Monday, October 25, 2010

A Box Full of Miracles

After the death of Moses, God commissioned Joshua to lead the migrant Israelites into the Promised Land.  The magnificent Ark of the Covenant became his omnipotent ally.
When the Israelites followed the Ark across the Jordan to invade the cities of Canaan, the waters flowing from the north rose up in one great heap, as though harnessed by an invisible dam, cutting off the flow of water to the south.  Thus the sons of Israel crossed the Jordan on dry land. 

Then, Joshua set his sights on Jericho.  They marched around the city once a day for six days.  On the seventh day, seven priests, carrying seven trumpets before the Ark of the Covenant, marched around the city seven times blowing their horns.  After their seventh round trip, the priests made a long distinctive blast with their trumpets as a signal to the sons of Israel.  The Israelites shouted in unison and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

When their conquest of Palestine was complete, Joshua and the sons of Israel assembled at Shiloh.  There, they set up the portable sanctuary called the tabernacle.  In that holy tent, they placed the Ark of the Covenant.

About a century later, Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and was soundly defeated losing about four thousand men.  When the Israelites returned to their camp at Ebenezer, they sent a message to Shiloh requesting the Ark of the Covenant to deliver them from their enemies, for Almighty God dwelled between the two golden cherubim.  Because the Ark came into camp accompanied by the two corrupt sons of Eli the priest, the Philistines were once again triumphant slaying thirty thousand Israelite soldiers, capturing the Ark, and killing Eli's two sons.

The Ark remained in the land of the Philistines for seven months and those who didn't die were smitten with tumours.  Therefore they returned the Ark, carrying it outside the borders of Philistia to the neighbouring city of Kiriath-jearim.

After King David captured the Jebusite fortress and built his throne city, he transported the Ark from Kiriath-jearim to the City of David.  There he pitched a tent to house the Ark and a grand celebration ensued.  Because David was surrounded on all sides by war, the construction of the Temple was left to his son, Solomon, who was blessed with a more peaceful reign.

King Solomon built the temple on Mount Moriah for the express purpose of housing the Ark of the Covenant.  The priests placed the Ark in a golden room at the back of the temple.  That innermost sanctuary was dubbed the Holy of Holies.  Golden panels riveted with golden nails lined the walls, floor, and ceiling.  Two cherubim which were 15 feet high and had wing spans of 15 feet overshadowed the Ark.  They were also overlaid with pure gold.  Twenty metric tons of gold went into the construction of the Holy of Holies.
And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen, that they could not be counted or numbered.  Then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

Solomon proclaimed, “The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.  I have built Thee a lofty house, and a place for Thy dwelling forever.”  Then Solomon said a prayer, before all the assembly of Israel, dedicating the temple to the Lord.  After his praise and supplications, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.


  1. Scriptural references: 2 Chronicles 5:6,13,14; 6:1,2; 7:1

  2. According to 2 Chr. 3:8, 600 talents of gold were used to build the Holy of Holies. The weight symbolized by a talent changed over the course of Israelite history. It was roughly between 55 & 133 lbs. At the time of Solomon, it is estimated that a talent was the equivalent of 73.5 lbs. A metric ton is about 2205 lbs.