7. How long was the ark of the covenant at Abinadab’s house?

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

1sam 7:1-2, 10:24 ≠ 2sam 6:2-3,
acts 13:21

1 Samuel 7:1-2 So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD. They took it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the LORD. It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim, and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD.

1 Samuel 10:24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” ¶ Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

2 Samuel 6:2-3 He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart

Acts 13:21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.

1 Samuel 7:2, recording events before Saul becomes king, says that the ark of the covenant remained in Abinadab’s house in Kiriath Jearim for 20 years. But 2 Samuel 6:2-3 says the ark was taken from Abinadab’s house by David after the death of Saul over 40 years later. So how long was it in Abinadab’s house? 20 years or over 40 years?

The Reason Project has assumed that the writer intends the 20 years mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:2 covers all the time from 1 Samuel 7:3 to 2 Samuel 6:2. But are they right to make that assumption? If you read 1 & 2 Samuel carefully it becomes clear that the writer doesn’t mean the ark remained in Abinadab’s house for 20 years until David removed it, but rather the ark remained in Abinadab’s house for 20 years before the next thing the writer mentions. That is, the ark remained in Abinadab’s house for 20 years between 1 Samuel 7:3 and 1 Samuel 7:4, and a further 20 or so years from 1 Samuel 7:4 until David brought it to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6:2. More than 40 years in total.

In other words, 1 Samuel 7:3 is like a play where someone walks out holding a piece of card that says, “And the ark remained in Abinadab’s house for 20 years.” And then the next scene begins 20 years later in 1 Samuel 7:4. There is no contradiction.

  1. doogle268 says:

    Your references above need to be changed. 1 Samuel 7:2 says that the arks remained at the house of Abinadab for 20 years and 1 Samuel 7:3 continues the story.
    Also, if the ark remained at Abinadab’s house for 20 years before Saul became king then it must have been there more than 60 years (since Saul reigned 40 years). In addition, since David only retrieved the ark after he was anointed king of Israel, at least 7 years had already passed of David’s reign. At least 67 years would therefore seem to be the best minimum. Determining a maximum does not seem possible so we must say more than 67 years.

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