Text from a recently translated Hebrew document appears to reference the location of several ancient Biblical treasures, and even mentions the famed Ark of the Covenant. According to Live Science, the document, called the “Treatise of the Vessels,” suggests the artifacts were tucked away in various places throughout the Middle East.
"Some of these [treasures] were hidden in various locations in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels Shamshiel, Michael, Gabriel and perhaps Sariel,” wrote James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland who translated the Hebrew text and reported on it in an article in the book "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha More Noncanonical Scriptures Volume 1.”
Davila drew parallels between the treatise and another ancient text, the Copper Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls that differed from the others in that it was written on metal. On the Copper Scroll, now housed at the Jordan Museum in Amman, is inscribed a list of locations at which various gold and silver items were buried or hidden long ago.
The newly translated treatise refers to a “tablet of bronze” on which King Solomon’s Temple treasures were recorded.
Does this mean archaeologists are one step closer to finding the lost Ark? Unfortunately, even though the Hebrew text seems to contain similarities to other ancient documents in its familiarity with King Solomon’s treasures, the text didn’t come with a road map. Treasure-seekers and Indiana Jones fans will have to wait for the next big breakthrough in Hebrew text translations.
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"The writer draws on traditional methods of scriptural exegesis to deduce where the treasures might have been hidden, but I think the writer was approaching the story as a piece of entertaining fiction, not any kind of real guide for finding the lost Temple treasures," Davila told Live Science. "My guess is that whoever wrote the Treatise of Vessels came up with the same idea [of writing a treasure list on metal] coincidentally on their own, although it is not unthinkable that the writer knew of some ancient tradition or custom about inscribing important information on metal.”
People have tried for centuries to locate and recover the Ark of the Covenant, but to no avail. The legendary gilded case is believed to have been constructed nearly 3,000 years ago by the Israelites to hold the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses by God.
According to biblical text, the Ark was made of gold-plated wood and topped with two large, golden angels. Its transporters used poles inserted through rings on its sides to carry the Ark from one place to the next.
When King Solomon’s Temple was captured and destroyed by the Babylonians in 597 and 586 B.C., the Ark disappeared forever. Scholars and archaeologists alike have long debated whether the coveted ancient artifact was captured, destroyed or hidden.