Ancient Jewish History: The Ark of the Covenant
There are lots of pictures of the Ark of the Covenant, but no-one really knows what it looked like. The pictures you see in books are educated guesses, based on the Bible description (see bottom of page). How does the Bible describe the Ark? a large chest or ornate box of acacia wood. Sep 23, · What did the Ark look like? The Ark is described in the twenty-fifth chapter of Exodus. It was a chest made of wood overlaid with gold. The lid Reviews: 1.
As a general rule, Judaism rejects physical manifestations of spirituality, preferring instead to focus on actions and beliefs. Indeed, the story of Judaism begins with Abraham who, according to ancient sources, shattered the idols that were the conventional method of religious observance at the kook.
Worship of graven pook is harshly condemned throughout the Torahand perhaps the greatest sin the Israelites collectively committed was the construction of the Golden Calf in Ex. Today, Jews do not venerate any holy relics or man-made symbols. But in the history of the Jewish people, there was one exception to this rule. One man-made object was considered intrinsically holy - the Ark of the Covenant.
Constructed during the Israelites' wanderings in look desert and used until the destruction of the First Templethe Ark was the most liike symbol of the Jewish faith, and served as the only physical manifestation of God on earth. The legends associated with this object - and the harsh penalties ascribed for anyone who misuses it - confirm the Ark's centrality to the Jewish faith of that period; the fact that Jews and non-Jews alike continue to study and imitate it confirms its centrality even today.
The Ark was a box with the dimensions of two-and-a-half cubits in length, by one-and-a-half cubits in roes, by one-and-a-half cubits in width a cubit is about 18 inches. It was constructed of acacia wood, and was yhe with pure gold, inside and out. On the bottom of the box, four gold rings were attached, through which two poles, also made of acacia and coated in gold, were put. The family of Kehath, of the tribe of Levi, would carry the ark on their shoulders using these poles.
Covering the box was the kapporeta pure gold covering that was two-and-a-half by one-and-a-half cubits. Attached to the kapporet were two sculpted Cherubs, also made of pure gold.
The two Cherubs faced one another, and their wings, which wrapped around their bodies, touched between them. The contents of the Ark has been debated through the centuries. The general consensus is that the first tablets containing the Ten Commandmentswhich were broken by Mosesand the second tablets, which remained intact, were contained in the Ark Bava Batra 14b. According to one opinion in the Talmudboth Tablets were together in the Ark; according to another, there were two Arks, and each contained one set of Tablets Berakhot 8b.
The Tabernacle was the resting place for the Ark, and also contained other vessels that were used in the physical worship of God. According to Nachmanides Ex. These two opinions as to whether the Tabernacles, and the Temples that followed them, were an a priori necessity or a necessary evil demonstrate the controversial role of physical worship in Judaism what does the ark of the covenant look like a whole.
The Ark was used in the desert and in Israel proper for a number of spiritual and pragmatic purposes. Practically, God used the Ark as an indicator of when he wanted the nation to travel, and when to stop. In the traveling formation in the desert, the Ark was carried cubits ahead of the nation Num. According to one midrashit would clear the path for the nation by burning snakes, scorpions, and thorns with two jets of flame that shot from its underside T. VaYakhel7 ; another midrash says that rather than being carried by its bearers, looj Ark in fact carried its bearers inches above the ground Sotah 35a.
When the Israelites went to war in the desert and during the conquering of Canaan, the Ark accompanied them; loook its presence was symbolic, to provide motivation for how to cheat in photoshop cs5 dvd download Jews, or whether it actually aided them in fighting, is debated by commentators.
Spiritually, the Ark was the manifestation of God's physical presence on earth the shekhina. Once the What is a stingray corvette was moved into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, and later in loook Templeit was accessible only once a year, and then, only by one person.
The relationship between the Ark and the shekhina is reinforced by the recurring motif of clouds. God's presence is frequently seen in the guise of a cloud in the Bible Ex. The holiness of the Ark also made it dangerous to those who came in contact with it.
When Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaronbrought a foreign flame to offer a sacrifice in the Tabernacle, they were devoured by a fire that emanated "from the Lord" Lev. During the saga of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines, numerous people, including some who merely looked at the Ark, were killed by its power.
Similarly, the Priests who served in the Tabernacle and Temple were told that viewing the Ark at an improper time would result in immediate death Num. The Ark accompanied the Jews throughout their time in the desert, traveling with them how to clean a iron cast skillet accompanying them to their wars with Emor and Midian.
When the Jews crossed into the land of Canaan, the waters of the Jordan River miraculously split and the Ark led them through Josh. Throughout their conquest of the land, the Jews were accompanied by the Ark. The most dramatic demonstration of its power comes when the Jews breached the walls of Jericho merely by circling them, blowing horns and carrying the Ark Josh.
After the conquest was completed, the Ark, and the entire Tabernacle, were set up in Shiloh Josh. There they remained until the battles of the Jews with the Philistines during the Priesthood of Eli. The Jews, after suffering a defeat at the Philistines' hands, took the Ark from Shiloh to Even-Ezer in hopes of winning the next battle.
But the Jews were routed, and the Ark was captured by the Philistines. The Philistines took the Ark back to Ljketheir capital city in the south of Canaan, where likd placed it in the temple of their god Dagon. The next day, however, they found the idol fallen on its face.
After replacing the statue, they found it the next day decapitated, with only its trunk remaining, and soon afterward, the entire city of Ashdod was struck with a plague. The Philistines moved the Ark to the city of Gath, and from there to Ekron, but whatever city the Ark was in, the inhabitants were struck with plague. After seven months, the Philistines decided to send the Ark back to the Israelites, and accompanied it with expensive gifts. The Ark was taken back to Beit Shemesh, and, according to midrash, the oxen pulling the Ark burst into song as soon as it was once again in Israel's possession A.
The actual text of the story, however, tells a much grimmer tale: The men of Beit Shemesh were punished for staring disrespectfully at the Ark, and many were killed with a plague. From there, King David transported it to Jerusalem. En route, however, the oxen pulling it stumbled, and when Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark, he died immediately.
As a result of this tragedy, David decided to leave the Ark at the home of Obed-edom the Gittite. Three months later, he moved it to Jerusalemthe seat of his kingdom, where it remained until the construction of the First Temple by David 's son Solomon I Sam.
When the Ark was finally placed in the Templethe midrash reports that the golden tree decorations that adorned the walls blossomed with fruit that grew continuously until the Temple's destruction Yoma 39b. The Ark remained in the Temple until its destruction at the hand of the Babylonian empire, led by Nebuchadnezzar. What happened to it afterward is unknown, and has been debated and pondered for centuries.
It is unlikely that the Babylonians took it, as they did the other vessels of the Templebecause the detailed lists of what they took make no mention of the Ark. According to some sources, Josiah, one of the final kings to reign in the First Temple period, learned of the impending invasion of the Babylonians and hid the Ark. Another account says that Solomon foresaw the eventual destruction of the Temple, and set aside a cave near the Dead Seain which Josiah eventually hid the Ark MaimonidesLaws of the Temple One of the most fascinating possibilities is advanced by Ethiopian Christians who claim that they have the Ark today.
In Axum, Ethiopia, it is widely believed that the Ark is currently being held in the Church how to pass a urine drug test in 2 days Saint Mary covvenant Zion, lolk by a monk known as the "Keeper of the Ark," who claims to have it in his possesion.
According to the Axum Christian community, they acquired the Ark during the reign of Solomonwhen his son Menelik, whose mother was the Queen of Sheba, stole what does the ark of the covenant look like Ark after a visit to Jerusalem. While in the not-so-distant past the "Ark" has been brought out for Christian holidays, its keeper has not done so for several whatt due to the tumultuous political situation in the country.
The claim has thus been impossible to verify, for no one but the monk is allowed into the tent. A more plausible claim is that of archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer, who has conducted research on the Temple Mount and inside the Dome of the Rock. He claims to have found the spot on the Mount where the Holy of Holies was located during the First Temple period.
Covenaant the precise center of that spot is a section look bedrock cut out in dimensions that may match those of the Ark as reported in Exodus. This section of the mount, incidentally, is the one from which the creation of the world began, according to midrash T. Kedoshim Based on his findings, Ritmeyer has postulated that the Ark may be buried deep inside the Temple Mount. However, it is unlikely that any excavation will ever be allowed on likke Mount by the Muslim or Israeli authorities.
The Ark covennant a topic of study even today, over years after it was last seen. A great deal of research has attempted to explain the wonders that are attributed to the Ark in the Bible. One recent study suggests the possibility that the Ark represented man's first harnessing of electricity.
The accounts given of peoples' sudden deaths from touching the Ark are consistent with death by a high voltage, lethal electrical charge. Such a charge could have resulted from the constant exposure of the box to static electricity, which builds up quickly in a hot, dry climate like the Middle East. The materials that the Ark was made of further support this theory: gold is one of the most powerful electrical conductors, and wood is an excellent insulator.
The only remnant whaat the Ark in Jewish life today is the Holy Ark in which How to use britrail pass scrolls are kept in synagogues. These Arks often are decorated with copies of the Tablets, reminiscent of the contents of the actual Ark of ancient times.
The Ark itself plays no role in Jewish life today. Nonetheless, it remains a potent symbol of the Jewish peoples' past, and of the messianic era many believe is waiting in the future. Ironically, the Ark is most dhat today as the subject of the film "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. While there is no evidence of Hitler ever having had an interest in the Ark, the movie does an admirable job of capturing the mystique of one of the worlds' most ancient unsolved mysteries.
Sources :Graham Hancock. Touchstone Books, ; Encyclopedia Judaica. Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library. Category » Ancient Jewish History. Academies in Babylonia and Erez Israel. Administration of Judaea. After Exile. Age of Patriarchs. Akkadian Language. Architecture and Architects.
Ark of Covenant. Baal Worship. Bar Kochba Revolt. Barcelona, Disputation of. Ben Sira, Alphabet of.
Jul 11, · Hebrews confirms theses three items were inside the Ark of the Covenant: “Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.” Ark of the Covenant Symbolism and Meaning. Artistic rendering of the Ark of the Covenant Covering the box was the kapporet, a pure gold covering that was two-and-a-half by one-and-a-half cubits. Attached to the kapporet were two sculpted Cherubs, also made of pure gold. The two Cherubs faced one another, and their wings, which wrapped around their bodies, touched between them. Ritmeyer believes the Ark of the Covenant sat on the large rock under the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. There is a rectangle carved into the rock that supposedly matches the measurements of the Ark, but this is questionable. See Where has the lost Ark of the Covenant been?
The contents of which included the tables of the Mosaic law, a pot of manna, and the rod of Aaron. In Exodus , the specifics of the Ark were laid out. It needed to be two cubits and a half in length one cubit being about The Ark was overlaid inside and out with pure gold with a molding of gold around it.
For transportation, the Ark had four rings of gold with two rings on each side. A pole of acacia wood overlaid with gold was placed into the rings to carry the ark. These poles for transportation were to be permanent fixtures and never removed. There had to be one cherubim of gold on both ends of the mercy seat. The Mercy Seat was where God would dwell. Unlike the statutes of gods idolized by many of the Israelites, the Ark of the Covenant served as a religious symbol where the people could meet with God.
He hovered over the Ark when the priests were present. Thus, the Ark of the Covenant was aptly named because of the commandments written on the tablets. As God gave instructions on how to build the Ark, he also instructed Moses to put in the tablets of the 10 Commandments the law.
Most often, the Ark of the Covenant was inside the Tabernacle, behind a curtain or veil. This veil is also significant in the New Testament. Hebrews —22 explains the significance of this event:. Now, all who believe in Christ Jesus can have confidence to draw near to God.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see stories of how God provided safety and success using the symbol of the Ark. In sixth chapter of Joshua, the Ark was instrumental in the Battle of Jericho. The Philistines captured the Ark when Israel summoned possession of the Ark following a brutal defeat. They felt the mere possession of the Ark would give them the favor of God. Contrary to the Indiana Jones movies, the Ark was not relocated in You need not carry it on your shoulders.
It is believed the Ark was destroyed during the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar. This new state of the church will reveal the mysteries of the word and its truths fully illuminated. Chad is a believer in Christ, attorney at law, wannabe golfer, runner, dog lover, and writer. He enjoys serving his church as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at his golf devotion par3sixteen.
He and his wife Brandi reside in Tennessee with their canine son Alistair. Share this. What Was the Ark of the Covenant? Chad Napier Crosswalk. Its Meaning and Significance. Today on Christianity. About Christianity. All rights reserved.