over a period of time after the Flood, and the materials used for other construction.
2. The small chest in which Jochebed concealed her three-month-old “good-looking” baby later named Moses, and which was found by Pharaoh’s daughter among the reeds by the bank of the Nile, in 1593 B.C.E. It was made of papyrus and was waterproofed with a coating of bitumen and pitch.—Ex. 2:2-4, 10; 6:20.
3. The container made of acacia wood in which the second set of stone tablets of the law given Moses on Mount Sinai were temporarily kept until the ark of the testimony was constructed some months later.—Deut. 10:1-5.
See ARK OF THE COVENANT.
ARK OF THE COVENANT
The sacred chest located in the Most Holy of the tabernacle; made at Jehovah’s command and according to his design. The Hebrew word ʼarohnʹ refers to this ark of the covenant, and is elsewhere rendered “coffin” (Gen. 50:26) and “chest.” (2 Ki. 12:10) A different Hebrew word, te·vahʹ, designates Noah’s ark and the ark of reeds in which Moses floated on the Nile. (Gen. 6:14; Ex. 2:3) In the Greek Scriptures, however, the one term ki·bo·tosʹ is equivalent to both Hebrew terms.—Heb. 9:4; 11:7.
Bible writers designate the ark of the covenant in more than twenty different ways. The more common of these expressions, “the ark of the covenant” (Josh. 3:6; Heb. 9:4) and “the ark of the testimony” (Ex. 25:22), are not peculiar to any certain writer and are used interchangeably.
PATTERN AND DESIGN
The first thing Jehovah gave Moses, when instructing him to build the tabernacle, was the pattern and design of the Ark, for indeed it was the central and paramount object of the tabernacle and the whole camp of Israel. The chest itself measured 2 1⁄2 cubits long, 1 1⁄2 cubits wide, and 1 1⁄2 cubits high (c. 44”x 26” x 26”; 111 cm. x 67 cm. x 67 cm.). It was made of acacia wood, overlaid inside and out with pure gold. An artistic “border of gold” served as a crowning wreath “round about upon it.” The second section of the Ark, its cover, was made of solid gold, not just overlaid wood, and was the full length and breadth of the chest. Mounted on this cover were two golden cherubs of hammered workmanship, one at each end of the cover facing each other, with heads bowed and wings extending upward and overspreading the Ark. (Ex. 25:10, 11, 17-22; 37:6-9) This cover was also known as the “mercy seat” or “propitiatory cover.”-—Ex. 25:17, 1953 ed.; Heb. 9:5.
Long poles were provided for carrying the Ark. They were also made of acacia wood covered with gold and were inserted through two rings of gold on each side of the chest. These poles were not to be removed from their rings; hence there was never a necessity for bearers of the Ark to touch it. Where the rings were located on each side of the Ark is not certain. There were four feet, “walking feet, feet bent as if for walking” (Keil & Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, The Pentateuch, Vol. II, p. 167), located at the corners to raise the Ark off the floor, how high is not disclosed. It seems the rings were mounted immediately above the feet, if not on the feet themselves, for the lower the rings were located, the higher the Ark would ride when being carried on the shoulders of the Levites.—Ex. 25:12-16; Num. 4:5, 15; 1 Ki. 8:8; 1 Chron. 15:15.
INAUGURATION AND USE
Bezalel and the wise-hearted ones assisting him followed the plans explicitly, constructing the Ark from the materials contributed by the people. (Ex. 35:5, 7, 10, 12; 37:1-9) When the tabernacle was completed and set up a year after the Exodus, Moses took the two stone tablets of the Law and put them into the Ark. (Deuteronomy 10:1-5 indicates that a temporary ark made of acacia wood housed the tablets during only the few months’ interval from the time Moses received them in the mountain until they were transferred to the Ark made by Bezalel.) Next, Moses inserted the poles in the rings of the Ark, laid the cover on, brought it into the tent, and put up the screen that was to separate the Holy from the Most Holy. Then, as part of the inauguration ceremony Moses anointed the Ark and all other furnishings with oil. From then on, when the priests disassembled the tabernacle to move camp, the same dividing screen was used to cover the Ark, together with additional sealskins and blue cloth, to prevent the people from looking upon it ‘for the least moment of time, lest they die.’—Ex. 40:3, 9, 20, 21; Num. 3:30, 31; 4:5, 6, 19, 20; 7:9; Deut 10:8; 31:9; see TABERNACLE.
The Ark served as a holy archive