The first reading recounts the joyful festivities that took place when Solomon had completed his temple, and he lodged the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
To get a good picture of the Ark, and to see what made it important, we should read the way it was described in Chapter 25 of Exodus.
Made of acacia wood, the ark was a box three feet, nine inches long; two feet, three inches wide and high. It was plated with beaten gold film on all sides, with a molding of gold around the top.
A gold ring was placed at the four top corners; then, gold plated acacia carrying poles were permanently fixed into the rings. In the ark were placed the tablets of the Ten Commandments.
Covering the top of the ark was laid down a gold plate known as the propitiatory. At both ends of the propitiatory were stationed golden cherubim, facing other, but looking down, with their wings spread out before them.
What made the ark precious was God’s invisible presence above it, as he described it in 25:22. “There I will meet you, and there, from above the propitiatory, between the two cherubim on the ark of the commandments, I will give you the commands that I wish you to give to the people.”