David’s Worship

1 Chronicles 15:1-3, 14-16, 25-29

SS Lesson for 12/01/2019


Devotional Scripture: 2 Samuel 6:12-16

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles (treated as one book in Hebrew texts) appear to be among the final Old Testament books written, most likely in the latter half of the fifth century BC. Though authorship is uncertain, themes and writing style suggest that the author could be Ezra. This noted scribe and teacher of God's law ministered to the exiles who returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon (Ezra 7:6, 10). However, events that took place after Ezra's death are included in the text, making clear that even if Ezra began the work, he did not write its final words. For this reason, scholars most often refer to the writer simply as the Chronicler. Most of the first volume covers the reign of King David over Israel from 1010 to 970 BC (1 Chronicles 10:14-29:30). Much of this is material found within other books of the Old Testament, especially 1 and 2 Samuel. So why were 1 and 2 Chronicles written? In short, because the people's situation had changed along with their needs; they desired new histories that emphasized God's care following the exile, a theme that was unnecessary for historians writing earlier. Interestingly, the title of Chronicles in the old Greek version (the Septuagint) is translated “things omitted” or “things passed over.” This fact may speak to an ancient viewpoint regarding why the books were written. By the time the books were completed, some 100 years had passed since the return of God's people from captivity in 538 BC. The temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt (Ezra 1:7-11; 6:13-18), and the wall around the city had been completed under Nehemiah's leadership (Nehemiah 6:15, 16). However, many prophecies of Jerusalem's greatness and of God's special blessing had not been fulfilled. These included the establishment of a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and the rise of a king reminiscent of David (Jeremiah 33:15; Ezekiel 37:24). In fact, God's people remained under the control of Persia. Many Jews likely expressed doubt and frustration at the uncertainty of their status as a nation. The Chronicler reassured members of the post-exilic community that they had not been abandoned and that they were very much a part of God's sovereign plan. God required and rewarded their obedience (2 Chronicles 17:1-6; 29:1, 2; 31:20, 21; 34:1, 2, 33; contrast 1 Chronicles 21:7; 2 Chronicles 20:35-37; 32:31; 35:21-24). The Chronicler emphasizes David's obedience (1 Chronicles 14:2, 10, 16; 18:14; 21:19; etc.). That king's passion for finding a proper place for the ark of the covenant, the sacred symbol of God's presence with His covenant people, showed David's dedication to God and His people.



Key Verse: 1 Chronicles 15:28

Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps.


Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

15:1-13. At last David... prepared once more to relocate and house the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem. Though he planned to place the ark in a substantial temple (17:1-4), for the present he set up a tent (15:1), perhaps similar to the Mosaic tabernacle. Then, careful to observe proper protocol (vv. 2, 13, 15), he gathered the priests and Levites and commanded them to transport the ark from the house of Obed-Edom (cf. 13:14) to its new shrine in Jerusalem. The priests were Zadok and Abiathar (15:11; see the chart “The Ancestry of Zadok and Abiathar” near 2 Sam. 8:15-18) and the Levites came from the three Levitical families of Kohath... Merari, and Gershon (1 Chron. 15:5-7). They were Uriel (vv. 5, 11; cf. 6:24), Asaiah (15:6, 11; cf. 6:30), and Joel (15:7, 11; cf. Joah, 6:21). In addition, there were three other Levites, all from the family of Kohath. Shemaiah was of the clan of Elizaphan (15:8, 11; cf. Ex. 6:22), Eliel of the clan of Hebron (1 Chron. 15:9, 11; cf. Ex. 6:18), and Amminadab of the clan of Uzziel (1 Chron. 15:10-11; cf. Ex. 6:18). There were thus four Levites of Kohath and one each of the other two branches, plus 862 assistants.

15:14-24. After the prescribed consecration (Num. 8:5-13) all these set about the task of transporting the ark (1 Chron. 15:14-15). This included more than merely moving the object, however. It was accompanied by great religious celebration. So David ordered the Levitical leaders to appoint musicians who would join in the great procession (v. 16). The chief of these were Heman, son of Joel (and grandson of Samuel, 6:33), Asaph, and Ethan (15:17), who sounded the bronze cymbals. Eight other musicians (v. 20) played lyres according to alamoth (probably a musical term; cf. niv marg. and the title to Ps. 46). Six others (1 Chron. 15:21) played harps set to sheminith (also a musical term; cf. niv marg. and title to Ps. 6). Kenaniah, the head Levite, was in charge of the vocal music since he had special expertise in that area (1 Chron. 15:22). Four others were to protect the ark, probably two in front of it (v. 23) and two behind it (v. 24b); between them was a contingent of seven trumpeters (v. 24).

15:25-29. Somewhere in the procession, perhaps at its head, David danced (v. 29), clothed in the garments of a priest (a robe of fine linen and a linen ephod, v. 27). Michal, his wife, watching from a window... despised him for she mistook his holy zeal for exhibitionism (cf. 2 Sam. 6:20).


Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

(Note: Lesson major points and cross-references copied from previous lesson dated 03/02/2008)

The Place Readied for Worship (1 Chron 15:1-3)


1 David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched a tent for it.

2 Then David said, "No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever."

3 And David gathered all Israel together at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it.


Building (1)

Building to have a dwelling place for God (Ps 132:3-5)

3 "I will not enter my house or go to my bed —  4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, 5 till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."

Building based on God's pattern (Acts 7:44-47)

44 "Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.   47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him.

Being a part of God's building (1 Cor 3:9)

9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

An eternal building (2 Cor 5:1)

5:1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

A building joined together by the Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:19-22)

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.


Planning (2)

Plan by pressing on toward the goal (Phil 3:12-14)

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Plan by not losing heart, but focusing on the eternal (2 Cor 4:16-18)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Plan depending on the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 5:1-5)

1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Know that our plans are dependent on God's purposes (Prov 19:21)

21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

All our plans must be committed to God (Ps 37:5-7)

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.


Gathering (3)

The gathering of the elect (Matt 24:31)

31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

The gathering that will bring all the scattered children of God together (John 11:51-52)

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

Christians are used to help gather God's kingdom (Matt 12:30)

30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

Gathered so that we may give thanks, praise and worship to God (Ps 106:47)

47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.

All the nations will gather together and the peoples assembled (Isa 43:6-9)

6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth —  7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." 8 Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. 9 All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true."


The Leaders Readied for Worship (1 Chron 15:4-16)


14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel.

15 And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.

16 Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy.


Sanctification (14)

Sanctification is when God makes one blameless (1 Thess 5:23)

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sanctification through the blood of Jesus (Heb 9:13-14)

13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Sanctification is setting apart Jesus as Lord (1 Peter 3:15)

15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Sanctification is presenting to God in righteousness (Rom 6:19)

19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

Sanctification is the purpose for which God has called His people (1 Thess 4:7)

7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Pursue sanctification (Heb 12:14)

14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.


Obedience (15)

Obedience that is consistent with God's will (Isa 58:6-9)

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

Obedience that delights God (1 Sam 15:22)

22 But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Obedience that is from humble, praying, repentant people of God (2 Chron 7:14)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Obedience that is bold and steadfast (Dan 3:16-18)

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."


Appointments (16)

An appointment because God chose us (Eph 1:3-7)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

An appointment because God predestined it (Rom 8:29-30)

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

An appointment of leadership (1 Cor 12:28)

28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

An appointment to receive salvation (1 Thess 5:9)

9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

An appointment for service (1 Tim 1:12)

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.


The Worship Celebrated (1 Chron 15:25-29)


25 So David, the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom with joy.

26 And so it was, when God helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bulls and seven rams.

27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers. David also wore a linen ephod.

28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps.

29 And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, that Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music; and she despised him in her heart.


With joy (25)

Joy of the righteous (Ps 68:3)

3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

Joy in worship (Ps 100:2)

2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Joy even in trials (Hab 3:17-19)

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,  18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

Joy in fasts (Zech 8:19)

19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: "The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace."

Joy in hope (Rom 12:10-12)

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.


With offerings (26)

Everyone who is willing should bring an offering to God (Exodus 35:5)

5 From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze;

Sharing with others is considered a pleasing offering to God (Heb 13:16)

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

The best offering to God is ourself as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1)

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.

The most important offering to God is to love Him with all that we have (Mark 12:33)

33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."


With music and singing (27-29)

Music and songs of the heart (Eph 5:19)

19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Music and songs of gratitude (Col 3:16)

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Music and songs of praise (James 5:13)

13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

Music and songs of thanksgiving (Ps 147:7)

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.

Music and songs of God's wonderful acts (Ps 105:2)

2 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

Music and songs of exhortation (Ps 95:2)

2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.


Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Charles John Ellicott

Verse 1

(1) And David made him houses.—Or, and he made (i.e., finished) a palace (plural, intensive) for himself, referring back to 1 Chronicles 14:1. Others think of fresh buildings required for his additional wives, which is less likely. David had the example of Egyptian and Babylonian monarchs for his palace-building.

City of David.—Castle of Zion (1 Chronicles 11:5; 1 Chronicles 11:7).

And prepared a place for the ark.—Comp. 2 Samuel 6:17.

A place.—Probably within the palace precincts.

Pitched (or spread) for it a tent (or tabernacle).—The old one was at Gibeon, and Zadok ministered as high priest therein (1 Chronicles 16:39). Abiathar, of the house of Ithamar, who had hitherto followed the fortunes of David, probably ministered before the Ark in the new tent.

Verse 2

(2) Then.—This word is here a real note of time. It seems to denote the end of the three months’ interval mentioned in 1 Chronicles 13:14.

None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites.—See Numbers 4:5-15, where the Kohathite Levites are appointed to carry the Ark and other sacred objects; and the more definite Deuteronomy 10:8 : “At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.” David’s enunciation of the law is a tacit acknowledgment that on the former occasion (1 Chronicles 13:7-10) it had not been observed. That the Ark was now duly carried by bearers is expressly stated in the older account (2 Samuel 6:13), though their being Levites is not noticed.

Verse 3

(3) And David gathered all Israel.—Comp. 2 Samuel 6:15 : “So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark.” Samuel does not mention Jerusalem as the meeting-place. Of course, only a full representation of the people is signified. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 13:2; 1 Chronicles 13:5.)

Unto his place.—The Ark’s. The neutral its is unknown to the Authorised version.

Verse 4

(4) And David assembled.—He confers separately with the priestly order respecting their part in the procession.

The children of Aaron.—The sons of Aaron, i.e., the high priests, Zadok and Abiathar (1 Chronicles 15:11).

The Levites—i.e., the six chieftains—Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, heads of the clans of Kohath, Merari, and Gershom respectively; and Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, additional Kohathite chiefs: all the six being at the head of their clansmen (“brethren,” 1 Chronicles 15:5-10). There were four Kohathite houses to one of Merari and Gershom, because the sub-tribe of Kohath was the elder house, and had special charge of the Ark and other most holy vessels of the sanctuary (Numbers 4:4).

Verse 5

(5) Of the sons of Kohath.—Kohath comes first, as the senior clan, to which the priestly house of Aaron itself belonged.

Verses 5-7

(5-7) Uriel (El is light), Asaiah (Iah made), Joel (Iah is El) occur as Levitical names in 1 Chronicles 6:24; 1 Chronicles 6:30; 1 Chronicles 6:33, and elsewhere.

Verse 8

(8) Of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah.—Elzaphan was son of Uzziel, the fourth son of Kohath (Exodus 6:18; Exodus 6:22). Of this Kohathite family, Shemaiah was chief in David’s time (1 Chronicles 24:6).

Verse 9

(9) Of the sons of Hebron.—Hebron was third son of Kohath (Exodus 6:18). (Comp. 1 Chronicles 6:2, above.)

Verse 10

(10) Of the sons of Uzziel.—Uzziel was fourth son of Kohath (1 Chronicles 6:2). Exodus 6:22 names three sons of Uzziel—Mishael, Elzaphan, and Zithri. The family of Elzaphan has already been represented (1 Chronicles 15:8). The term “sons of Uzziel,” therefore, in this verse represents the two other Uzzielite houses, which may have amalgamated in one. As Elzaphan is mentioned first, the elder line of Mishael may have become extinct. At any rate, 1 Chronicles 23:20; 1 Chronicles 24:24 imply the existence of only two Uzzielite stocks.

Verse 11

(11) David’s instructions to the eight spiritual chiefs.

Zadok and Abiathar the priests were of coordinate rank, as representing the two lines of Eleazar and Ithamar. (Comp. Notes on 1 Chronicles 6:4, sqq., and 1 Chronicles 24:3. ) On 1 Chronicles 15:5 the meanings of three of these names have been suggested. Of the others, Zadok imports just, perhaps equivalent to Zedekiah, Jah is just; Abiathar, the Father (i.e., God) excels; She-maiah, Jah heareth; Eliel, God (and none else) is God (i.e., Divine); Amminadab, the Clansman (i.e., the Lord) is bounteous. Thus the very names of those who conducted this great religious event expressed to themselves and others the high spiritual truths that Jehovah the Lord is righteous, the Author and Bestower of all knowledge and excellence and working power; that He alone is God; and that He hears prayers, as being a gracious Father unto all His creatures.

Verse 12

(12) Chief of the fathers.—Heads of the father- houses. They were the heads of the chief divisions in each sub-group of the tribe.

Sanctify yourselves.—Special purifications appear to have been prescribed in connection with all sacrifice and worship. (Comp. Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:15; Exodus 30:17-21.) Bathing the person, and washing or changing the garments, and keeping oneself aloof from whatever was regarded as defiling, were the main requisites. And all this was needful to teach Israel that the All-pure requires purity in His worshippers. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 30:3.)

The ark of the Lord (Jehovah) God of Israel.—Contrast the simpler expression, “ark of God” (1 Chronicles 13 and 1 Chronicles 14:1-2). Here David uses a specially solemn title, by way of warning. Further, the term “God of Israel” suggests that the undertaking is national, and that the nation’s future welfare depends on its due performance (1 Samuel 2:30). Israel’s vocation was to be “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6), as the chronicler has well understood.

Unto the place that I have prepared for it.—Unto (that) I have prepared for it. The relative is omitted. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 29:3 and 2 Chronicles 1:4.)

Verse 13

(13) For because ye did it not at the first.—The Hebrew seems to mean, for because on the first occasion it was not you (that is, the heads of the Levitical houses)—scil., who carried up the ark, but Uzza and Ahio, sons of Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3). The phrase so rendered only occurs here (lĕmabbârîshônâh = “because at the first”).

Our God made a breach.—Broke out upon us; referring to the sudden death of Uzza (1 Chronicles 13:10). (Comp. Exodus 19:22; Exodus 19:24, same phrase.)

We sought him not (1 Chronicles 13:3) after the due order.—The Ark was carried on a cart, instead of being borne by the sons of Kohath “on their shoulders, with the staves thereon” (1 Chronicles 15:15; Numbers 4:15). Even the Kohathites themselves were forbidden to “touch any holy thing,” as Uzza had ventured to do. It has been said that the “sanctity of institutions,” as opposed to the “sanctity of a people under the government of a righteous God,” is the leading idea of the Chronicles. It would be difficult to show how the sanctity of a people is to be secured, and how the government of a righteous God is to be realised, except in and through Divine institutions. As there is a “due order” by which God rules the physical world, so is there a corresponding order whereby His will is fulfilled in the spiritual sphere. There are positive institutions in Christianity as well as in Mosaism; and if we abolish the Divine authority of the one, why not of the other also?

Verse 15

(15) And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God.—The priests and Levites, having purified themselves (1 Chronicles 15:14), duly and rightly discharged their sacred office of bearing the Ark. This statement anticipates 1 Chronicles 15:25, sqq. Such brief anticipative summaries of a series of events afterwards described in detail are very common in Hebrew narrative.

Upon their shoulders with the staves there-on.—Literally, with their shoulder, with the poles upon themselves.

As Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord.—Numbers 7:9; Numbers 4:15; Exodus 25:13-15.

Verse 16

(16) David spake to the chief.—Ordered the chiefs (sârîm).

To appoint their brethren to be the singers.—To station or assign places to their clansmen, the minstrels.

Psalteries and harps.—Harps and lutes, or guitars (nĕbâlîm and kinnôrôth).

Sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.—So far as grammar goes, the participle sounding (Heb., causing to hear—i.e., making a loud noise) might refer to the musicians, or to all the instruments mentioned, or to the last kind (the cymbals) only. The third reference is the best, because of the special sense of the verb. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 15:19 and Psalms 150:5 : “loud cymbals,” i.e., cymbals of sound or hearing.) Translate: “harps and lutes and clashing cymbals, in order to swell the sound for gladness:” that is, to express and enhance the rejoicing. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 5:13.)

Verse 17

(17) Heman . . . Asaph . . . Ethan (or Jeduthun) were the precentors of David’s three choirs of Levitical minstrels (1 Chronicles 6:31-44). Heman was of Kohath, and Asaph of Gershon, as Ethan of Merari.

Verse 18

(18) And with them their brethren of the second degree.—So 1 Chronicles 16:5 : “Asaph the leader, and his second Zechariah.” Fourteen minstrels of the second rank—that is, subordinate to the first three—are named here.

Ben (son) is not a proper name. That of Zechariah’s father may have fallen out after it (comp. the Syriac and Arabic: “Zechariah son of Ne’ael”), or it may be due to a scribe’s inadvertence. The LXX. omits it.

Shemiramoth.—This peculiar name resembles the Assyrian Sammurramat, the classical Semiramis. Delitzsch suggests that it is a compound of sammîm (“spices”), and râ’imat (“loving”): a suitable name for a woman, and actually borne by a lady of the court of Rammân-nirâri (B.C. 812), king of Assyria.

Jaaziel.—Called Jeiel by mistake in 1 Chronicles 16:5.

And Jeiel.—The LXX. adds, “and Azaziah” (Ozias). (Comp. 1 Chronicles 15:21.) Perhaps this should be read, and “the porters” omitted. (See 1 Chronicles 15:24.)

Verse 19

(19) The cymbal-players.

Were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass.—Rather, with cymbals of bronze for clashing. Furnished with these instruments, the three chiefs were to lead and accentuate the music.

1 Chronicles 15:19-25 give the order of the procession thus:—

I. The three master-singers, and two bands of seven each (1 Chronicles 15:19-21).

II. Chenaniah, marshal of the bearers.

III. Two warders of the Ark.

IV. Seven priests, with trumpets.

Verses 19-21

(19-21) The minstrels named in 1 Chronicles 15:17-18, classified according to their instruments.

Verse 20

V. Two warders of the Ark.

VI. The king, with the heads of the nation.

(20) The eight harpers. Perhaps Maaseiah or Benaiah belongs to the next verse. This would give seven (comp. 1 Chronicles 15:24) in each band.

Aziel should be Jaaziel, as in 1 Chronicles 15:18.

Jehiel.—God liveth. Jeiel=Jeuel (1 Chronicles 9:6; 1 Chronicles 9:35), Remembered of God.

With psalteries on Alamoth.—“With harps after the mode of maidens:” that is, probably, of soprano compass or pitch. The same expression occurs in the heading of Psalms 46

Verse 21

(21) The six lute-players.

With harps on the Sheminith.—“With lutes (or lyres) in the bass.” Literally, after the mode of the eighth—i.e., an octave below the tenor—al ottava bassa.

To excel.—To lead the orchestra, to precent. (Comp. Psalms 6, heading.)

Verse 22

(22) Rather, And Chenaniah, captain (i.e., conductor) of the Levites in bearing (that is, the sacred vessels), was conducting the bearing, because he was skilled—scil., in the traditional regulations connected with bearing the Ark duly and rightly.

Chenaniah.—1 Chronicles 15:27, and 1 Chronicles 26:29.

Chief of the Levites.—Not one of the six princes (1 Chronicles 15:5-10), or heads of houses, but president of the carriage of the Ark.

Was for song.—So the LXX., which reads “leader of the songs;” but the Syriac has “bore the burden daily” and although the word massâ—i.e., “lifting up,” or “bearing”—might mean “lifting up the voice,” (1) the context is against that meaning here, for Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were conductors of the singing and music; (2) Chenaniah is nowhere else associated with music (see Note on 1 Chronicles 26:29); (3) the word massâ, “bearing,” has the sense we have given it when used in relation to Levites (Numbers 4:19; 2 Chronicles 35:3).

He instructed.—The Hebrew has an ambiguous form, which may be an infinitive—instructing, correcting (yâsar); or an imperfect of a different verb—was prince over, superintendent of (sârar).

He was skilful.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 25:7; 2 Chronicles 34:12.

Verse 23

(23) Doorkeepers for the ark.—“Porters” (1 Chronicles 15:18). Warders are meant. Obed-edom and Jehiah were also warders of the Ark (1 Chronicles 15:24). In the procession two may have walked in front of it and two behind. They would be responsible for the prevention of all unauthorised approach to the Ark of God.

Verse 24

(24) Seven priestly trumpeters.

The priests, did blow with the trumpets.—Were blowing. (Comp. Numbers 10:2.) A pair of silver clarions were blown by the priests “for the calling of the assembly, and the journeying of the camps.” (See also 1 Chronicles 16:6.) The seven priests perhaps walked immediately before the Ark, as in Joshua 6:4.

of the Ark,

And Obed-edom and Jehiah were door-keepers for the ark.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 15:23. It is hardly likely that these persons were identical with the minstrels Obed-edom and Jeiel of 1 Chronicles 15:18; 1 Chronicles 15:21, for (1) 1 Chronicles 15:19-24 appear to describe the order of the procession, according to which two “doorkeepers” walked before and two behind the ark (1 Chronicles 15:23-24), whereas Obed-edom and Jeiel the minstrels walked, playing their lutes, two places before even the first pair of doorkeepers (1 Chronicles 15:21); (2) the name “Jeiel” is different in form and meaning from “Jehiah,” Jah liveth; (3) the recurrence of names has been too frequent to allow us to be much surprised at a second Obed-edom. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 16:38.)

Verse 25

(25) SO David, and the elders of Israel.—Literally, And it was David and the elders of Israel and princes of the thousands who were walking to bring up the Ark, &c. The preparations for the ceremony are now complete, and the procession starts. A slight change in the Hebrew (omission of the article; so Syriac and one MS. of LXX.) will improve the sense: “And it came to pass, David and the elders . . . were walking to bring up the Ark.”

To bring up the ark.—“Into the city of David” (Samuel).

The ark of the covenant of the Lord.—A special title of the Ark, which has not occurred before in this history. It is not read in the parallel passage of Samuel, where we find only “ark of God,” and “ark of Jehovah.” The phrase may therefore indicate that the chronicler had another source besides that book. (Comp. Joshua 3:3; Joshua 3:17.) The parallel (2 Samuel 6:12) makes no mention of “the elders and captains,” but merely states in brief and somewhat abrupt fashion that David went and brought up the Ark, because he had heard of its bringing a blessing upon the house of Obed-edom.

With joy.—With set rejoicings and festal mirth.

Verse 26

(26) When God helped the Levites that bare the ark.—Comp. 2 Samuel 6:13, “And it was so, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings” (sing. collect.). God had been adverse to those who conducted the Ark on the former occasion (1 Chronicles 13:9), as was inferred from the sudden death of Uzza. Now, when the Levites had undertaken the work in due order, and no harm had befallen, it was understood that the Divine goodwill was with the enterprise. That they had borne the holy Ark six paces without any sign of wrath was enough to call forth the grateful offerings of hearts relieved from a dread which only ceased to haunt them when the event proved it to be groundless. Our text, more exact than Samuel, gives the number and kind of the victims then sacrificed. Others refer the two accounts to different sacrifices, taking Samuel to mean that at every six paces a bullock and a fat sheep were slain by priests stationed all along the course, while they suppose our text to refer to a final sacrifice, offered when the Ark had reached its destination. This solution of the difficulty appears incredible, especially as regards the supposition of priests not mentioned in the narrative. Another view understands our text in this sense, but makes the offering in Samuel an initial sacrifice of consecration. But it is not likely that the two sacrifices are really different: (1) because the narrative here is generally parallel with Samuel; and (2) the chronicler may have intentionally paraphrased the older text for the sake of explanation. (Comp. Numbers 23:1; Numbers 23:29 for the sacrifice.)

Verse 27

(27) And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen.—Samuel reads, “And David was dancing before Jehovah with all might” (Heb.). The Hebrew of our text may be a corruption or intentional alteration of this. The word for “clothed” is the Aramaic (Daniel 3:21, mĕkurbâl), which might easily be, by inadvertence or design, substituted for the rare word mĕkarkçr (Sam.), “dancing.”

A robe of fine linen.—Heb., a me’il of byssus. The me’il was an upper garment worn by persons of rank (2 Samuel 12:18; 1 Samuel 15:27; Job 29:14).

And all the Levites . . . and the singers, and Chenaniah.—Scil., were clothed with a me‘îl of byssus.

The master of the song.—Rather, the chief (overseer) of the bearing. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 15:22.)

With the singers.—Omit, as an accidental repetition. The word “with” is wanting in the Hebrew, which is ungrammatical as it stands. The entire clause, “and all the Levites . . . with the singers,” is not read in the parallel account.

David also had upon him an ephod of linen.—Literally, and upon David (was) an ephod of linen. (See 2 Samuel 6:14.) The ephod, a sort of cope, was distinctive of the priests (1 Samuel 22:18).

Verse 28

(28) Thus all Israel brought.—And all Israel were bringing. Samuel has “and David and all the house of Israel,” and “ark of the Lord.”

Cornet.—Rather, trumpet.

The rest of this verse is wanting in Samuel, but all the additional instruments have already been mentioned (1 Chronicles 15:16-21).

Trumpets.—Clarions, or straight trumpets.

The last clause should be rendered, “and with clanging cymbals, with harps and lutes.” (Comp. Psalms 150:3-4.)

Verse 29

(29) And it came to pass.—The verse reads in the Hebrew like a modernised form of 2 Samuel 6:16.

As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came.—Rather, The ark had come so far as to the city, and Michal had looked forth by the lattice, and she saw . . .

Dancing and playing.—In the Hebrew two common words have been substituted for the two obsolete ones occurring in Samuel.

Playing.—The Hebrew word denotes dancing combined with singing and playing (Jeremiah 30:19; 1 Samuel 18:6-7).

She despised him.—Because he seemed forgetful of his royal and manly honour, in dancing like a woman.

                                               (Adapted from URL:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-chronicles-15.html)


Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

King David fulfilled his “in-tent” to establish a place for the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem. The ceremony during which the ark was carried to its new home was an occasion of great celebration and worship in which David himself participated with enthusiasm. The experience was indeed intense! A significant amount of preparation went into finally bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. This task was not handled in a shoddy, careless manner. David's concern for conveying the ark properly brings to mind Paul's admonition to the Corinthians that their worship “be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). David made sure the Levites carried the ark in the manner prescribed by the Law of Moses. The king also appointed individuals to supervise the various expressions of worship that would accompany bringing the ark into the city. Such a sacred object, and more importantly the God whose presence it represented, deserved the utmost care. We do not have an ark or other sacred object to carry to a designated place. However, the New Testament indicates that Christians are sacred objects because God's Spirit dwells among us (1 Corinthians 3:16). So, what can we do to prepare our temples for worship (6:19, 20)? How can we prepare to bring our best to God when we gather for worship? What can we do to foster a frame of mind that contributes to worship instead of distracting from it? The old adage, “You get out of something what you put into it” applies to worship. How much do we really “put into” worship?


Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

Bringing Up the Ark - King David completed the construction of his palace in Jerusalem, then turned his attention to preparing a place for the ark of God in the city. The king desired a huge, worship-filled celebration. All the people would line up for the solemn procession, play instruments, and sing and dance as the ark was brought into the city. Previously, David tried to transport the ark to the city on a cart with wheels. One of the men assisting the transport to Jerusalem from Kiriath Jearim touched the ark to steady it and instantly died (1 Chron. 13). David left the ark with Obed-Edom for three months after this incident. As David studied the law, he realized how he should bring the ark to Jerusalem. The second time the king attempted to bring the ark into the city, David made sure only the consecrated priests carried the sacred box with poles placed on their shoulders, as directed in the law of Moses. This procedure demonstrated honor to the Lord and protected the box from any damage in transport.


The Celebration - The king delegated the responsibility of organizing the national worship service to the Levites. The leaders appointed experts in music who played a variety of musical instruments—horns, harps, and cymbals—accompanied by the vocalists singing psalms. Only the best singers performed for this occasion. David called for the congregation to present to the Lord a loud, joyful expression of praise with the highest possible excellence.


Our Joyful Praise - There is certainly nothing wrong with quiet worship. God is always more interested in our hearts than the volume coming from our mouths. In fact, in some countries where Christians are persecuted, it's essential for their gatherings to be underground, low key, and discreet. But elsewhere, believers are free to worship out in the open. When you think about the graciousness and goodness of the Lord, your heart should overflow. As Psalm 150:6, says, "Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD" (KJV).