A different Jewish tradition states that the ark was hidden under the temple. Humanly speaking it is the sort of thing one would expect to be done by one of the priests when the Babylonian armies took the city, although it may of course not have been God's will that it should have survived. Again, one might ask why the ark was not taken from its hiding place and put into the holy place of the new temple when it was built. Surely, if it had been hidden away somewhere safe then knowledge of the location would have been retained among the priests, unless of course all those who knew perished at the hands of the Babylonians. It might be said that, since we are not told that the second temple did not contain the ark, it might have been there. Against this is the statement of Josephus that the most holy place was empty in his days.8
But the question we now
have to consider is whether there is any possibility that
the Jewish tradition is true and that the ark lies under
the Temple Mount. Recent investigations close to the Temple
Mount have in fact revived this as a possibility.
Next section: Tunnel by the Western Wall