1 Kings 8:9 (NIV) There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
Hebrews 9:3-4 (NIV) Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.
1 Kings 8:9 says that inside the Ark of the Covenant there was only the two stone tablets of Moses. But Hebrews 9:3-4 mentions three things, the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.
Keeping in mind that the Ark of the Covenant was no more during the time of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews simply recalled from the Torah or from tradition about the contents of the Ark. In fact, even the writer never saw the Ark with his own eyes, let alone what was inside.
Regarding the pot of manna,
Exodus 16:33-34 (KJV) And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
This verse only says "before the Lord/Testimony" and not inside the Ark.
Regarding the staff of Aaron,
Numbers 17:10 (NIV) The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.”
This verse also says that the staff of Aaron was placed in front of the Ark.
- Do these verses from the Old Testament contradict the Epistle to the Hebrews?
- What exactly was kept inside the Ark of the Covenant?