Thursday, January 6, 2011

Q&A - What is cherubim in Exodus 26 ?

In chapter 26 of the Book of Exodus, so called "cherubims" are mentioned in the description of the First Covering of the Tent (28x40 covering, Exodus 26:1) and the Inner dividing Curtain (or Vail, Exodus 26:31).

Here is the rendering of the First Covering:

And here is the rendering of the Inner Curtain - Veil:

The expression כרבים (kəruḇîm), to my best understanding, means literally "the great ones" (in a sense of numbers. maybe as "sons of multitude").

In Pentateuch, the details about these entities can be found primarily in Genesis 3:24 (as the guardians of Eden) and Exodus 25:20 (multiple faces and wings). Most detailed description of these creatures can be found in the Book of Ezekiel (i.e Ezekiel 10:20-22)

Here are couple of artistic renderings of the Cherubim, that I find to be most accurate:

Here is the rendering of the Cherubim head (linked from this web site). As you can see, the best way to describe the head of a Cherub was to say that it looked like a MASK with 3 faces put over normal human head.

And here is a computer rendering of the Cherubim from the description in 2 Chron 3:10-13 (linked from this web site):

An below you can see couple of INCORRECT representations of the Cherubim.

Here is the most widely used incorrect representation of the Cherubim. This representation has origin and bears influence of ancient Babylon.

And this one also incorrect representation of the Cherubim. This representation bears influence of a relatively modern Renaissance era:

Unfortunatelly, no serious research had been done on this subject, so it is still yet to be determined how the Cherubim really looked like.

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