Shekinah (alternative transliterations Shechinah, Shekhina, Shechina) is the English spelling of the Hebrew language word that means the glory or radiance of God, or God resting in his house or Tabernacle amongst his people. It is derived from the Hebrew verb 'sakan' - to dwell. (The Greek word 'skene' - dwelling - is thought to be derived from 'shekinah' and 'sakan'.) The term is not used in either the Old or New Testaments, but both are full of references to God coming in glory.
The Shekinah is held by many to represent the feminine attributes of the presence of God.
The nearest Christian concept to the Shekinah is that of the Holy Spirit.
The public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, published in 1897, says:
- shechinah a Chaldee word meaning resting-place, not found in Scripture, but used by the later Jews to designate the visible symbol of God's presence in the tabernacle, and afterwards in Solomon's temple. When the Lord led Israel out of Egypt, he went before them "in a pillar of a cloud." This was the symbol of his presence with his people. For references made to it during the wilderness wanderings, see Ex. 14:20; 40:34-38; Lev. 9:23, 24; Num. 14:10; 16:19, 42. It is probable that after the entrance into Canaan this glory-cloud settled in the tabernacle upon the ark of the covenant in the most holy place. We have, however, no special reference to it till the consecration of the temple by Solomon, when it filled the whole house with its glory, so that the priests could not stand to minister (1 Kings 8:10-13; 2 Chr. 5:13, 14; 7:1-3). Probably it remained in the first temple in the holy of holies as the symbol of Jehovah's presence so long as that temple stood. It afterwards disappeared.