The Hebrew term cherubim is cognate with the Assyrian term karabu, means 'great, mighty'. In some regions the Assyro-Babylonian this term came to refer in particular to spirits which served the gods, in particular to the shedu ,a human-headed winged bulls ( Vaux, Roland. John McHugh, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (NY, McGraw-Hill, 1961).
The related Lammasu (human-headed winged lions—to which the sphinx is similar in appearance), on the other hand, were the most popular winged-creature in Phoenician art.
The Lammasu was originally depicted as having a king's head, a bull's body, and an eagle's wings, but because of the artistic beauty of the wings.
In Isaiah 37:16, Hezekiah prays, addressing Yahweh as "enthroned above the Cherubim" (referring to the mercy seat).
Cherubim feature at some length in the Book of Ezekiel where they first appear in chapter one, when Ezekiel was "by the river Chebar", they are not called cherubim until chapter 10, but he saw "the likeness of four living creatures". (Ezekiel 1:5) Each of them had four faces and four wings, with straight feet with a sole like the sole of a calf's foot, and "hands of a man" under their wings. Each had four faces: the face of a man, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:6-10).
|Sumerian Bull G-d : Anu|
In Ezekiel chapter 10, another full description of the Cherubim appears with slight differences in details. Three of the four faces are the same – man, lion and eagle – but where chapter one has the face of an ox, Ezekiel 10:14 says "face of a cherub". Ezekiel equates the Cherubim of chapter ten with the living creature of chapter one by saying:
"This is the living creature (חיה) that I saw by the river of Chebar", in Ezekiel 10:15, and in Ezekiel 10:20 he says: "This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubim."
Not only that, in fact bulls were set up as golden images of Yahweh in the two rival temples of the ten northern tribes of Israel (1 Ki. 12:28-29). And while it is true that this was scandalous in the eyes of the southern Judeans, who made no molten images of God, it is beyond question that they also carried this bull-god conception in their minds.
Bull G-d was associated with cow G-ddesses a bovine deity called Anath. So, when the old G-d of Canaan, Baal, was dethroned by a new King of heaven, Yahweh, it was natural to some of the Hebrews that Yahweh should acquire the Bull G-s’s wife.
Evidence for this wife-stealing in heaven comes from documents attributed to a Jewish military garrison at Elephantine in Egypt. These old records, written about 500 B.C. at the southern border of Egypt near Syene (Aswan) bear witness to the fact that the soldiers had built for themselves a temple for their G-d, Yahu (Yahweh), and for the goddess Anath-yahu. Thus, they had married Yahweh to Baal’s former wife, the cow goddess of Canaan.
Robert Mascharan !!!