The Ark of the Covenant After Shiloh

September 26, 2011

In previous posts we have seen Shiloh as the location of the tabernacle in the days of Joshua through the days of the judge and high priest Eli and into the judgeship of Samuel (Josh. 18:1ff; 1 Samuel 1-4).

The Philistines captured the ark at the battle of Aphek, and then the evidence is that they went on to destroy Shiloh. Upon realizing that they were being plagued by God because they were in possession of the ark of the covenant, they allowed it to return to Israel’s territory, specifically the tribe of Judah (1 Sam. 5-6). First the ark when to Beth-shemesh, and then was taken to Kiriath-jearim. It would remain there until the days of David, about 120 years or so.

Kiriath-jerarin, Site of Ark of Covenant for over a century. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Our photo shows Kiriath-jeream, which Todd Bolen notes is

also known as Tel Qiryat Ye’arim, Baalah, Baalah of Judah, Baale-judah, Baale of Judah, Deir el-Azar, Gibeath-Kiriath-Jearim (?), Kirath, Kiriath, Kiriath-arim, Kiriath-jearim, Kiriath Baal, Kiriath-baal, Kirjath, Kirjatharim, Kirjathbaal, Kirjathjearim, Kuryet el-‘Enab, Qaryet el-Enab, Qiryat Yearim.

To which we might also add the designation, Abu Ghosh.

But as they say, “the plot thickens.” Though the ark was at Kiriath-jearim until David 8th year as king (at which time he moved it to Jerusalem), the tabernacle and altar of burnt offering were at Gibeon. We plan to deal with that in upcoming posts.

The Tabernacle

November 4, 2010

I am enjoying currently taking part in the lectures for Athens Bible School in Athens, AL. My assignment is “Shadows From An Ancient Priesthood”, showing how in many ways the OT priests foreshadow NT priests, i.e., Christians.  As Peter said, “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).

This study reminded me of a tabernacle model situated south of Jericho in 2005.


Tabernacle Model in Wilderness S. of Jericho. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.


In the photo you can see the courtyard, altar for burnt offerings, the laver in which the priests would wash, and the tabernacle itself.

Behind the veil was the ark of the covenant.  Only the High Priest could enter here, and only on the annual day of atonement.


Ark of Covenant in Most Holy Place. Model. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.


Exodus 25:20 states: “And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.

I hope you find these photos useful in your own teaching. Click on image for larger view.


October 6, 2010

In the biblical period of the Judges, when Eli was High Priest and judge, God allowed the Philistines to defeat apostate Israel, even allowing the Philistines to capture the ark of the covenant.  But as the Philistines gloated over their “prize” they were stricken with plagues.  This continued as the ark was moved from city to city; they were getting severely sick, and some died.

The Philistine leaders then decided to try an experiment to determine whether this was some strange coincidence or if in fact they were objects of the wrath of the God of Israel. They took two cows, each of which had a calf, and harnessed the cows to a new cart.  They secured the calves in their stalls.  The natural inclination of the cows would be to go to their calves.  So the Philistine leaders reasoned in this manner:

Take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go. Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance (1 Samuel 6:8-9).


Aerial shot of Beth-shemesh. Ark was returned here by Philistines. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.


The Philistines placed the ark on the cart along with offerings to the Lord.  The text continues, “And the cows took the straight way in the direction of Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh” (v.12).

Can you imagine those cows mooing and crying as they made a bee-line from Philistia to Israelite territory, against their instinct but forced to yield to the hand of a Sovereign God?  Our photo above shows the ruins of biblical Beth-shemesh, the site referenced in the text.

From Beth-shemesh the ark was moved to Kiriath Jearim, where it would remain until the reign of David (2 Sam. 7:1).

Click on image for higher resolution.

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