Read the Passage (NRSV)    Find more resources related to this passage  Print

1 Chronicles 13:1-16:43 – David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

Summary

By bringing the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem, the Chronicler turns to his primary concern: the establishment of proper worship.

Analysis

It is significant that David's first act following his anointing as king is his transfer of the ark to the recently captured city of Jerusalem. This is at odds with the parallel in 2 Samuel 6, where David first needed to rebuild Jebus into Jerusalem and defeat the Philistines (2 Samuel 5) before he could transfer the ark to the Holy City. By placing the building of the palace (14:1-7) and the defeat of the Philistines (14:8-17) after the transfer of the ark, the Chronicler casts David in a new light. Unlike Saul, whose unfaithfulness had resulted in his neglect of religious duties, David's very first act as king demonstrated his pious concern for the symbol of God's presence. In fact, the account opens with an explicit statement of guilt in this regard (13:1-5). While in 2 Samuel David's building activities and military success paved the way for the transfer of the ark, the Chronicler claims, in effect, that David's success in these matters indicates God's favorable response to his concern for the ark. Lest one suppose the Samuel account is any less theologically ordered than the Chronicler's, it should be noted that historically, the defeat of the Philistines would necessarily precede both the taking of Jerusalem and the transfer of the ark.

In addition to the Chronicler's juxtaposition of David and Saul, the account is greatly expanded from that in Samuel. The purpose of these expansions is to establish David's concern for proper worship. In response to Uzzah's death for an unintentional violation of a cultic regulation that resulted in a failed first attempt to move the ark (1 Chronicles 13:9-14), David orders that only the divinely appointed Levites carry the ark, in accordance with the Mosaic legislation (15:1-15; compare Deuteronomy 10:8), and organizes Israel's worship attendants with priests, Levites, singers, and musicians who will accompany the ark in its joyous liturgical procession into Jerusalem. In so doing, the Chronicler seeks to validate the liturgical practices of his own day by ascribing them to David.

Embedded in this presentation of David's care of the ark and establishment of the cult is a beautiful hymn of thanksgiving and petition constructed by the Chronicler in chapter 16 from Psalm 105:1-15 (1 Chronicles 16:8-22); Psalm 96 (1 Chronicles 16:23-33); and Psalm 106:1, 47-48 (1 Chronicles 16:34-36). Each of these Psalms brings a much needed message to the Chronicler's postexilic community, living under the foreign domination of Persian rule. While the rehearsal of God's saving work on Israel's behalf in the past (vv. 8-22) reminds them of God's covenantal loyalty, culminating in God's "anointed ones" (that is, David and his line, v. 22), verses 23-33 encourage them to praise God as the true king of all the earth and his future appearance as judge (v. 33). But not yet. The brief conclusion (vv. 34-36) lifts up the community's need to be saved, gathered, and rescued "from among the nations." Thus, the prayer, as reframed by the Chronicler, pleads for a new act of deliverance, in the present generation of God's people, as a testimony to the cosmic reign of God.

1 Chronicles 13:1-16:43

The Ark Brought from Kiriath-jearim

13David consulted with the commanders of the thousands and of the hundreds, with every leader. 2David said to the whole assembly of Israel, ‘If it seems good to you, and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our kindred who remain in all the land of Israel, including the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasture lands, that they may come together to us. 3Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us; for we did not turn to it in the days of Saul.’ 4The whole assembly agreed to do so, for the thing pleased all the people.

5 So David assembled all Israel from the Shihor of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim, which belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, the Lord, who is enthroned on the cherubim, which is called by his* name. 7They carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio* were driving the cart. 8David and all Israel were dancing before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.

9 When they came to the threshing-floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen shook it. 10The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God. 11David was angry because the Lord had burst out against Uzzah; so that place is called Perez-uzzah* to this day. 12David was afraid of God that day; he said, ‘How can I bring the ark of God into my care?’ 13So David did not take the ark into his care into the city of David; he took it instead to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14The ark of God remained with the household of Obed-edom in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he had.

David Established at Jerusalem

14King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs, and masons and carpenters to build a house for him. 2David then perceived that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel.

3 David took more wives in Jerusalem, and David became the father of more sons and daughters. 4These are the names of the children whom he had in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, and Nathan; Solomon, 5Ibhar, Elishua, and Elpelet; 6Nogah, Nepheg, and Japhia; 7Elishama, Beeliada, and Eliphelet.

Defeat of the Philistines

8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David; and David heard of it and went out against them. 9Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. 10David inquired of God, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?’ The Lord said to him, ‘Go up, and I will give them into your hand.’ 11So he went up to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. David said, ‘God has burst out* against my enemies by my hand, like a bursting flood.’ Therefore that place is called Baal-perazim.* 12They abandoned their gods there, and at David’s command they were burned.

13 Once again the Philistines made a raid in the valley. 14When David again inquired of God, God said to him, ‘You shall not go up after them; go around and come on them opposite the balsam trees. 15When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then go out to battle; for God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.’ 16David did as God had commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. 17The fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him on all nations.

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

15David* 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. 2Then David commanded that no one but the Levites were to carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him for ever. 3David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it. 4Then David gathered together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites: 5of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with one hundred and twenty of his kindred; 6of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with two hundred and twenty of his kindred; 7of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with one hundred and thirty of his kindred; 8of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with two hundred of his kindred; 9of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with eighty of his kindred; 10of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with one hundred and twelve of his kindred.

11 David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12He said to them, ‘You are the heads of families of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your kindred, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. 13Because you did not carry it the first time,* the Lord our God burst out against us, because we did not give it proper care.’ 14So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.

16 David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as the singers to play on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise loud sounds of joy. 17So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; and of his kindred Asaph son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari, their kindred, Ethan son of Kushaiah; 18and with them their kindred of the second order, Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. 19The singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound bronze cymbals; 20Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps according to Alamoth; 21but Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres according to the Sheminith. 22Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, was to direct the music, for he understood it. 23Berechiah and Elkanah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. 24Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, were to blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were to be gatekeepers for the ark.

25 So David and the elders of Israel, and the commanders of the thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. 26And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers; and David wore a linen ephod. 28So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.

29 As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing; and she despised him in her heart.

The Ark Placed in the Tent

16They brought in the ark of God, and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and they offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before God. 2When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord; 3and he distributed to every person in Israel—man and woman alike—to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat,* and a cake of raisins.

4 He appointed certain of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 5Asaph was the chief, and second to him Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, with harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, 6and the priests Benaiah and Jahaziel were to blow trumpets regularly, before the ark of the covenant of God.

David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving

7 Then on that day David first appointed the singing of praises to the Lord by Asaph and his kindred.


8 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him,
   tell of all his wonderful works.
10 Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength,
   seek his presence continually.
12 Remember the wonderful works he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgements he uttered,
13 O offspring of his servant Israel,*
   children of Jacob, his chosen ones.


14 He is the Lord our God;
   his judgements are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant for ever,
   the word that he commanded for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
   his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
   to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
18 saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan
   as your portion for an inheritance.’


19 When they were few in number,
   of little account, and strangers in the land,*
20 wandering from nation to nation,
   from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
   he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, ‘Do not touch my anointed ones;
   do my prophets no harm.’


23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
   Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvellous works among all the peoples.
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   he is to be revered above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
   but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honour and majesty are before him;
   strength and joy are in his place.


28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
   bring an offering, and come before him.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
30   tremble before him, all the earth.
   The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
   and let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!’
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   let the field exult, and everything in it.
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
   before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures for ever.


35Say also:
‘Save us, O God of our salvation,
   and gather and rescue us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
   and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
   from everlasting to everlasting.’
Then all the people said ‘Amen!’ and praised the Lord.

Regular Worship Maintained

37 David left Asaph and his kinsfolk there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister regularly before the ark as each day required, 38and also Obed-edom and his* sixty-eight kinsfolk; while Obed-edom son of Jeduthun and Hosah were to be gatekeepers. 39And he left the priest Zadok and his kindred the priests before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon, 40to offer burnt-offerings to the Lord on the altar of burnt-offering regularly, morning and evening, according to all that is written in the law of the Lord that he commanded Israel. 41With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to render thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures for ever. 42Heman and Jeduthun had with them trumpets and cymbals for the music, and instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were appointed to the gate.

43 Then all the people departed to their homes, and David went home to bless his household.

oremus Bible Browser
biblemail@oremus.org
v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

Related Passages