Ark of the Covenant

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Transporting the Ark of the Covenant: gilded bas-relief at the Auch Cathedral
The Ark carried into the Temple

The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron hab'rit) is described in the Bible as a holy container where the Ten Commandments and other holy Israelite objects are held. According to the Bible, Yahweh commanded the ark be built when Moses had a prophetic vision at Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10).[1] Some people believe the Ark contained Aaron's Rod, a jar of Manna, and the first Torah Scroll written by Moses, based on their reading of Book of ExodusBook of Numbers, and the Letter to the Hebrews. The first of the Books of Kings says that during the time of King Solomon, the Ark held only the Ten Commandments.

Terminology[change | change source]

The Hebrew word aron is used in the Bible to designate any type of ark or chest, for any purpose (Genesis 50:26; 2 Kings 12:9, 10). The Ark of the Covenant is distinguished from all others by such titles as "Ark of God" (1 Samuel 3:3), "Ark of the Covenant" (Josh. 3:6; Hebrews 9:4), "Ark of the Testimony" (Ex. 25:22). The Ark (aron kodesh in Hebrew meaning holy cupboard) is a raised cupboard found in Jewish Synagogues which contains the holy Torah scrolls. These are all written by hand and can take years to make. It is always on the wall of the Synagogue which faces towards Jerusalem. When the Ark is opened and the Torah removed for reading everyone stands in respect of God. During some prayers and services the Ark doors an inner curtain (parochet) are kept open.

Description[change | change source]

The Bible describes the Ark as made of acacia or shittah-tree wood. It was a cubit and a half broad and high, and two and a half cubits long (about 130 cm × 78 cm × 78 cm or 4.29 × 2.57 × 2.57 feet, for Egyptian royal cubit was most likely used). The Ark was covered all over with the purest gold.

Footnotes[change | change source]

  1. Further passages: God communicated with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Ex. 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1).

Related pages[change | change source]

Middle Eastern: Israel

People: Joshua, Samuel, Solomon

Further reading[change | change source]

  • 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. ISBN 0954385527
  • Fisher, Milton C., The Ark of the Covenant: Alive and Well in Ethiopia?. Bible and Spade 8/3, pp. 65–72, 1995.
  • Grierson, Roderick & Munro-Hay, Stuart, The Ark of the Covenant. Orion Books Ltd, 2000. ISBN 0-7538-1010-7
  • Hancock, Graham, The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Touchstone Books, 1993. ISBN 0-671-86541-2
  • Hertz, J.H., The Pentateuch and Haftoras. Deuteronomy. Oxford University Press, 1936.
  • Leeman, Bernard, Queen of Sheba and Biblical Scholarship. Queensland Academic Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9758022-0-8
  • Ritmeyer, L., The Ark of the Covenant: Where it Stood in Solomon's Temple. Biblical Archaeology Review 22/1: 46-55, 70-73, 1996.

Other websites[change | change source]

Classic Texts
Descriptions
Replicas
Location
General
  • "The Ark of the Covenant". Old Testament - Exodus, The Brick Testament.
  • "[1]". Book and Interactive CD-ROM detailing find of the Ark.
Link collections
Original article text