Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Q&A - Why was the Ark of The Covenant overlaid with gold ?

As Exodus 25:11 specifies, the Ark of The Covenant was overlayed in gold. Its other parts were too either made completely of gold (Crown - Exodus 25:11, 4 Rings - Exodus 25:12, Mercy Seat - Exodus 25:17) or also overlayed with gold (i.e Staves - Exodus 25:13).

Thus, as you can see from the image above, the entire Ark of The Covenant was covered in gold (or made of) gold. But what was the reason behind such expensive endeavor ?

Well, the answer to this question is very simple: it was to provide the Children of Israel with CHOICE!

As you know, gold is a very expensive and precious material. It always had been and always will be. By overlaying Ark of The Covenant with gold, and what is most importantly, making some of its critical parts completely out of gold, it was assured that those in possession of the Ark would always have a choice!

The choice I'm talking about is, of'course, the choice between God and personal materialistic desires. The choice between God and gold!  

Without gold overlay and golden parts, the Ark of The Covenant would have been useless. Imagine stripping just the gold overlay from the Ark! It would look like so:

According to reasonable calculations, this would account to ~23kg of gold, or roughly 1/2 of all gold used in making of the Ark. Nevertheless, the Ark still appears to be intact and more or less useful as some of the rituals(i.e Leviticus 16:13-15) can still be performed. Although in my humble opinion, removing gold overlay would greatly affect Ark's resistance to elements and its structural strength (i.e it could not be carried anymore).

Removing the other half of the gold (all solid gold parts), we would end up with this:

As you can see from the image above, the Ark is now completely useless. And even though it can still house the two stone tablets of The Testimony, it is now nothing but a wooden box and two detached poles of wood.

Thus, I hope it is now clear that overlaying the Ark with gold and making some of its part of solid gold had tremendous symbolic and practical significance. 

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