Experts are looking for the tabernacle that would have once, housed the majestic Ark of the Covenant—a gold-covered wooden chest mentioned in the Book of Exodus as housing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.
Archaeologists have already completed the first of a series of excavations at the site of the ancient city of Silo. The main purpose of the project is to find evidence of the artifact that, according to the Bible, housed the Ark of the Covenant.
After a month of excavation, experts discovered hundreds of artifacts, including fragments of pottery, coins, jewelry, armaments, and a large number of bones that would correspond to religious sacrifices.
“We registered 700 objects this last excavation—seal impressions, scarabs, tools, weapons, jewelry, utilitarian objects, cultic objects,” said Dr. Scott Stripling, the director of excavations at Shiloh. “And about 2,000 pieces of pottery a day.”
As reported by Fox News, the current would be the first of at least five annual excavations sponsored by Associates for Biblical Research (ABR).
The tabernacle, also known as the “Tent of Meeting,” was the shrine built by the Israelites under instructions given by Yahweh to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The main source for the account of the construction of the Tabernacle can be found in the biblical Book of Exodus, specifically, if we look at Exodus 25–31 and 35–40.
The accounts describe an inner shrine, the Holy of Holies, which housed the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was in turn under the veil of the covering suspended by four majestic pillars and an outer chamber (aka the “Holy Place”), which contained beaten gold made into what is described as a lamp-stand featuring a central shaft which incorporated four almond-shaped bowls and six branches, each one of them sustaining three bowls which were shaped in the form of almonds and blossoms.
The narratives that speak of this tabernacle in the Bible are found in Joshua 18: 1-3:
1—And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
2—And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
3—And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?
While many archaeological incursions have been made in Silo in the past in search for the tabernacle, the remains of the tabernacle have never been found.
Why is Silo so important?
This ancient city was the first capital of the kingdom of Israel for a period of 369 years.
It was destroyed by the Philistines, who overcame the Israelites in the middle of the Iron Age and temporarily captured the Ark of the Covenant.
Later, Silo was rebuilt and remained occupied during the Roman era, with structures built by the Byzantines and Crusaders.
With the recent discovery of so many artifacts and animal bones, archaeologists believe they are closer than ever to finding the place where the tabernacle once stood.
(H/T Fox News)
Image credit: Alexander Groseth