In Devarim 10:1, G-d tells Moshe to carve two tablets, bring them to G-d, he will write the Ten Commandments on them, and then Moshe should make a wooden ark and place the tablets in them. Moshe makes the ark first (see verse 3) so that it will be ready by the time he returns from Mt. Sinai and he can store them, there.
Eventually, when the Mishkan was built, Betzalel makes a golden ark and the tablets were stored there.
I'm confused as to the order and timing of what the purpose of these two arks were.
I assume that the Golden ark was built after the wooden one, as I understand that the purpose of the Mishkan was a form of atonement for the making of the Golden Calf. (If this is incorrect, please comment.)
Thus, there seems to be no commandment that the first tablets be placed in any ark at all! Was there no need to store the first set of tablets in any ark? Why is the commandment made only regarding the 2nd tablets?
When Moshe gets the two tablets, he puts them in the wooden ark. Then, after the golden one was built, he places them in that ark (See parshat Terumah (will edit in exact verse, later, B"N) where it says that "You should put the edut in the ark.)
Why were the tablets moved around, and what was eventually left in the wooden ark? Was it empty? What was it used for, after the Golden one was built?