Why is it that in spite of the fact that the ark carried Torah tablets and other sacred objects, it was lost? Was it not taken care of by the priests of that time? Or was it destined to be lost? Why? And if the Ark is found then how will we know and verify that it is the "Ark of the Covenant"?

  • You are asking several questions, some of which are only tangentially related to one another (if at all). Consider splitting it up in to different questions to get better answers. – yoel Mar 2 '12 at 14:23
  • I need to specify the context of the question and the background so that it explains why am i asking the question. – Maxood Mar 2 '12 at 14:26
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    @ Maxood I don't know what @SethJ was referring to, but there were a couple things I found inaccurate. 1) The Ark did not contain any of Moshe's or Aharon's personal objects. 2) You state as fact that the priests did not take care of it. I corrected those, and I also deleted the totally unrelated question of why the Jews suffer. – Hod - Monica's Army Mar 2 '12 at 17:03
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    @SethJ There are no deleted comments on this post, perhaps it didn't go through. Anyway, in it's current form, this is a good question. +1 – Hod - Monica's Army Mar 2 '12 at 20:21
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    @Maxood The only one of those items that could possibly be called personal is Aharon's staff. Even that I would not call personal for several reasons, but mostly because the Ark was not Aharon's personal safety deposit box. If his staff was in there it was because of its value to G-d and/or the Jewish people. – Hod - Monica's Army Mar 4 '12 at 16:23

The suffering question is a complicated one best addressed separately.

As for the Ark: it was cared-for quite well (well it was briefly seized by the Philistines ~3000 years ago but soon after returned). The traditional Jewish view has it that about 2500 years ago, they knew the Babylonians were going to plunder the First Temple. To keep the Ark out of the Babylonians' hands, the king buried it somewhere beneath Jerusalem -- where it has most likely been ever since.

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  • Can you please quote from an authentic historical text? How do we know that the Ark was buried by the king in Jerusalem? – Maxood Mar 2 '12 at 14:46
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    @Maxood Talmud Bavli (Yoma 53a-b) has a lengthy discussion as to what happened to the Ark. It is a subject of some dispute, but it is generally agreed upon that it was deliberately hidden in order to protect it. – Seth J Mar 2 '12 at 15:11
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    @Maxood it is a subject of dispute as to where it ended up. There was an invasion and the people were massacred, shackled and exiled. Presumably there was some difficulty keeping track in all the chaos, and people had heard different things about where it ended up and passed on conflicting information over the generations. The Talmud is trying to glean information from the verses to determine if the location can be pinpointed, and where that location is. – Seth J Mar 2 '12 at 15:39
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    @Maxood, there is no consensus in the Talmud, though. It is an attempt by the Talmudic scholars to pinpoint it using inductive reasoning and applying it to the different traditions they had. But they came to no conclusion. And even if they had, we were in exile for nearly 2000 years, and even though Israel is under "Jewish" control, the antiquities are very difficult to search for since every attempt to do so - or even rumors of attempts - sets off riots and terrorist attacks. – Seth J Mar 2 '12 at 17:02
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    @Maxood Also remember that the Talmud was written in its final form a good 1000 years after the first exile and the contemporaneous hiding of the Ark. – Seth J Mar 2 '12 at 17:14

There is much discussion on this point among "bible scholars". They surmise it to be anywhere from Yemen to Ethiopia among other far flung locales. I believe the Gemara in Megilla on 26a must be read to mean that the Ark is somewhere on the Temple Mount (in the catacombs beneath it).

It is a little complicated to explain. If you're interested drop me a line at yzweig@gmail.com and I will go into a lengthy explanation.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! The question wasn't asking where the Ark is, but how it came to happen that it got lost. – Y     e     z Dec 29 '14 at 3:23
  • Yzwieg: I would like to hear the lengthy explanation. Would you be willing to either post it here or else send me a copy? jeffsilverm at gmail – user1928764 Dec 29 '14 at 5:41

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