What happened to the Ark of the Covenant after Solomon's time?
I do not see the Ark of the Covenant mentioned in the Bible, after the
time of Solomon? What happened to it? Where might it be? Is recovering it
of any importance?
You are correct, as far as I know, about the last time the Ark
of the Covenant is known for sure to have existed. Of course, there has
been a great amount of speculation about the location of the Ark. Some
have claimed that the Ark is located today in a monastery in Axum in
Ethiopia. In order to keep speculation alive, those who are in charge of
the monastery do not allow any outsiders into the monastery. In my
opinion, it is an extremely dubious claim. As mentioned below, it is very
unlikely that the Ark survived the wars in Judah. Besides, if the ark
really were in Axum, those who have possession would stand to gain hugely
from showing proof of its existence.
What happened to the Ark of the Covenant? It is my belief
that it did not survive the various times that Jerusalem was conquered
throughout its history. Pharoah Neco defeated Judah and took tribute (2
Kings 23), which may have included the Ark or other items in the temple.
More likely, the Ark was taken when Jerusalem was conquered by
Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC or when it was destroyed by his army in 586 BC.
It seems very likely that the ark was destroyed–its gold melted down at
this time, as even the existence of the Ark would have encouraged hope for
revival of Jewish worship. The fact that there has been no legitimate
evidence for the existence of the Ark for well over 2500 years seems to
support the idea that it was destroyed at this time.
Would it be significant if the Ark were found? For
archaeologists, it would be very significant. It would represent a coup
about as significant as the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, assuming the
identity of the Ark could be confirmed. For believers in the Bible, it
would be a great encouragement, of course. What would be really
interesting (although extremely unlikely) would be if the remains of the
manna in the Ark were found. However, given the great deal of
archaeological evidence in support of the Bible, it is not obvious that it
would represent a great increase in reasons for belief in the historical
veracity of the Bible. We have more than enough physical evidence to
prove that the Bible, on the whole, is an accurate historical.