Now that we have figured out the meaning of the word "Cherubim", let's move on to the design of these "swords".
But first and foremost, let's examine the type of the "swords" that these "Cherubim" might have represented. This is important both for the design and also for understanding the purpose of such elements in the symbolic framework of the Tabernacle.
From the verses cited in the first part of this post, we will need verse of Gen 3:24, and a few extra verses from the Pentateuch:
Gen 3:24 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.Gen 3:24 וַיְגָ֖רֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן֩ מִקֶּ֨דֶם לְגַן־עֵ֜דֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֗ים וְאֵ֨ת לַ֤הַט הַחֶ֙רֶב֙ הַמִּתְהַפֶּ֔כֶת לִשְׁמֹ֕ר אֶת־דֶּ֖רֶךְ עֵ֥ץ הַֽחַיִּֽים׃
Ex 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.Ex 15:3 יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה יְהוָ֖ה שְׁמֽוֹ׃
Numb 31:6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.Numb 31:6 וַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח אֹתָ֥ם מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶ֥לֶף לַמַּטֶּ֖ה לַצָּבָ֑א אֹ֠תָם וְאֶת־פִּ֨ינְחָ֜ס בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָ֤ר הַכֹּהֵן֙ לַצָּבָ֔א וּכְלֵ֥י הַקֹּ֛דֶשׁ וַחֲצֹצְר֥וֹת הַתְּרוּעָ֖ה בְּיָדֽוֹ׃
From these three verses, you can clearly see that these Swords (Cherubim) represented God's Justice. You should not consider the translation I'm proposing as an indication that God in any way needlessly violent or barbaric.
These Swords were used to keep Adam from the Tree of Lives after he had sinned (as punishment), not to KILL him. Ex. 15:3 tells us that God is at war with the unrighteous and unrighteousness. And the last verse also indicates that the Tabernacle vessels (i.e Ark, Altars e.t.c) were carried into battle to intimidate God's enemies with the light of the Divine Presence.
Lastly I want to say, is that we usually do not say the "Shield of Justice". This is illogical as the victim of a crime can be dead and may not need to be shielded.
On the other hand, we do say the "Sword of Justice", because Justice must AT LEAST punish the guilty party, instead of AT LEAST to protect the victim.
In other words the Justice must always be served and have some kind of result. And since the wicked are not exactly eager to be punished, the SWORD is needed to uphold Justice and Righteousness before the faces of God.
This is why the "Cherubim" are represented by a WEAPON of Justice, (NOT WEAPON of Violence), and NOT by some scary looking yet seemingly defenceless (weak) creatures.
And this is what the actual physical design of these Swords MUST reflect.
Thus, let's take a look at the description of the Lid of the Ark of The Covenant and see what we can come up with. Please note that for convenience an readability reasons, in the translation below the word "Cherub/Cherubim" was replaced with "Sword/Swords".
Ex 25:18 And thou shalt make two swords of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, from the two ends of the mercy seat.
Ex 25:18 וְעָשִׂ֛יתָ שְׁנַ֥יִם כְּרֻבִ֖ים זָהָ֑ב מִקְשָׁה֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה אֹתָ֔ם מִשְּׁנֵ֖י קְצ֥וֹת הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת׃
Ex 25:19 וַ֠עֲשֵׂה כְּר֨וּב אֶחָ֤ד מִקָּצָה֙ מִזֶּ֔ה וּכְרוּב־אֶחָ֥ד מִקָּצָ֖ה מִזֶּ֑ה מִן־הַכַּפֹּ֛רֶת תַּעֲשׂ֥וּ אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֖ים עַל־שְׁנֵ֥י קְצוֹתָֽיו׃
Ex 25:19 And make one sword on the one end, and the other sword on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the swords on the two ends thereof.
Ex 25:20 וְהָי֣וּ הַכְּרֻבִים֩ פֹּרְשֵׂ֨י כְנָפַ֜יִם לְמַ֗עְלָה סֹכְכִ֤ים בְּכַנְפֵיהֶם֙ עַל־הַכַּפֹּ֔רֶת וּפְנֵיהֶ֖ם אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו אֶל־הַכַּפֹּ֔רֶת יִהְי֖וּ פְּנֵ֥י הַכְּרֻבִֽים׃
Ex 25:20 And the swords shall stretch forth their edges on high, covering the mercy seat with their edges, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the swords be.
Ex 25:21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
Ex 25:21 וְנָתַתָּ֧ אֶת־הַכַּפֹּ֛רֶת עַל־הָאָרֹ֖ן מִלְמָ֑עְלָה וְאֶל־הָ֣אָרֹ֔ן תִּתֵּן֙ אֶת־הָ֣עֵדֻ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶתֵּ֖ן אֵלֶֽיךָ׃
Ex 25:22 וְנוֹעַדְתִּ֣י לְךָ֮ שָׁם֒ וְדִבַּרְתִּ֨י אִתְּךָ֜ מֵעַ֣ל הַכַּפֹּ֗רֶת מִבֵּין֙ שְׁנֵ֣י הַכְּרֻבִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־אֲרֹ֣ן הָעֵדֻ֑ת אֵ֣ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֧ר אֲצַוֶּ֛ה אוֹתְךָ֖ אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ פ
Ex 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two swords which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
Of utmost interest to us is the verse of Ex 25:20, as it provides the most crucial details to the understanding of the design of the Swords(Cherubim). This is because this verse talks about the position of the Swords and their orientation in relation to the Mercy Seat. Also, this verse provides us with the hints toward the design of the sword blade itself, which is also very important.
To describe the blade design, the word (כנפים)(edges) is used. In Pentateuch, this word is also used to describe the wings, particularly those of a scavenging bird. Most likely - an Eagle (see Ex 19:4). Here is a photo of an American Bold Eagle with its wings stretched out in a manner that I think description is talking about. This image is from this web site:
There are more pictures there, so follow the link.
As you can see, and frankly - most scavenging birds, feature similar wing design (this is so that they can circle in the air - to glide) and as you can clearly see from this image, their wings are composed of many feathers that form this sort-of a wavy edge. Exactly what the root of our word in question implies - the multitude/many e.t.c. This also suggests that the traditional design of the Cherubim with Wings is not that far from the truth, even though not accurate.
Now, the same verse of Ex 25:20 tells us that their Wings, or in our case - Edges, should point upward. This means that these Swords (Cherubim) were single-edged and not dual-edged. As you can understand, it is impossible to point edges of a dual-edged sword upward, as one edge will always be pointing in opposite direction - downward. So, there you have it, our Sword (Cherub) is of a single-edged design.
Thus, our Swords (Cherubim) have to be single-edged, with a wavy (flamed) blade edge.
Just as an interesting observation, every specific blade design is most suited for a particular task. Here is a very nice diagram, from this wikipedia article, that gives basic idea about different styles of blades:
On the other hand, the diagram on the left does not show the Flamberge - a flame-bladed sword. So on the right you can see one nice #5 (spear-point) with its nice wavy blade.
But since our Sword was single-edged, what we are looking for is a hybrid of mentioned possible blade types and the wavy look of the flame-bladed sword (remember Gen 3:24).
Thus, after playing around with the possible combinations of designs, I have come up with this:
As you can see, the resulting Sword(Cherub) would have single wavy edge and a concave face. The Sword(Cherub) would be in a form of a stretched out and a bit flattened pair of Eagle Wings.
In my next post, I will show you the result of such Sword(Cherub) design, along with updated renderings of the Mercy Seat and the Ark of The Covenant, and even more reasons for the choice of such design that finds affirmation in other verses of the Pentateuch.