Remembrance of the Old Ark and the Feast of the New Holy Church
I Samuel 6:18-7:2
II Samuel 6:12-19
 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood; two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height.
 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and you shall make upon it a molding of gold round about.
 And you shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it.
 You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark by them.
 So, when the people set out from their tents, to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,
 and when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest),
 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap far off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zar’ethan, and those flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off; and the people passed over opposite Jericho.
 And while all Israel were passing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua,
 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man,
 and command them, `Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”
 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe;
 and Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel,
 that this may be a sign among you, when your children ask in time to come, `What do those stones mean to you?’
 Then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial for ever.”
 And the men of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, as the LORD told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.
 For the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua.
The people passed over in haste;
 and when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the LORD and the priests passed over before the people.
 The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manas’seh passed over armed before the people of Israel, as Moses had bidden them;
 about forty thousand ready armed for war passed over before the LORD for battle, to the plains of Jericho.
 On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him, as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.
 And the LORD said to Joshua,
 “Command the priests who bear the ark of the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.”
 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”
 And when the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD came up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.
I Samuel 6:18-7:2
 also the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone, beside which they set down the ark of the LORD, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-she’mesh.
 And he slew some of the men of Beth-she’mesh, because they looked into the ark of the LORD; he slew seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the LORD had made a great slaughter among the people.
 Then the men of Beth-she’mesh said, “Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?”
 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kir’iath-je’arim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the LORD. Come down and take it up to you.”
 And the men of Kir’iath-je’arim came and took up the ark of the LORD, and brought it to the house of Abin’adab on the hill; and they consecrated his son, Elea’zar, to have charge of the ark of the LORD.
 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kir’iath-je’arim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
II Samuel 6:12-19
 And it was told King David, “The LORD has blessed the household of O’bed-e’dom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O’bed-e’dom to the city of David with rejoicing;
 and when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.
 As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
 And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place, inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts,
 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary.
 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place.
 Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies,
 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties;
 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.
 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing
 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
 but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America