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Compare Hebrews 9:4. In addition to the two tables of the law, the ark had once contained a pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded (Exodus 16:33; Numbers 17:10), which were to be kept as reminders of both God's authority and His faithfulness. Presumably these had somehow been removed during the years the ark was away from the tabernacle. The rod and manna were only symbols, of course, for God does not change. However, the tables of the law, were more than symbols and could not be removed (compare Hebrews 9:4).
KJV Defenders Study Bible, by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
DEF 10 ISBN 0-529-10444-x
DEF 10-1 ISBN 0-529-10445-8