God tells Moses to tell the Children of Israel that, if they are willing, they should make contributions of gold, silver, bronze, dyes, fine fabrics, animal skins, acacia wood, lighting oil, spices and onyx.
Then he tells Moses what the donations are for: an ark, or coffer, thought to be about the size of a desk table, overlaid with pure gold inside and out.
The ark is to have a cloth cover, and on top are to be two winged sphinxes made out of gold. The wings of the angels are to be spread upward to shelter the cloth cover. There are to be rings through which gold-plated poles are to be inserted in order to carry the ark.
Inside of the ark go the Ten Commandments. And that, God says, is where God will speak with Moses.
There’s also to be a table, covered with pure gold, also with poles for carrying.
And there’s to be a lampstand, made out of – guess what – gold. Actually, the way the lampstand is described, it’s more of a menorah, with seven lamps, decorated with knobs and stems. Perhaps it would seem familiar to us today.
Food for Thought
Why does God need such an elaborate ark? Why does God go into such great detail?