Winged bull (cherubim) from the palace of Sargon II from


Biblical cherubim (the word is the plural of "cherub") were not the chubby children later Western tradition has made them. They were fearsome half-animal half-human creatures, often with lion's bodies and spread wings. They served as guards (Gen 3:24) and those on the lid of the ark were thought of as Adonai's throne. Ezekiel describes them in his visions, but the descriptions vary considerably (Ez 10:21 - 4 faces and 4 wings; Ez 41:18f. - a lion's and a human face).

Such creatures were widespread in Ancient Near Eastern sculptures and wall panels. At Gebal (= Byblos) a throne for king Hiram was supported by cherubs.

This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,

© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.