We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
He gets the main symbolism mostly right, that is: mostly aligned with the original Jewish interpretation.
1. The ark contains both sets of tablets - the glorious sapphire tablets that were G-d's work, yet shattered when brought into this world, and the limestone tablets hewn by man. Another example.of its "transitional" role.
2. It also contains the first complete text of the Torah, writtwn by Moses.
3. Jewish law and lore underscore the "transitional" nature of the ark:
-the ark was not carried on the shoulders, but by hand - and it floats, supporting the priests who hold the staves. Those who take the law upon themselves are borne up.by it; it is no burden to them. The few Jewish illuminations that survive depict the priests being drawn along on their toes.
-the measurements of the tabernacle and the Temple do not allow enough space for the ark as it is described... Yet the priest went in to offer incense. The ark is transcendent and does not occupy the same physical dimension that we do.
4. One major Jewish symbolism that Peterson did not really touch on was the tabletss and ark as mystical marriage contract between G-d and his earthly consort Israel. In many orthodox Jewish homes a beautifully illuminated marriage contract is displayed alongside the couple's wedding pictures. The ark and the tablets recall the marriage covenant of Sinai.
Peterson was wrong in this: the ark is not in the center of the Temple but in a private chamber. If the Temple is a house, with meat, bread, and wine offerings in the main court - the ark is in the parents' bedroom, the Holy of Holies entered only once a year on Yom Kippur. And the cherubim are a youth and a maiden. Rabbbinic legend says that when Israel did G-d's will the priest would see the cherubim embracing when he entered that room.
Did Christianity translate.that mystical marriage to the Church, or just ignore that tradition?
Thank you. This Christian always appreciates your comments and the depth of knowledge they impart.
The book of Revelation tells us that John saw the new Jerusalem prepared as a bride. The Christian church is referred to as the bride of Christ. Accordingly, I would say that Christianity is not ignoring that tradition.
This seems like idolatry. The Second commandment admonished us: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them"
The ark is not worshipped or considered an independent source of power.
There is much discussion of the jarring presence of the cherubim - that seems to contradict Judaism's firm rejection of all graven images.
(BTW In Jewish tradition the cherubim are not putti but a physically mature youth and maiden.)
Among the many answers given, the most interesting to me is based on modern archaeology. Throughout the pagan mideast the primary idol (Baal or Dagon) was flanked by adoring cherubim or minor deities. So the ark emphasizes Jewish rejection of surrounding pagan idolatry by showing an "empty frame" - just the cherubim, with an empty space where the godhead would be.