Kiriath-jearim and Beth-shemesh in Israel

April 8, 2016

Today Ferrell Jenkins and I visited sites in Jerusalem, but for our post for now I wanted to note a couple of biblical sites we visited yesterday.

One was Kiriath-jearim. This location is of importance because the Ark of the Covenant was there from the days of Samuel (after Eli’s death and the Philistine destruction of Shiloh 1 Sam. 4-5). We read in 1 Samuel 6:21, “So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, ‘The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD; come down and take it up to you.'”

At Kiriath-jearim. Our Lay of the Ark of the Covenant. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

At Kiriath-jearim. Our Lay of the Ark of the Covenant. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Once the ark was returned to Israel by the Philistine enemies, ca. 1100 BC, it would remain there until King David made Jerusalem his capital, ca. 1003 BC, i.e. for 100 years. But first the ark came to Beth-shemesh. The biblical narrative explains how the hand of God was involved as two milk cows, with their calves kept behind, pulled a cart carrying the ark straight from Ekron of the Philistines to the border town of Beth-shemesh of Israel (1 Sam. 6).

Beth Shemesh, where the ark was returned from the Philistines. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Beth-shemesh, where the ark was returned from the Philistines. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Our photo shows the suggested site in Beth-shemesh (in foreground) where the cows pulling the ark were slain as sacrifices. Our view looks toward Philistia in the distance (left from center), the direction from which the ark would have come. As stated above (1 Sam. 6:21), from Beth-shemesh the ark was taken to Kiriath-jearim, where it remained until the days of King David.

We have previously posted here on Kiriath-jearim and here on Beth-shemesh, with aerial photo.


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.