THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
The Ark of the Covenant has been defined in many modern accounts as an ultimate and mysterious energy source. Movies, such as Raiders of The Lost Ark, depicted its power as having awesome and unbridled energy capable of lashing out with tremendous waves of continuous energy.
Other more reality based folk, also look upon the Ark as having a powerful and mystical energy, but seek to understand and explain the origin of those forces. It is to that end that I present these findings.
This paper will seek to demonstrate how the Ark could have been a powerful electrical based energy force.
The Bible describes several instances when sudden death was inflicted by direct contact with the Ark, and also indicates that occasionally that same fate was meted out to those who happened to be in its near proximity. Other historical accounts tell us about people having been thrown into the air and sparks shooting out of the Ark. Strange as these accounts seem to be, all these phenomenon are consistent with, and can be explained by the cause and effect relationship of a high voltage electrical discharge and/or electric shock.
It will be proposed that the Ark of the Covenant, while being designed by Divine intelligence, was built by men with materials available during the time of Moses. It will be further postulated that a high energy, wet-cell battery was neatly tucked within the confines of the Ark and would be capable of producing over 1000 volts of electricity on an ongoing basis. With its built-in high voltage energy source, based upon Space Age technology thousands of years ahead of its time, it goes without saying that the Ark would possess awesome and mysterious powers that would puzzle and intimidate the people of ancient times.
As Moses would lead his people to the promised land, the Israelites’ most holy possession, the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandants, would be carried safely within the confines of the Ark, as its ultimate anti-theft device was designed to strike dead anyone who was not authorized to touch it.
First lets look at the descriptions of the Ark according to Biblical accounts. It was large, 45 inches long, 27 inches wide and 27 inches deep[]. Housed inside were the Ten Commandments. But two stone tablets were hardly enough to take up the entire inside space of the relatively voluminous Ark.
Some speculate that others items were also placed in the Ark such as a pot of manna and Aaron’s rod []. But when the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem during King Solomon’s reign [], Chronicles states: “There was nothing inside the Ark but the two tablets which Moses put there…” [].
Even if a staff and the gold pot of manna in addition to the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments were placed in the Ark, there still seems to be an overabundance of unoccupied space that might be utilized for another purpose.
While it is true that the Ark of the Covenant was often brought to the battle field, it seems that if the Israelites possessed a weapon from heaven then it came without an instruction book. During the heat of battle with the Philistines, the Ark didn’t help as the Philistines decimated the Israelites when they killed thirty thousand foot-soldiers []. Apparently the Ark was even incapable of protecting itself, not to mention its caretakers Hophni and Phinehas, who were tending to the Ark at the time and killed by the Philistines when the Ark was captured .
Besides not being able to “fire” the Ark at will, the Israelites, as exemplified by David’s unwillingness to bring the Ark to the city of David [], were deathly afraid of its power.
Those fears of course were not unwarranted, because the Ark seemed to wreak more havoc on its owners, the Israelites, than their enemies.
Others have suggested that the Ark was a large capacitor [], releasing jolts of electricity as required and then simply recharging itself by picking up static electricity—just as you would pick up a charge by walking across the carpet in stocking feet—as the Ark was transported through the dry desert region []. While it is agreed that the power of the Ark seems to be electrical in nature, the concept of charging a capacitor with static electricity with sufficient enough energy to kill appears to be implausible.
A capacitor by its very nature makes it a passive device, that is, it does not generate or manufacture electricity. It only holds or carries a charge after it has been connected to an electrical source. Static electricity, even though it may be several thousands of volts in strength, has an electrical current that exists for only a short time, and since the total charge is very small, static electricity is not harmful [].
[It should be noted, however, and in contrast to a charge from static electricity, that a modern day capacitor would be capable of holding a lethal charge of electricity. For example, the capacitor in the high voltage section of today’s television sets would be extremely dangerous to the touch.]
The Ark seemed to have a long lasting energy source, much more so than could be expected from a capacitor that would only be capable of a few jolts before its charge was dissipated. The portability of the Ark and the large amounts of energy required to spark, damage objects, and kill, needed to be on-board and capable of generating power on demand.
A large multi-cell battery arguably should be able to produce the various effects described below:
Jewish legend reports an incident when priests attempting to carry the Ark were thrown into the air and then to the ground again and again.[]
Also according to legend, the Ark sometimes shot “sparks” that would on occasions kill its bearers. 
The cherubim figures often sparked and caused damage to near-by objects, even if the “cloud” was there or not. 
The power of the Ark was either grossly misunderstood or not understood at all by its keepers, the Israelites. Looking at the death toll directly attributable to the Ark seems to prove this point.
“Sparks” that could kill it’s bearers and the “sparks” from the cherubim figures capable of damaging other objects are phenomenon consistent with a high voltage electrical discharge. Throwing the priests in the air again and again as they attempted to carry the Ark is again consistent with the sudden involuntary muscular contractions associated with a high voltage electrical shock.
Likewise, when Uzzah touched the Ark and was struck dead, a high voltage discharge could have easily electrocuted him.
It’s easy to understand how someone could be killed when touching the Ark directly, but when the power of the Ark is described in terms as having killed men who only looked upon it, seems at the outset very difficult to explain.
It should be noted at this point that while the King James version says that “…[God] smote…fifty thousand…because they had looked into the ark…”, The Interpreter’s Commentary on the Bible explains that the literal meaning is “looked at it” and not “looked into.” It further states that the number killed was probably seventy, and not the 50,070 stated in the Hebrew text. Explaining seventy deaths is certainly easier than trying to account for fifty thousand. Being stuck dead for “looking at,” as opposed to “look into”—since looking into presumes that the Ark had to be opened, handled, or manipulated in some way in order to remove the cover and view its contents—takes more consideration to rationally explain.
If we examine more than just the Biblical accounts, and look at what we know about man’s curiosity—which hasn’t changed much in thousands of years—then the death of seventy men crowding around the Ark can probably be explained.
First, let’s put ourselves back in the time of the Israelites. The Ark was their most prized and holy possession. Later in their history an entire temple decorated with lavish amounts of gold would become it’s new home []. Not only did the Ark house the mutual agreement or covenant that God made with the Israelites—in the form of the Ten Commandments—it was also the place where God was to be found—“It is there that I shall meet you…” [].
Keeping that in mind, flash forward in time to any number of modern day emotionally charged events, though they may be pale in comparison to the excitement and jubilation that must have been in the Israelites’ camp the day the Ark was returned by the Philistines. Now imagine all the feelings and emotions of seeing up-close and personal your most favorite performer—whether it be Elvis or the winner of the Super Bowl—but this time there would be no fences, ropes, or police barriers. Without physical restraints, but only verbal warnings to keep onlookers in check, what do you think would happen? Would the gathering crowd simply stand its ground and not cross that imaginary line in the sand? Or do you suppose there might be some healthy competition for those front row seats?
If you have ever been on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras or exited through one of those cement tunnels of Chicago’s Soldier Field after a 100,000 plus crowd leaves a football game, then you know what little control you have over yourself as you are literally carried along by the crowd.
Well, it’s not much of a stretch to easily imagine a huge crowd forming around the Ark, and to visualize the head bobbing and shoulder nudging as the people in the back press forward and try to get a closer “look.” With the Ark bristling with electrical energy, imagine the scene as bodies drenched with conductive salts—i.e. sweat produced by the laborious toil in the wheat fields—are pressed tightly one against another, pushing and shoving with cries of, “Let me see!” Then the inevitable happens—someone inadvertently touches the Ark!
Sparks of electricity shoot through his body and then in-turn, the charge is quickly transmitted to the rest of the tightly packed human sandwich, all with deadly results. Once again, a high voltage electric shock could have been the cause of death for the seventy in the field of Joshua .
Even being in the temple didn’t guarantee a safe refuge from the Ark’s lethal power. Nadab and Abihu, two son’s of Aaron were killed when they entered the Holy of Holies while carrying metal incense burners  []. Considering the short circuiting possibilities of holding metal fire pans in the company of a high voltage energy source, and coupled with speculation that they were inebriated at the time [], could have contributed to a carelessness that triggered the Ark’s energy, resulting in their instantaneous death.
While some Israelites were struck dead by touching or merely looking at the Ark, others had no problem with it. In fact the Levites were assigned the express task of taking charge of it and had little difficulty handling or transporting it[].
At the exact site where the seventy had been stuck dead, others at the scene had taken the Ark out of its cart and placed it on a large rock[]. Obviously if you knew how to handle the Ark, it wasn’t a threat. If you didn’t, it could be lethal.
Based upon these facts, it appears that the Ark didn’t dispense its awesome power indiscriminately or on a constant basis. On the contrary, the evidence seems to indicate that a “point-source” of energy emanated from the Ark in the form of powerful jolts of electricity, and only on certain occasions, usually when touched or handled improperly.
There are many proponents supporting the theory of ancient electricity generation, but perhaps the most convincing is the Baghdad battery. Dr. Wilhelm Kong’s discovery of a two-thousand year old pottery jar collecting dust in the basement of the Baghdad Museum in1938, led him to surmise that the clay pot was an ancient electric battery [].
Downs and Meyerhoff [] reproduced this unique artifact. When a recreation of that clay jar was built—complete with an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder—and filled with vinegar, it produced electrical energy.
Even though this jar is dated back to Iraq around 250 BC, the materials necessary to build such a wet cell existed back in the Egyptian times. The bill of materials would include copper, pitch, pottery, and the new metal just coming into the picture: iron.
Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai in 1250 BC. Generally speaking, the Iron Age usually is given a beginning date of 1200 BC[], but in fact, iron was smelted and used long before then. There is no sharp division between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Anatolia (Turkey) used iron as early as 2000 BC, and by 1400 BC iron was becoming important to their economy. Crude furnaces with a number of iron objects dating back to1200 BC have been unearthed at Gerar in Palestine[], and hammered Iron was known in Egypt before 1350 BC [].
Thus, iron, even if it was not commonly used for weapons or warfare at the time of Moses, certainly was widely available in the region.
Like any invention that comes before its time, until it has a definitive useful purpose, the mere inventing of it may not have had any relevance, and soon falls into the useless category. Likewise, a source of electricity would have been of little use to ancient people, and its discovery probably would have been quickly ignored.
Based upon the Baghdad battery we can see that ancient peoples were certainly capable of constructing devices that could generate an electrical potential. The question that it begs of course, is to what practical purpose can an awkward shaped jug full of vinegar, producing less than one volt of electricity, could possibly have? The answer is very limited until we realize that using these basic materials and with a little ingenuity, or perhaps Divine engineering, several of these devices could be connected in-series to yield an electrical potential (voltage) of a much greater magnitude.
When the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, the batteries weren’t included. While the specifications were given to Moses as chronicled in the Old Testament, the actual construction of the Ark was put into the capable hands of Bezalel.
According to Exodus 31:1-6: “I have filled him (Bezalel) with divine spirit, making him skillful and ingenious, expert in every craft…for workmanship of every kind.” []. Thus it is clear that even though Moses had the architect’s blue prints in hand, Bezalel, whose job it became to actually build the ark, was given the enlightened expertise and skill to build the ark according to the Divine plan.
The Baghdad Battery’s design utilizing copper and iron could only yield a maximum voltage of 0.78. Choosing a different metallurgy would greatly improve the realizable potential of each cell. Instead of an iron-copper cell, with its maximum potential of 0.78 volts, the use of other metals and chemicals, heretofore inconceivable as materials being in possession of the people in the ancient world, could have increased each cell’s maximum potential to 1.5 volts, with an associated current potential of at least several amps.
Maximizing the voltage of the cell is very important, especially when you consider adding many of these together to make a powerful battery. The more voltage per cell translates into less total cells needed for the equivalent output, thus minimizing the battery’s size. Also important is the current. If an adequate amount of voltage is generated to be lethal, it must also be accompanied by a killing current. Once again, the ancients would have had to employ a source more akin to our modern batteries in order to generate sufficient current to kill on contact.
The low characteristic current produced by the Baghdad battery would not have been powerful enough. Therefore, we must look to the utilization of a technology far distant in the future from the ancient times to uncover the secret of producing such an energy device.
If the Israelites were going to manufacture an electrical source much more advanced—and 1000 years prior to the Baghdad battery—then it would most likely require a superior intelligence to design and direct its construction. Nevertheless, once we get past the question of who designed it, such a device would be possible to construct with raw materials available during the time of Moses.
According to the book, The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin, employing a computer program to apply a skip code to the original Hebrew text of the Bible resulted in the discovery that the Bible was encoded with information about past and future events.
The computer program skips a fixed amount of letters, for example fifty, then retains the fifty-first letter, then skips the next fifty, and likewise retains the fifty-first letter in that segment of characters. After applying this technique to all the 304,805 letters of the Bible, in effect, creating a new text out of the non-skipped letters, the computer then searches for words. Various lengths to these skip sequences, anywhere from 2 to 65,000, can be programmed, thus producing thousands of underlying text scenarios to search for meaningful words. The Bible Code has handily predicted future events such as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination and the Bill Clinton’s presidency. It has also been an accurate tool in documenting famous past events such as the moon landing and the stock market crash of ’29.
Using the software purchased from DOKO Media LTD., which is based on The Bible Code, various words associated with the chemistry, metallurgy, and materials needed to construct a battery were loaded into the program and set to search the Torah.
Much to my surprise, eight words associated with a battery were found. All of these were found to be encoded within the text of the Book of Exodus, which of course is the place in the Bible describing construction of the Ark of the Covenant.
The following words were found encoded in the Book of Exodus: anode, battery, electricity, iron, hydrogen, gold, salt, silver, and vinegar. Interestingly enough, many of these key words were closely linked together as they crossed over each other in a typical crossword-puzzle fashion.
Emphasizing even more their relative significance to the whole, the following combinations of crossed words were found:
1. Silver crossed with iron, electricity, gold, battery, and hydrogen
2. Iron crossed with electricity and silver
3. Hydrogen crossed with vinegar and silver
4. Anode crossed with battery.
Was the Bible trying to tell us something? Was it perhaps confirming that a battery was indeed the power house of the Ark?
The Ark was very large, measuring 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. Having such a large volume available for storage, not only could the Ark have easily held the two stone tablets, but it also had plenty of room left over to accommodate something else.
Rather than the case itself being the energy source as the author of the capacitor theory suggests , I propose that the large internal volume of the Ark itself provided a space for a hidden power source. Beneath a false floor for example, the Ark of the Covenant could have tucked away a large multi-celled battery, capable of producing large surges of electrical energy.
While the use of vinegar, copper, and iron has been shown to produce electricity, there are many other combinations of metals with other electrolytes that would better serve the construction of a more powerful, reliable, and high energy battery than the rudimentary materials used in the Baghdad battery.
If the Ark contained a battery, packing enough of a wallop to kill, then it would have to be based on chemistry of a more modern nature.
Let’s digress for a moment from ancient times and look at the materials and the design of construction of some modern day batteries. The common thread that runs through the gauntlet of battery construction is the use of two dissimilar metals and a suitable electrolyte.
The Baghdad battery used copper and iron as electrodes immersed in a solution of vinegar, which served as the common electrolyte.
Going one step further into the theory of battery construction, and depending upon the by-products produced, may require the use of a cell separator. Such a separator would allow electrons to freely flow between the two plates of dissimilar metals, and yet at the same time prevent the by-products from these reactions from interfering with or completely halting the flow of electricity.
The original voltaic pile as created by Alessandro Volta in 1800[] used multiple layers of zinc and silver as electrodes, and blotter paper saturated with salt water as the separator and electrolyte, respectively.
One of Edison’s batteries utilized zinc and copper oxide as the electrodes, with a strong caustic serving as the common electrolyte, without the use of a separator [].
The common flashlight battery is the carbon-zinc cell, or Leclanche cell that was developed around 1870. It uses zinc as the anode, manganese dioxide (MnO2) as the cathode, and aqueous ammonium or zinc chloride as the electrolyte, with a separator [].
In 1950, the alkaline cell was commercialized using technology similar to the Leclanche-type cells, but improving on its performance by using aqueous potassium hydroxide. [Potassium hydroxide being a strong alkali as opposed to the acid electrolytes previously employed]. An improvement on the alkaline battery’s performance can be seen if silver oxide or mercury oxide is used in place of manganese dioxide. In fact, zinc/silver-oxide batteries are used in high energy demand areas such as in torpedo batteries[] and space missions .
The use of zinc, silver oxide, manganese dioxide, potassium hydroxide as well as the specialty polymers used today as the separating medium, certainly appears to be thousands of years beyond the scope and technology of the ancient people. Yet if we look a little closer, and study each one of these chemicals in depth, it can soon be realized that the above mentioned battery chemicals could be within the reach of the ancients.
The ability to realize exactly what Bezalel was building was most likely beyond the Israelites’ ability to comprehend, but the nuts and bolts of the procurement of raw materials and the manufacture of the chemicals needed, as well as the physical construction of the wet-cells themselves, I believe is altogether feasible for the people of Moses.
It appears that from basic chemistry as well as from past battery configurations, there exists a wide variety of combinations of metals and chemicals, which when arranged properly, will produce electricity.
Iron/copper was used in the Baghdad battery and zinc/copper is the classic example used to illustrate an electrolytic cell in modern day chemistry text books. Zinc/silver was used by Alessandro Volta (of the voltaic cell fame) as he constructed the first battery, and zinc/silver was used in one of Edison’s battery.
The electrolytes used were acids, salt water, or solutions of alkali. It has already been shown that vinegar, with its active ingredient being acetic acid, can sustain electron flow in an electrolytic cell. Salt water was used as an electrolyte in the original voltaic pile demonstrated by Volta in his historic experiments.
Some of the best and latest military applications use zinc/silver-oxide batteries to propel torpedoes and provide a back-up electrical energy source for space missions. So if we stretch the envelope of ancient engineering, and assume a little Divine direction as well, then we can arguably conceive that zinc, caustic, manganese dioxide, and silver-oxide could be added to the ancient’s bill of materials. (Besides, if God were designing a battery, then I would expect that it be based upon the best available technology.)
Let’s look at the key ingredients necessary to make an up-to-date zinc/manganese dioxide or zinc/silver-oxide battery and the availability of the raw materials in the ancient world.
Zinc seems to be one of the key metals used in most of the modern day batteries, yet zinc doesn’t appear to be a metal that was available to the ancients.
Zinc metal, while found as an alloy in the brass of various ancient artifacts, was not recognized as a metal of its own until well into the 15th century. Naturally occurring as a mixture of copper and zinc in the ore as it was mined, the brass produced during ancient times was the automatic and unintentional result when metal was produced from these zinc/copper ore mixtures[] [].
Zinc in another form, however, was already known and being used for medicinal purposes in Egypt. This common ingredient—zinc oxide—is still widely used today in many cosmetic preparations and medical compounds.
Zinc oxide, was collected as a white powdery substance removed from the chimneys of lead furnaces[] []. Occurring as a contaminant in the ore, the zinc present in the ore simply vaporized in the intense heat of the lead smelting furnaces and went up the stack, unnoticed until it was time to call in the chimney sweeps. Zinc oxide would accumulate in the cooler sections of the flue where the zinc vapor had combined with oxygen and then settled-out, condensing as a white powder[].
During the iron making process, iron ore, which is chiefly composed of iron oxide, is roasted or smelted in a reducing atmosphere to drive-off the oxygen and produce molten iron. Likewise, zinc oxide could be converted into zinc metal when placed into this same reducing atmosphere. (In some cases, the nooks and crannies of these chimneys provided the proper atmosphere to convert zinc oxide to pure metal. The recovered zinc was cast into trinkets, dating back to before 500 BC .)
The problem with zinc and the reason it took so long before it was recognized as a separate metal, is the fact that the zinc oxide to zinc reaction only takes place at a temperature above the vapor point of zinc. Thus under normal circumstances, any metallic zinc would be present only as a vapor. Once the metallic zinc vapor was free from its oxide, it must cool down and be allowed to condense while still in the confines of the reducing atmosphere.
Both India and China solved this problem by utilizing a specially designed vessel called a retort to achieve this exacting requirement necessary to extract metallic zinc from zinc oxide. In India, small clay retorts dating back to the 14th century have been found at Zawar in Rajasthan []. By the 17th century the Chinese had documented the process by which they heated zinc ore with coal in crucibles and collected the condensed metal from the lids [].
While the ancient people had no logical reason to look for zinc, much less to design a procedure to refine it, the simple technology of heating a mixture of zinc oxide and charcoal in a sealed vessel would be well within their technical expertise to achieve.
If they only know what to do, they could easily do it. For the sake of building the Ark’s battery, all that was needed was some direction. And according to Exodus 31:1-6, that came directly from God. “I have filled him (Bezalel) with divine spirit, making him skillful and ingenious, expert in every craft…for workmanship of every kind.”
Thus, while zinc would not be known as a separate metal until many centuries after the time of the Egyptians, the technology and raw materials to produce small quantities of pure metallic zinc would have already been on hand during the time of Moses.
Silver metal was widely used in the ancient world in many different ways. Today, silver oxide is used by the battery industry and is produced chemically, but the simple heating of metallic silver should produce a suitable oxide.
Silver, whether as a solid bar, small slivers, or even the smaller particles from its filings, will form an oxide coating when heated []. Since the oxide coating only forms on the surface, the finer the particle, the more surface area, and therefore the more silver oxide that is produced [].
Heating very fine particles of silver to produce silver oxide should have been achievable for the ancients.
Manganese dioxide is a common component used in the manufacture of the modern battery, inclusive of the Leclanche cell developed in the 1870’s as well as in the ever popular alkaline cells of today.
Manganese dioxide was also available in the ancient world, but was used as a much different resource. As far back as 300,000 years ago man has used the black color derived from the naturally occurring mineral of pyrolusite (manganese dioxide) as a colorant [][]. Whether used to adorn the walls of an otherwise dull cave, or to create the masterpieces of the Renaissance, manganese dioxide has been sought-out, mined, and used for thousands of years as a black pigment.
Readily available in the ancient world, manganese is still mined in the western Sinai today[].
Potassium hydroxide is a very strong caustic and was not available during ancient times. Today it is produced by the electrolysis of concentrated potassium chloride, which in turn is mined from sylvite deposits [].
Oddly enough however, it is possible to make potassium hydroxide in a step wise process using two other simple chemicals that are in turn readily made from common items that would have been available to the ancients.
To manufacture potassium hydroxide, which is a strong alkali, two much weaker alkali materials are needed, namely, potash and lime.
Potash, or potassium carbonate has been made for over two thousands years during the soap making process. Before commercially available lye was in common use, during the first step in the soap making process—whether using one of Grandma’s old recipes or one from the ancient Romans—water is simply poured through the ashes of hard wood [].
Lime is produced by heating either limestone or seashells. While both were available to the ancients, the Israelites close proximity to the sea would lead one to assume that their source of lime would most probably have come from seashells.
Adding water to lime creates slaked lime (calcium hydroxide). When this slaked lime is in turn mixed with the potash (potassium carbonate) made from wood ashes, lye (potassium hydroxide) is produced []. Thus, by mixing two mild alkalis together, the resulting reaction produces a chemical that is ten times more caustic than the starting constituents and yields the required strong alkali needed for the battery.
Thus, by following a simple recipe, the ancients would have quite easily been able to make potassium hydroxide out of “common household items”—if only they knew what to mix together. The answer may again be in what Exodus is trying to tell us: “I have filled him with divine spirit, making him skillful and ingenious…” .
Most high energy batteries, starting with the Leclanche cell, do not necessarily use solid metal electrodes. Instead, one of the electrodes may be in the form of a paste as is the silver oxide and manganese dioxide. Therefore, the material of the electrode must be packed into some sort of inner container. That material must be able to withstand the strong chemical actions of the electrolyte and yet be conductive so electrons can flow between electrodes and produce electricity.
A modern battery uses a special porous plastic for the separator material, which of course was not available in ancient times. However, the authors of Experiments in Electrochemistry, suggest the use of a porous membrane in the form of an unglazed terracotta flower pot as a suitable separator in their galvanic cell experiments[].
A non-porous or glazed pot, on the other hand, could be used to replace the outer metal packaging of today’s battery case.
Pottery making in the ancient world at the time of Moses had already progressed past the mere utilitarian stage, and had ascended to an art form []. As a result, all sorts of sizes and styles of pottery, as well as many different glazes were already in use by the ancient Egyptians.
Thus by using pottery, either glazed or unglazed as the chemistry and construction of the battery dictated, could have produced the necessary outer casing as well as the internal porous cell separator out of a material they were familiar with using. Given the proficiency of the ancient pottery makers, I can’t see any reason why the outer pot of an ancient battery cell couldn’t be made in a size and shape that rivals the outside dimensions of a standard “D” size flashlight battery.
Zinc metal and silver-oxide are needed for the electrodes, and potassium hydroxide is needed for the electrolyte. The production of zinc metal—before its time—could have been produced by methods discussed above. Since silver was widely available, manufacturing silver oxide by heating metallic silver could have been accomplished quite easily. Passing water through hard wood ashes and mixing that product with heated sea shells produces potassium hydroxide. Manganese dioxide was already used as a black pigment. So it seems that all the ingredients essential for a very advanced battery were available in ancient times.
Could the Israelites, incorporating the use of a zinc/manganese dioxide or zinc/silver-oxide battery—which by modern day standards has one of the highest electrical energy densities—have used such a device to power the Ark of the Covenant?
High voltage today is generally defined as being more than one thousand
While voltage alone does not kill, as is the case with the harmless nature of static electricity, it’s the accompanying current that is lethal. It doesn’t take much current to stop your heart, however. Only 100 milliamps of AC current or 500 milliamps of DC will send a human heart into ventricular fibrillation, with death soon to follow []. [That’s about the amount of current associated with a refrigerator light bulb.]
Another important measure of current flow that affects the human body is referred to as the “let-go” threshold. That’s the amount of current necessary to freeze the muscles, thereby not allowing one to let go of the electrical source. “Let-go” currents are much lower than the lethal dose. A current of only 20 milliamps for AC and 76 milliamps for DC [] is sufficient to render the victim helpless while electricity continues to flow through the body. So it would seem that incidental contact with even small currents would lead to more serious consequences.
While the human skin has a normally high electrical resistance, 100,000 ohms when dry, it drops markedly to 1000 ohms or less when wet. But the protection afforded by our skin can be quickly negated by high voltage. When exposed to a voltage of more than 400-600 volts, the skin breaks down and burns-through[]. When the relatively high natural resistance of our skin to impede the flow of electric current is burned away, the much lower resistance of our internal tissues, between 100 and 500 ohms, conducts the current much more readily throughout the body.
In order to be effectively lethal to the touch, a DC source from a battery would have to have an operating voltage of more than 600 volts with a current of more than 500 milliamps. [A “D” size alkaline cell, by actual measurement, can produce over 4000 milliamps. Connecting many of these batteries in-series with each other, would produce the needed 600 volts.]
Using thin layers of metal and a piece of separating material between opposing plates can yield as many as 10 cell units per lineal inch. If each cell consists of two metal plates 4"x 4" square, and packaged width-wise within the Ark, then five rows of 27 inches in length, would yield a total cell count of as many as 1350.
Using cylindrical containers, in order to accommodate the use of non-solid electrodes, one inch in diameter by four inches high, 1215 cells could be packed in the bottom of the ark.
Depending upon the materials chosen for the battery of the Ark, and given that the individual cells could range in voltage from 1 to 1.5 volts, then one could conceivably produce a battery capable of an output of over a thousand volts. (When the cells are connected in series, just like in a multi-celled flashlight, the voltage becomes additive.)
Since the Ark was 27 inches deep, stacking a second layer of battery cells, while allowing sufficient space necessary for the cell arrays not to touch, would still leave a head space of 12-15 inches—ample room for two stone tablets. Doubling the number of cells would of course double its output to at least a whopping 2700 volts!
With a couple of thousand volts, and sufficient enough current derived from the use of electrodes modeled after modern day chemistries, would no doubt produce a formidable—and lethal to the touch—high voltage battery.
Besides voltage and current, other essential properties to consider in a battery are its electrical capacity and longevity. The Ark was hauled around for years as the Israelites wandered through the desert before finding a permanent home in the temple, yet by all accounts it was just as powerful as it when it started.
If we base the heart of the electrical energy of the Ark’s battery on the modern day “D” size flashlight battery, then it would have an expected capacity of 12,000 milliamp-hours []. With the lethal dose being 500 milliamps, the battery would be capable of supplying that amount of energy for 24 hours. Since it only takes seconds, and certainly less than a few minutes to kill, then the Ark’s battery had plenty of lethal doses before its energy source was depleted.
Additionally, since the Levites were given the responsibility “to minister” to the Ark  it is reasonable to assume that any electrode or electrolyte replenishments would be carried out under their direction.
The sudden death inflicted by direct contact or sometimes that same fate being experienced by those only in near proximity to the Ark, as well as the other phenomenon such as throwing people into the air, or shooting sparks, are all actions consistent with a high voltage electrical discharge and/or electric shock.
Based upon the ease at which an electric current could be produced when dissimilar metals are coupled together with the use of an electrolyte, and given that these very basic materials either were already available or could have been “manufactured,” it is suggested that such a battery would be well within the level of expertise for the ancient people of Moses to construct. When coupled with the “How To” directions supplied by a very knowledgeable Divine source, then the conjecture that the Israelites could have built such a powerhouse is indeed electrifying!
While the generation of low voltage electricity would be useful for electroplating various items, as the literature suggests was done in ancient Egypt and Iraq , the assemblage of a high plate count wet cell battery capable of an output in excess of a thousand volts would more likely serve another purpose. And to what better purpose than to protect the most prized and holy possession of the Israelites—the contents of the Ark of the Covenant? Based upon the Biblical narratives, it appears to have performed as designed, as its built-in anti-theft device admirably protected the contents of the Ark of the Covenant with lethal jolts of energy.
I propose that the above has opened the way (or dare I say concludes one?) to consider the possibility that the ancient people of Moses had the where-with-all to not only build the Ark of the Covenant, but to equip it with a built-in battery, with a design borrowed from our space age!
REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
Illustration of Ark from ICT Animated Christian Graphics Gallery, URL http://www.inspired-tech.com/arkcov/html
 Exodus 25:10-22, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970).
 1 Kings 8: 1 & 6, King James Version[Bible], Bible Library Version 5.0 Suite (CD), Ellis Enterprises, Inc., 1988-2000.
 2 Chronicles 5:10, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970.)
 1 Samuel 4:10-11, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970.)
 2 Samuel 6:9-10 King James Version, Bible Library Version 5.0 Suite (CD), Ellis Enterprises, Inc., 1988-2000.
 TLC, The Lost Ark of the Covenant-Ancient Technology, World Wide Web, URL:http://tlcdiscovery.com/tlcpages/ark/ancient1.html, 11/08/2000, p.1.
 TLC-The Lost Ark of the Covenant-Ancient Technology, World Wide Web URL:http://tlcdiscovery.com/tlcpages/ark/ancient1.html, 11/08/2000, p.2.
 Osiris-ra, The Ark of the Covenant, World Wide Web, URL: http//www.osiris-ra.co.uk/ark.htm, 11-10-2000, p. 1.
 1 Samuel 6:19-21 Laymon, Charles, (Ed.) The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible. Abingdon Press, Nashville,1971
 2 Samuel 6:6-7, King James Version[Bible], Bible Library Version 5.0 Suite (CD), Ellis Enterprises, Inc., 1988-2000.
 Leviticus 10:1-3, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970.
 1Kings 6, King James Version[Bible], Bible Library Version 5.0 Suite (CD), Ellis Enterprises, Inc., 1988-2000.
 Exodus 25:22, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970.
 Leviticus 10:1, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970.
 Leviticus 10:1-11 (Laymon, Charles, ed., The Interpreter’s On-Volume Commentary on the Bible, (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1971.)
 Deuteronomy 10:8, Living Bible, Bible Library Version 5.0 Suite (CD), Ellis Enterprises, Inc., 1988-2000.
 1 Samuel 6:6:14-15, Living Bible, Bible Library Version 5.0 Suite (CD), Ellis Enterprises, Inc., 1988-2000.
 Batteries of Babylon- The Modern Past, World Wide Web URL:http://enigmas.org/aef/lib/archeo/nf-electric.html,11/12/2000, p.1.
 Downs, Dannielle, and Ava Meyerhoff, Battery, Baghdad, 250 BCE, Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions: Baghdad Battery, World Wide Web, URL:http//smith.edu/hsc/meusem/ancient-inventions/battery3.html, 11/11/2000, p.1.
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 Exodus 31:1-6, The New English Bible, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1970.
 Hamer Collection, The Walter J. Hamer Collection of Electrochemical Artifacts, Photographed by Gregory Tobias, World Wide Web URL: http//www.chemheritage.org/OthmerLibrary/PictorialCollection/Batteries.htm,12-3-2000, p.1.
 Britannica, Energy Conversion-Major Energy Conversion Devices, Encyclopedia Britannica CD,1998.
 Britannica, Extraction and Processing Industries: Industrial Metals- Earliest Developments, Encyclopedia Britannica CD,1998, p 2.
 Ingo Keessmann, Archaeometallurgical Investigations in the Area of Saghand Posht e Badam (Central Iran), World Wide Web, URL:http//www.uni-mainzde/FB/Geo/Geologie/archaeo?Iran/Kavir3Abb28.html
 Britannica, Extracting and Processing Industries- Industrial Metals: Low –Melting Metals, Encyclopedia Britannica CD, 1998, p.1.
 Partington, J.R., A Short History of Chemistry, 3rd edition, (New York, Dover Publications,1989),p.33.
 Wayne Tucker, Silver Oxide, All Experts, World Wide Web URL: http://www.allexperts.com/answerv.asp?QuestionID=1046785, 12/11/2000.
 Post, Jeffrey E., Manganese Oxide Minerals: Crystal Structures And Economic Environmental Significance, PNAS Online, Vol 96, Issue 7, 3447-3454, March 30, 1999, p.1.
 Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, The Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 8th edition, 1971, p.719,722.
 “Old Technology: Leaching Lye From Wood Ashes, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, Sep/Oct’98, Vol. 82, Issue 5, p.79, EBSCOhost Full Display (Internet), 11-29-2000.]
 “Voltage Classification,” Module 4-1 Electrical Safety, World Wide Wed URL: http://utopia.cord.org/cm/leot/copurse04_mod01/mod04_01.htm, 12/13/2000, p.6.
 Effects of Electrical Current on the Human Body ( Table 1), Electrical Hazards 5-1 (Internet), World Wide Web URL: http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena.mit.edu/org/s/safety/apg/05/5-1.html, 12-13-2000, p. 1-2.
 “Dangers Due to Electricity,” Safety Instruction 28 (Internet), World Wide Web URL: http://cern.web.cern.ch/CERN/Divisions/TIS/safdoc/IS/is28/is28_en.html, 12-13-2000, p.10.
 “Battery Data,” Battery Capacity; Techlib.com, World Wide Web URL: http://www.techlib.com/reference/batteries.html, 12/22/2000, p. 1.
A special thanks goes to Matthew Noriega for his helpful advice and comments.