plural cherubim, the name of certain symbolical figures
frequently mentioned in Scripture. They are first mentioned in
connection with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden
(Gen. 3:24). There is no intimation given of their shape or
form. They are next mentioned when Moses was commanded to
provide furniture for the tabernacle (Ex. 25:17-20; 26:1, 31).
God promised to commune with Moses "from between the cherubim"
(25:22). This expression was afterwards used to denote the
Divine abode and presence (Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4; Isa. 37:16;
Ps. 80:1; 99:1). In Ezekiel's vision (10:1-20) they appear as
living creatures supporting the throne of God. From Ezekiel's
description of them (1;10; 41:18, 19), they appear to have been
compound figures, unlike any real object in nature; artificial
images possessing the features and properties of several
animals. Two cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark;
two of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomon's temple.
Ezekiel (1:4-14) speaks of four; and this number of "living
creatures" is mentioned in Rev. 4:6. Those on the ark are called
the "cherubim of glory" (Heb. 9:5), i.e., of the Shechinah, or
cloud of glory, for on them the visible glory of God rested.
They were placed one at each end of the mercy-seat, with wings
stretched upward, and their faces "toward each other and toward
the mercy-seat." They were anointed with holy oil, like the ark
itself and the other sacred furniture.
The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent
spiritual existences in immediate contact with Jehovah. Some
have regarded them as symbolical of the chief ruling power by
which God carries on his operations in providence (Ps. 18:10).
Others interpret them as having reference to the redemption of
men, and as symbolizing the great rulers or ministers of the
church. Many other opinions have been held regarding them which
need not be referred to here. On the whole, it seems to be most
satisfactory to regard the interpretation of the symbol to be
variable, as is the symbol itself.
Their office was, (1) on the expulsion of our first parents
from Eden, to prevent all access to the tree of life; and (2) to
form the throne and chariot of Jehovah in his manifestation of
himself on earth. He dwelleth between and sitteth on the
cherubim (1 Sam. 4:4; Ps. 80:1; Ezek. 1:26, 28).
connected with a throne (2 Chr. 9:18). Jehovah symbolically
dwelt in the holy place between the cherubim above the ark of
the covenant. The ark was his footstool (1 Chr. 28:2; Ps. 99:5;
132:7). And as heaven is God's throne, so the earth is his
footstool (Ps. 110:1; Isa. 66:1; Matt. 5:35).
as represented by Ezekiel (1-10) and John (Rev. 4, etc.), are
the cherubim. They are distinguished from angels (Rev. 15:7);
they join the elders in the "new song" (5:8, 9); they warn of
danger from divine justice (Isa. 6:3-5), and deliver the
commission to those who execute it (Ezek. 10:2, 7); they
associate with the elders in their sympathy with the hundred and
forty-four thousand who sing the new song (Rev. 14:3), and with
the Church in the overthrow of her enemies (19:4).
They are supposed to represent mercy, as distinguished from
justice, mercy in its various instrumentalities, and especially
as connected with the throne of God, the "throne of grace."
The central fact of Christian preaching was the intelligence
that the Saviour had come into the world (Matt. 4:23; Rom.
10:15); and the first Christian preachers who called their
account of the person and mission of Christ by the term
"evangelion" (= good message) were called "evangelistai" (=
evangelists) (Eph. 4:11; Acts 21:8).
There are four historical accounts of the person and work of
Christ: "the first by Matthew, announcing the Redeemer as the
promised King of the kingdom of God; the second by Mark,
declaring him 'a prophet, mighty in deed and word'; the third by
Luke, of whom it might be said that he represents Christ in the
special character of the Saviour of sinners (Luke 7:36; 15:18);
the fourth by John, who represents Christ as the Son of God, in
whom deity and humanity become one. The ancient Church gave to
Matthew the symbol of the lion, to Mark that of a man, to Luke
that of the ox, and to John that of the eagle: these were the
four faces of the cherubim" (Ezek. 1:10).
Date. The Gospels were all composed during the latter part of
the first century, and there is distinct historical evidence to
show that they were used and accepted as authentic before the
end of the second century.
Mutual relation. "If the extent of all the coincidences be
represented by 100, their proportionate distribution will be:
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 53; Matthew and Luke, 21; Matthew and
Mark, 20; Mark and Luke, 6. Looking only at the general result,
it may be said that of the contents of the synoptic Gospels
[i.e., the first three Gospels] about two-fifths are common to
the three, and that the parts peculiar to one or other of them
are little more than one-third of the whole."
Origin. Did the evangelists copy from one another? The opinion
is well founded that the Gospels were published by the apostles
orally before they were committed to writing, and that each had
an independent origin. (See MATTHEW, GOSPEL OF T0002443.)
a vehicle generally used for warlike purposes. Sometimes, though
but rarely, it is spoken of as used for peaceful purposes.
The first mention of the chariot is when Joseph, as a mark of
distinction, was placed in Pharaoh's second state chariot (Gen.
41:43); and the next, when he went out in his own chariot to
meet his father Jacob (46:29). Chariots formed part of the
funeral procession of Jacob (50:9). When Pharaoh pursued the
Israelites he took 600 war-chariots with him (Ex. 14:7). The
Canaanites in the valleys of Israel had chariots of iron
(Josh. 17:18; Judg. 1:19). Jabin, the king of Canaan, had 900
chariots (Judg. 4:3); and in Saul's time the Philistines had
30,000. In his wars with the king of Zobah and with the Syrians,
David took many chariots among the spoils (2 Sam. 8:4; 10:18).
Solomon maintained as part of his army 1,400 chariots (1 Kings
10:26), which were chiefly imported from Egypt (29). From this
time forward they formed part of the armies of Israel (1 Kings
22:34; 2 Kings 9:16, 21; 13:7, 14; 18:24; 23:30).
In the New Testament we have only one historical reference to
the use of chariots, in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts.
8:28, 29, 38).
This word is sometimes used figuratively for hosts (Ps. 68:17;
2 Kings 6:17). Elijah, by his prayers and his counsel, was "the
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." The rapid agency
of God in the phenomena of nature is also spoken of under the
similitude of a chariot (Ps. 104:3; Isa. 66:15; Hab. 3:8).
Chariot of the cherubim (1 Chr. 28:18), the chariot formed by
the two cherubs on the mercy-seat on which the Lord rides.
Chariot cities were set apart for storing the war-chariots in
time of peace (2 Chr. 1:14).
Chariot horses were such as were peculiarly fitted for service
in chariots (2 Kings 7:14).
Chariots of war are described in Ex. 14:7; 1 Sam. 13:5; 2 Sam.
8:4; 1 Chr. 18:4; Josh. 11:4; Judg. 4:3, 13. They were not used
by the Israelites till the time of David. Elijah was translated
in a "chariot of fire" (2 Kings 2:11). Compare 2 Kings 6:17. This
vision would be to Elisha a source of strength and
encouragement, for now he could say, "They that be with us are
more than they that be with them."
Noah's ark, a building of gopher-wood, and covered with pitch,
300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high (Gen.
6:14-16); an oblong floating house of three stories, with a door
in the side and a window in the roof. It was 100 years in
building (Gen. 5:32; 7:6). It was intended to preserve certain
persons and animals from the deluge which God was about to bring
over the earth. It contained eight persons (Gen. 7:13; 2 Pet.
2:5), and of all "clean" animals seven pairs, and of "unclean"
one pair, and of birds seven pairs of each sort (Gen. 7:2, 3).
It was in the form of an oblong square, with flat bottom and
sloping roof. Traditions of the Deluge, by which the race of man
was swept from the earth, and of the ark of Noah have been found
existing among all nations.
The ark of bulrushes in which the infant Moses was laid (Ex.
2:3) is called in the Hebrew "teebah", a word derived from the
Egyptian "teb", meaning "a chest." It was daubed with slime and
with pitch. The bulrushes of which it was made were the papyrus
The sacred ark is designated by a different Hebrew word,
"'aron'", which is the common name for a chest or coffer used
for any purpose (Gen. 50:26; 2 Kings 12:9, 10). It is
distinguished from all others by such titles as the "ark of God"
(1 Sam. 3:3), "ark of the covenant" (Josh. 3:6; Heb. 9:4), "ark
of the testimony" (Ex. 25:22). It was made of acacia or shittim
wood, a cubit and a half broad and high and two cubits long, and
covered all over with the purest gold. Its upper surface or lid,
the mercy-seat, was surrounded with a rim of gold; and on each
of the two sides were two gold rings, in which were placed two
gold-covered poles by which the ark could be carried (Num. 7:9;
10:21; 4:5,19, 20; 1 Kings 8:3, 6). Over the ark, at the two
extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward
each other (Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over
the top of the ark formed the throne of God, while the ark
itself was his footstool (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The ark was
deposited in the "holy of holies," and was so placed that one
end of the poles by which it was carried touched the veil which
separated the two apartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:8).
The two tables of stone which constituted the "testimony" or
evidence of God's covenant with the people (Deut. 31:26), the
"pot of manna" (Ex. 16:33), and "Aaron's rod that budded" (Num.
17:10), were laid up in the ark (Heb. 9:4). (See TABERNACLE
T0003559) The ark and the sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel"
(Lam. 2:1). During the journeys of the Israelites the ark was
carried by the priests in advance of the host (Num. 4:5, 6;
10:33-36; Ps. 68:1; 132:8). It was borne by the priests into the
bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the
whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17,
18). It was borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6,
8, 11, 12). When carried it was always wrapped in the veil, the
badgers' skins, and blue cloth, and carefully concealed even
from the eyes of the Levites who carried it. After the
settlement of Israel in Israel the ark remained in the
tabernacle at Gilgal for a season, and was then removed to
Shiloh till the time of Eli, between 300 and 400 years (Jer.
7:12), when it was carried into the field of battle so as to
secure, as they supposed, victory to the Hebrews, and was taken
by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-11), who sent it back after
retaining it seven months (1 Sam. 5:7, 8). It remained then at
Kirjath-jearim (7:1,2) till the time of David (twenty years),
who wished to remove it to Jerusalem; but the proper mode of
removing it having been neglected, Uzzah was smitten with death
for putting "forth his hand to the ark of God," and in
consequence of this it was left in the house of Obed-edom in
Gath-rimmon for three months (2 Sam. 6:1-11), at the end of
which time David removed it in a grand procession to Jerusalem,
where it was kept till a place was prepared for it (12-19). It
was afterwards deposited by Solomon in the temple (1 Kings
8:6-9). When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and plundered
the temple, the ark was probably taken away by Nebuchadnezzar
and destroyed, as no trace of it is afterwards to be found. The
absence of the ark from the second temple was one of the points
in which it was inferior to the first temple.
(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).
(2.) A portable shrine (compare Acts 19:24) containing the image
of Moloch (Amos 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").
(3.) The human body (2 Cor. 5:1, 4); a tent, as opposed to a
(4.) The sacred tent (Heb. mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the
movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God,
according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on
the mount (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of
the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised
to meet with Israel (Ex. 29:42); the "tabernacle of the
testimony" (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50), which does not, however,
designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which
contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:16, 22; Num. 9:15);
the "tabernacle of witness" (Num. 17:8); the "house of the Lord"
(Deut. 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24); a
"sanctuary" (Ex. 25:8).
A particular account of the materials which the people
provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded
in Ex. 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to
Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially
endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in
Egypt, for this purpose (Ex. 35:30-35). The people provided
materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under
the necessity of restraining them (36:6). These stores, from
which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have
consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so
readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (12:35, 36).
The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45
feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and
height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of
boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of
brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex. 26:22). This
framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen,
in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with
needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably
also with threads of gold (Ex. 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was
a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth,
reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex. 26:7-11).
The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth
was of badgers' skins (Heb. tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species
of seal), Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34.
Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the
exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the
sanctuary" (Heb. 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (6); and the
interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest,"
the "second tabernacle" (Ex. 28:29; Heb. 9:3, 7). The veil
separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest
workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest
once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was
separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by
a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the
east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.
The order as well as the typical character of the services of
the tabernacle are recorded in Heb. 9; 10:19-22.
The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of
the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables
of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the
tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the
golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.
Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains
hung upon sixty pillars (Ex. 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet
long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt
offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4
1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of
brass (Ex. 30:18), which stood between the altar and the
The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the
first day of the first month of the second year after the
Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine
presence descended on it (Ex. 39:22-43; 40:1-38). It cost 29
talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of
silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex. 38:24-31).
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be
taken down and conveyed from place to place during the
wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the
Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there
the tabernacle remained for seven years (Josh. 4:19). It was
afterwards removed to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1), where it remained
during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the
ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites
were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1 Sam.
4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the
tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the
wilderness was transferred to Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and after the
destruction of that city by Saul (22:9; 1 Chr. 16:39, 40), to
Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1 Chr. 21:29. A new
tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17; 1
Chr. 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and
deposited in it (2 Sam. 6:8-17; 2 Chr. 1:4).
The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex. 33:7 denotes simply a
tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet