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2012-03-14

Again, rather than draw a long series of comics with Moses talking to himself on the top of a smoky mountain, I’m obviously taking some artistic liberties.

God goes into scary detail describing how he wants the Ark of the Covenant to be constructed, in Exodus 25:10-22. The frame is made from shittim wood, at a size of about 1.3 × 0.8 × 0.8 meters, and then covered in pure gold both inside and out. Two rings on either side have a pole through them (also covered in gold) to carry it around, and a lid (also covered in gold) sits atop, and two cherub statues (also covered in gold) with their wings spread out on top of the lid. Funny, God repeatedly tells the Israelites not to make golden idols of anything on Earth or in Heaven, and here he is demanding that they make golden idols of cherubs. Cherubs, by the way, are actually horrible monsters with numerous wings and faces, not the cute chubby babies you see in art or the attractive ladies from Indiana Jones.

The purpose of this ark is to hold the “testament” that God will soon give Moses, even though, according to Exodus 24:4, Moses already wrote it down. Let’s hope the Israelites don’t plan on doing much traveling because a gold ark isn’t exactly mobile (those who know the story will do some giggling at this point!).

The lid, or possibly second lid, is referred to as the “mercy seat” in the KJV, but this is an improper translation due to the KJV translators not having access to the earliest Hebrew manuscripts—an improper translation that tradition has kept alive through most English translations of the bible, but the NIV uses the more accurate phrase “atonement cover”. It is to this cover that God is supposed to descend on and talk to the Israelites.

One more interesting (well, it’s not that interesting) thing to point out is how the underlying Biblical Hebrew word used for “ark” changes in the Torah. The word used for the Ark of the Covenant is ’arown. This same word is also used to refer to chest and coffin in other contexts. However, the word used for Noah’s ark, and the ark used to carry Moses down the river, is tebah, which has a completely different, and rather unknown, etymology. They both mean the same thing, but it's one of those weird quirks of having centuries of time and miles of distance between the various contributing authors of a single book.

Finally, why does God need a gold chest to store his law? Wouldn’t the famous Dead Sea Tupperware be just as good? And why does he need a gold box to come down if he’s everywhere at once? These passages don’t fit with the modern view of God.

 

Comments

Techs writes:

 

Its been pointed out in the comment section many times that the ancient hebrews scholars had the same questions.

Larqua writes:

 

Clearly God is either.

A. Impractical.

or

B. Wants to inflict every little bit of hardship on his followers regarding the logistics of hauling that thing around.



I'm going with B. .....or another power and privilege thing for the priests and elders of course.

1234567890 writes:

 

Your description of the ark reminds me of golden boxes in the game called Unepic. These boxes contain pure spirits that can't otherwise exist in the material world. Maybe God has similar problem :), sometimes.

In any case, He could just have spawned the box and include inertia nullifers with it. Or maybe he wanted to teach Hebrew how to create a box that can capture a pure spirit so they can "deal with" other gods for him. Who knows :).

Maju writes:

 

I've been reading a bit about the Hebrew angels after this entry and I find that they are almost invariably represented with the four astrological icons: bull, lion, eagle (= scorpion) and man (= water-bearer). One could also point out that the six-pointed Star of David is a simplified way to represent the twelve zodiacal signs: points for the "yang" signs, concave angles for the "yin" signs. The leaders of these ancient Jews must have been hard into Astrology.

Otherwise, what's with that unhealthy obsession with gold?

...

As for the comment above: "Maybe God has similar problem"...

Then he would not be God (capitalized) but a lesser being with problems. All-powerful Gods (arguably only one can exist at the most) can't have problems by definition. Does this need any explanation?

Why do people accept that the alleged Almighty God can be so lowly as to even "have problems" at all. Never mind desires. It's obvious that those who worship Yaveh, worship a false or (at best) lesser god (uncapitalized).

herbie writes:

 

There may actually be a somewhat practical reason for using gold. It is an excellent conductor of electricity. I understand that some years ago (about 30) some college students started to make an arc of the covenant using the values in the bible. It turned out to generate (or at least somehow conduct) huge amounts of electricity, so much so, they could not safely finish the work. Would be interesting if someone where to try again.

Emma writes:

 

Indiana Jones!

Belg writes:

 

@herbie

Sounds like big pile of BS! How can solid gold coffin create electricity? Why did they connect it to power grid so it would conduct electricity? Were they students of some phony Christian University? Do you have any refferences to this "experiment"?

HiroOdan writes:

 

is this the atack of the confused christain spam bots?

Sander the Great writes:

 

@Belg

Basically in the thoery its compaired the arc to a giant Leyden Jar which can store electricity then zap things with it knocking out or killing. Plus a couple verse in the bible seem to describe these effects when the arc kills with a shock.

http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/106/reengineering_the_ark.html

 

Oh the irony!