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?


2 Answers 2


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! Mar 21, 2012 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, 2012 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... Mar 21, 2012 at 10:50
  • @Affable - :-) Glad I could do that for you. God Bless! Mar 21, 2012 at 10:50
  • In at least two languages I know the Ark of the Covenant is translated as "crate".
    – vsz
    Aug 1, 2018 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, 2012 at 23:27
  • And that makes total sense given the meaning. Thanks! Mar 20, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2013 at 0:05

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