I realized in preparing to teach about 1-2 Samuel in recent years how important the Ark of the Covenant is in the movement of the story in Samuel. Along with Samuel, Saul and David, the Ark is another key player. It is front and centre in 1 Samuel 4, but is captured in battle by the Philistines. The Israelites are devastated, but the Philistines are plagued, and soon want to get rid of this thing (as in Raiders of the Lost Ark).
The Ark is returned to Israel, causes more trouble, and then from 1 Samuel 7:1 lies quietly…until the key achievement of the new king David’s early reign is to bring it into his new capital, Jerusalem (with more trouble) and installed in a kind of tabernacle or holy shrine there (2 Sam. 6:17). It leaves the old tribal Israel in the time of the judges, and returns to the new kingdom of Israel under David – a thread binding old to new, and 1 Samuel to 2 Samuel.
Here’s a thought: perhaps the temple articles play a similar role in Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah. I have to eat tea (Australian lingo for the evening meal) now, so must go. Stay tuned for part II!