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Thread: What happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

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    Senior Member OLDMAN's Avatar
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    What happened to the ark of the covenant? I'm beginning to think it's buried on Oak Island.

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    Mad Quilter Old Woman in Purple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDMAN View Post
    What happened to the ark of the covenant? I'm beginning to think it's buried on Oak Island.
    Or, obligatory reference to Indiana Jones & some obscure government warehouse somewhere....

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    I've been procrastinating on continuing this discussion. The Biblical stories of the Ark of the Covenant are too confused and too fantastic to even summarize. The four alleged sources of the Pentateuch give four different ideas of the Ark: The 'Priestly Code' describes the elaborate 'Ark of the Testimony' with its solid gold cherubim; the 'Deuteronomist' describes a simple wooden box just to hold two stone tablets; the 'Jahwist' is impressed with the Ark's magical powers, e.g. bringing the walls of Jericho down. The 'Elohimist' doesn't mention the Ark at all.

    I will bypass all of the Ark's early history and begin when it is housed in Solomon's Temple, after which it is hardly heard from again. (Though some think that mentions of Kings or Priests later conversing with God may imply visits to the Ark without the Ark being explicitly mentioned.) But was Solomon even real? Some think the fables about Solomon's great wealth in the 10th century BC are based on Omri King of Israel and his son Ahab in the 9th century BC. Omri certainly did exist, and archaeologists have demonstrated his wealth, but he was neither a Yahweh worshiper nor was he of the House of David.

    But some scholars do find convincing evidence for Solomon's deeds, though his wealth and power were greatly exaggerated. AFAIK no physical evidence of Solomon's Temple has ever surfaced: The Second Temple was built on the site of the destroyed First Temple; then the Al Aqsa Mosque was built on the site of the Second Temple. Islam's authorities look unkindly on efforts to excavate underneath this, the 3rd holiest site in Islam.

    But here's a photo of the Millo wall ("Stepped Stone Structure") in the ancient part of Jerusalem, which archaeologists do date to the 10th century BC; followed by some of the references to it in the Bible.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Bible, King James version
    II Samuel 5:7-9. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.
    ...
    I Kings 11:27. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.
    ...
    II Chronicles 32:5. Also [Hezekiah] strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Post-Solomonic mentions of the Ark

    Although parts of the Hebrew bible date back to times before King David and Solomon, and have been transmitted orally or via very rare (and now lost) written documents, the earliest surviving texts date from after the destruction of Solomon's Temple. In other words, all the books were written or edited after the Ark had already disappeared.

    Here is part of the account of Solomon placing the Ark in the Temple he had just completed:
    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Kings 8:6-13
    And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day. 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. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
    Yahweh would dwell in the house Solomon built for him "for ever." And the staves of the Ark? "There they are unto this day." In a book presumably written after the First Temple had been destroyed. Curious?

    A mention of the Ark in a story set before the time of Solomon is said to take the opposite view:
    Quote Originally Posted by Judges 20:26-28
    Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And the children of Israel enquired of the Lord, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the Lord said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
    But I think that's wrong. The part I've reddened does NOT imply the Ark has disappeared by the time this chapter was written. The chapter is set before Solomon; the "Ark was there" just means the Ark was in Shiloh, not in the City of David. But the story is still revealing: When you wanted to converse with Yahweh, you conversed via the Ark.

    There may be as few as two Old Testament references to the Ark after it had been placed in Solomon's Temple. Jeremiah, contemporary to King Josiah, admits that it is gone, probably forever. They don't need it anymore: the entire City of Jerusalem will be the Lord's throne.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremiah 3:16-17
    And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
    If Jeremiah wrote this BEFORE the destruction of the Temple, does that imply it was already missing? No, say some experts: the book was edited later, and pieces were added to support the claim that Jeremiah was a future-predicting seer!

    And there is just one other brief mention; one of the more controversial statements in the Bible. 2 Chronicles spends 58 verses describing in detail how Josiah refurbished Solomon's Temple and reinstituted the Jewish religion. Only one verse mentions the Ark, the whole purpose of the Temple:
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Chronicles 35:3
    And [King Josiah] said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the Lord, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the Lord your God, and his people Israel,
    That's it. No mention of whether the Levites obeyed the order, which sounds like a request to move it from some undisclosed place back into the Holy of Holies at the heart of Solomon's Temple. Let alone mention of any ceremony which surely would have accompanied any change in the status of the most sacred object in the world. And no mention of where the Ark was before the Temple was restored, if not already in the Temple.

    I think the verse has a clear interpretation and tells us much about what happened. This verse will be a major focus of the thread.

    One book of the bible explains exactly what (it thinks) happened to the Ark! However that book is not treated as canonical by Protestants, nor is it in the canonical (Masoretic) Jewish bible. From Wikipedia:
    The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical book originally in Greek which focuses on the Maccabean Revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Seleucid Empire general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the "hero of the Jewish wars of independence."
    The 2nd chapter of this book recalls back several centuries to explain what happened to the Ark. Since this book was ignored by the King James translators, I'll quote from the Douay-Rheims Version (Challoner Revision) of the Bible:
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Maccabees 2:1-8
    Now it is found in the descriptions of Jeremias, the prophet, that he commanded them that went into captivity, to take the fire, as it hath been signified, and how he gave charge to them that were carried away into captivity. And how he gave them the law, that they should not forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, seeing the idols of gold, and silver, and the ornaments of them. And with other such like speeches, he exhorted them that they would not remove the law from their heart. It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet, being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went up, and saw the inheritance of God. And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. Then some of them that followed him, came up to mark the place: but they could not find it. And when Jeremias perceived it, he blamed them, saying: The place shall be unknown, till God gather together the congregation of the people, and receive them to mercy. And then the Lord will shew these things, and the majesty of the Lord shall appear, and there shall be a cloud as it was also shewed to Moses, and he shewed it when Solomon prayed that the place might be sanctified to the great God.

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    Veteran Member Valjean's Avatar
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    You mean it's not in the treasury annex/chapel next to the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia?

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    Content Thief Elixir's Avatar
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    A Russian oligarch collector of antiquities probably has it, having purchased it from ISIS for a tidy sum.

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    Chronology of the Davidic Kings of Judah

    Here is a chronology showing the Kings of Judah and some of the conjectured losses [(a) - (p)] of the Ark. While preparing this, I noticed some occasions where the "treasures of the House of the Lord" were given away that are NOT conjectured to be Ark losses; these are marked with "??" and stricken out.

    (c) is a popular theory, endorsed by Indiana Jones. (b) is Ethiopian legend, though Graham Hancock prefers (j). Many theories begin with (l), that the Ark was somehow hidden from the Babylonian conquerors.

    Kings I - XXII are shown, preceded by an estimate ending-date (BC) for their reign.

    I : d.970 : David ben Yishai
    (a) Ark never existed, or was lost before Temple was built

    II : d.930 : Shelomoh [Solomon] ben David
    (b) Ark accompanied Menelik to Ethiopia

    III : d.913 : Rehav'am [Rehoboam] ben Shlomoh
    (c) Ark taken by Pharaoh Shoshank I of Egypt

    IV : d.911 : 'Aviyam ben Rehav'am

    V : d.870 : 'Asa ben 'Aviyam
    (d) ?? Ark given to Benhadad of Syria

    VI : d.848 : Yehoshafat ben 'Asa

    VII : d.841 : Yehoram ben Yehoshafat

    VIII : d.841 : 'Ahazyahu [Ozias] ben Yehoram

    IX : d.835 : 'Atalyah bat 'Omri [Yehoash's mother, granddaughter of Omri]

    X : d.796 : Yehoash ben 'Ahazyahu
    (e) ?? Ark given to Hazael, King of Syria

    XI : d.767 : 'Amatzyah ben Yehoash
    (f) Ark taken by King Jehoash of Israel

    XII : d.739 : 'Uziyah [Azariah] ben 'Amatzyah

    XIII : d.732 : Yotam [Joatham] ben 'Uziyah

    XIV : d.716 : 'Ahaz ben Yotam
    (g) ?? Ark given to Tiglathpileser, King of Assyria

    XV : d.687 : Hizqiyah [Hezekiah] ben 'Ahaz
    (h) ?? Ark given to Sennacherib, King of Assyria
    (i) Hezekiah shows treasures to Berodachbaladan of Babylon

    XVI : d.642 : Menasheh [Manasses] ben Hizqiyah
    (j) Ark taken by Levites for safe-keeping from the heretic King.

    XVII :.640 : 'Amon ben Menasheh

    XVIII : d.609 : Yo'shiyahu [Josiah] ben 'Amon
    Josiah tells the Levites to return the Ark to the Temple.

    XIX : d.608 : Yeho'ahaz [Jehoahaz] ben Yo'shiyahu

    XX : d.598 : Yehoyaqim [Eliakim] ben Yo'shiyahu
    (k) Ark hidden at Mount Nebo by Jeremiah
    (l) Ark hidden under Temple by Levites
    (m) Ark taken by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon

    XXI : dep.597 : Yehoyakhin ben Yehoyaqim
    (n) Ark taken by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon

    XXII : d.577 : Tzidqiyahu [Zedekiah] ben Yo'shiyahu

    538 BC, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, returns Jews and their treasures to Jerusalem. No Ark reported in treasure lists.
    410 BC, Jewish Temple at Elephantine destroyed

    (o) Taken by Knights Templar to Rennes-le-Château.
    (p) Ark made its way to Zimbabwe

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


    (c)
    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Kings 14:22-29
    And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house. And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber. Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
    (d)
    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Kings 15:16-19
    And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
    (e)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 12:17-20
    Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem. And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.
    (f)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 14:12-15
    And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents. And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
    (g)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 16:7-9, 11-12, 17-19
    So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me. And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.
    ...
    And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus. And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.
    ...
    And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon the pavement of stones. And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king's entry without, turned he from the house of the Lord for the king of Assyria. Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
    (Why did he sacrifice at this new altar instead of at the Ark?)

    (h)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 18:13-16
    Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
    (i)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 20:12-17
    At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon. And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them. And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.
    (j)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 21:117
    Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
    (k)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Maccabees
    It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet [Jeremiah], being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went up, and saw the inheritance of God. And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door.
    (m)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Chronicles 36:4-8
    And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt. Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
    (n)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Kings 24:9-15
    And [Jehoiachin] did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And [the King of Babylon] carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
    (p) From Time magazine in 2008:
    [Tudor] Parfitt, 63, is a professor at the University of London's prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies. His new book, The Lost Ark of the Covenant: Solving the 2,500 Year Mystery of the Fabled Biblical Ark (HarperOne) along with a History Channel special scheduled for March 2 would appear to risk a fine academic reputation on what might be called a shaggy Ark story. But the professor has been right before, and his Ark fixation stems from his greatest coup. In the 1980s Parfitt lived with a Southern African clan called the Lemba, who claimed to be a lost tribe of Israel. Colleagues laughed at him for backing the claim; in 1999, a genetic marker specific to descendents of Judaism's Temple priests (cohens) was found to appear as frequently among the Lemba's priestly cast as in Jews named Cohen. The Lemba and Parfitt made global news.

    Parfitt started wondering about another aspect of the Lemba's now-credible oral history: a drumlike object called the ngoma lungundu. The ngoma, according to the Lemba, was near-divine, used to store ritual objects, and borne on poles inserted into rings. It was too holy to touch the ground or to be touched by non-priests, and it emitted a "Fire of God" that killed enemies and, occasionally, Lemba. A Lemba elder told Parfitt, "[It] came from the temple in Jerusalem. We carried it down here through Africa."

    That story, by Parfitt's estimation, is partly true, partly not. He is not at all sure, and has no way of really knowing, whether the Lemba's ancestors left Jerusalem simultaneously with the Ark (assuming, of course, that it left at all). However, he has a theory as to where they might eventually have converged. Lemba myth venerates a city called Senna. In modern-day Yemen, in an area with people genetically linked to the Lemba, Parfitt found a ghost town by that name. It's possible that the Lemba could have migrated there from Jerusalem by a spice route and from Senna, via a nearby port, they could have launched the long sail down the African coast. As for the Ark? Before Islam, Arabia contained many Jewish-controlled oases, and in the 500s AD, the period's only Jewish kingdom. It abutted Senna. In any case, the area might have beckoned to exiled Jews bearing a special burden. Parfitt also found eighth-century accounts of the Ark in Arabia, by Jews-turned-Muslims. He posits that at some undefined point the Lemba became the caretakers of the Ark, or the ngoma.

    Parfitt's final hunt for the ngoma, which dropped from sight in the 1940s, landed him in sometimes-hostile territory ("Bullets shattered the rear screen," of his car, he writes). Ark leads had guided him to Egypt, Ethiopia and even New Guinea, until one day last fall his clues led him to a storeroom of the Harare Museum of Human Science in Zimbabwe. There, amidst nesting mice, was an old drum with an uncharacteristic burnt-black bottom hole ("As if it had been used like a cannon," Parfitt notes), the remains of carrying rings on its corners; and a raised relief of crossed reeds that Parfitt thinks reflects an Old Testament detail. "I felt a shiver go down my spine," he writes.

    Parfitt thinks that whatever the supernatural character of Ark, it was, like the ngoma, a combination of reliquary, drum and primitive weapon, fueled with a somewhat unpredictable proto-gunpowder. That would explain the unintentional conflagrations. The drum element is the biggest stretch, since scripture never straightforwardly describes the Ark that way. He bases his supposition on the Ark's frequent association with trumpets, and on aspects of a Bible passage where King David dances in its presence. Parfitt admits that such a multipurpose object would be "very bizarre" in either culture, but insists, "that's an argument for a connection between them."

    So, had he found the Ark? Yes and no, he concluded. A splinter has carbon-dated the drum to 1350 AD ancient for an African wood artifact, but 2,500 years after Moses. Undaunted, Parfitt asserts that "this is the Ark referred to in Lemba tradition" Lemba legend has it that the original ngoma destroyed itself some 400 years ago and had to be rebuilt on its own "ruins" "constructed by priests to replace the previous Ark. There can be little doubt that what I found is the last thing on earth in direct descent from the Ark of Moses."

  8. Top | #18
    Formerly Joedad
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    There obviously never was an Ark. If there was such a thing and if it gave its people power, then why was it absent when the Romans wrecked the temple? It should have been used to send the Romans packing and panicking. The Ark is in reality just the Ark Story, the legend of the ark, that's all.

    But if it really is buried on Oak Island along with Shakespeare's original notes/manuscripts I certainly hope the continue digging until they find it.

    I totally enjoyed "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Great entertainment with a lot of cultural value imho.

  9. Top | #19
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    The Ark did not "give its people power" even in legend; in the Jewish mythos, it was said to be essentially the calling-card, the emblem, of YHWH, the Jewish God. As such, miraculous events and divine wrath have always been associated with it, and they always carried it into war. But He is and was not constrained by the box, He consented conditionally that His "Name" should dwell in it provided the customs and laws He laid on the Hebrew people were still observed. If they weren't, there was nothing stopping YHWH from withdrawing His name and all its powers from the Ark, City, and People of Judea, as indeed the Hebrew Scriptures record having happened at least twice. Once, when the Phillistines foolishly captured it in battle, and again at the time of the Babylonian captivity. Christians, of course, insist that the execution of Christ marked the final end of God's indwelling in Jerusalem, symbolized by the (alleged) tearing of the curtain that had once shielded the Holy of Holies from public view.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

  10. Top | #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    The Ark did not "give its people power" even in legend; in the Jewish mythos, it was said to be essentially the calling-card, the emblem, of YHWH, the Jewish God. As such, miraculous events and divine wrath have always been associated with it, and they always carried it into war. But He is and was not constrained by the box, He consented conditionally that His "Name" should dwell in it provided the customs and laws He laid on the Hebrew people were still observed. If they weren't, there was nothing stopping YHWH from withdrawing His name and all its powers from the Ark, City, and People of Judea, as indeed the Hebrew Scriptures record having happened at least twice. Once, when the Phillistines foolishly captured it in battle, and again at the time of the Babylonian captivity. Christians, of course, insist that the execution of Christ marked the final end of God's indwelling in Jerusalem, symbolized by the (alleged) tearing of the curtain that had once shielded the Holy of Holies from public view.
    Stories upon stories upon stories upon...

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