by Wayne Blank
"they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die"
The Philistines had also learned the same lesson, the hard way. They had captured the Ark, but soon discovered that they would much rather not be in possession of it because The Lord's wrath came upon them for holding it. Note: the RSV is used for this verse quote because it correctly translates the original word as "tumors," whereas the King James incorrectly uses "emerods." The Lord actually inflicted the Philistines with the "tumors" of bubonic plague i.e. buboes: "a lymph node that is inflamed and swollen because of plague."
"When the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they carried it from Ebenezer to Ashdod; then the Philistines took the Ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon."
The Philistines gladly returned the Ark to the Israelites.
"And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the Ark of The Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the Ark of The Lord. And it came to pass, while the Ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after The Lord." (1 Samuel 7:1-2 KJV)
Later, King David decided to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, an event that turned tragic for Uzzah because he carelessly ignored The Lord's warning that he must surely have been aware of.
"Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the Ark of God, whose Name is called by the Name of The Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the Ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the Ark of God: and Ahio went before the Ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before The Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals."
Fact Finder: Throughout Bible History, neither non-Israelites (e.g. the Philistines, as in the example shown above) or unauthorized Israelites, including unauthorized Levites (e.g. Uzzah) were permitted to possess, or even touch, the Ark. How is that Biblical reality a key clue as to the place where the Ark, if it is ever found, will be found?