Exodus 25:20
And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) The cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high.—The two wings of both cherubs were to be elevated and advanced so as to overshadow the mercy seat, and, as it were, protect it. In the Egyptian figures of Ma, one wing only has this position, the other being depressed and falling behind the figure.

Towards the mercy seat.—Bent downwards, i.e., as though gazing on the mercy seat. (Compare Exodus 37:9).

25:10-22 The ark was a chest, overlaid with gold, in which the two tables of the law were to be kept. These tables are called the testimony; God in them testified his will. This law was a testimony to the Israelites, to direct them in their duty, and would be a testimony against them, if they transgressed. This ark was placed in the holy of holies; the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled, and the incense burned, before it, by the high priest; and above it appeared the visible glory, which was the symbol of the Divine presence. This was a type of Christ in his sinless nature, which saw no corruption, in personal union with his Divine nature, atoning for our sins against it, by his death. The cherubim of gold looked one towards another, and both looked downward toward the ark. It denotes the angels' attendance on the Redeemer, their readiness to do his will, their presence in the assemblies of saints, and their desire to look into the mysteries of the gospel. It was covered with a covering of gold, called the mercy-seat. God is said to dwell, or sit between the cherubim, on the mercy-seat. There he would give his law, and hear supplicants, as a prince on his throne.Even of the mercy seat - See the margin. The sense appears to be that the cherubim and the mercy-seat were to be worked out of one mass of gold. (Compare Exodus 37:7.)18. two cherubim—The real meaning of these figures, as well as the shape or form of them, is not known with certainty—probably similar to what was afterwards introduced into the temple, and described in Eze 10:8-22. They stretched out their wings, and their faces were turned towards the mercy seat [Ex 25:20], probably in a bowing attitude. The prevailing opinion now is, that those splendid figures were symbolical not of angelic but of earthly and human beings—the members of the Church of God interested in the dispensation of grace, the redeemed in every age—and that these hieroglyphic forms symbolized the qualities of the true people of God—courage, patience, intelligence, and activity. Towards God, who is supposed to sit there, whose face the angels in heaven always behold, and upon whom their eyes are fixed to observe and receive his commands; and towards Christ, the true propitiatory, which mystery they desire to look into, 1 Peter 1:12; not envying mankind their near and happy relation to him, but taking pleasure in the contemplation of it. And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high,.... From whence it appears they were in the form of winged creatures, as the seraphim in Isaiah's vision, and the living creatures in those of Ezekiel and John; and their wings did not hang down by them, or on the side of them, but were stretched out upwards towards the heaven above their heads; denoting the readiness, agility, and swiftness of the ministers of the word to do the work and will of Christ, as well as their expectation of all the supplies of gifts and grace from him to enable them to do it:

covering the mercy seat with their wings; which reached each other; though, as Jarchi (q) says, between them and the mercy seat there was a hollow of ten hands' breadth; so high were they stretched upwards, though they met each other:

and their faces shall look one to another; and which is expressive of the harmony, concord, and agreement of the true and faithful ministers of Christ one with another; who all agree in preaching Christ, and him crucified, and in the several momentous and important doctrines of the Gospel:

towards the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be; as before observed, it may denote their directing souls to Christ as the only way of salvation, keeping always in all their ministrations this great truth in view, atonement and satisfaction by the blood and sacrifice of Christ, and salvation alone by him; which they make the rule of their ministry, and from which they never swerve, taking care not to deliver anything contrary to it, or which may serve to cast a veil over it.

(q) T. Bab. Succah, fol. 5. 2. Vid. Gloss. in ib.

And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. shall spread out] Heb. shall be spreading out, describing their permanent condition: the idiom, as Genesis 1:6, and frequently.

with their faces, &c.] These cherubim, unlike those of Ezek. (see above), are pictured therefore as having only one face each. The cherubim in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6:23-28), it is to be noted, differed materially from those here described. Solomon’s cherubim were colossal figures, each ten cubits (15 ft.) high; they were not of gold, but of olive wood, overlaid with gold; they were not upon the ark, nor did they face each other; they stood, one on each side of the ark, facing the entrance to the Holy of holies, and their four outstretched wings, each 5 cubits (7½ ft.) long, extended across from one wall of the Holy of holies to the other.Verse 20. - The cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high. Compare Exodus 37:9. It would seem that the two wings of both cherubs were advanced in front of them, and elevated, so as to overshadow the mercy seat. This was a departure from the patterns furnished by the figures of Ma (see the comment on ver. 18), since in them one wing only was elevated, and the other depressed. It is clear that in no case was any part of the Hebrew sacred furniture a mere reproduction of Egyptian models. Whatever was made use of was so transformed or modified as to acquire a new and independent character. Their faces, etc. The words are not without difficulty; but the generally received meaning appears to be correct that the faces were bent one towards the other, but that both looked downwards, towards the mercy seat. Thus the figures, whether they were standing or kneeling, which is uncertain, presented the appearance of guardian angels, who watched over the precious deposit below - to wit, the two tables. The Ark of the Covenant (cf. Exodus 37:1-9). - They were to make an ark (ארון) of acacia-wood, two cubits and a half long, one and a half broad, and one and a half high, and to plate it with pure gold both within and without. Round about it they were to construct a golden זר, i.e., probably a golden rim, encircling it like an ornamental wreath. They were also to cast four golden rings and fasten them to the four feet (פּעמת walking feet, feet bent as if for walking) of the ark, two on either side; and to cut four poles of acacia-wood and plate them with gold, and put them through the rings for carrying the ark. The poles were to remain in the rings, without moving from them, i.e., without being drawn out, that the bearers might not touch the ark itself (Numbers 4:15).
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