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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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chest ( ארון , 'ārōn , גּנזים , genāzı̄m ; κιβωτός , kibōtós ):

(1) The ark of the covenant in Old Testament is invariably denoted by the word 'ārōn , elsewhere rendered the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "chest." See ARK .

(2) 'Ārōn is also the word rendered "coffin" (Genesis 50:26 : "and he was put in a coffin in E."). See COFFIN .

(3) In Kings and Chronicles (2 Kings 12:9 , 2 Kings 12:10 ; 2 Chronicles 24:8 , 2 Chronicles 24:10 , 2 Chronicles 24:11 ) 'ārōn stands uniformly for a money chest. It is the "chest" that Jehoiada, the priest, placed in the court "beside the altar" and "bored a hole in the lid of" that the priests might "put therein all the money that was brought into the house of Yahweh" (2 Kings 12:9 ); and "the chest" that King Joash commanded to be made and set "without at the gate of the house of Yahweh" to receive "the tax that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel" (2 Chronicles 24:8 , 2 Chronicles 24:10 , 2 Chronicles 24:11 ). One feature is common to the thing meant in all these applications - the c. was rectangular in shape, and, most probably in every instance, made of wood.

(4) Josephus (Ant. , VI, 1, 2) uses the equivalent of the word to denote the "coffer" (1 Samuel 6:8 English Versions), or small chest, in which the princes of Philistia deposited the gold mice.

(5) In New Testament times the "chests" that were provided in the court of the women, in the temple of Herod, to receive the various kinds of money gifts had the exceptional shape of a trumpet (if Sheḳālı̄m , vi.5 may be trusted) - wide at the bottom and gradually narrowing toward the top, hence, called שׁופרות , shōphārōth ̌ . It was into these that the Master was watching the multitude casting in their money when He saw the poor widow cast in her two mites (Mark 12:41 , Mark 12:42 ).

(6) In Ezekiel 27:24 , where the prophet is giving an inventory of the merchandise of Tyre, another word entirely is used (genāzı̄m ), and it is rendered in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "chests" ("chests of rich apparel, bound with cords and made of cedar"). According to Cornill, Davidson, Smend and others this rendering is without sufficient support (see Smith, Dictionary of the Bible and commentary in the place cited.).

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Chest'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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