John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 8 (1 Kings 8:8)

And they drew out the staves ,.... Not made them larger, as Ben Gersom, than those in the tabernacle of Moses, this place being larger than that; nor did they draw them wholly out, and lay them up in the sanctuary, there being no further use for them, the ark having now a fixed place, and not to be removed; which would have been contrary to Exodus 25:15 but they drew them out some little way:

that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle ; not in that part of the temple commonly called the holy place, in distinction from the most holy, for that seems to be denied in the next clause; nor could they be seen there, since there was a wall and a vail between them; though some think they might be seen when the door was opened, and the vail turned aside; and these also pushing against the vail, might be seen prominent, like the breasts of a woman under a covering, as the Jews express it; but the sense is, that the ends of these were seen out of the ark from under the wings of the cherubim, being a little drawn, in that part of the most holy place which is before the oracle or mercy seat:

and they were not seen without ; neither quite out of the ark, nor without the most holy place, nor in the holy place; but were only seen by the high priest when he went in on the day of atonement, and served as a direction to him to go between them before the ark, and there perform his work F20 Vid. Misn. Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1. ; which, through the darkness of the place, and the ark being covered with the wings of the cherubim, he could not otherwise discern the exact place where it stood:

and there they are unto this day : when the writer of this book lived, even in the same situation.

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary