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The arc of the covenant

Timeline

According to Mathias de Stefano the Arc of the Covenant was used in the Atlantis-Lemurian War around 15,000 BC.

Names

  • Aron Ha-Brit {ארון הברית}
  • Aron Ha-Edut {ארון העדות}– literally means ‘the Ark of the Testimony’
  • Aron Ha-Elohim {ארון האלוהים}– literally means ‘the Ark of God’ 
  • Ark of God

References

“And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.” (Joshua 3:6)

“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony…” (Exodus 25:22)

“And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the Ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.” (2 Samuel 6:2)

Description

The Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a biblical artifact described in the Book of Exodus. It is a sacred chest made of wood and covered with gold, measuring 2.5 cubits in length, 1.5 cubits in height, and 1.5 cubits in width (approximately 45 inches long, 27 inches high, and 27 inches wide). The Ark is said to have been constructed by the Israelites under the divine guidance of Moses while they were wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt.

The Ark played a central role in the religious practices of the Israelites. According to the Bible, it housed the stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. These commandments were fundamental laws for the Israelites and served as the basis for their covenant with God.

The Ark of the Covenant was also believed to possess great spiritual power. It was carried by the Israelites during their travels and, according to biblical accounts, had miraculous properties. For instance, it was said to have the power to lead the Israelites and provide divine guidance. It was carried around the walls of Jericho, causing them to fall, and allowing the Israelites to conquer the city.

The Ark was housed in the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctum of the Tabernacle, and later in Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. It was considered the earthly throne of God and the place where God’s presence dwelled among the Israelites. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and even he could only do so once a year on the Day of Atonement.

The fate of the Ark is uncertain. According to the Bible, it was eventually placed in the First Temple in Jerusalem. However, when the Babylonians destroyed the temple in 586 BCE, the Ark’s whereabouts became unknown. There are various theories and legends about what happened to the Ark, but its exact location remains a mystery.

Exodus 25:15-22

The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark: they shall not be removed from it. And deposit in the Ark [the tablets of] the Pact which I will give you. You shall make a cover of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. Make two cherubim of gold—make them of hammered work—at the two ends of the cover. Make one cherub at one end and the other cherub at the other end; of one piece with the cover shall you make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, shielding the cover with their wings…

I Kings 8:6-9

The priests brought the Ark of GOD’s Covenant to its place underneath the wings of the cherubim, in the Shrine of the House, in the Holy of Holies; for the cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the Ark, so that the cherubim shielded the Ark and its poles from above. The poles projected so that the ends of the poles were visible in the sanctuary in front of the Shrine, but they could not be seen outside; and there they remain to this day. There was nothing inside the Ark but the two tablets of stone that Moses placed there at Horeb…

Deuteronomy 10:1

Thereupon יהוה said to me, “Carve out two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain; and make an ark of wood.

Joshua 3:3-13

and charged the people as follows: “When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the ETERNAL your God being borne by the levitical priests, you shall move forward. Follow it— but keep a distance of some two thousand cubits from it, never coming any closer to it—so that you may know by what route to march, since it is a road you have not traveled before.” And Joshua said to the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow GOD will perform wonders in your midst.” Then Joshua ordered the priests, “Take up the Ark of the Covenant and advance to the head of the people…

Yoma 72b:4-9

The Gemara cites statements concerning other Temple vessels: Raḥava said that Rav Yehuda said: The Torah states that the Ark should be made of wood with gold plating inside and out (Exodus 25:10–11). In order to achieve this Bezalel made three arks: A middle one made of wood, whose height was nine handbreadths; an inner one made of gold, whose height was eight handbreadths; and an outer one of gold, whose height was ten handbreadths and a bit. These arks were nested…

Mishnah Shekalim 6:1-2

There were thirteen collection horns, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, into which were placed the shekels that were collected for the various needs of the Temple. There were also thirteen tables for various purposes, and thirteen prostrations in the Temple. The members of the household of Rabban Gamliel and the members of the household of Rabbi Ḥananya, the deputy High Priest, would prostrate themselves in fourteen places. And where was this extra location? It was facing the wood depository…

Shabbat 30a:7

When Solomon built the Temple and sought to bring the Ark into the Holy of Holies, the gates clung together and could not be opened. Solomon uttered twenty-four songs of praise, as in his prayer there are twenty-four expressions of prayer, song, etc. (I Kings 8), and his prayer was not answered. He began and said: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in” (Psalms 24:7). Immediately, the gates ran after him to swallow him, as they thought that in the words: “King of glory” he was referring to himself…

Jerusalem Talmud Shekalim 6:1:13

How did Beṣalel make the Ark? Rebbi Ḥanina said, he made three boxes, two of gold and one of wood. He put (the one of wood inside one of gold and) one of gold inside the one of wood, [and the one of wood inside the other one of gold] and covered it, as is written: You shall cover it with pure gold inside and out. Why does the verse say, you shall cover it? To include the upper rim. Rebbi Simeon ben Laqish said, he made one box and gilded it, as is written: You shall cover it with pure gold inside and out…

Ibn Ezra on Exodus 25:12:1

THE FOUR FEET THEREOF. I searched all of Scripture and did not find the word pa’am (foot) used in the sense of corner. It is always employed in the sense of a foot. We thus read: Even the feet of the poor, and the steps (pa’ame) of the needy (Is. 26:6); And shall make His footsteps (pe’amav) a way (Ps. 85:14); How beautiful are thy steps (fe’amayikh) (Cant. 7:2). There are many other instances. I was therefore forced to explain that the ark had feet, for it would be disrespectful for the ark to sit on the ground…

Bava Batra 14a:14-14b:5

And the chest in which the Philistines sent the gift to the God of Israel was placed alongside the Ark, as it is stated: “And put the golden devices which you are restoring to Him for a guilt-offering in a chest by the side of it, and send it away that it may go” (I Samuel 6:8). And upon this chest lay the Torah scroll, as it is stated: “Take this Torah scroll and put it at the side of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 31:26). This means that it was placed at the side of the Ark, and not inside it…

Rashi on Exodus 25:12:2

פעמתיו — Understand this as the Targum renders it: ON ITS CORNERS. It was on the upper corners near to the cover that the rings were placed — two on one side of the ark and two on the other along the breadth of the ark, and the staves were put into them (the rings). The length of the ark thus formed a space of two cubits and a half between one stave and the other so that two men who were carrying the ark could walk with ease between on the same side. Thus is it explained in Treatise Menachot in the section beginning with the words, “Shtei HaLehem” (Menachot 98b).

Ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 10:1:2

AN ARK OF WOOD. The transmitters of tradition, of blessed memory, said that Moses first made another ark. Proof of the latter is, So I made an ark (v. 3), which is followed by and hewed two tables of stone (v. 3) and put the tables in the ark which I had made (v. 5). Now their minds are superior to our minds, for it appears to us that And the glory of the Lord abode (Ex. 24:16) is connected with the glory which the elders saw (Ex. 24:10). We do not know when Moses ascended, for according to the plain meaning of the text it appears that Moses fasted for only eighty days…

Sefer HaChinukh 96:2

It is from the roots of the commandment [that it is] because the ark is the residence of the Torah, and [the latter] is our essence and our glory. And [so], we have been commanded to act towards it [with] all glory and all majesty, to all of our ability. Therefore, we were commanded not to remove the poles of the ark from it, lest we need to go out with the ark to any place quickly, and maybe due to the preoccupation and the rush, we will not check well that its poles are strong enough; and lest, God forbid, it will fall from their hands, and this is not [fit for] its glory…

Daat Zkenim on Exodus 25:15:1

לא יסורו ממנו, “they (the staves) must not be removed from it.” The reason that these staves must not be tampered with, i.e. removing it and re-attaching it, was due to the sacred nature of the Holy Ark. When the Ark needed to be moved, the bearers took hold of the respective ends of these staves. As soon as they would have deposited it at its next destination, the bearers would immediately step away from it in order not to become ritually impure by any misstep they might make. Briefly, it was Moses who attached these staves to the Holy Ark the first time…

Chizkuni, Exodus 25:12:2

על ארבע פעמותיו, “on its four sides. There is another explanation which understands the word פעמון, as leg, in the sense of feet taking steps. Compare Song of Songs 7,2: מה יפו פעמיך בנעלים, “how lovely are your feet in sandals?, or Isaiah 26,6: רגלי עני פעמי דלים, “by the feet of the needy, the soles of the poor.” According to this view it would not be appropriate for the Holy Ark to stand directly on the floor. There would be also two large rings as housings for the staves by which the Ark would be carried on the shoulders of the Kehatites while the people were wandering…

Ramban on Exodus 25:12:1

AND THOU SHALT CAST FOUR RINGS OF GOLD FOR IT, AND PUT THEM IN THE FOUR ‘PA’AMOTHAV’ (CORNERS THEREOF). “The word pa’amothav is to be understood as the Targum rendered it: ‘corners thereof.’ It was on the upper corners near to the cover of the ark that the rings were placed. And two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. These are the very four rings which are mentioned at the beginning of the verse, but here Scripture explains that two of these rings were placed on one side [and the other two on the other side].” Thus did Rashi explain, and he explained it well. But I do not know why Rashi wrote that “on the upper corners near to the cover” the rings were placed. For in that case, the weight [of the ark and the tables of law hanging down from the staves] would be very much heavier. Moreover, the respectful way is that the ark be lifted up, resting high upon the shoulders of the priests [when carrying it]…

Midrash Tanchuma, Terumah 11:4

R. Levi said: When Solomon brought the ark into the Temple, all the trees and cedars there came to life and bore fruit, as it is said: Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God (Ps. 92:14). They brought forth fruit and supplied a large share of the provisions for the young priests. But when Manasseh brought the idol into the Temple, the Shekhinah departed from it and the fruit withered, as is said: And the flower of Lebanon languisheth (Nah. 1:4)…

Jerusalem Talmud Shabbat 1:1:19

From where that higher than ten [hand-breadths] is a different domain? Rebbi Abbahu in the name of Rebbi Simeon ben Laqish: There I shall make My Appearance to you, and I shall speak to you from above the cover (which is on the Ark of the Covenant)from between the two Cherubim. And it is written, you have seen that from Heaven I spoke to you. Since speech mentioned there is from another domain, also speech mentioned here is from another domain. But is the Ark not nine hand-breadths? In the House of Rebbi Yannai they said, the cover was one hand-breadth. Rebbi Zeˋira asked, from where that the cover was one hand-breadth? Rebbi Ḥananiah bar Samuel stated, for all the vessels in the Sanctuary the Torah gave the measure of length and width, and gave the measure of its height. Except for the cover where the Torah gave the measure of length and width, but did not give the measure of its height

Yoma 54a:9-10

Rabbi Yehuda raised a contradiction. It is written: “The ends of the staves were seen,” and it is written in that same verse: “But they could not be seen without” (I Kings 8:8). How can one reconcile this contradiction? They were seen and yet not seen, i.e., the staves were partially visible. This was also taught in a baraita: “The ends of the staves were seen”; one might have thought that they did not move from their position and did not protrude at all. Therefore, the verse states: “And the staves were so long…

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