In studying the history of the beginnings of the Jewish religion as presented in the Old Testament, one cannot help but notice the importance placed upon the most sacred of furnishings contained within the tabernacle or temple, the 'Holiest of Holies,' and that is the ark of the Covenant of the Lord. The journey of this special representation of deity, began from the wilderness of Sinai behind a tent curtain, later to be hoisted upon the shoulders of the Levites as the children of Israel cross the Jordan River to enter the land of promise. The ark of God stays at Bethel in Shiloh until the Philistines take it as a prize in battle for defeating the Israelites and return with it to Ashdod and place it in the temple of their god, Dagon.
The God of Israel punishes the Philistines and they place it on an ox cart with the proper sacrifices to atone for their deeds. The ark of the Lord is returned back to the territory of the land of Israel but it eventually ends up to dwell permanently in the land of Judah where King Solomon finally completes his father David's heartfelt desire to build the Lord's house where the ark will be placed within. Solomon does indeed finish building and dedicating the temple with the Ark of the Covenant and all the holy furnishings (Cp. I Kings 5 and II Chronicles 5). This is the last time that the ark is mentioned in Holy Writ except in the book of Revelation (Cp. Revelation 11: 19).
Exodus 25: 8, 10, 16, 21b
"And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them." And they shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long (3. 75 feet) and one and a half cubits wide (2. 25 feet), and one and a half cubits high [2. 25 feet]." "And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you."
"And you shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark. "And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, and from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony; I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.
He took the Testimony and put it into the ark, inserted the poles through the rings of the ark, and put the mercy seat on top of the ark.
Deuteronomy 10: 1-5
"At that time the Lord said to me, 'Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood for yourself. 'And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the ark.' "So I made an ark of acacia wood (NOTE: actually,'Bezalel' made it; Cp. Exodus 35: 30, 31, 37: 1??) and cut out two tablets of stone like the former ones, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. "And he wrote on the tablets, like the former writing, the Ten Commandments which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. "Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, as the Lord had commanded me."
So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and to all the elders of Israel.
Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, "Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you.
Joshua 7: 6
The ark of the covenant of the Lord.
4: 3, 10
The ark of the covenant was at Shiloh and the Philistines defeated Israel and took the ark of God.
The Philistines took the ark [of the Covenant] from Ebenezer (territory of Benjamin and the land of Judah) and brought it to Ashdod, placing it in the house of Dagon.
Even as far as the large stone of Abel on which they sat the ark of the Lord, which stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
The Levites took down the ark of the Lord. Some of the men of Beth-Shemesh (territory and tribe of Judah) looked into the ark of the Lord and He struck down 50, 070 men of the people.
NOTE: This is like what happened to those Nazi soldiers and other government officials from Germany in the "Indiana Jones" movie.
In Kiriath-jaarim ("Hebron;" tribe of 'Dan' in Judea??) the ark was brought to the house of Abinadab on the hill, and his son Eleazar was consecrated to keep the ark of the Lord.
14: 3, 18
And Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli (Cp. I Samuel 1: 3), the priest of the Lord at Shiloh. . . Then Saul said to Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God here [Gibneah of Benjamin]." For the ark of God was at that time with the sons of Israel [at 'Shiloh'??].
II Samuel 6: 2-3a, 11a, 12a
And David arose and went with all the people from Baale Judah ("Kiriath-jearim") to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the Lord of Hosts (YHVH Sabaoth), who dwells between the cherubim. So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the city of David with gladness. (Cp. I Chronicles 13: 1-14; 15-16)
The king [David] said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark [of God] dwells inside tent curtains."
I Kings 8: 1, 3-4, 9 (Cp. II Chronicles 5: 1-14)
Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the City of David, which is Zion. So all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. Then they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up. Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
36: 7, 10a, 17-19
Nebuchadnezzar also carried off some of the articles from the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar summoned him ['Jehoiachin'] and took him to Babylon, with the costly articles from the house of the Lord [which ones??]. . . Therefore, He ["God'] brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on the young man or virgin, on the aged or on the weak; He gave them all into his hand. And all the articles from the house of God, great and small (Cp. v. 7; Daniel 1: 1-2??), and the treasures of the king and his leaders, these entire he took to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions.
NOTE: There is no mention of the ark of the Covenant, the Mercy seat with the golden cherubim, the Table of Showbread, the golden Lamp stand, the Altar of Incense or other precious items of having been taken to Babylon.
Ezra 1: 7, 11a
King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred.
NOTE: When the Philistines captured the ark of God and placed it in the temple of their god 'Dagon,' the people were plagued to such an extent that they were compelled to return it with an appropriate offering of golden tumors (??) to appease the wrath of the Lord; but such is not the case with God punishing the Babylonians and Chaldeans because at this time God used these nations to chastise rebellious Israel and Judah.
Finally, there is the curious passage in Jeremiah 3: 16, which states, "Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days, "says the Lord, 'that they shall say no more 'the ark of the covenant of the Lord,' It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore."
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