25:20 The cherubim are to be spreading their wings upward, overshadowing 1 the atonement lid with their wings, and the cherubim are to face each other, 2 looking 3 toward the atonement lid.
37:9 The cherubim were spreading their wings 4 upward, overshadowing the atonement lid with their wings. The cherubim 5 faced each other, 6 looking toward the atonement lid. 7
1 tn The verb means “overshadowing, screening” in the sense of guarding (see 1 Kgs 8:7; 1 Chr 28:18; see also the account in Gen 3:24). The cherubim then signify two things here: by their outstretched wings they form the throne of God who sits above the ark (with the Law under his feet), and by their overshadowing and guarding they signify this as the place of atonement where people must find propitiation to commune with God. Until then they are barred from his presence. See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 330-35.
2 tn Heb “their faces a man to his brother.”
3 tn Heb “the faces of the cherubim will be” (“the cherubim” was moved to the preceding clause for smoother English).
4 tn The construction is a participle in construct followed by the genitive “wings” – “spreaders of wings.”
5 tn “The cherubim” has been placed here instead of in the second clause to produce a smoother translation.
6 tn Heb “and their faces a man to his brother.”
7 tn Heb “to the atonement lid were the faces of the cherubim.”