We have very sparse information about the exact contents of the Ark of the Covenant. It is known that it contained the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were inscribed as well as Aaron’s rod that budded and a golden jar of manna.
Manna was God’s gift of food to the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness on their journey to Canaan. It was a gift that was intended to teach the children of Israel self-discipline and that it is important to keep the Lord’s word and not take more than we need. This is an important message for our own lives today.
It is likely that the jar of manna was not always inside the Ark of the Covenant because if it was kept for more than a day or two, it would breed worms and start to stink. It may have been carried along with the ark whenever it was moved to prevent this from happening.
Despite this, we do know that both the jar of manna and Aaron’s staff were still inside the Ark when Solomon had it brought into his new temple for its dedication (1 Kings 8:9). So, what happened to the jar of manna? It most likely disappeared from history around the time of the Babylonian conquering of Israel. It did not appear in any list of treasures taken to Babylon by Judah’s umpteen apostate kings, and it does not feature on the Arch of Titus. It is therefore most likely that it was hauled off as loot by the Babylonians and either melted down for its gold or lost to antiquity entirely.