Kavod vs Shekina
Kavod, as mentioned in the Old testament means ‘glory of the Lord’ or ‘praise be to the Lord’ so it is a way of witnessing his beauty and radiance. Repeated about 34 times in the old testament. It has also been mentioned as being related to something heavy, both physically and figuratively. Taking for example, Exod 17:12 (Moses’ hands were heavy). So in essence, the word means someting that is weighty or heavy and that which glorifies the Lord. In Psalm 3:3 the kavod of God is used to refer to his shield and in Job 29:20 Job’s kavod is paralleled with his bow. The original meaning of kavod is battle armaments. This meaning of “armament” is connected to the literal meaning of the root of word of kavod which is “heavy” as armaments are heavy.
Where Kavod does essentially mean glory of the God. It does hold several different meanings that include; wealth- such as in the very first use of the word in the bible (Gen. 31:1), reputation (Gen 45:13) , quantity or splendor. In fact, all these words compliment the root meaning ‘glory’ or dignity.
Shekinah on the other hand means ‘Pride’ and is commonly associated with humans. Where this meaning of shekinah is concerne, shekina refers to the pride of the human while kavod refers to the glory or pride of the Lord.However, this meaning of shekinah is not as commonly used as the meaning ‘dwelling place’. The verb form of the word shekinah, i.e shachan has been mentioned once in the Bible. The word shakan(shachan), means ‘dwelling place’, to ‘settle, dwell, or inhabit’. In exodus 25: 8 and 9
Construct a tabernacle for me, that I may dwell(shakan) among them. As such, it can be said that ‘shekina’ has been derived from the word shakan or shachan. Shekinah (alternative transliterations Shechinah, Shekhina, Shechina) is the English spelling of the Hebrew word that means the glory or radiance of God, or God resting in his house or Tabernacle amongst his people. The word itself was coined by rabbis and is most often used in rabbinical judaism. It is an occultic term which unlike Kavod, has not been mentioned in the bible.
Shekinah, having the feminine ring to it as it does, is also the name of a diety. The Sabbath and Kabbala beliefs both centre around Shekinah. According to Rabbinical Judaism, shekinah represents god’s nearness to man and inspite of the grammatically feminine nature of the name Shekinah is not taken as a diety separate from god. It represents the feminine spirit of God and glory. Basically, kavod is an attribute of God where as shekinah is the embodiment of all the attributes of god.
Finally, kavod and shekina differ in one other aspect as well. Kavod or Kabod can either be seen or unseen. God showed his (kavod) glory to Moses in the wilderness, in the clouds, in the pillar of fire and on Mount Sinai. But shekinah is the physical emodiment of god. Jesus is believed to be the shekinah or the ‘flesh’ of god or his dwelling place. Therefore, shekinah, unlike kavod, is always seen. Jesus who appeared as the shekinah of God, left behind his Kabod in the heavens. So it can be said that Shekinah can exist without Kabod but not the other way round.