Trivia question! What do Noah and Moses have in common?
A tebah, it is pronounced tay-baw. It means, “box” and it is # 8392 in the Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary in the Strong’s Concordance. The King James translates this word into ark. Noah and Moses are the only two people in the Bible to have a tebah.
Moses’ mother, Jochebed (Exodus 6:20), used slime, you gotta love King James, (chemar, #2564 – bitumen) in Exodus 2:3 to coat his ark (tebah.) Chemar is used in two other scriptures: Genesis 11:3 (Tower of Babel) and Genesis 14:10 (Valley of Sodom). Jochebed also used pitch (zepheth, #2203 – asphalt because it softens or liquifies in the sun). The other two uses of zepheth are in Isaiah 34:9 where it foretells that Edom’s streams will be burning zepheth.
Noah had pitch (kopher, # 3724) to coat his ark, both inside and out (Genesis 6:14). This is the only place where kopher is used as that type of covering; the majority of its translations are our word ransom. In Exodus 30:12 every Israelite in the census who “crosses over” is to redeem himself with a “half-shekel” or about 6 grams of money (It does not say if it was gold, silver, or copper.) It was collected to service the Tent of Meeting. In Isaiah 43:3 it is also used as the word ransom but here the “Savior of Israel” says He gave Egypt as your kopher.
I know what you are about to say, “What about the ark of the covenant?” It is aron and it also means box and is translated ark, chest, and coffin (#727 in Strong’s). The origin of this word carries the idea of “gathering.” Joseph was buried in an aron (Genesis 50:26) and Jehoiada the High Priest with Joash (2 Kings 12:9) made an aron to collect money to rebuild the Temple.
- I am sure that Noah and Moses’ tebah were rather plain and very functional whereas the aron’s were very fancy and well decorated.
- It is a beautiful picture that Noah’s ark was coated in redemption, inside and out.
- I am not sure what to think about the fact that the coating on Moses’ basket is associated with a sinful place (Sodom), judgment (Edom), and a structure built to glorify man over God (Babel).
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