Ekev–Moses’ Ark

I made an ark of acacia wood. (Deuteronomy 10:3)

These seven words (four in Hebrew) are all that Deuteronomy has to tell us about the ark. This stands in stark contrast to the stories in Exodus and Numbers, which go into great detail about the construction of the ark, beautifully rendered by expert craftsmen, and the many ways that the ark serves as a symbol of God’s presence.

For Deuteronomy, the ark has a much less mysterious function. It is simply a chest, receptacle, to contain the tablets of the law. No skilled artisans are necessary; Moses’ own woodworking ability seems to be up to the task.

Deuteronomy doesn’t want to put too much emphasis on the ark. Perhaps it fears that the ark, like the calf, could become an idol.

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