Ezekiel continued with his descriptions of the double doors leading to the Hekal, the nave, and the Debir, the holy place. These 2 doors had 2 swinging leaves for each door. On the double door to the nave were the carvings of the cherubim and the palm trees just like as in wall of the holy of holies. There was a canopy of wood outside in front of the vestibule, the Ulam. There were recessed windows with palm trees on either side of the sidewalls of this vestibule or Ulam.
Ezekiel explained what he saw in the holy of holies room. There were patterned carvings of cherubim with palm trees on all the walls around the inner room and the nave. Between each cherub there was a palm tree. Every one of these cherubim had two faces, a human face and the face of a young lion. The two faces of each cherub were turned toward the two palm trees on either side of them. These wooden carvings were all around the Temple walls, from the floor to the area above the door.
Each one of the cherubim had 4 faces like the living creatures at the River Chebar as in chapter 1. There was no mention of sides or fronts here. Three of the faces were exactly the same, a human face, a face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. However, the fourth face was that of a cherub here, while in chapter 1, it was an ox. Here the comparison to the cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times is more explicit. Thus the connection between this section and chapter 1 is very specific, since Ezekiel mentions the River Chebar.
Each creature had the face of a human being in front. Then there was a face of a lion on the right side with a face of an ox on the left side. In the back was the face of an eagle. Interesting enough this is similar to the idea of cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times. They had a statue of a god who had the head of a human, the body of a lion, the paws of an ox, with wings. This same symbolism was later taken up as the symbols of the four Christian evangelists, as well as the 4 creatures of the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. There is also the interpretation that these animal heads symbolize mobility, intelligence, and strength. Their wings were spread out above each of these creatures, so that they touched each other. Thus these wings covered the bodies of these creatures.
In Isaiah’s vision, Yahweh had a long flowing robe that filled the whole Temple. The seraphs or cherubim were sculptures in the Temple. These heavenly seraphs or cherubim were associated with the brilliance and glory of God. Here they are above Yahweh, each with 6 wings. 2 wings covered their faces, while the other 2 covered their feet. Finally they used their 2 other wings to fly.
Sirach once again could refer to the biblical Book of Ezekiel (622-570 BCE), a contemporary of Jeremiah, the 3rd of the 3 major prophets. However, he merely gets one simple sentence. Ezekiel saw a vision of glory with chariots and cherubim.
To the choirmaster, according to Lilies, a testimony of Asaph, a psalm
O shepherd of Israel!
You lead Joseph like a flock!
You are enthroned upon the cherubim!
Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!
Stir up your might!
Come to save us!”
Psalm 80 is another choral psalm of Asaph, a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon, a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant. This psalm is set to the tune of the lilies, much like Psalm 45 and Psalm 69. This is an attempt of the northern tribes of Israel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh to have God come to their aid. Notice the importance of Joseph here. Remember that those northern Israel tribes were sent to captivity before the people in Jerusalem and Judah. This psalmist wanted the shepherd of Israel to listen and shine before the northern tribes. The God of Israel sat on the cherubim in the holy of holies. He wanted God to stir up his might and thus save them from their captivity.
“King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. Then the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary. But they could not be seen from outside. They are there to this day. There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses had placed there at Horeb, where Yahweh made a covenant with the Israelites, when they came out of the land of Egypt.”
This is exactly word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 8. The biblical author in 1 Kings spoke as if the ark was still there to “this day.” This biblical author could not have said that since the temple no longer existed. Yet he repeated the same statement. The feasting and sacrificing was so great that no one could count the number of sacrifice offerings. The Ark of the Covenant had only the 2 stone tablets that Moses had received at Horeb, and not Sinai. Nothing else was in there. It was covered by those 2 large golden bronze cherubim with their wings spread out over it and touching each other.
“King Solomon overlaid the temple on the inside with pure gold. The nave he lined with cypress. He covered it with fine gold. He made palms and chains on it. He adorned the house with settings of precious stones. The gold was gold of Parvaim. So he lined the house with gold, its beams, its thresholds, its walls, and its doors. He carved cherubim on the walls.”
King Solomon finished the Temple. He lined the walls with gold. Just as in 1 Kings, chapter 6, he overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold, in order that the whole house might be perfect. Then he put chains of gold in front of the inner sanctuary. Here this author was not content to have gold in the holy place he wanted the entire Temple lined with gold. This gold came from some place called Parvaim, which is only mentioned here with no indication of where it is. He even carved cherubim on the walls, which was not in 1 Kings either.