Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exodus 25:12 - Did the Ark of The Covenant have Legs (Footings) ?

One detail of Exodus 25:12 raises a very interesting question: Did the Ark of The Covenant have Legs (Feet) to hold it off the ground ? 

At this point I'm still trying to figure out if it was possible or not, but for now I just wanted to take a look at this verse and provide you with some interesting observations:

Exodus 25:12 
12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.

12 ‏וְיָצַ֣קְתָּ לּ֗וֹ אַרְבַּע֙ טַבְּעֹ֣ת זָהָ֔ב וְנָ֣תַתָּ֔ה עַ֖ל אַרְבַּ֣ע פַּעֲמֹתָ֑יו וּשְׁתֵּ֣י טַבָּעֹ֗ת עַל־צַלְעוֹ֙ הָֽאֶחָ֔ת וּשְׁתֵּי֙ טַבָּעֹ֔ת עַל־צַלְע֖וֹ הַשֵּׁנִֽית׃

As you can see, the expression in question here is אַרְבַּ֣ע פַּעֲמֹתָ֑יו [arəba‘ pa‘ămōṯāyw], which is usually translated as "four corners", "four feet" or "four footings".

Since I'm not sure myself what it means, so far I was usually depicting the Ark of the Covenant as a pure rectangular object, without any extra parts on its corners. Like so:

Here is a gray scale rendering of the above image, so that you can see corners of the Ark more easily:

However, if you remember, the framework of the Tent of the Tabernacle was not a purely rectangular structure. It had Two (2) round Corner Boards on its West Side, Four (4) round Inner Pillars and Five (5) round Outer Pillars. Like so:

Now, if we were to remove Four (4) Inner Pillars and 3 out of 5 Outer Pillars, we would end up with this structure:

Of'course, the east side (to the right on this image) of the framework of the Tent of the Tabernacle would be covered with the Entrance Curtain (Masach) but I do not show it here for illustrative purposes.

Assuming that the Ark of The Covenant would indeed have four legs (footings) it would most likely look like so (compare it to the the images above):

And here is a full color rendering of the Ark of The Covenant with Four Legs "integrated" into its main body: 

If you still did not yet notice the similarities between the framework of the Tent of the Tabernacle and the Ark, here is a little schematic diagram so that you can get a hint of what I'm trying to point out here:

As you can see from the image above, it is quite possible that the Ark of The Covenant indeed had Four (4) Footings at each of its corners. Not only these four feet provided necessary support for the Ark to keep it off the ground, but also these "four feet" were also incorporated into the design of the framework of the Tabernacle. After all, the Ark was indeed a miniature copy of the Tent of the Tabernacle, so it is quite possible that my reasoning presented above has a certain degree of plausibility.

Of'course, at this point it is just my speculation, since there are certain issues that still need to be resolved as far as the design of the Ark the the Tent go. But as far as I can tell, design of the Ark is indeed connected with the design of other parts of the Tabernacle, so it is very important to take these similarities into account.

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