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Ark of the Covenant

II. Purpose.—Its purpose was to contain inviolate the divine autograph of the two tables,

that“covenant” from which it derived its title. It was also probably a reliquary for the pot of manna and the rod of Aaron.

III. History.—Before David’s time its abode was frequently shifted. It sojourned among

several, probably Levitical , families , 1 Sam. 7:1; 2 Sam. 6:3, 11; 1 Chron. 13:13; 15:24, 25, in

the border villages of eastern Judah, and did not take its place in the tabernacle, but dwelt in

curtains, i.e., in a separate tent pitched for it in Jerusalem by David. Subsequently the

temple,when completed, received, in the installation of the ark in its shrine, the signal of its

inauguration by the effulgence of divine glory instantly manifested. It was probably taken

captive or destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, 2Esdr. 10:22, so that there was no ark in the second


William Smith, Smith’s Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986).

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