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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 16

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-7

The ark comes to Jerusalem (13:1-16:7)

David knew that part of the reason for Israel’s previous weakness was Saul’s lack of interest in its religious life. Even the ark of the covenant, symbol of God’s presence, lay forgotten in a country house. David set out to restore the ark to its rightful place at the centre of the nation’s religious life. In bringing the ark to Jerusalem, his aim was to make Jerusalem the religious, as well as the political, centre of Israel. But his plans suffered an early setback because of a lack of reverence for the ark (13:1-14; see notes on 2 Samuel 6:1-11).

An account of two victories over the Philistines is inserted (out of chronological order), probably to impress upon the reader how David’s fame was spreading (14:1-17; see notes on 2 Samuel 5:11-25).

The writer then goes back to the story of the ark and shows how, after the earlier setback, it was finally brought to Jerusalem. Nothing disastrous happened this time, because the ark was transported in the proper manner and handled with fitting reverence. It was carried on the shoulders of the Levites, who themselves were ceremonially cleansed (15:1-15; see notes on 2 Samuel 6:12-15).

Music and singing, organized and directed by the Levites, accompanied the procession. The three leading singers previously named, Heman, Asaph and Ethan (see 6:31,33,39,44), were in charge of the singers, who were under the overall control of Chenaniah. Obed-edom, who had looked after the ark during its recent stay in his house (see 13:14), was appointed to be one of the guardians of the ark in Jerusalem. He was also among the official singers when not required for guard duty (16-24).

After the arrival of the ark in Jerusalem, David and the people celebrated the event with sacrifices and feasting (25-16:3; see notes on 2 Samuel 6:16-23). David also appointed various officials to lead the worship. The arrangements for singing and music made on this occasion became the basis of Israel’s future organized public worship (4-7).

Verses 8-36

A psalm of thanksgiving (16:8-36)

The Chronicler records a psalm that was sung in celebration of the ark’s arrival in Jerusalem. It was typical of the psalms sung on such great national occasions. It began with a call to God’s covenant people to worship him in praise for his faithfulness to the covenant he made with Abraham (8-13). This covenant was the work of God alone. Out of all the nations of the earth he chose Abraham, promising to make his descendants into a nation and to give them Canaan for a national homeland (14-18). In the early days, when they were few in number, Abraham’s descendants could easily have been wiped out by hostile neighbours, but God miraculously preserved them (19-22).

In view of all he had done for them, God’s people were urged to praise him and to proclaim his mighty acts to others. People could never really know other gods, for those gods were lifeless, but they could know the only true God, both through the created universe and through the public worship of the sanctuary (23-27). Therefore, the peoples of the world were urged to bring God worship and sacrificial offerings (28-30), and the physical creation was urged to bring him praise (31-34). His unfailing mercy was the Israelites’ assurance that they could always depend on him to save them (35-36). (The above psalm is not in Samuel; the two psalms of 2 Samuel 22:1-7 are not in Chronicles.)

Verses 37-43

Plans for a permanent house (16:37-17:27)

On being brought to Jerusalem, the ark had been placed in a tent that David prepared for it (see v. 1). David appointed temple servants to remain with the ark to guide the worship, apparently under the direction of the senior priest, Abiathar. The other chief priest, Zadok, was in charge of the worship at the tabernacle, which was still at Gibeon (37-43).

One reason why David did not shift the tabernacle from Gibeon was that he was planning to build a permanent dwelling place for the ark in Jerusalem. He wanted to build a house for God, but God wanted rather to build a house for David. The house God wanted to build was a dynasty, a line of royal descendants, one of whom would build the temple (17:1-27; see notes on 2 Samuel 7:1-29).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 16". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/1-chronicles-16.html. 2005.
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