This ark of the testimony is better known by its alternate name, “ark of the covenant” (Deuteronomy 31:26. It is also called “the ark of God” (1 Samuel 3:3).  It was a sacred portable chest that symbolized God’s grace and guidance in the lives of the Israelites.

God had already given instructions for the building of the ark (Exodus 25:10-22).  In this passage, He directed Moses and Aaron to place it inside the completed tabernacle. It belonged in the most sacred room of the building-the Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:34; see note on Exodus 40:2).

Inside the ark was a copy of the law, or testimony, that God had revealed to Moses to direct the lives of the Israelites as His covenant people (Exodus 25:21).
According to Hebrews 9:4, the ark also contained Aaron’s rod and a memorial sample of the manna that God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness (see note on Exodus 16:32).


  1. Priests carried the ark ahead of the people when they crossed the Jordan River into Canaan. The river was miraculously divided when their feet touched the water (Joshua 3:6-16).
  2. The Philistines captured the ark (1 Samuel 4:10-11), then returned it to the Israelites when they were afflicted with a strange disease (1 Samuel 5:8-10; 6:1-15).
  3. King David danced with joy before the ark when it was lodged in a special place he had prepared for it in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:1, 29).

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