[b-hebrew] Stone slab replacing the Ark of the Covenant

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 01:09:39 EDT 2005

George Athas wrote:
> If the picture which Patrick sent the link for (http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/emec/img/03300.jpg) is not from Bubastis, can someone tell us where it is from, and what it is depicting?
> Best regards,
> Lecturer in Biblical Languages
> Southern Cross College
> Sydney, Australia

The short answer is: a sculpture representing Rameses III. accompanied
by his priests
and high officers and the sacred bull Apis.  The page where the picture ( 
http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/emec/emec03.htm ) was taken from says: 
(the picture itself is figure 48)

The Israelites, however, borrowed fewer religious opinions and
ceremonies from Egypt than did the other neighbouring nations. But the
brazen Serpent which stood in Jerusalem until the reign of Hezekiah (z
Kings xviii. 4.), and the calves which were worshipped at Dan and at
Bethel (1 Kings xii. 28), would seem to be parts of the Egyptian
idolatry, against which the Prophets so earnestly warned their
countrymen. Those chapters, also, in the Book of Genesis which
describe the Garden of Eden; its being watered without rain; the
sacred tree (see Fig. 29); the cherub with drawn sword guarding the
entrance; the serpent, at first upright and talking to Eve (see Fig.
25), then creeping on its belly, and the after war against it (see
Fig. 64), and which attempts to explain the origin of sin and death,
would seem to belong to the Egyptian mind rather than to the Jewish.
In the reign of Solomon the intercourse between Egypt and Judea became
very close, and it was, perhaps, in that reign, or soon afterwards,
that those chapters about the fall of man were written.

The ark which was borne along by poles resting upon men's shoulders,
and contained some of the more sacred emblems of the Jewish religion,
need not have been copied from any foreign form of temple service,
because it was naturally wanted, when the tabernacle, the centre of
their national worship, was moved about from town to town, as in the
time of the Judges; but we may remark that in a sculpture representing
Rameses III. accompanied
by his priests and high officers and the sacred bull Apis, we see that
an ark, of the same size as the Jewish ark, was carried along upon
men's shoulders in the sacred procession (see Fig. 48). That this
Egyptian ark was a prison may be judged from the models of trees at
the top; as in some paintings we see wicked imps, the punishing gods,
imprisoned in cells which are shown to be pits under ground by the
trees growing over them. In Genesis, chap. xxxvii., we read that
Joseph was imprisoned by his brothers in a pit
or dry well. But what was shut up in the Egyptian ark we are not told,
and it is perhaps idle to conjecture; but the only other portable
prison or cage that we know of was the basket in later times carried
by the priestesses in procession through the streets of Alexandria,
which seems to have held a live serpent, the emblem of sin and evil,
and the great enemy of the human race (see Fig. 85). The quarrel
between mankind and the great serpent is the subject of many of the
sculptures in the tombs, and it always ends with the enemy being
conquered, and usually taken prisoner, though sometimes killed.

Yitzhak Sapir

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