The Message of the Covenant

The True Fate of the Ark of the Covenant

Chapter 3

The Message of the Covenant

The true fate of the Ark of the Covenant is actually recorded in the Bible and is one of the mysteries to be revealed in the Last Days just before the return of Messiah. In this chapter, the true fate of the Ark of the Covenant as recorded in the Tanakh is examined.

As discussed in the previous chapter, the last clear and certain location of the bona fide Ark of the Covenant that can be determined from scripture was at the tent tabernacle that King David pitched for it in the City of David, which is also known as Zion. Subsequently, the Ark was transported to the site of the new temple on Mount Moriah. There are later mentions of an Ark in scripture, but clear accounting of its whereabouts beyond the opening of Solomon's Temple is lacking.

It is certain that the genuine Ark of the Covenant was in the tent tabernacle that King David pitched for it in the City of David. However, beyond that point the factual whereabouts of the bona fide Ark of the Covenant become muddled. While over the years some have determined that the Ark of the Covenant is no longer important, this is certainly not the case. The Ark is far from unimportant today and determining its location is one of the most important undertakings of all time.

When Solomon's Temple was completed, the Israelites brought the Ark of the Covenant from the tent tabernacle that King David had pitched for it in the City of David upon Mount Zion to the new temple located on Mount Moriah during a grand feast during the seventh month (1 Kings 8 & 2 Chronicles 5). Both of the scriptural accounts of that event are included below and should be read very carefully because there is a whole lot going on in these narratives.

The Opening Ceremony of Solomon's Temple

1 Kings 8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 4 And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; even these did the priests and the Levites bring up. 5 And king Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude. 6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto its place, into the Sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. 7 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 8 And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the holy place, even before the Sanctuary; but they could not be seen without; and there they are unto this day. 9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 12 Then spoke Solomon: the Lord hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon wrought for the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had hallowed; even the silver, and the gold, and all the vessels, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God. 2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month. 4 And all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. 5 And they brought up the ark, and the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; these did the priests and the Levites bring up. 6 And king Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude. 7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto its place, into the Sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. 8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 9 And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the Sanctuary; but they could not be seen without; and there they are unto this day. 10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. 11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place--for all the priests that were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their courses; 12 also the Levites who were the singers, all of them, even Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and their brethren, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets-- 13 it came even to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord: 'for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever'; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. (JPS)

The previous accounts from both Kings and Chronicles are nearly identical. The Levites brought the Ark of the Covenant up from the tent that David pitched for it on Mount Zion to the new temple on Mount Moriah. The priests also brought the actual tent that could also be described as the "Tabernacle of David" and all of its vessels and furnishings to the new temple on Mount Moriah at this time. After the priests brought the ark up out of Zion, they set it down in the courtyard while Solomon and the people began sacrificing vast numbers of animals at the nearby altar.

Dedication of Solomon's Temple

At the dedication of Solomon's Temple, one will notice that the genuine Ark of the Covenant was brought to Moriah from the Tabernacle of David. One should also notice the peculiar mention that when it was installed into the Most Holy Place, the poles were peculiarly long. It is certain that the Ark brought up from King David's Tabernacle was the original because there are detailed records of its whereabouts from the time that Uzzah got whacked for touching it up until this move. However, it is evident that these notably long poles must refer to an entirely different ark because this is the first time this detail has ever been noted in its lengthy histories.

Apparently, what occurred during this ceremony is that Solomon had the priests switch the real Ark with a counterfeit that he had made in the plain of the Jordan when he had the other new items for the new temple made. Then, the real Ark was placed in underground storage at the temple while the counterfeit was installed in the Most Holy Place. While this may initially sound implausible, there are substantial historical and scriptural references to this effect.

For example, to interpret the following passage from Jeremiah correctly about this event with its full implications, recall from chapter two that the real Ark was frequently referred to simply as G-d and that the Glory of the L-rd or Chabod appeared mostly in conjunction with the presence of the real Ark of the Covenant. Therefore, Jeremiah is announcing that the Ark of the Covenant was switched with a counterfeit.

Jeremiah 2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. (NIV)
(Emphasis added)

If this is not what Jeremiah is talking about then just exactly what is he talking about? He must be talking about something. Frankly, what Jeremiah is saying is that Israel switched gods - that is to say - they replaced YWHW with something else. It is a very literal passage. In order to do this it must necessarily mean that they replaced the throne of the L-rd with something else because this was the only physical manifestation of His presence.

One can be certain that the ark that the Levites brought up to the temple out of Zion was the genuine Ark because there are detailed accounts of its whereabouts since the time that G-d whacked Uzzah for touching it. After that incident, it was taken to the home of Obed-Edom where it remained for three months. It was then taken to the City of David at Zion and installed in the tent tabernacle that King David pitched. There it remained until Solomon's Temple was completed and the Levites removed it from Zion to Mount Moriah. Zion was the Holy Mount and scripture clearly states that Zion is to be the dwelling place of THE NAME of the L-rd Almighty. The Levites removed the Ark from Zion and then took it to Solomon's Temple located upon Mount Moriah. Obviously, Mount Zion is not Mount Moriah in the same vein that Mount Everest is not the Matterhorn.

Notice that after the ark was taken into the Holy of Holies, there is the remark that the poles of the ark are conspicuously long. No matter how far one digs through scripture, this is the only place where there is a mention about the poles of the ark being particularly long. Why was this not noted at Horeb or at any other point? Why was it not noted at Shiloh or the City of David? The most obvious and logical answer is because this is the first time that the poles are remarkably long. Since the poles used to carry the Ark were never to be removed from it, it is apparent that there must be something unusual about them if this is the first place in scripture where their length is a noticeable detail of interest.

There is a unique mention that the poles were removed from the Ark that only appears in the King James translation. Since this does not appear in other reliable word-for-word translations, it seems highly probable that this is an inconsistency in the King James Version. Nevertheless, the poles were NEVER to be removed from the Ark as is clearly delineated at Horeb. Some scholars have produced an explanation for this detail that it signified that the Ark had come to a permanent rest. Obviously, this is far from true. If YHWH is indeed omniscient then the prohibition was in fact still in effect simply because there can be no doubt that the Ark did not remain in this location in perpetuity. In fact, the location did not remain either.

Contents

The narrative also notes that there was nothing in the ark except the stone tables placed there by Moses at Horeb. This detail obviously must refer to the original ark. However, due to the construction of the sentence, it is not necessary that this statement refer to the ark whose mention preceded it. It is nothing more than a disparate observation about the contents of the real ark. The real ark could have been in Aruba and that statement would still be valid.

1 Kings 8: 9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 5:10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The significance of this fact is really more what is not in the ark rather than what is in the ark. From shortly before the time that Joshua replaced Moses, the ark also contained a pot of manna and Aaron's staff that budded. Suddenly, those items are not in the ark and this is a clear indication that something is very wrong. This is actually a clear indication of exactly what is wrong and what the results will be.

Analysis

The Ark that the Levites brought from the tent-tabernacle of David had to be the genuine Ark because of the detailed histories of its location up until this time. Furthermore, it is noted that the stone tables placed into the Ark by Moses are still in the Ark.

But what about the long poles? The long poles are apparently on a different ark - a fake that is known by several names including Solomon's Legacy. This counterfeit ark should not have been made at all and it was constructed clandestinely. Not only was a new ark made, but also a new set of stone tables whose wording is not exactly the same as the originals. In addition to all of that, the counterfeit ark was made in a very special place.

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto HaShem, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret.
And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. (NIV)
(Emphasis added)
Raise Your Heads, O Gates
The gates gave honor to the holy Ark. For, when King Solomon made the Ark, he made it 10 cubits long, and the entrance gates of the Temple Sanctuary were 10 cubits wide. Thus, it wasn't possible for the Ark to fit through the gates. At that time, King Solomon called out, "Raise your heads, O gates, and let the King of glory enter, (from Psalm 24:7)" alluding to the Holy Ark and the Tablets therein. In response to Solomon's plea, the gates uplifted themselves and permitted the Ark to enter. For this reason, the enemy forces did not destroy the gates but they sunk (intact) into the ground.
(Excerpt from: Highlights of Moshiach by Rabbi Abraham Stone)
(Emphasis added)

This second ark is the factor that has confused the fate of the Ark of the Covenant for thousands of years. Because there are two arks, there are mentions of an ark in the narratives long after the original disappeared. While one would think that a counterfeit ark would be unimportant, this is definitely not the case. This counterfeit ark is nearly as important as the real one. In fact, it is without a doubt the second most important thing that has ever been on this planet. The real Ark of the Covenant with its real stone tables is the most important thing that has ever existed on earth. Both arks still exist today.

Despite the fact that King Solomon constructed the counterfeit ark surreptitiously, it is apparent from the prophets that he simply had the Levites switch the arks for him. This is something that the Levites should have known better than to do and something that they should not have done. Hence, it is an act that most Levitical descendants will be responsible in perpetuity.

Jeremiah 2:4 Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel; 5 Thus saith the Lord: what unrighteousness have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after things of nought, and are become nought? 6 Neither said they: 'Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt; that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?' 7 And I brought you into a land of fruitful fields, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made My heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not: 'Where is the Lord?' And they that handle the law knew Me not, and the rulers transgressed against Me; the prophets also prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. 9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children's children will I plead. 10 For pass over to the isles of the Kittites, and see, and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there hath been such a thing. 11 Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? But My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 44:17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image; he falleth down unto it and worshippeth, and prayeth unto it, and saith: 'Deliver me, for thou art my god.' 18 They know not, neither do they understand; for their eyes are bedaubed, that they cannot see, and their hearts, that they cannot understand. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 45:4 For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel Mine elect, I have called thee by thy name, I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me. 5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, beside Me there is no God; I have girded thee, though thou hast not known Me; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 45:15 Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 45:16 4:22 For My people is foolish, they know Me not; they are sottish children, and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 5:7 Wherefore should I pardon thee? The children have forsaken Me, and sworn by no-gods; and when I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled themselves in troops at the harlots' houses. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that I were in the wilderness, in a lodging-place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people, and go from them! For they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 2 And they bend their tongue, their bow of falsehood; and they are grown mighty in the land, but not for truth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and Me they know not, saith the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is relevant to draw attention to the many figurative mentions of adulterers and adultery in scripture as well as mentions of harlots. Except in certain instances where specific individuals committed adultery, this figure of speech is used consistently in scripture as a euphemism for this exact act of replacing the ark with a counterfeit. Furthermore, except in reference to certain individuals the word harlot is used consistently in prophetic scripture as a metaphor for Israel exclusive of any other groups.

In the next chapter, we will study the counterfeit ark and its construction in detail.

Harbingers of Ruin

The Chabod

Scripture records that when the priests brought the Ark into the Holy of Holies, they had to leave and could not perform their services because the Glory of the L-rd or Chabod - also known as the Shekhinah - appeared as thick-darkness in the temple. Apparently, the temple was filled with darkness. Solomon states that the L-rd told him that HE would dwell in thick darkness. Scripture makes no assertion that this statement is valid, but certainly and faithfully quotes King Solomon's words. This singular darkness is peculiar, remarkable, extraordinary and noticeably unique when compared with any other mentions of the Glory of the L-rd. For comparison, one may wish to consider the fact that the L-rd was so luminous during the life of Moses that even Moses became radiant. Therefore, it is evident that the Glory of the L-rd was not thick darkness during the days of Moses.

1 Kings 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 12 Then spoke Solomon: the Lord hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Lamentations 2:1 How hath the Lord covered with a cloud the daughter of Zion in His anger! He hath cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and hath not remembered His footstool in the day of His anger. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 John 1:5 And this is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practise the truth. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 59:8 The way of peace they know not, and there is no right in their goings; they have made them crooked paths, whosoever goeth therein doth not know peace. 9 Therefore is justice far from us, neither doth righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but behold darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom. 10 We grope for the wall like the blind, yea, as they that have no eyes do we grope; we stumble at noonday as in the twilight; we are in dark places like the dead. 11 We all growl like bears, and mourn sore like doves; we look for right, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before Thee, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are present to us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: 13 Transgressing and denying the Lord, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and perverseness, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14 And justice is turned away backward, and righteousness standeth afar off; for truth hath stumbled in the broad place, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 And truth is lacking, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice; 16 And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him; 17 And He put on righteousness as a coat of mail, and a helmet of salvation upon His head, and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompense. 19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; for distress will come in like a flood, which the breath of the Lord driveth. 20 And a redeemer will come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. 21 And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There are other instances in scripture where the priests could not stand to minister in the tabernacle due to the Glory of the L-rd, but the Chabod was not described as thick darkness. If one looks at earlier mentions of the Chabod back to the time that the Israelites left Egypt, the description is not of a dark cloud, but rather, scripture notes that the Chabod has the appearance of fire.

Exodus 24:15 And Moses went up into the mount, and the cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

When Moses received the Ten Commandments atop Mount Horeb, the narratives note clouds, fire and deep darkness, but the Glory of the L-rd is apparently quite distinct from the darkness. After all, it is noted as having the appearance of fire. In fact, it seems that the purpose of the darkness was to display the glory similar to the way that jewelers employ midnight blue velvet to display gems in jewelry store windows. It is relevant to pause and simply consider that the very definition of the word glory connotes something luminous and not something of darkness.

Deuteronomy 4:11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the heart of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness. 12 And the Lord spoke unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of words, but ye saw no form; only a voice. 13 And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even the ten words; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. 15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves -- for ye saw no manner of form on the day that the Lord spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire -- 16 lest ye deal corruptly, and make you a graven image, even the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the heaven, 18 the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth; 19 and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou be drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath allotted unto all the peoples under the whole heaven. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

When the Israelites left Egypt with Pharaoh's armies in hot pursuit and appeared to be trapped by the Red Sea, both a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire appeared simultaneously. This concurrent manifestation of the two pillars occurred immediately before the waters of the Red Sea were divided. The Israelites subsequently escaped and the Egyptians summarily drowned. The pillar of fire was upon the children of Israel to illuminate their pre-dawn journey through the sea. The pillar of cloud producing darkness impeded the Egyptians. Therefore, this manifestation of a dark cloud was obviously a harbinger of doom or omen of ill just as similar symbolism portends events in ordinary life. If this instance is considered as a symbolic example, then obviously the dark cloud is a sign of catastrophe. As a side note, some construe the following mention of the angel of the L-rd to be an example of a theophany, but this is not the case. The angel of the L-rd is an angel, not The L-rd. Angels are created beings. It is important to keep in mind that the L-rd was amply present in the guise of Himself during this instance. Furthermore, one can gain a great deal of insight into this particular instance from the Kebra Nagast.

Exodus 14:19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them; 20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness here, yet gave it light by night there; and the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that the Lord looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, and made them to drive heavily; so that the Egyptians said: 'Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.' 26 And the Lord said unto Moses: 'Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.' 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea; there remained not so much as one of them. 29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord; and they believed in the Lord, and in His servant Moses. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Kebra Nagast contains supporting historical information about these events. There are some anomalies in the vocabulary of the Ethiopic text in that the Ark of the Covenant is routinely referred to as Zion or the Tabernacle of the Law of God. Nevertheless, this ancient text provides some very revealing information.

Kebra Nagast 48. How they carried away Zion
And behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared again to AZÂRYÂS (Azariah) and he stood up above him like a pillar of fire, and he filled the house with his light. And he raised up AZÂRYÂS and said unto him, "Stand up, be strong, and rouse up thy brother ÊLMEYÂS, and 'ABESÂ, and MÂKARÎ, and take the pieces of wood and I will open for thee the doors of the sanctuary. And take thou the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and thou shalt carry it without trouble and discomfort. And I, inasmuch as I have been commanded by God to be with it for ever, will be thy guide when thou shalt carry it away."
(Kebra Nagast; 48. How they carried away Zion) (Emphasis added)
Kebra Nagast 52. How Zadok the Priest Departed
And they loaded the wagons, and the horses, and the mules in order to depart, and they set out on their journey prosperously, and they continued to travel on. And MICHAEL the [Arch] Angel marched in front, and he spread out [his wings] and made them to march through the sea as upon dry land, and upon the dry land he cut a path for them and spreading himself out like a cloud over them he hid them from the fiery heat of the sun. And as for their wagons, no man hauled his wagon, but he himself (i.e., MICHAEL) marched with the wagons, and whether it was men, or horses, or mules, or loaded camels, each was raised above the ground to the height of a cubit; and all those who rode upon beasts were lifted up above their backs to the height of one span of a man, and all the various kinds of baggage which were loaded on the beasts, as well as those who were mounted on them, were raised up to the height of one span of a man, and the beasts were lifted up to the height of one span of a man. And every one travelled in the wagons like a ship on the sea when the wind bloweth, and like a bat through the air when the desire of his belly urgeth him to devour his companions, and like an eagle when his body glideth above the wind. Thus did they travel; there was none in front and none behind, and they were disturbed neither on the right hand nor on the left.
(Kebra Nagast; 52. How Zadok the Priest Departed) (Emphasis added)

Ezekiel recounts perhaps the most detailed description of the luminous characteristics of the Chabod.

Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with a fire flashing up, so that a brightness was round about it; and out of the midst thereof as the colour of electrum, out of the midst of the fire. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
(Electrum is a pale-yellow alloy of gold and silver.)

Considering all of the details about the Chabod and especially its luminous characteristics as recorded by Ezekiel, it seems that the Chabod typically had an appearance something like the aurorae of the Polar Regions, but with a predominately-golden color.

Nevertheless, at the opening of Solomon's Temple scripture notes that the Glory of the L-rd had the appearance of thick darkness, a dark cloud as it were. If one had ever heard of any symbolic meaning to a dark cloud hanging over something, that person might construe the appearance of the Chabod as a thick dark cloud at the opening of Solomon's Temple to be a bad omen.

Lamentations 2:1 How hath the Lord covered with a cloud the daughter of Zion in His anger! He hath cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and hath not remembered His footstool in the day of His anger. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Genesis 19:27 And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the Plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Zephaniah 1:14 The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord, wherein the mighty man crieth bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of the horn and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high towers. 17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord'S wrath; but the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy; for He will make and end, yea, a terrible end, of all them that dwell in the earth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 2:5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. 6 For Thou hast forsaken Thy people the house of Jacob; for they are replenished from the east, and with soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the brood of aliens. 7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land also is full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots. 8 Their land also is full of idols; every one worshippeth the work of his own hands, that which his own fingers have made. 9 And man boweth down, and man lowereth himself; and Thou canst not bear with them. 10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of His majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For the Lord of hosts hath a day upon all that is proud and lofty, and upon all that is lifted up, and it shall be brought low; 13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; 14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; 15 And upon every lofty tower, and upon every fortified wall; 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all delightful imagery. 17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols shall utterly pass away. 19 And men shall go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake mightily the earth. 20 In that day a man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats; 21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crevices of the crags, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of His majesty, when he ariseth to shake mightily the earth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

What's wrong with the following picture?

1 Kings 10:14 And the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six (666) talents of gold, 15 besides what [came] by the dealers, and by the traffic of the merchants, and by all the kings of Arabia, and by the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold, -- he applied six hundred [shekels] of gold to one target; 17 and three hundred shields of beaten gold, -- he applied three minas of gold to one shield; and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 And the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with refined gold: 19 the throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was rounded behind; and there were arms on each side at the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the arms; 20 and twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: (6-6-6) there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of precious gold: none were of silver, [which] was not of the least account in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had on the sea a Tarshish-fleet, with the fleet of Hiram: once in three years came the Tarshish-fleet, bringing gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 And king Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and clothing, and armour, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year. 26 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had a thousand four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; and he placed them in the chariot-cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he as the sycamores that are in the lowland for abundance. 28 And the exportation of horses that Solomon had was from Egypt: a caravan of the king's merchants fetched a drove [of horses], at a price. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred [shekels] of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and so they brought [them] by their means, for all the kings of the Hittites and for the kings of Syria. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 11:1 Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel: 'Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods'; Solomon did cleave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Returning to the main subject in this section, one may need to be reminded that the Chabod is essentially light. This may illustrated more clearly in New Covenant scripture such as the following example:

1 John 1:5 And this is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practise the truth. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

This manifestation of the Chabod as a dark cloud at the dedication of Solomon's Temple was the last appearance of the Chabod in the narratives or historical records in scripture.

Recall from chapter 2 that Chabod also has a variant name of Shekhinah or Shekinah.

Chabod or Shekhinah
In the Apocrypha and New Testament
Since the Shekinah is light, those passages of the Apocrypha and New Testament which mention radiance, and in which the Greek text reads δόξα, refer to the Shekinah, there being no other Greek equivalent for the word. Thus, according to Luke ii. 9, "the glory of the Lord [δόζα Ḳuρĺou] shone round about them" (comp. II Peter i. 17; Eph. i. 6; II Cor. iv. 6); and it is supposed that in John i. 14 and Rev. xxi. 3 the words σκηνοũν and σκηνή were expressly selected as implying the Shekinah. The idea that God dwells in man and that man is His temple (e.g., Col. ii. 9; II Cor. vi. 16; John xiv. 23) is merely a more realistic conception of the resting of the Shekinah on man.
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Shekinah; by Kaufmann Kohler and Ludwig Blau) (Emphasis added)
Nature of the Shekinah Maimonides ("Moreh," i. 28 [Munk's translation, "Guide des Egarés," i. 58, 73, 88, 286, 288; iii. 43, 93]; Maybaum, l.c. pp. 5, 34) regarded the Shekinah, like the Memra, the Yekara, and the Logos, as a distinct entity, and as a light created to be an intermediary between God and the world;……
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Shekinah; by Kaufmann Kohler and Ludwig Blau) (Emphasis added)
The Shekinah as Light
The Hellenists, both Jews and Gentiles, characterized the god of the Jews as unseen, and translated the Tetragrammaton by "invisible" (àóρατος). In like manner Hag. 5b declares that "God sees, but is not seen," although was rendered by δόζα ("glory"), even in the Septuagint (Deissmann, "Hellenisirung des Semitischen Monotheismus," p. 5). According to this view, the Shekinah appeared as physical light; so that Targ. to Num. vi. 2 says, "Yhwh shall cause His Shekinah to shine for thee." A Gentile asked the patriarch Gamaliel (c. 100): "Thou sayest that wherever ten are gathered together the Shekinah appears; how many are there?" Gamaliel answered: "As the sun, which is but one of the countless servants of God, giveth light to all the world, so in a much greater degree doth the Shekinah" (Sanh. 39a). The emperor (Hadrian) said to Rabbi Joshua b. Hananiah, "I desire greatly to see thy God." Joshua requested him to stand facing the brilliant summer sun, and said, "Gaze upon it." The emperor said, "I can not." "Then," said Joshua, "if thou art not able to look upon a servant of God, how much less mayest thou gaze upon the Shekinah?"(Hul. 60a). Rab Sheshet (c. 300) was blind, and could not perceive when the Shekinah appeared in the Shaf we-Yatib synagogue of Nehardea, where it rested when it was not in the synagogue at Huzal. In the former synagogue Samuel and Levi heard the sound of its approach and fled (Meg. 29a). The Shekinah tinkled like a bell (Sotah 9b), while the Holy Spirit also manifested itself to human senses in light and sound. The Holy Spirit had the form of a dove, and the Shekinah had wings. Thus he who acknowledged God took refuge under the wings of the Shekinah (Shab. 31a; Sanh. 96a); and Moses when dead lay in its pinions (Sifre, Deut. 355; Sotah 13b; Targumic passages in Maybaum l.c. p. 65). The saints enjoy the light of the Shekinah in heaven (Ber. 17a, 64a; Shab. 30a; B. B. 10a).
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Shekinah; by Kaufmann Kohler and Ludwig Blau) (Emphasis added)

Fire from Heaven

There is another indication of impending calamity apart from the physical appearance of the Chabod. In the following example, one will note that fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering at the same time as the Chabod appeared as a dark cloud at the opening of King Solomon's Temple. It is important to compare this instance with similar events because one can put together a clear picture of the true course of circumstances by studying the small details. There is a very similar instance recorded in Leviticus 9 and that passage is included below for comparison with the corresponding excerpt from Chronicles.

Leviticus 9:23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and came out, and blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. 24 And there came forth fire from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

If one carefully examines what is going on here, they will note that in Leviticus 9 the fire came forth from before the L-rd, thereby implying that it sprang forth from before the Ark, while in 2 Chronicles 7 the fire came down from heaven. Other instances of this can be found in the accounts about Korah and his followers and the case where King David sacrificed on the threshing floor (1 Chronicles 21:26). In the case with David, he was some distance from the Ark and fire came down from heaven.

Since one would expect the fire to come forth from before the L-rd if He was in the temple courtyard with His Ark parked right before the altar, it is odd that the fire comes down from heaven. The point is that G-d is not going to dwell in Solomon's Temple as He did in the tabernacle; he had already withdrawn Himself as additional scriptural proof establishes. In 2 Chronicles 7:1, the fire still came forth from before the L-rd, but He is now dwelling in heaven. He is no longer enthroned between the two cherubim. The L-rd was in essence gone before Solomon's opening ceremony. There is actually a great amount of additional scriptural support for this from the prophets.

Isaiah 45:15 Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. 16 They shall be ashamed, yea, confounded, all of them; they shall go in confusion together that are makers of idols. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? 19 The image perchance, which the craftsman hath melted, and the goldsmith spread over with gold, the silversmith casting silver chains? 20 A holm-oak is set apart, he chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning craftsman to set up an image, that shall not be moved. 21 Know ye not? hear ye not? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He that sitteth above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; 23 That bringeth princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as a thing of nought. 24 Scarce are they planted, scarce are they sown, scarce hath their stock taken root in the earth; when He bloweth upon them, they wither, and the whirlwind taketh them away as stubble. 25 To whom then will ye liken Me, that I should be equal? saith the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see: who hath created these? He that bringeth out their host by number, He calleth them all by name; by the greatness of His might, and for that He is strong in power, not one faileth. 27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel: 'My way is hid from the Lord, and my right is passed over from my God'? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Exodus 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Fate of the Real Ark

Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon because of his fame and she wanted to test him with hard questions (1 Kings 10 & 2 Chronicles 9). One might say that Solomon's great wisdom enabled him to understand dark sentences. Be aware that riddles were very popular in ancient times. She brought a very large caravan of gifts for Solomon and the account of her visit says that he answered all of her questions - nothing was too hard for him.

2 Chronicles 9:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great train, and camels that bore spices and gold in abundance, and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she spoke with him of all that was in her heart. 2 And Solomon told her all her questions; and there was not any thing hid from Solomon which he told her not. 3 And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 4 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 9:3 And the queen of Sheba seeth the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he hath built, 4 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the standing of his ministers, and their clothing, and his stewards, and their clothing, and his burnt-offering that he offered up in the house of the Lord, and there hath not been any more spirit in her. (YLT) (Emphasis added)

In 2 Chronicles 9:3, we see clearly that the Queen of Sheba was taken to the temple. Later, the narratives note that Solomon gave the Queen more than she had given him and something outside the scope of the items that she had given him.

2 Chronicles 9:12 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 10:13 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

One will notice that in Chronicles the narrative states that Solomon gave the Queen something besides the things that she had given him while Kings states that she was given something apart from the royal bounty of Solomon. These two statements tend to limit the scope of what Solomon might have given the Queen considerably.

Solomon Loses His Kingship
The Rabbis who denounce Solomon interpret I Kings x. 13 as meaning that Solomon had criminal intercourse with the Queen of Sheba, the offspring of which was Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the Temple (comp. Rashi ad loc.). (Emphasis added)

(From: The Jewish Encyclopedia; Article: Solomon;
By: Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price, Wilhelm Bacher, M. Seligsohn, Mary W. Montgomery, Crawford Howell Toy)

There was not much in all of Israel -- or the whole world for that matter -- that would have been outside the royal bounty of King Solomon. Something of monumental significance is obviously implied here. This surely must refer to something from the temple because those items were exclusively the possessions of G-d as established by 1 Chronicles 22:19, etceteras. There is little in a monarchy apart from the temple and its accoutrements that would be outside the royal bounty of the king.

1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek after the Lord your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord.' (JPS)

It is clear from 2 Chronicles 9:12 that King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba something besides gold, wood, spices, plants or any of the other material treasures that she brought him. It is also clear from 1 Kings 10:13 that he gave her something apart from his royal bounty. Since there was little that would be outside King Solomon's royal bounty, it is probable that this must refer to something from the temple. From the scriptural account, it seems that Solomon simply gave the Ark of the Covenant to the Queen of Sheba. The Ethiopian legend states that Solomon impregnated her with a son that later stole the Ark. From what is known about Solomon, it seems probable that he had intimate relations with her, but one would ordinarily think that seed would surely be part of the royal bounty of Solomon, unless King Solomon was not actually a royal. One possible meaning of the word bounty is something that is given freely and there is little doubt from scripture and historical accounts that Solomon gave freely of himself in that sense frequently. Prophets such as Ezekiel, Hosea and Malachi support the idea that Solomon did have an illegitimate child and that this in some way involved the Ark. Regardless of the exact way that it came about, it appears that he gave the Ark to the Queen of Sheba. It is certain that the Queen of Sheba did acquire the Ark as one can clearly piece together from scripture.

Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? 11 Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man that does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord cut him off from the tents of Jacob - even though he brings offerings to the Lord Almighty. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which He loveth, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12 May the Lord cut off to the man that doeth this, him that calleth and him that answereth out of the tents of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ezekiel 44:7 "In addition to all your detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant,. 8 Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary. 9 This is what the Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites." (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Ezekiel 44:6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7 in that ye have brought in aliens, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary, to profane it, even My house, when ye offer My bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken My covenant, to add unto all your abominations. 8 And ye have not kept the charge of My holy things; but ye have set keepers of My charge in My sanctuary to please yourselves. 9 Thus saith the L-rd GOD: No alien, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, even any alien that is among the children of Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Ezekiel and Malachi both state that something was transferred and these verses reference this event. Since Ezekiel clearly mentions that this event in some way involves the breaking of G-d's covenant with Israel this casts great suspicion on the transference of the Ark since the covenant was housed in the Aron. However, it does not clearly say that it was the Ark unless sanctuary refers to the Ark. The use of the word sanctuary also means that someone was taken into the Holy of Holies and in this case, that person obviously should not have been there. As is so often the case, YHWH here uses the word sanctuary in an application where most if not all of its meanings apply.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 I turned about, and applied my heart to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason of things, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; 26 and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27 Behold, this have I found, saith Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account; 28 which yet my soul sought, but I found not; one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Behold, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Sanctuary

The word sanctuary has several meanings one being a holy place and another being a shelter or refuge. The word often applied specifically to the Most Holy Place. When one recalls that G-d actually dwelt between the two cherubim of the Ark, it is reasonable to conclude that sanctuary could refer to the Ark as well as the Holy of Holies. It is also exceedingly important to bear in mind that G-d actually dwelt at the Ark; and therefore, it was His dwelling place. A dwelling place is a sanctuary. If we look at the word sanctuary as it is used in the Tanakh carefully, it is possible to determine that the word sanctuary at times does refer to the Ark of the Covenant or Aron in scripture.

Numbers 4:4 This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tent of meeting, about the most holy things: 5 when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall go in, and his sons, and they shall take down the veil of the screen, and cover the ark of the testimony with it; 6 and shall put thereon a covering of sealskin, and shall spread over it a cloth all of blue, and shall set the staves thereof. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
Numbers 4:15 And when Aaron and his sons have ended covering the sanctuary, and all the utensils of the sanctuary, when the camp setteth forward, then afterwards the sons of Kohath shall come to carry it; but they shall not touch the holy things, lest they die. This is what the sons of Kohath have to carry in the tent of meeting. (Darby) (Emphasis Added)
Numbers 4:15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the holy furniture, and all the holy vessels, as the camp is to set forward--after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear them; but they shall not touch the holy things, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tent of meeting. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)

The foregoing scripture establishes that the Ark is sometimes referred to as a sanctuary. The word sanctuary also has the synonyms of refuge or even hiding-place. Notwithstanding dictionary word games, it would obviously be better to have some scripture that just plainly establishes the Ark is at times referred to as a sanctuary. Jeremiah 17:12 does just that when one recalls from chapter 2 that the Aron was the throne of the L-rd. This clearly establishes that the Ark was also sometimes called a sanctuary.

Jeremiah 17:12 Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, thou place of our sanctuary, 13 Thou hope of Israel, the Lord! All that forsake Thee shall be ashamed; they that depart from Thee shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is indeed possible to connect the words Ark and sanctuary through scripture. Jeremiah 17:12 makes it clear. The Ark is the throne of G-d as was examined in detail in chapter 2. It is interesting to note that scripture almost never refers to the Ark as the throne of G-d, but rather, it states that He is enthroned there. Obviously, He would be enthroned upon a throne.

The Levites and other expert sources also widely support that the ark is called a sanctuary and there is a great amount of supporting information about that from sources apart from the Bible. The following information is from the Jewish Encyclopedia and this article lists several additional sources of information about the ark being a sanctuary.

As the Egyptians, Babylonians, and other nations had similar structures for carrying their idols about (compare Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," iii. 289; Delitzsch, "Handwörterbuch," under "elippu"; and "Isaiah," in "S. B. O. T." p. 78), critical scholars hold that the Ark was in the earliest time a kind of movable sanctuary. (see Wellhausen, "Prolegomena," 5th ed., p. 46, note; Stade, "Gesch." i. 457; Nowack, "Archäologie," ii. 3; Benzinger, "Archäologie," 367; Winckler, "Gesch. Israels," i. 70; Couard, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," xii. 53; and Guthe, "Geschichte des Volkes Israel," p. 31).

As the corresponding shrines of other nations contained idols, so late tradition has it that the Ark contained the tables of the Decalogue (I Kings viii. 9, 21).

(From: The Jewish Encyclopedia Article: The Ark of the Covenant
By: Morris Jastrow Jr,. Charles J. Mendelsohn, Marcus Jastrow, Isaac Husik, Duncan B. McDonald, George A. Barton.) (Emphasis added)

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba arrived in Jerusalem and lavished gifts upon King Solomon. Second Chronicles relates that Solomon gave the Queen something besides that which she had given him. In consideration of this information, it becomes clear that he did not give her gold, precious stones, fine wood and spices or any of the types of treasures she brought to him. From other ancient accounts, one can also eliminate exotic plants. If one ponders this aspect of the visit of the Queen of Sheba, it becomes relevant to question just exactly what Solomon gave to her since scripture notes that he gave her more than she had given him.

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba
And here she would learn chiefly this, that all the prosperity she witnessed, all the intellectual culture and civilization with which she was brought into contact, had their spring above, with "the Father of lights." She had come at the head of a large retinue, bearing richest presents, which she left in remembrance and also in perpetuation of her visit - at least, if we may trust the account of Josephus, that the cultivation of balsam in the gardens of Jericho owed its origin to plants which the Queen had brought (Jos., Ant. 8. 6, 6). The notice is at least deeply symbolical. The spices of Sheba, so sweet and strong that, according to ancient accounts, their perfume was carried out far to sea, were to be brought to Jerusalem, and their plants to strike root in sacred soil (Psalm 72:10, 11; Isaiah 60:6). But now the balsam-gardens of Jericho, into which they were transplanted, are lying bare and desolate - for "the Queen of the South" hath risen up in judgment with that "generation;" and what further "sign" can or need be given to the generation that turned from Him Who was "greater than Solomon?"
(Edersheim's Bible History - Bk. 5, Ch. 8)

Does it not seem that if she had one wish, she would have asked for the source of the blessing? She learned "that all the prosperity she witnessed, all the intellectual culture and civilization with which she was brought into contact, had their spring above, with "the Father of lights." Notwithstanding, she also obviously must have learned that the "Father of lights" was not just above, but literally right in front of her enthroned between the cherubim when she was taken into the temple contrary to law.

Kebra Nagast
27 Concerning the Labourer (Excerpt)
And when the Queen heard this she said, "How thy voice doth please me! And how greatly do thy words and the utterance of thy mouth delight me! Tell me now: whom is it right for me to worship? We worship the sun according as our fathers have taught us to do, because we say that the sun is the king of the gods. And there are others among our subjects [who worship other things]; some worship stones, and some worship wood (i.e., trees), and some worship carved figures, and some worship images of gold and silver. And we worship the sun, for he cooketh our food, and moreover, he illumineth the darkness, and removeth fear; we call him 'Our King', and we call him 'Our Creator', and we worship him as our god; for no man hath told us that besides him there is another god. But we have heard that there is with you, Israel, another God Whom we do not know, and men have told us that He hath sent down to you from heaven a Tabernacle and hath given unto you a Tablet of the ordering of the angels, by the hand of Moses the Prophet. This also we have heard-that He Himself cometh down to you and talketh to you, and informeth you concerning His ordinances and commandments." (Kebra Nagast; Excerpt from Chapter 27; Concerning the Labourer) (Emphasis added)
Kebra Nagast
28 How Solomon gave Commandments to the Queen (Excerpt)
And the King answered and said unto her, "Verily, it is right that they (i.e., men) should worship God, Who created the universe, the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, the sun and the moon, the stars and the brilliant bodies of the heavens, the trees and the stones, the beasts and the feathered fowl, the wild beasts and the crocodiles, the fish and the whales, the hippopotamuses and the water lizards, the lightnings and the crashes of thunder, the clouds and the thunders, and the good and the evil. It is meet that Him alone we should worship, in fear and trembling, with joy and with gladness. For He is the Lord of the Universe, the Creator of angels and men. And it is He Who killeth and maketh to live, it is He Who inflicteth punishment and showeth compassion, Who raiseth up from the ground him that is in misery, Who exalteth the poor from the dust, Who maketh to be sorrowful and Who to rejoice, Who raiseth up and Who bringeth down. No one can chide Him, for He is the Lord of the Universe, and there is no one who can say unto Him, 'What hast Thou done?' And unto Him it is meet that there should be praise and thanksgiving from angels and men. And as concerning what thou sayest, that 'He hath given unto you the Tabernacle of the Law,' verily there hath been given unto us the Tabernacle of the God of Israel, which was created before all creation by His glorious counsel. And He hath made to come down to us His commandments, done into writing, so that we may know His decree and the judgment that He hath ordained in the mountain of His holiness."
And the Queen said, "From this moment I will not worship the sun, but will worship the Creator of the sun, the God of Israel. And that Tabernacle of the God of Israel shall be unto me my Lady, and unto my seed after me, and unto all my kingdoms that are under my dominion. And because of this I have found favour before thee, and before the God of Israel my Creator, Who hath brought me unto thee, and hath made me to hear thy voice, and hath shown me thy face, and hath made me to understand thy commandment." Then she returned to [her] house.
And the Queen used to go [to Solomon] and return continually, and hearken unto his wisdom, and keep it in her heart. And Solomon used to go and visit her, and answer all the questions which she put to him, and the Queen used to visit him and ask him questions, and he informed her concerning every matter that she wished to enquire about. And after she had dwelt [there] six months the Queen wished to return to her own country, and she sent a message to Solomon, saying, "I desire greatly to dwell with thee, but now, for the sake of all my people, I wish to return to my own country. And as for that which I have heard, may God make it to bear fruit in my heart, and in the hearts of all those who have heard it with me. For the ear could never be filled with the hearing of thy wisdom, and the eye could never be filled with the sight of the same."
Now it was not only the Queen who came [to hear the wisdom of Solomon], but very many used to come from cities and countries, both from near and from far; for in those days there was no man found to be like unto him for wisdom (and it was not only human beings who came to him, but the wild animals and the birds used to come to him and hearken unto his voice, and hold converse with him), and then they returned to their own countries, and every one of them was astonished at his wisdom, and marvelled at what he had seen and heard.
And when the Queen sent her message to Solomon, saying that she was about to depart to her own country, he pondered in his heart and said, "A woman of such splendid beauty hath come to me from the ends of the earth! What do I know? Will God give me seed in her?"
(Kebra Nagast; Excerpt from Chapter 28; How Solomon gave Commandments to the Queen)
(Emphasis added)

From these accounts, it seems that Solomon may have simply given the Ark of the Covenant to the Queen of Sheba. Perhaps the conversation went something like this: Solomon, honey, sweet cakes, sugar muffin, could I have that little thing in there in the tabernacle? You know, that little gold box with those strange creatures on the ends. You won't be needing it right away will you?

Solomon recorded some interesting thoughts in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 7:23 All this have I tried by wisdom; I said: 'I will get wisdom'; but it was far from me. 24 That which is is far off, and exceeding deep; who can find it out? 25 I turned about, and applied my heart to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason of things, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 7:26 and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27 Behold, this have I found, saith Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account; 28 which yet my soul sought, but I found not; one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Behold, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Something Missing

The Contents of the Ark

In 2 Chronicles 5:10, we see that there was nothing in the Ark except the two stone tables that were placed inside it by Moses at Horeb (1 Kings 8:9 & 2 Chronicles 5:10).

2 Chronicles 5:7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto its place, into the Sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. 8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 9 And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the Sanctuary; but they could not be seen without; and there they are unto this day. 10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)

We know that Aaron's staff that budded and a pot of manna were in the Ark before this, but when the Ark came into the temple, these items were missing. Some have speculated that the Philistines removed these items. The Bible does not mention that the Philistines opened the Ark, but they did have it for seven months. From all appearances, that was about 209 days more than they wanted it. There is another possibility for the disappearance of these items in that we know that the Israelites opened the Ark at Beth Shemesh. Nevertheless, from what is known about the true nature of the Ark, it is ridiculous to think that anybody can open it without G-d's blessing, much less remove anything from it. After all, it would be somewhat difficult to remove something from an object that you cannot touch or look into or even gaze upon without being killed.

The significance of the fact that Aaron's staff and the pot of manna were not in the ark is embodied in what these items symbolize. It is interesting that the symbolic meaning attached to them is nearly uniform amongst all commentators and Bible dictionaries. This is because the Bible gives very clear accounts of their meaning.

Aaron's staff that budded is a symbol to the rebellious of G-d's choice of leaders and the pot of manna symbolizes G-d's providing for Israel. These items are not missing; they were just not in the Ark when it was brought into the temple. This is another very clear omen indicating that something is very wrong. In fact, it is telling us exactly what is going wrong and how wrong it is going. Eventually, it will become clear that G-d removed these items Himself and they will eventually reappear.

Important Features of the Covenant

Covenant Provisions

One of the important stipulations of G-d's promise was that the Israelites would keep G-d's commands. This promise was the same to David and his descendents, but it was expanded somewhat to them. Here we see the promise as G-d stated it to Solomon when he built the temple:

1 Kings 6:11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: 12 'As for this house which thou art building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute Mine ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with thee, which I spoke unto David thy father; 13 in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

IIf we examine this carefully, it may seem that the same thing is being repeated over-and-over. But, is it? The phrase "keep my commandments" is actually at times a very literal decree meaning to "keep" them in the sense of physically keeping the commandments or stone tables that were written by the hand of G-d. In the 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation quoted here, the verse is rendered so that every other possibility is covered, and therefore, one must consider that in at least some instances, this is intended to be construed to mean to literally and physically keep the commandments. That is to say that one of the meanings must be to physically keep the stone tables housed inside the Ark. If one considers that the meaning of these phrases changes, then the passage is not rife with redundancy. This element should serve to amplify the meaning because normally scripture says a lot with few words. To further support this idea, one can look at the words of Moses:

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The first phrase of Deuteronomy 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it" is sometimes erroneously interpreted to be a blanket admonition applicable to the whole Bible. Since most of the Bible was written after the book of Deuteronomy - and an astute individual will notice that Moses wrote most of Deuteronomy after this appears as well - this would obviously be a factor to consider when construing the meaning of this phrase. In fact, in order to apply this passage as a general prohibition about adding to or taking away from scripture, it is invariably quoted without the remainder of the sentence where it appears in order to serve the purpose of those quoting it. This is obviously problematic in that this application takes away the point that Moses was actually making mid-sentence. The technique in this application is faultier exegetically than are most instances of proof-texting. Obviously, if Moses intended the phrase as a general prohibition, men of G-d such as Joshua, the Judges, Samuel and the many prophets that followed would not have added to the collection in direct opposition to the admonition of Moses. Furthermore, it should be apparent that Moses, acting under direct supervision of G-d, obviously knew that the Torah was not the completion of scripture. In fact, if one reads the remainder of Deuteronomy Moses alludes to that exact point. (Deuteronomy 30-33)

The intended purpose of this phrase is to clarify and amplify the phrase that comes immediately after it. In other words, the phrase, "do not add to or take away from," modifies the phrase that immediately follows it, "keep the commandments." This is simply logical and blatantly obvious. The phrase, "keep the commands" appears in so many places and is frequently included where every possible meaning of the word "keep" is included in the passage, and yet, the most obvious meaning of physically keeping the stone tables and the Ark that they were housed in is often overlooked. It is also significant that the warning to keep the commands appears in so many places because this is a clear indication of what is going to go wrong. This passage of scripture is very specifically speaking of the Decalogue inscribed on two tables of stone inside the Ark. The point was that the Israelites were to physically keep the stone tables that were inside the Ark. There is a great deal of significance to this beyond what is immediately apparent. By the end of this book it will eventually become clear just how important physically keeping the stone tables was.

Leviticus 26:3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; 4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Psalms 132:12 If thy children keep My covenant and My testimony that I shall teach them, their children also for ever shall sit upon thy throne.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Breaking the Covenant

It should be clear that at some point the Israelites broke their covenant with G-d. This has oft been construed to mean that they failed to keep the commands in respect to performance at law on behalf of the people. This is logical reasoning in some respects and in some ways true; however, since breaking the law was necessarily an everyday thing, what explanation is there for when, how and why the covenant was broken too much?

Notwithstanding, if the phrase "keep My commandments" meant in some instances to physically keep the stone tables and the Ark that they were housed in, and at some point those articles were relinquished, then one would indeed and without any doubt have a broken covenant. Since the Decalogue was accompanied by some physical provision for forgiving transgressions against the law, the Aron with its mercy-seat, and if those facilities were relinquished then this would indeed constitute a breach. The only possible remedy would obviously be regaining possession of the articles required under the contract. In this case however, it so happens that the terms of the covenant are such that regaining the articles entrusted under the performance provisions and resuming the service provisions of that contract cannot possibly revive the favorable provisions of the said contract.

As fate would have it, the stone tables were accompanied by a provision for forgiving transgressions known as the Mercy-Seat incorporated into the Ark of the Covenant. Since the Mercy-Seat was the means by which breaches were reconciled, then one would think that a transgressor surely would not want to lose it. With no Mercy-Seat, there was no provision for reconciliation, therefore, a transgressor would have to suffer the appropriate punishment. Since the penalty for transgression was usually death, one would think that nobody would want to lose the means of atonement, to wit: the atonement cover or Mercy-seat.

For example, suppose that a hypothetical man is ticketed for driving at 100 miles-per-hour on a roadway where the speed limit is 30 miles-per-hour. There is absolutely no question that the man is guilty, and therefore, he is compelled to appear before a judge. Frankly, in this case, the judge saw this man go flying by with police in hot pursuit and they have radar and videotape. At this point, it is common procedure that the court appearance is solely for proclaiming the man's penalty because there is no question of guilt. However, in this particular case, the man knows the judge and had at one time been a party to events that cause the judge to view him favorably. Therefore, the judge simply dismisses the case against the man. The man is certainly guilty, but he has found favorable reconciliation of his transgression at the Bench, the very person that has the power to either forgive the man or mete out harsh punishment. In all reality, this was how the mercy-seat worked.

Covenant in Effect

The covenant was assuredly still in effect up until the end of King David's reign and this can be determined by looking at the features of the covenant that G-d established with David. The covenant with David is the same as that with Israel except that it was expanded somewhat to David. One of the characteristics of the covenant with David was that there would never cease to be a descendant of David on the throne of Israel as long as they kept the commands of the Lord and walked in those ways (2 Chronicles 6:16-17, 7:17-18). Since David's kingdom passed to Solomon, there can be no doubt that the covenant was intact up until that point.

There are numerous references to this exact point from the prophets in the Tanakh, but one of the most singularly clear passages reflecting this exact point can be found in the New Covenant book of Acts. This segment records the words of Stephen in a discourse in which he elucidates nearly everything recorded in this book heretofore, albeit much more succinctly.

Acts 7:32 I [am] the God of thy fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. `And Moses having become terrified, durst not behold, 33 and the Lord said to him, Loose the sandal of thy feet, for the place in which thou hast stood is holy ground; 34 seeing I have seen the affliction of My people that [is] in Egypt, and their groaning I did hear, and came down to deliver them; and now come, I will send thee to Egypt. 35 `This Moses, whom they did refuse, saying, Who did set thee a ruler and a judge? this one God a ruler and a redeemer did send, in the hand of a messenger who appeared to him in the bush; 36 this one did bring them forth, having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years; 37 this is the Moses who did say to the sons of Israel: A prophet to you shall the Lord your God raise up out of your brethren, like to me, him shall ye hear. 38 `This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger who is speaking to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us; 39 to whom our fathers did not wish to become obedient, but did thrust away, and turned back in their hearts to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, Make to us gods who shall go on before us, for this Moses, who brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, we have not known what hath happened to him. 41 `And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands, 42 and God did turn, and did give them up to do service to the host of the heaven, according as it hath been written in the scroll of the prophets: Slain beasts and sacrifices did ye offer to Me forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 and ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan -- the figures that ye made to bow before them, and I will remove your dwelling beyond Babylon. 44 `The tabernacle of the testimony was among our fathers in the wilderness, according as He did direct, who is speaking to Moses, to make it according to the figure that he had seen; 45 which also our fathers having in succession received, did bring in with Joshua, into the possession of the nations whom God did drive out from the presence of our fathers, till the days of David, (YLT) (Emphasis added)

It is interesting that Stephan notes that they had the tabernacle of the testimony until the days of David (verse 45), because contained in this statement is the lesser-included premise that they no longer had it after that. Note that the testimony in the strict sense refers to the stone tables of the Aron. The phrase "tabernacle of the testimony" in this application can refer to the Most Holy Place. However, the phrase is also synonymous with sanctuary because the Most Holy Place was specifically the sanctuary; but, as has been clearly established, sanctuary can and does at times refer specifically to the Ark. In the continuation of this discourse in verse 53, one will notice that Stephan mentions that they did not keep the law and this is another reference to the Aron since the law was inscribed upon the stone tables contained therein.

Acts 7:46 who found favour before God, and requested to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob; 47 and Solomon built him an house. 48 `But the Most High in sanctuaries made with hands doth not dwell, according as the prophet saith: (YLT) (Emphasis added)
Acts 7:49 The heaven [is] My throne, and the earth My footstool; what house will ye build to Me? saith the Lord, or what [is] the place of My rest? 50 hath not My hand made all these things? 51 `Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! ye do always the Holy Spirit resist; as your fathers -- also ye; 52 which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? and they killed those who declared before about the coming of the Righteous One, of whom now ye betrayers and murderers have become, 53 who received the law by arrangement of messengers, and did not keep [it].' (YLT)
(Emphasis added)

Covenant Broken

There is no question that King Solomon broke the covenant because the Bible clearly says that. G-d told Solomon that He would rip the kingdom out of his hand because he broke the covenant. However, because of the promise that G-d made to David, He would not do it completely during Solomon's lifetime (1 Kings 11:11-13).

1 Kings 11:9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. 11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon: 'Forasmuch as this hath been in thy mind, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake; but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son; for David My servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Notice that the key point of Solomon's fall and judgment was actually that he had not kept G-d's covenant and statutes.

What did Solomon do to break the covenant? He did not keep the covenant, that is to say, he gave away the Ark of the Covenant with its stone tables away. He also made a counterfeit ark with a counterfeit covenant to replace the genuine article. Very literally, he did not keep the covenant or the commands that G-d gave to Moses. They are the stone tables that are in the Ark.

Isaiah 28:14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scoffers, the ballad-mongers of this people which is in Jerusalem: 15 Because ye have said: 'We have made a covenant with death, and with the nether-world are we at agreement; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood have we hid ourselves'; 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a costly corner-stone of sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled and your agreement with the nether-world shall not stand; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it, 19 As often as it passeth through, it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass through, by day and by night; and it shall be sheer terror to understand the message. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Unfortunately, Solomon transgressed the covenant in such a way that it cannot be revived. After all, he was the wisest man that ever lived. There are only two possibilities in this instance, the forbearance of the breached party or the drafting of a new covenant. We will examine the breach in more detail shortly.

Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, the fruit of their thoughts; for they have not hearkened unto my words, and as to my law, they have rejected it. 20 To what purpose should there come to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt- offerings are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing unto me. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

How Could the Queen of Sheba Possibly Take the Ark of the Covenant?

One aspect of the Ark of the Covenant that has been clearly established is that nobody can touch it without G-d's blessing. If you cannot touch it without affliction, how then did the Ark get to Ethiopia and why did it not come back? The answer is that G-d allowed this to happen. Giving away the Ark of the Covenant was nearly the ultimate slap in the face to G-d. Maybe Solomon thought that the Queen of Sheba would not be able to take it. Giving away the Ark would be the act of sending G-d into exile or deposing G-d. Obviously, this would strike a nerve with G-d and there really isn't much that one can conceive of that would be more irreverent or insulting. Just the idea of this is disturbing. Obviously and very literally, Solomon had no regard for G-d.

The Kebra Nagast sheds some light on this. Note that there are some anomalies in the vocabulary of the Ethiopic text in that the Ark of the Covenant is routinely referred to as Zion or the Tabernacle of the Law of God.

Kebra Nagast 48.
How they carried away Zion
And behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared again to AZÂRYÂS (Azariah) and he stood up above him like a pillar of fire, and he filled the house with his light. And he raised up AZÂRYÂS and said unto him, "Stand up, be strong, and rouse up thy brother ÊLMEYÂS, and 'ABESÂ, and MÂKARÎ, and take the pieces of wood and I will open for thee the doors of the sanctuary. And take thou the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and thou shalt carry it without trouble and discomfort. And I, inasmuch as I have been commanded by God to be with it for ever, will be thy guide when thou shalt carry it away."
(Kebra Nagast 48; How they carried away Zion) (Emphasis added)

It seems that at that point, G-d said something like, very well, I will give it to them. By the way, the Ethiopians maintain that they keep the ark in accordance with G-d's precepts and have done so all of these years, a position that is supported by scripture.

Isaiah 42:23 Who among you will give ear to this? Who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? Did not the Lord? He against whom we have sinned, and in whose ways they would not walk, neither were they obedient unto His law. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Hosea 5:6 With their flocks and with their herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten strange children; now shall the new moon devour them with their portions. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 58:2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people from a land far off: 'Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her King in her?'-- 'Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, and with strange vanities? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 45:15 Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. 16 They shall be ashamed, yea, confounded, all of them; they shall go in confusion together that are makers of idols. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 31:16 And the Lord said to Moses: "You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, 'have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?'" (NIV) (Emphasis added)

There is a great deal more supporting evidence for this and in Isaiah 18, which is quoted shortly, one will notice some aspects of prophecy that have not yet been fulfilled about Cush. Throughout the Bible, the prophecies against Cush are very interesting because there practically is no judgment against Cush for the Day of the Lord. This is peculiar because Cush is specifically mentioned in the prophecies about the Tribulation and they have some difficult times, but there is little or no judgment from G-d against them. It is striking in comparison to the other nations because there is judgment against them. Why this obvious difference? Probably because they have been keeping the ark for all of these years.

One will notice in the following passage from Jeremiah the strangest occurrence during the Babylonian conquest when the remnant was taken into captivity. While nearly everyone was taken captive except the poor, about the only person to escape was a Cushite (Ethiopian) that G-d specifically delivered.

Jeremiah 39:15 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the guard, saying: 16 'Go, and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished before thee in that day. 17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the Lord; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. 18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee; because thou hast put thy trust in Me, saith the Lord.' (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

At this point, it would seem that the only people that trusted in the Lord were an Ethiopian who was saved and Jeremiah who went into captivity with a much different arrangement than the other captives. Why was the Ethiopian saved? He was saved because he trusted in the Lord. What exactly does that mean and why the Ethiopian?

The Gift

Isaiah 18 gives a very interesting account of some events yet in the future. In this passage, we see some prophecy regarding Ethiopia, known in ancient times as Cush. Interestingly, Isaiah's geography here reflects conditions that for him would have been far in the future.

Isaiah 18:1 Ah, land of the buzzing of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia; 2 That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus upon the waters! Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation tall and of glossy skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward; a nation that is sturdy and treadeth down, whose land the rivers divide! (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 18:3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers on the earth, when an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, see ye; and when the horn is blown, hear ye. 4 For thus hath the Lord said unto me: I will hold Me still, and I will look on in My dwelling-place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 18:7 In that time shall a present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people tall and of glossy skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward; a nation that is sturdy and treadeth down, whose land the rivers divide, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In Isaiah 18:7, one will notice that the Ethiopians bring a present to the L-rd at the End of Days. The following excerpt from the Kebra Nagast contains some information that seems to corroborate this passage from Isaiah. It is interesting to ponder exactly what would make an appropriate gift for the L-rd. This is something that He has obviously been looking forward to receiving for thousands of years. Recall that the Ethiopic text contains some anomalies from convention in that the Aron is called the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and vicariously, Holy Zion.

Kebra Nagast
114 Concerning the return of Zion
And the Tabernacle of the Law of God, the Holy ZION, shall remain here until that day when our Lord shall dwell on Mount ZION; and ZION shall come and shall appear unto all prepared, with three seals-even as MOSES gave her-as it saith in the Old Law and in the New, "At the testimony of two or three [witnesses] everything shall stand."And then, saith ISAIAH the Prophet, "The dead shall be raised up, and those who are in the graves shall live, for the dew which [cometh] from Thee is their life."And when the dead are raised up, His mercy whereby He watereth the earth shall cease; they shall stand up before Him with the works which they have done. And ENOCH and ELIAS shall come, being alive, so that they may testify, and MOSES and AARON from the dead shall live with everyone. And they shall open the things that fetter her (i.e., ZION), and they shall make to be seen the Jews, and they shall punish them and chide them because of all that they have done in perverting the Word of God. And the Jews shall see what He wrote for them with His hand-the Words of His Commandment, and the manna wherewith He fed them without toil [on their part], and the measure thereof; the Gomor, and the spiritual ZION, which came down for their salvation, and the rod of Aaron, which blossomed after the manner of MARY. (Kebra Nagast) (Emphasis added)

Later, the future of the Ark of the Covenant will be considered in detail.

Conjecture

The exact course of events involving the Ark after the Levites brought it up to the temple is difficult to determine with certainty. If one analyzes the bits of information that exist, this will not produce an exact chronology for the whereabouts of the real Ark beyond the point where the Ark was brought to the temple from the City of David - that is to say, Zion. It is highly probable that the real Ark was never taken into the Most Holy Place at this assembly and that Solomon's counterfeit was placed there instead. However, it is also possible that the Ark was taken in the Holy of Holies and switched later. It is possible that the giant cherubim that Solomon made were large enough to conceal an Ark. If that was the case, one Ark could have been under one cherub while the other Ark was under the other. Ancient Jewish records do maintain that Solomon created a chamber for the Ark deep underground as he was building the temple. In fact, there is an interesting story about taking the Ark into that chamber that appears later.

The Ark in Solomon's Temple
Solomon, in his prophetic capacity, realized that the Temple would be destroyed by the Babylonians, and therefore he caused an underground receptacle to be built in which the Ark was afterward hidden (Abravanel on I Kings vi. 19).
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon, Solomon's Temple; by Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price, Wilhelm Bacher, M. Seligsohn; Mary W. Montgomery; Crawford Howell Toy)

It should not be necessary to point out that if the Ark remained in the land it is highly improbable that the Babylonians would have destroyed the temple.

From other sources, chiefly Ezekiel as well as historical Jewish records, at some point during Solomon's reign, the real Ark was apparently placed into underground storage. Obviously, if that were the case, it would be a way for Solomon to exalt himself above the most high G-d, or so he supposed. It is fairly evident that although this might give that appearance to a self-deluded individual, there would still be several problems that would remain in reality such as the fact that this person was only a man and G-d is a vastly superior being. This introduces a set of considerations that are nearly unfathomable. All one can say is whoa, or perhaps, woe. It is probably best to simply ask the reader to pause and reflect on that for him-or-herself.

Isaiah 14: 13 And thou saidst in thy heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, above the stars of God will I exalt my throne, and I will sit upon the mount of meeting, in the uttermost parts of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.' 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to the nether-world, to the uttermost parts of the pit. (JPS)

It is also impossible to determine exactly how and when the Queen of Sheba came into possession of the real ark, only that she did. The prophets heavily support that the Queen obtained the Ark and also a son from Solomon. The narratives infer that Solomon simply gave the Ark to her. While some legends maintain that this son obtained the Ark, this scenario seems to require a lapse of time that the narratives do not support. It is clear that she was taken into the temple, all the way into the Most Holy Place. Foreigners were never to be taken into the temple. It is not clear if the Ark was in underground storage when the Queen arrived or if it had been in the temple. It seems most likely that the real Ark was in storage. It is certain that the real Ark made its way to Cush and scriptural evidence of that is abundant.

Later Mentions of the Ark of the Covenant

There are several mentions of an Ark of the Covenant in the Bible after the time of Solomon. These accounts would obviously discredit everything presented here so far except that there are clear indications in each case that these are not references to the real Ark, but rather, to a counterfeit ark. Again, the small details tell the story. The mentions of any Ark after the time of King Solomon are definitely mentions of a counterfeit ark. This counterfeit ark has been the main factor in veiling the true fate of the Ark of the Covenant for millennia. Scripture clearly indicates that the real Ark was gone shortly after the time of Solomon.

When studying the events and the kings that followed Solomon, it is important to remember that Israel and Judah divided into two separate kingdoms. At times, Israel and Judah were at war with one another and they each had their own kings. The entire land eventually became desolate with few Jewish people remaining. This is actually a clear indication that G-d had departed.

Elijah

At some point during the time that Asa was king of Judah, a prophet named Elijah began to minister in the land of Israel. Some events involving Elijah of special interest are recorded in 2 Kings 1 about King Ahaziah's death.

King Ahaziah had fallen and seriously injured himself. Therefore, he sent messengers to Ekron to inquire by divination of his fate from the god of that city, Baal-Zebub. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to intercept Ahaziah's messengers, thus thwarting their mission to Ekron, and instead deliver the word of the L-rd to Ahaziah that he would surely die on his bed without leaving it. The exact reason that Ahaziah would not recover was because he inquired of Baal-Zebub. One will notice that the question, "Is it because there is no God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?" appears several times in the narrative.

2 Kings 1:3 But an angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite: 'Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them: Is it because there is no God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Kings 1:6 And they said unto him: 'There came up a man to meet us, and said unto us: Go, return unto the king that sent you, and say unto him: Thus saith the Lord: Is it because there is no God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from the bed whither thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

After hearing the words of his messengers, Ahaziah desired to see Elijah and sent a contingent of troops to compel his audience with the king, but alas, fire came down from heaven and consumed them. This happened a second time and the commander of Ahaziah's third detachment approached Elijah very cautiously and persuaded him to visit the king. The following excerpt is the message that Elijah delivered to Ahaziah in person.

2 Kings 1:16 And he said unto him: 'Thus saith the Lord: Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? therefore thou shalt not come down from the bed whether thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The question "Is it because there is no G-d in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?" appears three times in the first chapter of 2 Kings. Obviously there is some significance to this question if it is repeated three times in such a short span of scripture. As a matter of fact, G-d was not dwelling in Israel at this point. It is important to recall that, for all practical purposes, the Ark of the Covenant was G-d. Notwithstanding, this withdrawn presence does not impede G-d's abilities in any way, but it certainly makes it more difficult for men to inquire of Him.

Jeremiah 12:7 I have forsaken My house, I have cast off My heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people from a land far off: 'Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her King in her?'-- 'Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, and with strange vanities?' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 23:23 Am I a God near at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

King Hezekiah

There is a clear mention of the ark during the reign of King Hezekiah (2 Kings chapters 18-20). Hezekiah was greatly distressed because Sennacherib laid siege to the city. Hezekiah went before the ark to inquire of the L-rd. At first, this seems to be the true Ark and Hezekiah was one of the most godly and best kings that Israel ever had. In fact, it seems likely that Hezekiah thought this was the true Ark because he mentions that G-d is enthroned between the two cherubim (2 Kings 19: 15-19).

When Hezekiah went before the ark to inquire of the Lord, the Lord hears and answers him. But notice how the Lord answers Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:20). The Lord does not talk to Hezekiah directly from the ark; but rather, the prophet Isaiah sends a message to Hezekiah. Why does the answer have to come through Isaiah? Because this is not the real ark, it is the counterfeit. G-d was not dwelling among them at this point. If it had been the real ark, G-d would have talked with Hezekiah directly from the Ark, or perhaps smitten him.

In the following passage, the letter that Hezekiah receives is from Sennacherib.

Hezekiah's Prayer
2 Kings 19:14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: 'O the Lord, the God of Israel, that sittest upon the cherubim, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Thine ear, O the Lord, and hear; open Thine eyes, O the Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, wherewith he hath sent him to taunt the living God. 17 Of a truth, the Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O the Lord our God, save Thou us, I beseech Thee, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord God, even Thou only.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib's Fall
2 Kings 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying: 'Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Whereas thou hast prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard thee. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Exodus 25:21 And thou shalt put the ark-cover above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Habakkuk 2:18 "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. 19 Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. 20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." (NIV)
(Emphasis added)

Recall that G-d specifically told Solomon that the temple would be acceptable for sacrifices, but not that He would dwell there (2 Chronicles 7:12-13). Therefore, His holy temple was in heaven, not Jerusalem.

Isaiah 46:5 To whom will ye liken Me, and make Me equal, and compare Me, that we may be like? 6 Ye that lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance; ye that hire a goldsmith, that he make it a god, to fall down thereto, yea, to worship. 7 He is borne upon the shoulder, he is carried, and set in his place, and he standeth, from his place he doth not remove; yea, though one cry unto him, he cannot answer, nor save him out of his trouble. 8 Remember this, and stand fast; bring it to mind, O ye transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: that I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 23:23 Am I a God near at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

G-d answered Hezekiah's Prayer in detail. G-d not only miraculously delivered Hezekiah's kingdom, but also, responded to the petition in 2 Kings 19:19 "that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord God, even Thou only". However, since it is evident that G-d did not answer Hezekiah directly from between the two cherubim above the ark, it is apparent that this is not the same Ark that was around from the time of Moses until the days of King David. Therefore, all of the kingdoms of the earth now know that - for all practical purposes - this ark that Hezekiah went before is not the bona fide Ark of the L-rd G-d, the Holy One of Israel. Remember from Chapter 2 that the ark was sometimes actually called G-d.

Apparently, this object that Hezekiah went before must have looked a great deal like the descriptions of the Ark of the Covenant. It is evident that Hezekiah thought that he was addressing G-d before the genuine Ark. Unfortunately, since it was not the real Aron, G-d had to have Isaiah the Prophet dispatch a message to Hezekiah. Because the real Aron was not in the temple, G-d could not meet with Hezekiah directly from between the cherubim.

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret.
And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There is another very clear indication that the Ark was not in the temple during King Hezekiah's time. This appears in 2 Chronicles 30:27. The point to notice here is that the dwelling place of the L-rd is now in the heavens. At some point in Israel's history, the L-rd literally dwelt among the Israelites in a tent tabernacle and met with them from above the Ark.

2 Chronicles 30:27 And the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy habitation, to the heavens. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 30:27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard of HaShem, and their prayer came up to His holy habitation, even unto heaven. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Last Mention of the Ark in Scripture

The last mention of the Ark of the Covenant's presence in the temple occurs in 2 Chronicles 35:3 during the time of King Josiah. King Josiah was the last good king to reign in Judah. The narratives relate that He turned to the L-rd with all his heart and purged the land of many idols.

2 Chronicles 35:3 And he said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, that were holy unto the Lord: 'Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; there shall no more be a burden upon your shoulders; now serve the Lord your God, and His people Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Observe in 2 Chronicles 35:3 an extremely unusual instance of a dangling modifier in scripture. The phrase "Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build" could modify "the holy ark," "the house" or both. Since Solomon is famous for having built the temple, it immediately jumps to mind as the subject of the modifier "Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build." However, when one knows that Solomon also built an ark, it is plausible to postulate that the phrase "Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build" refers to that ark because the ark is the subject of the sentence, not the temple. Furthermore, the continuation of the passage refers to something that shall no more be a burden upon their shoulders.

It really is not necessary to belabor 2 Chronicles 35:3 because bona fide proof that the Ark was missing even before the time of King Hezekiah has been presented. That, combined with Elijah's statements and the details of events even before that time - all serve to prove that the real Ark of the Covenant was gone long before the time of King Josiah. Most of the events recorded in Kings and Chronicles after the time of Solomon are clear indications that G-d was no longer dwelling among the Israelites. If G-d was no longer with them, the Ark was no longer with them.

2 Kings 1:3 But an angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite: 'Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them: Is it because there is no God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is possible that King Josiah thought that the ark spoken of in 2 Chronicles 35:3 was the genuine Ark made at Horeb and it is also possible that he knew that it was the ark that Solomon made. There is evidence that some knew that King Solomon made an ark, never considering that G-d would never dwell on a counterfeit ark. It is evident that, for the most part, those that did know that Solomon made an ark never considered that it was an egregious transgression to make an unauthorized ark. The counterfeit ark is actually a very important item and it still exists today.

Jeremiah 2:8 The priests said not: 'Where is the Lord?' And they that handle the law knew Me not, and the rulers transgressed against Me; the prophets also prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret.
And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 46:5 To whom will ye liken Me, and make Me equal, and compare Me, that we may be like? 6 Ye that lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance; ye that hire a goldsmith, that he make it a god, to fall down thereto, yea, to worship. 7 He is borne upon the shoulder, he is carried, and set in his place, and he standeth, from his place he doth not remove; yea, though one cry unto him, he cannot answer, nor save him out of his trouble. 8 Remember this, and stand fast; bring it to mind, O ye transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: that I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me; (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 2:4 Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel; 5 Thus saith the Lord: what unrighteousness have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after things of nought, and are become nought? 6 Neither said they: 'Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt; that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?' 7 And I brought you into a land of fruitful fields, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made My heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not: 'Where is the Lord?' And they that handle the law knew Me not, and the rulers transgressed against Me; the prophets also prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. 9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children's children will I plead. 10 For pass over to the isles of the Kittites, and see, and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there hath been such a thing. 11 Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? But My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye exceeding amazed, saith the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Hosea 5:5 But the pride of Israel shall testify to his face; and Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in their iniquity, Judah also shall stumble with them. 6 With their flocks and with their herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten strange children; now shall the new moon devour them with their portions. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
It's cohesive!
The reader's appropriate response to this material:
Acts 17:11 And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so. (Darby) (Emphasis added)