NOTE: This is the final post in a series on locations associated with the Ark of the Covenant. To see earlier posts, just enter "Ark of the Covenant" in the search bar. The Ark has had a long journey. After being built by Moses (and his people) while en route to the Promised Land, the Ark made a number of stops as the children of Israel worked to secure the land. Finally, the Ark was located at the house of Abinadab in Kiriath Jearim where it remained for a long time. Finally, David came to the throne and wanted the Ark moved to Jerusalem.
Along the way, David and his men were transporting the Ark by use of an ox cart. (This, by the way, was not according to God's instruction.) At one point, the Ark stumbled and Uzzah, one of the sons of Abinadab, touched the Ark to steady it. Because of this, God killed Uzzah instantly.
Once in Jerusalem, David put the Ark in the tabernacle.
So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. - 2 Samuel 6:17
Later, once Solomon built the temple, the Ark was moved from the tabernacle to the Most Holy Place in the temple.
And he prepared the inner sanctuary inside the temple, to set the ark of the covenant of the Lord there. - 1 Kings 6:19
So, what happened to the Ark? Where is it now? These are questions that are commonly asked, but difficult to answer. In 586BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and one theory is that they may have either destroyed or taken the Ark with them. Another theory states that Jeremiah, being warned by God of the oncoming Babylonian invasion, took the Ark and hid it in a cave near Mount Nebo. Even today, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church claim to be in possession of the Ark. In 1981, Steven Spielberg make a feature length movie claiming that the Ark was found in the 1930s by Professor Henry Jones, Jr in the lost city of Tanis.
For hundreds of years, the Ark of the Covenant represented God's presence with His people. For people who obeyed God, the Ark brought safety, security and prosperity. For those that disobeyed God, it brought punishment.