Archaeologists in Israel Discover Man-Made Platform That May Have Held the Ark of the Covenant

In the upper terrace at Kiriath-Jearim, a massive wall was unearthed some 15 cm below topsoil. The well-preserved wall is circa 3 m broad and preserved to 2.15 m on its outer face. (Shmunis Family Excavations at Kiriath-Jearim)

Archaeologists in Israel have unearthed a massive man-made platform that could contain clues about the Ark of the Covenant.

Israel Finkelstein, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, told The Times of Israel that the eighth century BCE shrine was believed to have held the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is said in the Bible to contain the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses.

The Ark is believed to have been kept at Kiriath-Jearim for 20 years, until it was paraded by King David in Jerusalem.

Unlike other archaeologists working in the region, Finkelstein said he doesn’t believe the Ark actually existed. Still, he insists that the recent discovery could lead to information about the political events in biblical times.

“The excavations at Kiriath-Jearim shed light on the strength of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) in the early eighth century, including, possibly, its domination of Judah,” Finkelstein said. “They also illuminate an important theme in the Bible — the Ark and its history.”

The structure researchers discovered, which the Times of Israel described as “game-changing,” is an elevated rectangular podium.

The archaeologists say “it can be reconstructed to have been circa 150-110 m in size and covering an area of some 1.65 hectares. Created with typical Iron Age walls, 3-m wide and which still stand 2-m high, it is oriented exactly north-south and east-west.”

The excavation team suggests that the goal at the time was to “legitimate Kiriath-Jearim as the ‘new’ shrine of the Ark.”

“Accordingly, in the case of a North Kingdom affiliation, the elevated platform was built in order to accommodate an Israelite administration compound, including a temple, aimed at dominating the vassal kingdom of Judah,” it adds.

Kiriath-Jearim itself is an important biblical site, with I Chronicles 13, 5-8 detailing the story of King David transporting the Ark to Jerusalem.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov

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