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The Cherubim

Authors: Jo Milgrom and Yoel Duman

The Cherubim      

The Cherubim

Who are the cherubim? Celestial winged beings, mentioned 90 times in the Hebrew Bible and once in the New Testament, their antecedent seems to be the exotic, composite beast known as lamassu in Assyria: partly ox, lion, eagle and human. These creatures served as mythic gatekeepers for gods and kings.

Lamassu, Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud, 883 - 859 BCE

Lamassu, Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud, 883 – 859 BCE



Article Sources:

Exodus 25
17 You shall make a cover of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. 18 Make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; of one piece with the cover shall you make the cherubim at its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, shielding the cover with their wings and opposite one another; the faces of the cherubim will turn toward the cover. 21 You shall put the cover on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. 22 There I will meet with you; and from above the cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will command you concerning the children of Israel.
I Kings 6
23 Also in the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 Five cubits was the one wing of the cherub and five cubits the other wing of the cherub; from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing were ten cubits. 25 The other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubim were of the same measure and the same form. 26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was the other cherub. 27 He placed the cherubim in the midst of the inner house, and the wings of the cherubim were spread out, so that the wing of the one was touching the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub was touching the other wall. So their wings were touching each other in the center of the house. 28 He also overlaid the cherubim with gold.
Ezekiel 1
…there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. 6 Each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of  them, 9 their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. 10 As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces.  Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies.