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by Wayne Blank
Gold-covered wooden staves were used to carry The Ark Of The Covenant. The poles were inserted through the rings on the side of The Ark.
"And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of The Ark, that The Ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of The Ark: they shall not be taken from it." (Exodus 25:13-15 KJV)
Various other items in the Tabernacle were carried by gold or brass covered staves:
"Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them" (Exodus 25:27-28 KJV)
Centuries later, when Solomon completed the Temple (see Temples), The Ark's traveling days were over. The staves were used one last time (well, almost the last time; The Ark was moved again, but probably not very far, by the only people who could handle it without God killing them for touching it - see the Fact Finder question below) to move The Ark into the Temple.
"And they brought up The Ark of The Lord, and the Tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up. And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before The Ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude."
Common staves were used for weapons. The mob that arrested Jesus Christ was armed with swords and staves:
"In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the Temple [see "My Father's House"], and ye laid no hold on Me." (Matthew 26:55 KJV)
Fact Finder: What is the most-likely location of The Ark of the Covenant right now?