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Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a gold-covered wooden chest described in the Book of Exodus as containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. According to various texts within the Hebrew Bible, it also contained Aaron's rod and a pot of manna.

God instructed Moses on Mount Sinai during his 40-day stay upon the mountain within the thick cloud and darkness where God was and he was shown the pattern for the tabernacle and furnishings of the Ark to be made of shittim wood to house the Tablets of Stone.

Approximately one year after the Israelites' exodus from Egypt, the Ark was created according to the pattern given to Moses by God when the Israelites were encamped at the foot of biblical Mount Sinai. Thereafter, the gold-plated acacia chest was carried by its staves while en route by the Levites approximately 2,000 cubits (approximately 800 meters or 2,600 feet) in advance of the people when on the march or before the Israelite army, the host of fighting men.

When carried, the Ark was always hidden under a large veil made of skins and blue cloth, always carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the priests and the Levites who carried it. God was said to have spoken with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover. When at rest the tabernacle was set up and the holy Ark was placed under the veil of the covering the staves of it crossing the middle side bars to hold it up off the ground.

It is to be 2½ cubits in length, 1½ in breadth, and 1½ in height (approximately 131×79×79 cm or 52×31×31 in). Then it is to be gilded entirely with gold, and a crown or molding of gold is to be put around it. Four rings of gold are to be attached to its four corners, two on each side, and through these rings staves of shittim-wood overlaid with gold for carrying the Ark are to be inserted; and these are not to be removed. A golden lid, the kapporet (traditionally "mercy seat" in Christian translations) which is covered with 2 golden cherubim, is to be placed above the Ark.

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