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In 2 Chronicles 5:1, it is written that King Solomon finally completed building “the house of Yahveh,” i.e., the temple:

1 So all the work that Solomon had done for the house of the LORD was finished; and Solomon brought in the things which his father David had dedicated: the silver and the gold and all the furnishings. And he put them in the treasuries of the house of God. NKJV, ©1982

In 2 Chronicles 5:5, it is written,

5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.

But, unless I am mistaken, the text never states what happened to the tabernacle thereafter. So, does the Bible ever state what happened to it?

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  • Tabernacle = tent on top deck of Noahs ark (barge)
    – R. Emery
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 7:31

3 Answers 3

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We know that somewhere up until David places the ark of the covenant in a tent he had built the tabernacle was in use.

“And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭6:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The last it was mentioned still in David’s lifetime is

“And he left Zadok the priest and his brothers the priests before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon” ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:39‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So what happened between these two events? One can speculate that the materials were retired respectfully, and or reused elsewhere by the priests

Personally I understand the tabernacle to be a replica of the earth, so it was not a rectangular structure but a half sphere, dome-like structure. People only up until recently understood the world to be a flat circle with a dome firmament heaven on top. And since this earth will finally burn including the heavens or the firmament as they understood the heavens, I personally think the tabernacle was consumed in a fire. It’s purely speculation on my part that it burned up. But I have other reasons beyond these which I don’t feel fits the scope of this question.

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  • Thanks for your in put. However, it provides no definite answer to the question. Anyone can speculate, but that doesn't satisfy the query. The idea of "replica" needs more proof and biblical referencing. "Inquiring minds want to know!" as the saying goes. Keep studying the Bible; it's great for the soul.
    – ray grant
    Commented Jan 5 at 21:38
  • Some times knowing you can’t know is an answer too @ray Commented Jan 8 at 19:15
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The following is a major revision subsequent to more study and research:

The tent of David was a partial copy of the Tabernacle. The original, built by Moses, was maintained at Gibeon minus the ark. Saul had it moved there from Nob after he had all the inhabitants of that town murdered. The original Tabernacle was moved from Shiloh to its previous location at Gilgal after the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. The town of Shiloh was obliterated by the Philistines soon after.

When the Philistines returned the Ark it never caught up with the Tabernacle! Even when Saul moved the tabernacle from Gilgal to Nob, he did not reunite the Ark with the Tabernacle. The Ark was stored at Kirjath Jearim on the property of Abinadab where it was cared for by his consecrated son Eleazar according to 1st Samuel 7:1. Verse 2 records that it was kept there for twenty years which may have been when that verse was written. It was clearly there much longer than that (nearly 80 years) because that is where King David retrieved it from in 1st Chronicles 13 during his first attempt to bring it to Jerusalem. David stopped short of taking it into Jerusalem because of the untimely death of Uzza who mishandled the ark on the journey. It was left at the home of Obed-Edom for three months according to 2nd Samuel 6:11. David had completed a partial copy of the Tabernacle in Jerusalem to house the Ark and a team of Levites transported the Ark properly to that location. It seems that the Ark remained in David's tabernacle until completion of Solomon's temple. Solomon's coronation occurred at the Moses Tabernacle 2nd Chronicles 1:1-6. Construction of the temple was started four years later.

The decommissioning of the two Tabernacles is apparently undocumented. Deteriorating fabrics were possibly trashed and recovered metals returned to the treasury.

A better alternative may have been designed into the Temple structure by Solomon as extra rooms to store the Tabernacle components as religious/historic relics. It was likely within these extra rooms among these items that the Book of the Law could be misplaced and later found by Hilkiah during the reign of Josiah according to 2 Kings 22:8. Without all these items being stored within the Temple structure how could the Book of the Law possibly get misplaced?

Ref.http://www.biblefellowshipunion.co.uk/2008/Jan_Feb/JourTabr.htm

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  • Thank you for the answer, but I'm not sure the Philistines destroyed it. 2 Chronicles 1:3 states Solomon went to the Tent of Meeting which Moses had made in the wilderness. Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 23:07
  • The scripture only mentions the Ark of the Covenent. It does not state that the tabernacle structure with its frames, bases, fabrics, skins, and furnishings were stored at Abinadab's place as well. That is tons of material that would take up a lot of space even if folded and stacked neatly. A barn large enough to store all of that indoors would be a rare thing in those days. Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 23:35
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    Your 2 Chron ref indicates that the Ark was never reunited with the tabernacle in Gibeon after the Philistine's return of it. David's tent was not a tabernacle reconstruct! The tabernacle was maintained at Gibeon all that time (80 yrs) with no Ark? Wow! Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 0:06
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The Tabernacle seems to be last pitched at Gibeon(according to 2 Cor 1:3) and some time after this usage is 'taken up' to the site of Solomon's newly built Temple along with all the original furnishings and the Ark(which David moved there sooner but was likely kept elsewhere during construction of the temple). 1 King 8 and 2 Chron 5 record this momentous occasion.

Interestingly, the 2 Chronicles account starts with a mention of all the treasures dedicated by David being placed into 'the treasuries of the house of God.' If you read the previous description of the temple, there is a section that wraps around the temple and is accessed externally where all the sacred articles for various Levitical rites are kept. This is the referenced treasury and where the Tabernacle in its many pieces was likely kept thereafter. 2 Kings 11:10 confirms this is the treasury in that some of the aforementioned treasures (weapons specifically) of David are retrieved 'from the temple' for the sake of its defense during conflict.

As far as I can tell the last reference to the Tabernacle seems to be 2 Kings 16:18: 'Also he removed the Sabbath pavilion which they had built in the temple, and he removed the king’s outer entrance from the house of the LORD, on account of the king of Assyria.'

Now it's possible this is referring to the inner vestibule that comprises the holy of holies but at that point the temple would literally be an empty shell. I think the descent of Israel is such that at this point they are giving over to Assyria a 'pound of flesh' and stripping the temple back. As the Tabernacle was no longer in use it stands to reason that King Ahaz gave it as tribute to Tiglath-Pileser about a century before Nebuchadnezzar II ultimately destroys the temple and exiles the Judeans. So it was a sacrifice by a cowardly King on Israel's way to exile and great suffering. They sold out the blessings of YHWH for fear of Assyria.

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    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 17:09

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