" And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more." (Jer. 3:16, KJV)

But, the Interlinear translates the Hebrew in the last of that verse as "nor shall it be made anymore".

That agrees with the OJB which as "neither shall another be fashioned."


The Hebrew word "yê·‘ā·śeh" for "shall it be made" is listed as Strong's Heb. 6213, and the meaning is found in the BDB under "Niphal97" (to do) under 2. (passive of Qual II) a.

"a. be made, of conr. things 1 Kings 10:20 2Chronicles 9:19 (throne), Jeremiah 3:16 (ark), 2 Kings 12:14; Ezekiel 43:18; Exodus 25:31; Numbers 4:36 (P); with accusative mat; Leviticus 2:7. " Source: Biblehub

Gill's commentary at Jer. 3:16 includes

"neither shall that be done any more; or, "made any more" (g) the Jews (h) say, the ark was wanting in the second temple, and was never afterwards remade:" Source: Biblehub

Benson Commentary includes:

" The Hebrew, ולא יעשׂה עוד, is literally rendered by the LXX., και ου ποιηθησεται ετι, Nor shall it be made any more. So also the Vulgate, nec fiet ultra. The ark, once lost, was never to be made again, or restored:" Souce: Ibid

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown has:

"done—rather, "neither shall it (the ark) be made (that is, be restored) any more" [Maurer]." Source: Ibid.

The record from the Talmud indicates that the ark of the covenant was not ever in the second temple built after the return from the Babylonian captivity. (1) If the legend that Jeremiah took the ark to a secret cave in the mountains (2 Maccabees) wouldn't it have been returned to the 2nd temple once the Jews rebuilt the temple after the return from Babylon?

The Hebrew meaning in the OJB appears to be correct, that the ark would never be "made" again. If never to be made again, then doesn't that imply it was destroyed, and not simply lost? As it was never in the second temple, and as Jer. 3:16 says it would never be fashioned or made again, does that not confirm that it was destroyed when Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC?

Note 1: Answers

  • To make and to do is the same verb, in both Greek and Hebrew. Moreover, the Ark seen in heaven in Revelation 11-12 needs to be factored in. Feb 11 '19 at 15:10
  • 2
    @SolaGratia, as the things in the temple were patterns of the heavenly things (Ex. 25:9, 40), then the ark pictured in heaven in Rev. 11:19 was the original from which the physical was patterned. YHVH did not "translate" the physical into heaven. If the meaning of the word is "do" then the Interlinear is wrong? If they would neither "do" or "make" any more, then it was gone, yes?
    – Gina
    Feb 11 '19 at 16:16
  • No, interlinears often give the contextual sense, just short of a translation. The Hebrew asah means do or make depending on context. The consistent understanding throughout the centuries, based on its translation, was always understood as "neither shall such be done any more." Where "such" would refer to remembering, missing, etc. P.S. Interlinear can be a dangerous thing without a foundational or preliminary knowledge of the language. Especially something as loose as biblehub's. Feb 11 '19 at 16:25
  • @SolaGratia - you r suggesting the actual Gr & Heb words presented in the Interlineaer are incorrect? Biblehub is just a tool to source the meanings, and links to Thayer's and Brown-Driver-Brigg's. You r saying these links are unreliable? See added material in the question. B/c I have found the "consistent understanding throughout the centuries" to be quite wrong in many cases.
    – Gina
    Feb 14 '19 at 11:42
  • No, I meant there are two kinds, more or less, of interlinear—one which gives an exclusive definition for the word, and ones which translate it in context with more or less interpretative license and liberality, e.g. some such as Biblehub (one of the first interlinears I ever used, and which is great) actually translate a single word with multiple words, or two e.g. Hebrew words (say, a preposition and a noun) as a phrase. The latter kind can be misleading for those not acquainted with the basics of the grammar of the language. Feb 14 '19 at 15:22

What happened to the ark of the covenant?

What happen to the ark of the covenant is shrouded in mystery ,for we read (Kings 25:13-17) below that it was not mentioned as one of the objects taken by the Babylonians, when they captured Jerusalem , pillaged and destroyed the temple.

Kings 25:13-17 (NASB)

13 "Now the bronze pillars which were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea which were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried the [a]bronze to Babylon. 14 They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the spoons, and all the bronze vessels which were used in temple service."

15" The captain of the guard also took away the firepans and the basins, what was fine gold and what was fine silver. 16 The two pillars, the one sea, and the stands which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord—the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weight."

17 "The height of the one pillar was eighteen [b]cubits, and a bronze capital was on it; the height of the capital was three [c]cubits, with a network and pomegranates on the capital all around, all of bronze. And the second pillar was like these with network."

Jeremiah foretold the absence of the ark of the covenant when Israel was restored from Babylon. Jer.3:16-17. Despite the fact that the ark was no longer , God still purpose that Jerusalem be "The Throne of the Lord"-Also Ezekiel 43:7

Jeremiah 3:16-17 (NASB)

16 "It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the Lord, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again."

17 "At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart."

Manasseh who succeeded his faithful father Hezekiah ,place carved images of idols in the temple and did detestable things in the sight of the Lord ,may have removed the ark from the temple.

2 Chronicles 33:1-7 (NASB)

1" Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 He did evil in the sight of the Lord according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel."

3 "For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he also erected altars for the Baals and made [a]Asherim, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He built altars in the house of the Lord of which the Lord had said, “My name shall be in Jerusalem forever.”

5 "For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger."

7 "Then he put the carved image of the idol which he had made in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever."

  • 1
    Hmmm, yes I believe this is the commonly held position, but the point I am attempting to make is that God's words are exact, and the implications can be drawn from His exact words. If the ark was just "lost" or misplaced, would God have used the word meaning "to be made" again?
    – Gina
    Feb 14 '19 at 12:09
  • Some other renderings CEV: You will increase in numbers,and there will be no need to remember the sacred chest or to make a new one.. NRSV : “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; nor shall another one be made. I believe it is a matter of translation. Feb 14 '19 at 16:23

There are two matters here:

Lost Ark

The ark was clearly taken before the Babylonian captivity and was not recovered and placed in the second temple. No debate here.

Most of Maccabees is simple history and there is little to discredit the record we have in 2 Macc 2:1-7 where, Jeremiah and a few priests hid the ark in some kind of "hollow" which he closed up. V6 says that, afterward, the location was lost, hence why it was not recovered for the second temple.

There is a tradition that the two priests who hid the ark volunteered to be hidden with it so that its location would be forever lost. I cannot verify this but it would explain why others could not find the hiding place after the ark was hidden - no one was alive who knew!

If this is all true, then it is possible that the ark is still in the same location, unless someone has discovered it since, but we have no way of knowing this.

"Not made again"

If we accept the translation in Jer 3:16 that the ark of the covenant will "not be made again" (which I think is probably correct), then there is a problem. The last part of Jer 3:16 says:

And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again.

The same sentence also that says, "not made again" also says, "it will not be remembered nor come to mind" (or some variant). This means that, so far, only part of the prophecy has been fulfilled - the ark has never been remade but we still remember it very well.

I cannot avoid the association with Isa 65:17 which says:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

Perhaps, this prophecy will be only fulfilled when God creates the new heavens and the new earth. Certainly it is only then then that what the ark of the covenant symbolised will actually be physically present and its symbolism will be unnecessary.

  • Except that Macc. is not accepted as inspired and inerrant scripture, therefore it is subject to the errors and desires of men. And, the scriptures do not say "recovered" or found. They say "made again".
    – Gina
    Feb 14 '19 at 12:07
  • Fully agreed. Maccabees is no more reliable than (say) Josephus. That is what makes this so interesting because it leaves open the possibility that the ark might be found.
    – user25930
    Feb 14 '19 at 20:38

The better translation is probably MAKE, not DO. One reason is that "do" would be a bit redundant. Another reason is that the object in the preceding clauses is the Ark, NOT the actions. Eg. as in parentheses: They won't remember IT (The Ark) anymore, and they won't visit IT (the Ark) anymore, nor will they do/make IT(?).

Do and make share the same word in Spanish and Russian too. The shared term in Russian, Greek, Hebrew, etc. must have two senses: Do = perform. Make=create. In English, there is some overlap, but it tends to divide the senses between the two words. Carpenters can "do" a house, but it sounds better to say that they made it.

The translation issue here is probably not very important, because if the apocalyptic-era "Israelites" don't remember the ark or visit it in that era, then it logically probably wouldn't be remade in that era either, unless you want to theorize that it could get forgotten and then remade without people realizing that they were doing a remake.

But to answer the opening question, the ark being destroyed in c. 586 BC would be consistent with Jeremiah 3:16, but not the only interpretation or implication of the verse. The verse does not indicate the Ark's specific destruction by Babylon.

Jeremiah is predicting a future time when people won't remember the ark. This verse does not specify what happened to the ark in 586 BC. Even if he was alluding to events of 586 BC, he doesn't specify how those events would lead to people forgetting the ark later. As a result, Jeremiah 3:16 is also consistent with the story that Israelites hid the Ark before the Babylonian invasion.

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    Mar 19 '21 at 3:12

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