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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

1 Chronicles 13

Verses 1-14

1. The removal of the ark from Kiriath-jearim ch. 13

The lesson the writer intended this incident to teach the readers is that Yahweh is holy and His people should not take His presence among them lightly (cf. Leviticus 10:1-11; Numbers 16). God’s presence is real, and His people must deal with it in harmony with His character (cf. Exodus 25-31). It would have been tempting to regard the rituals and physical objects used in worship as common. The writer warned his readers not to make this fatal mistake.

"In a real sense Yahweh was wherever His Ark was. It crystallized His immanence, bearing witness to both His nearness and His sovereignty." [Note: Merrill, "A Theology . . .," p. 174.]

Even though there was much joy and worship as the people transported the ark, they did not obey God’s orders for its proper treatment (1 Chronicles 13:7; 1 Chronicles 13:9; cf. Numbers 4:15). Worship can never replace obedience to God’s revealed will (cf. 1 Samuel 15:22-23). Where God’s presence abode there was power, as always (1 Chronicles 13:14).

Verses 1-43

D. David and the Ark chs. 13-16

"In the Chronicler’s eyes David’s reign consisted of two great religious phases, his movement of the ark to Jerusalem (chs. 13-16) and his preparations for the building of the temple (chs. 17-19 or at least 17-22, 28, 29). The intent of the parallelism seems to be to mark the ends of these two phases with praise and prayer that both glorified Yahweh and spelled out his relationship to his people in theological terms appropriate to the Chronicler and his constituency." [Note: Allen, p. 22.]

"Prayer plays an important role in 1 & 2 Chronicles. We find five major prayers (whose contents are given) included in the books. These prayers are all by good kings-David (2), Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah-and their inclusion performs at least two functions: first, they reinforce the positive picture that the Chronicler wants to paint of these kings; second, their contents provide us with rich insights into God Himself, His desires for His people, and ways of properly relating to God." [Note: Howard, p. 266. This author proceeded to discuss most of the references to prayer in 1 and 2 Chronicles as an important aspect of these books’ biblical theology.]

The ark of the covenant plays a central role in chapters 13-16 (cf. 2 Samuel 6). It was not only a symbol of God’s grace and presence but the actual place where God had chosen to reside among His people (Exodus 25:22). The Chronicler showed great interest in the location of the ark because that was where God was and where He manifested His grace. David’s desire to bring the ark into Jerusalem shows his concern that God would dwell among His people (cf. Exodus 19:3-6; Exodus 25:8). It also reveals his desire that the people would again have ritual access to God. They had not had this during Saul’s reign when the Philistines held the ark captive or when the Israelites kept it in a private residence (1 Chronicles 13:3). God blessed David and his kingdom in many ways for bringing the ark into Jerusalem. David’s desire to honor Yahweh as Israel’s Head served as a model for the postexilic community. The Chronicler probably related the ark’s movement to Jerusalem in stages to heighten anticipation in the reader.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 13". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-13.html. 2012.