Alice C. Linsley
There is a beautiful psalm of David concerning the Ark's removal to Zion. Not many are aware that the Ark rested in David's royal city of Bethlehem. Psalm 132:1-7 makes this clear.
O Lord, remember in David's favor
his extreme self-denial,
how he swore to the Lord,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
'I will not enter my house,
nor will I mount my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes,
or slumber to my eyelids
until I find a place for the Lord,
an abode [mishkanot- footstool] for the Mighty One of Jacob.'
We heard it was in Ephrath [Ephratha - Bethlehem]
we came upon it in the region of Jaar. (Hebrew Study Bible)
The parallelism of "Ephrath" and the "region of Jaar" require that we investigate further. Jaar is spelled Jair in the New Jerusalem Bible (p. 424) and Jaare-oregim in the Hebrew Study Bible (p. 660). The latter means "Jaare the weaver" and II Samuel 21:19 states that Jaare was from Bethlehem. So it appears that the Ark was guarded by the priests of Bethlehem until David was able to have it moved to "the city of David," a 12-acre ridge south of the Temple Mount (II Sam. 5:9). This area was inhabited continuously for 2000 years before David.
In place of the "region of Jaar" the King James Version has "we found it in the fields of the wood" and the New Jerusalem Bible has "Forest-Fields" instead of "fields of the wood." Both versions fail to trace Jaar's hometown in Scripture and miss this important clue concerning the Ark's resting place in Bethlehem.
The Bethlehem of David and Jesus is probably in Galilee, not on the West Bank. The Ark of the Covenant resting in the place where Jesus was born presents significant Messianic typology similar to Jesus' claim that His Body is the true Temple (John 2:13-22).
Related reading: David's Royal City; David's Bloodline; Which Bethlehem Was Jesus' Birthplace?; Who Were the Wise Men?; Horite Expectation and the Star of Bethlehem; Bethlehem in the Time of Abraham; Response to Adam Kirsch's Rabbinic Interpretations of the Destruction of the Temple; Israeli Archaeologist Aviram Oshri on Jesus' True Birthplace