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The Ark of the Covenant (
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
: ; grc-x-koine, Κιβωτός της Διαθήκης, Kībōtós tis Diathíkis) also known as the Ark of the Testimony, and in a few verses across various translations of the Bible as the Ark of God, is a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in the
Book of Exodus The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Starting with the deliverance of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus), Pharaoh's daughter, it recounts the revelation at the Burning bush where he was called by Yahweh ...
as containing the two
stone tablets According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a ...

stone tablets
of the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. " ...

Ten Commandments
. According to
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
Book of Hebrews The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews (Πρὸς Ἑβραίους) is one of the books of the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Translite ...
, it also contained
Aaron's rod Aaron's rod refers to any of the staves carried by Moses's brother, Aaron, in the Torah. The Bible tells how, along with Staff of Moses, Moses's rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt that preceded the The ...
and a pot of
manna Manna ( he, מָן ''mān'', ; ar, اَلْمَنُّ), sometimes or archaically spelled mana is, according to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or ...

manna
. The biblical account relates that, approximately one year after the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
'
exodus from Egypt The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

exodus from Egypt
, the Ark was created according to the pattern given to
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
by God when the Israelites were encamped at the foot of
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...
. Thereafter, the gold-plated
acacia ''Acacia'', commonly known as the wattles or acacias, is a large of shrubs and trees in the subfamily of the pea family . Initially, it comprised a group of plant species native to Africa and Australasia, but it has now been limited to conta ...
chest was carried by its staves by the
Levite A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations ...
s approximately 2,000
cubit The cubit was an ancient unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in a theatrical ...
s (approximately ) in advance of the people when on the march or before the Israelite army, the host of fighting men. When carried, the Ark was always hidden under a large veil made of skins and purple cloth, always carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the
priests A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particu ...
and the Levites who carried it. God was said to have spoken with Moses "from between the two
cherub A cherub (; plural cherubim; he, כְּרוּב ''kərūḇ'', pl. ''kərūḇīm'', likely borrowed from a derived form of akk, 𒅗𒊒𒁍 ''karābu'' "to bless" such as kāribu "one who blesses", a name for the lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu ...

cherub
im" on the Ark's cover. When at rest, the
Tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and som ...

Tabernacle
was set up and the holy Ark placed in it, under the veil of the covering, the staves of it crossing the middle side bars to hold it up off the ground.


Biblical account


Construction and description

According to the
Book of Exodus The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Starting with the deliverance of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus), Pharaoh's daughter, it recounts the revelation at the Burning bush where he was called by Yahweh ...
, God instructed
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
to build the Ark during his 40-day stay upon
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...

Mount Sinai
. He was shown the pattern for the tabernacle and furnishings of the Ark, and told that it would be made of shittim wood to house the
Tablets of Stone According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a ...

Tablets of Stone
. Moses instructed
Bezalel In Exodus 31:1-6 and chapters 36 to 39, Bezalel, Bezaleel, or Betzalel ( he, בְּצַלְאֵל, ''Bəṣalʼēl''), was the chief artisan of the Tabernacle and was in charge of building the Ark of the Covenant, assisted by Aholiab. The sect ...

Bezalel
and Aholiab to construct the Ark. The Book of Exodus gives detailed instructions on how the Ark is to be constructed. It is to be 2
cubit The cubit was an ancient unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in a theatrical ...
s in length, 1 in breadth, and 1 in height (approximately ). Then it is to be gilded entirely with
gold Gold is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numb ...

gold
, and a crown or molding of gold is to be put around it. Four rings of gold are to be attached to its four corners, two on each side—and through these rings staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold for carrying the Ark are to be inserted; and these are not to be removed. A golden lid, the '' kapporet'' (translated as "mercy seat" or "cover"), which is ornamented with two golden
cherub A cherub (; plural cherubim; he, כְּרוּב ''kərūḇ'', pl. ''kərūḇīm'', likely borrowed from a derived form of akk, 𒅗𒊒𒁍 ''karābu'' "to bless" such as kāribu "one who blesses", a name for the lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu ...

cherub
im, is to be placed above the Ark. Missing from the account are instructions concerning the thickness of the mercy seat and details about the cherubim other than that the cover be beaten out the ends of the Ark and that they form the space where God will appear. The Ark is finally to be placed under a veil to conceal it.


Mobile vanguard

The biblical account continues that, after its creation by Moses, the Ark was carried by the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. Whenever the Israelites camped, the Ark was placed in a separate room in a sacred
tent A tent () is a consisting of sheets of or other material draped over, attached to a frame of poles or attached to a supporting . While smaller tents may be free-standing or attached to the ground, large tents are usually anchored using tied t ...

tent
, called the
Tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and som ...

Tabernacle
. When the Israelites, led by
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
toward the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:litter ...
, arrived at the banks of the
River Jordan ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

River Jordan
, the Ark was carried in the lead, preceding the people, and was the signal for their advance. During the crossing, the river grew dry as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark touched its waters, and remained so until the priests—with the Ark—left the river after the people had passed over. As memorials, twelve stones were taken from the Jordan at the place where the priests had stood. During the Battle of Jericho, the Ark was carried around the city once a day for six days, preceded by the armed men and seven priests sounding seven
trumpets of rams' horns
trumpets of rams' horns
. On the seventh day, the seven priests sounding the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Ark compassed the city seven times and, with a great shout, Jericho's wall fell down flat and the people took the city. After the defeat at Ai, Joshua lamented before the Ark. When Joshua read the Law to the people between
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew Samaritan Hebrew () is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans The Samaritans (; Samaritan Hebrew: , ' (, 'Guardians/Keepers/Watchers (of the Torah)'); he, שומרונים, ''Shomronim'' ...
and
Mount Ebal Mount Ebal ( ar, جبل عيبال ''Jabal ‘Aybāl''; he, הר עיבל ''Har ‘Eival'') is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the city of Nablus in the West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, ...
, they stood on each side of the Ark. We next hear of the Ark in
Bethel Bethel (Ugaritic Ugaritic () is an extinct , classified by some as a of the and so the only known Amorite dialect preserved in writing. It is known through the discovered by French in 1929 at , including several major literary texts, n ...

Bethel
, where it was being cared for by the priest
Phineas
Phineas
, the grandson of
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...

Aaron
. According to this verse, it was consulted by the people of Israel when they were planning to attack the Benjaminites at the
Battle of Gibeah The episode of the Levite's concubine is a biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others ...
. Later the Ark was kept at Shiloh, another religious centre some north of Bethel, at the time of the prophet
Samuel Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl''; ar, إِشْمَوِيل ' or '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the , plays a key role in the transition from the period of the to the institution of a under ...

Samuel
's apprenticeship, where it was cared for by
Hophni and Phinehas Hophni () and Phinehas or Phineas () were the two sons of Eli. The first book of Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew langu ...
, two sons of
Eli Eli most commonly refers to: * Eli (name) Eli as a name can have two different meanings, both originating in the Hebrew Bible. Eli can be a masculine given name of Hebrew language, Hebrew origin, from Biblical "ascent", spelled with the Hebrew ...
.


Capture by the Philistines

According to the biblical narrative, a few years later the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark out onto the battlefield to assist them against the
Philistines The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of th ...
, having recently been defeated at the battle of
Eben-Ezer Eben-Ezer (, ''’eḇen hā-‘ezer'', "the stone of help") is a location that is mentioned by the Books of Samuel as the scene of battles between the Israelites and Philistines. It is specified as having been less than a day's journey by foot ...
. They were again heavily defeated, with the loss of 30,000 men. The Ark was captured by the Philistines and Hophni and Phinehas were killed. The news of its capture was at once taken to Shiloh by a messenger "with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head". The old priest, Eli, fell dead when he heard it; and his daughter-in-law, bearing a son at the time the news of the Ark's capture was received, named him
Ichabod Ichabod ( he, אִיכָבוֹד ''ʼīyḵāḇōḏ'', – ''without glory'', or "''where is the glory?''") is mentioned in the first Book of Samuel as the son of Hophni and Phinehas, Phinehas, a malicious priest at the biblical shrine of Shiloh ...
—explained as "The glory has departed Israel" in reference to the loss of the Ark. Ichabod's mother died at his birth. The Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country, and at each place misfortune befell them. At
Ashdod Ashdod ( he, ; ar, أشدود) is the sixth-largest city and the largest port A port is a maritime law, maritime facility comprising one or more Wharf, wharves or loading areas, where ships load and discharge Affreightment, ...

Ashdod
it was placed in the temple of
Dagon Dagon ( he, דָּגוֹן, ''Dāgōn''), or more accurately Dagan, ( sux, 2= dda-gan, 𒀭𒁕𒃶; phn, 𐤃𐤂𐤍, Dāgān) was a god worshiped in ancient Syria The history of Syria covers events which occurred on the territory of the ...

Dagon
. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it; and on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with tumors; a plague of mice was sent over the land. The affliction of boils was also visited upon the people of Gath and of
Ekron The city of Ekron (Philistine The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 604 BC, when their polity, after having already been subjugated for centuries by Assyria, was finally ...

Ekron
, whither the Ark was successively removed. After the Ark had been among them for seven months, the Philistines, on the advice of their diviners, returned it to the Israelites, accompanying its return with an offering consisting of golden images of the tumors and mice wherewith they had been afflicted. The Ark was set up in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and the Beth-shemites offered sacrifices and burnt offerings. Out of curiosity the men of Beth-shemesh gazed at the Ark; and as a punishment, seventy of them (fifty thousand and seventy in some translations) were smitten by the Lord. The Bethshemites sent to
Kirjath-jearim Kiriath-Jearim (also Kiryat Ye'arim) ( he, קִרְיַת-יְעָרִים ''Qiryaṯ Yə‘ārîm''; grc, Καριαθιαριμ "city of woods", Latin: ''Cariathiarim'') was a city in the Land of Israel. It is mentioned 18 times in the Hebrew ...
, or Baal-Judah, to have the Ark removed; and it was taken to the house of Abinadab, whose son
Eleazar Eleazar (; ) or Elʽazar was a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the au ...
was sanctified to keep it. Kirjath-jearim remained the abode of the Ark for twenty years. Under Saul, the Ark was with the army before he first met the Philistines, but the king was too impatient to consult it before engaging in battle. In 1 Chronicles 13:3 it is stated that the people were not accustomed to consulting the Ark in the days of
Saul Saul (; he, , translit=Šāʾūl; gr, Σαούλ; ), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first monarch of the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, suppose ...

Saul
.


In the days of King David

In the biblical narrative, at the beginning of his reign over the
United Monarchy The United Monarchy () is the name given to the united Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near Ea ...
, King
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
removed the Ark from
Kirjath-jearim Kiriath-Jearim (also Kiryat Ye'arim) ( he, קִרְיַת-יְעָרִים ''Qiryaṯ Yə‘ārîm''; grc, Καριαθιαριμ "city of woods", Latin: ''Cariathiarim'') was a city in the Land of Israel. It is mentioned 18 times in the Hebrew ...
amid great rejoicing. On the way to
Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as a whole (see ). The name is found in (5:7), one of the books of the ...

Zion
,
Uzzah According to the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the ...
, one of the drivers of the cart that carried the Ark, put out his hand to steady the Ark, and was struck dead by God for touching it. The place was subsequently named " Perez-Uzzah", literally "Outburst Against Uzzah", as a result. David, in fear, carried the Ark aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, instead of carrying it on to Zion, and it stayed there for three months. On hearing that God had blessed Obed-edom because of the presence of the Ark in his house, David had the Ark brought to Zion by the Levites, while he himself, "girded with a linen
ephod wearing the sacred vestments. The ephod is depicted here in yellow. An ephod ( he, אֵפוֹד ''’êp̄ōḏ''; or ) was an artifact and an object to be revered in ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra' ...
... danced before the Lord with all his might" and in the sight of all the public gathered in Jerusalem, a performance which caused him to be scornfully rebuked by his first wife, Saul's daughter
Michal Michal (; he, מיכל , gr, Μιχάλ) was, according to the first Book of Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew ...

Michal
. In Zion, David put the Ark in the tent he had prepared for it, offered sacrifices, distributed food, and blessed the people and his own household. David used the tent as a personal place of prayer. The Levites were appointed to minister before the Ark. David's plan of building a temple for the Ark was stopped on the advice of the
prophet In religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involu ...
Nathan. The Ark was with the army during the siege of
Rabbah Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the List of largest cities in the Levant region by population, large ...
; and when David fled from Jerusalem at the time of
Absalom Absalom ( he, אַבְשָׁלוֹם ''Aḇšālōm'', "father of peace Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility Hostility is seen as form of emotionally charged aggressive behavior. In everyday ...

Absalom
's conspiracy, the Ark was carried along with him until he ordered
Zadok Zadok (or Zadok HaKohen, also spelled Ṣadok, Ṣadoc, Zadoq, Tzadok, or Tsadoq; he, צָדוֹק הַכֹּהֵן, meaning "Righteous, Justified") was a Kohen (priest), biblically recorded to be a descendant from Eleazar the son of Aaron (). He ...
the priest to return it to Jerusalem.


In Solomon's Temple

According to the Biblical narrative, when
Abiathar Abiathar ( ''’Evyatar'', "the father is great"), in the Hebrew Bible, is a son of Ahimelech or Ahijah, High Priest at Nob, the fourth in descent from Eli and the last of Eli's House to be a High Priest. Bible account Abiathar was the only ...
was dismissed from the priesthood by King
Solomon Solomon (; he, , ), ''Šlēmūn''; : سُلَيْمَان ', also : ' or '; el, Σολομών ''Solomōn''; : Salomon) also called Jedidiah (, ), was, according to the and Christian , a fabulously wealthy and wise monarch of the who suc ...

Solomon
for having taken part in
Adonijah According to 2 Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the ...

Adonijah
's
conspiracy A conspiracy, also known as a plot, is a secret plan or agreement between persons (called conspirers or conspirators) for an unlawful or harmful purpose, such as murder or treason Treason is the crime of attacking a Sovereign state, state a ...
against David, his life was spared because he had formerly borne the Ark. Solomon worshipped before the Ark after his dream in which God promised him wisdom. During the construction of
Solomon's Temple According to the Biblical narrative, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was a temple in Jerusalem (: ''Bēṯ hamMīqdāš'') built under King Solomon's reign and completed in 957 BCE. The Temple was looted and then Siege of Jer ...

Solomon's Temple
, a special inner room, named ''
Kodesh Hakodashim Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male d ...
'' (Eng.
Holy of Holies#REDIRECT Holy of Holies The Holy of Holies ( Tiberian Hebrew: ''Qṓḏeš HaQŏḏāšîm'') or HaDvir ( he, הדְּבִיר, lt. " heSanctuary") is a term in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical ...

Holy of Holies
), was prepared to receive and house the Ark; and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the original
tablets
tablets
of the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. " ...

Ten Commandments
—was placed therein. When the priests emerged from the holy place after placing the Ark there, the Temple was filled with a cloud, "for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord". When Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, he caused her to dwell in a house outside
Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as a whole (see ). The name is found in (5:7), one of the books of the ...

Zion
, as Zion was consecrated because it contained the Ark. King Josiah also had the Ark returned to the Temple, from which it appears to have been removed by one of his predecessors (cf. 2 Chron. 33-34 and 2 Kings 21–23).


The Babylonian Conquest and aftermath

In 587 BC, the
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
ns destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple. There is no record of what became of the Ark in the Books of Kings and Chronicles. An ancient Greek version of the biblical third Book of Ezra,
1 Esdras 1 Esdras ( grc-gre, Ἔσδρας Αʹ), also Esdras A, Greek Esdras, Greek Ezra, or 3 Esdras, is an ancient Greek version of the biblical Book of Ezra in use among the Early Christianity, early church, and many modern Christians with varying degr ...
, suggests that Babylonians took away the vessels of the ark of God, but does not mention taking away the Ark: In
Rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts ...
, the final disposition of the Ark is disputed. Some rabbis hold that it must have been carried off to Babylon, while others hold that it must have been hidden lest it be carried off into Babylon and never brought back. A late 2nd-century rabbinic work known as the ''
Tosefta The Tosefta (Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Jewish Babylonian Aramaic was the form of Middle Aramaic employed by writers in Lower Mesopotamia between the fourth and eleventh centuries. It is most commonly identified with the language of the Babylo ...
'' states the opinions of these rabbis that
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
, the king of Judah, stored away the Ark, along with the jar of
manna Manna ( he, מָן ''mān'', ; ar, اَلْمَنُّ), sometimes or archaically spelled mana is, according to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or ...

manna
, and a jar containing the holy anointing oil, the rod of Aaron which budded and a chest given to Israel by the Philistines. This was said to have been done in order to prevent their being carried off into Babylon as had already happened to the other vessels. Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Shimon, in the same rabbinic work, state that the Ark was, in fact, taken into Babylon. Rabbi Yehudah, dissenting, says that the Ark was stored away in its own place, meaning somewhere on the Temple Mount.


Service of the Kohathites

The
Kohathites The Kohathites were one of the four main divisions among the Levites A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating ...
were one of the
Levite A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations ...
houses from the
Book of Numbers The Book of Numbers (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...
. Theirs was the responsibility to care for "the most holy things" in the
tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclus ...

tabernacle
. When the camp, then wandering the Wilderness, set out the Kohathites would enter the tabernacle with Aaron and cover the ark with the screening curtain and "then they shall put on it a covering of fine leather, and spread over that a cloth all of blue, and shall put its poles in place." The ark was only one of the items of the tent of meeting that the Kohathites were responsible for carrying.


Archaeology

Archaeological evidence shows strong cultic activity at
Kiriath-Jearim Kiriath-Jearim (also Kiryat Ye'arim) ( he, קִרְיַת-יְעָרִים ''Qiryaṯ Yə‘ārîm''; grc, Καριαθιαριμ "city of woods", Latin: ''Cariathiarim'') was a city in the Land of Israel. It is mentioned 18 times in the Hebrew ...
in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, well after the ark was supposedly removed from there to Jerusalem. In particular, archaeologists found a large elevated podium, associated with the Northern Kingdom and not the Southern Kingdom, which may have been a shrine. Thomas Römer suggests that this may indicate that the ark was not moved to Jerusalem until much later, possibly during the reign of
King Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...
. He notes that this might explain why the ark featured prominently in the history before Solomon, but not after. Additionally, 2 Chronicles 35:3 indicates that it was moved during King Josiah's reign. Some scholars believe the story of the Ark was written independently around the 8th century in a text referred to as the "Ark Narrative" and then incorporated into the main biblical narrative just before the exile into Babylon. Römer also suggests that the ark may have originally carried sacred stones "of the kind found in the chests of pre-Islamic Bedouins", and speculates that these may have been either a statue of
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
or a pair of statues depicting both Yahweh and his companion goddess Asherah. In contrast, Scott Noegel has argued that the parallels between the ark and these practices "remain unconvincing" in part because the Bedouin objects lack the ark's distinctive structure, function, and mode of transportation. Specifically, unlike the ark, the Bedouin chests "contained no box, no lid, and no poles," they did not serve as the throne or footstool of a god, they were not overlaid with gold, did not have kerubim figures upon them, there were no restrictions on who could touch them, and they were transported on horses or camels. Noegel suggests that the ancient Egyptian
bark Bark may refer to: * Bark (botany), an outer layer of a woody plant * Bark (sound), a vocalization of some animals Places * Bark, Germany * Bark, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Bark'' (Jefferson Airp ...
is a more plausible model for the Israelite ark, since Egyptian barks had all the features just mentioned. Noegel adds that the Egyptians also were known to place written covenants beneath the feet of statues, proving a further parallel to the placement of the covenental tablets inside the ark.


References in Abrahamic religions


Tanakh

The Ark is first mentioned in the
Book of Exodus The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Starting with the deliverance of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus), Pharaoh's daughter, it recounts the revelation at the Burning bush where he was called by Yahweh ...
, and then numerous times in
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
,
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...
,
Judges A judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...
,
I Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historicall ...
,
II Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the vers ...
,
I Kings I, or i, is the ninth Letter (alphabet), letter and the third vowel letter of the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''i'' (pronounced ), plural ' ...
,
I Chronicles The Book of Chronicles ( he, דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים ) is a Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is ...
,
II Chronicles The Book of Chronicles ( he, דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים ) is a Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is ...
,
Psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), commonly referred to simply as Psalms, the Psalter or "the Psalms", is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third section of the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh ...

Psalms
and
Jeremiah Jeremiah, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human acti ...
. In the Book of Jeremiah, it is referenced by
Jeremiah Jeremiah, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human acti ...
, who, speaking in the days of
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
, prophesied a future time, possibly the
end of daysEnd of days may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * End of Days (film), ''End of Days'' (film), a 1999 supernatural film Music * ''The End of Days'', a 2010 album by Abney Park * End of Days (soundtrack), ''End of Days'' (soundtra ...
, when the Ark will no longer be talked about or be made again:
Rashi Shlomo Yitzchaki ( he, רבי שלמה יצחקי; la, Salomon Isaacides; french: Salomon de Troyes, 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105), today generally known by the acronym Rashi (see below), was a medieval French rabbi A rabbi is a spi ...
comments on this verse that "The entire people will be so imbued with the spirit of sanctity that God's Presence will rest upon them collectively, as if the congregation itself was the Ark of the Covenant."


Second Book of Maccabees

According to Second Maccabees, at the beginning of chapter 2: The "mountain from the top of which Moses saw God's promised land" would be
Mount Nebo Mount Nebo ( ar, جَبَل نِيبُو, Jabal Nībū; he, הַר נְבוֹ, Har Nevo) is an elevated ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elev ...
, located in what is now
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
.


New Testament

In the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, the Ark is mentioned in the
Letter to the Hebrews The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews (Πρὸς Ἑβραίους) is one of the books of the New Testament. The text does not mention the name of its author, but was traditional ...
and the Revelation to St. John. Hebrews 9:4 states that the Ark contained "the golden pot that had
manna Manna ( he, מָן ''mān'', ; ar, اَلْمَنُّ), sometimes or archaically spelled mana is, according to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or ...

manna
, and
Aaron's rod Aaron's rod refers to any of the staves carried by Moses's brother, Aaron, in the Torah. The Bible tells how, along with Staff of Moses, Moses's rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt that preceded the The ...
that budded, and the tablets of the covenant." Revelation 11:19 says the prophet saw God's temple in heaven opened, "and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple." The contents of the ark are seen by theologians such as the
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians Christian theology is the theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, di ...
and
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
as personified by Jesus Christ: the manna as the
Holy Eucharist The Eucharist (; also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper among other names) is a Christianity, Christian rite considered a sacrament in most churches, an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, ...
; Aaron's rod as Jesus' eternal priestly authority; and the tablets of the Law, as the Lawgiver himself.
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
scholars connect this verse with the
Woman of the Apocalypse The Woman of the Apocalypse (or Woman clothed in the Sun, ; ') is a figure described in Revelation 12, Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation (written c. AD 95). The woman gives birth to a male child who is threatened by a dragon, identified as t ...
in , which immediately follows, and say that the
Blessed Virgin Mary According to the gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel"), but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out. In this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, ...
is identified as the "Ark of the New Covenant." Carrying the saviour of mankind within her, she herself became the
Holy of Holies#REDIRECT Holy of Holies The Holy of Holies ( Tiberian Hebrew: ''Qṓḏeš HaQŏḏāšîm'') or HaDvir ( he, הדְּבִיר, lt. " heSanctuary") is a term in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical ...

Holy of Holies
. This is the interpretation given in the third century by
Gregory Thaumaturgus Gregory Thaumaturgus or Gregory the Miracle-Worker ( grc, Γρηγόριος ὁ Θαυματουργός, ''Grēgórios ho Thaumatourgós''; la, Gregorius Thaumaturgus;  213 – 270), also known as Gregory of Neocaesarea, was a Christi ...

Gregory Thaumaturgus
, and in the fourth century by Saint
Ambrose Ambrose of Milan (born Aurelius Ambrosius; c. 340 – 397), venerated as Saint Ambrose, ; lmo, Sant Ambroeus . was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan, Bishop of Milan, a theologian, and one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures o ...

Ambrose
, Saint Ephraem of Syria and
Saint Augustine In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being ...

Saint Augustine
. The Catholic Church teaches this in the
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a promulgated for the by in 1992. It sums up, in book form, of the Catholic faithful. Publication history ...
: "Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the Ark of the Covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is 'the dwelling of God . . . with men" In the
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, Nativity of Jesus, birth, Ministry of Jesus, ministry, Cr ...
, the author's accounts of the
Annunciation The Annunciation (from Latin '), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the ...

Annunciation
and
Visitation Visitation may refer to: Law * Visitation (law) or contact, the right of a non-custodial parent to visit with their children * Prison visitation rights, the rules and conditions under which prisoners may have visitors Music * Visitation (Division ...
are constructed using eight points of literary parallelism to compare Mary to the Ark. , the bishop of Alexandria, is credited with writing about the connections between the Ark and the Virgin Mary: "O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O (Ark of the) Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which Divinity resides" (''Homily of the Papyrus of Turin'').


The Ark in Islamic sources

Chapter 2 (''Sura'' 2) of the
Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious t ...

Quran
(Verse 248), is believed to refer to the Ark: The Arabic word (variously translated "peace of reassurance" or "spirit of tranquility") is related to the post-Biblical Hebrew , meaning "dwelling or presence of God". The Islamic scholar mentioned that the could be
Tawrat The Tawrat ( ar, توراة), also romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoke ...
, the Books of Moses. According to , the relics in the Ark were the fragments of the two tablets, rods, robes, shoes,
mitre The Mitre Corporation (stylized as The MITRE Corporation and MITRE) is an American not-for-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity ...

mitre
of Moses and the vase of
manna Manna ( he, מָן ''mān'', ; ar, اَلْمَنُّ), sometimes or archaically spelled mana is, according to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or ...

manna
. , in (The Stories of the Prophets), has given an earlier and later history of the Ark. According to , the Ark of the Covenant has a religious basis in Islam and Islam gives it special significance.


Suggested locations

Since its disappearance from the Biblical narrative, there have been a number of claims of having discovered or of having possession of the Ark, and several possible places have been suggested for its location.


Mount Nebo

2 Maccabees The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), of ...
2:4-10, written around 100 BC, says that the prophet
Jeremiah Jeremiah, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human acti ...

Jeremiah
, "being warned by God" before the Babylonian invasion, took the Ark, the Tabernacle, and the Altar of Incense, and buried them in a cave on
Mount Nebo Mount Nebo ( ar, جَبَل نِيبُو, Jabal Nībū; he, הַר נְבוֹ, Har Nevo) is an elevated ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elev ...
, informing those of his followers who wished to find the place that it should remain unknown "until the time that God should gather His people again together, and receive them unto mercy." Mount Nebo is also described in the Bible (Deuteronomy 34) as the site from which Moses views the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:litter ...
. Mount Nebo is approximately 47 km (29 miles) slightly south of due east from Jerusalem, near the east bank of the Jordan River.


Ethiopia

The
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( am, የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን, ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is the largest Oriental Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox church. On ...
claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant, or ''
Tabot ''Tabot'' ( Ge'ez ታቦት ''tābōt'', sometimes spelled ''tabout'') is a Ge'ez language, Ge'ez word referring to a replica of the Tablets of Law, onto which the Bible, Biblical Ten Commandments were inscribed, used in the practices of Orthod ...
'', in
Axum Aksum or Axum (; ti, ኣኽሱም; gez, አኵስም ''Ak̠ʷsəm''; am, አክሱም ''Ak̠sum''), is a historical town in Tigray Region, Ethiopia and the site of the historic capital of the Aksumite Empire. It was a tourist town unti ...
. The object is currently kept under guard in a treasury near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. Replicas of the Axum ''tabot'' are kept in every Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church, each with its own dedication to a particular saint; the most popular of these include Mary, George and Michael.Stuart Munro-Hay, 2005, ''The Quest for the Ark of the Covenant'', Tauris (reviewed in ''Times Literary Supplement'' 19 August 2005 p. 36) The ''Kebra Nagast'' is often said to have been composed to legitimise the Solomonic dynasty, which ruled the Ethiopian Empire following its establishment in 1270, but this is not the case. It was originally composed in some other language (Coptic or Greek), then translated into Arabic, and translated into Ge`ez in 1321. It narrates how the real Ark of the Covenant was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I with divine assistance, while a forgery was left in the Temple in Jerusalem. Although the ''Kebra Nagast'' is the best-known account of this belief, it predates the document. Abu al-Makarim, writing in the last quarter of the twelfth century, makes one early reference to this belief that they possessed the Ark. "The Abyssinians possess also the Ark of the Covenant", he wrote, and, after a description of the object, describes how the liturgy is celebrated upon the Ark four times a year, "on the feast of the great nativity, on the feast of the glorious Baptism, on the feast of the holy Resurrection, and on the feast of the illuminating Cross." In his controversial and much attacked 1992 book ''The Sign and the Seal'', British writer Graham Hancock reports on the Ethiopian belief that the ark spent several years in Egypt before it came to Ethiopia via the Nile River, where it was kept in the islands of Lake Tana for about four hundred years and finally taken to Axum. (Archaeologist John Holladay of the University of Toronto called Hancock's theory "garbage and hogwash"; Edward Ullendorff, a former Professor of Ethiopian Studies at the University of London, said he "wasted a lot of time reading it.") In a 1992 interview, Ullendorff says that he personally examined the ark held within the church in Axum in 1941 while a British army officer. Describing the ark there, he says, "They have a wooden box, but it's empty. Middle- to late-medieval construction, when these were fabricated ad hoc." On 25 June 2009, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, Abune Paulos, said he would announce to the world the next day the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, which he said had been kept safe and secure in a church in Axum, Ethiopia. The following day, on 26 June 2009, the patriarch announced that he would not unveil the Ark after all, but that instead he could attest to its current status. In December 2020, it was reported that the Ethiopian army and Amhara militias Maryam_Ts'iyon_massacre, attacked the Church of Our Lady of Zion, allegedly in the hopes of seizing the Ark. The status of the Ark has not been reported.


Southern Africa

The Lemba people of South Africa and Zimbabwe have claimed that their ancestors carried the Ark south, calling it the ''ngoma lungundu'' or "voice of God", eventually hiding it in a deep cave in the Dumghe mountains, their spiritual home.''A Lead on the Ark of the Covenant''
by David Van Biema Thursday, Time.com, Feb. 21, 2008.
On 14 April 2008, in a UK Channel 4 documentary, Tudor Parfitt, taking a literalist approach to the Biblical story, described his research into this claim. He says that the object described by the Lemba has attributes similar to the Ark. It was of similar size, was carried on poles by priests, was not allowed to touch the ground, was revered as a voice of their God, and was used as a weapon of great power, sweeping enemies aside. In his book ''The Lost Ark of the Covenant'' (2008), Parfitt also suggests that the Ark was taken to Arabia following the events depicted in the Second Book of Maccabees, and cites Arabic sources which maintain it was brought in distant times to Yemen. One Lemba clan, the Buba, which was supposed to have brought the Ark to Africa, have a genetic signature called the Cohen Modal Haplotype. This suggests a male Semitic link to the Levant. Lemba tradition maintains that the Ark spent some time in Sena, Yemen, Sena in Yemen. Later, it was taken across the sea to East Africa and may have been taken inland at the time of the Great Zimbabwe civilization. According to their oral traditions, some time after the arrival of the Lemba with the Ark, it self-destructed. Using a core from the original, the Lemba priests constructed a new one. This replica was discovered in a cave by a Sweden, Swedish Germany, German missionary named Harald von Sicard in the 1940s and eventually found its way to the Museum of Human Science in Harare. Parfitt had this artifact radio-carbon dating, carbon dated to about 1350, which coincided with the sudden end of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, Great Zimbabwe civilization.


Europe


Chartres Cathedral, France

French author Louis Charpentier claimed that the Ark was taken to the Chartres Cathedral by the Knights Templar.


Rennes-le-Château, then to the United States

One author has theorised that the Ark was taken from Jerusalem to the village of Rennes-le-Château in Southern France. Karen Ralls has cited Freemason Patrick Byrne, who believes the Ark was moved from Rennes-le-Château at the outbreak of World War I to the United States.


Rome

The Ark of the Covenant was said to have been kept in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, surviving the pillages of Rome by Alaric I and Gaiseric but lost when the basilica burned. "Rabbi Eliezer ben José stated that he saw in Rome the mercy-seat of the temple. There was a bloodstain on it. On inquiry he was told that it was a stain from the blood which the high priest sprinkled thereon on the Day of Atonement."


Ireland

At the turn of the 20th century British Israelism, British Israelites carried out some excavations of the Hill of Tara in Republic of Ireland, Ireland looking for the Ark of the Covenant. The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland campaigned successfully to have them stopped before they destroyed the hill.


Egypt


Tutankhamun's tomb

In 1922 in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, the royal tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun (KV62) was opened by Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, Lord Carnarvon. Among the artifacts was a processional ark, listed as Shrine 261, the Anubis Shrine. Almost immediately after publication of the photographs of this sensational archaeological find, some claimed that the Anubis Shrine could be the Ark of the Covenant. John M. Lundquist, author of ''The Temple of Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future'' (2008), discounts this idea. The Anubis Shrine measures long, wide, and high in the shape of a pylon (architecture), pylon. The Biblical Ark of the Covenant is approximately long, wide, and high in the shape of a rectangular chest (furniture), chest. Lundquist observes that the Anubis Shrine is not strictly analogous to the Ark of the Covenant; it can only be said that it is "ark-like", constructed of wood, gessoed and gilded, stored within a sacred tomb, "guarding" the treasury of the tomb (and not the primary focus of that environment), that it contains compartments within it that store and hold sacred objects, that it has a figure of Anubis on its lid, and that it was carried by two staves permanently inserted into rings at its base and borne by eight priests in the funerary procession to Tutankhamun's tomb.


In popular culture

Philip Kaufman conceived of the Ark of the Covenant as the main plot device of Steven Spielberg's 1981 adventure film ''Raiders of the Lost Ark'', where it is found by Indiana Jones (character), Indiana Jones in the Egyptian city of Tanis in 1936. In early 2020, a prop version made for the film (which does not actually appear onscreen) was featured on ''Antiques Roadshow''. In the Danish family film ''The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar'' from 2006, the main part of the treasure found in the end is the Ark of the Covenant. The power of the Ark comes from static electricity stored in separated metal plates like a giant Leyden jar. In Harry Turtledove's novel ''Alpha and Omega'' (2019) the ark is found by archeologists, and the characters have to deal with the proven existence of God.


Yom HaAliyah

Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) ( he, יום העלייה) is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan to commemorate the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the Land of Israel while carrying the Ark of the Covenant.


See also

* List of artifacts in biblical archaeology * ''The Exodus Decoded'' (television documentary) * History of ancient Israel and Judah * Jewish symbolism * Lost history * Mikoshi, a portable Shinto shrine


References

Footnotes Citations


Further reading

* Carew, Mairead, ''Tara and the Ark of the Covenant: A Search for the Ark of the Covenant by British Israelites on the Hill of Tara, 1899-1902''. Royal Irish Academy, 2003. * Eric H. Cline, Cline, Eric H. (2007), ''From Eden to Exile: Unravelling Mysteries of the Bible'', National Geographic Society, * Fisher, Milton C., ''The Ark of the Covenant: Alive and Well in Ethiopia?''. Bible and Spade 8/3, pp. 65–72, 1995. * Foster, Charles, ''Tracking the Ark of the Covenant''. Monarch, 2007. * Grierson, Roderick & Munro-Hay, Stuart, ''The Ark of the Covenant''. Orion Books Ltd, 2000. * Graham Hancock, Hancock, Graham, ''The Sign and the Seal, The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant''. Touchstone Books, 1993. * Haran, M., ''The Disappearance of the Ark'', Israel Exploration Journal, IEJ 13 (1963), 46-58 * Hertz, J.H., ''The Pentateuch and Haftoras. Deuteronomy''. Oxford University Press, 1936. * Hubbard, David (1956) The Literary Sources of the Kebra Nagast Ph.D. dissertation, St. Andrews University, Scotland * Munro-Hay, Stuart, ''The Quest For The Ark of The Covenant: The True History of The Tablets of Moses''. L. B. Tauris & Co Ltd., 2006. * Ritmeyer, L., ''The Ark of the Covenant: Where It Stood in Solomon's Temple''. Biblical Archaeology Review 22/1: 46–55, 70–73, 1996. * Stolz, Fritz. "Ark of the Covenant." In ''The Encyclopedia of Christianity'', edited by Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, 125. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999.


External links

* Portions of this article have been taken from the ''Jewish Encyclopedia'' of 1906
Ark of the Covenant
* The ''Catholic Encyclopedia'', Volume I

* Smithsonian.co
"Keepers of the Lost Ark?"
. * Shyovitz, David

Jewish Virtual Library. {{DEFAULTSORT:Ark Of The Covenant Hebrew Bible objects Hebrew Bible words and phrases Tabernacle and Temples in Jerusalem Book of Exodus