From BiblePortal Wikipedia
Revision as of 08:20, 15 October 2021 by BiblePortalWiki (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

SHEKINAH ( Heb. שְׁכִינָה ‘that which dwells’ or ‘resides,’ the ‘dwelling’).—This term, together with ‘the Glory’ (יְקָרָא) and ‘the Word’ or ‘Memra’ (מֵימַר, מֵימְרָא), is used in the Targums as an indirect expression in place of ‘God.’ It denotes God’s visible presence or glorious manifestation which ‘dwells’ among men: the localized presence of the Deity. See art. ‘Shekinah’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible. In the NT the term Shekinah appears in more than one Greek form. The invisible Shekinah is also alluded to, as well as the visible. The visible Shekinah, though distinct from ‘the glory,’ was associated in the closest way with the Divine ‘glory.’ It was conceived of as the centre and source from which the glory radiated. In the NT this ‘Shekinah-glory’ is several times denoted by δόξα. The classical passage is  Romans 9:4, where St. Paul, enumerating the list of Israel’s privileges, says: ‘whose is the adoption, and the glory ,’ i.e. the Shekinahglory, ‘the visible presence of God among His people’ (cf. also  Acts 7:2 where St. Stephen speaks of ‘the God of glory,’ i.e. the God whose visible presence, manifested in the Shekinah, had sanctified Jerusalem and the Temple). In the Gospels this ‘glory’ is referred to in  Luke 2:9 ‘the glory of the Lord (δόξα κυρίου) shone round about them.’ There is also an obvious allusion to the Shekinah in the description of the theophanic cloud of the transfiguration-narrative ( Matthew 17:5 ‘a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud, saying,’ etc.; cf.  Mark 9:7,  Luke 9:34 f.). Here the same verb (ἐπισκιάζω) is used as in the LXX Septuagint of  Exodus 40:34-35 of the cloud which rested on the Tabernacle when it was filled with the ‘glory of the Lord,’ which in the Targum (pseudo-Jonathan) becomes the ‘glory of the Shekinah of the Lord.’ The ‘voice out of the cloud’ is also, doubtless, the voice of the Shekinah; cf.  2 Peter 1:17 where, in reference to the transfiguration, a ‘voice’ uttered by ‘the excellent glory’ ( i.e. the Shekinah-glory) is spoken of.* [Note: Similarly in the Jerus. Targum to  Genesis 28:13 the glory of J″ says, ‘I am the God of Abraham’ (Marshall in Hastings’ DB, loc. cit.).] In  Hebrews 9:5 ‘the cherubim of glory’ must be explained in the same way, as meaning the cherubim on which the Shekinah was enthroned.

In three NT passages (all having reference to Christ)† [Note: See Marshall, ib.] an allusion to the Shekinah is probable, though disputed, viz. ( a )  Romans 6:4 ‘Christ was raised from the dead by means of (δοά) the glory of the Father.’ Here ‘glory’ prob. = the Shekinah-glory rather than ‘glorious power’ (cf. the Midrash Rabbe to  Genesis 44:8, in which the Shekinah is said to release the bound in Sheol);‡ [Note: A similar idea may be implied in the words ascribed to our Lord in  John 11:40, where, with reference to the release of Lazarus from the grave, Jesus says to Martha: ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God?’] ( b )  1 Peter 4:14 ‘the (Spirit) of glory and the Spirit of God’ (τὸ τῆς δόξης καὶ τὸ τοῦ θιοῦ πνεῦμα). Here ‘glory’ may = Shekinah, which is identified with Christ. This identification may be seen more clearly, perhaps, in ( c )  James 2:1 τὴν κίστιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῆς δόξης, which not improbably = ‘the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shekinah ’ (Mayor). For further doubtful reff. in the NT, see below.

There can be no doubt that the word σκηνή, ‘tabernacle’ (and its verb σκηνοῦν, ‘to tabernacle’), has been chosen for use in  John 1:14 and  Revelation 21:3 from its likeness both in sound and meaning to the word Shekinah, and conveys a direct allusion to the latter. The Revelation passage runs: ‘Behold the tabernacle (σκηνή) of God is with men, and he will tabernacle (σκηνώσει) with them.’ In  John 1:14 ‘The Word (Logos) … tabernacled (ἐσκήνωσεν) among us, and we beheld his glory ,’ etc., all the three Hebrew terms, Memra (מֵימְרָא = ὁ λόγος), Shekinah , and Yekara (δόξα = יְק֖רָא) are represented. ‘All the three entities became incarnate in Jesus.’* [Note: Dalman, Words of Jesus, p. 231. To these should be added the great passage in  Hebrews 1:3, where the Son is said to be the ‘effulgence of the glory,’ i.e. of the Shekinah-glory as ‘the manifested Deity.’]

The identification of Jesus with the Shekinah has already been referred to above in connexion with  1 Peter 4:14 and  James 2:1. Another example where the same idea may be implicit is  Matthew 18:20 ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’; compare with this Pirke Aboth iii. 5: ‘Two that sit together and are occupied with words of Torah, have the Shekinah among them.’ Cf. also  2 Corinthians 4:6 ‘God that said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is he who shone in our hearts for the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in face of Jesus Christ .’ The last phrase may = the glory of God made manifest in the presence of Jesus Christ, i.e. Jesus is the Shekinah of God. Shekinah in these connexions is practically = Immanuel (‘God with us’).

Other passages worth examination in this connexion are  Ephesians 1:17 (the remarkable phrase ‘the Father of the glory’ [ὁ τατὴρ τῆς δόξης] =? ‘the father of the Shekinah’ (incarnate in Jesus)’),  Luke 2:32 (‘the glory of thy people Israel’). Cf. also  1 Corinthians 2:8 (Jesus ‘Lord of glory’). The representation of man as a temple in which God dwells (cf.  2 Corinthians 6:16 ‘we are a temple of the living God,’  John 14:23 ‘we will come … and make our abode with him’) was probably suggested by the Shekinah-idea, which may also have influenced the language applied to Christ in  Colossians 2:9 (‘for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’).

In the identification of the Shekinah and cognate conceptions with the incarnate Christ, ‘a use is made of these ideas,’ as Dalman says, ‘which is at variance with their primary application.’ It marks a specifically Christian development, though the way had certainly been prepared by hypostatizing tendencies.

Literature.—Weber, Jüd. Theol .2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] esp. pp. 185–190; Gfrôrer, Das Jahrhundert des Heils , i. esp. p. 301 ff.; Langen, Judenthum zur Zeit Christi , 201 ff.; art. ‘Shekinah’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible and in JE [Note: E Jewish Encyclopedia.] ; the Lexicons, s.v. שכינה (Buxtorf, Levy, Jastrow, Kohut); Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , p. 43; the Comm. on Ep. of St. James by Mayor and Knowling (on  James 2:1).

G. H. Box.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

SHEKINAH (from Heb. shâkan ‘to dwell,’ meaning ‘dwelling’ [abstract], or ‘that which dwells’). The word is not found in OT, but occurs often in other Jewish literature, always of God. The OT, particularly in certain of its writings, uses ‘anthropomorphisms’ freely, e.g. it speaks of God dwelling in a place or being seen. Later thought objected to this, as materializing the Divine nature; hence in the Targums (Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] paraphrases of the OT used, though not in their present form, by the 1st cent. a.d.) various devices were adopted to prevent popular misunderstandings. Periphrases were used for the Divine name, ‘the Word’ ( Memra ), ‘Spirit,’ or’ ‘Wisdom’ being substituted. One of the most important of these was the ‘Shekinah.’ ‘God dwells’ usually became ‘the Shekinah rests’; ‘the temple of God’ became ‘the house of the S.’ (note the Tabernacle was the mishkân , from the same root).   Genesis 28:18 becomes ‘the glory of the S. of J″ [Note: Jahweh.] is in this place’;   Isaiah 6:5 ‘my eyes have seen the glory of the S. of the King of the world.’ God’s hiding His face is the removal of the S. Now the presence of God (especially in P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] and related writings) was often manifested by a fiery appearance, or a light in a cloud. It was so in nature (  Psalms 18:10 ), on Sinai (  Exodus 24:16 ), in the wilderness and in the Tabernacle (  Exodus 16:7;   Exodus 29:43;   Exodus 40:34 ,   Numbers 14:10 ), in the Temple (  1 Kings 8:11 ); cf.   Ezekiel 1:28 etc. This glory was not God, but an effluence from Him, or from His Shekinah. For the S. was not ‘the glory,’ as is usually imagined, but the source and centre of it. It is a stage nearer to God Himself, and, though often used in connexion with the physical manifestation, represents an invisible and universal presence. E.g. it is the source of inspiration. Eli failed to recognize Hannah’s condition, because it had left him. It was present where three were gathered to administer justice. According to some. it was inseparable from Israel, still hovering over the west wall of the Temple. But it was commonly taught that it had always been absent from the second Temple, as had been ‘the glory’ (cf.   Ezekiel 11:23;   Ezekiel 43:2 ); or again, that on the successive sins of Adam and his descendants it had been withdrawn from earth to the first heaven, and finally to the seventh. The conception, in fact, varied. It was disputed whether it was an entity distinct from God, or only the essence of God as manifested. Though at first regarded as impersonal and passive, as distinct from the Memra, the agent of creation, in the Talmud it becomes active and takes the place of the latter. The tendency to personification is significant. Insisting one-sidedly on the transcendence or aloofness of God, the Jew had to bring Him to earth again by such mediatorial agencies, which were semi-personal and Divine, but not God, and by the development of an elaborate angelology. In the NT the word ‘ glory ’ seems often to refer to the Shekinah (cf. Eth. Enoch ‘Lord of glory,’ and ‘the Great Glory,’ as titles of God).   Romans 9:4 speaks of ‘the glory’ as a Jewish privilege;   Hebrews 9:5 of ‘the cherubim of glory.’ It was believed that the Shekinah would return with the Messiah; ‘the glory of the Lord shall he seen and the cloud’ ( 2M  Malachi 2:8 ). ( a ) It is connected with Christ (  Luke 2:9 ,   Matthew 17:5; cf.   2 Peter 1:17 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] , where the Shekinah is personified). In   1 Peter 4:14 ‘the spirit of glory’ rests upon Christ, as upon the Tabernacle; in He is He is ‘the effulgence of the glory’; in   James 1:3 He is apparently called ‘the Shekinah.’ Of special significance is   John 1:14 , which combines the expressions ‘glory’ and ‘tabernacle’ (Gr. skçnoun , probably intentionally chosen to represent ‘Shekinah,’ as in   Revelation 21:3 ). It connects the personal presence of God in Christ with the earlier presence in the Tabernacle; what was formerly symbol is now manifest ‘in flesh.’ The vagueness of the Jewish conception gives place to the definite presence of the personal Christ. Cf. with   Matthew 18:20 and   1 Corinthians 11:11 , sayings such as ‘when two sit together and are occupied with the words of the Law, the Shekinah is with them,’ or ‘the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man, nor both of them without the Shekinah.’ ( b ) It is connected with the Christian. The first of the six things lost by Adam was ‘the glory,’ i.e. the reflexion upon him of the Divine glory, or perfection. Of this we fall short (  Romans 3:23 ), but it is in process of being recovered by the Christian (  Romans 5:2;   Romans 8:18;   Romans 8:30 ,   2 Corinthians 3:18;   2 Corinthians 4:6; cf.   2 Corinthians 2 Es 7:97, 98).

C. W. Emmet.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

The Hebrew word transliterated ‘Shekinah’ refers to the glory of God that symbolizes his presence. The word is not found in the Old Testament, but was introduced into the Jewish religious vocabulary by rabbis of a later era.

These rabbis spoke of the Shekinah in order to encourage Israelites to have a higher idea of God. They wanted people to think of him as a dazzling light or a shining presence, rather than as a human-like figure with physical features such as hands, arms, eyes, mouth and the like. The Shekinah became particularly associated with God’s symbolic presence in the tabernacle and later the temple ( Exodus 40:34-35;  1 Kings 8:11;  Ezekiel 44:4). It also referred to other displays of God’s glory or to the reality of his presence among his people ( Numbers 14:10;  Numbers 14:22;  Isaiah 60:1-2; see also Glory ).

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(n.) The visible majesty of the Divine Presence, especially when resting or dwelling between the cherubim on the mercy seat, in the Tabernacle, or in the Temple of Solomon; - a term used in the Targums and by the later Jews, and adopted by Christians.

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]


Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [6]

Shekinah or Shechinah, A term applied by the ancient Jews, especially in the Chaldee Targums, to that visible symbol of the divine glory which dwelt in the tabernacle and temple. It is evident from many passages of Scripture that the Most High, whose essence no man hath seen, or can see, was pleased anciently to manifest himself to the eyes of men by an external visible symbol. As to the precise nature of the phenomenon thus exhibited, we can only say, that it appears to have been a concentrated glowing brightness, a preternatural splendor, an effulgent something, which was appropriately expressed by the term 'Glory;' but whether in philosophical strictness it was material or immaterial, it is probably impossible to determine. A luminous object of this description seems intrinsically the most appropriate symbol of that Being of whom, perhaps in allusion to this very mode of manifestation, it is said that 'he is light,' and that 'he dwelleth in light unapproachable, and full of glory.' The presence of such a sensible representation of Jehovah seems to be absolutely necessary in order to harmonize what is frequently said of 'seeing God' with the truth of his nature as an incorporeal and essentially invisible spirit. While we are told in one place that 'no man hath seen God at any time,' we are elsewhere informed that Moses and Aaron, and the seventy elders, 'saw the God of Israel,' when called up to the summit of the Holy Mount. So also Isaiah says of himself that 'in the year that King Uzziah died he saw the Lord sitting upon His throne,' and that, in consequence, he cried out, 'I am undone; for mine eyes have seen the Lord of hosts.' In these cases it is obvious that the object seen was not God in His essence, but some external visible symbol, which, because it stood for God, is called by His name.

Of all the divine appearances granted in the earlier ages of the world, the most signal and illustrious was undoubtedly that which was vouchsafed in the pillar of cloud that guided the march of the children of Israel through the wilderness on their way to Canaan. There can be little doubt that the columnar cloud was the seat of the shekinah. Within the towering aerial mass, we suppose, was enfolded the inner effulgent brightness, to which the appellation 'Glory of the Lord' more properly belonged, and which was only occasionally disclosed. In several instances in which God would indicate His anger to His people, it is said that they looked to the cloud and beheld the 'Glory of the Lord' (;; ). So when he would inspire a trembling awe of his Majesty at the giving of the Law, it is said, the 'Glory of the Lord appeared as a devouring fire' on the summit of the mount. Nor must the fact be forgotten in this connection, that when Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, offended by strange fire in their offerings, a fatal flash from the cloudy pillar instantaneously extinguished their lives. The evidence would seem then to be conclusive, that this wondrous pillar-cloud was the seat or throne of the shekinah, the visible representative of Jehovah dwelling in the midst of His people.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

shḗ - kı̄´na ( שׁכינה , shekhı̄nah , "that which dwells," from the verb שׁכן , shākhēn , or שׁכן , shākhan , "to dwell," "reside"): This word is not found in the Bible, but there are allusions to it in   Isaiah 60:2;  Matthew 17:5;  Luke 2:9;  Romans 9:4 . It is first found in the Targums. See Glory .