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There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

5:10 the two tables. Compare Hebrews 9:4. In addition to the two tables of the law, the ark had once contained Aaron’s rod that budded and a pot of manna (Numbers 17:10; Exodus 16:33), which were to be kept as reminders of both God’s authority and His faithfulness. Presumably these had somehow been removed during the years the ark was away from the tabernacle. The rod and manna were only symbols, of course, for God does not change. However, the tables of the law were more than symbols and could not be removed.

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