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What Happened To The Tabernacle?

What became of the original Tabernacle after Israel's wilderness years were over? A look at its history -

The Tabernacle

  • The Tabernacle was constructed after the receiving of The Ten Commandments in The Sinai at the beginning of the second year, 14 days before the Passover (Exodus 40:17). The Exodus of course had occurred at the very first Passover the year before.

  • For most of the Sinai wandering years, The Tabernacle was at Kadesh (Deuteronomy 1:46).

  • Immediately after entering the promised land under Joshua, The Tabernacle was located at Gilgal (Joshua 4:19), and the area of Shechem and Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30-33).

  • The Tabernacle was then established firmly at Shiloh for many years (Joshua 18:1-10), continuing through all the period of the Judges.

  • Because of their sinful behavior, God allowed the Israelites to be defeated at Shiloh, at which time The Ark was captured by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:3,11). It was at this point that The Ark and the original Tabernacle parted company for many months, perhaps permanently. When The Ark was recovered from the Philistines 7 months later (1 Samuel 6:1), it was taken to Abinadab's house in Kiriath Jearim (1 Samuel 7:1).

  • Although The Ark is again mentioned in The Tabernacle of The Lord when it was later relocated at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39), there is some doubt as to whether it was the original Tabernacle. When The Ark was later moved to Jerusalem by King David (2 Samuel 6:2), after temporarily staying in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (2 Samuel 6:10), it was just placed "inside the tent that David had pitched for it." (2 Samuel 6:17). Even if the original Tabernacle had survived to Gibeon, it obviously hadn't made it to Jerusalem - otherwise, David would almost certainly have used it. Later, The Ark was placed in the new Temple that was built in the time of King Solomon.

So what was the fate of the original Tabernacle? The Bible does not state specifically what happened to it, and there are a number of possibilities, but in all likelihood, its ropes, wooden bars, and leather materials had simply worn out after so many years of use, and the Levites respectfully retired it in some way.

Fact Finder: Was the Old Testament wilderness Tabernacle intended as just a temporary structure - used only for rituals that symbolized the later perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
Hebrews 9:6-14


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