιμ, “who sits upon the cherubim”, like the main Greek readings in the other occurrences.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

197

are 2 Sam 6:2 and the Hebraicum translation of Ps 99:1 (98:1), where we find the more ambiguous phrases sedentis in cherubin, “the one seated upon/among cherubim”, and sessor cherubin, “cherubim sitter”, respectively. The same tendency to understand the epithet as “who is seated upon the cherubim” is exhibited in later translations based on the Vulgate, such as the Wycliffe, Douay, Luther, and Zürich Bibles; it reaches consistency throughout all occurrences in many nineteenth‑ and twentieth-century English-language Bibles, such as RV, ASV, JPS, RSV, ESV, NRSV, NASB, NJPS, and NLT. This understanding seems to derive from a reading of the epithet in light of two other biblical passages. The first of these is Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek 8–11), particularly Ezek 10:1, in which the throne (‫)ּכ ֵּסא‬ ִ of the divine Majesty, obviously intended for sitting, is said to be situated “upon” (‫)על‬ ַ cherubim (see § 9.1). The preposition ‫ ַעל‬is used in several other places in the pericope to describe the position of the divine Majesty vis-à-vis “the cherub” (9:3) or “the cherubim” (10:18, 19; 11:22).25 In all of these instances, the Septuagint, Peshitta, and Vulgate indeed render the word ‫ ַעל‬with the same preposition in their respective languages that they usually introduce into their translation of ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, and Targum Jonathan uses Aramaic ‫על‬, which is very similar to its previously seen ‫עיל מן‬. The second passage is the Song of David, in which Yhwh is said to ride upon a cherub, or rather, according to the Septuagint, Vulgate, and targumim (though not the Peshitta), upon cherubim (2 Sam 22:11 ≈ Ps 18:11; see § 9.2.1). Although here the pertinent verb is ‫ר ַכב‬,ָ “ride, mount”, rather than ‫יָ ַׁשב‬, and there is no throne, the position of Yhwh vis-à-vis the cherubim is again expressed with the preposition ‫על‬. ַ The manner in which the ancient translations render the preposition here precisely follows the pattern seen in the text of Ezekiel’s vision. It is also noteworthy that in the manuscripts presenting the kaige-Theodotion revision of the Septuagint on 2 Sam 22:11, the verb ‫ ָר ַכב‬is rendered as ἐκάθισεν, from κάθιζω, “sit”, or ἐπεκάτισεν, from ἐπικατίζω, “sit upon”; both of these verbs are related to κάθημαι, used in the Septuagintal rendering of ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬.26 The understanding of the epithet as “who is seated upon the cherubim” has been adopted by many influential twentieth-century scholars, usually without being tested, compared with alternatives, or questioned as to its origin. As we shall see, modern scholars have used this translation as a basis for various theories (§ 12.1.1).

25 In 10:19 and 11:22, the word ‫מ ְל ָמ ְע ָלה‬, ִ “above”, is used in addition to ‫על‬. ַ In 10:4, the divine Majesty is said to move ‫מ ַעל‬, ֵ “from upon”, the cherub. 26  In the Lucianic manuscripts on 2 Sam 22:11, which are thought to reflect more closely the authentic Old Greek translation (Tov, Text-Critical Use, 160 n. 13 and bibl.), as well as in all Septuagintal manuscripts on Ps 18:11, the verb is rendered in a more expected manner as ἐπιβαινω (or, in a single manuscript, ἀναβαινω), “mount”.

198

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

9.3.2.2 Targum of Psalms et al.: “who dwells between the cherubim” A comparably ancient and entirely different interpretation is first attested in Targum of Psalms, which translates ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫]ּכ‬ ְ ‫[ה‬ ַ ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬in both Pss 80:2 and 99:1 as ‫ד[י ]שכינתיה שריא ביני כרוביא‬, “whose Immanence is situated between/among the cherubim”. This understanding first gained English expression in the 1535 Coverdale Bible’s translation of 2 Sam 6:2 (“dwelleth […] betwene the Cherubins”; note the Vulgate’s exceptional, equivocal rendition of this occurrence, under § 9.3.2.1). “Dwell between” progressively became the preferred rendition in early modern English Bibles, culminating in the KJV, which uses it in all Hebrew occurrences except Ps 99:1, where it opts for the intermediate phrase “sit between”. The pattern reaches consistency throughout all Hebrew occurrences in the NKJV. This understanding evokes and is clearly influenced by the priestly tabernacle pericopes. These passages tell of Yhwh speaking to Moses ‫מ ֵּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ִ “from between the two cherubim” (Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89).27 The verbs used to describe Yhwh’s presence in the tabernacle are ‫ׁש ַכן‬, ָ “dwell” (Exod 25:8; 29:45–46; Num 5:3; 35:34), along with the more abstract ‫נֹועד‬, ַ “meet” (Exod 25:22; 29:42– 43; 30:6, 36; Num 17:19). In these texts, Yhwh is never said to be located “upon” the cherubim, and no divine seat or enthronement is ever mentioned. In all the extant targumim on the relevant pentateuchal verses, ‫ ֵּבין‬is kept as Aramaic ‫בין‬ in one of its configurations, and ‫ ָׁש ַכן‬is rendered with various forms of the combination ‫שכינה שרי‬, as with Targum of Psalms on ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬. In modern scholarship, the understanding “who dwells between the cherubim” has been adopted by Taylor, who uses it to explain a peculiar feature of the clay stand discovered in Ta‘anach in 1968 [Figure 9.1].28 This artifact, dated to the tenth century BCE, is divided into four tiers depicting different scenes; the second tier depicts two winged sphinxes flanking an empty space. Taylor asserts that the winged sphinxes are cherubim and that the empty space represents Yhwh, imagined to be invisibly present between them, as expressed in the phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬according to his understanding of it.29 Taylor’s understanding of the phrase, and consequently his explanation of the Ta‘anach stand, has been flatly rejected by Keel and Uehlinger without the adduction of any argument refuting his understanding or supporting an alternative one.30 27  Exod 25:22 was invoked by medieval Jewish exegetes either explicitly (Rashi on Ps 80:2; Joseph Kara on 1 Sam 4:4, 2 Sam 6:2) or implicitly (David Kimhi and Menahem Meiri on Ps 80:2) in order to explain the phrase ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬: Cohen, Psalms II, 34–35; idem, Samuel, 25, 27, 179. 28  Lapp, “Ritual Incense Stand”; IMJ, “K4197”. 29  Taylor, Yahweh and the Sun, 29–30. Note, however, that Taylor also repeatedly uses the phrase “who dwells/resides among the cherubim” (emphasis added): ibid.; idem, “Was Yahweh worshiped”. 30  Keel and Uehlinger, Gods, 157.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

199

In a variant of this interpretation, the missing preposition of the phrase is taken to mean “between”, but the participle is understood in the sense of “be seated”, as in the first interpretation (§ 9.3.2.1). This variant has already been encountered in the KJV’s translation of Ps 99:1, and it was advocated by Gressmann.31 It is used consistently in the Darby Bible (“sit between”) and the NIV (“[sit] enthroned between”), and inconsistently in the NLT (“enthroned between”) and the NET (“sit [enthroned] between”). 9.3.2.3 Sibylline Oracles: “who settles the cherubim” A third interpretation of our phrase is reflected in a line in the Sibylline Oracles (Book 3, Line 1), which introduces the divine title ὃς ἔχεις τὸ Χερουβίμ ἱδρυμένον.32 This means, roughly, “the one who has the cherubim settled”,33 with “cherubim” in the singular, incorrectly understood as a single entity. The title clearly derives from the biblical phrase ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, with the author apparently understanding ‫ יָ ַׁשב‬as “settle” in the causative sense, a sense which the root ‫יׁשב‬ does in fact carry in its piel (Ezek 25:4) and hiphil (e. g., Gen 47:6, 11; Lev 23:43; 1 Sam 2:8) conjugations. The text is difficult to date. While Book 3 of the Sibylline Oracles is thought to contain the oldest material in the corpus, dating from the second century BCE, the first lines of this book are generally not regarded as organic to it and may be considerably later.34 However, according to Collins, these lines were probably not composed later than the fifth century CE.35 The Sibylline interpretation seems to have been inspired by the statement at the end of the Eden Narrative (Gen 3:24) that Yhwh caused the cherubim to be located in a particular place – that is, settled them – the place being east of the garden. In the Masoretic Text, this statement is ‫וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן … ֶאת ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, usually understood as “he [Yhwh] stationed … the cherubim”. Both the masoretic reading of the verse and the possible variant reading of the Septuagint (see § 9.4.1) could have led the Sibylline author to interpret ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬in her original way. As interesting as this interpretation is, it must be rejected out of hand, because the consonantal text of ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬in ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, regardless of its vocalization, can only express the qal form, which nowhere in the Hebrew Bible carries the meaning of “settle” in the causative sense. Perhaps it is this implausibility that spurred 31  Gressmann, Lade, 19–20: “der zwischen den Keruben thront”, i. e., “who is enthroned between the cherubim”. Gressmann explicitly states that his interpretation derives from the portrayal of the cherubim in the priestly tabernacle texts. 32 Geffcken, Oracula Sibyllina, 46. 33  Thus Terry, Sibylline Oracles, 55: “who hast set in their place the cherubim”. 34  For recent treatments of the third Sibylline Oracle, with bibliography, see Buitenwerf, Book III, esp. 8, 10, 34, 47, 49, 53, 68–69, 71; Collins, Jewish Cult, 82–98, esp. 83. 35  John J. Collins, personal communication, August 2013.

200

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

Geffcken, the major editor of the Sibylline Oracles, and others conjecturally to emend the participle in the line to ἱδρυμένος, yielding, roughly, “the one who, settled, has the cherubim”.36 If this emendation is correct (there is no obvious justification for it), the text still reflects a novel understanding of ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, but one that somewhat recalls the first interpretation, “who is seated upon the cherubim” (§ 9.3.2.1). 9.3.2.4 Arnold, Wood: “the occupant of the cherubim” Some modern scholars have suggested a fourth way to read ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, understanding the participle in the sense of “resident”. Arnold argued that the epithet means “the occupant of the cherubim”, stating that it refers to the presence of Yhwh, symbolized by the ark, “under the outspread wings of the cherubim in Solomon’s temple” (1 Kgs 8:6–7 ≈ 2 Chr 5:7–8).37 Similarly, Wood names “dweller of the cherubim” as the most likely interpretation, claiming that it reflects Yhwh’s abode in the temple more generally, “where cherubim decoration abounds – 1 Kings 6–8”.38 Wood seems to be referring collectively to the cherubim in the temple’s inner chamber that shelter the ark (1 Kgs 6:23–28 ≈ 2 Chr 3:10–13), the cherubim decorating the vertical surfaces of the temple interior (1 Kgs 6:29, 32, 35 ≈ 2 Chr 3:7, 14), and the cherubim adorning the laver stands in the courtyard (1 Kgs 7:29, 36). The understanding advocated by Arnold and Wood is also expressed in the nineteenth-century Young’s Literal Translation, in which the epithet is consistently rendered as “inhabiting the cherubs” (and note the Vulgate’s rendition of Ps 99:1, under the first interpretation [§ 9.3.2.1]). In both the present interpretation and the second interpretation (§ 9.3.2.2), the phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬is understood to express the fact that cherubim mark or delimit the space in which Yhwh, the subject of the participle, is situated. The principal difference between the two is that, in the second interpretation, the positional relation between Yhwh and the cherubim is understood in a far stricter sense, a sense captured by the Hebrew word ‫ ֵּבין‬and the English word “between”: namely, there are precisely two cherubim, and Yhwh is necessarily situated somewhere along the line that joins them. Accordingly, the second interpretation is explicitly acknowledged by its advocates or revealed herein to be influenced by the priestly tabernacle pericopes, particularly Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89, in which Yhwh is said to be situated ‫ּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬.ֵ

36  Thus Floyer, Sibylline Oracles, 32: “and hast the Cherubim under thy Throne”; Friedlieb, Sibyllinischen Weissagungen, 49: “der du auf Cherub Thronest”; Bate, Sibylline Oracles, 45: “who enthroned dost hold the Cherubim in thy hand”; Kurfess, Sibyllinische Weissagungen, 73: “der über den Cherubim thronet”. 37  Arnold, Ephod, 37–39. 38  Wood, Of Wings, 9–22, esp. 14, 22.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

201

9.3.2.5 Houtman: “who is enthroned amidst the cherubim” A fifth option for understanding the epithet was put forth by Houtman, who suggested that ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬means “who is enthroned amidst the cherubim” (emphasis added). Houtman’s stated basis is not any biblical passage featuring cherubim but the texts describing scenes in which Yhwh is seated on his throne surrounded by seraphim (Isa 6) or other heavenly beings (1 Kgs 22:19 ≈ 2 Chr 18:18).39 Here, the positional relation between Yhwh and the cherubim is similar to that posited in the fourth interpretation (§ 9.3.2.4), but the meaning of the participle ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬is understood as in the first interpretation (§ 9.3.2.1). 9.3.2.6 Propp, Wood: “ruler of the cherubim” A sixth and final interpretation is “ruler of the cherubim”. Propp cites this possibility, among others, but does not marshal any positive evidence for it, noting only that the participle ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬can occasionally mean “ruler” and convincingly citing Isa 10:13 and Amos 1:5, 8 as examples.40 Wood mentions this interpretation favorably while still expressing a slight preference for “dweller of the cherubim” (§ 9.3.2.4). In support of the notion that Yhwh exercises authority over the cherubim, she notes that “the cherubim are sometimes viewed [in the Hebrew Bible] as agents of Yahweh”, adducing the previously discussed verses Gen 3:24 and 2 Sam 22:11 ≈ Ps 18:11.41

9.3.3 New Proposal: “who dwells among the cherubim” All the interpretations cited above seem to share a single methodological procedure: they begin by locating some other appearance of cherubim in the Hebrew Bible and proceed to interpret ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬in its light. That this method has yielded six different interpretations of the epithet is enough to show that it is inadequate. Yhwh is said to interact with cherubim (and related creatures) in many different ways. Since several of these types of interaction can be made to fit the words ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, we remain uncertain as to which of these types of interaction, if any, were meant by those who used the phrase. 9.3.3.1 Grammatical Analysis Fortunately, the problem can be resolved through grammatical analysis. The combination of active participial qal ‫ יׁשב‬followed by a governed noun with no intervening preposition can be designated as “yōšēb x”. This combination occurs outside of the phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬some 238 times in the Hebrew Bible. With a  Houtman, Exodus III, 384–385.  Propp, Exodus, 516–519. 41  Wood, Of Wings, 9–22, esp. 14, 22. 39 40

202

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

pronominal suffix instead of a separate noun, ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬occurs an additional 26 times. In most of these instances, the participle governs the noun in the genitive. In a few instances, the relationship may be accusative (e. g., Gen 18:1; Jer 36:22), though in these there might have been an original intervening preposition, ‫ב‬, that was lost through haplography.42 In not a single one of these instances, regardless of the referent of the governed noun and regardless of whether it is governed in the genitive or the accusative, can the combination convincingly be understood as “who is seated upon x”. On these grounds alone, it would seem that the prevailing understanding of ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכע‬ ‫ר ִבים‬,ֻ “who is seated upon the cherubim” (§ 9.3.2.1), must be ruled out.43 The single alleged exception is the difficult verse ‫יֹוׁשב ְּת ִהּלֹות יִ ְשע‬ ֵ ‫וְ ַא ָּתה ָקדֹוׁש‬ ‫( ָר ֵאל‬Ps 22:4), which has been interpreted by some as “you are holy, who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel”.44 But it is difficult to be enthroned upon praises, which are intangible things. A more plausible interpretation, if we must accept the masoretic text and pointing, is “you are holy, who dwell amid the praises of Israel”.45 Further, it seems that, following the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and several masoretic manuscripts, ‫ ְּת ִה ַּלת יִ ְש ָר ֵאל‬/ ‫יֹוׁשב‬ ֵ ‫ וְ ַא ָּתה ָקדֹוׁש‬is a preferable reading, yielding the meaning “you dwell in holiness, O object of Israel’s praise”.46 Thus read, the meter of the verse, 3/2, matches the meter of the next verse; the first colon, ‫יֹוׁשב‬ ֵ ‫וְ ַא ָּתה ָקדֹוׁש‬, corresponds to ‫( ָמרֹום וְ ָקדֹוׁש ֶא ְׁשּכֹון‬Isa 57:15); and the 42 In Biblical Hebrew, the active participle can behave in either of two ways: as a verb, in which

case it is used in the absolute state and can govern a following noun in the accusative; or as a noun, in which case it can be in the construct state and govern a following noun in the genitive (GKC, § 116f–i; Joüon, § 121k–n). The participle ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬in ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬is used as a noun, is in the construct state, and governs ‫ ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬in the genitive (as understood intuitively by Görg, “yāšaḇ; môšāḇ”, 434; see also Wood, Of Wings, 9.) This is indicated by the absence of the definite article in ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬and its presence instead in ‫ ַ;ה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬if the participle were verbal and governed the following noun in the accusative, the form would be ‫*הי ֵֹׁשב ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬ – ַ as, for example, ‫( ַהּנ ֵֹתן ּגֶ ֶׁשם‬Jer 5:24), ‫( ַה ְמ ַׁש ֵּל ַח ַמ ְעיָ נִ ים‬Ps 104:10), ‫( ָהע ֵֹׂשה ֵא ֶּלה‬Ezek 17:15), and many others – or, if the intent were to designate specific cherubim, ‫*הי ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬. ַ 43 Metzler (“Ark”, 58–59) rejects this procedure of grammatical analysis, asserting that future linguists using it would rule out the correct meaning of our English term “medical resident” and misinterpret it as meaning “one who lives in a medical [facility]”, i. e., a patient, based on more common similar constructions such as “Boston resident”. Metzler had the opportunity to select, from an infinite pool of hypotheticals, a particularly difficult test for this procedure to pass. It is noteworthy, then, that the procedure would in fact pass her test. The future linguists using it would immediately observe that “medical” is not a noun like “Boston” but an adjective pertaining to a domain of human activity. Consequently, they would identify such terms as “diplomatic resident”, “commercial resident”, and “colonial resident” as its closest parallels and correctly conclude that “medical resident” denotes a medical official who resides in a certain place to carry out her office there. 44  Briggs and Briggs, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 1:189, 193; Weiser, Psalms, 217, 221; Terrien, Psalms, 224; JPS, RSV, NRSV, NASB. 45  GKC, § 117bb; KJV, Webster’s, Darby, RV, ASV, ESV; see also the Peshitta. 46  Kissane, Book of Psalms, 96, 99; Kraus, Psalms, 1:290, 292; Dahood, Psalms I, 136, 138–139; YLT, NIV.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

203

second colon, ‫ּת ִה ַּלת יִ ְש ָר ֵאל‬, ְ corresponds to the divine epithets ‫מֹואב‬ ָ ‫( ְּת ִה ַּלת‬Jer 48:2), ‫( ְת ִה ָּל ְתָך‬the possessive suffix referring to Israel: Deut 10:21), ‫( ְת ִה ָּל ִתי‬the possessive suffix referring to an individual supplicant of Yhwh: Jer 17:14), and others. There are two other instances of “yōšēb x” in which the governed noun possibly carries an adverbial sense: ‫וְ י ֵֹׁשב ֶק ֶדם‬, “and he who abides of old” (Ps 55:20);47 and ‫י ְֹׁש ֵבי ָמרֹום‬, perhaps “those who dwell on high” (Isa 26:5).48 There are no instances in which “yōšēb x” means “who dwells between x”, “who settles x”, “who is enthroned amidst x”, or “ruler of x”. Thus, in addition to the first interpretation, interpretations two (§ 9.3.2.2), three (which has already been shown to be implausible: § 9.3.2.3), five (§ 9.3.2.5), and six (§ 9.3.2.6) must be correspondingly rejected on grammatical grounds. Rather, in every other instance of the combination “yōšēb x”, x marks or delimits, in a general manner, the space in which the subject of the participle ‫י ֵֹׁשב‬ is said to be located. In most cases the phrase should be rendered “who dwells in / lives in / inhabits x” or “occupant / inhabitant / resident of x”. The governed noun can be a city, as in ‫רּוׁש ַל ִם‬ ָ ְ‫יְבּוסי י ֵֹׁשב י‬ ִ ‫ה‬,ַ “the Jebusites who dwelled in Jerusalem” (Judg 1:21); a country, as in ‫ּכֹל י ְֹׁש ֵבי ְכנָ ַען‬, “all the inhabitants of Canaan” (Exod 15:15); or a region, as in ‫יֹוׁשב ָה ָהר וְ ַהּנֶ גֶ ב וְ ַה ְּׁש ֵפ ָלה‬ ֵ ‫[ה]ּכנַ ֲענִ י‬, ְ “the Canaanites who lived in the hill-country, the Negev, and the lowlands” (Judg 1:9). It can also refer to a more limited area, as in ‫יתָך‬ ֶ ‫וְ כֹל י ְֹׁש ֵבי ֵב‬, “and all who live in your house” (Jer 20:6); the whole world, as in ‫ּכל י ְֹׁש ֵבי ָח ֶלד‬,ָ “all inhabitants of the world” (Ps 49:2); or an abstract space, as in ‫י ְֹׁש ֵבי ח ֶֹׁשְך וְ ַצ ְל ָמוֶ ת‬, “who dwelled in darkness and gloom” (Ps 107:10).49 The phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬should be understood according to the same principle: the cherubim mark or delimit the space in which Yhwh is situated. Of the interpretations surveyed above, the fourth (§ 9.3.2.4) is thus closest to the mark. However, Young’s “inhabiting the cherubs”, Arnold’s “occupant of the cherubim”, and Wood’s “dweller of the cherubim” sound odd in English, since cherubim constitute a number of discrete beings rather than a single place. A better rendering is rather “who dwells among the cherubim”.50 This is precisely the case in the one clear instance of “yōšēb x” other than ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬in which the governed noun signifies a plurality of creatures. This instance is ‫ּו)מ ְקנֶ ה‬ ִ ‫י ֵֹׁשב (א ֶֹהל‬, “those who dwell (in tents and) among herds” (Gen 4:20).  Though the text may be corrupt here; see BHS; Kraus, Psalms, 1:518, 522. “in a high place”. 49  Note also that the construction DN + participial ‫ׁשכן‬/‫ יׁשב‬+ GN is attested multiple times as a divine epithet in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Akkadian, and it can usually be understood only as meaning “DN who dwells in GN” or the like, in accordance with similar cross-lingually attested constructions such as DN/PN + GN (Smith, Where the Gods Are, 71–77). 50  This translation is used, other than by Taylor (see n. 29), also by Maurice Simon in his translation of m. Berakhot 7:3 (which cites the phrase in a liturgical context), in Epstein, Babylonian Talmud, 49b. The present writer is not aware of its appearance in any recognized English translation of the Bible. 47

48 Or

204

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

9.3.3.2 Identity of the Cherubim Based on grammatical considerations, we have rendered ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬as “who dwells among the cherubim”. But this still does not tell us to which cherubim the epithet refers. There are three categories of cherubim that stand as a priori candidates. Of course, the epithet may refer to more than one of these categories. The first category comprises the living cherubim in the heavenly or edenic realm. In Genesis, as we have seen, cherubim are said to be situated east of the garden of Eden “to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:24) – that is, to bar the recently banished humans from returning to the garden. The garden was created by Yhwh (Gen 2:8–9), it belongs to him (Gen 2:15), and he walks around in it (Gen 3:8). From the human point of view, then, cherubim mark a place that is inaccessible to mortals but constitutes the domain of Yhwh. This picture surely accords with a view of Yhwh as “the one who dwells among the cherubim”. We shall see below (§ 9.4.4.3) that the agreement may be even closer. Moreover, in Ezekiel’s dirge over the King of Tyre, “the sheltering cherub” is actually within the garden of God (Ezek 28:13–14, 16), and, according to the superior51 text and vocalization of these verses reflected in the Septuagint, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, and the Peshitta, the cherub is an indicator species of the region.52 The second category consists of the two-dimensional depictions of cherubim that decorate Yhwh’s sanctuary – both the wilderness tabernacle, where they adorn surfaces throughout (Exod 26:1 = 36:8; 26:31 = 36:35) and, as mentioned above, the temple (1 Kgs 6:29, 32, 35; Ezek 41:18, 20, 25; 2 Chr 3:7, 14) and its courtyard (1 Kgs 7:29, 36). As Yhwh dwells in the sanctuary, the cherubim referred to in the phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬could be these artificial images, as contended by Wood (see § 9.3.2.4).53 However, the fact that the epithet can equally well be applied to Yhwh with no obvious connection to the temple or to the wilderness tabernacle (Ps 80:2) and can even be set in a time when neither of these institutions were thought to have functioned (2 Sam 6:2 = 1 Chr 13:6) indicates that it does not refer primarily to this category of cherubim. The third category is the two sculpted cherubim that are said to surmount the ark in the tabernacle (Exod 25:18–20 = 37:7–9) and in the Solomonic temple (1 Kgs 6:23–28 ≈ 2 Chr 3:10–13). As noted above (§ 9.3.2.2, § 9.3.2.4), in the wilderness tabernacle, Yhwh is said to be situated ‫ּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬,ֵ “between the two cherubim” (Exod 25:22 ≈ Num 7:89). In the Solomonic temple, his presence is tied to the ark (1 Kgs 8:1–11 ≈ 2 Chr 5:2–14; see also 2 Sam 7:1–7 = 1 Chr 17:1–6; Ps 132:8; § 6.1.1), which is located ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫ּת ַחת ַּכנְ ֵפי ַה ְּכ‬, ַ “under the wings of the 51  BHK; BHS; Cooke, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 317; Eichrodt, Ezekiel, 389; Zimmerli, Ezekiel, 2:89; Allen, Ezekiel 20–48, 90. 52  The Masoretic Text, Targum Jonathan, and the Vulgate read differently, but in them the cherub still inhabits the garden of God. 53  Wood, Of Wings, 14, 21, 22.

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

205

cherubim” (1 Kgs 8:6–7 ≈ 2 Chr 5:7–8; see also 1 Chr 28:18). Thus, one could argue that ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬refers to the sculpted cherubim in the tabernacle, as understood implicitly by Targum of Psalms and subsequent translations and explicitly by Gressmann (§ 9.3.2.2), or that it refers to the sculpted cherubim in the temple, as suggested by Arnold (§ 9.3.2.4). The problem with these possibilities is that we would then expect the epithet to correspond more closely to the description in the tabernacle or the temple, i. e., to be ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫יֹוׁשב ֵּבין ַה ְּכ‬ ֵ ‫*ה‬, ַ “who dwells between the cherubim”, or ‫יֹוׁשב‬ ֵ ‫*ה‬ ַ ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫ּת ַחת ַּכנְ ֵפי ַה ְּכ‬, ַ “who dwells under the wings of the cherubim”. These phrases never occur, and there is in any case no textual support for the assumption that the governed noun in “yōšēb x” can refer to precisely two entities and no others. In light of all the aforegoing, it would seem that the cherubim in the phrase are primarily those in the first category: the living cherubim in Yhwh’s heavenly or edenic realm. The representations of cherubim that adorn the sanctuary – both the sculptures above the ark and the two-dimensional figures on the surfaces of the edifice – constitute one of several aspects of the sanctuary that were aimed at reproducing Yhwh’s heavenly environment in his earthly abode, with the phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬and related ideas in mind. The tabernacle (‫ה ִּמ ְׁש ָּכן‬,ַ literally, “the Dwelling”) and the temple (‫ּבית ה׳‬, ֵ literally “the House of Yhwh”) are attempts to create a terrestrial residence for the God of Israel,54 and the conspicuous presence of cherubim, those creatures which mark the deity’s “real” home, is an effective means to communicate this nature to the deity and to human observers. As a way of identifying Yhwh as a deity who dwells in a community of heavenly beings, the epithet ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬accords with numerous other expressions of the same conception in the Hebrew Bible. Most relevant are the passages adduced by Houtman (§ 9.3.2.5): the vision of Micaiah, in which Yhwh is seen “sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right and on his left” (1 Kgs 22:19 ≈ 2 Chr 18:18); and the vision of Isaiah, in which Yhwh is seen “sitting on a high and lofty throne” with seraphim standing above him (Isa 6:1–2). Other expressions of the idea that the deity dwells in a sublime environment are, like ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, epithets of Yhwh that use the participle ‫י ֵֹׁשב‬. These include: ‫יֹוׁשב ַּב ָּׁש ַמיִ ם‬, ֵ “who dwells/sits in heaven” (Ps 2:4); ‫הּי ְֹׁש ִבי ַּב ָּׁש ַמיִ ם‬,ַ with the same meaning (Ps 123:1); and ‫הּי ֵֹׁשב ַעל חּוג ָה ָא ֶרץ‬,ַ “who dwells/sits above the vault of the earth” (Isa 40:22). Negative or appositional expressions of the idea emphasize that God does not dwell on the earth with man (1 Kgs 8:27 ≈ 2 Chr 6:18;

54  For the relationships between the conceptions of Yhwh as dwelling in heaven and the conceptions of him dwelling on earth, in Zion or elsewhere, see Metzger, “Himmlische und irdische Wohnstatt”. See also § 6.4.1.

206

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

Ps 115:16; Qoh 5:1). From his heavenly abode Yhwh does, however, see,55 hear,56 and respond to57 earth-dwellers. 9.3.3.3 yhwh ṣəbāôt But the most common expression emphasizing Yhwh’s heavenly environment is the title ‫ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות‬, “Yhwh of Hosts”, which occurs, along with its variants ‫ֹלהי‬ ֵ ‫ֱא‬ ‫ ְצ ָבאֹות‬and ‫ֹלהים ְצ ָבאֹות‬ ִ ‫א‬, ֱ some 282 times in the Hebrew Bible.58 It is difficult to deny that the title refers first and foremost to ‫צ ָבא ַה ָּׁש ַמיִ ם‬,ְ “the host of heaven”, which, as mentioned above, surrounds Yhwh in the vision of Micaiah (but see also Israel as ‫צ ְבאֹות ה׳‬,ִ “the hosts of Yhwh”: Exod 12:41). Several passages indicate that the host of heaven is embodied primarily by the stars (Deut 4:19; 17:3; Jer 8:2; 33:22; Dan 8:10), but the vision of Micaiah suggests that other entities such as the wind may be included in this group. Some, but not all, of the occurrences of ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬immediately follow ‫ה׳‬ ‫צ ָבאֹות‬.ְ It is difficult to say how many, because the textual situation is very complex in this regard. In 1 Sam 4:4, the words ‫ ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות‬are present in the Masoretic Text and reflected in Codex Alexandrinus and the Lucianic manuscripts of the Septuagint, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate, but absent in Codex Vaticanus of the Septuagint, the Old Latin translation, and apparently in 4QSama.59 In 2 Sam 6:2, these words are present in the Masoretic Text and reflected in the Septuagint, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate, but it is easily seen that there is no room for them in 4QSama.60 In 2 Kgs 19:15, the words are reflected in the Lucianic manuscripts of the Septuagint and in the Peshitta but are absent in the Masoretic Text, most witnesses to the Septuagint, and the Vulgate.61 In Isa 37:16, the words are present or reflected in all relevant witnesses (MT, 1QIsaa, Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate). In Ps 80:2, the words are absent in the verse but present or reflected in the nearby vv. 5, 8, 15, and 20 in all relevant witnesses (MT, Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate), and are reflected also in v. 4 in the Old Latin translation and the Peshitta. In 1 Chr 13:6, Ps 99:1, and the Song of the Three Young Men, the words are absent in all relevant witnesses. The words are consistently absent in the Jewish targumim, in accordance with the general translational practice of these works.

 Isa 63:15; Pss 11:4; 14:2; 33:14; 80:15; 102:20; 113:5; 115:3; Job 22:14; Lam 3:50.  1 Kgs 8:30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49 = 2 Chr 6:21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 33, 35, 39; 2 Chr 7:14; 20:6; 30:27; Lam 3:41. 57  2 Sam 22:14 = Ps 18:14; Pss 20:7; 57:4; 68:34; 76:9. 58  For a detailed treatment of this phrase, see Zobel, “ṣeḇā’ôṯ”. 59  Cross, Parry, and Saley, “4QSama”, 47–48, pl. 4 frg. c. 60  As noted by Cross et al., ibid., 123, 127, pl. 16 frg. 68. 61  In 2 Kings, most manuscripts of the “Septuagint” actually contain the kaige-Theodotion revision, while the Lucianic manuscripts are thought to reflect the authentic Old Greek translation; see n. 26 (§ 9.3.2.1). 55 56

9.3 yōšēb hakkərūbîm

207

The association between ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬and ‫ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות‬, such as it is, prompted Eissfeldt, and later Mettinger, to assert that the two phrases were always connected.62 Wood is correct in challenging this assertion, stating that “[t]he textual data suggests a link between the two divine titles, but not one that was so strong as to prevent them from being used independently”.63 But, in order to explain the link, there is also no need for Wood’s speculation that the cherubim “may form part of the divine army” and “may have been thought to participate in Yahweh’s battles”.64 The noun ‫צ ָבא‬,ָ like its English counterpart “host”, is not exclusively military in meaning: in the priestly tabernacle pericopes, the term refers to the Levites serving in the sanctuary (Num 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43; 8:24, 25), and it may simply denote any large group of subordinates,65 a group which, in Yhwh’s case, can be epitomized by the cherubim. Even if the term were exclusively military, we know for certain that the cherubim were thought to fulfill a guarding role outside of Eden (Gen 3:24; also Ezek 28:16 LXX et al.), and this role would suffice to explain the tendency of the phrase ‫ ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות‬to conjure ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬without postulating that the cherubim participated in battles. The proposed interpretation of ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, as opposed to all other interpretations of the epithet (other than that of Houtman: § 9.3.2.5), neatly explains its inconstant association with ‫ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות‬. The cherubim referred to in the former phrase epitomize the heavenly host of Yhwh referred to in the latter phrase, and thus a mention of either would readily, but not compulsorily, bring to mind the other. 9.3.3.4 The Ark Two of the five independent occurrences of ‫( י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2 = 1 Chr 13:6) are directly tied to the ark. In one of these (2 Sam 6:2), it is even stated explicitly that the name ‫ ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬was “called upon” the ark (‫)נִ ְק ָרא … ָע ָליו‬, suggesting that the author was conscious of the connection.66 A third independent occurrence (2 Kgs 19:15 = Isa 37:16) is found in a scene that takes place in the House of Yhwh (2 Kgs 19:14 = Isa 37:15), the home of the ark (1 Kgs 6:19; 1 Kgs 8:1–9, 21 = 2 Chr 5:1–10, 6:11), and “in front of Yhwh”, a location that can mean in the presence of the ark (1 Sam 6:20; 2 Sam 6:5, 14, 16; see § 6.1.1). A fourth occurrence (Ps 99:1) is similarly found in the context of Yhwh’s

 Eissfeldt, Kleine Schriften, 116–121; Mettinger, “Yhwh Sabaoth”, 113. Of Wings, 18. 64  Ibid. 65  See Ringgren, “ṣāḇā’”. 66 For the textual and syntactic problems in this verse and the Chronicler’s interpretation of it in 1 Chr 13:6, see Sasson, “Lord of Hosts” and references. 62

63 Wood,

208

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

reign (v. 1) in Zion (v. 2) and his “holy mountain” (v. 9), so the House of Yhwh is, again, clearly in view.67 The final occurrence (Ps 80:2) seems also to be connected to the ark, as suggested by its appearance in a psalm bearing formulae that recall the Song of the Ark (Num 10:35–36). The psalm’s refrain (vv. 4, 8, 20; see also v. 15), ]‫[ה׳‬ ‫[צ ָבאֹות] ֲה ִׁש ֵיבנּו‬ ְ ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫א‬, ֱ is similar to the Song of the Ark’s ְ�‫ׁשּובה ׳ה׳ ִר ְבבֹות ַא ְל ֵפי יִ ׂש‬ ָ ‫( ָר ֵאל‬Num 10:36). The similarity is especially striking when one keeps in mind that the supplicants in the psalm are identified as Ephraim, Benjamin,68 and Manasseh (v. 3), the first and last of which groups receive precisely the labels ‫ִרע‬ ‫( ְבבֹות‬myriads) and ‫( ַא ְל ֵפי‬thousands) in the Blessing of Moses (Deut 33:17). The exhortation in v. 3, ‫יׁש ָע ָתה ָּלנּו‬ ֻ ‫ּול ָכה ִל‬ ְ ‫בּור ֶתָך‬ ָ ְ‫עֹור ָרה ֶאת ּג‬, ְ for its part, corresponds substantively to the exhortation that forms the first part of the Song of the Ark, ‫קּומה ה׳ וְ יָ ֻפצּו א ֶֹיְביָך וְ יָ נֻ סּו ְמ ַׂשנְ ֶאיָך ִמ ָּפנֶ יָך‬ ָ (Num 10:35). Some scholars have struggled with the connection between the epithet ‫י ֵֹׁשב‬ ‫ ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬and the ark. Haran, in an attempt to argue that the ark and the cherubim were two originally separate symbols, was forced to assert that the epithet in 1 Sam 4:4 and 2 Sam 6:2 “has no direct connection with the ark mentioned in these passages – it refers to God and describes his nature only”.69 Wood rightly rejects Haran’s assertion, and argues that in these two passages the epithet is used by the author as a device to evoke the Solomonic temple, where Yhwh dwells with the cherubim, and thereby to “amplify the voice of the Deuteronomistic editor” and to link the ark to its “rightful” place in the temple.70 But this explanation is also an unsubstantiated assertion, and it does not account for the apparent connection between the epithet and the ark in Ps 80:2. The proposed interpretation of ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬leads to a straightforward explanation of the association of the epithet with the ark,71 an association which, as demonstrated here, is even stronger than has traditionally been acknowledged. We can take at face value the biblical statement that the name ְ�‫׳ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות י ֵֹׁשב ַהּכ‬ ‫ ֻר ִבים‬was called upon the ark; i. e., the biblical authors who used the name were simply carrying on an existing tradition in which the name, fundamentally referring to living cherubim and independent of the ark, was chosen to be connected with it. This connection would have been a natural choice, since the name evokes the transcendent nature of Yhwh and, as we have seen, the ark was viewed as a 67  Some scholars have incorrectly identified “his footstool” of v. 5 as a direct reference to the ark (§ 6.2.3). 68  The word “Benjamin” is out of order, disrupts the three-word meter that is otherwise strictly kept in vv. 2–3, and is incongruent with the identification of the supplicants as “Joseph” in v. 2. It may be a later addition. 69 Haran, “Ark”, 33. 70  Wood, Of Wings, 20–22, citing Carlson (David, 70 –71) and Ahlström (“Travels”, 142 n. 5; source incorrectly cited as JTS 26 [1975], which is rather the source for Davies, “Ark or Ephod”). 71 Thus satisfying Metzler’s (“Ark”, 59–60) appropriate demand that the interpretation take this association into account.

9.4 Genesis 3:24

209

means by which the transcendent Yhwh could be found in a particular, earthly place. The proposed interpretation also explains why different biblical sources agree that the ark was surmounted by two cherubim and, at the same time, why these sources describe the surmounting cherubim in different ways. Since the name ‫ה׳‬ ‫ ְצ ָבאֹות י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬was called upon the ark, there would have been an impetus to have the ark be accompanied by depictions of cherubim. The conventional ancient Near Eastern method of minimalistically conveying the idea of a plurality of creatures was to depict two creatures in a flanking position. Thus, the ark would have been imagined to be accompanied by depictions of two flanking cherubim, but there would be no reason that this accompaniment could not be expressed in different ways. In other words, Solomon would have been entitled to introduce larger, freestanding cherubim in order to express the ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬ idea on a grander scale. In summary, the interpretation of ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬as “who is seated upon the cherubim” is grammatically unjustified; it must be rejected, and all theories based on it should be reevaluated. The epithet rather means “who dwells among the cherubim”; it refers primarily to the cherubim of the edenic realm; and it serves to extol Yhwh’s transcendence, much like ‫יֹוׁשב ַּב ָּׁש ַמיִם‬ ֵ and other phrases. This interpretation of the term also provides a convincing explanation of its links to the epithet ‫ ה׳ ְצ ָבאֹות‬and to the ark.

9.4 Genesis 3:24 9.4.1 Introduction: A Forgotten Reading of the Verse Genesis 3:24, the final verse in the Eden Narrative that begins in Gen 2:4, contains the first mention of cherubim in the Bible. It continues 3:23 in recounting the expulsion of Man from the garden of Eden by ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ה׳ ֱא‬, “the God Yhwh”. It reads in the Masoretic Text as follows: ‫וַ יְ גָ ֶרׁש ֶאת ָה ָא ָדם וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן ִמ ֶּק ֶדם ְלגַ ן ֵע ֶדן ֶאת ַה ְּכ ֻרע‬ ‫בים וְ ֵאת ַל ַהט ַה ֶח ֶרב ַה ִּמ ְת ַה ֶּפ ֶכת ִל ְׁשמֹר ֶאת ֶּד ֶרְך ֵעץ ַה ַחּיִ ים‬.ִ The verse may be translated into English as, “Having driven Man out,72 he stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim and the spinning-sword-flame, to guard the way to the tree of life”. It has long been recognized that the Septuagint differs from the Masoretic Text with regard to the words ‫וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן ִמ ֶּק ֶדם ְלגַ ן ֵע ֶדן ֶאת ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, “he stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim”.73 Here the Septuagint reads καὶ κατῴκισεν αὐτὸν ἀπέναντι τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς καὶ ἔταξεν τὰ χερουβιμ, translated 72  For this understanding of the opening clause, see Saadiah Gaon, Abraham ibn Ezra, David Kimhi, and Hezekiah b. Manoah, in Katzenelnbogen Genesis, 1:67. 73  Targum Onqelos, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate all reflect the Masoretic Text in their translations of this segment.

210

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

in NETS as, “and [he] caused him to dwell opposite the orchard of delight, and he stationed the cheroubim”. Some scholars maintain that the Septuagint reflects a variant reading here, which they reconstruct as ‫וישּכן אֹתו מקדם לגן עדן וישם את‬ ֵ ‫הכרבים‬, i. e., “he stationed him east of the garden of Eden, and he placed the cherubim”.74 Others characterize the Greek text as an idiosyncratic translation with no text-critical import.75 There is an additional, overlooked reading of these words reflected in the ancient textual witnesses. While this reading differs from the Masoretic Text only in the vocalization of a single word, it is theologically significant, changing the meaning of the verse and, indeed, of the entire Eden Narrative. This reading may be closest to the original authorial intent.

9.4.2 The Witnesses Four targumim present a midrashically expanded version of Gen 3:24. Before drifting off into their expansions, however, all four provide an almost word-forword translation of the beginning of the verse, up until the word ‫ה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬.ַ These translations are reproduced below and followed by a literal translation of each into English.76 For convenience, the more significant ways in which the second through fourth targumim differ from the first (Targum Neofiti) are underlined in the Aramaic texts and italicized in the English translations. Targum Neofiti: ‫ דעדן מן‬/‫גנ׳‬/ ‫ לגנתה‬/‫חה‬/ ‫וטרד ית אדם ואשרי יקר שכינתיה מן מלקדמין מן מדנ׳‬ … ‫בני תרין כרוביה‬ Translation: “And he drove Man out, and he caused the glory of his Immanence to dwell of old to the east of the garden of Eden between the two cherubim …” Fragmentary Targum V: ‫וטרד ית אדם ואשרי איקר שכינתיה מן לקדמין מן מדנח לגינתא דעדן‬ … ‫מעילוי תרין כרובייא‬ Translation: “And he drove Man out, and he caused the glory of his Immanence to dwell of old to the east of the garden of Eden above the two cherubim …” Fragmentary Targum P: ‫וטרד ית אדם ואשרי יקר שכינתיה מן לקדמין מעלוי גינתא דעדן מן ביני‬ … ‫תרין כרוביא‬ Translation: “And he drove Man out, and he caused the glory of his Immanence to dwell of old above (?) the garden of Eden between the two cherubim …” 74 Gunkel, Genesis, 24, citing C. J. Ball, Book of Genesis in Hebrew (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1896); Dillmann, Genesis, 170 (83); BHS. BHK reconstructs ‫ וישם‬but not ‫אתו‬. Conversely, Zipor (Septuagint, 100) reconstructs ‫[ אותו‬sic] but wavers on ‫וישם‬. It should be noted that ‫ וישם‬is graphically similar to ‫וישכן‬. 75  Wevers, Notes on Genesis, 49; Brayford, Genesis, 247; Emanuel Tov, personal communication, January 2014. 76  The targumic texts are taken from CAL [cited 26 January 2014]. In the text of Targum Neofiti, enclosing slashes are used here to signify marginal glosses.

9.4 Genesis 3:24

211

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: … ‫וטרד ית אדם מן דאשרי יקר שכינתיה מן לקדמין בין תרין כרוביא‬ Translation: “And he drove Man out from the place where he caused the glory of his Immanence to dwell of old between the two cherubim …” (“to the east of the garden of Eden” is absent).

9.4.3 Analysis 9.4.3.1 wyškn ’t hkrbym In all four targumim, the object of the verb ‫אשרי‬, “he caused to dwell”, is not the cherubim as in the Masoretic Text, but ‫[א]יקר שכינתיה‬, “the glory of his Immanence”. The cherubim occupy an adverbial position, and their function in the sentence is to specify where the divine Immanence was caused to dwell. This indicates that the word ‫ ֶאת‬preceding ‫ ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬was understood by these translators not as the accusative particle, as it must be in the masoretic reading, but as its common homonym, a preposition meaning “with”.77 The wording ‫בין תרין כרוביא‬, “between the two cherubim”, employed by Tg. Neof., Frg. Tg. P, and Tg. Ps.-J. with minor variations, differs somewhat from the expected ‫עם כרוביא‬, “with the cherubim”. It is obviously inspired by Exod 25:22 and Num 7:89, in which Yhwh is said to speak with Moses ‫מ ֵּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ִ “from between the two cherubim”, over the ark in the tabernacle. Indeed, Tg. Neof. and Tg. Ps.-J. translate this phrase, in both of its occurrences, in a manner that is identical to the wording they use in our verse. Note also Targum of Psalms, which translates ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫]ּכ‬ ְ ‫[ה‬ ַ ‫ י ֵֹׁשב‬in Ps 80:2 and 99:1 as ‫ד[י ]שכינתיה שריא ביני כר�ו‬ ‫ביא‬, “whose Immanence dwells between the cherubim”, again influenced by the two verses in the tabernacle narrative (§ 9.3.2.2). The slightly different ‫מעילוי תרין‬ ‫כרובייא‬, “above the two cherubim”, used by Frg. Tg. V in our verse, is probably inspired by 2 Sam 22:11 and Ps 18:11, in which Yhwh is said to ride “upon” (‫)על‬ cherubim, according to the targumim on both verses, as well as the Septuagint and the Vulgate.78 The wording ‫אשרי [א]יקר שכינתיה‬, literally, “he caused the glory of his Immanence to dwell”, is simply the way in which the targumim, which tend to avoid applying anthropomorphic language to the Deity, render “dwell” when the subject of the verb is God. Thus, in Exod 25:8, ‫תֹוכם‬ ָ ‫וְ ָׁש ַכנְ ִּתי ְּב‬, “so that I may dwell in their midst”, is translated by Tg. Neof. and Tg. Ps.-J., as well as Tg. Onq., as ‫ואשרי [איקר] שכינתי ביניהון‬, literally, “so that I may cause [the glory of] my Immanence to dwell among them”. Again, in Exod 29:45, ‫וְ ָׁש ַכנְ ִּתי ְּבתֹוך ְּבנֵ י יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬, “And I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites”, is translated by these three targumim as ‫ואשרי שכינתי בגו בני ישראל‬, literally, “And I will cause my Immanence to dwell 77  BDB and HALOT list the accusative particle and the preposition as “I ‫”את‬ ֵ and “II ‫”את‬ ֵ respectively. 78  In the Masoretic Text, both verses speak of Yhwh riding “upon” a single cherub (§ 9.2.1).

212

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

in the midst of the Israelites”. A third time, in Exod 29:46, ‫תֹוכם‬ ָ ‫ל ָׁש ְכנִ י ְב‬,ְ “that I might dwell in their midst”, is translated by the three targumim as ‫ל�מ‬/‫לאשרהאה‬ ‫שריה [איקר] שכינתי[ה] ביניהון‬, “that I might cause [the glory of] my Immanence to dwell among them”. The same pattern is seen in Tg. Neof. on Gen 9:27, Lev 16:16, Num 35:34, and Deut 33:16; in Targum Jonathan on 1 Kgs 6:13, 8:12, Isa 33:5, Ezek 43:7, 9, Joel 4:17, 21, and Zech 2:14, 15, 8:3; in Targum of Psalms on Ps 135:21; and in Targum of Chronicles on 1 Chr 23:25 and 2 Chr 6:1.79 Thus, the four targumim examined here understood our verse as stating that Yhwh dwelled somewhere, rather than that Yhwh stationed separate entities somewhere. This shows that the vocalization of the verse’s fourth word underlying their translations was ‫וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬, a qal form meaning “he dwelled” or “he settled” (in an ingressive sense), rather than the masoretic ‫וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן‬, a hiphil form meaning “he caused to dwell” or “he stationed”. The precise text-critical phenomenon identified here, namely ‫ שכן את‬followed by a noun being vocalized and understood variously as “cause to dwell” and “dwell with ”, recurs in Jer 7:3 and 7:7. In 7:3, the Masoretic Text has ‫וַ ֲא ַׁש ְּכנָ ה ֶא ְת ֶכם‬,80 “and I will let you dwell”, and this understanding is reflected in the Septuagint (καὶ κατοικιῶ ὑμᾶς), Symmachus (attested in Latin as et confirmabo vos), Targum Jonathan (‫)ואשרי יתכון‬, and the Peshitta (w’šrykwn). However, the vocalization reflected in Aquila (και σκηνωσω συν υμιν) and the Vulgate (et habitabo vobiscum) is ‫וְ ֶא ְׁש ְּכנָ ה ִא ְּת ֶכם‬, “and I will dwell with you”. In 7:7, the words that appear in the Aleppo and Leningrad codices as ‫וְ ִׁש ַּכנְ ִּתי ֶא ְת ֶכם‬, “And I will let you dwell”, are actually pointed in some masoretic manuscripts as ‫וְ ָׁש ַכנְ ִתי ִא ְּת ֶכם‬, “And I will dwell with you”. The ancient translations fall into the same pattern as before, except that Symmachus, on the one hand, and Aquila, on the other, are not represented. In Gen 3:24, Tg. Neof., Frg. Tg. V, and Frg. Tg. P prefix ‫ ו‬to ‫אשר י [א]יקר שכ�י‬ ‫נתיה‬, implying that Yhwh expelled Man from the garden, following which he went off to dwell somewhere.81 Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, on the other hand, prefixes ‫מן ד‬, “from the place where”, to these words. In this targum’s understanding, the verse does not state that Yhwh went off to settle somewhere else, but merely specifies that the location from which Man was driven out was the 79 See

also Klein, “Anthropomorphisms”, esp. 105–107.  The word ‫וַ ֲא ַׁש ְּכנָ ה‬, according to the masoretic pointing, is a piel form, whereas the word ‫ וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן‬in Gen 3:24 is a hiphil form; but the piel and hiphil stems of ‫ ׁשכן‬are identical in meaning (see Josh 18:1; Ezek 32:4; HALOT). Both words could be pointed as forms of the other stem (‫)*וְ ַא ְׁש ִּכנָ ה ;*וַ יְ ַׁש ֵּכן‬. The pointing ‫ וְ ִׁש ַּכנְ ִּתי‬in Jer 7:7 (see below) is that of a piel form, and that word could not be pointed as hiphil. 81 In agreement are the modern translations of Díez Macho (Neophyti, 1:18); McNamara and Maher (in Díez Macho, ibid., 505); le Déaut (in Díez Macho, ibid., 361; le Déaut, Targum du Pentateuque, 1:98: Tg. Neof.); and Klein (Fragment Targums, 2:8: Frg. Tg. P; 2:91: Frg. Tg. V). There is no justification for rendering the dwelling clause in the pluperfect, as done by McNamara (Targum Neofiti, 63), presumably influenced by Tg. Ps.-J. (see below). 80

9.4 Genesis 3:24

213

place where Yhwh had dwelled at some earlier point in time.82 This reading of the verse must be regarded as strictly midrashic: besides the fact that the Hebrew ‫ וישכן‬cannot mean “from the place where he had dwelled”, this translation leaves no apparent way to explain the words ‫לגן עדן‬, “(of) the garden of Eden”, or ‫לשמר‬ ‫את דרך עץ החיים‬, “to guard the way to the tree of life”, in the continuation of the verse, as we shall see below. 9.4.3.2 mqdm lgn ‘dn A final point requiring explanation is the rendering by these targumim of the words ‫מ ֶּק ֶדם ְלגַ ן ֵע ֶדן‬. ִ The equivalent in Tg. Neof. to these Hebrew words is ‫מן מלע‬ ‫ דעדן‬/‫גנ׳‬/ ‫ לגנתה‬/‫חה‬/ ‫קדמין מן מדנ׳‬. Similar is Frg. Tg. V, which has ‫מן לקדמין מן‬ ‫מדנח לגינתא דעדן‬. As noted by several scholars, the juxtaposition of ‫מן [מ]לקדמין‬ and ]‫ מן מדנח[ה‬constitutes a double translation of Hebrew ‫מ ֶּק ֶדם‬. ִ 83 The former 84 and is used unaccompanied in Tg. term seems to mean “from the beginning” Onq. (‫ )מלקדמין‬and Tg. Ps.-J. (‫ ;מן לקדמין‬see below), while the latter term means “to the east” and is used unaccompanied in the Peshitta (mn mdnḥ). The Vulgate preserves both the temporal and spatial possibilities in the word ante, “before”. Hebrew ‫מ ֶּק ֶדם‬, ִ when it is not followed by the prefix -‫ל‬, can indeed mean both “of old” (Isa 45:21; Mic 5:1; Hab 1:12; Pss 74:12; 77:6, 12; 143:5; Neh 12:46) and “to the east” (Gen 12:8ii; 13:1; Isa 9:11; Zech 14:4), and in some occurrences it is ambiguous (Gen 2:8; 11:26; Isa 2:6). However, when ‫ ִמ ֶּק ֶדם‬is followed by the prefix -‫ל‬, as it is here, it always means “to the east” (Gen 12:8i; Num 34:11; Josh 7:2; Judg 8:11; Ezek 11:23; Jonah 4:5). Thus, only the translation “to the east” can be regarded as literally correct. The equivalent to the words ‫ ִמ ֶּק ֶדם ְלגַ ן ֵע ֶדן‬in Frg. Tg. P is ‫מן לקדמין מעלוי גינתא‬ ‫דעדן‬. The preposition ‫ מעלוי‬can mean “above”, as in Gen 1:7, ‫ּובין ַה ַּמיִם ֲא ֶׁשר ֵמ ַעל‬ ֵ ‫ל ָר ִק ַיע‬,ָ “and the water above the sky-plate”, rendered in Frg. Tg. P as ‫ובין מיא דאית‬ ‫מעילוי לרקיעא‬. It can also mean “upon”, as in Gen 11:4, ‫ּפן נָ פּוץ ַעל ְּפנֵ י ָכל ָה ָא ֶרץ‬, ֶ “lest we be scattered all over (lit. upon the surface of the entirety of) the earth”, rendered in Frg. Tg. P as ‫קדם דנתבדר מעילוי ארעא‬. It seems that the translator  Thus le Déaut, Targum du Pentateuque, 99; Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, 30.  Kasher, “Double Translations”, esp. 4–5 and references; McNamara, Targum Neofiti, 63; Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, 30; Grossfeld, Targum Neofiti, 84. 84  Thus Díez Macho, Neophyti, 1:18; McNamara and Maher, in Díez Macho, ibid., 1:505; le Déaut, Targum du Pentateuque, 1:98–99; Klein, Fragment Targums, 2:8, 91; Kasher, “Double Translations”, 4–5; McNamara, Targum Neofiti, 63; Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, 30. Kasher and Grossfeld point to talmudic homilies that concordantly interpret ‫ ִמ ֶּק ֶדם‬here in a temporal sense (Genesis Rabbah ad loc., Seder Eliyahu Rabbah 1). The major Aramaic dictionaries (Jastrow, “‫ ;”קדמין‬DJPA, “‫מן לקדמין‬, ‫ ;”מלקדמין‬CAL, ibid. [cited 5 February 2014]) define ‫מ[ן ]לקדמין‬ as both “from the beginning, originally”, in support of which they cite such instances as Tg. Neof. ‫ מלקדמין‬for ‫אׁשית‬ ִ ‫ ְּב ֵר‬in Gen 1:1, and as “eastward”, for which they cite Tg. Onq. on our verse, Targum Jonathan’s ‫ מלקדמין‬for ‫ ִמ ֶּק ֶדם‬in Isa 2:6, and Targum Neofiti’s ‫ונטל לוט מן לקדמין‬ for ‫ וַ ּיִ ַּסע לֹוט ִמ ֶּק ֶדם‬in Gen 13:11. 82 83

214

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

was influenced in this choice by Exod 25:22 and Num 7:89 (see above), in which Yhwh’s speech is said to emanate ‫מ ַעל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ֵ “from above/upon the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ a phrase which is rendered by Tg. Neof. and Tg. Ps.-J., as well as Tg. Onq., as ]‫מע[י‬ ‫לוי כפורתא‬. But it is not clear what the author of Frg. Tg. P meant in our verse, and to which element in the Hebrew text the word ‫ מעלוי‬corresponds. Perhaps the translator intended that the reader understand ‫ מעלוי‬not quite as “upon”, but as “adjacent to” or “opposite”, like the Septuagint’s ἀπέναντι, in which case we have again a double translation of ‫מ ֶּק ֶדם‬, ִ similar in meaning to that of Tg. Neof. and Frg. Tg. V. Alternatively, he might have actually meant “above”85 or “upon”, which would be a creative interpretation of the prefix ‑‫ ְל‬in the Hebrew ‫לגַ ן ֵע ֶדן‬,ְ as if it were the phonetically similar preposition ‫על‬. ַ In Tg. Ps.-J., ‫ ִמ ֶּק ֶדם‬is translated only as ‫מן לקדמין‬, and the words ‫ ְלגַ ן ֵע ֶדן‬are not represented. This absence seems to be a consequence of the translator’s unique understanding of the place where Yhwh caused his Immanence to dwell – that is, where Yhwh dwelled – as the same location from which Man was driven out. Since we already know that this place is the garden of Eden (Gen 3:23), the translator could not have our verse state this fact without creating an awkward redundancy. 9.4.3.3 Conclusion The reading of Gen 3:24 that underlies the translations of all four examined targumim is thus consonantally identical to the Masoretic Text but differs from it in the vocalization of the single word ‫וישכן‬. The masoretic vocalization of this word is ‫וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן‬, meaning “he caused to dwell”, or, more precisely, “he stationed”; whereas the vocalization reflected in the targumic renderings is ‫וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬, meaning “he dwelled”, or, more precisely, “he settled”. The vocalization of ‫ וישכן‬reflected in the targumim sparks an understanding of additional elements in the verse that differs from the masoretic understanding, and brings about a coherent, alternative meaning for the whole verse. The word ‫ ֶאת‬preceding ‫ה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬,ַ “the cherubim”, is understood as prepositional “with”, rather than as an accusative particle. The word ‫ וְ ֵאת‬preceding ‫ַל ַהט ַה ֶח ֶרב ַה ִּמ ְת ַהע‬ ‫ּפ ֶכת‬, ֶ “the spinning-sword-flame”, is likewise understood as “and with”, but this word is not represented in the four targumim examined above, all of which shift into midrashic expansions at this point in the verse. Finally, the words ‫ִל ְׁשמֹר‬ ‫את ֶּד ֶרְך ֵעץ ַה ַחּיִ ים‬, ֶ “to guard the way to the tree of life”, allude mainly to Yhwh rather than to the cherubim and the spinning-sword-flame.86 It is Yhwh himself who settles east of the garden of Eden in order to guard the way to the tree  Thus Klein, Fragment Targums, 2:8.  These words preclude interpreting the verse such that the subject of the verb ‫ וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬is Man. Guarding the way to the tree of life is a goal that can sensibly be attributed only to God. 85 86

9.4 Genesis 3:24

215

of life, while the cherubim and the spinning-sword-flame appear only to assist him in this task. The whole verse in the targumic reading runs as follows: ‫וַ יְ גָ ֶרׁש ֶאת ָה ָא ָדם וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬ ‫מ ֶּק ֶדם ְלגַ ן ֵע ֶדן ֶאת ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים וְ ֵאת ַל ַהט ַה ֶח ֶרב ַה ִּמ ְת ַה ֶּפ ֶכת ִל ְׁשמֹר ֶאת ֶּד ֶרְך ֵעץ ַה ַחּיִ ים‬. ִ 87 The best understanding of the verse as read by the targumim is: “Having driven Man out, he settled east of the garden of Eden with the cherubim and with the spinning-sword-flame to guard the way to the tree of life”. This is essentially the sense in which Tg. Neof., Frg. Tg. P, and Frg. Tg. V in fact took it, whereas Tg. Ps.-J. used the alternative vocalization as a point of departure for a more fanciful understanding of the verse.88

9.4.4 Evaluation 9.4.4.1 Similar Instances Concerning the similar instances in Jer 7:3 and 7:7, many scholars have maintained that the qal readings (“dwell with you”) are original.89 Of these, Geiger and  The targumic vocalization is also consistent with the consonantal text of the verse conjectured by some scholars to have underlain the Septuagintal rendering. The text ‫*ויגרש את האדם‬ ‫ וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן אתו מקדם לגן עדן וישם את הכרבים ואת להט החרב המתהפכת לשמר את דרך עץ החיים‬would be read with ‫ אתו‬vocalized as ‫אּתֹו‬, ִ and would be understood as “Having driven Man out, he settled with him east of the garden of Eden, but he placed the cherubim and the spinning-sword-flame to guard the way to the tree of life”. In this reading, Yhwh continues to be overtly solicitous as well as wary of Man (see 3:21), going so far as to continue living with him in order to provide him with vital protection (see 4:14). Cain later loses this privilege (4:14, 16), but even to him Yhwh gives a protective mark before sending him away (4:15). If this reading were actually attested by any textual witness, it would have to be regarded as plausible, but, since it is not attested, there is no need to weary the reader by considering it in detail. 88 Simcha Kogut has noted (personal communication, January 2014) that the vocalization ‫ וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬in our verse seems to be employed in an elaborate homily in Sefer Habahir 67, excerpted in the Zohar 2:271a; see, e. g., Abrams, Book Bahir, 159–160; Scholem, Annotated Zohar, 4:542. Additionally, the (implausible) understanding of the verse reflected in Tg. Ps.-J., according to which Yhwh dwelled in the garden both before and after the expulsion of Man, may survive in the obscure work Midrash Alfa Betot, whose fourth chapter begins as follows: ‫ מלך‬.‫מ"ן ס"ע‬ ‫שנסע שכינתו לכרובי עוזו שבתחלה היתה שכינתו בארץ בתוך גן עדן עד שלא באו לעולם בני דור המבול‬ ‫ שנ׳ ויגרש את האדם וישכן מקדם לגן עדן וגו׳‬.‫ ;ועברו על שבע מצות‬see Wertheimer Midrash Otiyyot, 86. This passage can be translated as, “mem, nun, samek, ayin – a king (‫ )מלך‬who transported (‫ )נסע‬his Immanence to the cherubim of his strength. For, in the beginning, his Immanence was on the earth, inside the garden of Eden, until the members of the flood generation came into the world and violated the seven [Noahide] commandments. As it is said, ‫ויגרש את האדם וישכן‬ ‫ מקדם לגן עדן‬etc.’” The passage states (a) that the divine Immanence was located in the garden of Eden after the expulsion of Man; (b) that this fact is attested specifically by Gen 3:24; and possibly (c) that this presence was in proximity to the cherubim – though the meaning may be rather that the Immanence was located in proximity to the cherubim after it was removed from the earth as a result of the flood generation’s violations. 89  BHK; BHS; HALOT, “‫ ;”ׁשכן‬Görg, “šāḵan; šāḵēn”, 694, 699–700; Blayney, Jeremiah, 49; Geiger, Urschrift, 319–323; Ehrlich, Randglossen, 4:259–260; Bright, Jeremiah, 55–56; Tov, Textual Criticism, 246–247. 87

216

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

Tov have classified the piel readings (“let you dwell”) as theological alterations in vocalization, explaining that there would have been uneasiness with the notion, expressed in the original reading, of God dwelling among lesser beings. Other scholars maintain that the piel readings are original,90 while still others refrain from deciding91 or argue that qal is original in v. 3 while piel is original in v. 7.92 To be sure, both options create a cogent text in each of the two verses, and strong contextual arguments have been made in favor of each. It is also true that the Hebrew Bible exhibits several instances in which the textual witnesses reflect divergent vocalizations of words derived from the root ‫ׁשכן‬ and in which both readings are cogent and no motive for a conscious alteration is evident. In Job 11:14, the Septuagint, the Peshitta, Targum of Job, and the Vulgate reflect ‫ואל ִּת ְׁשּכֹן באהליך עולה‬, “and let injustice not dwell in your tent”, while the Masoretic Text has ‫וְ ַאל ַּת ְׁש ֵּכן ְּבא ָֹה ֶליָך ַעוְ ָלה‬, “and do not cause injustice to dwell in your tent”. In Ps 7:6, Targum of Psalms reflects ‫וכבודי לעפר יִ ְׁשּכֹן‬, “so that my dignity dwells in the dirt”, while the Masoretic Text, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate attest ‫בֹודי ֶל ָע ָפר יַ ְׁש ֵּכן‬ ִ ‫ּוכ‬, ְ “and let him cause my dignity to dwell in the dirt”. In Ps 78:55, the Peshitta reflects ‫( וַ ּיִ ְׁש ְּכנּו באהליהם שבטי ישראל‬or ‫וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬, understood as having a plural subject), “and the tribes of Israel dwelled in their tents”, while the Masoretic Text, The Septuagint, Targum of Psalms, and the Vulgate attest ‫יהם ִׁש ְב ֵטי יִ ְׂש ָר ֵאל‬ ֶ ‫וַ ּיַ ְׁש ֵּכן ְּב ָא ֳה ֵל‬, “and he caused the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents”. In Ps 85:10, the Masoretic Text, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate attest ‫ִל ְׁשּכֹן‬ ‫ּכבֹוד ְּב ַא ְר ֵצנּו‬,ָ “that [his] Majesty may dwell in our land”, while the Septuagint and Targum of Psalms seem to reflect ‫( ְל ַׁש ֵּכן כבוד בארצנו‬or perhaps ‫)ל ְׁש ִּכן‬, ַ “to cause [his] Majesty to dwell in our land”. However, there are also instances in which it seems that original qal forms of ‫ ׁשכן‬having God as their subject were deliberately changed to piel, or to some other form, for the very reason suggested by Geiger and Tov. Geiger identified several of these. In Ezek 43:7, the masoretic ‫א ֶׁשר ֶא ְׁש ָּכן ָׁשם‬, ֲ “where I will dwell”, is reflected in the Septuagint as ‫אשר יִ ְׁשּכֹן ְׁש ִמי ָׁשם‬, “where my name will dwell”. In Ps 78:60, the Septuagint, Theodotion, the Peshitta, Targum of Psalms, and the Vulgate reflect ‫אהל ָׁש ַכן באדם‬, “the tent where he dwelled among men”, while the Masoretic Text has ‫א ֶֹהל ִׁש ֵּכן ָּב ָא ָדם‬, “the tent he placed among men”. In Ps 74:2, the Masoretic Text and all other witnesses with the exception of Symmachus attest ‫ַהר‬ ‫צּיֹון זֶ ה ָׁש ַכנְ ָּת ּבֹו‬,ִ “Mount Zion, where you dwell”, while Symmachus reflects ‫הר ציון‬ ‫זה ִׁש ַּכנְ ָת בו‬, “Mount Zion, where you placed this [temple]”. Finally, in Deut 12:5,

90  McKane, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 1:160–161 and references; Lundbom, Jeremiah, 453, 461, 464; Allen, Jeremiah, 92–93, 95–96. 91  Carroll, Jeremiah, 206–207. 92  Holladay, Jeremiah, 1:235–238. For further bibliography, see references in HALOT, ­McKane, Holladay, and Lundbom.

9.4 Genesis 3:24

217

the Septuagint and Vulgate reflect ‫( ְל ָׁש ְכנֹו‬or ‑‫)ל ְׁשּכֹן ו‬, ִ while the Masoretic Text has the odd form ‫ל ִׁש ְכנֹו‬,ְ in an apparent attempt to make the word seem a noun.93 Thus, while in Gen 3:24 as in Jer 7:3 and 7:7 both vocalization options are intuitively acceptable and either one could have developed unconsciously from the other, the direction of development from qal to a causative stem fits an identified pattern of deliberate, theologically-motivated alterations. Although not decisive, this consideration weighs in favor of the originality of the targumic reading in Gen 3:24 and the corresponding readings in Jer 7:3, 7. 9.4.4.2 Grammar and Style The targumic reading in Gen 3:24 makes sense grammatically and stylistically. Despite the type of alteration identified above, we see that the verb ‫ ָׁש ַכן‬is applied in the Hebrew Bible numerous times to the Deity.94 The precise form ‫ וַ ּיִ ְׁשּכֹן‬is attested several times in the Masoretic Text carrying the ingressive sense of “settle”, and it is applied in this sense to Yhwh (1 Chr 23:25), his Majesty (Exod 24:16), and his cloud (Num 10:12), as well as to others (Deut 33:28). The Deity is also often the subject of the verb ‫;ׁש ַמר‬ ָ in several of these instances (Prov 2:8, 20; Job 13:27; 33:11), the object of the verb is a form of ‫ ֶּד ֶרְך‬or of the similar noun ‫א ַֹרח‬, “path”; and in two of these (Job 13:27; 33:11), the Deity’s role is prohibitive, as is his role here, rather than protective. As for the word ‫את‬, ֵ it is used as a preposition meaning “with” in the very next verse (Gen 4:1), which opens the sequel to the Eden Narrative, in Eve’s declaration: ‫יתי ִאיׁש ֶאת ה׳‬ ִ ִ‫קנ‬,ָ “I have made a man with Yhwh”. The precise combination ‫ ָׁש ַכן ֵאת‬occurs, other than in Jer 7:3 and 7:7, also in Lev 16:16 (with a pronoun believed that many other biblical instances of piel ‫ ׁשכן‬with the Deity as the subject are alterations from an original qal ‫ׁשכן‬, even when no textual witness attests to the conjectured original. These include ‫ ִל ַׁש ֵּכן ֶא ְּת ֶכם ָּבּה‬in Num 14:30 and the expression ‫ ְל ַׁש ֵּכן ְׁשמֹו ָׁשם‬in all its occurrences (Deut 12:11; 14:23; 16:2, 6, 11; 26:2; Jer 7:12; Neh 1:9). He even went so far as to argue that the piel verb ‫ ִׁש ֵּכן‬was invented in order to enable this type of alteration. 94  The most proximate instance is in Gen 9:27: ‫ֹלהים ְליֶ ֶפת וְ יִ ְׁשּכֹן ְּב ָא ֳה ֵלי ֵׁשם‬ ִ ‫יַ ְפ ְּת ֱא‬, “May God enlarge Japheth and may he dwell in the tents of Shem”. This ambiguous, oracle-like statement is usually understood such that “he” refers to Japheth; thus Tg. Ps.-J., Tg. Neof. marginalia, several talmudic sages (R. Johanan and R. Hiyya bar Abba in b. Megillah 9b, bar Kappara in y. Megillah 1:9, idem in Deuteronomy Rabbah on Deut 1:1, idem and Simeon b. Lakish in Genesis Rabbah ad loc., anonymous in Avot of Rabbi Nathan A 8 add. 2, Midrash Psalms 76:3), and most modern commentators (e. g., Dillmann, Genesis, 309–311; Gunkel, Genesis, 82). But the notion of God, or the physical marker of his presence, the ark, dwelling in a tent among the Israelites, the descendants of Shem, is so common in the Hebrew Bible (2 Sam 7:6 ≈ 1 Chr 17:5; 1 Kgs 2:28, 29, 30; Pss 15:1; 27:5; 61:5; 78:60, 67; 1 Chr 15:1; 2 Chr 1:4; and see below) that the author must have intended (also) to conjure in the minds of his readers the notion of God dwelling in the tents of Shem. The verse was understood in this manner by Jubilees (7:12), Philo (On Sobriety 13; but see Questions and Answers on Genesis 2.72), Tg. Onq., Tg. Neof., several talmudic sages (R. Isaac in Pesiqta Rabbati 35, anonymous in b. Yoma 10a, Genesis Rabbah ad loc., Tanhuma ad loc.), and the medieval Jewish commentators at large (Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra, David Kimhi, and Nahmanides, in Katzenelnbogen, Genesis, 131). 93 Geiger

218

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

suffixed to the preposition ‫)את‬: ֵ ‫ ַ;הּׁש ֵֹכן ִא ָּתם ְּבתֹוך ֻט ְמא ָֹתם‬this phrase either means “of the one who dwells with them in the midst of their impurities”95 and refers directly to Yhwh, or it means “which dwells with them in the midst of their impurities”96 and alludes metonymically to Yhwh by referring to the Tent of Meeting in which he is present (Exod 29:42; 30:36; 40:34; Lev 1:1). The similar combination ‫ ָׁש ַכן ִעם‬occurs in Ps 120:5; in this verse, the object of the preposition is ‫א ֳה ֵלי ֵק ָדר‬, ָ “the tents of Qedar”, showing that one can even dwell “with” inanimate objects, all the more so with the spinning-sword-flame, which is characterized by its name as an animate object. Most remarkably, the combination of prepositional ‫ ֵאת‬and ‫ ְּכרּוב‬appears in the Hebrew Bible’s other Eden story, incorporated into Ezekiel’s dirge over the King of Tyre in Ezek 28:11–19. There the speaker likens the king to a primordial creature placed by God in the garden of Eden. According to the superior97 reading reflected in the Septuagint, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, and the Peshitta, v. 14 begins: ‫את כרוב ממשח הסוכך נתתיך‬, ֶ “with the anointed (?), sheltering cherub I placed you”. 9.4.4.3 Conceptions Conceptually, the targumic reading fits well in its textual setting. In the sequel to the Eden story, both the narrator and Cain consider Cain’s location (from which he will depart at the story’s conclusion) as being “in the presence of” Yhwh (4:14, 16). This indicates, first, that Yhwh is located in a particular place rather than being omnipresent, and, second, that he is located in the same place as Cain. The former point is reinforced in the Eden story itself, which speaks of Yhwh “walking about” in the garden and of Man and his wife hiding from him (3:8–10); the latter by the fact that Yhwh speaks on two separate occasions with Cain (4:6–7, 9–15). Since Cain, at this point, is certainly outside the garden of Eden, and since the narrator does not see a need to relate that Yhwh came to where Cain is, it seems that he expects it to be clear to the reader that Yhwh too is now located outside the garden. Such an expectation would only be justified if the targumic reading of 3:24 is original. Indeed, it is only natural that God should abandon the garden of Eden after driving Man out. His original plan was for Man to till and tend it (‫ּול ָׁשע‬ ְ ‫ְל ָע ְב ָדּה‬ ‫מ ָרּה‬: ְ Gen 2:15); once Man was absent from the garden, there would be no one to maintain it, and thus it would not be fit for habitation. The reader, therefore, expects Yhwh to relocate; our verse explains where Yhwh chooses to settle and 95  Geiger, Urschrift, 320; Schwartz, “Leviticus”, 245. See also Tg. Neof., Tg. Neof. marginalia, Sifra ad loc., b. Yoma 56b; Milgrom, Leviticus, 1035. 96  Septuagint, Peshitta, targumim, Vulgate. Most modern commentators accept this understanding uncritically. 97  See n. 51 (§ 9.3.3.2).

9.4 Genesis 3:24

219

why. Moreover, never again in the Hebrew Bible is the garden of Eden referred to as an extant habitation of God; yet, unless the targumic reading is original, we are never told when or even that it ceased to be so. A final point in favor of this reading is its elegant consonance with the phrase ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬. As shown above, while this epithet is usually taken by modern scholars and English Bible translations to mean “who is seated upon the cherubim”, it should properly be rendered “who dwells among the cherubim” (§ 9.3.3). The near-synonymy of the verbs ‫ ָׁש ַכן‬and ‫ יָ ַׁשב‬is manifest in such passages as ‫ה׳ ָא ַמר‬ ‫עֹול ִמים‬ ָ ‫ל ְׁשּכֹן ָּב ֲע ָר ֶפל … ָמכֹון ְל ִׁש ְב ְּתָך‬,ִ “Yhwh decided to ‫ ָׁש ַכן‬in a dark cloud … a place for you to ‫ יָ ַׁשב‬forever” (1 Kgs 8:12–13 ≈ 2 Chr 6:2), and ‫ֹלהים‬ ִ ‫ָה ָהר ָח ַמד ֱא‬ ‫ל ִׁש ְבּתֹו ַאף ה׳ יִ ְׁשּכֹן ָלנֶ ַצח‬,ְ “the mountain that God desires for his ‫יָ ַׁשב‬-ing, where Yhwh will indeed ‫ ָׁש ַכן‬permanently” (Ps 68:17). Genesis 3:24, which tells of Yhwh settling with the cherubim outside the garden of Eden at the dawn of the world, is the verse that describes how he came to be the one “who dwells among the cherubim”. If this reading is indeed the best reflection of the intent of the author of the verse, it is highly significant for understanding the way in which the biblical writer viewed “the fall of Man” and the ensuing relationship between humans and the divine. When Man and his wife disobeyed Yhwh and ate the forbidden fruit, their deed led not only to their expulsion from the garden but to Yhwh’s self-expulsion as well, to the “fall of God”, who decided that he would go whithersoever they went. Ostensibly, this was to keep an eye on his unruly creations, but the continuation of the narrative hints that there were other, more sentimental reasons as well. The snake, incidentally, would remain free to slink into the withered and weed-filled garden whenever it felt impelled to sneak a bite from the tree of life. The biblical references to cherubim were divided above (§ 8.1) into five categories. In this chapter, it was argued that all the members of the second category, actual cherubim in theophanies, are inauthentic: the mentions of cherubim in Ezekiel’s Jerusalem vision (Ezek 8–11) are the product of late editorial activity, and the mentions of Yhwh’s airborne riding cherub (2 Sam 22:11 ≈ Ps 18:11) are the outcome of a scribal error. At the same time, a logical relationship between the other four categories emerged from the analysis. Cherubim mark the domain of Yhwh, which is why living cherubim are found in the garden of Eden and just outside of it after Yhwh leaves it (first category). This is also why Yhwh is titled “the one who dwells among the cherubim” (fifth category). Because the ark is meant to mark Yhwh’s presence, this title is “called upon” the ark, which is correspondingly accompanied by two sculptures of cherubim in different configurations (third category). Sanctuaries are an attempt to create a broader environment for the Deity. Hence, biblical sanctuaries, in addition to housing the ark with its cherubim sculptures, are decorated with additional two-dimensional figures of cherubim (fourth category).

220

Fig. 9.1: Ta‘anach stand.

9. The Cherubim: Other Contexts

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form The wide focus on biblical cherubim generally will be maintained in addressing the question of the overall form of the ark cherubim. The question will thus be phrased as follows: what is a cherub? In other words, what type or types of creature does the word ‫ ְּכרּוב‬designate? Some preliminary methodological remarks pertaining to the question will be made. Then the rich history of interpretation regarding this question will be surveyed. Finally, arguments will be presented supporting the thesis that the ark cherubim, and probably all cherubim, are winged humans.

10.1 Methodological Remarks The predominance of the cherub in Israelite iconography as reflected in the Hebrew Bible suggests that it is a being or class of beings that can be found in ancient Near Eastern iconography, particularly from the Levant. However, because the Hebrew Bible never supplies a proper description of the cherub – presumably, readers were expected to be familiar with the term – we are left to reconstruct its identity using such details as are provided. In this regard, exegetes and scholars have not exhibited adequate awareness of a distinction, which needs to be made, between information that the text discloses in passing and details imparted deliberately. The former can tell us about the universal characteristics of the object in question, while the latter should constitute precisely those details that are specific to the particular case. For example, the deliberate statement in Ezekiel’s vision of the future temple, that the cherubim decorating the temple’s wall have two faces (Ezek 41:18), is actually an indication that cherubim normally did not have two faces. If they did, it would not be necessary to point it out here. This conclusion is consistent with other passages (Exod 25:20 = 37:9; 2 Chr 3:13) that reveal in passing that the cherubim of which they speak had one face. Similarly, in Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek 8–11), creatures named cherubim are described as having four faces, four wings, arms under their wings, and accompanying wheels. These details, too, are all imparted deliberately; thus one could conclude from them, at most, that ordinary cherubim did not have four faces, four wings, arms under their wings, or accompanying

222

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

wheels. This conclusion would be consistent with other passages, which reveal in passing that cherubim each have one face (see above) and two wings (1 Kgs 6:24, 27), and in which arms and wheels are not mentioned. However, according to the interpretation of the vision advocated above, as well as the interpretations of Eichrodt, Zimmerli, Houk, and Keel, even this cannot be concluded, because the creatures described in the vision were not originally called “cherubim” (see § 9.1). The one formal feature of cherubim that appears repeatedly, whether or not the aforementioned distinction is made, is wings, whose possession by the ark cherubim is revealed several times in the course of specifying their position or dimensions in the priestly account (Exod 25:20[× 2] = 37:9[× 2]) and in Kings and Chronicles (1 Kgs 6:24[× 4], 27[× 6] ≈ 2 Chr 3:11[× 4], 12[× 3], 13; 1 Kgs 8:6–7 = 2 Chr 5:7–8).1 For this reason, virtually all attempts to identify the cherubim have been limited to winged creatures, be they fantastic or natural. These attempts will now be surveyed.

10.2 Survey of Interpretation Because many of the efforts to trace the etymology of the word ‫ ְּכרּוב‬were made in the service of attempts to determine the form of the creature it denotes, some repetition of material presented in the discussion of the word’s etymology (§ 8.3.2) is unavoidable. In this context, one should keep in mind the admonition, often associated in biblical studies with James Barr,2 but voiced by biblical scholars before him,3 against relying too heavily on etymology to determine the semantic value of words. The earliest sources that might have taken a stand on the overall form of cherubim refrained from doing so. In the Septuagint (including the Apocrypha and New Testament) and its revisions, as well as the targumim, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate, the word ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is simply transliterated, and no attempt is made to identify what type of creature it designates. Philo, despite devoting an entire work (On the Cherubim) to the cherubim, also failed to discuss their form and merely offered a midrashic explanation of their name (§ 8.3.2.1). Josephus explicitly 1 In the case of the cherub that supposedly serves as Yhwh’s steed, the existence of wings could be inferred from the fact that the cherub enables flight (2 Sam. 22:11 ≈ Ps. 18:11), although we have argued above that there is actually no such cherub (see § 9.2.3). As for the “cherubim” in Ezekiel’s destruction vision, the very existence of wings is mentioned in passing several times (Ezek. 10:5, 8, 12, 16, 19) before their quadruplicity is deliberately stated; although these beings are authentically cherubim only according to interpretations of the vision compatible with those of Cooke or Greenberg (see § 9.1.5). 2  Barr, Semantics, 107, citing Otto Jespersen, Language: Its Nature Development and Origin (New York: Henry Holt, 1922), 316–317. 3   E. g., Cassuto, Commentary, 332 (pp. 230–231 in original Hebrew edition); Tur-Sinai, Language and the Book, 3:27.

10.2 Survey of Interpretation

223

professed ignorance in this matter, saying that cherubim “are flying creatures, but their form is not like to that of any of the creatures which men have seen” (Jewish Antiquities 3.134). Of the sculptures over the ark in the Jerusalem temple he wrote that “nobody can tell, or even conjecture, what was the shape of these cherubim” (Ant. 8.71).

10.2.1 Midrash Haggadol et al.: Winged Humans The first recorded attempt to identify the form of the cherub was made by the Amora R. Abbahu of Caesarea, who employed a midrashic reading of ‫ ְּכרּוב‬to assert that the cherub resembles a child (§ 8.3.2.1). Some skepticism regarding this identification is recorded in the names of R. Abbahu’s Babylonian contemporaries R. Papa (ca. 300–375) (b. Hagigah 13b) and Abbaye (b. Sukkah 5b), but no alternative view is presented in the Talmud. What prompted this identification were probably the erotes and cupids, the often winged boys that personified amorousness in Greco-Roman art. These figures, which “were omnipresent in later Hellenistic, Roman and Christian art”,4 adorned the main entrance of the Capernaum Synagogue [Figure 10.1]5 at around the same period in which R. Abbahu flourished and would undoubtedly have been familiar in his circles. This conclusion can also help to explain the existence of several peculiar talmudic homilies attributing an erotic aspect to the cherubim of the Jerusalem temple (b. Yoma 54a–b). Midrash Haggadol, a medieval compilation of Jewish lore, contains an unprovenanced comment on Exod 25:18 asserting that the cherub resembles a human in all respects except that it has the wings of a bird. The anonymous exegete, unlike R. Abbahu, did not specify an age and presumably had in mind an adult. As evidence for his view he cited Ezek 1:10, which states that the primary face of Ezekiel’s four-faced creatures was that of a human, and Isa 6:2, which declares that Isaiah’s seraphim (‫)ׂש ָר ִפים‬ ְ had six wings.6 Similarly, David Kimhi and Gersonides maintained that the cherubim of the laver stands take the form “of a human, except that they have wings”, with Gersonides also alluding to Ezek 1:10.7 Regarding other cherubim, both Kimhi and Gersonides followed the Talmud and maintained that they have the faces specifically of boys.8  Goodenough, Pagan Symbols, 3–5.  Kohl and Watzinger, Antike Synagogen, 12–13, figs. 17–18. These scholars stated that the bodies of the erotes were hewed off, leaving the wings. Indeed, the bodies are indiscernible in the photograph and drawing that they provided (the drawing is the one reproduced here). Their assumption that the creatures were originally erotes is justified by the fact that they hold wreaths. 6 Margulies, Midrash Haggadol, 580. 7  Commentaries on 1 Kgs 7:29, in Cohen, Kings, 55, 57. 8  Kimhi: commentary on 2 Chr 3:10, in Cohen, Chronicles, 179; Gersonides: commentary on Gen 3:24, in Cohen, Genesis I, 57; on Exod 25:18, in idem, Exodus II, 73; on 1 Kgs 6:23, in idem, Kings, 43 4 5

224

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

The identification of cherubim as winged humans, whether adults or children, found early expression in Jewish and Christian visual art. An unprovenanced seal in the British Museum depicts an oblong rectangle surmounted on either end by inward-facing, winged, humanoid herms of unclear age, and marked with what is apparently a misspelling of the word tetragrammaton [Figure 10.2].9 The image is adapted from the “Altar of Rome and Augustus” at Lyons, which was depicted in a similar manner on Augustan and Tiberian coins [Figure 10.3].10 The design suggests that the seal was engraved when these coins were current, i. e., the first century CE, and the inscription points to a Jewish origin. Multiple scholars have identified the picture as representing, in addition to the Lyons altar, the biblical ark with its two cherubim, which are said in the tabernacle account to have been arranged in the same position (Exod 25:17–21 = 37:6–9 + 40:20; § 11.3.1).11 In a recent treatment, however, Spier rejects this idea as fanciful and baseless.12 The fact that the arrangement of the Lyons altar is sufficient to explain the picture on the seal leads one to agree with Spier. But if the identification of these humanoid figures with the cherubim is nevertheless correct, the seal would then attest to an interpretation of the cherubim as winged humans that precedes R. Abbahu. In any case, by the early ninth century CE we have an incontestable depiction of cherubim as two-winged human figures, in the Germigny-des-Prés mosaic [Figure 4.10 / Plate 5a].13 Cherubim are typically portrayed as human figures with wings in medieval Christian illuminated manuscripts as well. Examples with two wings include the tabernacle ark cherubim drawn in copies of Nicholas of Lyra’s Postilla in Bibliam, such as one from the year 1331 [Figure 10.4].14 And, in the Jewish world, an illuminated Hebrew manuscript from northern France, dated to 1277–1286, shows the ark cherubim as childlike creatures with six wings each, as influenced by Isa 6:2 [Figure 10.5 / Plate 6b].15 It is now known that the winged adult human – but not the winged child – is a common denizen of ancient Near Eastern iconography, and several modern scholars have identified the cherub with it, though the arguments presented by these scholars vary. In the nineteenth century, Keil and Delitzsch returned to Ezekiel but cited the seemingly more pertinent verse 1:5, which opens the description of Ezekiel’s creatures with the statement ‫יהן ְּדמּות ָא ָדם ָל ֵהּנָ ה‬ ֶ ‫וְ זֶ ה ַמ ְר ֵא‬ – i. e., their overall figure was that of a human.16 In the twentieth century, Pfeiffer  BM, “OA.9622”.  E. g., BM, “1919,0307.320”. 11  King, Gnostics, 441–442, pl. H fig. 2; Bonner, Studies, 29; Goodenough, Archaeological Evidence, 241–242; idem, Problem of Method, 133; Smith, “Old Testament Motifs”, 190. 12  Spier, Late Antique Gems, cat. 963 (pp. 165, 167, pl. 124). 13 See Revel-Neher, L’arche, 184–190. 14  Dole BM, ms. 0024 (14-MS-G-1), p. 186. 15  British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, Additional 11639, f. 522. 16 K&D, Pentateuch, 2:169–170. For this interpretation of the statement, see also Eliezer of Beaugency (twelfth century) and Isaiah di Trani ad loc., in Cohen, Ezekiel, 5; Cooke, Critical  9 10

10.2 Survey of Interpretation

225

drew attention to the related fact that these creatures have human hands (Ezek 1:8; 10:7, 8, 21).17 Vincent and others addressed the tabernacle ark cherubim, observing that their position makes them analogous to the winged, human-formed goddesses of Egypt.18

10.2.2 Samuel b. Meir et al.: Birds Samuel b. Meir, while acknowledging the talmudic description of the cherubim as having the face of a child, stated that cherubim are simply birds. He was followed by Hezekiah b. Manoah, who maintained that the cherub is “a kind of bird”. Both exegetes cited Ezek 28:14 but did not clearly explain whether or why this verse should be seen as supporting their position.19 This identification enjoys visual expression in a drawing by the prolific Jewish illuminator Joel b. Simeon (second half of the fifteenth century) showing the biblical ark surmounted by two pigeon-like birds, obviously meant to be the cherubim [Figure 10.6].20 The drawing is labeled ‫צורת הארון‬, “The form of the ark”, and is included among other drawings of objects from the tabernacle. But the object’s upright shape and paneled double doors betray a conceptual fusion of the biblical ark with the arks employed for housing Torah scrolls in synagogues. This fusion raises the possibility that the interpretation of cherubim as birds may be far older. Depictions of inward-facing birds surmounting the Torah ark on either side in a manner similar to the tabernacle ark cherubim as described in the priestly account and to the birds in Joel b. Simeon’s drawing can be found on items from as early as the fourth century CE.21 An especially noteworthy example of this motif occurs on the sixth-century mosaic of the Beth Alpha synagogue [Figure 10.7]. Sukenik, the excavator of the mosaic, acknowledged that “[t]he self-evident explanation of this detail is that they symbolize the cherubim in the Tabernacle and the Temple”, but he nevertheless argued against such an explanation; while more recently Revel-Neher writes that the bird theme is to be

and Exegetical Commentary, 11; Greenberg, Ezekiel, 44; Block, Book of Ezekiel, 96; Kasher, Ezekiel, 1:155. BHS conjecturally emends ‫ ָא ָדם‬here to ‫א ַחת‬, ַ based on ‫ַמ ְר ֵאה … ְּודמּות ֶא ָחד ְל ַא ְר ַּב ְע ָּתן‬ in Ezek 1:16 and ‫יהם ְּדמּות ֶא ָחד ְל ַא ְר ַּב ְע ָּתם‬ ֶ ‫ּומ ְר ֵא‬ ַ in 10:10. Brownlee (Ezekiel 1–19, 11) reads ‫א ֶֹדם‬, “carnelian”, instead of ‫א ָדם‬. ָ 17  Pfeiffer, “Cherubim”, 249–250. 18 Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”, 484–486; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 17; idem, Geschichte Jerusalems, 2:918–923. Cf. Gressmann, Lade, 6–14, 47–67; Cooke, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 113; Cassuto and Barnett, “Cherub, Cherubim”. 19 Samuel b. Meir: commentary on Exod 25:18, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72; Hezekiah b. Manoah: commentary ad loc., in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:93. Cf. Rashi on Ezek 28:14, in Cohen Ezekiel, 190. 20  British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, Additional 14759, f. 2v. 21  Revel-Neher, L’arche, 106, 114, 128–9, figs. 26 (cf. fig. 25), 42, 53.

226

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

compared with the tabernacle cherubim, whether those of the ark or of the curtain (Exod. 26:31 = 36:35).22 In the modern era, Lenormant expressed the same idea regarding the tabernacle ark cherubim, writing that they were probably Egyptian-style birds. In support of this identification he noted that kurūbu is the name of a large species of bird of prey in Akkadian (§ 8.3.2.3); that in Egyptian monuments, gods and naoi are represented between the forward-stretching wings of birds (as the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is sheltered by the cherubim’s wings: Exod 25:20 = 37:9); and that the description of the tabernacle in Exodus is characterized by efforts to avoid the danger of idolatry, a purpose for which, he argued, simple animal figures would be more suited.23 Also speaking in favor of this interpretation is the fact that another creature associated with Yhwh, the seraph (‫ׂש ָרף‬: ָ Isa 6:2, 6), shares its name with that of an actual animal of the natural world, i. e., the snake or some type thereof (Num 21:6, 8; Deut 8:15; Isa 14:29; 30:6). But an advocate of this view would have difficulty explaining why, in contrast with the word ‫ׂש ָרף‬, ָ the word ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is never used in the Bible to refer to a bird or any type of bird in a natural context. An intermediate position between this view and the preceding one was taken by Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon, who suggested that the ark cherubim in the tabernacle had human heads and faces and avian wings, bodies, and feet. He admitted the speculative nature of the suggestion and adduced no arguments in its favor.24

10.2.3 Bekhor Shor et al.: Winged Bovines Samuel b. Meir’s student Joseph Bekhor Shor, along with Isaac of Vienna and other tosafists, proffered the view that typical cherubim are “angels in the image of oxen”.25 They argued that Aramaic ‫ כרב‬means “to plow”, a characteristic activity of oxen (§ 8.3.2.2); and that “the face of an ox” in Ezek 10:14 takes the place of “the face of a cherub” in the parallel verse Ezek 1:10, indicating that the two have identical appearances.26 They understood the cherubim placed by the garden of Eden after the expulsion of the primordial human as replacing, with their capacity to plow, the human’s intended function of tilling and tending the garden (Gen 2:15). 22  Sukenik, Ancient Synagogue, 22–26, pl. 8 (detail: pl. 9); Revel-Neher, L’arche, 128–129, fig. 53. Cf. Goodenough, Problem of Method, 134. 23  Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 135–136. 24 Sassoon, Commentary, 390–392. 25  Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 1:148. 26  Acknowledging and sidestepping the contradicting talmudic view as well as Simeon b. Lakish’s interpretation of this change (b. Hagigah 13b), namely, that Ezekiel asked that the ox be replaced so as not to recall the sin of the golden calf.

10.2 Survey of Interpretation

227

Later scholars promoted similar views. Perhaps the most notable of these was the seventeenth-century Protestant polymath Hugo Grotius, who defined the cherubim as “calf-like angels” memorializing Joseph (who is elliptically equated with an ox in Gen 49:6) and repeated the tosafists’ argument concerning Ezek 1:10 and 10:14.27 Grotius was mentioned in Charles Taylor’s edition of Calmet’s biblical dictionary, along with fellow seventeenth-century scholars Samuel Bochart and John Spencer, who “think they were nearly the figure of an ox”.28 Bochart introduced the idea that the cherubim are essentially similar to the golden calves of Aaron and Jeroboam opposed in the Bible.29 Taylor himself envisaged the cherub as a winged bull with a human upper body. Unlike his predecessors, he adduced material evidence to support his view: the human-headed winged bull colossi of Persepolis, which were known to him from a drawing and description by Dutch traveler Cornelis de Bruyn [Figure 10.8].30 Later, the publicity received by colossal human-headed winged bulls in Assyrian palaces excavated in the mid-nineteenth century, such as one found in Nimrud (Kalhu) by Layard between 1845 and 1851 and now held in the British Museum [Figure 10.9],31 along with the mistaken belief that the Akkadian words kirûbu or kāribu designated these beings (§ 8.3.2.3), boosted the view that cherubim shared the form of these colossi.32 Scrutiny of the textual and linguistic arguments adduced for the identification of the cherub with the winged bovine reveals that they are weak. Regarding Ezek 10:14, it is implausible that the single instance in the Bible in which the word “cherub” is used to mean “ox” occurs in a pericope in which the word “cherub” is used twenty-two other times in a wholly different sense, namely to denote the four-faced, winged creature one of whose faces is supposedly that of an ox. The pericope is generally convoluted to the point of being incomprehensible, and the entire text of 10:14 is absent in the Septuagint. The most plausible explanation of the matter is that the text of 10:14 is corrupt, as various interpreters have concluded,33 and that the word “cherub”, at the point it was introduced in the verse,  Grotius, Annotationes, 47.  “Cherub”, in Taylor, Calmet’s Great Dictionary, 1:n.p. 29  Bochart, Sive Bipertitum Opus, 358–359. 30  Taylor, Fragments, 2:119–130, 159–160; 3:184–185; plates (not enumerated) “Ark of the Covenant”, “Cherubim” 1–4; de Bruyn, Travels, 2:11–12. 31  BM, “118872”. 32  Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 119–132 and bibl.; Delitzsch, Wo Lag das Paradies, 150–155 and bibl.; Tur-Sinai, Language and the Book, 3:25; idem, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 541–542; Kaufmann, Toledot, 2:425. Layard himself made this connection cautiously: see Layard, Nineveh and Its Remains, 2:464–465; idem, Discoveries in the Ruins, 549. 33 Cooke, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 117; Eichrodt, Ezekiel, 109. Halperin (“Exegetical Character”, 138–140) understands the verse as describing the ‫אֹופנִ ים‬, ָ wheels, rather than the cherubim; he is unable to provide an explanation for the replacement of the ox with the cherub beyond that provided in the Talmud. Hiebel (Ezekiel’s Vision Accounts, 96) maintains that the verse is a gloss. 27 28

228

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

originally referred to the four-faced creature being described. Where the Masoretic Text now reads … ‫וְ ַא ְר ָּב ָעה ָפנִ ים ְל ֶא ָחד ְּפנֵ י ָה ֶא ָחד ְּפנֵ י ַה ְּכרּוב‬, “And each [cherub] had four faces: one face was the face of a cherub …”, the original text might have been, for example, … ‫*וארבעה פנים לכרוב האחד פני שור‬, i. e., “*And the cherub had four faces: one was the face of an ox …”.34 As for the root ‫ כרב‬having the meaning “to plow” in Aramaic, this is not an acceptable substitute for evidence directly linking the root to oxen, of which there is none. The argument from the cherubim in Genesis founders on the absence of any hint that the function of these cherubim is to maintain the garden in lieu of the human. Most importantly, the human-headed winged bull and the winged bull are Mesopotamian conceptions. Their almost total absence in the vast corpus of ancient Levantine iconography speaks against the identification of the cherub with either of them, and this identification rightly has few advocates today.

10.2.4 Dillmann: Griffins Doubting the association of the cherub with the human-headed winged bull, Dillmann preferred to connect the cherub with the griffin, or raptor-headed winged lion. In support of his view, he noted the aforementioned Assyrian word kurūbu (§ 8.3.2.3), along with the fact that the function of guarding unapproachable places is attributed in Greek legend to the griffins, just as the cherubim possess this function in the Bible (Gen 3:24; Ezek 28:14–19; § 8.3.2.4).35 The phonetic similarity between ‫ ְּכרּוב‬and the Greek word γρύψ (stem γρυπ‑), from which English “griffin” is derived, has been noted by scholars both before and after Dillmann (§ 8.3.2.4). The griffin appears in ancient Levantine iconography; for example, on thirteenth-century BCE ivory plaques from Megiddo [Figure 10.10].36

10.2.5 Albright, de Vaux, et al.: Winged Sphinxes The prevailing opinion in current scholarship is that the cherub is a winged sphinx, i. e., a human-headed winged lion.37 Two arguments are presented in 34  Another possibility is that this Mesopotamian text originally referred to the Mesopotamian kurību (§ 8.3.2.3) – say, with the word ‫*כריב‬, and this was “corrected” to the more well-known ‫כרוב‬. The phrase qaqqad kurībi, “head of a kurību”, is attested in Akkadian (see CAD, “kurību”). 35  Dillmann, Genesis, 170 (83). Wood (Of Wings, 200–207) identifies the cherub with the eagle-headed winged lion and the human-headed winged lion (winged sphinx) – see below. 36  Loud, Megiddo Ivories, cats. 32–35 (p. 14, pl. 9) (pictured: cat. 32). 37  Albright, “What Were the Cherubim”, 1–3; de Vaux, “chérubins”, esp. 234–238; Keel, ­Jahwe-Visionen, 18; idem, Geschichte Jerusalems, 1:294–301; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:323; Mettinger, “Cherubim”; Wood, Of Wings, 202–203; Staubli et al., “Cherubim”.

10.2 Survey of Interpretation

229

favor of this view. First, the winged sphinx is common in ancient Levantine iconography, just as the cherub, according to the Hebrew Bible, was apparently common in Israelite iconography. Second, pairs of winged sphinxes are depicted in the Phoenician-Canaanite sphere supporting the thrones of kings and occasionally gods [Figures 12.1–12.6]; thus, winged sphinxes and biblical cherubim perform a similar function, as these scholars understand the epithet ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬ as meaning “who is seated upon the cherubim” (§ 9.3.2.1). The first argument is based on a correct principle, namely that the cherub should be a creature that is frequently featured in ancient Levantine iconography. But it is invalid because, in fact, several other winged creatures appear in this corpus with equal, if not greater, frequency; these include the bird (especially the falcon), the scarab beetle, the winged snake (uraeus), and the winged human. The second argument relies on an understanding of ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬that has been rejected above (§ 9.3.3.1).

10.2.6 Gilboa: Winged Snakes Gilboa proposes that the cherub is a winged snake (or, less probably, a dragonfly). Her proposal relies on three notions: that the cherubim must be real animals because images of unnatural or supernatural creatures would not correspond to biblical convictions;38 that flying snakes really existed in antiquity;39 and that cherubim must have linear bodies because 1 Kgs 6:29 says that the cherubim on the temple walls form ‫מ ְק ְלעֹות‬, ִ which she assumes to mean “plaits”.40 The first notion seems at odds with Ezekiel’s aspiration that manifestly unnatural creatures decorate the temple walls (Ezek 41:18–19). The second is an extraordinary claim for which adequate evidence is not adduced. The third is challenged by the absence of any inner-biblical evidence that the root ‫ קלע‬carries a meaning resembling “plait” and by the fact that the first occurrence of ‫( ִמ ְק ַל ַעת‬1 Kgs 6:18) is unaccompanied by any possibly linear element. Moreoever, since the seraphim (of Isa 6) have been securely identified as winged snakes,41 Gilboa’s proposal could only be true if the terms ‫ ְּכרּוב‬and ‫ָׂש ָרף‬ were synonymous or nearly so. Because the terms never appear together and cannot easily be explained as belonging to different stages of Biblical Hebrew, this seems unlikely.42

 Gilboa, “Cherubim”, 60. 67. 40  Ibid., 69–70. 41  Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 70–115. 42 Gilboa’s suggestion (“Cherubim”, 71) that the two terms denote different kinds of winged snakes is not sufficiently clear. 38

39 Ibid.,

230

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

10.2.7 Ibn Ezra et al.: Composite Creatures in General Yet another possibility, introduced by Menahem ibn Saruq, is that ‫ ְּכרּוב‬simply means “figure”.43 Abraham ibn Ezra later elaborated on this idea, stressing that in different contexts the word can refer to different types of creatures. Thus, he described the cherubim east of Eden alternately as “the well-known angels” or “figures that scare those who see them”, while also maintaining that the cherub of Ezek 10:14 refers to the figure of an ox, and that the ark cherubim of the tabernacle resembled “two boys” per the talmudic view.44 Ibn Saruq and Ibn Ezra may be seen as following Targum Neofiti and Saadiah Gaon, who translated the word ‫ ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬in the descriptions of the tabernacle tapestries as “figures”.45 An entirely different view etymologically, but one which leads to a similar, generalized identification of the cherub, was expressed by Isaac b. Judah Halevi. Like Bekhor Shor et al., he adduced the Aramaic root ‫כרב‬, but understood it as carrying the meaning “mix” (§ 8.3.2.2). Thus, he characterized the cherubim of Eden in Genesis as “angels in the form of demons” and argued that their name reflects the fact that they contain a mixture of two species.46 This identification seems essentially the same as what today would be called a composite or hybrid creature (German: Mischwesen). Like the previously cited views, the understanding of ‫ ְּכרּוב‬as referring to composite creatures generally, or to a class thereof, has been revived in modern times. Contemporary scholars advocating this position do not rely on an etymological argument, but on the existence of what they see as contradictory descriptions of cherubim within the Hebrew Bible.47 It is certainly true, as mentioned above (§ 10.1), that creatures with different forms share the name “cherub” within the Hebrew Bible. But the question is whether there was a specific default form that the word ‫ּכרּוב‬,ְ without further elaboration, would conjure, and which we can identify as a “typical” cherub. It would appear that indeed there was, at least during some periods of the creation of the biblical texts. This is indicated by the fact that in the detailed descriptions of the ark cherubim in the priestly account (Exod 25:18–20 = 37:7–9) and in 43  Filipowski, Hebraicae et Chaldaicae Lexicon, 110. The crucial phrase is absent in some manuscripts of Ibn Saruq’s book, for which see the critical edition: Sáenz-Badillos, Mĕnaḥem ben Saruq, 223*. 44  Commentary and Shita Aheret on Gen 3:24, in Cohen, Genesis I, 56; long commentary on Exod 25:18, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73 (cf. short commentary ad loc., in Cohen, ibid., 72). Also cited by David Kimhi in his Book of Roots: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 170. 45  Saadiah in Allony, Ha’Egron, 250. Joined also by Rashi (on Exod 26:31), in Cohen, Exodus II, 88. Judah ibn Bal‘am (second half of the eleventh century) translates the word “cherub” in Ezek 28:14 in this way: see Perez, R. Judah, 109. 46  Gellis, Sefer Tosafot, 1:148–149 par. 8. 47  Landsberger, “Origin”, esp. 236; Freedman and O’Connor, “kerûḇ”, 315–319; Meyers, “Cherubim”; Houtman, Exodus III, 383; Propp, Exodus, 386–387. See also Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 133–135; Gressmann, Lade, 47–67.

10.3 Proposal: Winged (Adult) Humans

231

Kings and Chronicles (1 Kgs 6:23–28 ≈ 2 Chr 3:10–13), which include properties such as materials, position, and dimensions, the writers neglect to describe the form of cherubim at all. This cannot be explained except by the admission that the form would have been clear to these writers’ audiences.48

10.3 Proposal: Winged (Adult) Humans 10.3.1 Upright Creatures Numerous indications found in the descriptions of the ark cherubim reveal that the authors of these descriptions had in mind upright creatures. This excludes interpretations of the cherub as a winged sphinx, a winged bovine, or any other four-legged, beast-like creature. 10.3.1.1 Tabernacle Cherubim In the tabernacle, the ark cherubim are described as facing each other and “sheltering the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬with their wings” (Exod 25:20 = 37:9). As noted by Cassuto and Barnett, if the cherubim stood on four feet, they would shelter the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬with their bodies, not with their wings.49 It can be added that the cherubim are said to be located on either ‫ק ֶצה‬,ָ “edge”, of the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 25:18–19 = 37:7–8). If they stood on four legs and their bodies stretched over the length of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ the word “edge” would be inappropriate. Moreover, the statement that the cherubim shelter the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬with their wings indicates that the wings are extended forward (toward the center of the ‫)ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ beyond their heads. For a creature standing on four legs, this would be an awkward and clumsy position; such creatures are not portrayed in this position in ancient Near Eastern visual art.50 10.3.1.2 Temple Cherubim In the case of the ark cherubim in the temple, the biblical text notes their height and “width” (wingspan), but not their length (1 Kgs 6:23–28). As argued by Thenius and many subsequent scholars, this can only be understood if we assume that the cherubim are upright and therefore have no significant length.51 Keel attempts to refute this argument by suggesting that the height of the cherubim is slightly greater than their length, and only the greater dimension is  See Metzger, Königsthron, 1:311.  Cassuto and Barnett, “Cherub, Cherubim”, 241. 50  Lenormant, Beginnings of History, 132–133; Gressmann, Lade, 7–8; Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”, 485; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:331. 51  Thenius, Bücher der Könige, 74–81. 48 49

232

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

specified. However, Keel does not explain why the writer, who is clearly interested in providing precise details concerning the dimensions, would omit the length of the cherubim merely because it is slighter than their height. If this were his practice, he would presumably have also omitted the width of the House of Yhwh (1 Kgs 6:2), the height of the Lebanon Forest House (7:2), the circumference of the bronze columns (v. 15), the height of the “sea” (v. 23 = 2 Chr. 4:2), and the height of the laver stands (v. 27). If the priestly author had acted in like manner, we would expect not to see the width of the table (Exod 25:23 = 37:10), the height of the bronze altar (27:1 = 38:1), or the height of the courtyard (27:18); nor should we be told the height of Noah’s ark (Gen 6:15). It seems that the biblical writers, when specifying the dimensions of an object or structure, omit one of the dimensions in only three cases: (1) When the object or structure is part of another object or structure and thus the dimension is self-evident, as the height of the vestibule of the House of Yhwh (1 Kgs 6:3), which is equal to the height of the House; the height of the column vestibule in the Lebanon Forest House (7:6), which is equal to the height of the Lebanon Forest House; and the circumference of the bronze column capitals (v. 16), which is equal to the circumference of the columns. (2) When the writer does not specify height at all, even if it is equal to or greater than the other dimensions (Ezek 40–43;52 2 Chr 3). (3) When the dimension is too small to be significant. Examples here include the thicknesses of the laver-stand wheels (1 Kgs 7:32), the ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ (Exod. 25:17 = 37:6), the tabernacle curtains (26:2) and the curtains for the tent over the tabernacle (v. 8), the frames of the tabernacle (v. 16), and the breastpiece (28:16; 39:9). Since the missing dimension of the temple ark cherubim as described in 1 Kgs 6:23–28 is not self-evident and is not their height, the only remaining explanation is that this dimension, namely their length, is insignificant. An additional indication that the temple ark cherubim are upright creatures is that they are described as possessing a wingspan, 10 cubits (1 Kgs 6:24, 25; cf. 2 Chr. 3:11–13), that equals their height, also 10 cubits (1 Kgs 6:23, 26). Landsberger noted that this proportion does not evoke animal forms.53 Metzger developed the argument in light of his investigation of composite creatures in the ancient Near East. He stated that a composite four-legged creature whose height when standing on its four feet is 10 cubits would have wings of 12–15 cubits each – a length significantly greater the 5 cubits specified in the Hebrew Bible.54 52 An explanation for the tendency in this pericope not to specify height is offered by Dreyer (“Temple”, 730). 53 Landsberger, “Origin”, 234. 54 Metzger, Königsthron, 1:340–341. Some interpreters have attempted to solve this problem by hypothesizing that the wings of the cherubim were not extended horizontally, and therefore the real wingspan was longer than the given one, which is measured with a horizontal line. But, as noted by Metzger (ibid., 341 n. 1), this solution ignores the fact that each wing is explicitly said to be 5 cubits long.

10.3 Proposal: Winged (Adult) Humans

233

In an attempt to preserve the identification of the cherub with the winged sphinx, Metzger proposed that the temple ark cherubim were four-legged creatures standing on their hind legs.55 But this solution cannot be accepted, because it is implausible that the author of the account of the temple ark cherubim would omit such a peculiar detail, especially since he does provide other particulars regarding the position of the cherubim (§ 11.3.3).56 10.3.1.3 Other Cherubim Thus, the authors of the descriptions of the tabernacle ark cherubim and the temple ark cherubim had upright creatures in mind. If so, we should regard it as probable that other biblical authors writing about cherubim did, too, unless we find evidence to the contrary. It has been argued that the verse supposedly depicting a cherub as Yhwh’s steed (Ps 18:11 ≈ 2 Sam 22:11) constitutes such evidence to the contrary – that it must refer to a four-legged, beast-like creature, as it would be ridiculous for any other type of creature to be ridden.57 It is theoretically possible, of course, that the meaning of ‫ ְּכרּוב‬changed over time and that this hymn, which is considered one of the oldest texts in the Hebrew Bible,58 uses the word in a specific sense that differs from that intended in the accounts of the ark cherubim. However, if the reading of the verse advanced above (§ 9.2.3) is accepted, no reference to a cherub as Yhwh’s steed actually exists, and the argument falls. Moreover, even if that reading is not accepted, it is still fallacious to conclude that the verse necessarily speaks of a cherub being ridden directly. The image being presented may be that of Yhwh riding in a chariot drawn by a cherub. As noted by Haran, this seems to be the case in the description / ‫סּוסיָך‬ ֶ ‫ִּכי ִת ְר ַּכב ַעל‬ ‫ׁשּועה‬ ָ ְ‫מ ְר ְּכב ֶֹתיָך י‬, ַ “that you are riding your horses / your chariots of victory” (Hab 3:8b),59 which is the only other biblical instance in which the verb ‫ ָר ַכב‬has Yhwh as its subject and living creatures as its object. In fact, according to the reading of our verse reflected in the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the targumim, namely ‫*כרבים‬, the image being presented must be that of Yhwh riding in a cherubim-drawn chariot, since it is difficult to imagine Yhwh directly riding more than one creature simultaneously. A creature drawing a chariot may just as easily be upright as beast-like.  Metzger, Königsthron, 1:326–351.  For additional, less convincing arguments that the ark cherubim are upright creatures, see Metzger, Königsthron, 1:331–344 and references; Cassuto, Commentary, 333–334; Cassuto and Barnett, “Cherub, Cherubim”; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 18–21. 57  Landsberger, “Origin”, 235; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:311; Wood, Of Wings, 200. 58  Cross and Freedman, “Royal Song”; McCarter, II Samuel, 474–475; Parry, “4QSama”; Hollis, “Two Hymns”. 59  Haran, “Ark”, 37. 55 56

234

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

10.3.2 Proportions of Temple Ark Cherubim Thus, the remaining candidates for the ark cherubim, and for cherubim generally, are those creatures that are winged, common in ancient Levantine iconography, and normally depicted upright. Five creatures fit these criteria: the bird, the scarab beetle, the winged human, the winged snake, and (if it can be called a creature) the winged disk. Of the five, as far as the present writer is aware, only the bird, the winged human, and the winged snake have actually been identified by any scholar with the cherub. A consideration against the possibility that the cherub is a bird, which applies also to the scarab beetle, has been stated above (§ 10.2.2), as was a consideration against the identification of cherubim with winged snakes (§ 10.2.6). But a more severe problem with birds, scarab beetles, winged snakes, and winged disks is one they share with four-legged creatures, and which was intimated by Landsberger (§ 10.3.1.2): the ark cherubim in the temple are described as having a wingspan that equals their height. Birds, despite being two-legged animals, typically have a standing height that falls far short of their wingspan, and this proportion is expressed in ancient Levantine depictions of them. Although wings are often depicted in this corpus as having an unnatural length, they are depicted only as being unnaturally long, not unnaturally short. And it would be especially unlikely for the writer describing the ark cherubim in the temple to have unnaturally short wings in view, as he seems to be impressed with their length, emphasizing that they spanned the entire room. This writer, then, could not have had birds in mind. The same is true of scarab beetles, which are often depicted with the length of their bodies oriented vertically, but even so their wingspan far exceeds this “height”.60 Winged snakes and winged disks, which, of course, are not real creatures, are also conventionally depicted with a height that falls considerably short of their wingspan. Only humans, who stand erect on long legs and are by far the tallest of any of these creatures in proportion to their other dimensions, can have wings whose span equals their height and that still look respectably long. Indeed, actual humans normally possess an arm-span that precisely equals their height. Vitruvius observed this fact long ago, writing in the context of proportionality in temples (De architectura 3.1.3): “If we measure the distance from the feet [of a man] to the top of the head, and we copy the measure to the outstretched arms, we find that the width equals the height, as with surfaces that are perfect squares”. This principle was famously illustrated in Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing [Figure 10.11]. When depicting a winged human, it would make sense to portray the wings as having the length of arms. 60  It is worth noting that the English word “scarab” comes from Greek κάραβος, “horned or cerambycid beetle” (LSJ). But the phonetic similarity of this word to Hebrew ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is apparently no more than an alluring coincidence.

10.3 Proposal: Winged (Adult) Humans

235

To be sure, winged humans in ancient Levantine iconography often have wings that are extravagantly long, far longer than their arms. But there are also instances in which it appears that the intention of the artist was to portray the wings as being equivalent to arms and possessing the same length that the arms do (when they exist) or would (when they do not exist). Three examples will suffice to illustrate this principle. First, a cylinder seal from Tell el-‘Ajjul, in the vicinity of Gaza, dated by Teissier to the period of ca. 1820–1740, portrays a pair of armless, winged humans spreading their wings out in front of them, like the ark cherubim in the tabernacle (§ 11.3.1), and sheltering a tree [Figure 10.12].61 Second, a stamp seal from Beth-Shemesh, which, according to Keel, should probably be dated to ca. 1100–900, depicts an armless, winged human whose wings are spread straight out to his sides [Figure 10.13], like the ark cherubim in the temple (§ 11.3.3).62 Third, a Phoenician openwork ivory found in Nimrud (Kalhu), which, according to Herrmann, should probably be dated to the ninth or eighth century BCE, shows a winged human with wings extended diagonally upward that are the same length as adjacent arms [Figure 10.14].63 Thus, the author of the passage in Kings describing the temple ark cherubim could only have had winged humans in mind.64 It may safely be presumed that this is also true regarding the description of the tabernacle ark cherubim in the priestly account and regarding biblical references to cherubim generally.

61  Petrie, Ancient Gaza, 3: pl. 4 fig. 136; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 21, fig. 7; Teissier, Egyptian Iconography, seal 267 (pp. 121, 205). 62  Keel, Corpus Band II, Bet-Schemesch 188. 63  Herrmann, Ivories, 1:208; 2: pl. 274 (#1056; see also #1057). 64  The biblical writers describing “angels”, i. e., divine messengers, did not imagine them as taking the form of winged humans, as commonly thought today. These messengers are simply identical to humans in appearance (Gen 18–19) and can be mistaken for them (Gen 19:5; Judg 6:11–24; 13:16).

Fig. 10.1: Lintel of ancient Capernaum synagogue.

236 10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.2: Seal, unprovenanced.

Fig. 10.3: Tiberian coin.

237

238

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.4: Dole BM, ms. 0024 (14-MS-G-1), p. 186.

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.5: Additional 11639, folio 522.

239

240

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.6: Additional 14759, folio 2v.

Fig. 10.7: Panel of Beth Alpha synagogue mosaic.

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

241

242

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.8: Winged bull colossus of Persepolis.

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.9: Wall panel relief, North West Palace, Nimrud (Kalhu).

243

Fig. 10.10: Ivory plaque, Megiddo.

244 10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.11: Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Gallerie dell’Accademia.

245

246

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.12: Cylinder seal, Tell el-‘Ajjul.

Fig. 10.13: Stamp seal, Beth-Shemesh.

10. The Cherubim: Overall Form

Fig. 10.14: Phoenician openwork ivory fragment, Nimrud (Kalhu).

247

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form The various passages describing the ark cherubim offer a considerable amount of information concerning the details of their form. The present chapter will examine first the material composition of the cherubim, next their dimensions, and, lastly and most extensively, their position and posture. The tabernacle cherubim are described in Exodus (25:18–20 ≈ 37:7–9) and in a single verse in Numbers (7:89). The temple cherubim are described chiefly in Kings: in a passage dedicated to that purpose (1 Kgs 6:23–28), and in a segment of the account that describes the introduction of the ark to the temple (8:8–9). These two last passages have parallels in Chronicles (2 Chr 3:10–13; 5:7–8), and an additional verse in that book (1 Chr 28:18) already discussed (§ 9.1.4) also speaks of the temple ark cherubim. Because these passages in Chronicles appear to be aggressively synthetic, driven by a desire to amalgamate as many preexisting biblical passages as possible, they will be treated at the end of each section.

11.1 Composition 11.1.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data The two cherubim above the ark in the priestly tabernacle account are made of ‫זָ ָהב‬, ordinary gold (Exod 25:18 = 37:7). In this respect, they resemble the ark’s ‫ זֵ ר‬and rings as well as the coating of its poles, and they differ from the coating of the ark proper and from the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ which are made of pure gold. Propp suggests that the cherubim need to be made of a harder grade of gold because of their delicate structure;1 but this explanation is challenged by the fact that the delicately structured lampstand is made of pure gold (Exod 25:31, 36, 39 = 37:17, 22, 24). Rather, the difference is probably a reflection of the relative lack of importance of the cherubim vis-à-vis the ark and ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬proper (§ 8.2). These cherubim are made ‫( ִמן ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬Exod 25:19 = 37:8). The compelling and near universal interpretation of this phrase is “of one piece with the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬. ַ 2 The Exodus, 389.  E. g., Saadiah Gaon, translation of Exod 25:19, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:94; Rashi and Abraham ibn Ezra, commentaries ad loc., in Cohen, Exodus II, 72, 74; virtually all English Bible translations. 1 Propp, 2

250

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

similar phrase ‫ ִמ ֶּמּנָ ה‬/ ‫מ ֶּמּנּו‬, ִ used in the tabernacle account to describe various parts vis-à-vis the objects to which they belong, including the decorations of the lampstand (Exod 25:31 = 37:17) and, in particular, its knobs (25:35[× 3] = 37:21[× 3]) and its knobs and branches (25:36 = 37:22), the horns of the bronze altar (27:2 = 38:2) and of the incense altar (30:2 = 37:25), and the band of the ephod (28:8 = 39:5), makes sense when interpreted in this manner. Another term used to describe the composition of the tabernacle ark cherubim is ‫( ִמ ְק ָׁשה‬Exod 25:18 = 37:7). This word is peculiar to the priestly tabernacle account, where it is used to describe the composition of the pure gold lampstand with its decorations (Exod 25:31 = 37:17; 25:36 = 37:22; Num 8:4[× 2]) and of the silver trumpets (Num 10:2). Two other occurrences of this form have been understood as a homonym referring to a type of agricultural field (Isa 1:8; Jer 10:5). The word also has a homograph, ‫מ ְק ֶׁשה‬, ִ a hapax legomenon which, when preceded by ‫מ ֲע ֶׁשה‬, ַ seems to refer to a type of headwear or hairdo (Isa 3:24). The Septuagint translates the word in Exod 25:18 (and in vv. 31, 36) as τορευτόs, meaning “worked in relief, chased [i. e., embossed or engraved]”, and, metaphorically, “elaborate”.3 (The phrase in which the word appears is absent in the Septuagint on 37:7.) Elsewhere, the Septuagint translates the word as στερεός (Exod 37:17 [LXX 38:13], 22 [LXX 38:16]; Num 8:4i–ii), meaning “firm, solid”.4 The latter translation is presumably inspired by the biblical verb ‫ ָק ָׁשה‬and adjective ‫ק ֶׁשה‬,ָ which broadly carry the meanings “hard”, “stiff”, and “heavy”, usually in the figurative sense of “difficult” or “harsh”. In one instance, the Septuagint translates ‫ ִמ ְק ָׁשה‬as ἐλατός (Num 10:2), meaning “ductile [i. e., capable of being hammered out thin]” or “beaten”.5 The Vulgate follows the last-mentioned translation of the Septuagint, rendering the word in Exod 37:7 and elsewhere (Exod 25:31, 36; 37:17, 22; Num 8:4; 10:2) as ductilis, the equivalent of the English term “ductile”, i. e., “that may be hammered out thin”,6 and in Exod 25:18 as productilis, the equivalent of English “productile”, i. e., “capable of being drawn out”.7 Similarly, the targumim in almost all cases translate the word as ‫( נגיד‬Samaritan Targum: ‫)מגד‬, which, like ductilis, literally means “stretched” or “drawn out” and refers to beaten metal.8 The exceptional renderings of the word by Targum Pseudo-Jonathan as ‫מינא‬ ‫( קשיא‬Num 8:4i), ‫( עובד אומן בקורנסא‬Num 8:4ii), and ‫( ממינא קשיא עובד אומן‬Num 10:2) seem also to aim toward this meaning (and cf. Leqah Tov on Num 10:2). Sifre Zuta (on Num 8:4) likewise interprets the word as ‫מן המשוך‬, “of drawn-out 3 LSJ.

4 Ibid. 5 Ibid.

 OED, “ductile, adj.”, 1a.  Ibid., “productile, adj.” 8  CAL [cited 7 October 2014]. 6 7

11.1 Composition

251

material”. This understanding is followed by most English Bible translations and modern commentators. Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, Joseph Bekhor Shor, and Gersonides adopted the targumic translation but specified it as indicating that no soldering is involved, meaning in the case of the cherubim that they are hammered from the same ingot of gold as the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ rather than fashioned separately from it and then attached. This interpretation is challenged by the fact that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is made of pure gold whereas the cherubim are made of ordinary gold. Rashi also proposed an (implausible) etymology for the word that would support its association with hammering, relating it to the Biblical Aramaic hapax legomenon ‫( נְ ַקׁש‬Dan 5:6), which is indicated by its context to mean “knock”.9 Several other interpretations of the word, old and new, exist. The Peshitta consistently renders it as dnskt’, meaning “of cast or molten metal”.10 Saadiah Gaon and Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon understood it as meaning “solid”, as opposed to hollow.11 Jonah ibn Janah, Abraham ibn Ezra, Solomon ibn Parhon, and David Kimhi interpreted it in the sense of ‫שוה‬, namely “symmetrically”, and associated it with ‫( ִמ ְק ֶׁשה‬Isa 3:24).12 Meyers, who assumes that the cherubim are made of sheet gold shaped over a wooden frame, understands the word as referring to the flattening of the sheet gold or to the subsequent process of shaping it; she associates the word with Aramaic ‫קשקש‬,13 which, like ‫נְ ַקׁש‬, carries the sense of “knock”.14 Propp floats the idea that it refers to a hard, durable alloy, but he immediately notes that this interpretation is incompatible with the statement that the lampstand is made of “pure gold” (Exod 25:31).15 The simplest explanation of the term is that it refers to an intricately shaped, solid object. This explanation accords with its most likely etymology as derived from the root ‫קׁשה‬. Thus, the statements that the cherubim are made ‫ ִמ ְק ָׁשה‬and that they are made ‫ ִמן ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬reinforce and complement each other: the first means that each cherub is a solid unit; the second means that the two cherubim and the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬form a solid unit together. The term ‫ ִמ ְק ָׁשה‬is not used to describe the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬proper, because it is not intricately shaped and is therefore a solid unit by default. The case of the lampstand is similar: the lampstand with all its parts  9  Rashi and Samuel b. Meir on Exod 25:18, 31, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72, 78; Rashi on Num 8:4 and 10:2 in Cohen, Numbers, 48, 56; Bekhor Shor on Exod 25:31, in Cohen, Exodus II, 79; Gersonides on Exod 25:18, 31 in Cohen, Exodus II, 73, 79. 10  CAL [cited 7 October 2014]. 11  Saadiah: translation of Exod 25:18, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:93; Abraham b. Moses: Sassoon, Commentary, 392. 12  Ibn Janah: Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 459; Ibn Ezra: short and long commentaries on Exod 25:18, in Cohen, Exodus II, 72–73; Ibn Parhon: Stern and Rapoport, Mahberet Ha‘Arukh, 61b; Kimhi: Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 337. 13  Meyers, Tabernacle Menorah, 31–34. 14  CAL [cited 28 October 2014]. 15  Propp, Exodus, 388.

252

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

and decorations is referred to as ‫( ִמ ְק ָׁשה‬Exod 25:31 = 37:17) or ‫( ִמ ְק ָׁשה ַא ַחת‬25:36 = 37:22); that the various parts and decorations are ‫ ִמ ֶּמּנָ ה‬is another way of saying the same thing.16

11.1.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels Several solid gold statues of humanoid figures from the ancient Near East are extant. One of the most striking of these is a cast statuette of Amun from Thebes, dated to the Twenty-Second Dynasty (ca. 945–712 BCE), 17.5 cm in height and 0.9 kg in weight [Figure 11.1].17 Solid metal sculptures of winged humanoid figures include a cast copper alloy statuette of a protective goddess standing behind the figure of Harpocrates, 15.2 cm in height, excavated at Saqqara and dated to the Late or Ptolemaic Period [Figure 11.2].18 An object that illustrates the concept of ‫ ִמן ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬as “of one piece with the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ is a small (8.8 cm high), solid gold statuette of Tutankhamun that surmounts a gold-covered stick: the feet of the statuette are socketed into the stick, fastening the two parts together [Figure 11.3].19

11.1.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data As opposed to the tabernacle cherubim, the temple cherubim as described in Kings are freestanding. They are not attached to any object but are simply placed in the inner cella (1 Kgs 6:23 ≈ 2 Chr 3:10), specifically in its middle (1 Kgs 6:27). The temple cherubim are said to be made of ‫ע ֵצי ָׁש ֶמן‬,ֲ literally “oil wood” (1 Kgs 6:23),20 and overlaid with gold (1 Kgs 6:28 ≈ 2 Chr 3:10). Presumably, it would not be realistic for sculptures as large as the cherubim in the temple (§ 11.2.3) to be made of solid gold. As there is no consensus regarding the meaning of ‫ע ֵצי ָׁש ֶמן‬, ֲ the term should be examined here. It occurs otherwise only within the pericope of which the description of the temple cherubim forms a part, where it specifies the material of the doors at the entrance to the inner cella of the temple (1 Kgs 6:31, 32) and of the doorposts at the entrance to the main hall (v. 33). It obviously denotes the wood of ‫עץ ֶׁש ֶמן‬, ֵ literally “oil tree”, a kind of plant mentioned twice in the Bible (Isa 41:19; Neh 8:15) and once in the Hebrew apocryphal literature (Sir 50:10).

16 See

further Eichler, “Jeremiah”, 409–412. “26. 7. 1412”. 18  BM, “EA67198”. 19 Malek, Tutankamun, Object 235a. 20  This specification is absent in Codex Vaticanus of the Septuagint. 17  MMA,

11.1 Composition

253

The Septuagint renders the terms inconsistently. In our verse, in Neh 8:15, in Sir 50:10, and apparently in Isa 41:19, it uses κυπάρισσος, “cypress”;21 in 1 Kgs 6:31 and 33, it has ἄρκευθος, “juniper”;22 and in 6:32, it uses πεύκη, “pine”.23 Targum Jonathan, followed by Rashi,24 consistently renders the terms as ‫זיתא‬, “olive”, except in Isa 41:19, where the literal translation ‫משח‬, “oil”, is used instead. The translation as “olive” is obviously inferred from the well-known association of olive trees with ‫ׁש ֶמן‬, ֶ oil, an association that is embodied in the English word “olive” itself and its cognates in other European languages.25 This translation cannot be accepted, however, because in Neh 8:15 ‫ ֵעץ ֶׁש ֶמן‬occurs alongside ‫זַ יִת‬, which itself indisputably denotes the olive tree. Accordingly, ‫ זית‬and ‫עץ שמן‬ are explicitly distinguished from each other in the Talmud (Sifra on Lev 1:8 ≈ m. Tamid 2:3 ≈ t. Menahot 9:14). It is illustrative that the Vulgate, which almost consistently renders the term (followed by almost all English Bible translations) with oliva, “olive”, makes an exception in Neh 8:15, where it uses pulcher, “beautiful”, instead. Some modern scholars avoid the problem of Neh 8:15 by rendering ‫ ֵעץ ֶׁש ֶמן‬as “oleaster” or “wild olive” (cf. b. Sukkah 12a), thereby preserving the association with oil while accounting for the distinction from the olive per se.26 It should be stressed that the English term “oleaster” refers to two entirely different types of trees, as does the term “wild olive”. They can both refer either to true wild varieties of the olive (Olea europaea) or to trees of the genus Eleagnus, which are similar to the olive in appearance but botanically unrelated.27 Other translations also seem to constitute attempts to find a tree associated with oil. The Peshitta, though it usually renders the terms literally and uninformatively with mšwḥt’ or mšḥ’, “oil”, in Neh 8:15 uses gwz’, “nut tree”.28 Nut tree oil, or ‫שמן אגוזים‬, is known to the talmudic authors (Sifra and Leviticus Rabbah on Lev 24:2; m. Shabbat 2:2), who mention it as the only type of oil available in Media (t. Shabbat 2:3). At the same time, however, these authors explicitly distinguish ‫ אגוז‬from ‫( עץ שמן‬Sifra on Lev 1:8 ≈ m. Tamid 2:3 ≈ t. Menahot 9:14). Another translation of ‫עץ ֶׁש ֶמן‬, ֵ attributed to the academy of the Amora Rav (third century CE), is ‫( אפרסמא‬b. Rosh Hashanah 23a = Bava Batra 80b); this is presumably the same as the well-known ‫ אפרסמון‬of talmudic literature, which is  LSJ.  Ibid. 23  Ibid. 24  Rashi: commentary on 1 Kgs 6:23, in Cohen, Kings, 42. 25  OED, “olive, n. 1 and adj.” 26  BDB; Löw, Flora der Juden, 1:590 (Eleagnus hortensis); Mulder, 1 Kings, 268–269, citing F. J.  Bruijel, Bijbel en Natuur (Kampen: Kok, 1939), 159. HALOT deems the identification of the term as uncertain, stating that the two main suggestions are Eleagnus hortensis and Pinus sylvestris (Scotch pine). 27 OED, “oleaster, n.” 28  CAL [cited 7 October 2014]. 21 22

254

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

associated with perfume oil (e. g., y. Sotah 8:3 ≈ Sheqalim 6:1; b. Ta‘anit 25a) and is identified by many scholars as Commiphora gileadensis, a type of myrrh shrub.29 The Septuagint on 1 Kgs 6:32, which, as noted above, rendered the term as “pine”, anticipated later interpreters. An anonymous comment in the Talmud (y. Rosh Hashanah 2:2) equates ‫ עצי שמן‬with ‫דדנין‬, which Feliks interpreted as the Greek term δαδίον,30 “splinter of pine wood”.31 David Kimhi and Gersonides maintained that ‫ ֲע ֵצי ָׁש ֶמן‬refers to a type of coniferous tree named ‫פין‬, “pine”, which excretes the oily substance from which tar is derived.32 This translation is used in the Luther Bible on Isa 41:19, and in the Geneva Bible on that verse and on Neh 8:15. Feliks and Amar adopt this view, the former noting that Aramaic-speaking Kurdish Jews still call the Turkish pine (Pinus brutia) ‫אעא דמשע‬ ‫חא‬, “oil tree”. Both scholars maintain further that ‫ ֵעץ ֶׁש ֶמן‬refers specifically to the Aleppo pine (Pinus halapensis), which is common in the land of Israel.33 It may be noted in this context that resinous pine wood is called “fat-wood” in the English of the southern United States.34 The case for the Aleppo pine is strong.

11.1.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels Many freestanding, wooden statues of humanoid figures overlaid with gold from the ancient Near East are extant. Noteworthy examples from the tomb of Tutankhamun are the two life-sized (173 cm high) wooden statues of Tutankhamun, partially overlaid with gold, that were found flanking the doorway to the sepulchral chamber [Figure 11.4],35 and the approximately 77 cm high wooden statues of the four protective goddesses, completely covered in gold, that surrounded the canopic chest [Figure 11.5].36 As for Aleppo pine wood specifically, it was used in ancient Egypt for “[b]oat-­ building, construction, underground pipes and coffins”.37 Perhaps the durability that led to the use of the wood for these purposes can also help account for the fact that the cherub statues in the temple, which would presumably have been made with the intention of being permanent, are said to be made of it.

29 Iluz

et al., “Medicinal Properties”, 516. Trees, 197 n. 13.

30 Feliks, 31 LSJ.

32 Kimhi: commentary on 1 Kgs 6:23, in Cohen, Kings, 43–44; commentary on Isa 41:19, in Cohen, Isaiah, 269; Gersonides: commentary on 1 Kgs 6:23, in Cohen, Kings, 43. 33 Feliks, Trees, 195–199; Amar, Flora, 167–168. 34 OED, “fat, adj. and n. 2”, S2, fat-wood. 35  Malek, Tutankhamun, Objects 22, 29. 36  Ibid., Object 266. 37  Gale, Gasson, and Hepper, “Wood [Botany]”, 351–352.

11.1 Composition

255

11.1.5 Chronicles A verse in Chronicles that has no parallel in Kings (1 Chr 28:18; § 9.1.4) agrees with 1 Kgs 6:28 and its parallel 2 Chr 3:10 in specifying that the composition of the cherubim involved gold. This is also consistent with the description of the tabernacle cherubim in Exodus (25:18 = 37:7; § 11.1.1). 2 Chr 3:10–13 is roughly parallel to 1 Kgs 6:23–28 but includes many differences. The difference concerning the composition of the cherubim is that where Kings specifies that the cherubim were made of ‫ע ֵצי ָׁש ֶמן‬,ֲ Chronicles has the words ‫( ַמ ֲע ֵׂשה ַצ ֲע ֻצ ִעים‬2 Chr 3:10a). The reading in Chronicles is, graphically and phonetically, somewhat similar to the reading in Kings, but not overwhelmingly so. The construct phrase ‫ ַמ ֲע ֵׂשה‬followed by a genitive is commonly used in the Hebrew Bible to refer to different types of crafts. In some forms of the phrase, the genitive is a participle or a “profession noun” denoting the type of craftsman associated with the craft: ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה א ֶֹפה‬, ַ “bakery” (Gen 40:17); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ח ֵֹׁשב‬, ַ “embroidery” (Exod 26:1 = 36:8; 26:31 = 36:35; 28:6; 28:15 = 39:8; 39:3); ‫ַמ ֲע ֵׂשה‬ ‫ר ֵֹקם‬, “needlework” (26:36 = 36:37; 27:16 = 38:18; 28:39 = 39:29); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ָח ַרׁש ֶא ֶבן‬, ַ “jewel engravery” (28:11); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה א ֵֹרג‬, ַ “weaver’s work” (28:32 = 39:22; 39:27); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ר ֵֹק ַח‬, ַ “perfumery” (30:25 = 37:29; 30:35); and ]‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ָח ָרׁש[ים‬, ַ “artisanry” (Jer 10:9; Hos 13:2). In others, the genitive denotes the product that typifies the craft, the process that it involves, or the material on which it is carried out: ‫ַמ ֲע ֵׂשה‬ ‫ר ֶׁשת נְ ח ֶֹׁשת‬,ֶ “bronze network” (Exod 27:4 = 38:4); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ֲעבֹת‬, ַ “ropework” (28:14; 28:22 = 39:15); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ְׂש ָב ָכה‬, ַ “latticework” (1 Kgs 7:17); ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ַׁש ְר ְׁשרֹות‬, ַ “chainwork” (ibid.); ‫ׁשֹוׁשן‬ ָ ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה‬, ַ “lotus work” (vv. 19, 22); ‫מֹורד‬ ָ ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה‬, ַ “hammered work” (v. 29); and ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ִעּזִ ים‬, ַ “goat-hair work” (Num 31:20). However, ‫ ַצ ֲע ֻצ ִעים‬is a hapax legomenon. Whether it was a preexisting word or a neologism coined by the Chronicler, and what he meant by it, can only be conjectured.38 A potentially related form is the rare verb ‫( ָצ ָעה‬Isa 51:14; 63:1; Jer 2:20; 48:12[× 2]), whose meaning is itself unclear. Structurally, the word belongs to the noun pattern qalqal; it resembles ‫( ַׁש ֲע ֻׁש ִעים‬Isa 5:7; Jer 31:20; Ps 119:24, 77, 92, 143, 174; Prov 8:30, 31), which is related to the verb ‫ׁש ֲע ַׁשע‬, ִ “play”, “delight” (Isa 11:8; 29:9; 66:12; Pss 94:19; 119:16, 47, 70), and ‫ּת ְע ֻּת ִעים‬, ַ which, notably, appears only in the construct phrase ‫( ַמ ֲע ֵׂשה ַּת ְע ֻּת ִעים‬Jer 10:15; 51:18) and is related to the verb ‫ּת ְע ַּתע‬, ִ “mock” (Gen 27:12; 2 Chr 36:16).39 38 The word ‫צּוע‬ ַ ‫ ַצ ֲע‬has been reincarnated in Modern Hebrew as the equivalent of the English noun “toy”. The earliest instance of its use in this sense cited by Even-Shoshan (Dictionary) is by Mendele Moykher Sforim (1835/6–1917), appearing in idem, Complete Works, 73. 39 Viezel (“sansinnāyw”, 752) maintains that some qalqal nouns share the semantic characteristic of referring “to something that is round, or roughly circular, that occurs in replicating multiples”, and that some qalqal verbs share the semantic characteristic of expressing “repetition and intensification of the action”. His discussion does not mention any of the words cited in this paragraph.

256

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

The Septaugint’s equivalent for ‫ ַמ ֲע ֵׂשה ַצ ֲע ֻצ ִעים‬is ἔργον ἐκ ξύλων, “woodwork”, showing clearly that the translator either interpreted or actually read ‫ צעצעים‬as ‫עצים‬.40 It was followed by the English Bible translations RSV and ESV with “of wood”. The Peshitta renders the phrase as ‘bd’ mšrr’, “firm work”; the Vulgate has opera statuario, “statuary work”, followed by many English Bible translations with “of image work”; and Targum of Chronicles has ‫עובד שושנין‬, “flowery work”. If any of these three translations were anything more than guesses, it is not evident what they relied on. Talmudic interpretations of the phrase seem to have emerged from phonetic free-association. According to one reading, it indicates that the cherubim are ‫מכוע‬ ‫ללים בכתרים‬, “wreathed with crowns” (Midrash Tadshe 2); presumably, ‫צעצעים‬ was read here as ‫ציצים‬, “diadems”. Another reading, attributed to none other than Onqelos, infers from the phrase that the cherubim ‫מצודדים פניהם כתלמיד הנפטר‬ ‫מרבו‬, “turn their faces aside like a student taking leave of his master” (b. Bava Batra 99a); perhaps ‫ צעצעים‬was read here as ‫ים‬-‫צא‬-‫צא‬, “exit-exit-ers”. Gershom b. Judah (ca. 960–1028), David Kimhi, pseudo-Rashi, and Nahmanides explicitly read ‫ צעצעים‬as ‫צ ֱא ָצ ִאים‬,ֶ “offspring” (a word with 11 occurrences in Isaiah and Job), and interpreted the phrase as meaning that the cherubim look like children, in accordance with an unrelated talmudic view (see § 10.2.1).41 They were followed by the Geneva Bible with “wrought like children”. Gersonides associated the word with the root ‫יצע‬, which has the essential meaning “to spread out”, and interpreted it as saying that the cherubim spread their wings (§ 11.3.3).42 Jonah ibn Janah noted that ‫ ַצ ֲע ֻצ ִעים‬had been interpreted as the equivalent of Arabic ḫrṭ,43 “turnery” or “carvery”. The renderings of the English Bible translations NAB, “of carved workmanship”, NKJV, “fashioned by carving”, and NRSV, “carved”, lie along similar lines. Solomon ibn Parhon interpreted the phrase as referring to intricate joinery using many small, connected parts.44 Neither grammarian adduced any evidence for his view. Meyuhas b. Elijah derived the word from the verb ‫ ָצ ָעה‬and interpreted it as referring to sculpture in the round.45 Malbim adduced the same verb but interpreted the phrase as meaning that the cherubim were made such that they appeared to be in mid-flight, by virtue of the wings looking like they were capable of flapping back and forth.46 Keil and Delitzsch, followed by BDB, identified the root of ‫ ַצ ֲע ֻצ ַע‬as ‫ צוע‬and related the 40  Tov (Text-Critical Use, 174) cites this translation as an instance of “etymological exegesis” that does not reflect a Hebrew variant. 41  Gershom: commentary on b. Bava Batra 99a; Kimhi and pseudo-Rashi: commentaries on 2 Chr 3:10, in Cohen, Chronicles, 179; Kimhi also in Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Radicum Liber, 318; Nahmanides: commentary on Deut 21:14, in Cohen, Deuteronomy, 143. 42 Commentary on 2 Chr 3:10, in Cohen, Chronicles, 179. 43 Bacher, Sepher Haschoraschim, 438. 44  Stern and Rapoport, Mahberet Ha‘Arukh, 58c. 45  Commentary on 2 Chr 3:10, in Cohen, Chronicles, 179. 46  Weisser (Malbim), Otzar HaPerushim, 3:288.

11.2 Dimensions

257

word to Arabic ṣwġ, “form, fashion”.47 HALOT advocates the same etymology but defines the word as “casting, cast”;48 similar is Myers, who maintained that the phrase means “molten” and “probably refers to a figure of precious metal”.49 Whatever the meaning of the phrase ‫מ ֲע ֵׂשה ַצ ֲע ֻצ ִעים‬, ַ the Chronicler may have replaced Kings’ ‫ ֲע ֵצי ָׁש ֶמן‬with it in order to blur any differences between the description of the temple cherubim in Kings and the description of the tabernacle cherubim in Exodus.50 The most glaring of these differences is that the cherubim in Exodus are made of solid gold while the cherubim in Kings are made of wood.51

11.2 Dimensions 11.2.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data The dimensions of the tabernacle cherubim are not specified.52 The same is true of the tabernacle’s lampstand (Exod 25:31–40 = 37:17–24), laver, and laver stand (30:17–21 ≈ 38:8). Apparently, the priestly author did not feel that the dimensions of irregularly shaped objects can be meaningfully quantified. Nevertheless, certain boundaries can be inferred from the physical description of the cherubim and the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ The cherubim face each other from the ends of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬and spread their wings over it (§ 11.3.1). It seems reasonable to suppose that the wings of each cherub do not extend past the middle of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ meaning that the “length” of each cherub – that is, the distance from its back to its wingtips, running parallel to the length of the ark – does not exceed 1.25 cubits (ca. 62.5 cm). The implied maximum wingspan also permits an inference of an upper height boundary. If each wing of each cherub does not extend more than 1.25 cubits, 47 K&D,

Chronicles, 317.  Josephus stated that the cherubim in the temple cella were ὁλοχρύσους, “of solid gold”. Might this description derive from Josephus’s having understood ‫ מעשה צעצעים‬in like manner? 49  Myers, II Chronicles, 15; see also Yeivin, “Philological Notes XIII”, 43. 50  On content harmonization in Chronicles, see Kalimi, Chronicles, 140–156. 51  Perhaps it is not too speculative to suggest that the Chronicler settled on this replacement by choosing to vocalize Kings’ ‫ עצי שמן‬counterintuitively as ‫*ע ִצי ַׂש ָמן‬. ֵ This vocalization would yield a reading that, while neither lexically standard nor grammatically correct, would immediately elicit the understanding “woody he made them [i. e., the cherubim]”. For the adjectivizing noun termination ‫‑ִי‬, see GKC, § 86h–i; Joüon, § 88Mg. For midrashic techniques applied by the Chronicler to his source material, see Seeligmann, “Beginning of Midrash”, passim; Kalimi, Chronicles, passim. 52 The talmudic sages (b. Sukkah 5b) attributed the same height to these cherubim as they attributed to the ark proper with its ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ namely 10 handbreadths or 5/3 cubits (ca. 83 cm). Conversely, Abraham ibn Ezra (long commentary on Exod 30:2, in Cohen, Exodus II, 119) suggested that the cherubim reached the same height as the incense altar, 2 cubits, which, even if the thickness of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is negligible, would mean that the height of the cherubim themselves was merely half a cubit (ca. 25 cm). 48

258

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

the wingspan of each cherub cannot be very much greater than 2.5 cubits. (It can be a little greater, since we must allow for the possibility that the wings do not extend in a horizontal line. And, since the wings are extended perpendicularly to the width of the cherub’s back, the width of the back must also be added to the wingspan.) Since the wingspan of winged humans in ancient Near Eastern iconography always equals or exceeds their height (§ 10.3.2), the priestly author could not have had in mind that the cherubim were very much taller than 2.5 cubits (ca. 125 cm), and he may have imagined them as considerably shorter.53

11.2.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels A solid gold, humanoid sculpture that almost certainly equals or exceeds the tabernacle cherubim in size is the innermost, anthropoid coffin of Tutankhamun. This coffin is made of solid, beaten gold, is 187.5 cm long and 2.5 to 3 mm thick, and weighs 110.4 kg [Figure 11.6 / Plate 7a].54

11.2.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data In the temple, both cherubim have an equal height of 10 cubits (ca. 5 m: 1 Kgs 6:23, 26). Each wing of a cherub measures 5 cubits (v. 24a). Thus, a cherub has a total wingspan of 10 cubits (v. 24b). The two cherubim are identical in this physical detail (v. 25a), and in all others (v. 25b). The statement that each wing measures 5 cubits and that the total wingspan amounts to 10 cubits is straightforward. Clearly, each wing is measured from the center of the body, eliminating the need to account for the body itself, either because the wings actually emerge from the center of the back, or as a device to avoid unnecessarily complicating the description. Nevertheless, the Amora Samuel (end of second century to mid-third century) concluded from the statement that that the bodies of the cherubim stood “by a miracle” (b. Bava Batra 99a ≈ Yoma 21a). The Talmud records various challenges raised against this conclusion, including that of Abbaye, who remarked that the cherubim “might have stood [with their bodies] protruding like [those of] chickens”, and the less probable suggestion of R. Papa that their wings might have been angled (Bava Batra ad loc.). In the modern era, the same issue has troubled Metzger, who independently alights on the solutions of Abbaye and R. Papa, and notes, in favor of the former,

53 It will be recalled that the height of the ark itself is 1.5 cubits, and that the height of the bronze altar – the tallest of the principal tabernacle objects whose height is specified – is 3 cubits (Exod 27:1 = 38:1). Since the frames that form the structure of the tabernacle are 10 cubits high (Exod 26:15–16 = 36:20–21), the cherubim can by no means be taller than 8.5 cubits (ca. 4.25 m). 54  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 255.

11.3 Position and Posture

259

that the emergence of wings from the back is typical of composite creatures depicted on Hurrian-Mittanian cylinder seals.55

11.2.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels Certain neo-Assyrian colossal sculptures from Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin) parallel the temple cherubim in their dimensions. A winged human in stone relief from one of the city gates, now held at the Louvre, is 4.49 meters, or precisely 10 “short” cubits, in height [Figure 11.7].56 A 16-tonne winged, human-headed bull (lamassu) in stone relief from the same city, held at the British Museum, is 4.42 meters high and, moreover, 4.47 meters long, or 10 “short” cubits in each dimension [Figure 11.8].57 Other lamassu colossi from Khorsabad are slightly larger or smaller. One specimen at the University of Chicago, from the entrance to the throne-room of Sargon II, is 4.953 meters high and 4.914 meters long.58 Another at the Louvre stands at 4.20 meters high and 4.36 meters long.59

11.2.5 Chronicles The height of the temple cherubim is not specified in Chronicles’ parallel to the main description of the cherubim in Kings (2 Chr 3:10–13), in accordance with the tendency of the author of the pericope in which this parallel appears not to specify the height of objects and structures (§ 10.3.1.2). The information regarding the length of the cherubim’s wings is digested with the information regarding their position and posture, but the substance of the information is the same: each wing of each cherub is 5 cubits long (1 Chr 3:11–13a).60

11.3 Position and Posture 11.3.1 Tabernacle Cherubim: Biblical Data 11.3.1.1 Facing Each Other The tabernacle cherubim are positioned ‫מ ְּׁשנֵ י ְקצֹות ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ִ “at the two edges of the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ (Exod 25:18 = 37:7). This positioning is reiterated with the words ‫ְּכרּוב‬  Metzger, Königsthron, 1:338–339. “Blessing Genius” (AO 19863). 57  BM, “118809”, a. Item 118872 at the museum, seen above [Figure 10.9], is smaller, at only 3.15 m L. × 3.09 m H. 58  OI, “A 7369”. 59  ML, “Winged Human-Headed Bull” (AO 19857). 60  Kalimi (Reshaping, 270, 272, 307, 378–379) identifies the techniques used to create this digest as “diachronic chiasmus”, inclusio, and the pattern of “general – specific – general” (‫כלל‬ ‫)ופרט וכלל‬. 55

56 ML,

260

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

‫ּוכרּוב ֶא ָחד ִמ ָּק ָצה ִמּזֶ ה‬ ְ ‫א ָחד ִמ ָּק ָצה ִמּזֶ ה‬, ֶ “one cherub at the one edge and the other cherub at the other edge” (25:19 = 37:8), and again with the words ‫צֹותיו‬ ָ ‫על ְׁשנֵ י ְק‬, ַ “on the two edges” (25:19), or ‫צֹותיו‬ ָ ‫מ ְּׁשנֵ י ְק‬, ִ “at the two edges” (37:8 Q; ‫ קצוותו‬K). From either edge of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ the cherubim face each other across it: ‫יהם ִאיׁש‬ ֶ ֵ‫ּופנ‬ ְ ‫( ֶאל ָא ִחיו‬25:20 = 37:9).61 11.3.1.2 ’el hakkappōret Immediately after stating that the faces of the cherubim are turned toward each other, the text adds the words ‫היּו ְּפנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬/‫יּו‬ ָ ‫אל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת יִ ְה‬, ֶ literally “the faces of the cherubim shall be/were toward the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ (Exod 25:20b = 37:9b). Many commentators have assumed, some uncritically, that this means that the faces of the cherubim are turned downward, toward the surface of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬from which the bodies of the cherubim emerge. These commentators include Hananel b. Hushiel (d. 1055/56), Joseph Bekhor Shor, Hezekiah b. Manoah, Abraham ibn Ezra, Gersonides, Ehrlich, Gressmann, Cassuto, and Houtman.62 However, a more straightforward explanation, advocated by Japheth b. Eli, Samuel b. Meir, Leqah Tov, Jacob, and Propp, is that the statement simply means that the cherubim face the space where the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬lies, i. e., inward, and that it reiterates and clarifies the previous proclamation that the cherubim face each other.63 Interpreted in this manner, the verse exemplifies the methods of construct replacement and small-unit chiasmus that are characteristic of the priestly style.64 The same understanding, namely that the statement is not meant to introduce new information, was reached earlier via a different route by the Peshitta and a glossator on Targum Neofiti, whose equivalents to ‫( ֶאל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in both 25:20 and 37:9) are respectively [l]‘l [mn] ḥwsy’ and ]‫על כפ[רתא‬, both meaning “above the ‫;”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ these translators seem to have read the phrase as ‫על הכפרת‬.

61 The Samaritan Pentateuch (in both verses) and 4QpaleoExodm (in Exod 25:20) attest ‫אחד‬ ‫ אל אחד‬instead of ‫איש אל אחיו‬. 4QpaleoGen-Exodl (in Exod 25:20) agrees with the Masoretic Text. The meaning of both phrases is the same: elsewhere in the tabernacle account we find the feminine form ‫( ִא ָּׁשה ֶאל ֲאח ָֹתּה‬Exod 26:3[× 2], 5, 6, 17) paralleled by ‫( ַא ַחת ֶאל ֶא ָחת‬36:10[× 2], 12, 13, 22). 62 Hananel: commentary on Exod 25:10, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:89; Hezekiah: commentary on Exod 25:20, in Katzenelnbogen, ibid., 2:94; Ibn Ezra: Short and long commentaries on Exod 25:20, in Cohen, Exodus II, 74–75; Bekhor Shor and Gersonides ad loc., in Cohen, ibid., 75; Ehrlich, Mikrâ ki-Pheschutô, 190; Gressmann, Lade, 6–7; Cassuto, Commentary, 335; Houtman, Exodus III, 388. 63  Japheth b. Eli: cited in Abraham ibn Ezra’s long commentary on Exod 25:20, in Cohen, Exodus II, 75; Samuel b. Meir: commentary ad loc., in Cohen, ibid., 74; Jacob, Second Book, 777; Propp, Exodus, 392. 64 Paran, Forms of the Priestly Style, 101 n. 21, 163–164.

11.3 Position and Posture

261

11.3.1.3 Outspread Wings The text continues: ֹ�‫יהם ַעל ַה ַּכּפ‬ ֶ ‫וַ ּיִ ְהיּו ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים ּפ ְֹר ֵׂשי ְכנָ ַפיִם ְל ַמ ְע ָלה ס ְֹכ ִכים ְּב ַכנְ ֵפ‬/‫וְ ָהּויּו‬ ‫רת‬,ֶ “the cherubim shall have/had their wings spread ‫ל ַמ ְע ָלה‬,ְ sheltering the ‫ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ with their wings” (Exod 25:20 = 37:9). The wings are thus positioned over the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ Since the cherubim face the middle of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ their wings are extended forward. 11.3.1.4 ləma‘lâ Few have noted that the precise form ‫ל ַמ ְע ָלה‬,ְ which does not appear elsewhere in the tabernacle account, is ambiguous, as it can mean both “above” (Deut 28:13; 2 Kgs 19:30; Isa 37:31; Ezek 41:7; 2 Chr 34:4) and “upward” (Judg 7:13; Isa 8:21; Qoh 3:21). If the first meaning is the operative one here, the statement merely clarifies that the wings of each cherub are spread over the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ i. e., in the direction in which the cherub faces. This is the understanding chosen by the Septuagint (25:20: ἐπάνωθεν), the Temple Scroll (7:12: ‫)מלמעלה מן הארון‬, Rashi (‫אצל‬ ‫)ראשיהם‬, Samuel b. Meir (‫)לצד ראשיהם‬, Hezekiah b. Manoah (‫)למעלה מראשיהן‬,65 and most English Bible translations, including the Geneva Bible, KJV, Webster’s, YLT, RV, ASV, and JPS (“on high”), as well as RSV, ESV, NRSV, NKJV, NAB, and NJPS (“above”). If the second meaning is the operative one, the statement means that the wings of each cherub are extended upward, such that the two cherubim jointly form a chevron-like shape with their outstretched wings. This interpretation, which is adopted by a minority of English Bible translations, including NASB, NIV, and NET (“upward”), seems to be the more probable one [Figure 11.9]. If the text intended to say merely that the wings were above the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ we would expect to see a wording that is used elsewhere in the tabernacle account to convey the same idea: ‫( ִמ ְל ָמ ְע ָלה‬Exod 25:21 = 40:20; 26:14 = 36:19; 39:31; 40:19) or ‫*מ ַּמ ַעל ַל ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ִ (see 28:27 = 39:20).

11.3.2 Tabernacle Cherubim: Parallels 11.3.2.1 Overview A pair of winged creatures facing each other and spreading their wings in a sheltering gesture toward an object or figure between them is a common motif in the visual art of the Levant from the Middle Bronze Age until the Persian period.66 65 Rashi, Samuel b. Meir, and Hezekiah b. Manoah on Exod 25:20; first two in Cohen, Exodus II, 74; last in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus, 2:94. 66  For items from the Middle Bronze Age, see Teissier, Egyptian Iconography, nos. 27, 28, 263, 266, 267, 268 (pp. 54–55, 119, 121, 140–141). For items from the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age, see Eggler, Keel, et al., Corpus der Siegel-Amulette, ‘Amman Flughafen 21; Keel, Corpus Band I, Achsib 35, 69, 75, Aschdod 66; idem, Corpus Band II, Bet Schean 37, Bet Schemesch 1,

262

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

In the classic form of this motif, each creature extends one wing upward and one wing downward, and thus the two creatures’ four wings create a diamond shape around the sheltered entity. The sheltering creatures are usually humanoids (male or female),67 birds, or snake-like creatures (uraei), but may be of other types. The sheltered entity may be a sacred tree, a ruler, a cartouche (representing a pharaoh), Horus as a child (Harpocrates), a djed pillar (representing Osiris), other figures and symbols, or an empty space. The motif appears on Egyptianizing items from the Middle Bronze Age Levant, and, later, during the Eighteenth Dynasty, becomes widespread in the iconography of Egypt itself.68 Three examples from the land of Israel are especially noteworthy. An ivory relief from Samaria dated to the ninth century BCE shows two winged woman-like figures, Isis and Nephthys, spreading their wings in the diamond pattern. The figures are kneeling and holding a lotus flower in each hand. Each figure is adorned with a necklace and crowned with a disk. Between them stands a djed pillar, also crowned with a disk, on an inverted-lotus base [Figure 11.10 / Plate 7b].69 On the El’amar stamp seal from Megiddo, dated to the eighth or seventh century, two winged, horned snakes appear, spreading their wings in the diamond pattern; there is nothing between them [Figure 11.11].70 On another stamp seal from Achziv in the Judean lowlands, two winged snakes spread their wings toward a figure sitting Egyptian-style, with a falcon head crowned with a disk, and an object – apparently a Maat feather – sticking up from its knees [Figure 11.12]. Keel dates the seal to the Egyptian Twenty-Second to Twenty-Fifth Dynasties (945–656 BCE).71 The diamond pattern, in which the outspread wings vertically surround the sheltered entity, seems to be a convention meant to overcome the limitations inherent to two-dimensional art. The attempt is to convey horizontal surrounding in a way that allows uninhibited portrayal of all four wings as well as the protected entity. This supposition is validated by a three-dimensional item in which the motif appears: on a ring bezel of Tutankhamun, a falcon and a vulture flank a group of figures and spread their wings in exactly this manner [Figure 11.13 /

179, Der el-Balah 66, Ekron 17; idem, Corpus Band III, Tell el-Fara Sud 888; Thureau-Dangin et al., Arslan-Tash, 92–99, pls. 19–23. For items from the Persian period, see Boardman, Classical Phoenician Scarabs, nos. 10/24, 11/23, 11/118, 11/119, 11/121–11/125, 11/X37, 11/X39, 11/ X41, 11/X43, 11/X44 (n.p.) 67 The apkallû, the winged, occasionally raptor-headed humans of Mesopotamian art, are not portrayed as sheltering with their wings, which face backward. Thus, they are not close parallels to cherubim (pace Noegel, “On the Wings”, 23 n. 51), despite sharing the same overall form. 68 See Teissier, Egyptian Iconography, 142; Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”, 486. 69  Crowfoot and Crowfoot, Early Ivories from Samaria, 16, 18–19, pic. 1; Israel Antiquities Authority, “1933–2553”. 70  Avigad and Sass, Corpus; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 101–103 fig. 84. 71  Keel, Corpus Band I, Achsib 75.

11.3 Position and Posture

263

Plate 8a].72 These birds, which stand on either end of the flat surface, also illustrate the position of the cherubim on either end of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ 11.3.2.2 Setting Since the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is a lid for the ark, the cherubim that stand at its two ends are positioned atop the ark. A similar picture is found on a wall relief from the temple of Seti I at Abydos (Abedju) [Figure 11.14]. Here, two falcons, representing Isis and Nephthys, stand at either end of the lid of a coffin, flanking a prostrate Osiris and sheltering him with their outspread wings. (On resemblances between the ark and a coffin, see § 6.2.6.) The classic form of the motif also appears in a depiction of the tent used by Ramesses II in the Battle of Qadesh, found on the north wall of the Great Hall at Abu Simbel [Figure 11.15]. Homan argues that this tent is the closest parallel to the tabernacle. Its inner “throne tent” section, parallel to the tabernacle’s holy of holies, is shown containing two disk-crowned falcons that flank the cartouche of Ramesses II and protect it with their wings extended in the diamond pattern. Homan notes the similarity to the tabernacle cherubim, writing that in each case the wings cover a golden throne.73 However, neither the surface supporting the cartouche in the Egyptian depiction nor the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬of the biblical tabernacle (§ 6.2.2, § 7.7) are thrones. It would be more accurate to say, as Hoffmeier does, that in both cases the wings shelter a surface that supports the presence of the tent’s occupant.74 Winged minor goddesses forming this motif were a staple of Egyptian bark shrines, with the god shown seated between them [Figure 6.8].75 A Phoenician temple model, reportedly from Sidon and dated by different scholars either to the ninth/eighth century or to the first half of the fifth century BCE, features winged goddesses represented in relief on the side walls, flanking the enthroned deity inside the chamber of the model and protecting it in this manner [Figure 11.16].76 If the item is authentic, it illustrates the use of our motif in a Levantine temple context. 11.3.2.3 ləma‘lâ The interpretation advocated above for the word ‫ל ַמ ְע ָלה‬,ְ according to which the cherubim extend their wings upward, is illustrated by a rare variant of this  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 44j.  Homan, “Divine Warrior”, 30; idem, To Your Tents, 113. 74 Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel, 208. 75  Falk, “Egyptian Barque Shrines”, 192 = idem, “Ritual Processional Furniture”, 44–45. 76  Wagner, ägyptische Einfluss, 53 cat. 52; Sader, Iron Age, 78 cat. 56. Also discussed, with additional bibliography, by de Vaux, “chérubins”, 252; Keel, Symbolism, 162, fig. 222; Metzger, Königsthron, 2:276 (no. 1193); Gubel, Phoenician Furniture, 38 cat. 3. 72 73

264

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

motif. On a scarab from Beit Shean, dated by its excavators to 1680–1650 BCE, two uraei flank an upside-down lotus flower and extend their wings upward and above it, forming a chevron-like shape [Figure 11.17].77

11.3.3 Temple Cherubim: Biblical Data Like the tabernacle cherubim, the temple cherubim have their wings spread out, and the very same verb, ‫ּפ ַרׂש‬, ָ is used in the main description of the temple cherubim to describe this posture: ‫וַ ּיִ ְפ ְרׂשּו ֶאת ַּכנְ ֵפי ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, “and the wings of the cherubim were spread” (1 Kgs 6:27). The verb is used again in remarks concerning the cherubim in the account of the introduction of the ark to the temple: ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫ִּכי ַה ְּכ‬ ‫ּפ ְֹר ִׂשים ְּכנָ ַפיִ ם ֶאל ְמקֹום ָה ָארֹון‬, “for the cherubim had their wings spread over the place of the ark” (1 Kgs 8:7). Moreover, this passage, like the tabernacle account, also uses the verb ‫ס ַכך‬, ָ but, since there is no ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in Kings, these cherubim shelter the ark directly: ‫( וַ ּיָ סֹּכּו ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים ַעל ָה ָארֹון וְ ַעל ַּב ָּדיו ִמ ְל ָמ ְע ָלה‬v. 7b). The main description continues to specify the position of the cherubim’s wings. Each cherub has an (outer) wing touching one of the walls of the inner cella (1 Kgs 6:27a). Meanwhile, the (inner) wings of the cherubim touch each other in the middle of the cella (v. 27b). From these statements it must be inferred that, as opposed to the tabernacle cherubim, which face each other and spread their wings in front of them, the two temple cherubim face the same direction, which can only be toward the entrance of the cella, and that each spreads its wings to its sides. Since the text earlier informed us that the inner cella is 20 cubits wide (1 Kgs 6:20) and that each wing of each cherub is 5 cubits long, yielding a wingspan of 10 cubits for each cherub (vv. 24–25), it must also be inferred that the two cherubim are aligned and that their wings are spread in a horizontal line, allowing the four wings to span the width of the inner cella precisely [Figure 11.18].

11.3.4 Temple Cherubim: Parallels The picture of the two cherubim standing abreast, each one spreading its wings out to either side such that the outer wings touch the walls and the inner wings touch each other, finds a close parallel on the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun [Figure 11.19 / Plate 8b].78 The sarcophagus is surrounded by reliefs of the four protective goddesses, one goddess on each corner, and each goddess spreads her wings almost horizontally along the two sides adjacent to her corner.79 On the  Mazar and Mullins, Excavations, 584–585; Keel, Corpus Band II, Bet-Schean 212.  Malek, Tutankhamun, Object 240; Eaton-Krauss, Sarcophagus. 79  The motif of wings spread in a protective gesture is very common in decorations of coffins, sarcophagi, and canopic jars in Egypt from the New Kingdom onward. For further information, see Taylor, Egyptian Coffins; Dodson et al., Canopic Equipment; Dodson, “Canopic Jars and Chests”; Lapp and Niwínski, “Coffins, Sarcophagi and Cartonnages”. 77 78

11.3 Position and Posture

265

long sides of the sarcophagus, the wing of the goddess on the one corner touches the wing of the goddess on the other corner, such that the two wings together span the entire side. On the short sides, the wings of the adjacent goddesses cross each other in the middle and touch the opposite end of the side.

11.3.5 Chronicles The actions denoted by the verbs ‫ ָּפ ַרׂש‬and ‫ ָס ַכך‬are attributed to the cherubim yet again in 1 Chr 28:18: ‫לפ ְֹר ִׂשים וְ ס ְֹכ ִכים ַעל ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬.ְ While this verse does not have any parallel in Kings, the use of these two verbs together with the designation of their indirect object as ‫ ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬indicates that the author of the verse is paraphrasing 1 Kgs 8:6–7. The verses in Chronicles that do parallel 1 Kgs 8:6–7, namely 2 Chr 5:7–8, contain no interesting variants, except that instead of the verb ‫וַ ּיָ סֹּכּו‬, they attest the orthographically similar reading ‫( וַ יְ ַכּסּו‬4QKgs reads ‫)ויסכו‬. The passage in Chronicles that parallels the main description of the cherubim in Kings, namely 2 Chr 3:10–13, contains no significant differences relating to the position or posture of the cherubim except for the following statements, which have no parallel in Kings: ‫יהם ַל ָּביִת‬ ֶ ֵ‫ּופנ‬ ְ ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫( וְ ֵהם ע ְֹמ ִדים ַעל ַרגְ ֵל‬v. 13). Even before these statements are analyzed, it may be said that they reflect an incorporation of Isaiah’s seraphim vision (Isa 6:1–13) into the description of the cherubim.80 The seraphim are described as ‫( ע ְֹמ ִדים‬v. 2); as having ‫ ַרגְ ַליִם‬and ‫( ָּפנִ ים‬ibid.); and as being located in the vicinity of ‫( ַה ַּביִת‬v. 4). The phrase ‫ ָע ַמד ַעל ַרגְ ָליו‬is unproblematic, meaning simply “stand” or “stand up” (Ezek 2:1, 2; 3:24; 37:10; Zech 14:12). The purpose of its use here is to state explicitly what we would assume anyway, namely that the cherub sculptures depict creatures in a standing position. It does not constitute evidence that the Chronicler necessarily imagined cherubim as having legs and/or feet (see § 3.5.3.1), since the word ‫ ַרגְ ַליִם‬can refer more generally to the lower part of the body, and it in fact does so in Isa 6:2, by which our verse is inspired, in referring to a body part possessed by snakes (cf. Targum Jonathan ad loc.) The statement ‫יהם ַל ָּביִת‬ ֶ ֵ‫ּופנ‬, ְ however, does show that the Chronicler imagined cherubim as each having one face, like the tabernacle cherubim, and unlike Ezekiel’s creatures, each of which has four, and the two-dimensional cherubim decorating the temple in Ezekiel 41:18, each of which has two (see § 10.1). The term ‫ ַל ָּביִת‬requires explanation. It is most readily understood as referring to the main hall of the temple, from which the inner cella is approached: this section of the temple, as distinguished from the inner cella in which the cherubim are located, is called ‫ ַה ַּביִת‬in the same pericope (v. 8; cf. 1 Kgs 6:17 MT). The term 80 Japhet (Ideology, 396) maintains that Isaiah is one of the biblical books that exercised the greatest influence over the Chronicler.

266

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

is interpreted in this manner in the Septuagint (είς τὸν οἶκον), the Vulgate (ad exteriorem domum), and in most English Bible translations and major modern commentaries.81 If the term is understood in this way, the statement reinforces the picture that is already implied by the passage’s description of the cherubim’s wings: the cherubim stand abreast and face the cella’s entrance (see § 11.3.3). However, the term also evokes the meaning “inward”, like ‫יתה‬ ָ ‫( ָּב‬e. g., 2 Chr 4:4), and it is understood in this manner by the Peshitta (lgw), Targum of Chronicles (‫)לגיו‬, Propp (“inward”),82 and a minority of English Bible translations including KJV, Webster’s, YLT, JPS, NKJV, and NET (“inward”). If the word is understood in this way, the statement creates a picture of the temple cherubim facing each other, like the tabernacle cherubim (§ 11.3.1.1). If the Chronicler chose this delightfully ambiguous term in a deliberate attempt to blur a difference that could not be resolved, i. e., the difference between the directions faced by the tabernacle cherubim and by the temple cherubim, the translation history of the passage shows that he succeeded. In this chapter, we have seen parallels in ancient Near Eastern iconography, some of them striking, to all formal details of the ark cherubim. These details, especially as they pertain to the position and posture of the cherubim, have pointed the way to the question of their function, which will be addressed directly in the next chapter.

81  Curtis and Madsen, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 327; Myers, II Chronicles, 15; Japhet, I and II Chronicles, 556; see also Yeivin, “Philological Notes XIII”, 39. 82  Propp, Exodus, 392.

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.1: Statuette of Amun, Thebes.

267

268

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.2: Copper-alloy figure, Saqqara.

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.3: Gold statuette on stick, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Fig. 11.4: Gilded wooden statues of Tutankhamun, tomb of Tutankhamun.

269

270

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.5: Gilded statuette of Selket, tomb of Tutankhamun.

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.6: Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun.

271

272

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.7: Protective genius, Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin).

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.8: Gypsum sculpture of protective spirit, Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin).

273

274

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.9: Diagram of the holy of holies in the tabernacle, showing the size of the ark and the position and posture of the cherubim.

Fig. 11.10: Ivory plaque, Samaria.

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.11: El’amar seal, Megiddo.

Fig. 11.12: Scarab, Achziv.

275

276

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.13: Ring bezel, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Fig. 11.14: Relief, temple of Seti I, Abydos.

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.15: Relief, Abu Simbel.

Fig. 11.16: Phoenician temple model, unprovenanced.

277

278

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.17: Scarab, Beit Shean.

Fig. 11.18: Diagram of the holy of holies in the Temple, showing the size, position, and posture of the ark cherubim.

11. The Cherubim: Details of Form

Fig. 11.19: Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun.

279

12. The Cherubim: Function This study will conclude with an investigation of the function of the ark cherubim in the tabernacle and in the temple. In the present chapter, the prevailing identification of this function in contemporary scholarship will be rejected.

12.1 Survey of Interpretation 12.1.1 Schmidt, Albright, et al.: The Throne of Yhwh The prevailing opinion among scholars is that the cherubim of the ark form or support the throne of Yhwh. This view, which was anticipated by medieval Jewish commentators,1 was developed on a textual basis by Schmidt, Haran, and others,2 and on an iconographic basis by Albright, de Vaux, and Keel.3 It is now the sole or preferred opinion in many of the major commentaries on Exodus4 and Kings5 and the biblical encyclopedia and dictionary entries6 in which the function of the cherubim is discussed.7 Moreover, it serves as a basis for additional theories – for example, that the throne in the temple was essentially equivalent to the “bull pedestals” of northern Israel (1 Kgs 12:28–32; 2 Kgs 10:29; 17:16; 2 Chr 1 Hananel b. Hushiel stated (commentary on Exod 25:10, in Katzenelnbogen, Exodus 2:89) that the cherubim of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬symbolize the angels, which constitute a “majestic throne” (‫כסא‬ ‫ )כבוד‬for the divine Immanence above them. Joseph Bekhor Shor (commentary on Exod 25:18, in Cohen, Exodus II, 73) also compared these cherubim to “the Throne of Majesty” (‫)כסא הכבוד‬, and Nahmanides (commentary on Exod 25:1, 21–22, in Cohen, ibid., 67, 75) called them a “lofty throne” (‫ )כסא עליון‬and the “bearers of the Majesty” (‫)נושאי הכבוד‬. 2  K&D, Pentateuch, 2:168–170; Driver, Book of Genesis, 60; Schmidt, “Kerubenthron und Lade”; Cassuto, Commentary, 328–336; Haran, “Ark”. 3  Albright, “What Were the Cherubim”; de Vaux, “chérubins”; Keel, Symbolism, 166–171; idem, Jahwe-Visionen, 15–45; Keel and Uehlinger, Gods, 157, 168. 4 Aside from the commentaries mentioned above, see Durham, Exodus, 359 (“indeterminate”); Sarna, Exodus, 161. 5 Montgomery and Gehman, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, 155–157; Gray, I and II Kings, 170–172; Fritz, 1 and 2 Kings, 74; Cogan, I Kings, 244–245. 6 Freedman and O’Connor, “kerûḇ”; Seow, “Ark of the Covenant”; Meyers, “Cherubim”; Mettinger, “Cherubim”; Birch, “Ark of the Covenant”; George et al., “Ark of the Covenant”; Staubli et al., “Cherubim”. 7  Additional references for this view are provided in Mettinger, “Yhwh Sabaoth”, 113 n. 23. For the incorporation of this idea into broader theories, see: ibid.; idem, Dethronement, 19–24; Keel, Geschichte Jerusalems, 1:294–305.

282

12. The Cherubim: Function

11:15; 13:8);8 that this throne existed at Shiloh and originated in the Canaanite cult of El;9 and that it formed a divine iconography that mirrored the iconography of the king.10 The view differs in certain details from scholar to scholar. Some of its advocates concede that the author of the description of the cherubim in the tabernacle did not intend to portray them in this way.11 Others seem to admit that the author of the descriptions of the ark cherubim in the temple also did not intend to portray them in this way, but nevertheless contend that this was historically the function, or at least one of the functions, of the cherubim in the sanctuary.12 Three basic arguments have been adduced in support of this view. The first argument is that other biblical passages portray Yhwh as seated or otherwise supported upon cherubim. These passages purportedly include the phrase ‫י ֵֹׁשב‬ ‫ה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬,ַ understood as “who is seated upon the cherubim” (§ 9.3.2.1); Ezek 1–3 and 8–11, which portray the Majesty of Yhwh as present on a throne above four “living beings” or cherubim (§ 9.1.1); 1 Chr 28:18, which describes the ark cherubim in the temple as “the image of the chariot” (§ 9.1.4); and Ps 18:11 ≈ 2 Sam 22:11, which seemingly describes Yhwh riding a cherub or cherubim (§ 9.2.1).13 The second argument is that one would expect a throne in the sanctuary.14 While many scholars have identified this throne with the ark (§ 6.2.1), it has been argued that the cherubim fit the bill better, since they are far taller than the ark, thus more deserving of the descriptions “high and exalted” (Isa 6:1) and “exalted from the beginning” (Jer 17:12).15 The cherubim serving as the throne would also fit well with the idea of the ark as Yhwh’s footstool, a function that several verses purportedly attribute to it (§ 6.2.3), since it is situated below the wings of the cherubim.16 The third argument is that such a function would neatly match the “sphinx throne” motif, which is present in Phoenician visual art from the late second millennium BCE until the Roman period and appears twice in the land of Israel.17 This is a throne, upon which a king or a god is seated, flanked on either  Albright, From the Stone Age, 229–230.  Cross, Canaanite Myth, 69; Mettinger, “Yhwh Sabaoth”, 131–134. See also Eissfeldt, Kleine Schriften, 3:116–121. 10  Hendel, “Social Origins”. 11 Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 17; idem, Geschichte Jerusalems, 2:918; Mettinger, Dethronement, 87. 12  Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”, 485–490; von Rad, “Tent”, 107–108; Landsberger, “Origin”, 233–235; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:350–351; see also Kaufmann, Toledot, 2:349–354. 13 Nahmanides; Schmidt, “Kerubenthron und Lade”, 135. 14  Haran, “Ark”, 90; Mettinger, Dethronement, 29–32. 15  Schmidt, “Kerubenthron und Lade”, 129–130. 16  Cassuto, Commentary, 330–331; Haran, “Ark”, 87–88; de Vaux, “chérubins”, 256–258; idem, Bible, 147–148. 17  Albright, “What Were the Cherubim”, 2; de Vaux, “chérubins”, 243–252. For earlier attempts to find parallels in ancient Near Eastern iconography to the hypothesized cherub throne, see Schmidt, “Kerubenthron und Lade”, 134–135; von Rad, “Tent”, 110.  8  9

12.1 Survey of Interpretation

283

side by a winged sphinx, a type of creature with which the cherub should supposedly be identified (§ 10.2.5). The sphinxes stand adjacent to the throne and appear to support it, at least partially. The three oldest items displaying this motif are all from the late second millennium BCE and constitute a coherent group. These are: a statuette from Megiddo [Figure 12.1];18 an ivory carving, also from Megiddo [Figure 12.2];19 and a relief on the sarcophagus of Ahiram [Figure 12.3] (see § 1.5.4). The enthroned figure on the two latter items is a king (the first item features an empty throne), but on later items the enthroned figure is a god, e. g., on a stamp seal from Tyre dated to the early sixth century BCE [Figure 12.4].20 There is evidence that sphinx thrones for gods were placed in Phoenician temples [Figure 11.16].21 It is natural to suppose that the motif could reach the Solomonic temple, as Phoenicians are said to have been involved in its construction: the King of Tyre provided the lumber for it (1 Kgs 5:15–26), and a Phoenician bronze smith wrought its bronze items (1 Kgs 7:13–14), which included openwork stands decorated with cherubim (1 Kgs 7:36; § 8.1).22

12.1.2 Critique of Schmidt, Albright, et al. Despite the scholarly consensus described above, there are several problems with the theory that the ark cherubim were conceived as forming or supporting the throne of Yhwh in the manner of a sphinx throne. Each of these flaws suffices to cast serious doubt on the theory, and together they appear to invalidate it entirely. 12.1.2.1 Not the Stated Function First, if the function of the ark cherubim were to form or support Yhwh’s throne, it would then follow that this function is at least one of the main purposes of the temple and the tabernacle. And, if this were the case, we should expect this function at least to be mentioned, if not elaborated upon at length, in the Hebrew Bible. Yet nowhere in the descriptions of these edifices, or anywhere else for that matter, is it stated that this is the function of the ark cherubim. 12.1.2.2 There Is No Throne An additional problem with the theory is that the descriptions of the temple and the tabernacle do not contain any intimation of an actual throne formed or  Loud, Megiddo Ivories, cat. 3 (p. 13, pl. 4).  Ibid., cat. 2 (p. 13, pl. 4). 20 Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 30, 32 fig. 16. For bibliography, discussions of sphinx thrones, and presentations of the various occurrences of this motif, see: Metzger, Königsthron, 2:259–279; Gubel, Phoenician Furniture, 37–75, pl. 1–14. 21 Keel, Symbolism, 169. 22  Idem, Jahwe-Visionen, 30. 18 19

284

12. The Cherubim: Function

supported by the cherubim. Various proposals have been made in an attempt to overcome this problem.23 Some scholars imagined a plate set between the cherubim or upon them,24 but there is not even a trace of this notion in the descriptions. Another response, offered by de Vaux, is that “[w]e must allow this representation of the ‘seat’ of Yahweh an undefined quality in keeping with the mysteriousness of the divine presence”.25 With this approach of hypothesizing a defined entity and explaining the absence of any mention of it in the text by allowing it “an undefined quality”, one could say absolutely anything: for example, that the lampstand supports Yhwh’s seat or that the cherubim support Yhwh’s bed. Others argue that the outspread wings of the cherubim (in the case of the temple cherubim: the inner wings) themselves constitute the seat.26 This hypothesized throne is structurally implausible: first, it is hard to imagine that the extended wings of the cherubim could by themselves support a seated being, as anyone who has tried to support a great weight on the back of their outstretched arm can attest; second, the sitting surface is divided into wings belonging to two different creatures and is thus even more unstable. Moreover, the throne recreated in all these suggested solutions is thoroughly dissimilar to the Canaanite-Phoenician sphinx throne motif, a motif which includes an actual, visible throne that the sphinxes flank and perhaps support. Keel, following Haran, addresses the last issue by adducing a single statuette from seventh-century BCE Cyprus [Figure 12.5a].27 He argues that the statuette depicts a female human figure seated directly on the inner wings of two sphinxes.28 If Keel’s interpretation were correct, this statuette would be anomalous, besides being geographically distant from the Israelite environment; and thus its significance in our context would be limited. But more importantly, the excavators’ description of the object says nothing of inner wings supporting the figure. On the contrary, it states that she is “sitting in a square arm-chair [… her] arms resting on knees and on sides of chair” and that the sphinxes stand “[a]t each side of the arm-chair”, indicating that the chair is a separate element that is square and has sides. Keel acknowledges the description but counters that “nothing is seen of this chair in the photographs”.29 This, however, is due to the poor quality and particular angles of the photographs. In a newer photograph of the object from a different angle [Figure 12.5b], a side panel of an armchair is distinctly visible,  For bibliography, see Schmitt, Zelt, 128–129; Metzger, Königsthron, 1:326–329.  Schmitt, Zelt, 129; Erich Klamroth, Lade und Tempel (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1932), 6, 72 ff., cited by Metzger, Königsthron, 1:329 n. 1. 25  De Vaux, Bible, 147; cf. idem, “chérubins”, 233–234, 259. 26  Hirsch, in Levy, Pentateuch, 2:437–438; Cassuto, Commentary, 334; Haran, “Ark”, 86; Janowski, “Keruben”, 249–251. 27  Gjerstad et al., Swedish Cyprus Expedition, 2:731, 789, pl. 233. 28  Keel, Symbolism, 120, figs. 231–232; idem, Jahwe-Visionen, 25–26, fig. 9. 29  Keel, Symbolism, 170. 23 24

12.1 Survey of Interpretation

285

consistent with the excavators’ description.30 A third photograph provided to the present writer by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities [Figure 12.5c] shows the chair’s backrest clearly. A similar object, depicting a female figure on a sphinx throne in which no actual throne is clearly visible from a frontal or side view [Figure 12.6a], is shown by Gubel, based on a photograph from the rear [see Figure 12.6b], to be a “backless four-legged tabouret” (emphasis in original).31 12.1.2.3 Cherubim Not Suitable for Throne The position and posture of the ark cherubim also make them unsuitable for forming or supporting a throne. The cherubim of the tabernacle face each other (§ 11.3.1.1). No sphinx throne in which the sphinxes face each other is extant, and it is easy to see why: in such a throne the sphinxes would be looking toward the center of the seat slightly above the sitting surface, an immodest viewing direction to say the least, and one that would not allow them to watch what is happening in front of the throne or to intimidate anyone approaching. The cherubim in the temple, while they stand abreast, spread their wings out to their sides in such a manner that their wings span the entire room (§ 11.3.3). In contrast, the wings of throne sphinxes, when they are depicted, are vertical. One could propose that the cherubim in the temple form a different kind of throne than the sphinx throne, one that is otherwise unattested. But that would still not explain what purpose is served by their spreading their outer wings or why the text emphasizes this. Most importantly, the ark cherubim in both the tabernacle and temple are upright creatures, not beast-like creatures standing on four legs (§ 10.3.1). Thus, they cannot be anything resembling winged sphinxes. The Phoenician sphinx throne, or, more precisely, its variant the lion throne, does appear in the Hebrew Bible. The throne built for Solomon (1 Kgs 10:18–20 ≈ 2 Chr 9:17–19), who enjoyed close contact with the Phoenicians, is identified as belonging to this type with the simple statement ‫ּוׁשנַ יִם ֲא ָריֹות ע ְֹמ ִדים ֵא ֶצל ַהּיָ דֹות‬, ְ “and two lions standing beside the arms”.32 The statement illustrates that the biblical writers knew how to describe this type of throne easily when they wished to do so, and underlines how different such a description is from their portrayal of the ark cherubim. 12.1.2.4 The Divine Presence Is underneath the Cherubim’s Wings In the priestly tabernacle account, three verses make clear that Yhwh was not located above the wings of the cherubim, as the cherub throne theory requires, but below them.33 The first is Yhwh’s promise to Moses in Exodus 25:22: ‫וְ ִד ַּב ְר ִּתי‬ 30 Beer,

“Ayia Irini”, 41 fig. 8a.  Gubel, Phoenician Furniture, 75–80, pl. 12. 32  See: Gray, I and II Kings, 266; Noth, Könige, 231; Ussishkin, “King Solomon’s Palaces”, 90. 33  See: Gressmann, Lade, 9; Houtman, Exodus III, 381. 31

286

12. The Cherubim: Function

‫א ְּתָך ֵמ ַעל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת ִמ ֵּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ֲאר ֹן ָה ֵע ֻדת‬, ִ “I will speak with you from upon the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ – ַ from between the two cherubim – which is upon the ark of the testimony”. The account of the promise’s fulfillment in Num 7:89 states: ‫וַ ּיִ ְׁש ַמע‬ ‫את ַהּקֹול ִמ ַּד ֵּבר ֵא ָליו ֵמ ַעל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת ֲא ֶׁשר ַעל ֲאר ֹן ָה ֵע ֻדת ִמ ֵּבין ְׁשנֵ י ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ֶ “he would hear the voice speaking to him from upon the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬which was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim”. Both verses locate Yhwh’s presence “upon (‫)על‬ ַ the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ and “between the two cherubim”. Neither of these phrases would be apt if the writer wanted to place Yhwh over the wings of the cherubim. If this were the case, he could simply have written ‫*על ַּכנְ ֵפי ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ַ “upon the wings of the cherubim”, or ‫*על ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, ַ “upon the cherubim”. What these verses clearly mean, rather, is that when Yhwh spoke with Moses, he was situated directly upon the surface of the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ framed on either side by the cherubim, and overshadowed by their wings. A third verse, Lev 16:2, locates the place of Yhwh’s presence in the tabernacle: ‫ּכי ֶּב ָענָ ן ֵא ָר ֶאה ַעל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ִ “for I appear in the cloud upon the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬. ַ The same phrase “upon the ‫”ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ַ is used again, but here the cherubim are not even mentioned. This absence is readily understandable if the cherubim merely frame and overshadow the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬upon which Yhwh is present, but it is difficult to reconcile with the idea that they actually constitute the place of the divine presence by forming or supporting Yhwh’s throne.34 In the temple, the ark, with which the divine presence is consistently tied (§ 6.1.1), is explicitly said to be placed ‫רּובים‬ ִ ‫ּת ַחת ַּכנְ ֵפי ַה ְּכ‬, ַ “under the wings of the cherubim” (1 Kgs 8:6 = 2 Chr 5:7). The advocates of the cherub throne view attempt to contend with this fact by positing that the ark is a footstool for the throne formed or supported by the cherubim’s wings. But, first, footstools are not placed “under” their seats; they are placed in front of them. Second, we are never told that the divine presence shifts to being primarily above the wings of the cherubim. 12.1.2.5 The Cherubim Are Secondary to the Ark and Its Contents A final problem with this theory is that if the ark cherubim served as Yhwh’s throne, we would expect them to be treated as the primary objects in the temple 34  The rabbis of the Talmud seem to have considered it obvious that the divine presence was on the surface of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬itself and not on the cherubim. In y. Rosh Hashanah 1:1, R. Simeon b. Lakish is said to have inferred from Exod 25:22 that God spoke from a height of ten handbreadths. His inference is challenged with the assertion that the ark was only nine handbreadths high. The answer, ascribed to the school of R. Yannai, is that the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬itself was a handbreadth thick. Both the challenge and the answer would be inane if the divine presence could be understood as having been upon the cherubim. And, in b. Rosh Hashanah 31a, a homily on Ezek 8–11 ascribed to R. Johanan states that the divine Immanence, when gradually leaving Israel as a result of their sins, first traveled “from ‫ כפרת‬to cherub”, indicating that it was not on a cherub originally.

12.1 Survey of Interpretation

287

and the tabernacle. And the ark with its contents, which according to the cherub throne theory is merely a footstool to the throne, should be treated as ancillary to the cherubim. But, according to all of the biblical evidence, the opposite is the case. In both the tabernacle and the temple, as well as in other contexts, it is the ark that enjoys a primary status, in terms of formal position, unique restrictedness, and psychological importance (§ 1.3). The very purpose of the temple is to house the ark, the stated function of its inner cella is to set the ark there, and the temple’s construction is consummated when the ark is brought in, whereas the cherubim were already there. In the priestly tabernacle account, it is, strictly speaking, the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬that enjoys the preeminent formal position, but the ark draws primacy by containing it (§ 5.1.3). In stark contrast, and contrary to what we would expect if they bore the throne of Yhwh, the cherubim never enjoy any special status, either on their own merits or (in the tabernacle account) through an association with the ‫ §( ֵע ֻדת‬8.2). The cherubim are never mentioned first in lists. No one and nothing is ever said to be “in front of the cherubim”. And they are never said to be restricted or to have any psychological importance for characters. 12.1.2.6 Rebuttal of Positive Arguments The positive arguments in favor of this view have largely been countered by conclusions reached in previous chapters of this study. The phrase ‫י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬ does not express the notion that Yhwh is seated upon cherubim; it has, in fact, nothing to do with seating and thrones (§ 9.3.3). The other passages that are supposed by scholars to depict Yhwh as supported on cherubim speak only of a steed, a chariot, or a vehicle for a mobile throne, and cannot be used as evidence for a stationary throne supported by cherubim. Moreover, it is not clear whether these passages authentically involve cherubim at all. It was argued above that the creatures that support a mobile throne in Ezek 1–3 and 8–11, which are formally different from the ark cherubim in many respects, are only called “cherubim” in Ezek 8–11 as a result of later editorial activity (§ 9.1.3), and that the association in 1 Chr 28:18 of the ark cherubim in the temple with “the chariot” was influenced by this later activity (§ 9.1.4). In any case, Ezekiel’s living beings / cherubim cannot be winged sphinxes or any other zoomorphic creatures and therefore could not function as throne-bearers in the sense that the winged sphinxes flanking the sphinx thrones do, because the text states explicitly that they were basically anthropomorphic (Ezek 1:5; § 10.2.1). It was further argued herein that the Song of David may have originally spoken of a cloud and not of a cherub or cherubim at all (§ 9.2.3). In summary, the concept of the ark cherubim as a throne never appears in the Hebrew Bible, and the concept of the ark cherubim as a chariot appears only once, as a synthetic innovation of the late book of Chronicles.

288

12. The Cherubim: Function

Any expectation of a throne, embodied by a particular object, in the sanctuary would have been met not by the cherubim but by the ark, which, as demonstrated above (§ 6.2.1), was viewed as Yhwh’s throne in a conception recognized, though not endorsed, in the Bible (Jer 3:16–17). The two verses that describe Yhwh’s throne as “exalted” are irrelevant in this context, because neither of them can refer to the ark or to the cherubim; both must be speaking rather of a transcendent throne not connectable to any particular object. The first (Isa 6:1) describes a throne so high above the temple that when Yhwh sits on it, his skirts fill the ‫יכל‬ ָ ‫ §( ֵה‬6.4.1). The second (Jer 17:12) equates the throne with “the place of our sanctuary”, which can only be a broad area and is probably Jerusalem as a whole, consistent with the view of the speaker in Jer 3:17 and with Jer 14:21 (see § 6.2.2). As for the four verses speaking of Yhwh’s footstool (Lam 2:1; Pss 99:5; 132:7; 1 Chr 28:2), though scholars of the “cherub throne” school have argued that they refer to the ark, they were, prior to the end of the nineteenth century, always understood as referring to the temple or the temple mount as a whole, and it has been argued above that the traditional view is correct (§ 6.2.4). If so, neither the throne nor the footstool associated with the temple constitute evidence for the cherubim having been throne-bearers.

12.1.3 Tur-Sinai, Kaufmann: Symbol of Yhwh’s Chariot A view similar to the one critiqued above was advocated by Tur-Sinai, who thought that the cherubim of the ark (he did not distinguish between those of the tabernacle and those of the temple) were an imitation and a symbol of the heavenly cherubim, which served as Yhwh’s chariot and were associated with clouds, as described in the visions of Ezekiel (Ezek 1–3; 8–11). By virtue of their exalted symbolism, and even though they were only an imitation of the real chariot, the cherubim of the ark served as a place for the temporary revelation of Yhwh, who communed with humans above [sic] their concealing wings, and also served as a general symbol for the divine presence. As such they are paralleled, in Tur-Sinai’s view, by the abu ẓhûr al-markab and other Arabian tent-shrines (§ 2.2.3) [Figures 2.3–7, esp. 2.5], which concealed a divine presence inside them and were adorned with feathers.35 While according to this conception the divine presence is situated above the cherubim’s wings, Tur-Sinai rejected any interpretation of the ark as a divine throne or footstool. The ark cherubim, however, cannot be imitations of the creatures that bear Yhwh’s chariot in Ezekiel, because they differ from them both in number (two vs. four) and in form (§ 9.1.1). Further, Tur-Sinai’s view does not take into account the indications that the paradigm of the tabernacle and the temple is one 35 Torczyner, Bundeslade, 11–16, 23–31, 47–51; Tur-Sinai (idem), Language and the Book, 3:20–24, 73–77; idem, “Ark (Ark of God)”, 541–546.

12.1 Survey of Interpretation

289

of a human dwelling-place, a paradigm that implies that Yhwh had a permanent presence there (§ 6.2.1). Finally, Tur-Sinai is forced to interpret all passages that speak of the ark cherubim “sheltering” as meaning that they shelter the divine presence above them. But the text makes clear that the object of the sheltering is in fact the ark or the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ below the cherubim’s wings, not a divine presence above them (§ 11.3.1.3; § 11.3.3). It is very difficult to find any justification for the parallel Tur-Sinai draws between the cherubim and the abu ẓhûr al-markab and related objects. The latter are essentially tents or litters, whereas the cherubim are representations of living creatures. The only characteristic common to both entities found by Tur-Sinai is that they both have feathers, from which Tur-Sinai inferred that the tent-shrine’s function is, as it were, to fly. Kaufmann essentially agreed with Tur-Sinai’s view, presenting it in less detail and deviating from it in several particulars. He did not endorse the parallel with the Arabian tent-shrines, and he acknowledged that Yhwh appears between the cherubim, not above them. Thus he saw the ark cherubim as filling a double function: they symbolize the divine, heavenly chariot; and, as representatives of the protective deity, they guard the tablets in the ark.36 But this view is also contradicted by the priestly description of the cherubim, which states that they do not protect the tablets (or any other objects) inside the ark, but the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬upon the ark, which actually interposes between the cherubim and the ark’s contents (Exod 25:20–21 ≈ 37:9 + 40:20).

12.1.4 Metzger: Firmament Bearers A different suggestion regarding the function of the ark cherubim in the temple was offered by Metzger. Following a comprehensive study, he concluded that the cherubim of the temple are winged sphinxes, but that they stand on their hind legs (§ 10.3.1.2) and are therefore unsuited to serve as throne-bearers. In an attempt nevertheless to tie the cherubim of the temple to the phrase ‫ י ֵֹׁשב ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬according to its prevailing interpretation as “who is seated upon the cherubim”, he suggested that the cherubim of the temple support an invisible firmament above which Yhwh’s invisible throne stands. He went on to suggest that this throne itself may be a sphinx throne(!), comparing this conception with a Hittite temple façade from Eflatun Pinar [Figure 12.7]. The façade features humanoid figures that support, with their uplifted arms, a winged disk, whose wings, according to Metzger, represent heaven. According to a reconstruction by Orthmann, a divine throne originally appeared above the winged disk. Metzger also referred to the Chebar vision of Ezekiel (1–3), in which Yhwh’s throne appears above the  Kaufmann, Toledot, 1:540 n. 6, 670; 2:82–83, 175, 349–354. See also Greenberg, Ezekiel, 54.

36

290

12. The Cherubim: Function

sky-plate above the winged creatures, although he did not argue for a complete identity between the two pictures.37 Origins of this proposal may perhaps be found in the studies of Haran, who saw the ark cherubim as the throne of Yhwh but who rejected the equation with the sphinx throne because he believed that the ark cherubim, like the creatures in Ezekiel’s visions, are two-legged.38 In counterpoint to Haran, Noth had interpreted the ark cherubim in the temple as sphinxes standing on two legs, but he, too, reached a different conclusion than Metzger, namely that their function is to shelter the ark underneath them, not to support a throne above them.39 Metzger was aware of several of the problems with his proposal and struggled to contend with them. To deal with the fact that the function of the ark cherubim in the temple is explicitly said to be the sheltering of the ark, Metzger maintained that the cherubim have a dual function: to shelter the ark and to bear the firmament supporting Yhwh’s throne. He explained the fact that neither the supposed firmament nor the supposed throne are mentioned in the descriptions of the cherubim in Kings as due to a disinclination to represent the throne of Yhwh, which is “high and exalted” (Isa 6:1), or as a result of the biblical prohibition against making images. It must, however, be admitted that the Bible says nothing about a “firmament” of any kind or of a throne above it in the cella of the temple. For this reason, Metzger was forced to say that these elements are left to the imagination of the reader – but no text provides even a hint that the reader was supposed to imagine such things. Metzger attributed this absence to the literary characteristics of the temple description and the Deuteronomistic framework in which it, and the description of the temple consecration, are embedded. According to him, the description of the temple is concerned only with the concrete details of the objects in the temple, while both the temple description and the temple consecration description are situated within a Deuteronomistic framework whose world view is that Yhwh dwells in heaven, not in the temple (1 Kgs 8:30b, 39a, 49a). Regarding the first assertion, it may be noted that the temple description contains an explicit definition of the cella’s function (1 Kgs 6:19). It is not to provide a place for the invisible throne of Yhwh, but, on the contrary, to provide a place for the ark. As for the second claim, it should be pointed out that Solomon’s short prayer (1 Kgs 8:12–13) was preserved by the Deuteronomistic redactor in the consecration account, despite its being diametrically opposite to the Deuteronomistic outlook. It is thus difficult to contend that a comment regarding the cherubim functioning as firmament bearers would have been deliberately omitted. 37  Metzger, Königsthron, 1:346–351, 2:fig. 1235 A. For further reflections emanating from this view, see Metzger, “Jahwe”. 38  Haran, “Bas-Reliefs”, 22. Schmidt and Cassuto had already characterized the ark cherubim as two-legged creatures like the creatures of Ezekiel. 39  Noth, Könige, 122–124.

12.2 Proposal: Winged Shelterers

291

Additionally, a picture of a god seated above a firmament would be unsuitable for the paradigm of a dwelling (with a table, lampstands, etc.), which is what the Solomonic temple embodies. It is improbable that the central motif of a temple would be one that is foreign to its overall theme. Finally, the ancient Near Eastern images that Metzger compares to the ark cherubim in the temple portray creatures supporting a winged disk with their uplifted hands, while no biblical text says that the ark cherubim had hands at all.

12.2 Proposal: Winged Shelterers 12.2.1 Overview The function of the ark cherubim in both the tabernacle and temple is actually stated clearly and explicitly in the biblical texts: it is to shelter the ark or its lid with their wings. As we have seen, the tabernacle account states: ‫וַ ּיִ ְהיּו ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬/‫וְ ָהיּו‬ ‫יהם ַעל ַה ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬ ֶ ‫ּפ ְֹר ֵׂשי ְכנָ ַפיִם ְל ַמ ְע ָלה ס ְֹכ ִכים ְּב ַכנְ ֵפ‬, “the cherubim shall have/had their wings spread upward [or above], sheltering the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬with their wings” (Exod 25:20 = 37:9; § 11.3.1.3). Of the temple cherubim, too, it is said: ‫רּובים ּפ ְֹר ִׂשים‬ ִ ‫ִּכי ַה ְּכ‬ ‫ּכנָ ַפיִם ֶאל ְמקֹום ָה ָארֹון וַ ּיָ סֹּכּו ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים ַעל ָה ָארֹון וְ ַעל ַּב ָּדיו ִמ ְל ָמ ְע ָלה‬,ְ “for the cherubim had their wings spread over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim sheltered the ark and its poles from above” (1 Kgs 8:7; § 11.3.3). The description of these cherubim similarly states: ‫וַ ּיִ ְפ ְרׂשּו ֶאת ַּכנְ ֵפי ַה ְּכ ֻר ִבים‬, “and the wings of the cherubim were spread” (1 Kgs 6:27). In Chronicles, the ark cherubim are described yet again as ‫לפ ְֹר ִׂשים וְ ס ְֹכ ִכים ַעל ֲארֹון ְּב ִרית ה׳‬,ְ “spreading over and sheltering the ark of Yhwh’s covenant” (1 Chr 28:18; § 11.3.5). In each case, the function of the ark cherubim is to shelter, with their outspread wings, the object to which Yhwh’s presence is tied: in the temple, this object is the ark (§ 6.1.1); in the tabernacle, according to the priestly author, it is specifically the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬covering the ark (§ 7.6.1). As we shall see, this function is consistent with other themes throughout the Hebrew Bible,40 and it is clearly paralleled by a widespread motif in ancient Near Eastern visual art discussed in the previous chapter (§ 11.3.2, § 11.3.4), namely, the flanking winged shelterers.41 40  The function of sheltering or guarding may even be reflected in the name “cherub”: see Wood, Of Wings, 141–155. 41  Several scholars have noted the similarity between this motif and the ark cherubim. Gressmann (Lade, 6–17) saw the sheltering wings as an Egyptian motif and cited as an example a depiction of a bark shrine inside which two goddesses shelter the god Amun-Re with their wings [Figure 6.8] (§ 6.2.7). Vincent (with Dhorme, “Chérubins”, 485) compared the cherubim in the tabernacle to the motif of the protective goddesses in Egypt, but he maintained that these cherubim simultaneously protected the ark and formed a throne for Yhwh’s invisible glory. He hypothesized that the Israelites adopted the motif from the Egyptians, who in turn brought it from Syria. Crowfoot and Crowfoot (Early Ivories from Samaria, 18) compared their find in Samaria [Figure 11.10 / Plate 7b] to the cherubim of the tabernacle but did not discuss the cherubim of

292

12. The Cherubim: Function

12.2.2 Challenges Haran, who argued that the ark cherubim are throne bearers, interpreted the explicit statements in Exodus and Kings that the cherubim shelter the object below them with their wings as meant only to indicate position, i. e., that the wings are over the object, in order to illustrate how they serve as a throne.42 This interpretation is unconvincing for three reasons. First, it is unlikely that the writer in both Exodus and Kings would take the trouble of specifying a detail showing how the wings serve as a throne while at the same time omitting the main idea, i. e., that the wings actually serve as a throne. Second, the statements that the wings serve to “shelter” are not required for the suggested purpose, that of merely indicating that they are positioned above the object, as in both texts this is made clear elsewhere (Exod 25:18+21 = 37:7 + 40:20; 1 Kgs 8:6 = 2 Chr 5:7). Third, these statements do not, on their own, indicate that the wings are indeed positioned above the object. As Haran himself points out, the very same active verbal phrase used in both texts (‫)ס ַכך ַעל‬ ָ is also used, for example, for the tabernacle’s curtain (Exod 40:3, 21), which is not situated above the object that it shelters (the ark) but in front of it. Several other scholars who saw the ark cherubim as throne bearers did recognize that the text in Exodus explicitly states that the function of the cherubim is to shelter the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ In order to preserve the throne theory, they were thus forced to assert that these cherubim must have performed a double function: they bore Yhwh’s presence above them and guarded the ark below them.43 Landsberger went so far as to posit two pairs of cherubim on the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬: ַ a pair to guard the ark, and a pair to bear Yhwh.44 But these assertions only highlight the inadequacy of the throne theory, by showing that it is dependent on the unlikely idea that the cherubim had a double function, one of which was stated in the Bible while the other was not. As for the ark cherubim in the temple, Mettinger’s response to the problem posed to his theory by the description of their function is that 1 Kgs 8:7 is late and influenced by P-conceptions; he concedes, in turn, that the ark cherubim in P’s the temple. Landsberger (“Origin”, 233–235) compared both the cherubim of the temple and of the tabernacle with the Samaria ivory but supposed that in the middle of the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬stood “an apparition” of a second pair of cherubim upon which Yhwh sat. Houtman (Exodus III, 384) suggested that the cherubim of the tabernacle and the temple served as guardians, but he did not discuss ancient Near Eastern iconography in this context. Wood (Of Wings, 23–31, 200–203) accepts Houtman’s view, but, like those of the “cherub throne” school, sees the cherubim as winged sphinxes. Keel (Geschichte Jerusalems, 2:918–923) sees this motif as analogous to the function of the tabernacle cherubim, but not to that of the temple cherubim (see § 12.1.1). 42  Haran, “Ark”, 36: “For the cherubim cannot serve as a throne unless they spread their wings, and when the text intends to describe the way in which the wings are spread, it says that they ‘cover’ the ark.” 43  Dhorme and Vincent, “Chérubins”, 485; Cassuto, Commentary, 334–335; anticipated by Hirsch, in Levy, Pentateuch, 2:437–438. 44 Landsberger, “Origin”, 235; see n. 41 above.

12.2 Proposal: Winged Shelterers

293

tabernacle account are not throne-bearers.45 In other words, Mettinger dismisses the stated function of the temple ark cherubim in order to be able to attribute to them a function that is not stated. The dismissal is ad hoc and strained.46 Even if we can accept that v. 7 in its entirety is a later addition, Mettinger does not account for v. 6, which also suggests a sheltering function for the cherubim. Furthermore, the essential message of the whole pericope (vv. 1–11), i. e., that the divine presence entered the inner cella with the ark (cf. 2 Sam 6), is neatly compatible with a sheltering function for the cherubim but not with a throne function.

12.2.3 Cherubim and Wings in the Hebrew Bible The verb ‫ּפ ַרׂש‬, ָ “spread”, is used elsewhere of wings (Deut 32:11; Jer 49:22; Job 39:26; cf. Ezek 16:8; Ruth 3:9). And in Ezekiel’s dirge over the King of Tyre (Ezek 28:11–19; see § 9.4.4.2), a primeval cherub in the garden of Eden is called “the anointed sheltering cherub” (v. 14) and “the sheltering cherub” (v. 16); here the text uses the very same word, ‫ס ַכך‬, ָ as the one used to describe the function of the ark cherubim. Other expressions of the concept of sheltering wings without the use of the verb ‫ ָס ַכך‬are common in the Bible.47 The function of sheltering and guarding is associated with cherubim in other biblical contexts. The cherubim in the Eden Narrative take part in “guard[ing] the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:24; § 9.4.3.3). The iconographic motif of twofaced cherubim flanking ‫ּתמ ִֹרים‬, ִ described in Ezekiel’s temple-of-the-future vision (Ezek 41:18–20; cf. 1 Kgs 6:29), probably reflects a similar conception of cherubim as guarding a sacred tree.48 In biblical thought, as we have seen, the ark or its lid, which safeguarded Yhwh’s gift to his people (§ 5.1), served as the marker of his presence among them (§ 6.1.1, § 7.6.1). Since Yhwh had always been the one “who dwells among the cherubim”, adorning the ark with sculptures of cherubim was thus a natural choice (§ 9.3.3.4). The precise function fulfilled by these ark cherubim, that of sheltering the divine presence, was rooted deeply in biblical literary imagery as well as in the conventions of ancient Near Eastern visual art.  Mettinger, Dethronement, 20, 87.  While 1 Kgs 8:1–11 is generally thought to contain priestly glosses, Hurowitz in his detailed study of the pericope (I Have Built, 262–266; see also Haran, Temples, 141–142 n. 11; Fisher, “Memories”, 106–110) did not conclude that the description of the cherubim and their function is an addition. Mettinger cites Würthwein (Erste Buch der Könige, 87), who sees the verse as secondary because it transmutes the cherub throne idea. It seems that the argument is ultimately circular. 47 The other occurrences are: Ezek 16:8; Pss 17:8; 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 63:8; 91:4; Ruth 2:12; 3:9. In Ezek 16:8, “wing” is singular, and the meaning is the corner of a garment. In Ruth 3:9, some textual witnesses have “wing” and others “wings”. In both of these verses the verb ‫ּפ ַרׂש‬, ָ “spread”, appears. 48  A sacred tree flanked by two creatures who shelter it with their outspread wings is a common motif in the visual art of the ancient Levant [Figure 10.12]; see Metzger, “Keruben”. 45 46

294

12. The Cherubim: Function

Fig. 12.1: Ivory figurine, Megiddo.

Fig. 12.2: Ivory plaque, Megiddo.

12. The Cherubim: Function

Fig. 12.3: Detail from relief on sarcophagus of Ahiram (see Figure 1.1).

Fig. 12.4: Stamp seal, Tyre.

295

296

12. The Cherubim: Function

Fig. 12.5a: Terra-cotta statuette, Ayia Irini.

Fig. 12.5b: Photograph of previous item.

12. The Cherubim: Function

Fig. 12.5c: Photograph of previous item.

297

298

12. The Cherubim: Function

Fig. 12.6a: “Lady of Galera” statuette, Necropolis of Tutugi.

Fig. 12.6b: Rear-angle photograph of previous item.

12. The Cherubim: Function

Fig. 12.7: Temple façade, Eflatun Pinar.

299

General Conclusion Biblical Data All of the relevant biblical passages agree that there was only one sacred ark (§ 1.1), although they know it by a variety of designations (§ 1.4). They agree that it was this ark – in the priestly account, more precisely the ‫ ֵע ֻדת‬within the ark (§ 5.1.3) – that enjoyed preeminent status in ancient Israel (§ 1.3). And they agree that the cherubim associated with the ark – and, in the priestly account, the ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬from which these cherubim projected (§ 7.3) – were secondary in importance to the ark, and what special status they enjoyed derived from their association with it (§ 8.2). Among these sources there are, strikingly, no disagreements regarding the form of the ark. On the contrary, there are agreements, some of them quite remarkable, concerning specific aspects thereof. The priestly and Deuteronomic accounts, as well as two passages in Kings, agree that the ark is a container, and this is corroborated by its very name. Moreover, both the priestly and Deuteronomic accounts agree that the ark is made of acacia wood, even though this timber is not highly regarded in the Bible. The priestly account and a passage in Kings agree that the ark is equipped with attached carrying poles, and additional passages corroborate that it is portable and ordinarily carried by human porters (§ 2.1). Finally, the priestly account, which adds a conceptually new element to the ark, namely the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ takes care to do so without attributing any formally new element to it. Instead it exploits a formal element that the ark would self-evidently have, namely a lid, and employs the device of giving this lid its own name and treating it as a semi-independent object (§ 7). The various details of the ark’s form (Plate 1), stated most extensively in the priestly account, have been clarified and discussed. The ark is made of acacia wood (§ 3.1). It is a rectangular cuboid in shape, and its dimensions are approximately 125 cm L. × 75 cm W. × 75 cm H. (§ 3.2). It is completely overlaid with gold (§ 3.3) and surrounded by a cavetto cornice on top (§ 3.4). It has four feet (§ 3.5), at which, aligned with its lateral sides (§ 3.6), are four golden rings (§ 4.1). These rings hold carrying poles (§ 4.2) that are retractable and never part from it (§ 4.3). The ‫ ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬is a thin, flat, rectangular, solid gold plate with the same planar dimensions as those of the ark (§ 7.5).

302

General Conclusion

As for the cherubim of the ark, it is probable that the authors of all the passages mentioning them pictured them as winged (adult) humans (§ 10.3). The cherubim in the priestly account and the cherubim in Kings do differ greatly from each other in every detail of their composition, dimensions, position, and posture. The former are part of the ark’s lid, are made of solid gold (§ 11.1.1), have wings of about 62.5 cm each at most (§ 11.2.1), face each other, and spread their wings forward (§ 11.3.1). The latter are freestanding, are made of gilded wood (§ 11.1.3), have wings of about 250 cm each (§ 11.2.3), stand abreast, and spread their wings to their sides (§ 11.3.3). But it is precisely regarding the cherubim that the different passages make clear that they are speaking of different objects: the priestly account refers to statues constructed by Moses in the wilderness period, whereas the passages in Kings refer to statues constructed by Solomon in the monarchic period (§ 8.2). Although these formal differences do not really constitute contradictions, there seems to be an attempt in Chronicles to blur them (§ 11.1.5, § 11.3.5). The various biblical passages that speak of the ark and the cherubim agree about their function as well. The ark is a container for a specific object or objects, apparently a treaty document, that was thought to have been presented by Yhwh to Moses and subsequently placed therein by the latter (§ 5.1). The ark’s higher function is to mark the presence of Yhwh (§ 6.1), which it does without any suggestion of divine corporeality, by virtue of containing the gift that embodies the relationship of Yhwh with his people (§ 6.3). While some Judahites apparently saw the ark as a throne for Yhwh, this view is nowhere endorsed in the Bible (§ 6.2.1), and the priestly account goes out of its way to discourage the acceptance of such a view (§ 7.7). Because living cherubim characterize the “natural” environment of Yhwh, statues of them are chosen to adorn the marker of his earthly presence (§ 9.3, § 9.4). The precise function of these statues is to spread their wings in a sheltering gesture above the divine presence, thereby delineating the space that contains it (§ 12.2).

Parallels We have seen that virtually every detail of the ark, the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ and the cherubim has parallels in extant ancient Near Eastern artifacts. These include, most significantly, details that might have been deemed unrealistic, such as the solid gold ‫ §( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬7.5.2) and cherubim (§ 11.1.2) of the priestly account, and details that are very peculiar, such as the rings for holding carrying poles placed at the feet of the ark in that account (§ 4.1.2), as well as the posture of the cherubim with wings outstretched in a sheltering gesture (§ 11.3.2, § 11.3.4). These parallels, besides generally providing vivid illustration for the biblical passages examined, have enabled or confirmed the disambiguation of many

Further Implications

303

elements therein. Elements thus disambiguated, some of which have just been alluded to, include the following: ‫ ְּכרּוב‬is a winged human (§ 10.3); ‫ל ַמ ְע ָלה‬,ְ when describing the position of the cherubim’s wings, apparently means “upward” (§ 11.3.2.3); ‫ זֵ ר‬is a cavetto cornice (§ 3.4.3); ‫ ְּפ ָעמֹות‬are feet (§ 3.5.3); ‫ ְצ ָלעֹות‬are lateral sides (§ 3.6.4); the ark’s rings are located on its underside (§ 4.1.4) and are aligned lengthwise (§ 4.1.5); and these rings hold four short poles rather than two long ones (§ 4.2.3). The parallels have also led to the solution of several puzzles in these texts, including the following: first, the counterintuitive specification that the ark was made of acacia wood is due to a strong, existing tradition stating as much, a tradition that could easily have come into being, since acacia wood was widely used to make furniture in the ancient Near East (§ 3.1.3). Second, the priestly author surprisingly treats the ark’s feet as a self-evident feature because feet were in fact a typical feature of chests in his world (§ 3.5.3). Third, the vexing contradiction between the priestly specifications that the ark’s poles are never to part from it and that they need to be set up in preparation for transport is not, in fact, a contradiction, because the poles are retractable and hence need to be drawn out (§ 4.3.5).

Further Implications Historical Context The complete absence of disagreement among the biblical texts regarding the form of the ark and the cherubim is remarkable given the vastly different premises operative among these texts, their contrasting designations for the ark, the different aspects of it that they emphasize, and the priestly author’s distinctive maneuver of turning the ark’s lid into the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬.ַ This absence is consistent with, and supportive of, the hypothesis that the ark and the cherubim were real historical objects whose form was well-known and thus could not be denied. Moreover, the existence of extant, real-life, ancient Near Eastern parallels to virtually every detail of the ark, the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬,ַ and the cherubim as described in the biblical texts demonstrates that the traditions embodied by these texts are native and natural to the ancient Near East. Unfortunately, these parallels provide little definite information concerning the more specific temporal or spatial provenance of these traditions. Many of the most striking parallels to both the ark and the cherubim come from Egypt. One might be tempted to regard this fact as evidence that the traditions concerning the ark and the cherubim were especially influenced by Egyptian ideas – perhaps that they even originated in that country – and then to bring it to bear on issues such as the historicity of the Israelite enslavement and exodus traditions. However, this fact is most simply explained as a mere consequence of the similarities

304

General Conclusion

in material and iconographic culture between Egypt and the Levant, and of the relatively large number of items from Egypt that have survived. Moreover, the strong temporal continuity of material and iconographic culture in the ancient Near East prevents any definite conclusions concerning the period in which the traditions under discussion originated. The use of acacia wood, gilding, and cavetto cornices for furniture, as well as the existence of chests with the rough dimensions of the ark and with feet, are phenomena that are all attested from well into the third millennium BCE and that survive until this very day. The more peculiar motif, described in the priestly account, of flanking, inward-facing creatures sheltering an entity between them with their wings outstretched in front of them, is attested from the Middle Bronze Age until the Persian period. Two elements of the priestly description have extant parallels that consistently date from the fourteenth century BCE or earlier. Rings for holding carrying poles on a chest are attested, as far as could be determined, only in Egyptian depictions from the third millenium and in an actual item from the late-fourteenth century tomb of Tutankhamun. Similarly, the specific chevron-like wing position attributed to the cherubim in this account, if the word ‫ ְל ַמ ְע ָלה‬indeed means “upward”, is attested only in a single seal dated to 1680–1650. These facts might be taken jointly as circumstantial evidence weighing in favor of the hypothesis that the traditions embodied by the priestly description are very old, even as old as the description claims them to be. However, it is precisely in these cases that the extant parallels are very rare, and thus the dates of the parallels may well be due to the luck of preservation; we do not have a complete picture of the furniture used later in Egypt.1 The same is true regarding the horizontal, space-spanning wing position of the temple cherubim according to the description in Kings, an element whose only close parallel is represented by the winged goddesses on the sarcophagus of the aforementioned Tutankhamun. In the case of the wing position in Kings, we must also note that the description does not even claim that any cherubim displaying this position predate the tenth century. As for the ‫ּכּפ ֶֹרת‬, ַ whose only close formal parallels are found on larnakes from the fourth century tombs at Vergina, it has been remarked that earlier instances of such an object would likely have been stolen by tomb robbers in antiquity.

Ideology As we have seen, the prevailing view in biblical scholarship concerning the function of the cherubim and the ark is that they constituted, respectively, a throne and footstool for Yhwh, who was not represented directly (§ 6.2.3, § 12.1.1). The empty divine throne is a composition widely attested elsewhere in the Near East  Busch, Altägyptische Kastenmöbel, 173.

1

Further Implications

305

in the postbiblical period, particularly in the Roman-era Phoenician sphere.2 In the biblical-era Near East, where the usual central cultic object was a statue, image, or symbol of the deity, the empty throne was apparently very rare.3 However, isolated examples of empty divine thrones, as well as pedestals, from Mesopotamia, and possibly Syria and Phoenicia, do exist from the biblical period.4 Thus, according to the prevailing view just mentioned, the composition of central cultic objects endorsed by the Hebrew Bible would have been unusually aniconic for its time, but not uniquely so. This view of the ark and the cherubim has been thoroughly rejected in the present study. It has been emphasized that nowhere in the Bible are the cherubim of the temple or the tabernacle said to have constituted a throne (§ 12.1.2), and nowhere is the ark described as a footstool (§ 6.2.4). It has been shown that the ark cherubim in the temple are consistently and exclusively portrayed in the Bible as having rather the function of symbolic guardians who spread their wings to shelter the divine presence, and that they thereby exemplify a well-attested motif in ancient Near Eastern iconography, particularly from the Levant and Egypt, that of the flanking winged shelterers (§ 12.2). As for the ark, this study has shown that the biblical texts portray it as a marker of the divine presence (§ 6.1.1), but no biblical text endorses the view that in this regard the ark resembled any kind of furniture used by humans, and the single passage that recognizes a view of the ark as a throne does so only to dismiss it (§ 6.2.1). The manner in which the divine presence was bound to the ark is never defined; indeed, such a definition is conscientiously avoided (§ 6.3). Thus, the focus of the cultic system endorsed by the Bible is not an empty throne, but an empty frame, formed by the wings of the cherubim, together with their bodies and the ‫( ַּכּפ ֶֹרת‬in the priestly account) or with the walls and floor of the cella (in Kings and Chronicles). If the view of the ark and the cherubim presented in this study is accepted, it follows that the cultic focus endorsed by the Hebrew Bible was, as far as we can tell from the available evidence, not merely unusual but unique. This “empty frame aniconism” approached in abstraction the “empty room aniconism” of the Second Temple (Josephus, Jewish War 5.215; m. Yoma 5:1–2). It surpassed all known systems in the ancient Near East in the extent of the efforts it represented to avoid generating a corporeal mental image of the deity in a cultic context.5 Remarkably, even this unique aniconism was not abstract enough for other biblical authors. In First Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, we find the view that,  Mettinger, No Graven Image, 100–103.  Niehr, “In Search”, 73. 4  Mettinger, No Graven Image, 45–46; idem, “Israelite Aniconism”, 186; idem, “Conversation”, 282. 5  This conclusion accords with that of Propp (Exodus, 518) regarding the temple cherubim: “For abstraction, this arrangement surpasses the empty divine thrones widely attested in other cultures […] In Zion, not only the Deity but also his seat are undepicted.” 2 3

306

General Conclusion

while the divine presence can be tied to a particular location, it is too transcendent to be tied to any tangible object. Concomitantly, the ark and the cherubim are ignored or de-emphasized in these works (§ 6.4.1). Other biblical authors went further still, rejecting the possibility of pinning God down even to any particular place (§ 6.4.2). Except for the single passage mentioned above, the biblical texts that speak of the ark and cherubim contain no polemics against, or condemnations of, views of these objects that corporealize Yhwh. Thus, it seems likely that the biblical views of the ark and cherubim were not a peculiarity of the scribes who created the Bible but were shared, by and large, by the society in which they operated. The question then presents itself: what is the source of this unique aniconism? On a basic level, the answer to this question is simple: the source is the programmatic stance against the worship of images (a stance that has been termed “anti-iconism”). In the Hebrew Bible, anti-iconism forms a remarkably consistent theme that spans literary genres, finding expression in legal, narrative, prophetic, and poetic texts. Like the aniconism we have identified, biblical anti-iconism apparently had deep roots in Israelite society6 and was unique to it. As Mettinger concludes at the end of a thorough study of non-iconic cultic finds in the ancient Near East: Among ancient Semitic peoples there is hardly anything of similar dimensions [to the programmatic anti-iconic attitude of the Bible]. Whether or not this is due to the vicissitudes of archaeological discovery, we do not know of any express veto on images among other Semitic peoples of the ancient world. So it could be said with some justification that the express veto on images belongs to Israel’s differentia specifica.7

It is obvious that categorical opposition to concrete cultic foci would naturally result in the endorsement of an abnormally abstract cultic focus. But this merely shifts the question. What, then, is the source, or what are sources, of Israelite/ biblical anti-iconism? An adequate answer to this question requires further study.

6  See Dever, “Material Remains”, 574; Stager, “Toward the Future”, 752; Na’aman, “No Anthropomorphic Graven Image”, 394; Mettinger, “Conversation”, 279. 7 Mettinger, No Graven Image, 196. Even outside the Semitic sphere, the only known ancient Near Eastern phenomenon bearing any similarity to biblical anti-iconism is the Aten theology of the Amarna period in Egypt. It was said of Aten that “the sculptors do not know him”, and, correspondingly, images of Aten were absent from this cult. However, the Amarna theology was very brief, lasting only some twenty years (ibid., 49–54). It is not truly comparable to the biblical program, which was sustained in ancient Israel throughout the Iron Age (Lewis, “Divine Images”, 50).

Bibliography (No credited editor.) The Complete Commentary of the Tur on the Torah. 2 vols. Jerusalem: Chorev, 1997/8. Hebrew. (No credited author or editor.) Treasures of Tutankhamun: [Catalogue of an Exhibition] Held at the British Museum, 1972. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1972. Abrams, Daniel, ed. The Book Bahir. Los Angeles: Cherub Press, 1994. Ackerman, Susan. “Mirrors, Drums and Trees”. Pages 537–567 in Congress Volume Helsinki 2010. Edited by Martti Nissinen. VTSup 148. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Aharoni, Yohanan. “Excavations at Tel Arad: Preliminary Report on the Second Season, 1963”. IEJ 17 (1967): 233–249. Ahlström, Gösta W. “The Travels of the Ark: A Religio-Political Composition”. JNES 43 (1984): 141–149. Albright, William F. “What were the Cherubim?” BA 1 (1938): 1–3. – From the Stone Age to Christianity: Monotheism and the Historical Process. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1940. Allen, Leslie C. Ezekiel 20–48. WBC 29. Dallas: Word, 1990. – Jeremiah: A Commentary. OTL. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2008. Allony, Nehemya, ed. Ha’Egron: Kitāb ’uṣūl al-shi‘r al-‘ibrānī by Rav Sĕ‘adya Ga’on. Jerusalem: The Academy of the Hebrew Language, 1969. Arabic and Hebrew. Amar, Zohar. Flora of the Bible: A New Investigation Aimed at Identifying All of the Plants of the Bible in Light of Jewish Sources and Scientific Research. Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 2012. Hebrew. Andersen, Francis I. and A. Dean Forbes. Spelling in the Hebrew Bible: Dahood Memorial Lecture. BibOr 41. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1986. Andrianou, Dimitra. The Furniture and Furnishings of Ancient Greek Houses and Tombs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Androcinos, Manolēs. Vergina: The Royal Tombs and the Ancient City. Athens: Ekdotike Athenon, 1984. Arnold, Dieter. The Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture. Edited by Nigel and Helen Strudwick. Translated by Sabine H. Gardiner and Helen Strudwick. London: Taurus, 2003. Arnold, William R. Ephod and Ark: A Study in the Records and Religion of the Ancient Hebrews. HTS 3. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1917. Repr., New York: Kraus, 1969. Avigad, Nahman. “Excavations at Beth She‘arim, 1955: Preliminary Report”. IEJ 7 (1957): 239–255. – “Excavations at Beth She‘arim, 1958: Preliminary Report”. IEJ 9 (1959): 205–220. Avigad, Nahman and Benjamin Sass. Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1997.

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List of Figures 1.1

Sarcophagus of Ahiram; Beirut National Museum; public domain (https://commons. w​i​k​i​m​e​d​i​a​.org/wiki/File:Ahiram_Sarcophagus_1.JPG). 1.2 Sarcophagus of Tabnit; Istanbul Archaeology Museum; oncenawhile (https://c​o​ m​m​o​n​s​.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tabnit_sarcophagus.jpg), “Tabnit sarcophagus”, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/l​e​g​a​l​c​o​d​e​. 1.3 Ivory box lid, Ur; British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.o​r​g​/​r​e​s​e​a​r​c​h​/​c​o​l​l​e​ c​t​i​o​n​_​o​n​l​i​n​e​/​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​_​o​b​j​e​c​t​_​d​e​t​a​i​l​s​.​a​s​p​x​?​o​b​j​e​c​t​I​d​=​3​6​9​1​3​1​&​p​a​rtId=1); used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 2.1a Pottery temple model, Megiddo; University of Chicago Oriental Institute, photograph D005522 (https://oi-idb.uchicago.edu/id/6ed52631-7618-4​6​4​7​-​a​c​3​9​-​f​9​7​2​7​c​ 0​2c​ ​93​ 1​ ); used by permission of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 2.1b Pottery temple model (restored), Megiddo; May, Material Remains, pl. 13; used by permission of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 2.2a Simple pottery temple model, Khirbet Qeiyafa; Garfinkel, Ganor, and Hasel, Footsteps, fig. 58; courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa expedition. 2.2b Adorned pottery temple model, Khirbet Qeiyafa; Garfinkel, Ganor, and Hasel, Footsteps, fig. 59; courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa expedition. 2.2c Stone temple model, Khirbet Qeiyafa; Garfinkel, Ganor, and Hasel, Footsteps, fig. 62; courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa expedition. 2.3 Stripped maḥmal; Richard F. Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Madinah and Meccah (2 vols.; London: Tylston and Edwards, 1893), 1:233, as reproduced in Morgenstern, Ark, 50; public domain (https://archive.org/details/ personalnarrati01burt/page/232). 2.4 ‘Uṭfāh; John W. Burckhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and the Wahábys: Collected During His Travels in the East (2 vols.; London: Colburn & Bentley, 1831), 1:145; public domain (https://archive.org/details/n​ot​ e​ s​ o ​ n ​ b ​ e​ ​do ​ u ​ i​ ​ns​ 0​ 0​ b ​ ​u​r​c​g​o​o​g​/page/n160). 2.5 Abu ẓhûr al-markab; Alois Musil, The Manners and Customs of the Rwala Bedouins (New York: American Geographical Society, 1928), as reproduced in Morgenstern, Ark, 28; used by permission of the American Geographical Society. 2.6 Terra-cotta sculpture, Syria; Urs Winter, Frau und Göttin: exegetische und ikonographische Studien zum weiblichen Gottesbild im alten Israel und in dessen Umwelt (OBO 53; Fribourg: Universitätsverlag, 1983), fig. 511; courtesy of Foundation BIBLE+ORIENT, Fribourg. 2.7 Bas-relief, Temple of Bel, Palmyra; Courtesy of Prof. Michael Fuller, St. Louis Community College (http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/palmyra/p​a​l​m​y​r​a​1​5​6​c​a​m​e​l​T​e​m​p​l​e​C​ X​.jpg). 2.8a Dura-Europos Synagogue panel WB 4; public domain (https://commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:DuraSyn-WB4-Ark_and_Temple_of_Dagon.jpg).

330

List of Figures

2.8b Dura-Europos Synagogue panel NB 1; Marsyas (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w​ i​k​i​/File:DuraSyn-NB1-Eben_Ezer_battle-The_Ark.jpg), “Wall painting in the Dura-​ Europos synagogue, North wall, B register”, https://artlibre.org/licence/lal/en/. 3.1 Umbrella thorn acacia (Acacia tortilis); public domain (https://commons.wiki​m​e​d​i​ a​.​o​r​g​/​wiki/File:Umbrella_thorn_acacia_or_israeli_babool_tree_plant_acacia_t​o​r​t​i​ l​l​i​s​.jpg). 3.2 White-painted, round-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0137; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/101-p0137.html). 3.3a Gable-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p1557; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www. griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/032-p1557.html). 3.3b Excavator’s ruled sketch of previous object; Malek, Tutankhamun, part of Carter card 032–5; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www. griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/032-c032-5.html). 3.3c Excavator’s ruled sketch of previous object; Malek, Tutankhamun, Carter card 032– 6; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac. uk/gri/carter/032-c032-6.html). 3.4 Relief, mastaba of Meryrenufer; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, fig. 38; courtesy of Geoffrey Killen. 3.5 Relief, mastaba of Idu; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, fig. 39; courtesy of Geoffrey Killen. 3.6 Terra-cotta pinax, Locri; National Archaeological Museum of Locri Epizephyrii; simplified outline drawing by J.  Rosenberg, after https://t​w​i​t​t​e​r​.​c​o​m​/​t​z​o​u​mi​o​/​s​t​a​t​u​ s​/1027808151599570944. 3.7 Attic terra-cotta stamnos; Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain (https:// www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/256900). 3.8 Innermost sarcophagus shrine, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p1725; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/239-p1725.html). 3.9 Golden shrine, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0319; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith. ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/108-p0319.html). 3.10a Profile and shadow pattern of ovolo molding; Brunopostle (https://c​o​m​m​o​n​s​.w​i​k​i​ m​e​di​​a.​org/wiki/File:Molding-ovulo.svg), “Diagram of an ovulo molding”, https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en. 3.10b Profile and shadow pattern of cyma reversa molding; Brunopostle (https://e​n.​w ​ ​i​ k​i​p​e​d​i​a​.​org/wiki/File:Molding-ogee.png), “Diagram of an ogee molding”, https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en. 3.11 Nineteenth-century drawing of a guilloche pattern from an Ionic capital at the Erechtheum (cropped); British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.org/re​s​e​a​r​c​ h/​ c​ o ​ ​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​_​online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3​4​1​7​7​7​9​&​partId=1); used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 3.12 Cavetto cornice; public domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F​i​l​e​:​C​a​v​e​t​t​ o​_​c​o​r​nice.svg). 3.13 Obsidian box, Byblos; National Museum of Beirut; courtesy of www.m​e​r​e​t​s​e​g​e​r​b​o​ o​k​s​.com (https://www.meretsegerbooks.com/gallery/48/t​r​e​a​s​u​r​e​s​-​o​f​-​byblos/).

List of Figures

331

3.14 Acacia-wood table, Thebes; Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain (https:// www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544802). 3.15 Table, Thebes; Brooklyn Museum (https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/o​p​e​n​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​ o​n​/objects/3949), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/. 3.16 Stone altar, Megiddo; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; photographed by the author, with the cooperation of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 3.17 Stone altars, Arad; courtesy of Eric D. Huntsman. 3.18 Stone altar, Karnak; courtesy of Brent MacDonald. 3.19 Wheeled bronze stand, Cyprus; Weippert, “Kesselwagen”, Abb. 10; courtesy of Ugarit-­Verlag. 3.20 Wheeled bronze stand, Cyprus; Weippert, “Kesselwagen”, Abb. 11; courtesy of Ugarit-­Verlag. 3.21 Wheeled bronze stand, Larnaka; Weippert, “Kesselwagen”, Abb. 5; courtesy of Ugarit-­Verlag. 3.22 Bronze stand, Megiddo; Weippert, “Kesselwagen”, Abb. 8; courtesy of Ugarit-Verlag. 3.23 Bronze stand, Enkomi; Weippert, “Kesselwagen”, Abb. 6; courtesy of Ugarit-Verlag. 3.24 Bronze stand, unprovenanced; Weippert, “Kesselwagen”, Abb. 7; courtesy of Ugarit-Verlag. 4.1a Underside of gable-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun (see Figure 3.3a), with poles removed from rings; author’s drawing, after photograph in Treasures of Tutankhamun, Exhibit 14 (n.p.). 4.1b Detail of previous item (see Figure 3.3a); Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 52 fig. 61; courtesy of Geoffrey Killen. 4.2 Relief, tomb of Sahure; Borchardt, Grabdenkmal, 2: pl. 60; public domain (https:// digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/borchardt1913bd2b/0065/image). 4.3 Relief, mastaba of Ankhmahor; Capart, rue de tombeaux, 2: pl. 64; public domain (https://archive.org/details/uneruedetombeaux 02capa/page/126). 4.4 Relief, tomb of Mereruka; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, fig. 40; courtesy of Geoffrey Killen. 4.5 Relief, tomb of Meryteti; Kanawati and Abder-Raziq, Mereruka, pl. 36(b); courtesy of the Australian Centre for Egyptology. 4.6a Part of nave mosaic panel D13, depicting the ark crossing the Jordan, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore; simplified outline drawing by J. Rosenberg, after http:// employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/Images/109images/early_christian/s​t​a​_​m​a​r​i​ a​_​m​a​g​g​i​o​r​e​/Sta_maria_maggiore_joshua.jpg. 4.6b Part of nave mosaic panel D12, depicting the ark during the life of Moses, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore; simplified outline drawing by J. Rosenberg, after https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:M​o​s​a​i​c​s​_​i​n​_​S​a​n​t​a​_​M​a​r​i​a​_​M​a​g​g​i​o​ r​e​_​(Rome)#/media/File:Santa_maria_maggiore,_mosaici_navata_12.JPG. 4.6c Part of nave mosaic panel D15, depicting the ark at the battle of Jericho, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore; simplified outline drawing by J. Rosenberg, after http:// employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/Images/109images/Early_Christian/S​t​a​_​M​a​r​ i​a​_​M​a​g​g​i​o​r​e​/Joshua.jpg. 4.7a Utrecht Psalter, folio 66r (p.  138); courtesy of Utrecht University (http://u​t​r​e​c​h​t​p​s​a​ l​t​e​r​.nl/page?p=138). 4.7b Utrecht Psalter, folio 75r (p.  156); courtesy of Utrecht University (http://u​t​r​e​c​h​t​p​s​a​ l​t​e​r​.nl/page?p=156).

332 4.8

List of Figures

Golden Psalter of St. Gall, p. 66; St. Gallen Stiftsbibliothek (http://www.e-codices. unifr.ch/en/csg/0022/66), “Cod. Sang. 22”, https://c​r​e​a​ti​ ​v​e​c​o​m​m​o​n​s​.org/licenses/ by-nc/3.0/. 4.9 Bible of San Paolo fuori le Mura, folio 32v; simplified outline drawing by J. Rosenberg, after Revel-Neher, L’arche, pl. 21 fig. 75. 4.10 Apsidal mosaic, Oratory of Germigny-des-Prés; Daniel Jolivet (https://commons. wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Germigny-des-Prés_(Loiret)._(13607427214).jpg), “Germigny-des-Prés (Loiret). (13607427214)”, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/2.0/legalcode. 4.11 Bible of San Isidoro de León, folio 50; simplified outline drawing by J. Rosenberg, after https://www.museosanisidorodeleon.com/en/renaissance-l​i​b​r​a​r​y​/. 4.12 Pylon-shaped chest surmounted by the statue of Anubis, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p1118; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/261-p1118.html). 4.13 Scene from the mastaba of Queen Meresankh III, Giza; Killen, Ancient Egyptian Furniture II, 19 fig. 37; courtesy of Geoffrey Killen. 4.14 Relief, tomb of Merymery, Saqqara; rob koopman (https://commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Tomb_of_Merymery_relief_funeral_procession_(RMO_Leiden,_​E​g​ y​p​t_​ ​18​ d ​ )​ .jpg), “Tomb of Merymery relief funeral procession (RMO Leiden, Egypt 18d)”, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode (cropped). 4.15a Excavator’s ruled sketch of gable-lidded chest’s (see Figure 3.3a) pole mechanism; Malek, Tutankhamun, part of Carter card 032–5; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/032-c032-5.html). 4.15b Gable-lidded chest (see Figure 3.3a) with poles retracted; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0090; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/032-p0090.html). 5.1 Stone tablets, Balawat; British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ collection_online/collection_object_details/c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​_i​ ​m​a​g​e​_​g​a​l​l​e​r​y.​a​s​p​x​?​a​s​s​e​t​I​d​ =​​​2​5​0​5​6​6​001&objectId=271444&partId=1); used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 5.2 Pottery box with limestone “sun-god” tablet and pottery covers, Sippar; British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/co ​ l​ ​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​_​o​n​l​i​n​e​/collection_ object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?partid=1&asse​t​i​d​=​4​1​8​6​4​6​0​0​1​&​o​b​j​e​c​ t​i​d= ​ ​36​ 9177); used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 6.1 Marble statues from the east pediment of the Parthenon, Athens; British Museum; Yair Haklai (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi​ ​l​e​:​P​e​d​iments_of_the_P​a​r​ t​h​e​n​o​n​-​British_Museum-5.jpg), “Pediments of the Pa​ r​ ​t​he​ ​n​o​n​-British Museum-5”, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode. 6.2 Diorite statue of Amenhotep III; Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain (https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544479). 6.3 Top of Hammurabi stele; Musée du Louvre; public domain (https://commons.w​i​k​i​ m​e​d​i​a​.org/wiki/File:M​i​l​k​a​u​_​O​b​e​r​e​r​_​T​e​i​l​_​d​e​r​_​S​t​e​l​e​_​m​i​t​_​d​e​m​_​T​e​x​t​_​v​o​n​_​H​a​m​m​u​ r​a​p​i​s​_​G​e​s​e​t​z​e​s​c​o​d​e​_​3​6​9​-2.jpg). 6.4 Footstool, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Segal photograph 18.4; Courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac. uk/gri/gif-files/segal_18_04.jpg). 6.5 Stepped stone structure, Petra; Dalman, Petra und seine Felsheiligtümer, 223 fig. 152; public domain (https://archive.org/details/p​e​t​r​a​un ​ ​d​s​e​i​n​e​f​e​l​0​0​d​a​l​m​u​o​f​t​/page/222).

List of Figures

333

6.6 Enameled painting on brick orthostat, Assur; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin  – Vorderasiatisches Museum (https://smb.museum-digital.de/index.p​h​p​?​t​=​o​b​j​e​k​t​&​ o​g​e​s​=​1​4​1​5​6​8​), “Ziegelorthostat mit Darstellung eines Beters vor Sonnengott”, Olaf M. Teßmer; used by permission of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. 6.7 Detail of “Baal with Thunderbolt” stele, Ugarit; Musée du Louvre; public domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baal_thunderbolt_Louvre_AO157​7​5​.​ jpg​). 6.8 Depiction of procession bark, Karnak (Ipet-Isut); Lepsius, Denkmäler, Tafelwerke 3: pl. 14; Digitalisat der Universitäts‑ und Landesbibliothek Halle (http://edoc3. bibliothek.uni-halle.de/lepsius/page/abt3/band5/im ​ ​ag​ ​e/​ 0​ ​3​0​5​0​1​4​0.jpg), https://c​r​e​a​ t​i​v​e​c​o​m​m​o​n​s​.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0. 6.9 Sketch of image “found on the bandages of a mummy belonging to Signor [Giovanni] d’Athanasi”; George Rawlinson, The History of Herodotus (4 vols; New York: Appleton, 1859), 2:93 n. 5; public domain (https://archive.org/details/ahx 2119.0002.001. umich.edu/page/93). 6.10 Relief, solar temple of Nyuserre, Abu Ghurab; simplified outline drawing by J. Rosenberg, after Metzger, Königsthron, fig. 50. 7.1a Gold larnax, Vergina; public domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C​a​t​e​g​ o​r​y ​:​M​acedonian_royal_tombs,_Vergina#/media/File:I​m​a​g​e​_​l​a​r​n​a​x​_​o​f​_​p​h​i​l​i​p​.jpg). 7.1b Second gold larnax, Vergina; license purchased from Bridgeman Images. 7.2 Box, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0113; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/ carter/054-p0113.html). 7.3 Gold box lid, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p1128; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith. ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/267c-p1128.html). 9.1 Ta‘anach stand; Israel Museum, Jerusalem (https://www.imj.org.il/en/c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​s​ /362678); license purchased from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 10.1 Lintel of ancient Capernaum synagogue; Kohl and Watzinger, Antike Synagogen, 12 fig. 18 (cropped); courtesy of Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main / Digitale Sammlungen Judaica (http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/freimann/content/ pageview/3778653). 10.2 Seal, unprovenanced; King, Gnostics, pl. H fig. 2 (cropped); public domain (https:// archive.org/details/cu31924029323858/page/n507). 10.3 Tiberian coin; Victor Duruy, History of Rome and of the Roman People: From Its Origin to the Invasion of the Barbarians (trans. M. M. Ripley and W. J. Clarke; Boston: C. F.  Jewett, 1883), 4:188; public domain (https://archive.org/s​t​r​e​a​m​/p​1​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​o​f​r​o​ m​e​o​0​4​d​u​r​u​/p1historyofromeo04duru#page/188/m​od ​ ​e/​ 1up). 10.4 Dole BM, ms. 0024 (14-MS-G-1), p. 186 (https://bvmm.irht.cnrs.fr/consult/c​o​n​s​u​ l​t.​php?VUE_ID=1269348); courtesy of Médiathèque de l’agglomération du Grand Dole. 10.5 Additional 11639, folio 522; British Library (https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/i​l​l​u​m​i​n​a​ t​e​d​m​a​n​u​s​c​r​i​p​t​s​/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=49692); used by permission of the British Library Board. 10.6 Additional 14759, folio 2v; British Library (https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/i​l​l​u​m​i​n​a​t​ e​d​m​a​n​u​s​c​r​i​p​t​s​/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=52582); used by permission of the British Library Board.

334

List of Figures

10.7 Panel of Beth Alpha synagogue mosaic; public domain (https://commons.wikim​e​d​ i​a​.​o​r​g​/​w​i​k​i​/File:Beit_Alfa_Synagogue_Mosaic.jpg). 10.8 Winged bull colossus of Persepolis; De Bruyn, Travels, plate (not enumerated) “Sphinx dans le second portique”; public domain (https://archive.org/details/i​n.​e​ ​r​n​ e​t​.​d​l​i​.2015.286322/page/n41). 10.9 Wall panel relief, North West Palace, Nimrud (Kalhu); British Museum (https:// www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​_​o​b​j​e​c​t​_​d​e​t​a​i​l​s​.as​p​ x​?o ​ ​b​j​e​c​tId=367019&partId=1); used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 10.10 Ivory plaque, Megiddo; University of Chicago Oriental Institute (https://oi-idb. uchicago.edu/id/8cfebfa9-4026-4626-833f-d56bcb953b2c); used by permission of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 10.11 Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Gallerie dell’Accademia; public domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_Viatour.jpg). 10.12 Cylinder seal, Tell el-‘Ajjul; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 22 fig. 7; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 10.13 Stamp seal, Beth-Shemesh; Keel, Corpus Band II, Bet-Schemesch 188 (p. 299); courtesy of Othmar Keel. 10.14 Phoenician openwork ivory fragment, Nimrud (Kalhu); Herrmann, Ivories, 2: pl. 273 fig. 1051; courtesy of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq. 11.1 Statuette of Amun, Thebes; Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain (https:// www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544874). 11.2 Copper-alloy figure, Saqqara; British Museum (https://www.b​r​i​t​i​s​h​m​u​s​e​u​m​.org/ research/collection_online/collection_object_details.a​s​p​x​?​o​b​j​e​c​t​I​d​=​1​5​1​8​2​5​&​p​a​r​t​I​ d​=​1​used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 11.3 Gold statuette on stick, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0684; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www. griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/235a-p0684.html). 11.4 Gilded wooden statues of Tutankhamun, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0292; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/022-p0292.html). 11.5 Gilded statuette of Selket, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p1150; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http:// www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/266-p1150.html). 11.6 Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0719c; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith. o​x​.​a​c​.​uk/gri/carter/255-p0719c.html). 11.7 Protective genius, Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin); Musée du Louvre; courtesy of Musée du Louvre  / Thierry Ollivier (https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/blessinggenius). 11.8 Gypsum sculpture of protective spirit, Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin); British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_d​e​ t​a​i​l​s​.a​ spx?objectId=366083&partId=1); used by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. 11.9 Diagram of the holy of holies in the tabernacle, showing the size of the ark and the position and posture of the cherubim; author’s drawing. 11.10 Ivory plaque, Samaria; Keel and Uehlinger, Gods, fig. 243; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 11.11 El’amar seal, Megiddo; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 102 fig. 84; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 11.12 Scarab, Achziv; Keel, Corpus Band I, Achsib 75 (p. 47); courtesy of Othmar Keel.

List of Figures

335

11.13 Ring bezel, tomb of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0221 (cropped); courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www. griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/044d-p0221.html). 11.14 Relief, temple of Seti I, Abydos; Olaf Tausch (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Abydos_Tempelrelief_Sethos_I._36.JPG), “Abydos Tempelrelief Sethos I. 36”, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode. 11.15 Relief, Abu Simbel; Walter Wreszinski, Atlas zur altägyptischen Kulturgeschichte (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1923–1942), 2: pl. 169. 11.16 Phoenician temple model, unprovenanced; Istanbul Archaeology Museum, 803; Gustave Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures grecques, romaines et byzantines (Constantinople: Musée Impérial, 1912), 243; public domain (https://archive.org/details/ cataloguedesscul01unse/page/242). 11.17 Scarab, Beit Shean; Keel, Corpus Band II, Bet-Schean 212 (p. 191); courtesy of Othmar Keel. 11.18 Diagram of the holy of holies in the Temple, showing the size, position, and posture of the ark cherubim; author’s drawing. 11.19 Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph p0646f; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/ gri/carter/240-p0646 f.html). 12.1 Ivory figurine, Megiddo; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 20 fig. 6; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 12.2 Ivory plaque, Megiddo; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 20 fig. 5; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 12.3 Detail from relief on sarcophagus of Ahiram (see Figure 1.1); Elie plus at en.wikipedia (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ahiram.jpg), “Ahi­ram”, https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode. 12.4 Stamp seal, Tyre; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 32 fig. 16; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 12.5a Terra-cotta statuette, Ayia Irini; Keel, Jahwe-Visionen, 26 fig. 9; courtesy of Othmar Keel. 12.5b Photograph of previous item; Beer, “Ayia Irini”, 41 fig. 8a, credited to the Director of Antiquities and the Cyprus Museum; courtesy of the Director of the Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus. 12.5c Photograph of previous item; courtesy of the Director of the Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus. 12.6a “Lady of Galera” statuette, Necropolis of Tutugi; National Archaeological Museum of Spain; Luis García (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w​i​k​i​/​F​i​l​e​:​D​a​m​a_​d​e​_​G​ a​l​e​r​a​_​(​M​.​A​.​N._Madrid)_01.jpg), “Dama de Galera (M.  A.  N.  Madrid) 01”, https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode. 12.6b Rear-angle photograph of previous item; Relanzón, Santiago (photo) (https://c​o​m​ m​o​n​s​.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M​u​s​e​o​_​A​r​q​u​e​o​l​ó​g​i​c​o​_​N​a​c​i​o​n​a​l​_​-_33438_-_Dama_ de_Galera_02.jpg), https://creativecommons.org/l​i​c​e​n​s​e​s​/​b​y​-sa/4.0/legalcode. 12.7 Temple façade, Eflatun Pinar; Noumenon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Eflatunpinar.jpg), “Eflatunpinar”, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-s​a​ /​3​.​0​/​legalcode.

336

List of Figures

Plates 1a Fifth scale model of the ark and the cherubim in the tabernacle; made according to the author’s specifications by Alexander William Smith and Geoffrey Killen; photographic credit: Lorraine March-Killen. 1b See Plate 1a. 2a Dura-Europos Synagogue panel WB 4; see Figure 2.8a. 2b Dura-Europos Synagogue panel NB 1; see Figure 2.8b. 3a Gable-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun; see Figure 3.3a; © Bridgeman Images (https://www.bridgemanimages.com/en-GB/asset/391023). 3b Golden shrine, tomb of Tutankhamun; see Figure 3.9; © Bridgeman Images (https:// www.bridgemanimages.com/en-GB/asset/324494). 4a Nineteenth-century drawing of a guilloche pattern from an Ionic capital at the Erechtheum; see Figure 3.11. 4b Obsidian box, Byblos; see Figure 3.13. 5a Apsidal mosaic, Oratory of Germigny-des-Prés; see Figure 4.10. 5b Pylon-shaped chest surmounted by statue of Anubis, tomb of Tutankhamun; see Figure 4.12; Malek, Tutankhamun, Burton photograph 1169; courtesy of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/discoveringTut/burton5/ burtoncolour.html). 6a Gold larnax, Vergina; see Figure 7.1a. 6b Additional 11639, folio 522; see Figure 10.5. 7a Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun; see Figure 11.6; © Bridgeman Images (https://www. bridgemanimages.com/en-GB/asset/341877). 7b Ivory plaque, Samaria; see Figure 11.10; used by permission of the Israel Antiquities Authority (http://www.antiquities.org.il/t/item_en.aspx?C​u​r​r​e​n​t​P​a​g​e​K​e​y​=​2​5​&​i​n​d​1​i​c​ a​t​o​r​=7). 8a Ring bezel, tomb of Tutankhamun; see Figure 11.13; © robertharding (https://www. robertharding.com/744-50). 8b Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun; see Figure 11.19; public domain (https://www.p​u​b​l​i​c​d​ o​m​a​i​n​p​i​c​t​u​r​e​s​.net/en/view-image.php?image=114073).

Plates

338

Plates

Plate 1a: Reconstruction of the ark and the cherubim in the tabernacle.

Plate 1b: Reconstruction of the ark and the cherubim in the tabernacle.

Plates

Plate 2a: Dura-Europos Synagogue panel WB 4.

Plate 2b: Dura-Europos Synagogue panel NB 1.

339

340

Plates

Plate 3a: Gable-lidded chest, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Plate 3b: Golden shrine, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Plates

341

Plate 4a: Nineteenth-century drawing of a guilloche pattern from an Ionic capital at the Erechtheum.

Plate 4b: Obsidian box, Byblos.

Plate 5b: Pylon-shaped chest surmounted by statue of Anubis, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Plate 5a: Apsidal mosaic, Oratory of Germigny-des-Prés.

342 Plates

Plates

Plate 6a: Gold larnax, Vergina.

Plate 6b: Additional 11639, folio 522.

343

344

Plates

Plate 7a: Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun.

Plate 7b: Ivory plaque, Samaria.

Plates

Plate 8a: Ring bezel, tomb of Tutankhamun.

Plate 8b: Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun.

345

Index of Sources Subscripted numbers designate footnotes; italicized subscripted numbers designate figures and plates. Subscripted numbers in parentheses indicate a reference in both the main text of the page and the respective footnote, figure, or plate.

Hebrew Bible Genesis 1:1 4 1:7 213 2:1 150 2:8–9 204 2:8 213 2:10–12 182 2:15 204, 218, 226 2:21–23 6790 2:21 73, 75143 2:22 73, 75143 3:3 4 3:8–10 218 3:8 204 3:21 21587 3:23 209, 214 3:24 177, 182, 19211, 199, 201, 204, 207, 209(73), 210, 211, 212(80), 213, 214, 215(87, 88), 217, 218, 219, 228, 293 4:1 217 4:6–7 218 4:9–15 218 4:14 21587, 218 4:15 21587 4:16 21587, 218 4:20 203 6:14 164 6:15 232

6:16 76 9:27 21794 10:7 18 10:27 18 11:4 213 11:26 213 12:8 213 13:1 213 14:13 19 14:24 19 18–19 23564 18:1 202 19:5 23564 20:3 4 25:4 18 27:12 255 34:2 18 38:4 19 38:8 19 38:9 19 40:17 255 41:8 70110 46:12 19 46:16 18 47:6 199 47:11 199 49:6 227 50:23 16 50:26 3, 20, 29

348

Index of Sources

Exodus 6:18 10 6:20 10 12:41 206 13:17–22 36 13:19 14647 13:21 195 14:19 36 15:15 203 16:14 164 16:33–34 12, 130 19:9 195 23:14 70 23:17 7, 70 24:12 126 24:16 8, 217 25–40 5 25 187 25:2 815 25:3–8 51 25:8 136, 198, 211 25:9 815, 193 25:10–27:19 11271 25:10–22 3, 9, 35 25:10–16 105 25:10 3, 815, 1737, 27, 37, 51, 54 25:11–21 8 25:11–20 55 25:11 27, 57, 58 25:12–14 105 25:12 27, 55, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 74, 75, 95, 96, 97, 99, 103, 146 25:13–15 102 25:13 27, 51, 57, 103 25:14–15 95 25:14 15, 27, 72, 73, 74, 99, 103 25:15 15, 27, 105, 106, 109, 110(65), 111, 113 25:16 12, 15, 27, 125, 127 25:17–21 224 25:17 27, 512, 5726, 161, 162, 1636, 165, 167, 169, 232 25:18–20 204, 230, 249 25:18–19 27, 10021, 167, 169, 178, 179, 231 25:18 161, 167, 177, 179, 182, 249, 250, 255, 259, 292

25:19

161, 1636, 177, 180, 249, 260 25:20–21 289 25:20 27, 161, 177, 179, 221, 222, 226, 231, 260, 261, 291 25:21 12, 15, 27, 37, 125, 127, 161, 163, 169, 186, 261, 292 25:22 12, 15, 32, 100, 128, 136, 161, 163, 167, 168, 172, 177, 179(4), 198(27), 200, 204, 211, 214, 285, 28634 25:23 51, 54, 57, 64, 144, 232 25:24 58 25:25 58, 59, 64 25:26–27 95 25:26 55, 71, 72, 99 25:27–28 102 25:27 38, 59, 64 25:28 51, 57 25:29 5726, 112, 193 25:31–40 170, 257 25:31 28, 512, 5726, 249, 250, 252 25:32 77 25:35 250 25:36 5726, 249, 250, 252 25:38 5726, 112 25:39 5726, 170, 249 26:1 178, 204, 255 26:2 169, 232 26:3 26061 26:5 10021, 26061 26:6 26061 26:8 169, 232 26:9 77 26:12 77 26:13 76, 77 26:14 261 26:15–29 170 26:15–16 25853 26:15 51, 53 26:16 170, 232 26:17 54, 16938, 26061 26:18 54 26:19 16938 26:20 54, 73, 76 26:22 76 26:23 76

Index of Sources

26:25 54 26:26 51, 73, 76 26:27 73, 76 26:28 10021 26:29 57 26:31 178, 204, 226, 255 26:32 51, 57 26:33–35 162 26:33–34 9 26:33 12 26:34 12, 27, 161(2), 163, 169 26:35 73, 76, 139 26:36 255 26:37 51, 57, 951 27:1 51, 54, 76, 232, 25853 27:2 5727, 250 27:3 5833, 112, 193 27:4 71(121), 95, 99, 255 27:5 65, 99 27:6–7 102 27:6 51, 5727 27:7 73, 74, 76, 95, 102, 162 27:11 76 27:16 255 27:18 232 27:21 12, 127 28:6 255 28:8 250 28:11 255 28:12 10437 28:14 5726, 255 28:15 255 28:16 5413, 170 28:22 5726, 255 28:25 10021 28:27 261 28:28 105, 110 28:32 105, 110, 255 28:36 5726 28:39 255 29:21 173 29:42–43 198 29:42 218 29:45–46 136, 198 29:45 211 29:46 212 30:1–10 193 30:1 51

349

30:2 54, 65, 76, 100, 250 30:3 57, 58 30:4–5 102 30:4 58, 71, 73, 74, 76, 99 30:5 51, 57 30:6 12, 15, 127, 161(2), 163, 198 30:10 164 30:15 164 30:16 164 30:17–21 255 30:25 255 30:26–28 162 30:26 9, 12 30:35 255 30:36 12, 198, 218 31:6–11 9 31:6 18 31:7–11 162 31:7 9, 12, 15, 161, 163 31:18 126, 129 32 53 32:15 126, 129 32:16 126 32:19 126 32:20 164 34:1 126 34:2 126 34:4 126 34:5 195 34:23 7, 70 34:24 70 34:28 128 34:29 126, 129 35–40 5833 35:5–9 51 35:12 9, 15, 102, 161, 162 35:13 102, 162 35:15 102, 162 35:16 102, 162 35:22–28 51 36:8 178, 204, 255 36:10 26061 36:12 10021, 26061 36:13 26061 36:19 261 36:20–34 170 36:20–21 25853 36:20 51, 53

350

Index of Sources

36:21 54 36:22 16938, 26061 36:23 54 36:24 16938 36:25 54, 73, 76 36:27 76 36:28 76 36:30 54 36:31 51, 73, 76 36:32 73, 76(149) 36:33 10021 36:34 57 36:35 178, 204, 226, 255 36:36 51, 57 36:37 255 36:38 57 37:1–9 3, 9, 35 37:1–8 9 37:1–5 105 37:1 15, 27, 51(2), 54 37:2–9 55 37:2 27, 57, 58(33) 37:3 27, 55, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 74, 95, 96, 97, 99, 103 37:4–5 102 37:4 27, 51, 57, 103 37:5 7, 15, 27, 72, 73, 74, 95, 99, 103, 110 37:6–9 224 37:6 27, 5726, 161, 162, 1636, 167, 169, 232 37:7–9 204, 230, 249 37:7–8 27, 10021, 168, 169, 178, 179, 231 37:7 161, 167, 177, 249, 250, 255, 259, 292 37:8 161, 1636, 177, 249, 260 37:9 27, 161, 177, 186, 221, 222, 226, 231, 260, 261, 289, 291 37:10 51, 54, 64, 144, 232 37:11 57, 58(33) 37:12 58(33), 64 37:13–14 95 37:13 55, 71, 72, 951, 99 37:14–15 102 37:14 38, 64 37:15 38, 51, 57

37:16 5726, 112, 193 37:17–24 170, 257 37:17 28, 512, 5726, 249, 250, 252 37:18 77 37:21 250 37:22 5726, 249, 250, 252 37:23 5726, 112 37:24 5726, 170, 249 37:25 51, 54, 65, 76, 100, 250 37:26 57, 58(33), 99 37:27–28 102 37:27 58(33), 71(118), 73, 76 37:28 51, 57 37:29 255 38:1 51, 54, 76, 232, 25853 38:2 5727, 250 38:3 112, 193 38:4 65, 99, 255 38:5–7 102 38:5 7, 71(119, 120), 95(1), 99 38:6 51, 5727 38:7 73, 95 38:8 35, 168, 257 38:11 11 38:18 255 38:21 12 38:23 18 38:24 170 38:27 951 39:3 255 39:5 250 39:8 255 39:9 5413, 170, 232 39:15 5726, 255 39:18 10021 39:20 261 39:21 105, 110 39:22 255 39:23 105, 110 39:25 5726 39:27 255 39:29 255 39:30 5726 39:31 261 39:35 9, 12, 15, 102, 161, 162 39:39 102, 162 40:3–8 162 40:3 8, 9, 12, 15, 127, 1612, 292

Index of Sources

40:5 9, 12, 112, 127 40:8 112 40:18 112 40:19 261 40:20–21 3, 9 40:20 7, 12, 15, 27, 37, 102, 125, 127, 161, 162, 163, 169, 224, 261, 289, 292 40:21 9, 12, 15, 112, 127, 136, 1612, 292 40:22 127, 139 40:24 139 40:26 1221, 127 40:28 112 40:33 112 40:34 218 40:36–38 36 Leviticus 1:1 218 4:6 173 4:17 173 5:9 173 8:30 173 11:13 182 14:7 173 14:51 173 16 162, 164, 166, 168, 169, 172, 193 16:2 3, 5, 9, 12, 15, 127, 161, 162, 163, 172, 177, 285 16:11–14 172 16:13 12, 161, 163, 172 16:14 161, 163, 165 16:15 161(1), 163, 172 16:16 136, 172, 217 16:19 173 16:29 172 23:43 199 24:3 12 24:22 17 Numbers 1:50 12 1:51 11 1:53 12 2:17 10 3–7 5

351

3:15 10 3:29–31 10 3:31 3, 9, 15, 162 4 106, 112(71) 4:3 207 4:5–6 9, 11, 108 4:5 12, 15, 106, 108 4:6 102, 106, 107, 108, 109, 111, 112(73), 113 4:7 106, 112, 193 4:8 102, 106, 111, 112 4:9 106, 112 4:10 102(27) 4:11 102m 106, 111, 112 4:12 102(27), 106 4:13 106 4:14 102, 106, 111, 112, 193 4:15 11, 109, 11479 4:20 11 4:23 207 4:30 207 4:35 207 4:39 207 4:43 207 5:3 136, 198 5:23 17 7:9 104 7:89 12, 15, 32, 100, 128, 136, 161, 163, 167, 168, 172, 177, 179(4), 198, 200, 204, 211, 214, 249, 286 8:4 250 8:24 207 8:25 207 9:15–23 36 9:15 12 10:2 250 10:11–28 36 10:11 12 10:12 217 10:21 10 10:29–32 36 10:33 4, 5, 10, 14, 34, 36 10:35–36 34, 208 10:35 3, 15, 135, 208 10:36 136, 208 11:25 195 12:5 195

352

Index of Sources

13:23 10227 14:14 195 14:30 21793 14:42–43 135 14:44 4, 5, 14, 135 17:18 130 17:19 12, 198 17:22 12, 130 17:23 12, 130 17:24 130 17:25 12, 130 18:12 12 19:4 173 21:6 226 21:8 226 22:28 70 22:32 70 22:33 70 24:5 143 24:10 70 25 53 25:1 53 26:19 19 26:58–59 10 31:20 255 33:49 53 33:55 76 34:11 213 35:34 136, 198 Deuteronomy 1:33 36, 195 1:42 135 4:13 125, 128 4:19 150, 206 8:15 226 9:8 9 9:9–17 125 9:9 126, 128 9:10–11 126 9:11 128 9:15 126, 128 9:17 126 10 5 10:1–9 3 10:1–5 43, 28 10:1 3, 9, 28, 37, 51, 125, 126 10:2 125, 126

10:3 3, 9, 28, 37, 51, 125, 126 10:4 125, 126 10:5 9, 37, 125 10:8 10, 14, 125, 136 10:21 203 12:5 216–217 12:11 21793 14:12 182 14:23 21793 16:2 21793 16:6 21793 16:11 21793 16:16 70 17:3 150, 206 22:8 59 22:12 59–60 26:2 21793 26:15 151 28:13 261 28:57 72124 31 5 31:9 10, 14 31:25 10, 14 31:26 14, 77151, 131 32:11 293 33:9 128 33:17 208 33:28 217 Joshua 2:1 53 3–4 5 3:1 53 3:3–4 10 3:3 10, 14, 28 3:6 10, 12, 14, 28 3:8 10, 12, 14, 28 3:11 10, 12, 14 3:13–15 10, 28 3:13 13 3:14 10, 12, 14 3:16 77151 3:17 10, 14, 28 4:5 7, 9, 13 4:7 14 4:9–10 10, 28 4:9 12, 14 4:11 10, 13, 136

Index of Sources

4:13 136 4:16 10, 12, 28 4:18 10, 14, 28 5:2 17 6–7 5 6 136 6:2 14 6:4 7, 9, 136(6) 6:6 7, 10, 13, 136(6) 6:7 7, 9, 13 6:8–9 10 6:8 14, 136(6) 6:11 13 6:12 10, 13 6:13 7, 9, 10, 13, 136(6) 7:2 213 7:6 7, 9, 13 8 5 8:33 10, 14 9:17 164 12:9 77151 18:1 21280 18:21 19 18:24 164 18:26 164 23:13 76 24:25 128 24:32 14647 Judges 1:9 203 1:21 203 2:3 76 3:9 131 5:28 70110 6:11–24 23564 6:11 19 6:24 19 7:13 261 7:22 53 8:11 213 8:24–27 37 8:27 19 8:32 19 9:5 19 13:16 23564 13:25 70110 16:3 10437

353

16:15 70 19:22 17 20:26–27 136 20:27 5, 710, 14 1 Samuel 1:3 1118 2:8 199 2:22 35 2:28 1118 3:2–5 34 3:3 4, 5, 13, 136 4–7 6 4–6 11, 1362 4 34 4:3 4, 14, 135 4:4–5 135 4:4 4, 1118, 14, 28, 178, 195, 206, 207, 208 4:5 4, 14 4:6–9 35, 135 4:6 4, 13 4:10–12 135 4:11 4, 11, 1118, 13 4:13 4, 11, 13 4:17–18 11 4:17 5, 13, 20 4:18 5, 11, 13, 140 4:19–21 11 4:19 5, 13 4:21–22 149 4:21 5, 13 4:22 5, 11, 13 5:1 13 5:2–5 137, 147 5:2 13 5:3 9, 13, 147 5:4 9, 13, 147 5:6–7 135 5:7 13 5:8 31, 13 5:9 135 5:10 13 5:11 7, 135 6 34, 35, 38 6:1 13 6:2 13 6:3 13

354

Index of Sources

6:7–15 281, 38 6:7 3723 6:8 13, 23, 35, 3723, 38, 77151 6:10 3723 6:11 13, 23, 35, 3723 6:14 3723 6:15 10, 13, 23, 35, 38 6:18 13, 164 6:19–20 11 6:19 13, 135 6:20–7:1 136 6:20 7, 207 6:21 13 6:28 70110 7:1 11, 13, 136 7:2 135 13:17 19 14:3 1118, 18, 37 14:18 31, 6, 7, 1118, 13, 131 17:4 5413 17:6 72124 20:16 1261 20:20 77151 20:25 77151 22:8 1261 22:18 1118 22:20 1118 23:26 76 2 Samuel 2:16 76 5:11 52 6–7 6 6 11, 34, 136, 1378, 293 6:2 13, 28, 178, 179, 195, 204, 206, 207(66), 208 6:3–7 281, 38 6:3 13 6:4 9, 13 6:5 207 6:6–8 11 6:6–7 11479 6:7 13 6:9 13 6:10 13 6:11 13 6:12 13 6:13 13, 281

6:14 207 6:15 13 6:16 13, 207 6:17 13 7 148 7:1–7 204 7:2 10, 13, 52 7:5–6 136 7:6 21794 7:7 52 11:11 3, 6, 34 13:34 76–77 15 6 15:24 10, 13, 14 15:25 13 15:29 13 16:13 73 22 194, 233 22:1 194 22:8–16 90, 194 22:9 190 22:11 177, 190, 194(15), 197, 201, 211(78), 219, 2221, 233, 282, 287 22:13 190 22:14 20657 23:9 19 1 Kings 2:26 6, 1118, 13 2:28 21794 2:29 21794 2:30 21794 3:15 6, 9, 14 5:6 21 5:15–9:9 65 5:15–26 283 5:20 52 5:22 53 6–8 6, 200 6 187 6:2 178, 232 6:3 232 6:5 73 6:8 73 6:9 52 6:10 52 6:11–12 178

Index of Sources

6:14 178 6:15 52, 53, 73 6:16 52, 73 6:17 265 6:18 52, 229 6:19 6, 9, 10, 14, 207, 290 6:20 52, 264 6:21 5726, 178 6:23–28 200, 204, 231, 232, 249 6:23 177, 178, 179, 232, 252, 258 6:24–25 264 6:24 177, 186, 222, 232, 258 6:25 177, 1795, 232, 258 6:26 177, 232, 258 6:27 177, 179(5), 186, 222, 252, 264, 291 6:28 177, 252, 255 6:29 178, 200, 204, 229, 293 6:31 252 6:32 178, 200, 204, 252 6:33 252 6:34 53, 73 6:35 178, 1886, 200, 204 6:36 52 7:2 52, 232 7:3 52, 73 7:6 232 7:7 52 7:11 52 7:12 52 7:13–14 178, 283 7:15 232 7:16 951, 232 7:17 255 7:19 255 7:22 255 7:23 951, 232 7:24 951 7:27–39 65 7:27–37 188 7:27 232 7:29 178, 200, 204, 255 7:30 65, 66, 67, 951 7:32 232 7:33 951 7:34 66 7:36 178, 200, 204, 283

355

7:40 178 7:45 178 7:46 951 7:48 139, 178 7:49 139 7:50 5726 7:51 178 8 1378 8:1–11 148, 204, 293(46) 8:1–9 207 8:1 14 8:3 11 8:4 7, 13 8:5 9 8:6–11 10, 136 8:6–7 28, 148, 179, 200, 205, 222, 265 8:6 9, 11, 14, 177, 286, 292, 293 8:7–8 28, 102, 105 8:7 177, 1795, 264, 291, 292, 293 8:8–9 249 8:8 8, 101, 102(26), 107, 108, 110, 111 8:9 9, 28, 125, 1261, 130 8:10–11 148 8:11 149 8:12–13 219, 290 8:21 28, 125, 127, 207 8:22 151 8:27 205 8:30 151, 20656, 290 8:32 151, 20656 8:34 151, 20656 8:36 151, 20656 8:39 151, 20656, 290 8:43 151, 20656 8:45 151, 20656 8:49 151, 20656, 290 8:54 151 9:25 70 10:18–20 285 10:18 5726 12:28–32 281 13:1 4 18:27 13922 22:19 150, 201, 205

356

Index of Sources

22:21–23 150 2 Kings 4:10 139 10:29 281 10:30 16 11:12 17143 12:10 3, 16, 17, 21, 29, 169 12:11 3, 21 17:15 128 17:16 281 18:17 16–17 19:14 207 19:15 178, 1795, 195, 206, 207 19:24 70(110) 19:30 261 23:3 128 23:5 150 25 142 25:13–17 142 25:15 193 Isaiah 1:8 250 2:6 213 3:24 250, 251 5:7 255 5:27 13922 6 149, 188, 201, 229 6:1–13 265 6:1–2 205 6:1 149, 150, 282, 287, 290 6:2 149, 223, 224, 226, 265 6:3 149 6:4 149, 265 6:5 149 6:6 226 7:20 72124 8:21 261 9:9 52 9:11 213 10:13 201 11:8 255 14:21 72131 14:29 226 17:10 17 19:1 195 24:5 128

26:5 203 26:6 70(110) 28:4 21 29:9 255 30:6 226 30:8 36, 128 36:2 17 37:15 207 37:16 178, 180, 195, 206, 207 37:25 70(110) 37:31 261 40:12 5413 40:22 205 41:7 70110 41:19 53, 252, 254 44:14 21 45:21 213 46:2 137 46:7 10437 49:22 10437 51:14 255 54:2 143 57:8 1261 57:15 202 60:4 76 60:7 142, 149 60:13 149 63:1 255 63:15 142, 20655 64:10 142, 149 66:1 14230, 150 66:12 76, 255 Jeremiah 2:20 255 3:16–17 138, 140, 149, 288 3:16 6, 8, 14, 140, 173 3:17 288 5:24 20242 7:3 212(80), 215, 216, 217 7:7 212(80), 215, 216, 217 7:12 21793, 288 7:48 137 8:2 150, 206 10:5 250 10:9 255 10:15 255 14:19 140

Index of Sources

14:21 140, 149, 288 17:1 36, 128 17:12 140, 149, 282 17:14 203 20:6 203 22:14–15 52 28:13 10227 30:18 143 31:20 255 31:31 128 33:22 206 36:22 202 39 142 48:2 203 48:12 255 49:3 137 49:19 17 49:22 293 49:38 14024 51:18 255 52 142 52:17–23 142 52:18 5833 52:19 193 Ezekiel 1–3 282, 287, 288, 289 1:1–3:14 149, 177, 185 1 188, 189 1:1 149 1:3 149 1:4 149 1:5 224, 287 1:6 186 1:7 72124 1:8 186, 225 1:10 186, 223, 226, 227 1:11 186 1:13 149, 186, 191 1:15–22 186, 191 1:15–21 185 1:16 22516 1:22 191 1:23 186 1:25 191 1:26–28 185 1:26 149, 191 2:1 265

357

2:2 265 2:13 191 3:12–13 185 3:13 185, 186 3:22–5:17 149 3:23 149, 1862 3:24 265 4:4 76 4:6 76 4:8 76 4:9 76 8–11 149, 177, 185, 191, 197, 219, 221, 28634, 287, 288 8:4 149, 185 9 189 9:2 189 9:3–4 189 9:3 149, 177, 185, 189, 190, 191(10), 197 10 185, 190, 19212, 193 10:1 177, 1795, 185, 191, 197 10:2–3 189 10:2 177, 1795, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191 10:3 177, 1795 10:4 149, 177, 185, 188, 189, 190, 191, 19725 10:5 177, 191, 2221 10:6–7 186, 189 10:6 177, 189, 191 10:7 177, 1795, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 225 10:8–13 185 10:8 177, 1795, 186, 191, 2221, 225 10:9–14 186 10:9 177 10:10 22516 10:12 2221 10:13 190, 192 10:14 177, 186, 226, 227, 228, 230 10:15 149, 177, 185, 191, 192 10:16–19 185, 186 10:16 177, 2221 10:18–19 149, 185, 191 10:18 177, 186, 188, 191, 197

358 10:19

Index of Sources

177, 186, 188, 191, 197(25), 2221 10:20 177, 185, 186, 191, 192 10:21 186, 225 11:22–23 149, 185 11:22 177, 185, 186, 191, 192, 197(25) 11:23 185, 213 12:6 10437 12:7 10437 12:12 10437 16:8 293(47) 17:6 10225 17:15 20242 19:14 10225 20:6 36 24:21 142, 149 24:25 142, 149 25:4 199 27:5 53 28:11–19 218, 293 28:13–14 204 28:13 5 28:14–19 228 28:14 177, 225, 23045, 293 28:16 177, 204, 293 31:7 5 31:8 5 32:4 21280 34:21 76 37:10 265 40–48 149 40–43 232 40:39–43 193 41:5 73 41:6 73 41:7 73, 261 41:8 73, 265 41:9 73 41:11 73 41:18–20 293 41:18–19 229 41:18 178, 204, 221 41:20 178, 204 41:25 178, 204 41:26 73 43:1–9 149 43:3 1862

43:4–5 149 43:7 150, 168, 216 43:11 193 43:13 5413 44:4 149 Hosea 5:2 53 8:1 128 10:4 128 10:11 180 13:2 255 Joel 4:18 53 Amos 1:5 201 1:8 201 9:1 1612 Jonah 4:5 213 Micah 5:1 213 6:5 53 Nahum 2:8 137 Habakkuk 1:12 213 2:2 36, 128 3:8 233 Zephaniah 2:14 1612 Haggai 1:8 150 2:3 149 2:5 1261 2:7 149 2:9 149 Zechariah 2:2 6156

Index of Sources

2:4 6156 14:12 265 Psalms 2:4 205 5:8 143 7:6 216 9:5 150 9:8 151 9:9 151 11:4 150, 20655 14:2 20655 15:1 21794 17:5 70110 17:8 29347 18 194, 233 18:1 194 18:8–16 190, 194 18:9 190 18:11 177, 190, 194, 197, 201, 211(78), 219, 2221, 233, 282, 287 18:13 190 18:14 190, 20657 19:8–9 128 19:8 128 20:7 20657 22:4 202 25:10 128 26:8 149 27:5 21794 32:1 166 33:14 20655 36:8 29347 46:5 5 47:8–9 150 49:2 203 49:12 143 50:16 128 55:20 203 57:2 29347 57:4 20657 57:7 70110 58:11 70(110) 61:5 21794, 29347 63:8 29347 65:4 164 68:5 195

359

68:17 219 68:34 20657 74:2 216 74:3 70110 74:12 213 76:9 20657 77:6 213 77:7 70110 77:12 213 77:19 190 78:5 128 78:10 128 78:28 143 78:38 164 78:55 216 78:60 216, 21794 78:61 14231, 149 78:67 21794 79:1 150 79:9 164 80:2–3 20868 80:2 178, 1795, 195(22), 198, 204, 206, 208(68), 211 80:3 208 80:4 208 80:5 206 80:8 206, 208 80:13 21 80:15 206(55), 208 80:20 206, 208 81:5–6 128 85:10 216 85:14 70110 87:2 143 87:3 5 89:15 151 91:4 29347 91:8 77151 93:2 150 94:19 255 95:6 14334 96:6 14231 96:8–9 14334 97:2 151 99:1 178, 1795, 195(22), 196, 198, 206, 207, 208, 211 99:2 208 99:5 141, 142, 150, 20867, 288

360

Index of Sources

99:9 142, 208 102:20 20655 103:18 128 103:19 150 104:3 195 104:10 20242 105:8 128 105:10 128 107:10 203 113:5 20655 115:3 20655 115:16 206 119:16 255 119:24 255 119:47 255 119:70 255 119:77 255 119:81 128 119:82 128 119:83 128 119:85 128 119:86 128 119:88 128 119:92 255 119:133 70110 119:143 255 119:174 255 120:5 218 121:4 13922 123:1 205 132 1378 132:3 143 132:5 143 132:6 20 132:7 141, 142, 143, 150, 288 132:8 6, 10, 15, 20, 135, 143, 149, 204 132:11 143 132:12 128, 143 132:13 143 139:3 61 140:5 70110 143:5 213 147:16 164 Job 11:14 216 13:27 217

18:21 143 21:28 143 22:14 20655 33:11 217 37:18 168 38:29 164 39:6 143 39:26 293 Proverbs 2:8 217 2:20 217 3:3 36, 128 7:3 36, 128 8:30 255 8:31 255 29:5 70110 31:10 vi Ruth 2:12 29347 2:14 77151 3:9 293(47) Song of Songs 1:13 101, 107 1:14 164 1:17 52, 53 3:10 131 4:13 164 5:1 21 7:2 70110 7:12 164 8:9 52 Qoheleth 3:21 261 5:1 206 Lamentations 2 142 2:1 141, 150, 288 2:2 142 2:8 142 2:15 142 2:18 142 3:41 20656 3:50 20655

Index of Sources

5:18 150 5:19 150 Daniel 2:1 70110 2:3 70110 3 18327 5:6 251 7:9–10 149, 1862 8:10 150, 206 Ezra 1:9–11 193 1:10 164, 193 2:25 164 2:59 177 3:7 52 8:27 164 Nehemiah 1:9 21793 2:3 1261 6:2 164 7:29 164 7:61 177 8:15 252, 253, 254 12:46 213 1 Chronicles 1:9 18 1:21 18 1:23 18 2:3 19 6:16 3, 6 11:13 19 13 6 13:3 13 13:5 13 13:6 28, 178, 195(22), 204, 206, 207(66) 13:7–10 281, 38 13:7 13 13:9–11 11 13:12 13 13:14 13 14:1 52 14:4 213 15–17 6

361

15:1 13, 21794 15:2 10, 13 15:3 13 15:12 13 15:14 13 15:15 10, 13, 28, 281, 102, 104 15:24 9, 13 15:25 14 15:26 10, 14, 281 15:27 10 15:28 14 15:29 14 16:1 13 16:4 9, 13 16:6 9, 14 16:17 128 16:37 9, 14 17 148 17:1 10, 14, 52 17:1–6 204 17:4–5 136 17:5 21794 17:6 52 22:4 52 22:5 142, 149 22:19 6, 14 23:25 217 27:25 164 28 6 28:1–10 143 28:2 14, 141, 143, 144, 150, 288 28:4 144 28:6 144 28:10 144 28:11 161, 164, 193 28:14–17 193 28:16 193 28:17 5726, 164, 193 28:18 14, 149, 178, 179(5), 193, 205, 249, 255, 265, 282, 287, 291 28:19 193 2 Chronicles 1:4 6, 13, 21794 1:18–7:22 66 2:2 52 2:7 53

362

Index of Sources

3 232 3:4 5726 3:5 53 3:6 142 3:7 178, 200, 204 3:8 265 3:10–13 200, 204, 231, 249, 255, 259, 265 3:10 177, 178, 179, 252, 255 3:11–13 232, 259 3:11 177, 222 3:12 177, 222 3:13 177, 221, 222, 265 3:14 178, 200, 204 4:2 951, 232 4:3 951 4:4 266 4:17 951 4:18 193 4:19 139, 193 4:20 139 5–6 6 5:1–10 207 5:2–14 148, 204 5:2 14 5:4 10 5:6 9 5:7–14 10, 136 5:7–8 28, 148, 179, 200, 222, 249, 265 5:7 9, 14, 177, 205, 286, 292 5:8–9 28, 102, 105 5:8 177 5:9 7, 101, 102, 107 5:10 9, 28, 125, 126(1), 130 5:13–14 148 5:14 149 6:2 219 6:11 28, 125, 127, 207 6:13 151

6:18 205 6:21 151, 20656 6:23 151, 20656 6:25 151, 20656 6:27 151, 20656 6:30 151, 20656 6:33 151, 20656 6:35 151, 20656 6:39 151, 20656 6:41 10, 15, 136, 149 7:2 149 7:14 151, 20656 7:18 1261 8:11 6, 13, 20 8:13 70 9:17–19 285 9:17 5726 9:25 21 11:15 281–282 13:8 282 13:19 19 16:29 14334 18:18 150, 201, 205 18:20–22 150 20:6 20656 23:11 17143 24:6 12 24:8 3, 16, 17, 21 24:10 3, 21 24:11 3, 21, 29 30:27 20656 32:28 21 34:4 261 34:9 5 34:31 128 35:3 6, 8, 15, 104 35:8 5 36:16 255 36:17–21 142

Samaritan Pentateuch unspecified

15, 1636, 179

Genesis 14:13 19

14:24 19 Exodus 23:17 7

363

Index of Sources

25:10 915 25:19 1782, 3 25:20 26061 30:6 1221

34:23 7 37:9 26061 40:3 1612 40:21 1612

Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Judean Desert Scrolls Sirach 50:10 252

Liber antiquitatum biblicarum 26:9–15 131

Enoch 14:18–23 14957, 1862

Judean Desert Scrolls 4QpaleoGen-Exodl

Odes 8:54

195–196, 196, 206

Letter of Aristeas 51–82 60 56 60 58–60 60 Jubilees 7:12 21794

15, 179, 180, 19521, 26061 4QpaleoExodm 15, 26061 4QExod-Levf 15 4QLev-Numa 15 4QSama 180, 206 4QIsaa 180, 206 4QtgLev 165 4QKgs 265 Damascus Document 7 Genesis Apocryphon 19 Temple Scroll 261

Sibylline Oracles 3:1 199

Philo and Josephus Philo unspecified 222 On Sobriety 13 21794 On the Cherubim passim 222 On the Life of Moses 2.77 53 2.90 53 2.96 169 2.97 180 Questions and Answers on Exodus 2.55 5937

Questions and Answers on Genesis 2.72 21794 Josephus unspecified

222, 25748

Jewish Antiquities 1.134 18 1.147 18 1.182 19 1.238 18 1.337 18 1.339 18 2.182 18 3.105 18

364

Index of Sources

3.115 17142 3.117 16938 3.120 16938 3.122 17142 3.125 17142 3.134 915, 18, 75, 165, 16937, 38, 223 3.137 16517 3.200 18

5.229 19 5.232 19 6.107 18 7.308 19 8.71 223 12.60–84 60 Jewish War 5.215 18

New Testament and Early Christian Writings Hebrews 4:16 165 9:4 1424, 130

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6.11 59 Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian T ­ opography 2.134–135 59 3.173–174 59 5.201–202 59

Revelation 11:19 1424

Greco-Roman Literature Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 803–804 182

Hesychius of Alexandria, Lexicon “κυμάτια” 59(38)

Ctesias, Fragments F45.26, F45h 182

Homer unspecified 165

Herodotus, Histories 3.20 60 3.116 182 4.13 182 4.27 182 4.79 182 4.152 182 6.134 10539 7.40 138

Theophrastus, Historia plantarum 4.2.8 53 Vitruvius, De architectura 3.1.3 234 4.3.4 59 4.3.6 59 4.3.8 59

Ancient Biblical Translations Septuagint unspecified Gen 2:21–22

19, 164, 222 6790, 94

Gen 3:24 Gen 6–9

199, 209, 210, 214, 21587 22

Index of Sources

Gen 14:13 Gen 14:24 Exod 2:3 Exod 2:5 Exod 16:33–34 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:10 (25:9) Exod 25:11 (25:10) Exod 25:12 (25:11) Exod 25:14 (25:13) Exod 25:15 (25:14) Exod 25:17 (25:16) Exod 25:18 (25:17) Exod 25:19 (25:18) Exod 25:20 (25:19) Exod 25:24 (25:23) Exod 25:25 (25:23) Exod 25:26 (25:25) Exod 25:31 (25:30) Exod 25:32 (25:31) Exod 25:36 Exod 26:4 Exod 26:5 Exod 26:18 Exod 26:19 Exod 26:20 Exod 26:26 Exod 26:27 Exod 26:28 Exod 26:34 Exod 26:35 Exod 27:3 Exod 27:4 Exod 27:7 Exod 27:9 Exod 27:11 Exod 27:14 Exod 27:15 Exod 28:7 Exod 30:3 Exod 30:4 Exod 30:6 Exod 30:10 Exod 30:15 Exod 30:16 Exod 32:15 Exod 32:20

19 19 22 22 130 66 915 58(33) 66, 68, 71, 74, 75, 96 67, 74 105 165 6688, 250 6688, 1782, 3 261 58 58 6793 250 6788 250 6793 6793 6688 6793 6789 6793 6789 6788 1612 6793 5833 6788, 71 6794, 74 6688 6688 6788 6788 6793 58 58, 6789, 71, 74 1221 164 164 164 6793 164

365

Exod 35–40 5833 Exod 37:2 (38:2) 5833 Exod 37:3 (38:3) 66, 67, 71, 74, 96 Exod 37:5 (38:4) 7 Exod 37:6 (38:5) 7 Exod 37:7 (38:6) 250 Exod 37:13 (38:10) 6789 Exod 37:15 (38:11) 7 Exod 37:17 (38:13) 250 Exod 37:18 (38:14) 6793 Exod 37:22 (38:16) 250 Exod 38:5 (38:24) 6793, 71119 Exod 38:11 (37:9) 6688 Exod 38:12 (37:10) 6688 Exod 38:13 (37:11) 6688 Exod 39:4 (36:11) 6793 Exod 39:17 (36:24) 6793 Exod 40:20 (40:18) 7 Exod 40:22 (40:20) 6789 Exod 40:24 (40:22) 6789 Lev 16:16 21895 Num 4:6 10641 Num 8:4 250 Num 10:2 250 Num 17:23 130 Num 17:25 130 Deut 12:5 217 Josh 4:5 7, 916 Josh 4:16 12 Josh 6:4 7, 916, 1366 Josh 6:6 7, 1366 Josh 6:7 7, 916 Josh 6:8 1366 Josh 6:13 7, 916, 1366 Josh 7:6 7, 916 Josh 24:33a 7 1 Sam 4:4 196(24), 206 1 Sam 5:11 7 1 Sam 6:8 6791 1 Sam 6:20 7 1 Sam 9:27 6791 1 Sam 14:18 7 1 Sam 23:26 6791 2 Sam 6:2 196, 206 2 Sam 13:34 6791 2 Sam 22:11 194(15), 197(26), 211, 233 2 Sam 23:9 19

366 1 Kgs 5:4 1 Kgs 6:23 1 Kgs 6:24 1 Kgs 6:31 1 Kgs 6:32 1 Kgs 6:33 1 Kgs 7:30 (7:17) 1 Kgs 7:34 (7:20) 1 Kgs 8:4 1 Kgs 8:9 1 Kgs 12:31 1 Kgs 13:33 2 Kgs 2 Kgs 7:5 2 Kgs 7:8 2 Kgs 12:10–11 2 Kgs 19:15 Isa 37:16 Isa 41:19 Jer 7:3 Jer 7:7 Jer 17:12 Ezek 9:3 Ezek 10:1 Ezek 10:14 Ezek 10:18 Ezek 10:19 Ezek 11:22 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:14 Ezek 28:16 Ezek 43:7 Joel 4:18 Amos 9:1 Mic 6:5 Ps 18:11 (17:11) Ps 22:4 (21:4) Ps 65:4 (64:4) Ps 74:2 (73:2) Ps 78:38 (77:38) Ps 78:55 (77:55) Ps 78:60 (77:60) Ps 79:9 (78:9) Ps 80:2 (79:2) Ps 80:5 (79:5) Ps 80:8 (79:8) Ps 80:15 (79:15)

Index of Sources

6791 253 6791 253 253, 254 253 67, 71 71 7 125, 1261 6791 6791 20661 6791 6791 22 196, 206 196, 206 53, 253 212 212 140 197 197 227 197 197 197 204 218 204, 207 216 53 1612 53 194, 197(26), 211, 233 202 164 216 164 216 216 164 196, 206 206 206 206

Ps 80:20 (79:20) Ps 85:10 (84:10) Ps 99:1 (98:1) Job 11:14 Dan 3:55 Neh 8:15 1 Chr 13:6 1 Chr 28:2 1 Chr 28:11 2 Chr 3:10 2 Chr 3:13 2 Chr 5:9 2 Chr 24:8–11 Sir 50:10

206 216 196, 206 216 195, 196, 206 253 196, 206 144 164 256 266 7 22 253

Aquila Exod 25:10 (25:9) Exod 37:1 (38:1) Exod 37:2 (38:2) Exod 37:3 (38:3) Jer 7:3 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:14 Ezek 28:16

22 22 60 74 212, 217 204 218 204, 207

Symmachus Exod 25:12 (25:11) Isa 66:12 Jer 7:3 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:14 Ezek 28:16 Ps 74:2

67, 75 6794 212 204 218 204, 207 216

Theodotion Exod 25:12 (25:11) Exod 37:5 (38:4) Exod 37:13 (38:11) Judg 7:11 2 Sam 22:11 1 Kgs 6:19 (6:18) 2 Kgs Isa 7:18 Isa 37:16 Jer 52:23 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:14 Ezek 28:16

67, 75 74 6792 6792 197 22 20661 6792 19624 6792 204 218 204, 207

Index of Sources

Ps 78:60 Dan 2:42 Dan 3:54 Dan 11:45

216 6792 195, 196, 206 6792

Origen Exod 37:11 Exod 37:12 Exod 37:26 Exod 37:27

5833 5833 5833 5833, 74

Vulgate unspecified Gen 3:24 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:17 Exod 25:18 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:22 Exod 25:24 Exod 25:25 Exod 25:26 Exod 25:27 Exod 25:31 Exod 25:36 Exod 26:34 Exod 27:4 Exod 30:6 Exod 31:7 Exod 35:12 Exod 37:3 Exod 37:6 Exod 37:7 Exod 37:8 Exod 37:9 Exod 37:11 Exod 37:12 Exod 37:13 Exod 37:14 Exod 37:17 Exod 37:22 Exod 38:5 Exod 39:35 Exod 40:20 Lev 16:2 Lev 16:13 Lev 16:14

61, 222, 253 20973, 213 75 68, 71, 96 165 250 165, 166 165 61(50) 61(50) 71 61(50) 250 250 165 71 165 165 165 68, 71, 96 167 165, 250 165 165 61(50) 61(50) 71 61(50) 250 250 71120 165 166 165, 166 166 166

Lev 16:15 Lev 16:16 Num 4:6 Num 7:89 Num 8:4 Num 10:2 Deut 12:5 Josh 4:16 1 Sam 4:4 2 Sam 6:2 2 Sam 22:11 2 Sam 23:9 1 Kgs 7:28 1 Kgs 7:29 1 Kgs 7:30 1 Kgs 7:34 2 Kgs 19:15 Isa 37:16 Jer 7:3 Jer 7:7 Ezek 9:3 Ezek 10:1 Ezek 10:18 Ezek 10:19 Ezek 11:22 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:16 Ps 7:6 Ps 18:11 (17:11) Ps 22:4 (21:4) Ps 74:2 (73:2) Ps 78:55 (77:55) Ps 78:60 (77:60) Ps 80:2 (79:2) Ps 80:5 (79:5) Ps 80:8 (79:8) Ps 80:15 (79:15) Ps 80:20 (79:20) Ps 85:10 (84:10) Ps 99:1 (98:1) Job 11:14 Neh 8:15 1 Chr 13:6 1 Chr 28:11 2 Chr 3:10 2 Chr 3:13 2 Chr 5:9 2 Chr 24:8

367 166 21895 10641 165, 166 250 250 217 12 196, 206 197, 198, 206 194, 197, 211, 233 19 61(50) 61(50) 67, 71 71 196, 206 196, 206 212, 217 212, 217 197 197 197 197 197 20452 20452 216 194, 197, 211, 233 202 216 216 216 196, 197, 206 206 206 206 206 216 196, 197, 200, 206 216 253 196, 206 165 256 266 713 23

368 2 Chr 24:10 2 Chr 24:11 Peshitta unspecified Gen 3:24 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:10 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:19 Exod 25:20 Exod 27:4 Exod 29:6 Exod 37:3 Exod 37:9 Exod 39:30 Lev 16:16 Josh 4:16 1 Sam 4:4 2 Sam 6:2 2 Sam 22:11 2 Sam 23:9 1 Kgs 7:30 1 Kgs 7:34 2 Kgs 12:10 2 Kgs 12:11 2 Kgs 19:15 Isa 37:16 Jer 7:3 Jer 7:7 Ezek 9:3 Ezek 10:1 Ezek 10:18 Ezek 10:19 Ezek 11:22 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:14 Ezek 28:16 Ps 7:6 Ps 18:11 Ps 22:4 Ps 74:2 Ps 78:55 Ps 78:60 Ps 80:2 Ps 80:4 Ps 80:5

Index of Sources

23 23 19, 165, 222, 251, 253 20973, 213 75 915 68 1783 260 71121 61 68 260 61 21895 12 196, 206 196, 206 194 19 68, 71 71 23 23 196, 206 196, 206 212 212 197 197 197 197 197 204 218 204, 207 216 194 20245 216 216 216 196, 206 206 206

Ps 80:8 Ps 80:15 Ps 80:20 Ps 85:10 Ps 99:1 Job 11:14 Neh 8:15 1 Chr 13:6 2 Chr 3:10 2 Chr 3:13 2 Chr 5:9 2 Chr 24:8–11

206 206 206 216 196, 206 216 253 196, 206 256 266 713 22

Targumim (generally) unspecified Exod 25:10 Exod 25:22 Exod 29:6 Exod 39:30 Lev 16:16 Num 7:89 1 Kgs 8:9

166, 222, 250 915 198 61 61 21895 198 125

Targum Onqelos unspecified Gen 3:24 Gen 9:27 Gen 50:26 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:8 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:19 Exod 25:22 Exod 25:26 Exod 27:4 Exod 29:45 Exod 29:46 Exod 37:3 Exod 37:13 Exod 38:5 Num 7:89

22, 61 20973, 213(84) 21794 22–23 75 211 68, 71, 98 1783 214 71 71121 211 212 68, 71, 98 71 71 214

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan unspecified 22, 61 Gen 3:24 211, 212(81), 213, 214, 215(87, 88), 217, 219 Gen 9:27 21794

369

Index of Sources

Gen 50:26 Exod 13:19 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:8 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:19 Exod 25:22 Exod 29:45 Exod 29:46 Exod 37:3 Num 7:89 Num 8:4 Num 10:2 Targum Neofiti unspecified Gen 1:1 Gen 3:24 Gen 9:27 Gen 13:11 Gen 50:26 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:8 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:22 Exod 25:26 Exod 27:4 Exod 29:6 Exod 29:45 Exod 29:46 Exod 37:3 Exod 37:9 Exod 37:13 Exod 38:5 Exod 39:30 Lev 16:16 Num 7:89 Num 9:6 Num 35:34 Deut 33:16

2272 23 75 211 68 1783 211, 214 211 212 68 211, 214 250 250 22, 230 21384 210(76), 211, 212(81), 213, 214, 215(87, 88), 217, 219 212, 21794 21384 2272, 22–23 75 211 68, 71 260 211 71 71 61 211 212 68, 71 260 71 71 61 212, 21895 211 23 212 212

Fragmentary Targumim Gen 1:7 213

Gen 3:24 Gen 11:4 Gen 50:26 Num 10:35 Num 10:36 Deut 1:1 Deut 27:12

210(76), 211, 212(81), 213, 214, 215(87, 88), 217, 219 213 2272 22 22 22 22

Genizah Targum Exod 12:2 Deut 1:1 Deut 27:15

22 22 22

Samaritan Targum unspecified Gen 50:26 Exod 23:17 Exod 25–40 Exod 25:12 Exod 34:23 Exod 37:3

22, 166 22–23 7 75 68 7 68

Targum Jonathan unspecified Josh 4:16 1 Sam 4:4 2 Sam 6:2 2 Sam 22:11 2 Sam 23:9 1 Kgs 6:13 1 Kgs 7:30 1 Kgs 7:34 1 Kgs 8:12 2 Kgs 12:10 2 Kgs 12:11 2 Kgs 19:15 Isa 2:6 Isa 6:2 Isa 33:5 Isa 37:16 Isa 41:19 Jer 3:16–17 Jer 7:3 Jer 7:7 Ezek 9:3

22, 253 12 196, 206 196, 206 194(15), 197, 211, 233 19 212 68, 71 71 212 23 23 196, 206 21384 265 212 196, 206 253 13817 212 212 19110, 197

370 Ezek 10:1 Ezek 10:18 Ezek 10:19 Ezek 11:22 Ezek 28:13–14 Ezek 28:16 Ezek 43:7 Ezek 43:9 Joel 4:17 Joel 4:21 Zech 2:14 Zech 2:15 Zech 8:3

Index of Sources

Targum of Job Job 11:14 Job 14:11

197 197 197 197 20452 20452 212 212 212 212 212 212 212

216 22

Targum of Song of Songs Song 1:14 22 Song 3:4 22 Song 3:10 22 Targum of Qoheleth Qoh 10:9

Targum of Psalms unspecified 22 Ps 7:6 216 Ps 18:11 194, 197, 211, 233 Ps 74:2 216 Ps 78:55 216 Ps 78:60 216 Ps 80:2 23, 205, 206, 211 Ps 85:10 216 Ps 99:1 198, 205, 206, 211 Ps 135:21 212

22

Targum of Lamentations Lam 2:1 141, 14230 Targum of Chronicles unspecified 22 1 Chr 13:6 196, 206 1 Chr 23:25 212 2 Chr 3:10 256 2 Chr 3:13 266 2 Chr 5:9 713 2 Chr 6:1 212 2 Chr 24:8 23 2 Chr 24:10 23 2 Chr 24:11 23

Talmud Mishna Ber. 7:3 Kelim 19:9 Mid. 1:1 Mid. 5:1 Šabb. 2:2 Ta‘an. 2:1 Tamid 2:3 Ṭehar. 8:2 Yoma 5:1–2 Yoma 5:1

20350 139 162 162 253 23 253 23, 139 305 10122

Tosefta Kelim 10:3–4 Menaḥ. 9:14 Menaḥ. 11:5 Šabb. 2:3 Soṭah 4:7

139 253 100(20) 253 14647

Soṭah 7:18 Tem. 4:8 Yoma 2:15 Zebaḥ. 7:1 Jerusalem Talmud Ber. 2:3 Ber. 4:5 Meg. 1:9 Roš Haš. 1:1 Roš Haš. 2:2 Šabb. 1:1 Šeqal. 6:1 Sotah 8:3 Sukkah 1:1

43 162 10122 162 14647 21 21794 28634 254 5620, 170 32, 23, 5620, 5732, 10122, 130, 254 32, 23, 5620, 5732, 130, 254 5620, 170

371

Index of Sources

Babylonian Talmud B. Bat. 12a B. Bat. 14a–b B. Bat. 14a B. Bat. 80b B. Bat. 99a Ber. 8b Ber. 30a ‘Erub. 4b Ḥag. 13b Mak. 22a Meg. 9b Menaḥ. 97b Menaḥ. 98a–b Menaḥ. 98a Menaḥ. 98b Menaḥ. 99a Roš Haš. 23a Roš Haš. 31a Šabb. 92a Sanh. 7a

180 131 5620 53, 253 256, 258 131 162 170 180, 223, 22626 105 21794 162 75143, 10122 10020 100 131 53, 253 28534 97, 170 170

Soṭah 13a–b Soṭah 42b–43a Sukkah 4b Sukkah 5b Sukkah 12a Sukkah 45b Ta‘an. 25a Tamid 27a Tem. 30b Yoma 10a Yoma 21a Yoma 54a–b Yoma 54a Yoma 56b Yoma 72a Yoma 72b

14647 131 170 5620, 180, 223, 25752 253 53 254 162 162 21794 258 223 10122 21895 53, 105, 106, 10849 61

Minor Tractates ‘Abot R. Nat. A 8 add. 2  21794

Midrash Genesis Rabbah Gen 1:26 Gen 3:24 Gen 9:27

75143 21384 21794

Mekilta Exod 13:19

14647

Mekilta of R. Simeon bar Yohai Exod 13:19 14647 Exodus Rabbah Exod 25:10 Exod 37:1

61 53

Sifra Lev 1:8 Lev 15:4 Lev 16:2 Lev 16:16 Lev 24:2 Lev 24:8

253 139 166 21895 253 10020

Leviticus Rabbah Lev 12:2 Lev 24:2

75143 253

Sifre Zuta Num 8:4 Num 10:33

250 43

Numbers Rabbah Num 4:1 Num 4:5 Num 4:17 Num 7:1

5620 10020 131 53

Deuteronomy Rabbah Deut 1:1 21794 Midrash Psalms Ps 76:3

21794

Song of Songs Rabbah Song 1:11 23, 5732 Song 3:9 53

372

Index of Sources

Lamentations Rabbah Lam 2:1 141, 14230 Baraita de Melekhet Hamishkan unspecified 7 1:7 17142 6:1–17 5620 6:3–17 130 6:18–25 43 7:1–4 23 7:1 5732 7:6–19 10122 7:6–8 96 7:6–7 75 Leqah Tov Exod 25:10 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:20 Exod 26:15 Exod 37:1 Num 10:2 Num 10:33 Qoh 2:8 Lam 2:1

53 96(9) 260 53 43 250 43 23 141, 14230

Midrash Agadah (Buber) Exod 35:30 43 Num 3:46 23

Midrash Haggadol Exod 25:11 Exod 25:18

62 223

Midrash Tadshe 2 256 Pesiqta of Rab Kahana Exod 13:19 14647 Pesiqta Rabbati 22:2 14647 35 21794 Seder Eliyahu Rabbah 1 21384 Tanhuma (Buber) Noah 21 21794 (Buber) Terumah 10 53 (Buber) Wayaqhel 9 53 (Warsaw) Noah 15 21794 (Warsaw) Beshalah 2 14647 (Warsaw) Terumah 10 53 Yalqut Shim‘oni 1:367 (Terumah) 2:101 (1 Samuel)

32 32

Midrash Alfa Betot 4 21588

Post-Talmudic Jewish Literature Abrabanel, Isaac Exod 68(102) Num 10746 Num 10:31 32 Num 10:33–36 1017

Aharon b. Yose Hagan 96(11)

Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon unspecified 6259, 6897, 9815, 10852, 16622, 24, 22624, 251(11)

Bekhor Shor, Joseph unspecified 180(9), 226(25), 230 Exod 25:11 62(57) Exod 25:12 96(11) Exod 25:15 109(58, 60), 11479

Bahya b. Asher unspecified 69(108)

373

Index of Sources

Exod 25:18 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:24 Exod 25:25 Exod 25:31 Exod 30:3

2811 260(62) 62(57) 62(57) 251(9) 62(57)

Chaim Paltiel unspecified 68(102)

Exod 25:15 Exod 25:18 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:24 Exod 25:25 Exod 30:3 Num 2:17 Num 4:6

108(53) 225(19) 260(62), 261(65) 62(58) 62(58) 62(58) 43, 1017 108(53), 10955, 111(69)

Eleazar b. Judah of Worms Num 4:6 108(55)

Ibn Bal‘am, Judah Ezek 28:14

Eliakim b. Meshullam of Speyer b. Yoma 72a 107(45), 10852

Ibn Ezra, Abraham Gen 3:24 20972, 230(44) Gen 3:24 (Shita  Aheret) 230(44) Gen 9:27 21794 Exod 25:10 (short) 17(35, 37), 21(61) Exod 25:11 (short) 61(53, 56) Exod 25:12 (short) 96(9), 9712 Exod 25:12 (long) 68(101), 96, 9712, 108(55), 109(57) Exod 25:15 (short) 111(66) Exod 25:15 (long) 111(68) Exod 25:17 (short) 166(22) Exod 25:17 (long) 166(22, 23) Exod 25:18 (short) 251(12) Exod 25:18 (long) 230(44), 251(12) Exod 25:19 (short) 2492 Exod 25:19 (long) 76149, 2492 Exod 25:20 (short) 260(62) Exod 25:20 (long) 260(62, 63) Exod 25:22 (long) 14233 Exod 28:6 (short) 712 Exod 30:2 (long) 25752 Num 4:6 10855, 111(66) Num 10:31 1017 Deut 10:1 32 Ps 99:5 14233 Ps 139:3 6156 Yesod Mora 9.3 68101

Eliezer of Beaugency Ezek 1:5

22416

Gershom b. Judah b. B. Bat. 99a

256(41)

Gersonides Gen 3:24 Exod 25:11 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:18 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:24 Exod 25:25 Exod 25:31 Num 10:33 1 Kgs 6:23 1 Kgs 7:29 1 Kgs 7:30 2 Chr 3:10

223(8) 62(60) 68(96, 97), 96(9), 100(19) 223(8), 251(9) 260(62) 62(60) 62(60) 251(9) 1017 223(8), 254(32) 223(7) 68(98) 254(42)

Hadar Zeqenim unspecified 100(19) Hananel b. Hushiel Exod 25:10

260(62), 2811

Hezekiah b. Manoah Gen 3:24 Exod 25:11 Exod 25:12

20972 62(58) 68(102), 96(11), 100(19)

Ibn Janah, Jonah Book of Roots

23045

16(34), 20(48), 21(61), 61(55), 67(95), 166(22), 251(12), 256(43)

374 Ibn Kaspi, Joseph Lam 2:1

Index of Sources

14230

Ibn Parhon, Solomon Mahberet 20(48), 21(61), 67(95), 251(12), 256(44) Ibn Saruq, Menahem Mahberet 21(61), 23(76), 61(54), 166(22), 230(43) Isaac b. Judah Halevi unspecified 181(11), 230(46) Exod 25:15 10333, 107(47), 10850, Isaac of Vienna unspecified 180(9), 226(25) Isaiah di Trani unspecified 96(11) Exod 25:15 111(69) Jer 3:16–17 13817 Ezek 1:5 22416 Ezek 10:4 19110 Lam 2:1 14230 Jacob b. Asher Exod 25:12

96(11), 97(14), 98(15, 16)

Kara, Joseph unspecified 109(59), 110(65) 1 Sam 4:4 19827 2 Sam 6:2 19827 1 Kgs 7:30 68(98) 1 Kgs 7:34 71(117) Jer 3:16–17 13817 Ezek 9:3 19110 Lam 2:1 14230 Kimhi, David Book of Roots

Sefer Mikhlol Gen 3:24

20(48), 21(61), 23(77), 68(97), 75(147), 77, 166(22, 24), 23044, 251(12), 256(41) 1736 20972

Gen 9:27 1 Sam 4:17 1 Kgs 6:23 1 Kgs 7:29 2 Kgs 12:10 Isa 41:19 Jer 3:16–17 Ezek 9:3 Ps 80:2 Ps 99:5 Ps 139:3 2 Chr 3:10 2 Chr 8:11 2 Chr 24:8 Meir of Rothenburg b. Yoma 72a Meiri, Menahem Ps 80:2 Ps 99:5 Ps 139:3 b. Yoma 72a

21794 20(48) 254(32) 223(7) 17(35) 254(32) 13817 19110 19827 14233 61(56) 223(8), 256(41) 2048 17(36) 68(97), 96(11), 10333, 108(49, 55), 109 19827 14233 6156 103(32), 108(51)

Menahem b. Simon of Posquières Jer 3:16–17 13817 Meyuhas b. Elijah Num 4:6 2 Chr 3:10

108(54) 256(45)

Moses b. Jacob of Coucy unspecified 110(61) Nahmanides Gen 9:27 Exod 25:1 Exod 25:10 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:21–22 Num 4:6 Deut 10:1 Deut 10:5 Deut 21:14

21794 2811, 28213 815 69(106), 98(16), 101(23) 2811, 28213 107(46), 108, 10955 43 43 256(41)

375

Index of Sources

Pseudo-Rashi 2 Chr 3:10

256(41)

Rashi Gen 9:27 Exod 25:10 Exod 25:11 Exod 25:12

21794 23(78), 70(116) 61(49, 52) 68(97), 70(116), 96(9), 98(15), 100(19) 166(22) 251(9) 2492 261(65) 251(9) 23045 10333, 107(44), 113 251(9) 251(9) 43, 1017 43 1017 253(24) 68(98) 71(117) 13817 19110 22519 19827 61(56) 14230 61(52)

Exod 25:17 Exod 25:18 Exod 25:19 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:31 Exod 26:31 Num 4:6 Num 8:4 Num 10:2 Num 10:33 Deut 10:1 Josh 3:3 1 Kgs 6:23 1 Kgs 7:30 1 Kgs 7:34 Jer 3:16–17 Ezek 9:3 Ezek 28:14 Ps 80:2 Ps 139:3 Lam 2:1 b. Yoma 72b

Saadiah Gaon unspecified 68 Gen 3:24 20972 Exod 25:17 166(22) Exod 25:18 251(11) Exod 25:19 2492 Num 4:6 106(42), 113 Num 4:8 106(42) Num 4:11 106(42) Num 4:14 106(42) Ha’Egron 230(45) Samuel b. Meir Exod 25:10 Exod 25:12 Exod 25:17 Exod 25:18 Exod 25:20 Exod 25:31

1737 96(9), 100(19) 166(22) 225(19), 251(9) 260(63), 261(65) 251(9)

Sefer Habahir 67 21588 Sforno, Obadiah Exod 25:12 Exod 30:4 Num 10:33

69, 75(144), 98(16), 101 76150 1017

Zohar 2:27 21588

Medieval and Modern Biblical Translations Medieval Vespasian Psalter Wycliffe

23 67, 68, 10641, 165, 167, 197

Early Modern Bishops 6151, 68, 165 Coverdale 6151, 68, 10641, 165, 198 Douay 67, 68, 10641, 165, 167, 197

Geneva 6151, 68, 10641, 165, 254, 256, 261 Great 165 King James 6151, 68, 10641, 165, 198, 199, 20245, 261, 266 Luther 165, 197, 254 Matthew 165 Taverner 165 Tyndale 6151, 68, 10641 Zürich 197

376

Index of Sources

Modern ASV 6151, 10641, 197, 20245, 261 Darby 6262, 10641, 199, 20245 ESV 6262, 10641, 197, 20245, 256, 261 JPS 6151, 10641, 16626, 197, 20244, 261, 266 NAB 6262, 10641, 16515, 256, 261 NASB 6262, 10641, 197, 20244, 261 NET 6262, 10641, 16518, 199, 261, 266 NIV 6262, 10641, 16518, 199, 20246, 261

NJB 6262 NJPS 6262, 10641, 16626, 197, 261 NKJV 6262, 10641, 198, 256, 261, 266 NLT 6262, 10641, 16518, 197, 199 NRSV 6262, 10641, 197, 20244, 256, 261 RSV 6262, 10641, 197, 20244, 256, 261 RV 6151, 10641, 197, 20245, 261 Webster 6151, 10641, 20245, 261, 266 YLT 10641, 200, 20246, 203, 261, 266

Index of Modern Persons Abder-Raziq, M. ​968 Abrams, Daniel ​21588 Ackerman, Susan ​3619 Aharoni, Yohanan ​6477 Ahlström, Gösta W. ​712, 20870 Albright, William F. ​3412, 138(14), 228(37), 281(3), 2828, 17, 283 Allen, Leslie C. ​23817, 20451, 21690 Amar, Zohar ​511, 5210, 5311, 254(33) Andersen, Francis I. ​1527 Andrianou, Dimitra ​2269, 3934, 36 Androcinos, Manolēs ​17141 Ariel, Chanan v ​1738, 1844 Arnold, Dieter ​6580 Arnold, William R. ​4(4), 5(7, 8), 712, 1120, 30, 13122, 200(37), 203, 205 Avigad, Nahman ​2050, 56, 26269 Avinery, Isaac ​2162 Avioz, Michael  v Bacher, Wilhelm ​2048, 2161, 6155, 6795, 16622, 25112, 25643 Baden, Joel S. ​1262 Baker, Hollis S. ​3826, 4044, 46, 14543 Ball, C.  J. ​21074 Barnett, Richard D. ​22518, 231(49), 23356 Barr, James ​222(2) Bartal, Aryeh ​712 Bate, H.  N. ​20036 Bauer, Hans ​2165, 67 Beer, Cecelia ​28530 Ben-Hayyim, Ze’ev ​1947 Benichou-Safar, Helene ​4045 Ben-Tor, Amnon ​4042 Benzinger, Immanuel ​14437 Berlin, Naftali Z. Y. ​10850 Bey, Osman Hamdy ​2054 Biesenthal, H.  R. ​2048, 2161, 2377, 6897, 75147, 16622, 24, 23044, 25112, 25641

Birch, Bruce C. ​2816 Black, Jeremy ​18222 Blayney, Benjamin ​21588 Block, Daniel I. ​19110, 22516 Boardman, John ​26266 Bochart, Samuel ​227(29) Boorer, Suzanne ​1222 Borchardt, Ludwig ​965 Böttcher, Friedrich ​6684 Brayford, Susan A. ​21075 Bretschneider, Joachim ​338 Briggs, Charles A. ​19416, 20244 Briggs, Emilie G. ​19416, 20244 Bright, John ​138(14), 21589 Brown, John P. ​18220 Brownlee, William H. ​22516 Bruijel, F.  J. ​25326 Bruyn, Cornelis de ​227(30) Bruyne, Pieter de ​5518 Budde, Karl ​138(15) Buhl, Fr. ​3414 Buitenwerf, Rieuwerd ​19934 Busch, Angela ​3928, 526, 113(77), 3041 Calmet, Antoine Augustin ​227(28) Capart, Jean ​966 Carlson, R.  A. ​20870 Carroll, Robert P. ​13817, 21691 Carter, Howard ​55(20), 56, 10328, 29, 1244.15a, 14543, 17149 Cartwright, Caroline ​529 Cassuto, Umberto ​62(64), 6579, 69(103, 109), 112(73), 141(26, 28), 2223, 22518, 231(49), 23356, 260(62), 2812, 28216, 28426, 29038, 29243 Chavel, Chaim D. ​69108, 10123 Cholidis, Nadja ​3826 Clements, Ronald E. ​14126 Coats, George W. ​1365

378

Index of Modern Persons

Cogan, Mordechai ​69104, 2815 Cohen Joseph ​68101 Cohen, Menachem ​32, 43, 712, 815, 1017, 1735, 36, 37, 2048, 2161, 2378, 6149, 52, 53, 56, 6257, 60, 6896, 97, 98, 101, 69106, 70116, 71117, 76149, 969, 11, 9712, 9815, 16, 10019, 10123, 10744, 46, 10855, 10955, 57, 58, 60, 11166, 68, 11479, 13817, 14230, 33, 16622, 23, 19110, 19827, 2237, 8, 22416, 22519, 23044, 45, 2492, 2519, 12, 25324, 25432, 25641, 42, 45, 25752, 26062, 63, 26165, 2811 Collins, John J. ​199(34, 35) Cooke, G.  A. ​73135, 186(3), 187(4), 191, 194, 20451, 2221, 22416, 22518, 22733 Couard, Ludwig ​1120, 13225 Cross, Frank M. ​3310, 19521, 20659, 60, 23358, 2829 Crowfoot, Grace M. ​26269, 29141 Crowfoot, J.  W. ​26269, 29141 Curtis, Edward L. ​14437, 26681 Curtis, Edward M. ​1377

Durham, John I. ​6896, 16626, 2814 Dvir, Yehuda M. ​10123

Dahood, Mitchell J. ​20246 Dalman, Gustaf ​14544 David, Arlette  v Davidson, Andrew B. ​1739 Davies, G. Henton ​69, 14437 Davies, Philip R. ​712, 20870 Day, John ​69, 814, 14231 Delcor, M. ​1379 Delitzsch, Franz ​68, 69103, 104(35), 111(67), 224(16), 256, 25747, 2812 Delitzsch, Friedrich ​18116, 18, 18220, 22732 Dershowitz, Idan  v Dever, William G. ​3066 DeVries, Simon J. ​68(99) Dhorme, P. ​18112, 15, 22518, 23150, 26268, 28212, 29141, 29243 Dibelius, Martin ​138(13), 140, 14129 Díez Macho, Alejandro ​21281, 21384 Dillmann, August ​69(103), 71(122), 21074, 21794, 228(35) Dodson, Aidan ​3931, 26479 Doxey, Denise M. ​17251 Dreyer, Leonid M. ​23252 Driver, Samuel R. ​69(103), 16515, 2812 Duell, Prentice ​967

Fabry, Heinz-Josef ​73136, 14127, 14437, 14543, 15158 Falk, David A. ​5624, 10438, 17251, 26375 Feder, Yitzhaq ​16625 Feldman, Louis H. ​1842 Feliks, Yehuda ​511, 5210, 5311, 254(30, 33) Field, Frederick ​6045 Filipowski, Herschel ​2161, 2376, 16622, 23043 Fischer, Henry G. ​3927, 4147, 523, 113(78) Fishbein, Michael ​3412 Fisher, Daniel S. ​814, 1261, 29346 Fleming, Daniel E. ​1378 Floyer, John ​20036 Foote, T.  C. ​18119, 19417 Forbes, Dean ​1527 Foster, Benjamin R. ​12917 Fowler, Mervyn D. ​1363 Fox, Joshua ​2167, 1806 Freedman, David N. ​1528, 18115, 19521, 23047, 23358, 2816 Freilich, Shlomo ​10854 Friedlieb, J.  H. ​20036 Friedman, Richard E. ​17142 Fritz volkmar ​2815

Eaton-Krauss, Marianne ​26478 Ehrlich, Arnold B. ​11062, 111(70), 21589, 260(62) Eichhorn, Johann G. ​18220 Eichler, Ari  v Eichler, David  v Eichler, Maor  v Eichler, Noam  v Eichler, Raanan ​22, 25216 Eichrodt, Walther ​187(5), 188, 194, 20451, 222, 22733 Eissfeldt, Otto ​207(62), 2829 Elitzur, Yoel ​1946 Epstein, Isidore ​20350 Even-Shoshan, Avraham ​31, 1531, 69109, 1611, 25538 Everhart, Janet S. ​3619 Eynde, Sabine van den ​1425

Index of Modern Persons

Fuerst, Julius ​1529, 2163 Fuller, Michael ​329 Gai, Amikam ​1634 Gale, Rowena ​527, 8, 5412, 25437 Ganor, Saar ​46, 317 Gardiner, Alan ​72 Garfinkel, Yosef ​46, 31(7), 32, 33 Gasson, Peter ​527, 8, 5412, 25437 Geffcken, Johannes ​19932, 200 Gehman, Henry S. ​69(104), 2815 Geiger, Abraham ​215(89), 216, 21793, 21895 Gellis, Jacob ​9611, 9714, 9816, 10019, 10747, 11061, 11169, 1809, 18111, 22625, 23046 Genachowski, Dov ​10745 George, Andrew ​12916 George, Mark K. ​2166, 3412, 12915, 13119, 20, 2816 Gerleman, Gillis ​168(33) Gershuni, Hillel  v Gesenius, Wilhelm ​1529, 2163 Gesundheit, Shimon  v Gibson, John C. L. ​1739, 2053, 54, 55 Gilboa, Raquel ​229(38, 39, 40, 42) Gitin, Seymour ​6475, 65(78) Gjerstad, Einar ​28427 Golani, Shira  v Goldlist Eichler, Hayah  vi Goodenough Erwin R. ​2234, 22411, 22622 Görg, Manfred ​14647, 147(52), 168(31, 32), 19623, 20242, 21589 Grandet, Pierre ​5520, 5622 Gray, George B. ​6682, 69(104), 2815, 28532 Gray, John ​106(43), 112(71) Green, Anthony ​18222 Greenberg, Moshe ​190, 191(10), 19213, 194, 2221, 22516, 28936 Greenstein, Edward L. ​3619 Greenstone, Julius H. ​106(43) Gressmann, Hugo ​68(99), 13230, 14129, 146, 14748, 167(28), 199(31), 205, 22518, 23047, 23150, 260(62), 28533, 29141 Grintz, Yehoshua M. ​32, 62(63), 1286, 166(27) Grossfeld, Bernard ​21383, 84 Grotius, Hugo ​227(27) Gubel, Eric ​4038, 45, 6473, 26376, 28320, 285(31) Gunkel, Hermann ​138(14), 21074, 21794

379

Halperin, David J. ​22733 Haran, Menahem ​814, 1119, 3310, 3412, 1261, 12911, 1363, 13815, 141(26, 28), 143(34), 144(38, 39), 1625, 208(69), 233(59), 281(2), 28214, 16, 284(26), 290(38), 292(42), 29346 Harden, Donald B. ​4045 Harris, Zellig S. ​73135 Hartmann, Richard ​339, 10, 14544, 146(46) Hasel, Michael ​46, 317 Hava, Joseph G. ​2160 Heijmans, Shai ​18327 Heinemann, Olliver ​529 Helck, Wolfgang ​3933 Hendel, Ronald S. ​28210 Hepper, Nigel ​527, 8, 5412, 25437 Herrmann, Georgina ​3826, 235(63) Hicks, E.  L. ​1649 Hiebel, Janina M. ​1851, 1886, 22733 Hirsch, Samson R. ​69(108), 11375, 28426, 29243 Hoffmann, G. ​73135 Hoffmeier, James K. ​10329, 30, 146, 147(49), 263(74) Holladay, William L. ​23817, 21692 Hollis, Susan T. ​23358 Holzinger, Heinrich ​13122 Homan, Michael M. ​3310, 5514, 263(73) Horowitz, Pinchas (Panim Yafos) ​6896 Houk, Cornelius B. ​188, 189(7, 8), 194, 222 Houtman, Cees ​46, 712 Houtman, Cornelis ​6150, 69(103), 71122, 110(63), 201(39), 205, 207, 23047, 260(62), 28533, 29241 Huntsman, Eric D. ​331 Hurowitz victor ​29346 Hurvitz, Avi ​1624 Iluz, David ​25429 Irwin, W.  H. ​3310 Jacob, Benno ​62, 63(65), 69(107), 70115, 106(43), 108, 10956, 1625, 260(63) Jacobs, Jonathan v ​10960 Janowski, Bernd ​14335, 28426 Japhet, Sara ​143(36), 1613, 26580, 26681 Jastrow, Marcus ​6042, 21384 Jeremias, Alfred ​14129, 146(46)

380

Index of Modern Persons

Jespersen, Otto ​2222 Jomier, J. ​3414 Joosten, Jan  v Joüon, Paul ​815, 1740, 41, 2048, 1637, 1806, 20242, 25751 Kalimi, Isaac ​25750, 51, 25960 Kamphausen, Adolf ​6685 Kanawati, N. ​968 Kasher, Rimon ​19110, 21383, 84, 22516 Katzenelnbogen, Mordechai L. ​43, 1017, 6258, 68102, 75144, 145, 76150, 9611, 9816, 10019, 10123, 10642, 10853, 10955, 11169, 16622, 20972, 21794, 22519, 2492, 25111, 26062, 26165, 2811 Kaufmann, Yehezkel ​4, 57, 1863, 19518, 22732, 28212, 288, 289(36) Kazimirski, A. de Biberstein ​2160 Keel, Othmar ​3412, 189, 190(9), 19212, 14, 193, 194, 195(18), 198(30), 222, 22518, 22837, 22941, 231, 232, 23356, 235(61, 62), 26166, 262(70, 71), 26376, 26477, 281(3, 7), 28211, 28320, 21, 22, 284(28, 29), 29241, 334, 335 Keil, Carl F. ​68, 69(103, 104), 104(35), 111(67), 224(16), 256, 25747, 2812 Kenyon, Kathleen M. ​4039 Killen, Geoffrey ​3927, 28, 4147, 48, 5516, 19, 5621, 5728, 6367, 68, 69, 6471, 72(123), 964, 7, 10124, 10328, 31, 10540, 113(77), 14543, 17144, 330, 331, 332, 336 Kirschner, Robert ​712 Kirshenbaum, Karen ​13920 Kislev, Mordechai E. ​511 Kissane, Edward J. ​20246 Kitchen, Kenneth A. ​952, 1286, 147(53) Kittel, Rudolf ​6685 Klamroth, Erich ​28424 Klein, Michael L. ​21279, 81, 21384, 21485 Kletter, Raz ​338, 17040 Klostermann, August ​6685, 14129 Klugmann, Julius ​10855 Knohl, Israel v ​11271, 1289, 12911 Koch, Klaus ​16412 Kogut, Simcha ​21588 Kohl, Heinrich ​2235 Kopilovitz, Ariel ​19110 Kraeling, Carl H. ​3518, 3722

Kraetzschmar, Richard ​13123 Kraus, Hans-Joachim ​20246, 20347 Krauss, Rolf ​5621, 5731, 10328 Kuenen, Abraham ​11271 Kuhlmann, Klaus P. ​14025 Kurfess, Alfons ​20036 Laato, Antti ​16516, 16625 Lammens, Henri ​3412, 36(20) Lancaster, W. Fidelity ​339 Landsberger, Franz ​23047, 232(53), 23357, 234, 28212, 292(41, 44) Lane, Edward W. ​3825 Langdon, Stephen ​18112 Lange, Isaac S. ​68102 Lange, Nicholas de ​9713 Lapp, Günther ​292, 3930, 26479 Lapp, Paul W. ​19828, 26479 Layard, Austen H. ​227(32) Le Déaut, Roger ​21281, 21382, 84 Leander, Pontus ​2165, 67 Lebrecht, F. ​2048, 2161, 2377, 6897, 75147, 16622, 24, 23044, 25112, 25641 Lenormant, François ​18116, 18, 18220, 226(23), 22732, 23047, 23150 Levin, Yigal ​46, 712 Levy, Isaac ​69108, 11375, 28426, 29243 Lewis, Theodore J. ​3067 Lidzbarski, Mark ​73132, 135 Lieberman, Pinchas Y. ​10123 Liphschitz, Nili ​525 Loud, Gordon ​4043, 22836, 28318, 19 Löw, Immanuel ​511, 25326 Lumby, J. Rawson ​69(104) Lundbom, Jack R. ​13817, 21690, 92 Luther, Bernhard ​13226 Lyttelton, Margaret ​6043 MacDonald, Brent ​331 Machinist, Peter  v Mack, Hananel ​10959, 11061 Madsen, Albert A. ​14437, 26681 Maeir, Aren ​317 Maher, Michael ​21281, 21382, 83, 84 Maier, Johann ​13815, 14126, 14437 Malek, Jaromir ​5519, 20, 5621, 5730, 31, 6369, 10328, 29, 14543, 17146, 47, 48, 50, 25219, 25435, 36, 25854, 26372, 26478

Index of Modern Persons

Manuelian, Peter der ​3927 March-Killen, Lorraine ​336 Maré, Leonard P. ​19417 Margulies, Mordecai ​6259, 2236 Martin, Karl ​3931 May, Herbert G. ​45, 30(4, 5), 31(6, 7), 32, 33, 3412, 35, 6476, 13122 Mazar, Amihai ​26477 McCarter, P. Kyle ​23358 McCormick, C. Mark ​10226 McKane, William ​13817, 21690, 92 McNamara, Martin ​21281, 21383, 84 Meinhold, Johannes ​138(12), 140 Mendele Moykher Sforim ​25538 Meshel, Naphtali ​19211 Mettinger, Tryggve ​137(10), 14955, 16831, 18115, 207(62), 22837, 2816, 7, 2829, 11, 14, 29345, 46, 3052, 4, 306(6, 7) Metzger, Martin ​13815, 14025, 14126, 144(40), 147(51), 20554, 22837, 23148, 50, 232(54), 233(55, 56, 57), 258, 25955, 26376, 28212, 28320, 28423, 24, 289, 290(37), 291, 29348 Metzler, Maria ​46, 814, 1362, 138(16), 20243, 20871 Meyer, Eduard ​13226 Meyers, Carol L. ​23047, 251(13), 2816 Michel, Diethelm ​69109 Milgrom, Jacob ​6579, 11374, 16831, 17252, 21895 Milikowsky, Chaim ​814 Miller, Patrick D. ​13710 Mitchell, T.  C. ​2055 Mizrahi, Elijah b. Abraham ​69109 Montet, Pierre ​2053, 4040, 63, 6470 Montgomery, James A. ​69(104), 2815 Moorey, Peter R. S. ​4038, 46 Morgan, Jacques de ​14541 Morgenstern, Julian ​45, 33, 3412, 13, 35(17), 36(19, 20, 21), 38(25), 13226 Mulder, Martin J. ​6684, 69(104), 72(125), 73135, 1261, 25326 Muller, Béatrice ​338 Müller, Christa ​3927 Müller, Maja ​3933 Mullins, Robert A. ​26477 Mumcuoglu, Madeleine ​317 Musil, Alois ​33, 3412 Myers, Jacob M. ​257(49), 26681

381

Na’aman, Nadav ​3066 Naeh, Liat  v Nicholson, Paul ​3931, 33, 5520, 5622 Niehr, Herbert ​3053 Nielsen, Kjeld ​6474 Niwínski, Andrzej ​292, 3930, 26479 Noegel, Scott B. ​146, 147(50), 14957, 26267 Noordtzij, A. ​111(67) Noth, Martin ​6687, 69(107), 112(72), 28532, 290(39) O’Connor, Michael P. ​18115, 23047, 2816 Ogden, Jack ​5729, 951, 17039 Ornan, Tallay  v Orthmann, W. ​289 Paran, Meir ​26064 Parry, Donald W. ​20659, 60, 23358 Paton, W.  R. ​1649 Payne Smith, Robert ​2271, 3825 Penkower, Jordan S. ​10744 Perez, Ma‘aravi ​23045 Petrie, W. M. Flinders ​23561 Pfeiffer, Robert H. ​18115, 224, 22517 Phillip, Moshe ​69109 Pitard, Wayne T. ​10330 Polliack, Meira  v Porten, Bezalel ​2058 Porter, Barbara N. ​13922, 14854 Porzig, Peter ​711, 1119, 13121, 13228, 14647 Potts, Timothy ​4041 Propp, William H. C. ​1633, 5413, 5514, 63(66), 6579, 69(103), 71122, 76(148), 77, 10330, 104(36), 110(64), 112(73), 1262, 1285, 9, 12911, 16625, 16831, 16936, 201(40), 23047, 249(1), 251(15), 260(63), 266(82), 3055 Quagebeur, Jan ​6581 Rad, Gerhard von ​135(1), 138(14), 28212, 17 Rapoport, Salomon L. ​2048, 2161, 6795, 25112, 25644 Raven, Maarten J. ​10438 Ravitz, Haim B. ​10332, 10851 Reeves, Nicholas ​3929, 524, 55(17), 171(45) Reichel, Wolfgang ​138(11, 12), 140 Reider, Joseph ​6047

382

Index of Modern Persons

Reimpell, Walter ​145(44) Reinach, Theodore ​2054 Revel-Neher, Elisabeth ​9817, 22413, 225(21), 22622 Richter, Gisela M. A. ​3934, 35, 36, 5625, 13921 Ringgren, Helmer ​20765 Rittenberg, Isaac ​1736 Roberts, J. J. M. ​13710 Robertson, D.  S. ​5935 Robertson, Stuart D. ​1842, 16938 Rofé, Alexander ​710 Rom-Shiloni, Dalit  v Rosenberg, J. ​330, 331, 332 Sader, Hélène ​26376 Sæbø, Magne ​69105, 109, 70113 Sáenz-Badillos, Angel ​6154, 23043 Salapata, Gina ​13919 Saley, Richard J. ​20659, 60 Sarna, Nahum ​2814 Sass, Benjamin ​26269 Sasson, Jack, M. ​20766 Sassoon, Salomon D. ​6259, 6897, 9815, 10848, 52, 53, 16622, 24, 22624, 25111 Schalit, Abraham ​1843 Schmid, Konrad  v Schmidt, Hans ​281(2), 28213, 15, 17, 283, 29038 Schmitt, Rainer ​45, 13121, 23, 13228, 13815, 14126, 28423, 24 Schneider, Hans D. ​10438 Scholem, Gershom ​21588 Schwally, Friedrich ​3412, 13227 Schwartz, Baruch J.  v ​3724, 1262, 128(4), 12911, 164(8), 166(25), 16834, 21895 Schwartz, Daniel  v Seeligmann, Isaac L. ​1119, 25751 Segal, Michael  v Segal, Moshe Z. ​712 Seow, C.  L. ​32, 69, 1323, 1426, 305, 3412, 1285, 9, 14544, 14646, 14748, 2816 Sevensma, Tietse ​1120, 2164, 3412, 75146, 13229, 138(15) Seyrig, Henri ​3416 Seyring, Fritz ​1120 Shaviv, Yehuda ​32, 1017, 68102, 10746

Shaw, Ian ​3931, 33, 5520, 5622 Shelly, Haim ​710 Shnider, Steven ​19416 Shtull-Trauring, Asaf ​317 Simian-Yofre, Horácio ​1363 Simon, Maurice ​20350 Simon, Uriel ​68101 Simpson, Elizabeth ​3826 Slouschz, Nahum ​73133 Smith, Alexander W. ​336 Smith, Mark S. ​10330, 14956, 20349 Soggin, J.  A. ​13817 Sokoloff, Michael ​6148 Sommer, Benjamin D. ​1362 Soukiassian, Georges ​6581 Spanel, Donald B. ​3932 Spawforth, Tony ​6044 Spencer, John ​227 Spier, Jeffrey ​224(12) Stade, Bernhard ​6682, 85, 86, 13224, 1351 Stager, Lawrence E. ​3066 Staubli, Thomas v ​3412, 22837, 2816 Steingass, Francis J. ​2160 Stemberger, Günter ​13119 Stern, Salomon G. ​2048, 2161, 6795, 25112, 25644 Stern, Yedidia  v Strashun, Samuel ​10850 Sukenik, Eleazar L. ​225, 22622 Sweeney, Marvin A. ​69104 Taylor, Charles ​227(28, 30) Taylor, J. Glen ​198(29), 20350 Taylor, John H. ​3930, 26479 Teissier, Beatrice ​235(61), 26166, 26268 Terrien, Samuel L. ​20244 Terry, Milton S. ​19933 Thenius, Otto ​231(51) Thureau-Dangin, François ​26266 Toorn, Karel van der ​46, 712 Totolli, Roberto ​13120 Tov, Emanuel v ​710, 19726, 21075, 21589, 216, 25640 Turner, Nigel ​6047 Tur-Sinai, Naphtali H. (= Torczyner, Harry) ​32, 1530, 3411, 13917, 14128, 1625, 167(29, 30)180, 18110, 2223, 22732, 288(35), 289

Index of Modern Persons

Uehlinger, Christoph ​198(30), 2813 Urbach, Ephraim E. ​6897 Ussishkin, David ​28532 Vatke, Wilhelm ​13122, 18220 Vaux, Roland de ​3310, 14126, 145(41, 42), 146(45), 165(20), 182(20), 228(37), 263(76), 281(3), 28216, 17, 284(25) Vermeule, Emily D. T. ​3935 Viezel, Eran ​25539 Vincent, L.  H. ​18112, 15, 225(18), 23150, 26268, 28212, 29141, 29243 Völter, Daniel ​146(46) Wagner, Peter ​26376 Watrous, L. Vance ​3935 Watzinger, Carl ​3937, 2235 Weinfeld, Moshe ​13817 Weippert, Helga ​6683, 72129 Weisel Eichler, Aviva  v Weiser, Artur ​19417, 20244 Weisser, Meir L. (Malbim) ​6896, 256(46) Wellhausen, Julius ​18220 Wertheimer, S.  A. ​21588 Wevers, John W. ​5833, 5940, 6045, 21075

383

Wildung, Dietrich ​3933 Wilensky, Michael ​1634 Wilson, Ian ​1364 Wilton, Patrick ​9610 Winckler, Hugo ​146(46) Wood, Alice ​180(7), 18115, 1886, 200(38), 201(41), 20242, 203, 204(53), 207(63, 64), 208(70), 22835, 37, 23357, 29140, 29241 Würthwein, Ernst ​68(99), 29346 Wyatt, Nick ​10330 Yardeni, Ada ​2058 Yeivin, Israel ​1632, 1844 Yeivin, Shmuel ​25749, 26681 Yuditsky, Alexey ​1738, 1845 Zbili, Joseph ​3724 Zevit, Ziony ​511 Ziffer, Irit ​338 Zimmerli, Walther ​188(6), 189, 190, 194, 20451, 222 Zipor, Moshe A. ​21074 Zobel, Hans-Jürgen ​32, 1530, 2166, 13226, 138(15), 14544, 14748, 20658 Zwickel, Wolfgang ​338, 14751

Index of Subjects This list is designed to supplement the Table of Contents, the Index of Sources, and the Index of Modern Persons. Aaron ​10, 11, 5726, 106, 113, 131, 163, 172, 227 Abbahu, R. (Amora) ​180, 223, 224 Abbaye (Amora) ​105, 223, 258 Abiathar ​6, 1118 Abinadab ​6 Abraham ​19 Absalom ​6 Abu Ghurab ​1596.10 Abu Simbel ​263, 27711.15 abu ẓhûr al-markab ​33, 34(12), 472.5, 288, 289 Abusir (Busiris) ​39, 96 Abydos (Abedju) ​263, 27611.14 acacia ​1737, 27, 28, 29, 32, 41, 51, 52(9), 53, 54, 5727, 64, 773.1, 853.14, 964, 102, 140, 301, 303, 304 accusative ​144, 202(42), 211(77), 214 Achziv ​262, 27511.12 Aegean ​39(34), 41 aesthetics ​29, 100, 114, 16937 Aha b. Jacob, R. (Amora) ​105, 11065 Ahiram, sarcophagus of ​20, 241.1, 283, 29512.3 Ai ​5 Akkadian ​20, 21, 6042, 62, 70, 128, 129(18), 167, 181, 183, 20349, 226, 227, 228(34) alabaster ​129, 144 Aleppo Codex ​212 Alexandrinus, Codex ​5833, 206 al-Tabari ​3412 Altar of Rome and Augustus ​224 altar, bronze/animal/outer ​10, 51, 54, 5727, 5833, 6256, 65, 6788, 93, 94, 71, 72, 73,

74, 76(150), 883.18, 95(1), 97, 99, 102, 105, 106, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114(79), 162, 173, 189, 232, 250 altar, gold/incense/inner ​10, 51, 52, 54, 57, 58, 59, 62(56), 63, 64(75), 65, 6789, 71, 73, 74, 76(150), 863.16, 873.17, 95, 97, 99, 100, 102, 104, 105, 106, 110, 111, 113, 114(79), 127, 161, 162, 172, 187, 193, 250, 25752 Amarna ​3067 ambiguity ​197, 213, 21794, 261, 266, 302, 303 Amenemhet IV, 63 Amenhotep III, 1536.2 Amun ​252, 26711.1, 291 angel/angelology ​192, 226, 227, 230, 23564, 2811 aniconism/anti-iconism ​137, 305(5), 306(7). See also corporeality; image, cult Ankhmahor ​96, 97, 104. 1164.3, 1174.4 anthropomorphism ​139(17), 147, 149, 190, 196, 211, 287 Anubis ​103, 104, 1224.12, 172, 3425b Aphek ​5, 11, 135 apkallû ​26267, 27211.7 Arabic ​21(60), 35, 38(25), 106, 166, 256, 257 Arabs ​34, 36, 288, 289 Arad ​64, 873.17 Aram ​6791 Aramaic ​1947, 20, 22, 23, 61, 68, 70110, 128, 1624, 165, 180, 181, 18327, 197, 198, 20349, 210, 226, 228, 230, 251, 254 article, definite ​3, 15, 16, 17, 21, 37, 19522, 196, 20242

Index of Subjects

arula ​139 Ashdod ​5 Ashtart ​4042 Asia Minor ​145 aspect (visual art) ​10124 Assur ​146(45), 1566.6 Assurnasirpal II, 129 Aten ​3067 Athens ​139, 1526.1 atonement ​161, 162, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 172 Attica ​813.7, 139 Ayia Irini ​29612.5a, 12.5b, 29712.5c Baal ​10330, 146, 1576.7 Babylonia ​146, 172, 186 Babylonian pointing ​1632 Balaam ​70 Balawat ​129, 1335.1 Banoū Yād ​36 bark/barque ​146, 147, 1586.8, 263, 29141. See also ship bases in the tabernacle ​951 Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore ​98, 10434, 1184.6a, 4.6b, 4.6c battle ​See war bed ​52, 139(22), 143, 284 bedouin ​33, 339 Beit Shean ​264, 27811.17 Benjamin ​19, 208(68) Beth Alpha  225, 24110.7 Bethel ​5, 710 Beth-Shemesh ​6, 35, 37, 136, 235, 24610.13 betyl ​34, 35, 36, 132 Bezalel ​9, 162, 178 bird ​182, 225, 226, 229, 234, 262, 263 block throne ​138, 140 blood ​70, 163, 172, 173 boat ​ See bark/barque; ship bolt ​51, 57, 107 bone ​40 Book of the Dead ​145 bovine ​See bull bowl ​131, 193 boxwood ​53 breast-piece ​5413, 5726, 6793, 105, 110, 131, 170

385

bronze ​52, 5727, 65, 66, 72, 893.19, 903.20, 913.21, 923.22, 933.23, 943.24, 95(1), 102, 178, 232, 255, 283 Bronze Age ​40, 52, 261(66), 262, 304 bull ​71, 172, 181, 226(26), 227(33), 228, 230, 231, 24210.8, 259, 281, See also cow Byblos ​40, 63, 843.13, 3414b cabinet-making ​See carpentry Cain ​21587, 218 calf, golden ​53, 126, 132, 22626, 227 camel ​33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 462.3, 482.6 Canaanite ​229, 282, 284 canopic chest/jar ​39, 254, 26479 cantillations signs ​65 Capernaum ​223, 23610.1 capital ​ See column carnelian ​22516 carpentry ​39(27), 59, 256 cart ​3723, 38 cartonnage ​29 cartouche ​55, 262, 263 Catenae ​60, 62 cattle ​See cow. See also bull cedar ​10, 52, 53, 54, 964, 129 chair of Ali ​3412 Chaldeans/Chaldea ​142, 149 chariot ​138, 13917, 14957, 178, 187, 188, 192(13), 193, 233, 282, 287, 288, 289 chiasmus ​25960, 260 child ​180, 223, 224, 225, 230, 256, 262 clay ​40 cloths/curtains of the tabernacle ​6793, 169, 178, 232 cloud ​148, 149, 163, 172, 190, 194, 195(19), 217, 219, 286, 287, 288 coffin ​20, 2160, 22, 23, 29, 32, 39, 52, 72, 137, 146, 147, 151, 167, 172, 254, 258, 263, 26479, 27111.6 column ​59, 833.11, 951, 232 construct form ​3, 4, 5, 15, 16(33), 17, 20242, 255. See also genitive copper ​129, 252, 26811.2 cornice ​56, 63, 64(70, 75), 65, 843.12, 99, 301, 303, 304 corporeality ​147, 148, 149, 151, 173, 302, 305, 306. See also aniconism/ anti-iconism; image, cult

386

Index of Subjects

courtyard/court ​512, 52(27), 65, 6688, 6788, 112, 178, 200, 204, 232 covenant ​14, 28, 125, 126(1, 2), 127, 128, 130, 140, 141 Covenant Code ​6 cow ​281, 38, 178. See also bull crown ​6150, 51, 17143, 256 cubit ​27, 54(13), 55(20), 56(22), 96, 100, 139, 144, 146, 169, 170, 171, 232(54), 257(52), 258(53), 259, 264 cuboid ​54, 55, 73, 301 cupid ​223 curtain ​9, 12, 51, 57, 951, 101, 106, 107, 108, 112, 127, 167, 173, 178, 226, 292 cyma recta ​5934 cyma reversa ​58, 833.10b cypress ​253 Cyprus ​11, 72, 893.19, 903.20, 284, 285 Dagon ​35, 37, 137, 147 Dahshur ​144 Dan ​3621 Danaë ​56 David  6, 10, 13, 1425, 34, 52, 5726, 136, 143, 178, 194 Demeter ​10539, 139 determination, grammatical ​3, 4, 5 Deuteronomic ​9, 14, 28, 30, 32, 36, 37, 51, 54, 125, 126, 127, 128, 131, 136, 301 Deuteronomistic ​4, 14, 10226, 208, 290 diorite ​1536.2 disk ​234, 262, 263, 289, 291 djed ​262 door ​29, 53, 107, 169, 178, 188, 225, 252 dragonfly ​229 dual ​ See singular Dura-Europos ​35, 37, 502.8a, 2.8b, 98, 10434, 3392a, 2b Ebal, Mount ​5 ebony ​103 Eden, garden of ​5, 177, 182, 199, 204(52), 205, 207, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215(87, 88), 217, 218, 219, 226, 228, 230, 293 Eflatun Pinar ​289, 29912.7 Egyptian (language) ​511, 62, 72, 128, 166, 168

Egyptianization ​262 Egyptology ​1 Ekron ​5 El ​282 Elam ​14024 Eleazar (character in Samuel) ​6 Eleazar, R. (Amora) ​105 Eli/Elides ​5, 11, 1118, 34 Elohistic ​126(2) English terminology – “ark of the covenant” ​1, 1424 – “ark” ​1, 3 – “cherub” ​177 – “cherubim” ​1 – “chest” ​24 – “coffer” ​293 – “cyma” ​5934 – “cymatium” ​5934 – “fat-wood” ​254(34) – “griffin” ​182(21), 228 – “griffon vulture” ​18225 – “mercy seat” ​1 – “oleaster” ​253(27) – “olive” ​253(25) – “oracle” ​166 – “propitiatory” ​165 – “resident” ​20243 – “scarab” ​23460 – “shrine” ​23 – “wild olive” ​253(27) Enkomi ​72, 933.23 ephod ​7, 1118, 35, 3621, 37, 6793, 105, 250 Ephraim ​180, 181, 208 Erechtheum ​60, 833.11, 3414a eros ​223(5) eroticism ​223 Esarhaddon ​181 evidence ​2 exodus from Egypt ​54, 303 falcon ​229, 262, 263 festival ​70 firmament ​289, 290, 291. See also sky floor/flooring ​53, 167, 305 fork ​193 foundation deposit ​129(15) frames of the tabernacle ​51, 54, 57, 6793, 112, 169(38), 170, 232, 25853

Index of Subjects

France ​224 French, Old ​23 Galera ​29812.6a, 12.6b Gath ​5 Gaza ​235 gender of nouns ​20(48), 22, 66, 69, 163(6), 177, 196, 26061 genitive ​4, 11, 17, 67, 144, 202(42), 255. See also construct form Genizah of Cairo ​97, 1783 Germany/German ​110, 138, 165, 182, 230 Germigny-des-Prés, Oratory of ​98, 101, 103, 1214.10, 224, 3425a Gibeah ​5, 136 Gilgamesh ​129 Giza ​56, 103, 1234.13 grapevine ​10225 Greece ​171 Greek ​1424, 1845, 19, 22, 53, 56, 58, 5934, 66, 10539, 164, 165, 180, 182, 183(27), 228, 234(60), 254 griffin ​182, 228, 24410.10 guilloche ​60, 833.11, 3414a gutturals ​16, 18, 19 gypsum ​27311.8 Hammurabi Stele ​144, 1546.3 Hanina, R. (Amora) ​5732 haplography ​202 harmonization ​5833, 125, 190, 193, 257(50) Harpocrates ​252, 262 Hathor ​4042 heaven ​149, 150, 151, 166, 190, 205(54), 206, 289, 290 Hebrew, inscriptional ​20 Helen of Troy ​139 Hexapla ​6045 Hillel, Codex,1783 hinge ​29 Hiram ​178 historicity ​303 Hittite ​141, 289 Hiyya bar Abba, R. (Amora) ​21794 Hiyya the Great, R. (Tanna) ​21 Holiness Code ​11271, 12911 Horeb ​ See Sinai Hormah ​5, 135

387

horns ​57, 6256, 65, 250, 262 howdah ​35, 38 human, winged ​221, 223, 224, 225, 226, 229, 231, 234, 235(64), 258, 259, 26267, 302, 303 Huna, R. (Amora) ​131 Hurrians ​259 hydria ​139, 182 Idu ​56, 803.5, 104 image, cult ​39, 131, 132, 137(8), 148, 151, 226, 252, 26711.1, 290, 305, 306(7). See also aniconism/anti-iconism; corporeality incense ​12. See also altar, gold/incense/ inner India ​182 injustice ​See justice Iron Age ​30, 26166, 3067 Isaac, R. (Amora) ​21794 Isis ​146, 262, 263 Islamic exegesis ​131 Israel (modern) v vi ivory ​20, 261.3, 40(42), 5726, 228, 24410.10, 24710.14, 262, 27411.10, 283, 29241, 29412.1, 29412.2, 3447b Jacob of Orleans (medieval scholar) ​108 Japheth b. Eli (medieval scholar) ​166(23), 260(63) Japheth ​21794 jar ​130, 193 Jehoash ​22, 23, 17143 Jericho ​5, 7, 10, 40, 52, 1184.6c, 136, Jeroboam ​227 Jerusalem  vi ​6, 13, 136, 138(17), 13917, 140, 142, 149, 203 jewelry ​17039 Joel b. Simon (illuminator) ​225 Johanan, R. (Amora) ​5520, 61, 21794, 28634 Jordan river ​5, 10, 1184.6a Joseph (tribe/character) ​3, 2272, 29, 146(47), 20868, 227 Joseph, R. (Amora) ​131 Joshua (biblical character) ​5, 131 Josiah ​6 Judah b. Abraham (medieval scholar) ​107 Judah b. Ezekiel, R. (Amora) ​75143, 100

388

Index of Subjects

Judah b. Ilai, R. (Tanna) ​4 Judah b. Lakish, R. (Tanna) ​4 Judah (kingdom/tribe/character) ​142, 144, 180, 302 Judah, R. (Amora) ​61 Judah, R., (Tanna) ​5520, 131 juniper ​53, 253 justice ​151, 216

Majesty, divine ​11, 136, 148, 149, 150, 177, 185, 188, 189, 191, 192, 197(25), 216, 217, 2811, 282 Manasseh (tribe/character) ​19, 208 manna ​12, 130 marble ​1526.1 masonry ​59 matres lectionis ​15, 163, 179(5), 180, 195(21,

Kappara, bar (Tanna) ​21794 Karnak (Ipet-Isut) ​65, 883.18, 1586.8 Kenaz ​131 Khirbet Qeiyafa ​31, 432.2a, 442.2b, 452.2c Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin) ​259, 27211.7, 27311.8 king ​21588, 282, 283 Kiriath Yearim ​6 Koan Inscriptions ​1649 Koran ​34

Media (country) ​253 Megiddo ​30, 31, 40, 412.1a, 422.1b, 64, 72, 863.16, 923.22, 228, 24410.10, 262, 27511.11, 283, 29412.1, 12.2 Meir, R. (Tanna) ​5520, 131 Mereruka ​64, 96, 104 Meresankh ​103, 1234.13 Merymery ​104, 1234.14 Meryrenufer ​56, 803.4, 104 Meryteti ​96, 97, 104, 1174.5 Mesopotamia ​40(38, 46), 129, 137, 138, 13922, 14854, 228(34), 26267, 305 metal ​29, 37, 5727, 951, 103, 113, 17039, 250, 251, 252, 257 metal, casting of ​66, 951, 251, 252, 257 meteorite ​131 meter, poetic ​202, 20868 metonymy ​30, 127, 218 Micaiah ​150, 205, 206 Michmas ​6, 7, 13 midrash (method) ​21, 53, 101, 131, 14647, 167, 180, 210, 213, 214, 222, 223, 25751 Miltiades ​10539 miniature temple/shrine ​30, 31, 32, 33, 338, 412.1a, 422.1b, 432.2a, 442.2b, 452.2c, 147, 167, 263, 27711.16. See also naos Mittani ​259 model temple/shrine ​See miniature temple/shrine molding ​30, 58, 59(34), 60, 6262, 63, 833.10a, 3.10b Monty Python ​130 mosaic ​98, 101, 103, 10434, 1184.6a, 4.6b, 4.6c, 1214.10, 224, 225, 24110.7, 3425a mountains ​144 mule ​3412 mummy ​3, 29, 1586.9 myrrh ​254 mysticism ​192, 284

lamassu ​24210.8, 24310.9, 259, 27311.8 lampstand ​10, 28, 512, 5726, 6788, 93, 77, 102, 112, 127, 139, 14023, 170, 249, 250, 251, 257, 284, 291 lapis lazuli ​129 Larnaka ​72, 913.21 larnax ​39(35), 171(43), 1747.1a, 7.1b, 304, 3436a Latin ​23, 59, 167, 182 laver stand ​65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 951, 178, 188, 189, 200, 223, 232, 257 leather ​34 Lebanon Forest House ​232 Leningrad Codex ​212 Leonardo da Vinci ​234, 24510.11 Levites ​5, 6, 10, 11(19), 14, 111, 131, 136, 207 ligature ​195 lightning ​149, 190 limestone ​129, 1345.2 lion ​71, 164, 167, 178, 285 lion, winged ​40, 182, 228(35) Locri ​56, 813.6 lotus ​255, 262, 264 Lyons ​224 Maat ​262 maḥmal ​34, 3412, 35, 462.3

22)

Index of Subjects

Nabopolassar ​40 name, divine ​1323, 30, 32, 131, 207, 208, 209, 216 naos ​39, 57, 145, 226. See also miniature temple/shrine Nathan (biblical character) ​13, 148 Near East, definition of ancient ​11 neologism ​168, 255 Nephthys ​146, 262, 263 Nergal ​138 Nicholas of Lyra ​224 Nimrud (Kalhu) ​129, 227, 235, 24310.9, 24710.14 Noah and Noah’s ark ​22, 23, 232 Nob ​1118, 3621 noun patterns ​21, 163, 180 Nyuserre ​1596.10 Obed Edom ​6 object (grammatical) ​112, 1261, 211, 217, 218, 233, 265, 289 obsidian ​40, 63, 843.13, 3414b Oholiab ​9, 18, 162 oil ​9, 162, 252, 253, 254 oleaster ​253(27) olive ​253(25) Onqelos ​256 Ophra ​3621 oracle ​131, 132, 166, 167, 21794 Ormulum ​165 Osiris ​146, 147, 172, 262, 263 ovolo ​58, 833.10a ox ​ See bull palm tree ​71, 180 Palmyra ​34, 492.7 paneling ​52, 53 Papa, R. (Amora) ​223, 258 parablepsis ​5833 Paros ​10539 Parthenon ​139, 1526.1 participle ​60, 196, 199, 200, 201, 202(42), 203(49), 205, 255 pedestal ​98, 137, 145, 146, 148, 151, 281, 305 Pella ​40 Pentateuch, composition of the ​1 Persephone ​139

389

Persepolis ​227, 24210.8 Persian period ​261, 26266, 304 Petra ​145, 1556.5 Philip II of Macedon ​171, 1747.1a, 7.1b Philistines/Philistia ​5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 35, 37(23), 135, 137, 147 Phineas ​5, 7 Phoenician (culture) ​1, 40(38), 64, 229, 235, 24710.14, 263, 27711.16, 282, 283, 284, 285, 305 Phoenician (language) ​20, 70, 180 phonetics ​5833, 182, 183, 214, 228, 23460, 255, 256 pilgrimage ​See festival pinax ​56, 813.6 pine ​253(26), 254 Pishon ​182 plait ​38, 6042, 229 plait-band ​See guilloche pleonasm ​143 plow ​180, 181, 226, 228 plural ​915, 5833, 59, 69, 104, 177, 179(5), 188(6), 189, 191, 194, 196, 203, 209, 216, 29347 posts of the tabernacle ​57 pottery ​29, 30, 31, 32, 40, 412.1a, 422.1b, 432.2a, 442.2b, 1345.2 priest, high ​131, 172, 173 priestly garments ​5726, 173 priests ​10, 11, 3723, 69, 109, 173 Primary History ​5 prophetic literature ​8 Ptolemy Philadelphus ​60 pun ​53 Punic ​20, 40, 70, 72, 73 Qadesh ​263 Qedar ​218 Qohathites ​9, 10, 11, 104, 162 qubbāh ​34, 3412, 35, 36(21), 37, 38 Rabbah (city) ​6 Ramesses II ​141, 263 Ramesses III ​128 Rav (Amora) ​253 Redactor(s), pentateuchal ​1262, 129(11) relief (sculpture) ​34, 40, 492.7, 803.4, 3.5, 104, 1164.2, 4.3, 1174.4, 4.5, 1234.14, 1596.10,

390

Index of Subjects

24310.9, 250, 259, 262, 263, 27611.14, 27711.15, 283, 29512.3 rib ​67(90, 94), 75144 ring (for finger) ​262, 27611.13, 3458a robots debating  vi Roman period ​34, 223, 282, 305 Rome ​98 roof ​52, 57, 59, 166 Russia ​39 Ruwala ​33, 339 Sahure ​96, 104, 1164.2 Samaria ​262, 27411.10, 29141, 29241, 3447b Samuel (Amora) ​258 Samuel (biblical character) ​6791 Samuel b. Nahman, R. (Amora) ​75143 San Isidoro de León ​98, 104, 1224.11 San Paolo fuori de Mura ​98, 104, 1204.9 Saqqara ​56, 96, 104, 1234.14, 252, 26811.2 sarcophagus ​20, 29, 57, 26479 Sargon II ​259 Saul ​6 scarab (seal) ​264, 27511.12, 27811.17 scarab beetle ​229, 234 screen ​10, 11, 51(2), 57(27), 951, 112 scribal error ​66, 195, 219. See also haplography; parablepsis sea, bronze ​951, 232 Second Temple ​52, 305 Selket ​27011.5 seraphim ​149, 188, 201, 205, 223, 226, 229, 265 Seti I, 263, 27611.14 sex ​13922 shabti box ​39 Shamash Temple ​40 shekel ​170 Shem ​21794 Shemaiah of Troyes ​107 Shiloh ​5, 282 ship ​254. See also bark/barque shoulders ​66, 71, 104(37), 108, 109 shower platform ​145 Sidon ​263 silver ​3, 17, 29, 52, 951, 132, 193, 250 Simeon b. Lakish, R. (Amora) ​5732, 75143, 21794, 22626, 28634 Simeon b. Yohai, R. (Tanna) ​61, 131

Sinai ​5, 8, 9, 10, 125, 126, 127, 129, 131, 145 singular ​See plural Sippar ​40, 129, 1345.2 sky ​149, 191, 213, 290. See also firmament sleep ​13922 snake ​219, 226, 229(42), 234, 262, 265. See also uraeus Solomon ​6, 8, 52, 5726, 6791, 178, 209, 285, 290, 302 sphinx ​198, 228(35), 229, 231, 233, 282, 283(20), 284, 285, 287, 289, 290, 29241 St. Gall, Golden Psalter of ​98, 103–104, 1204.8 staff/staves ​12, 130, 131 stamnos ​813.7 stars ​150, 206 storm ​149, 190, 194, 195 storm-god ​132, 195 suffix ​20, 21, 38, 66, 162, 1636, 202, 203, 218 sun god ​40, 129, 1345.2, 138, 141 sword ​177, 19211, 209, 214, 215(87), 218 symbol ​31, 13917, 262, 2811, 288, 289, 305 synagogue ​23, 35, 37, 502.8a, 2.8b, 98, 223, 225, 23610.1, 24110.7, 3392a, 2b syncopation ​16, 17 synonymy ​5934, 67(90), 77, 126, 219, 229 synthesis ​1862, 193, 249, 287 Syria ​34, 482.6, 65, 29140, 305 Syriac ​38(25), 61 Ta‘anach ​198, 2209.1 table ​10, 38, 51, 52, 54, 55, 57(26), 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 6792, 93, 71, 72, 853.14, 3.15, 95(1), 97, 99, 102, 105, 106, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114(79), 127, 139, 144, 162, 193, 232, 291 Tabnit, sarcophagus of ​20, 251.2 Tammuz ​146 Tell el-‘Ajjul ​235, 24610.12 Temple Mount ​141, 142, 143, 144, 150, 208, 216, 219, 288 Temple of Ishtar Kidmuri ​129 Temple of Mamu ​129 tent ​34, 35, 37, 38, 136, 143, 169, 203, 216, 21794, 218, 232, 263, 289 tent, David’s ​6, 10, 136

Index of Subjects

tent-shrine ​33, 34, 3413, 35, 288, 289 terra-cotta ​34, 482.6, 56, 813.6, 3.7, 139, 29612.5a, 12.5b, 29712.5c Thebes ​853.14, 3.15, 140, 252, 26711.1 theophany ​177, 194, 219 theory ​2 throne ​5726, 137, 138(15, 17), 139(17), 140(24, 25), 141(26), 14233, 145(44), 147, 148, 149(57), 150, 151(58), 165(17), 173, 185, 1862, 187, 188, 191, 192(13), 197, 20036, 201, 205, 229, 263, 281(1), 282(17), 283(20), 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 29141, 292(41), 293(46), 302, 304, 305(5) Tiberius ​224, 23710.3 toilet box ​40 Torah ark ​30, 31, 33, 225 Torah scroll ​23, 31, 130, 131, 225 tosafot/tosafists ​6897, 96(11), 97, 100, 10333, 107, 108(50), 226, 227 tree ​21, 53, 54, 71, 235, 252, 253, 262, 293(48) tree of life ​182, 204, 209, 213, 214(86), 215(87), 219, 232, 293 Tyre ​177, 204, 218, 283, 293, 29512.4 ‘uṭfāh ​34, 3412, 35, 36, 472.4 Ugaritic/Ugarit ​20, 70, 10330, 141, 146(45), 1576.7, 180 Ur ​261.3 uraeus ​229, 262, 264. See also snake Uruk ​129

391

Utrecht Psalter ​98, 101, 103–104, 1194.7a, 4.7b Vaticanus, Codex ​5833, 206, 25220 Vergina ​171, 304, 3436a vocalization ​915, 15, 1633, 18, 19(46, 47), 163, 167, 180, 199, 204, 210, 212(80), 214, 215(87, 88), 216, 217, 25751 vulture ​18225, 262 war ​4, 11, 34(12), 35, 36, 132, 135, 13817, 207 war-god ​132 waw (letter) ​96 weight ​28, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 99, 107, 170, 258 wheels ​66, 71, 72, 893.19, 903.20, 913.21, 185, 186, 187, 189, 190, 191, 192(11), 221, 222, 22733, 232 wilderness ​5, 36, 54 wind ​149(57), 150, 194, 195, 206 wisdom literature ​8 woodworking ​ See carpentry Xerxes ​138 Yahwistic ​14, 1262 Yannai, R. (Amora) ​21, 5520, 170, 28634 Yuia and Thuiu ​63(69) Zadok ​6