What was inside the Ark of the Covenant?

In last week’s post I mentioned that the Tablets of Stone were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant. Following that post I received some questions and comments about two other things that were placed in the Ark as well: Aaron’s staff and a jar of manna (omer עומר).

The main item that goes hand-in-hand with the Ark of the Covenant are the Tablets of Stone and that is the reason they are called in Hebrew “Luchot Ha-brit” לוחות הברית meaning ‘the Tablets of the Covenant.” They are often mentioned together with the Ark, as in the following example:

“So I made an ark of acacia wood, and cut two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand.” (Deuteronomy 10:3)

Now let’s have a look at what is written in the Torah about Aaron’s staff and the jar of manna:

Aaron’s Staff: “The Lord said to Moses: Put Aaron’s staff back in front of the Testimony as a keepsake [and] a sign for rebellious ones.” (Numbers 17:25)

The Jar of Manna: “Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'” (Exodus 16:32)

As you can see, it is commanded that both items should be kept but does not state WHERE they should be kept.. According to the Jewish tradition and the New Testament both were kept in the Ark of the Covenant together with the Tablets of Stone, as mentioned in the Book of Hebrews: “Having the golden altar of incense and the Ark of the Covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” (Hebrews 9:4)