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The Ark of the Covenant, Taken and Returned (1180 BC)

The Ark of the Covenant wasn’t always in the hands of the Israelites. It was taken from them by the Philistines for a period of time until it was returned. This event is listed on the Bible Timeline Poster around 1180 BC.

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The Ark of the Covenant is a wooden chest with a pure gold covering that contains the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. It was created at Sinai using the pattern given by God to Moses (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The Ark served as Israel’s guide in the journey through the wilderness (Num. 10:33-36). It also served as a symbol of God’s presence (I Sam 4:4).

The Ark
“Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant”

The Ark was brought by the Israelites throughout their travel in the desert and during wars. When they set to conquer Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, they carried the Ark with them, and the Jordan River split allowing them to pass into the land of Canaan (Josh. 3). In the Battle of Jericho, their first battle in the conquest of Canaan, they carried the Ark and marched around the city for days with armed men and the seven priests sounding the seven trumpets. On the seventh day, the wall of Jericho fell and the Israelites took over the city (Josh. 6). After the conquest, Joshua set up the Ark, together with the tabernacle, in Shiloh (Josh. 18). The Ark remained in Shiloh until the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines during the time of Eli.

When the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines, they took the Ark to Eben-ezer hoping to win the next battle. However they were defeated again, and the Ark was taken by the Philistines (I Sam. 4:3-5, 10, 11). In Shiloh, the High Priest Eli fell dead upon hearing the news of the Ark’s capture (I Sam. 4:12-18).

The Philistines brought the Ark with them to their capital city, Ashdod and put it in the temple of their idol god Dagon. However, on the next day, the statue of Dagon had fallen to the ground. The same thing happened again the following day. Soon after, the city of Ashdod suffered misfortune as plague after plague struck the city. The Ark was moved to the city of Gath and then Ekron, but the plague continued (I Sam. 5:1-12).

After keeping the Ark for seven months, the Philistines decided to return it to the Israelites together with offerings of expensive gifts upon the advice of their diviners and priests. The Ark was brought back to Beit Shemesh and then transported to Kiryat Yearim, where it stayed for twenty years (I Sam. 6:1-18, 21; 7:1-2).

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7 thoughts on “The Ark of the Covenant, Taken and Returned (1180 BC)

  1. What happened to Ark since I have not heard where it actually went and never heard about the Ark after King Solomon

    1. The Ark of the Covenant was hidden by Jeremiah when he found out that the Babylonians were coming to take Israel. This is not in the Bible, but was revealed to a modern day Christian from Memphis, TN, whose name is Ron Wyatt, 1933-1999. He got permission from the Israeli government to search for the Ark and found it. When he notified the Israeli officials that he had found it, they sent in their own people to finish the excavation, but they all died of a brain hemorrhage. The Israelis then shut down the excavation and kept it a secret. It was revealed to Ron Wyatt that the Ark of the Covenant would not be uncovered until the Antichrist is in power. Do a search for Ron Wyatt to find the whole story.

      1. Sorry, I made an error. Ron Wyatt is from Nashville, TN. There is also a museum dedicated to his work just south of Nashville, called the Wyatt Archeological Museum, in Cornersville, TN.

  2. The Bible does tell of a time when the Arch of the Covenant will no longer be needed.’Jer: 31:31-33 & Hebrews 8:13 ; 12:24.
    And God’s people would no longer miss it. Jer: 3:16

  3. why was the ask of God not taken to the city of David from the LANs of Philistine?

  4. WHAT HAPPEN TO THE MEN WHO STOLE THE ARK OF COVENT ,, AND HOW DID THEY GET IN THE FORT FIRST TO GET IT .

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