[b-hebrew] Ark of the Covenant

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Tue Aug 17 12:13:23 EDT 2004

In a message dated 8/17/2004 1:14:12 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
mattfeld12 at charter.net writes:

> Marianne Luban wrote :
> "Walter Mattfield--where are you?  Don't
> you have a picture of a typical portable shrine somewhere online?"
> Yes, the following url will take the interested viewer to a number of
> proposals by various scholars.
> http://www.bibleorigins.net/illustrations.html
> Regards, Walter

Very good--thanks.  More specifically


There is another scene from the time of Ramesses II showing a portable shrine 
that looks almostly exactly like that one, except it is carrying the cult 
statue of the deified King Amenhotep I.  I don't have a scanner or I would put 
that one online, too.  It can be seen to good effect on page 167 of Ken 
Kitchen's "Pharaoh Triumphant".  The box, lions, and other details are about the same. 
 It has four "cherubim"--the two small front ones and the two much larger 
back ones forming the sides of throne for the cult figure.  The "cherubim" are 
the hawk-god, Horus (Hrw) with the sun-disk on top of his head--since Horus is 
identified with the sun.  Of course, the "cherubim" could be arranged 
differently atop the Ark of the Covenant because there was not a cult image that would 
be perched there and nothing that looked anything like a "throne" would be 
needed.  Possibly, two winged goddesses could be substituted for images of "Hrw". 
 The Israelites had just left Egypt.  They could not invent a whole new 
culture in such a short time.  They didn't have time to invent prototypes, either, 
but would have built what they knew.  A portable shrine was obviously needed 
because they were on the move.  And that is how portable shrines appeared, just 
as described in the Torah.  What was in the Ark--the two stones of the Law.  
In Egypt, there was a room called the "msxnt"--probably in a royal palace.  It 
was vocalized "miskhana".  It was the room in which the two "birthing stones" 
were kept.  Now, these two stones have been supposed to be either the stones 
that supported the mother in labor--but an actual Egyptian story tells that 
the newborn child was layed on them on a cushion. In Papyrus Anhai, one stone is 
called "Shai" and the other "Rennit".  They are the "msxnti" (miskhanot)--the 
"two stones", the determinative in the writing being two stones.  If these 
were bricks or actual stones is hard to say--but they are rectangular.  

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