“They are to make an ark of acacia wood. Its length will be two and a half cubits,a its width a cubit and a half,b and a cubit and a half its height. Bible see other translations
45 inches (114 cm)
27 inches (68.5 cm)

“ark.” The very first thing God talks to Moses about building for His “Dwelling Place” (the Tabernacle; the Tent of Meeting) is the “ark of the covenant,” also called “the ark of the testimony” (Exod. 25:22; 26:33; 30:6; etc.). The ark is called those names because inside it were the tablets on which God had personally written the Ten Commandments, which were the heart and essence of the covenant between Israel and God. Without that covenant agreement, God did not have a special relationship with Israel—they would have been like any other nation on earth, just doing whatever they wanted. The covenant relationship between God and Israel was thus the very basis of everything else the Tabernacle represented, so it had to be mentioned first, before any other part of the Tabernacle was spoken about.

Although technically the “ark” was a box of wood that had been covered in gold, it had a lid referred to as the “mercy seat”

The ark of the covenant was placed inside the Tabernacle of Moses and then inside Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:6). However, there will not be an ark of the covenant in the Millennial Temple because during the Millennium believers will have the law written on their hearts of flesh, not tablets of stone (see commentary on Jer. 3:16).

[For more on God wanting a “Dwelling” among Israel, see commentary on Exodus 25:8. For more on the names of the Tabernacle and what they mean, see commentary on Exodus 25:9.]

“cubits.” The cubit used for Moses’ Tabernacle was roughly 18 inches (45.72 cm). When the centimeters are given in the footnotes or text, the decimal points are usually rounded up or down depending on the fraction. For example, 45 inches, the length of the ark, is more exactly 114.3 cm, but the footnote gives the measure as 114. So the ark of the covenant was roughly 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high.

[For more information about the cubit used in the Tabernacle, see commentary on 2 Chronicles 3:3.]

Commentary for: Exodus 25:10