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2 ARKS, 2 SETS OF STONES........

It is often forgotten that Moses received different parts of the law from G-D at Sinai on three main separate occasions all described in the Book of Exodus and he gave a general summing up of those events in the Book of Deuteronomy.

The first event in the third month after having left Egypt, G-D for the only time "spoke" to all the people giving at that time the ten commandments and a series of civil laws. (Exodus 20-24)

G-D then called upon Moses to:-

" Come up to ME into the mount and be there and I will give thee the tables of stone, and the law and the commandment, which I have written, that thou mayest teach them." - Exodus 24:12.

And so Moses goes up to the mountain for his first 40 day visit where he is given a set of stones MADE BY G-D together with comprehensive instructions regarding the sanctuary. As part of those instructions G-D is very explicit. Moses is to make an ark of acasia wood which shall be overlain with pure gold which was to be topped by two cherubim also of gold. Most importantly for our story:-

" And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony WHICH I SHALL GIVE THEE" - Exodus 25:16

We shall see that this sentence is crucial, because these first stones are the ONLY ones that G-D gave to Moses.

The rest of that event is well known. Moses came down from the mountain and broke the stones "WHICH G-D HAD GIVEN HIM".

A meeting took place at "The Tent of Meeting" where Moses pleaded For or a second chance which was then granted.

The event to follow was NOT the same as the first visit to the mountain. This time G-D was not going to give Moses a new set of tablets. Instead the Lord said unto Moses:

"Hew thee two tablets of stone like unto first; and I will write upon the tablets the words that were on the first tables, which thou didst break." - Exodus 34:1

It is obvious therefore that this set of stones cannot be the ones G-D referred to when he orders Moses to put them in the Ark of Gold. In fact G-D goes even further he orders Moses to bring another ark with him, one of simple wood.

"Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto ME into the mount; and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were on the first tables which thou didst break and thou shalt put them in the ark.......And I turned and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they are, as the LORD commanded me." - Deuteronomy 10: 1-5.

But this was written 40 years after the Exodus and we know that some stones were placed in the Golden Ark "on the first day of the first month" of the second year after the Exodus. Exodus 40:1.

"And he took and put the testimony into the ark" - Exodus 40:20.

The Torah therefore is absolutely clear. There were two arks, two sets of stones and in accordance with G-D's orders, the broken stones WHICH G-D gave, were placed in the Golden ark and the stones which Moses cut were placed in the wooden ark

Rashi and others refer to there being two arks.

Rashi in (Deut. 10,1) brings the Yerushalmi (Shekalim 6, 1), "...this was a different ark, and this was the one which used to go forth with them to battle. But the one which Bezalel made, did not go forth to battle, except in the days of Eli, and they were punished for this and it was captured." - R. Yehuda son of Lakish in the Yerushalmi

"There were two arks, one which abode in the encampment, and one which went forth with them to war, and in it were the broken tables,' as is said, 'And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went.' But the one with them in the encampment contained the roll of the Law." - The Talmud, The Tabernacle - Chapter VII

In the next part, we shall see that the Ark covered in Gold was taken by Shishak when he invaded at the time of Rehoboam. That is confirmed in the Talmud.

PESACHIM 87b. "The Great Treasure ( which Joseph had accumulated in Egypt and more) described in G-D's promise to Abraham ( Genesis 15:14 ) returned to Egypt."

The tales of an Ark being hidden under the Temple may very well have applied to the simple ark of wood containing the stones which Moses had taken up the mountain, but the Ark of Gold according to the Tanakh went to Egypt. The question is what happened to the contents? The broken stones which G-D had given to Moses?

We shall see that they could very possibly be in the place where the treasure was transferred to Shishak, a little village in the Judean Hills which the son of Shishak refers to in his records. The amount of corroborative evidence is quite impressive...

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