Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


First Samuel

First Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Supplement to Chapters 4-7




The ark of the covenant is first mentioned in (Ex. 25:10-16) where Moses is given the instructions to build the ark. Three different items were stored in this ark; the ten commandments, (Deut. 10:1-5); Aaron's rod that budded, (Num. 17:10); and the golden pot that had manna in it, (Heb. 9:4; Ex. 16: 33,34).

As the Israelites traveled through the wilderness heading for the land of Canaan, there was a specific order in which the tribes were to march. Judah led the way with Naphtali bringing up the rear. The Levites were split into two groups; the first group bore the tabernacle and its appurtenances; the second bore the sanctuary which would assumedly include the ark. All of this information is found in (Num. 10:14-28). The ark itself performed some unusual functions; it served as a scout and forward observer for Israel, (Num. 10:33-36).

The ark is again mentioned in (Ex. 40), where the tabernacle is finished and the "dedication ceremony" gets under way, (Ex. 40:3,5,20,21).

The ark is carried through the wilderness for the vast majority of their 40 years of wandering. The ark next shows up in (Josh. 3,4 and 6), just previous to, and following the Israelites successful crossing of Jordan into the land of Canaan. The ark itself was not to be worshipped. The ark was only a symbol and reminder of the constant presence of God.

The order of travel is abandoned as Joshua approaches Jordan. The ark now leads the way, in fact it is a sign to all others to begin their movement, (Josh. 3:3). The ark was to precede the rest of the Israelites by two thousand cubits (a cubit being 18-21 inches) this would be greater than one-half of a mile, (Josh. 3:4,6). Note: (3:15-17)! As the Israelites crossed the river, the ark "stood in the midst of Jordan" as a reminder to each and everyone, that Jehovah had made all this possible, (Josh. 4:10).

The next stop on our itinerary is Jericho, (Josh. 6). The ark was carried around that city 13 times before God leveled the walls. In (Josh. 18:1) the tabernacle is set up in Shiloh and remains there from this point throughout the period of the Judges until it is removed to go into battle in (1 Sam. 4). The ark is mentioned only once in Judges, chapter (20:27), where the location of the ark is verified.

The ark is taken by the Philistines, (1 Sam. 5), they "cart" it off to Beth-shemesh, it then finds its resting place in the house of Abinadab at Kirjath-jearim (Gibeah). First Samuel (14:18) shows us that it was still there during the reign of Saul; David attempts to move it when disaster strikes as he disregards God's instructions for transportation, (2 Sam. 6). The ark is then taken to the house of Obed-edom, (2 Sam. 6:10; 1 Chron. 13:13). The ark of the Lord was brought to Jerusalem by David in (1 Chron. 15:2,3,15,25-29; 16:1). The ark remained there three months, (1 Chron. 13:14). As David flees Absolom, Zadok the priest brings the ark but David instructs him to return it to the city, (2 Sam. 15:24,25).

In (1 Ki. 2:26), the ark is mentioned again in connection with Abiathar the priest. Abiathar is defrocked but his life spared by Solomon for the priest service during David, his father's reign. The removal of Abiathar fulfills the prophecy against Eli in (1 Sam. 2:31-35; see I Ki. 2:27).

Solomon's temple is completed and the dedication of the temple ensues; the ark is found being installed in a more permanent residence, (1 Ki. 8:1-9,21). Second Chronicles (5) chronologically coincides with (1 Kings 8). Second Chronicles (5:10) and (1 Ki. 8:9) tells us that at this time only the tables of the ten commandments were in the ark.

Hundreds of years of history pass, the kingdom splits, many kings are born and die. The ark is next mentioned in connection with King Josiah, (2 Chron. 35:3). The temple worship had long been abandoned (2 Chron. 34) and according to (35:3) the ark had been displaced. Josiah instructed that it be returned to its rightful place.

The fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians takes place not many years later, (2 Chron. 36:14ff). Verse (18) says, "and all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king ... he brought to Babylon." Now whether "vessels" includes the ark ... ??? Nonetheless the prophet Jeremiah says in regards to the ark, "and it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days (vs. 14,15), saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done anymore." The context ... Millennium, (vs. 17). Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophetical types symbolized in the ark ... there's no need for the ark! Nothing more is said in the Old Testament about the ark.

In (Rev. 11:19) we read, "...and there was seen in his temple the ark of the testament..." The question is ... is this the ark that traveled with the Israelites? is this the ark of I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, etc? Or is this the ark that Moses copied in (Ex. 25 & 40)? Hebrews (9:9) says that Moses' tabernacle (and its furnishings, Heb. 9:1-8) were but a "figure for the time then present." "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens be purified..." (Heb. 9:23). The ark of the covenant was merely a (miniature?) copy of an ark shown to him in Heaven. Where then is Moses' ark? As the saying goes..."only the Lord knows." Maybe it is stored in a U.S. government top secret warehouse?!

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