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Cherubim
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
Supernatural, composite creatures mentioned frequently in the Old Testament, often associated with Yahweh’s presence, and classified among the angels. Served as the traditional guardians of sacred spaces in ancient Near Eastern iconography. Commonly depicted with the body of a lion, the wings of a bird, and the face of a human.
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Cherubim
Cherubim (כְּרֻבִ֛ים‎, keruvim). Supernatural, composite creatures mentioned frequently in the Old Testament, often associated with Yahweh’s presence, and classified among the angels. Served as the traditional guardians of sacred spaces in ancient Near Eastern iconography. Commonly depicted with the body
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Cherubim
CHERUBIM [Heb kĕrûbı̂m (כְּרוּבִים)]. The terms “cherub” (sing.) and “cherubim” (pl.) occur over 90 times in the Hebrew Bible (and only once in the NT, in Heb 9:5) in reference to fanciful composite beings. Although all of these references are in sacral contexts, there is no uniformity as to the nature
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Cherub, Cherubim
Cherub, Cherubim. Winged creatures mentioned occasionally in Scripture (“cherubim” is the plural form of the Hebrew “cherub”). They belong to a supernatural created order along with the seraphim and angels. Some scholars have argued that the term “cherub” had its origin in the karibu (“intercessor”)
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Cherubim
Cherubim cher̀ə-bim, cher̀oo-bim [Heb. kerûḇîm (sing kerûḇ), perhaps related to Akk. karūbu-‘intercessor’]; AV CHERUBIMS. Winged creatures of a suprahuman variety, occasionally mentioned in the OT. They appear as guardians of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24) and as the vehicle by which God traversed
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Cherub, Cherubim
CHERUB*, CHERUBIM Winged creatures mentioned occasionally in Scripture (“cherubim” is the plural form of the Hebrew “cherub”). They belong to a supernatural created order along with the seraphim and angels. Some scholars have argued that the term “cherub” had its origin in the karibu (“intercessor”)
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Cherubim
cherubim (chair´yoo-bim; sing. cherub [chair´ uhb]), supernatural, composite beings associated with sacral contexts. Although cherubim are mentioned ninety-two times (ninety-one times in the Hebrew Bible, and once in Heb. 9:5), no single type of creature is referred to in all cases. Rather, the term
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Cherub
CHERUB1. Cherub (keár×uáb) was an Israelite who returned from Captivity but was of a group who “could not prove their fathers’ houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel” (Ezr 2:59; Neh 7:61, RSV). It could possibly be an unknown Babylonian place name instead of a person.2. Cherub (cheár×uáb;
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Cherubim
CHERUBIM (Heb. kerûḇîm). The plural of ‘cherub’, represented in the OT as symbolic and celestial beings. In the book of Genesis they were assigned to guard the tree of life in Eden (Gn. 3:24). A similar symbolic function was credited to the golden cherubim, which were placed at either end of the cover
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Cherub
Cherub (Heb. kĕrûḇ), CHERUBIM (kĕrûḇɩ̂m)Mythological winged creatures, borrowed by the Israelites from ancient Near Eastern traditions. The Hebrew term is likely related to Akk. kāribu or karqbu (“intercessor”) or karibi, kurībi, karibāti (“gatekeepers”), the latter referring to the colossal
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Cherub, Cherubim
Cherub, Cherubim [chĕrˊəb, chĕrˊə bĭm] (Heb. kerûḇ, kerûḇîm). Winged celestial creatures, introduced into Israelite cosmology from neighboring ancient Near Eastern mythologies. The Hebrew term is probably related to Akk. kāribu or karūbu “one who prays,” “intercessor” (from karābu “pray,”
The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land
Cherub; Cherubim
CHERUB; CHERUBIM Cherubim are mentioned in the Bible in the story of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:24 where they are referred to as the guardians of the way to the tree of life. Golden cherubim were placed s either end of the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant (Exod. 25:18–22, 37:7–9). They were also embroidered
Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible
Cherubim
CHERUBIM כרוביםI. The term ‘cherubim’ occurs 91 times in the Hebrew Bible. It denotes the Israelite counterpart of the sphinx known from the pictorial art of the ancient Near East. In the Bible the cherubim occur essentially in two functions: as guardians of a sacred tree or as guardians and carriers
Key passages
Ge 3:24

So he drove the man out, and placed cherubim east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming, turning sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

Ex 25:17–22

“And you will make an atonement cover of pure gold, two and a half cubits its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you will make two cherubim of gold; you will make them of hammered work at the two ends of the atonement cover. And make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the …

1 Sa 4:4

So the army sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of Yahweh of hosts who sits between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

Ps 80:1

Give ear, O shepherd of Israel, who leads Joseph like a flock. Shine forth, you who sits enthroned above the cherubim.

See also