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The ark and the cherubim in the Psalms

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that there are a number of implicit references to the Ark in the Psalms, in addition to the one explicit reference in Psalm 132:8. Amongst other things, these allusions support the view that there was indeed a ritual procession with the Ark in the pre-exilic Jerusalem cult at the feast of Tabernacles, as some scholars have previously argued but which others have questioned. The divine presence associated with the Ark is sometimes spoken of as Yahweh's 'strength', 'splendour' or 'glory', and the Ark is also referred to as Yahweh's 'footstool'. It was the cherubim above the Ark which constituted Yahweh's throne proper, but references in the Psalms to the psalmist seeking shelter in the shadow of Yahweh's wings do not allude to the cherubim but rather envisage the deity metaphorically as a protective bird.

Keywords: Ark; cherubim; Jerusalem; Psalms; ritual procession; Tabernacles; Yahweh's wings



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