Sunday, December 13, 2015

Making the mercy seat and the cherubim

Following up on my last post on this chapter, there is a clearly marked repetition of a phrase in the section on building the ark and the cherubim (verses 16 and 21 below). The cherubim, kin to each other, are each looking onto the mercy seat, the place of atonement, a cover made of clean (lustrous) gold with the cherubim formed at each extremity out of hammered material. Is this solid gold and with the cherubim essentially of one piece with the mercy seat? I suppose it depends on how you read the construction details.

So repetition of sound is a significant element in Hebrew poetry and prose. The sounds circle the key points. What then are the key points of this little section? Are there secondary circles that would highlight other central issues?  Does the music tell us anything?

Second question: what gloss would you chose for do/make/construct (all the same word in Hebrew)? Refer back to Genesis 1. The making of the tabernacle is as important and I think parallel to the making of the created order.
ונתת and you will yield
16נתן
הארן the ark
16ארה
העדת the testimony
16עדה
אשׁר that
16אשׁר
אתן I will yield
16נתן
ועשׂית and you will make
17עשׂה
כפרת a mercy seat of
17כפר
זהב gold
17זהב
אמתים two cubits
17אמה
וחצי and a half
17חצה
ואמה and a cubit
17אמה
וחצי and a half
17חצה
ועשׂית and you will make
18עשׂה
שׁנים two
18שׁנה
כרבים cherubim of
18כרוב
זהב gold
18זהב
תעשׂה you will make
18עשׂה
משׁני at the two
18שׁנה
קצות extremes of
18קצה
הכפרת the mercy seat
18כפר
ועשׂה make
19עשׂה
כרוב cherub
19כרוב
אחד one
19אחד
מקצה from extremity
19קצה
מזה this
19זה
וכרוב and cherub
19כרוב
אחד one
19אחד
מקצה from extremity
19קצה
מזה this
19זה
הכפרת the mercy seat
19כפר
תעשׂו you will make
19עשׂה
הכרבים the Cherubim
19כרוב
שׁני both
19שׁנה
קצותיו its extremities
19קצה
והיו so will
20היה
הכרבים the cherubim
20כרוב
כנפים their wings
20כנף
בכנפיהם their wings
20כנף
הכפרת the mercy seat
20כפר
ופניהם and their faces
20פנה
הכפרת the mercy seat
20כפר
יהיו will be
20היה
פני the faces of
20פנה
הכרבים the cherubim
20כרוב
ונתת and you will yield
21נתן
הכפרת the mercy seat
21כפר
הארן the ark
21ארה
הארן the ark
21ארה
תתן you will yield
21נתן
העדת the testimony
21עדה
אשׁר that
21אשׁר
אתן I will yield
21נתן
Here's the text for this section
Exodus 25


וְנָתַתָּ֖ אֶל־הָאָרֹ֑ן
אֵ֚ת הָעֵדֻ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶתֵּ֖ן אֵלֶֽיךָ
16 And you will yield to the ark,
the testimony that I will yield to you.
8
11
וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ כַפֹּ֖רֶת זָהָ֣ב טָה֑וֹר
אַמָּתַ֤יִם וָחֵ֙צִי֙ אָרְכָּ֔הּ וְאַמָּ֥ה וָחֵ֖צִי רָחְבָּֽהּ
17 And you will make a mercy seat of lustrous gold,
two cubits and a half in length and a cubit and a half broad.
11
16
וְעָשִׂ֛יתָ שְׁנַ֥יִם כְּרֻבִ֖ים זָהָ֑ב
מִקְשָׁה֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה אֹתָ֔ם מִשְּׁנֵ֖י קְצ֥וֹת הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת
18 And you will construct two cherubim of gold.
From hammered work you will construct them from the two extremes of the mercy seat.
11
15
וַ֠עֲשֵׂה כְּר֨וּב אֶחָ֤ד מִקָּצָה֙ מִזֶּ֔ה וּכְרוּב־אֶחָ֥ד מִקָּצָ֖ה מִזֶּ֑ה
מִן־הַכַּפֹּ֛רֶת תַּעֲשׂ֥וּ אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֖ים עַל־שְׁנֵ֥י קְצוֹתָֽיו
19 Construct one cherub from this extremity and one cherub from this extremity.
From the mercy seat you will construct the cherubim on both its extremities.
21
18
וְהָי֣וּ הַכְּרֻבִים֩ פֹּרְשֵׂ֨י כְנָפַ֜יִם לְמַ֗עְלָה סֹכְכִ֤ים בְּכַנְפֵיהֶם֙ עַל־הַכַּפֹּ֔רֶת וּפְנֵיהֶ֖ם אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו
אֶל־הַכַּפֹּ֔רֶת יִהְי֖וּ פְּנֵ֥י הַכְּרֻבִֽים
20 So the cherubim will spread their wings to the ascendant, their wings overshadowing above the mercy seat and their faces each to its kin.
To the mercy seat will be the faces of the cherubim.
32
12
וְנָתַתָּ֧ אֶת־הַכַּפֹּ֛רֶת עַל־הָאָרֹ֖ן מִלְמָ֑עְלָה
וְאֶל־הָ֣אָרֹ֔ן תִּתֵּן֙ אֶת־הָ֣עֵדֻ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶתֵּ֖ן אֵלֶֽיךָ
21 And you will yield the mercy seat onto the ark from the ascent,
and to the ark you will yield the testimony that I will yield to you.
16
18


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