1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
5 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.
12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
13 And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
K.J.V. Bible Text
Exodus 25 is the beginning of instructions that the Lord gave to Moses on the mount. The Lord told Moses to ask that those of the people who would give willingly give various gifts to him. From previous readings of Exodus, I know that all the items the Lord requests the people to give as gifts are for the arc of the covenant and other parts of the temple that he wants them to build as a dwelling place for Him among them.
The Lord begins the instructions for building the arc. Even today, the secret of the arc is not known. That is lost in antiquity, but here where the Lord describes the staves to be placed in rings, we know that he was describing a way to carry the arc while not touching it. The arc was a dangerous thing to enemies but not to the chosen people who were instructed by the Lord how to use it safely.
The Lord told Moses that he should put into the ark the testimony which he would give him.
Personally, I wonder what that testimony could have been. Was it perhaps a written record of the laws given to Moses? Was the arc to be a home for the tablets of the Ten Commandments? Not being a bible scholar, I cannot answer that but I do know the arc was very important and the Lord wanted it built exactly as he commanded.
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