The Throne of God:

What is Under it, What is Opposite it, What is Near it

Meir Bar-Ilan

With the help of sources from legends of the sages as well as Hekhalot literature this article attempts to explain the different prepositions ascribed to the positions of figures near the Throne of Glory,

In the beginning, praise given by rabbis to one who is buried in the Land of Israel 'as if he is buried under the Throne of Glory', is explained as an opinion from the heathen world. The mystic figure of Moses is revealed in a legend that describes Moses as one who dwelt under the Throne of Glory, This legend is compared with other legends of the Sages concerning what is found under the Throne on the one hand, and with ancient Assyrian inscriptions on the other hand.

The legend that describes Metatron as being under the Throne and teaches Torah there to embryos (or babies), reflects, apparently, an old concept according to which the divine presence of a god rests under his throne, an opinion that was accepted by Jews.

The prepositions that were used in connection with the Throne: 'besides', 'opposite' and 'above' the Throne of Glory demonstrate that actually there is no significant difference among them: all of them express a close proximity to God. The figures of Moses, Abraham, Metatron and other figures in the legends, figures that sit near God, were shaped in a similar way, and explain the name of Metatron: '(one who sits) besides the Throne'. A study of the figure of Metatron in connection with the traditions about other angels suggests that we have here a model of the hero figure in conventional literature and it becomes obvious that from this comparison between angels with different names but with similar functions arose the tradition that Metatron has seventy names.

In addition there is a bibligraphy of Metatron.

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last updated: June 6, 1996 - March 3, 2002