Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Contents of the Ark?

We have our first question from Nathan P. Daniel (Jumbo), which I've pasted below.

"I am putting together my own still life for a drawing class of mine, I figured out a good Biblical one to do: the items that were placed inside the ark of the covenant, which served as a testimony of what the Lord has done. So far, I've written out the Ten Commandments in the Proto-Sinaitic script most likely used for Hebrew in that day and did some brief research."

"I was wondering if you might have any other pointers on these items. I know that an omer is about 2 liters, but I'm not sure what kind of jar was used in that day. I also looked up coriander seeds, which appear to be about 4 mm in diameter, and I just figure if I find some I can paint them white and fill that jar with them. What would work as a good alternative to these, especially since I want to scale things down some? Also, Aaron's rod budded, but what type of plant/flower budded from it?"

"Thank you for your time; unfortunately I have to have most of this for class on Thursday, so its kind of short notice. This should make for a very interesting shopping trip."

To start the ball rolling, I was told not long ago by a Jewish believer who had studied this subject that the two tablets of stone that contained the 'Ten Commandments' did not have five commandments on each as is often depicted in children's Bibles, but had the full 10 commands on each one! This is a subject that I've not studied yet so we would appreciate any help readers can give. And, as you can see from Nathans email, he needs some answers pretty quick-!!
Many thanks!

Related posts:
Question 2
Question 3


Bible artist said...

Also, if you happen to be drawing the outside of the Ark of the Covenant, remember that the poles and rings are positioned at the bottom of the ark not the top as is often shown.

Bible artist said...

In Numbers 17:8 It says that Aaron's rod both blossomed and "yeilded ripe almonds" so it was an almond branch!

Paul G said...

As the manna (white seeds) were contained inside a golden pot, you
could concentrate on obtaining an ornate brass container to represent the golden pot, instead of worrying too much about the seeds. The brass pot and its reflections would be more interesting and challenging a subject to draw than seeds.

Bible artist said...

Yes I agree.
Drawing a highly polished brass container would be more of a challenge! You could always scatter a few of the painted seeds around the base of the pot.

ArtistXero said...

'bout how big do you think Aaron's rod would be do you think? Without pulling out a biblical measures and weights chart how big was the interior of the ark again?

Bible artist said...

Hi Xero
The dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant were 2 1/2 cubits in length and 1 1/2 cubits in width and height. (Ex. 25:10-11). As a cubit, (cubitus) is the length of the forearm, (approximately 20-21 inches), the interior of the ark would have been just over 50 inches in length and just over 30 inches in height.

Which means that Aaron's Rod could have been anything up to 50 inches in length. Hope that helps!

Paul G said...

I just watched a pitiful two hour History Channel documentary this evening in which an English professor claimed to locate the Ark to an African village. It was nothing more than a large wooden drum and a 17th century copy of the original Ark according to the professor. He was convinced he was correct even though another scholar dismissed his theory.

Tim said...

I came across several credible sources over the years that also support your statement that the full 10 commandments were duplicated on both tablets rather than 5 + 5.

This is also seen in clay/stone "legal documents" of that period (many still preserved today). Two complete copies were made, one for each party involved in the agreement.

jumbo said...

Thank you for the response. Things have definitely been interesting and busy. I turned the project in today. What I ended up doing was just making one tablet using some sort of clay and then inscribing the Proto-Sinaitic letters into the clay. Oddly enough, I made a typo in the first line, and in my opinion that one letter changed the meaning of the whole thing. Of course I'm the only one who can read it here, and I corrected it in the drawings. I bought some silk flowers that looked like almond blossoms (complete with buds/almonds) and ended up buying a cheap vase and spray-painting it, and apparently that was all I needed to draw with.

One drawing ended up with an interesting feature. Since each of these items symbolizes Christ, and He is the One Who ultimately fulfilled God's covenant with man, I put the shadow of the cross looming over the objects. The shadow of the sign above the cross which had, "This is Jesus, King of the Jews," ended up squarely over the word, "The LORD."

I really enjoyed writing out the Proto-Sinaitic; I felt like one of those ancient scribes--except for the fact that I was sitting in my comfortable computer chair, in my air-conditioned apartment, wearing strong prescription eyeglasses and listening to Internet radio, but other than that...

Anyway, thanks for the help.

Bible artist said...

I would be very interested Jumbo to have a copy of your 'Ten Commandments' in Proto-Sinaitic letters.
I have to do a picture of Moses soon, holding the stone tablets, and it would save me some time in research.

I've just finished a picture of the 12 year old Jesus in the Temple. If you blow the picture up in size you can read the scroll that he is holding. I know it's Hebrew, and I know it's from the Old Testament, I'm just not sure what part it's from-!!

jumbo said...

Certainly. I just emailed it to you.

I might be able to figure out what part of the Old Testament the scroll is from if I can distinguish the individual letters and have enough text to go on. Is the image here on the site?

Bible artist said...

Wow! Thanks for that! I was expecting it to still resemble Hebrew, but it looks more like Egyptian hieroglyphics! Very interesting, many thanks!

I'll email you the illustration for you to look at. I would be very interested if you can locate the verse.

Bible artist said...

Thanks Tim, that is exactly what I had been told.

I've just noticed that Bible artist Nino Musio has used 'Paleo Hebrew' on his interpretation of the stone tablets. This is much shorter than Proto-Sinaitic, but it actually looks a little too short!

I wonder where the 'double arch top' stone tablet shape originated?

jumbo said...

Yeah, it looks like hieroglyphics but it actually doesn't seem to be related (pictographs as opposed to hieroglyphs I guess). I learned the Proto-Sinaitic from the book "Hebrew Word Pictures," which is quite interesting.

Paleo-Hebrew looks a lot like what I learned as Early Hebrew from the above resource. That is the less pictographic/more Aramaic-like script that was adopted around the time of the captivity.

I've found it fascinating that the Dead Sea Scroll fragments, with the Hebrew form used during the time of Christ, reverts back to the Paleo-Hebrew/Early Hebrew scrip when writing God's Name.

I got your email, though the 80k image doesn't work. I've been working on the other one and it's definitely interesting.

So far the first two lines read something like:

"…there is a kitav and to the land/earth…
…the LORD [is?] to you as a word/[plague?]…"

Certainly not grammatically correct yet, but it's coming. It's kind of tough since you only see part of the passage and some of the letters are fuzzy. I have no idea where this is in the Bible.

jumbo said...

That helped, I was able to figure it out. The scroll text is most likely Exodus 12:25-31, though there is another verse at the end that doesn't seem to be any thing like Ex. 12:32. It seems to be almost a partial repeat of the last verse. It's weird; maybe this passage is referenced somewhere else, and that's where this text is.

Out of curiosity, how did you get this text?

timswish said...

An interesting comment about the placement of the ten commandments. Do you have links for your position? It sure would be interesting reading.

Bible artist said...

Thanks for that.
I took the Hebrew from a scroll on Google, but I think that I needed some extra length so I might have copied and pasted a repeat of the text which explains the confusion! (I wasn't expecting anyone to actually read it-!!) Thanks.

Check out the lecture in the link below written by Dr. Meshulam Margaliot of Bar-Ilan University in Israel.