The first reading tells of the unsuccessful ploy of using the ark of the covenant to defeat the Philistines.
The reading states, “So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the Lord of hosts, whom is enthroned upon the cherubim.”
To know what the Bible means by saying that the Lord of hosts “is enthroned upon the cherubim” we must go to Chapter Twenty-five of Exodus. It gives the dimensions of the acacia wood planks going into constructing the ark. It calls for the whole top of the ark to be plated with a golden “propitiatory,” and it calls for two gold plated cherubs to be facing each other above the propitiatory, with their wings extended toward each other over the ark.
Of that space between them over the ark Exodus 25: 22 states, “There I will meet you and there, from above the propitiatory, between the two cherubim on the ark of the commandments I will tell you all the commands I wish you to give to the Israelites.”
Although the ark contained tablets of he law, it was not what was in the ark that made it precious. It was the Lord’s invisible presence above it.