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After Joshua, during the time of the judges, where was the ark located? In Judges 18 it seems that the people did not have a central place of worship.

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Why do you think Judges 18 implies that? (Note, in particular, its last words.) –  msh210 Jun 26 '12 at 18:12
    
31. And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of G-d was in Shiloh. –  ironman99 Jun 26 '12 at 18:35
    
so, is this saying that the house of G-d was in Shiloh the whole time it's just that people were not going to it? So, the Ark was being kept in Shiloh? –  ironman99 Jun 26 '12 at 18:36
    
Obviously, at least part of the period of the judges, the mishkan (house of God) was in Shilo. Whether it was there the whole time or not is a fine question (and is essentially equivalent to yours, above), but my point was that Judges 18 is a poor choice of support for your assertion that "the people did not have a central place of worship" because (besides the fact that it doesn't say so) it says the opposite. –  msh210 Jun 26 '12 at 18:38
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The Mishnayot in the last chapter of Zevachim outline the journey of the Tabernacle. When the Jews arrived in Israel:

  • The Tabernacle was in Gilgal for the 14 years of capturing and dividing the land.
  • It then moved to Shiloh for 369 years.
  • When Shiloh was destroyed (I Samuel 4), the Tabernacle was moved to Nov until it too was destroyed (I Samuel 22:19)
  • whereupon it was moved to Givon until the building of the first Temple in Jerusalem by King Solomon.

The Ark, meanwhile:

  • had been taken from Shiloh when it was destroyed by the Philistines. It was in their hands for 7 months (I Samuel 5:1)
  • then it was returned to the Jews at Beit Shemesh (I Samuel 6:13) who placed it into care in Kiryat Ye'arim (I Samuel 6:21).
  • It stayed there until King David brought it up to Jerusalem, stopping temporarily at the house of Oved Edom the Gittite (II Samuel 6:10).
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Thank you! Do you by chance know any good books on the subject..? –  ironman99 Jun 27 '12 at 3:07
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