What exactly is the meaning of an "ark" that applies to a boat and that thing that melts off the Nazi's faces in the first Indiana Jones movie?


We need to be careful thinking that our English (or other language) translations always reflect God's Words perfectly. The word 'Ark' when referring to Noah's ark or the ark of bullrushes that Moses was placed into is the hebrew word 'teebah'. The word used for the Ark of the Covenant is 'arown'. I believe that there are similarities between the two as noted in other answers, but the words given are distinct in the Hebrew.

  • Wow! You know, I thought I'd just throw in a random cool definition, and ended learning something really cool. Thanks! – Affable Geek Mar 21 '12 at 1:02
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    I prefer transating "Aron ha-edut" as "crate of the testimony", reserving the word "Ark" for Noah's boat. I think it is somewhat wrong to translate Hebrew words with different connotations into the same English word. – Ron Maimon Mar 21 '12 at 2:20
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    @Ron, I think that the english translators used the same word because there was, in their perception, a lot of similarity. Wish everyone would just learn Greek and Hebrew... – Nate Bunney Mar 21 '12 at 10:50
  • @Affable - :-) Glad I could do that for you. God Bless! – Nate Bunney Mar 21 '12 at 10:50
  • In at least two languages I know the Ark of the Covenant is translated as "crate". – vsz Aug 1 '18 at 20:52

An ark isn't a boat - it is a place of refuge - a container that protects things.

Jews place their Torahs in an "ark" - a special box made to preserve the contents.

The ark of the covenant was a box that protected and preserved the 10 commandments, Aarons rod, and an omer of manna.

More importantly, despite the fact that when you say "ark" most people think "boat," the point of the ark was not that it was seaworthy, but rather that it preserved the lives of the people stored in it.

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    Also there is Mary, called the Ark of the New Covenant by many – kurosch Mar 19 '12 at 23:27
  • And that makes total sense given the meaning. Thanks! – Affable Geek Mar 20 '12 at 0:36
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    The word itself comes from Latin 'arca', meaning the same thing (a chest or box for keeping things safe in). Which I suppose leads to the idea that Noah's Ark may not have been meant to be a boat at all... did he perhaps build it not knowing it would float, maybe preparing for the possibility the waters might cover over it instead? – Muke Tever Mar 20 '12 at 13:22
  • Yup. Ark means "box" not boat. Unfortunately it's described/depicted as a boat in a lot of children's books when it wasn't. – hookenz Nov 5 '13 at 0:05

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