The Hebrew word keruv is transliterated as cherub in most translations. The plural form of keruv is keruvim which is usually transliterated as cherubim. Because cherubim is a plural, the KJV’s use of the plural “s” in cherubims is a redundant plural.
    Excavating the Bible with Jeff A. Benner
About | Newsletter | Store    

Excavating the Bible Newsletter #001

Greetings Excavators:

Jeff A. Benner In this excavation, we will be investigating the word cherubim, which will be a part of my next book, Honey in the Acacia: A Unique Perspective on the Ark of the Covenant. Below, I will be proposing that the cherubim are not "angels," as depicted on every image created for the Ark of the Covenant, but something very different. Bear in mind, that this writing is only a part of the whole, so please, do not pass judgement on my interpretation of the cherubim based on this evidence alone.

Book Project: Honey in the Acacia

Heading: Etymology of Cherubim

“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24, KJV)

The Hebrew word keruv is transliterated as cherub in most translations. The plural form of keruv is keruvim which is usually transliterated as cherubim. Because cherubim is a plural, the KJV’s use of the plural “s” in cherubims is a redundant plural.

It is generally thought that these keruvim are winged, human-like, creatures, or what are often called “angels,” but this is nothing more than an assumption as there is no evidence to support this. However, there is evidence that shows that the keruvim are something entirely different.

Words from one language are frequently adopted by other languages. In the English language we have many such words. Here are a few examples:

Kindergarten (German)
Canyon (Spanish)
Ketchup (Chinese)
Amen (Hebrew)
Tsunami (Japanese)
Angel (Greek)

When a word is carried over into another language, it is not uncommon for some of the consonants to be swapped out with similar sounding consonants. For instance, the French word vair came into the English language as “fur” where the “v,” a labial (a sound made from the lips), was changed to a “f,” another labial. In fact, there are some who believe that Cinderellas glass (verre in French) slippers was a mistranslation of the French word vair and was originally “fur” slippers.

This shift in consonantal sounds is what has come to be known as Grimm’s Law, which was formulated by the German linguist Jacob Grimm (the same Grimm who wrote Grimm’s Fairy Tales with his brother Wilhelm).

The Hebrew word keruv is written with three Hebrew consonants, the kaph (K), resh (R) and beyt (B)— KRB. If we change the “K” to “Ch,” both gutturals and the “B” to “F,” both labials, we can see how keruv became cherub.

Now, if we change the “K” to “G” and the “B” to “F,” we get the Greek word GRiF, the origin of our word “griffin.” It should be noted that many Greek words are derived from Hebrew. For example, the Hebrew word for “assembly” is qahal, which is very similar to the Greek word ekklesia, also meaning an “assembly.”

In the ancient Near East, griffins were depicted as winged lions and sometimes, with the head of an eagle. Griffins were considered the guardians of thrones and treasures. Could the keruvim be griffins? Let’s keep this in mind as we continue our investigation into the Ark of the Covenant.


Jeff A. BennerJeff A. Benner
Excavating the Bible
September 10, 2023
Open in your Web Browser

Newsletter Archives

Please feel free to share this newsletter with interested friends and family.

Would you like to get Mr. Benner's Newsletter in your email?
Join his "Excavating the Bible" mail list!

   © 2023 Jeff A. Benner