Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 15

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

First Chronicles Chapter 15

1 Chronicles 15:1 "And [David] made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent."

The three months that the ark remained in the house of Obed-edom gave David ample time to prepare the tent for the ark to be placed in. This is not the tabernacle they brought across the desert. This is a new tent. It had been hundreds of years since the tabernacle had been built. It would have decayed greatly in those years. This new tent will be a temporary place for the ark. Solomon will build the temple to house it.

1 Chronicles 15:2 "Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever."

We see that David’s eyes had been opened about the moving of the ark. He had, most probably, checked with the high priest in the law to see how the ark should be handled, to avoid another death. The sons of Kohath will come to carry the ark. The ark was not to be touched even by them. They were to run poles through the rings on the side of the ark, and carry the poles on their shoulders.

1 Chronicles 15:3 "And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it."

This time there would be much more care taken in the moving of the ark. The "all Israel" is speaking of the elders and the captains of thousands. The ark would be moved with great rejoicing and celebration, but would, also, be handled reverently.

1 Chronicles 15:4 "And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites:"

The children of Aaron were the priestly family. The other Levites were, also, in the service of the LORD, but were not priests.

1 Chronicles 15:5 "Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty:"

Kohath was the first specifically mentioned, because this was the family of the priests out of the Levitical tribe. Aaron was descended from Kohath through Amram. Uriel was the head of this priestly family at this time, and the 120 others are under him. Each house of the Levites had specific things to do. The house of Kohath served as priests.

1 Chronicles 15:6 "Of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty:"

Merari was, also, of the Levitical family and was in the service of the LORD, but not as priests. He was head of the third division of the Levites. At the time of David, his family had Asaiah for their chief. There were 220 of his brethren with him.

1 Chronicles 15:7 "Of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and thirty:"

Gershom was, also, of the Levitical tribe. His family was in the service of the LORD, also, but not as priests. Joel was their chief, and brought 130 with him.

1 Chronicles 15:8 "Of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred:"

Elizaphan was the grandson of Kohath, Shemaiah was the chief of the family descended from him. He came with 220 of his men.

1 Chronicles 15:9 "Of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore:"

Hebron was the son of Kohath. His descendents had led to Eliel the chief, at the time of David. He brought 80 men with him.

1 Chronicles 15:10 "Of the sons of Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twelve."

Uzziel was the son of Kohath, and at the time of David, Amminadab was the chief of their family. He came with 112 of his men to witness the moving of the ark.

1 Chronicles 15:11 "And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab,"

Zadok and Abiathar were acting high priests at the time of David. Zadok was of the house of Eleazar. He was faithful to David. Abiathar was the fourth in descent from Eli. He alone was saved alive, when Saul killed many of the priests. Abiathar was high priest, along with Zadok, at the time of David. David and Abiathar were lifelong friends. The others, mentioned in the verse above, were captains of their families at the time of David. They were all Levites.

1 Chronicles 15:12 "And said unto them, Ye [are] the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, [both] ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto [the place that] I have prepared for it."

The actual moving of the ark would be left up to these men. They had to sanctify themselves for the work to be done here. This consisted of removing themselves from anything pertaining to the world for at least three days prior to the move. It included washings of the natural body and clothing to be worn, as well as ceremonial washing. They must wear white linen garments, as well. Whatever was necessary to set them aside for God’s work here, was what they had to do. Not only were the chiefs to do this, but all the Levitical tribe that would be with them for this moving of the ark.

1 Chronicles 15:13 "For because ye [did it] not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order."

Now, David realized that they had not observed the law the first time they tried to move the ark to Jerusalem. The lack of keeping God’s law got some killed. They had searched the law now, and know how they are to go about moving the ark.

1 Chronicles 15:14 "So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel."

All of the law was being observed. They had learned as we Christians should learn, that God is holy. They have prepared themselves first by reading the law, so they would know what was the proper way, and now, were doing just that. We cannot know what the will of God is, until we study His Word. Then we can do His will, because we know what His will is for our lives.

1 Chronicles 15:15 "And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD."

We have mentioned several times in these lessons, that even the Levites were not to touch the ark. They were to run the staves through the rings on the side of the ark and place the staves on their shoulders to carry it.

1 Chronicles 15:16 "And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren [to be] the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy."

1 Chronicles 15:17 "So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah;"

Heman was a Kohathite, Asaph was of Gershom, and Ethan was ofMerari. All three of the Levitical families were represented here. Notice, the musicians and singers were in the service of the LORD.

1 Chronicles 15:18 "And with them their brethren of the second [degree], Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters."

Those listed in verse 17, were the leaders. Those listed in verse 18 here, were their immediate subordinates. We see a familiar name here. Obededom had been keeping the ark at his home before this move. We, also, know that he was listed as a porter. They were keepers of the door.

1 Chronicles 15:19 "So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, [were appointed] to sound with cymbals of brass;" Notice, there is even order in the part each was to play with the instruments and the singing. These cymbals of brass were, probably, the signal to begin.

1 Chronicles 15:20 "And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;"

The psalteries were musical instruments. Alamoth is a musical term, as well.

1 Chronicles 15:21 "And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel."

These used a totally different type of musical instrument. Harps were stringed instruments.

1 Chronicles 15:22 "And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, [was]for song: he instructed about the song, because he [was] skilful."

This is just saying, that he was the director of song. He was the leader and the director. Notice, why he was the leader, he was skilled.

1 Chronicles 15:23 "And Berechiah and Elkanah [were] doorkeepers for the ark."

Perhaps, they would be doorkeepers, when it was safe in the tent that David had prepared for it.

1 Chronicles 15:24 "And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehiah [were] doorkeepers for the ark."

Obed-edom had been a doorkeeper, when it was in his house, as well. Perhaps, the four doorkeepers walked with the ark to assure that no one would open it. The seven priests that blew the trumpets, probably, walked between the two sets of doorkeepers. Numbers 10:2 "Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps." The trumpets, here, should have been formed of a piece of silver with no seams. These would not be the rams’ horns.

1 Chronicles 15:25 "So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the house of Obed-edom with joy."

This was no small procession. This was a festive time, but also, a time of humbleness before the LORD. This time the law will be observed in the moving of the ark.

1 Chronicles 15:26 "And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams."

"Seven" means spiritually complete. The sacrificing was done to cover any and all sins that might keep this journey from being pleasing unto the LORD. Sins of omission and commission were thought of in this. This is mentioned in the 2 Samuel 6.

1 Chronicles 15:27 "And David [was] clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also [had] upon him an ephod of linen."

The "linen" symbolized being clothed in righteousness. They had examined themselves, and put on the righteousness of God for this trip. They all wore the linen, because they were all in the service of God. The ephod was worn by David on this trip, because he was the official in charge of the journey. He was representing all of Israel to the LORD.

1 Chronicles 15:28 "Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps."

This was not a quiet procession. The music was played loudly, and so were the trumpets blown by the priests. The singing was loud, as well. The shouting that accompanied showed that with great joy in their hearts, they brought the ark to Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 15:29 "And it came to pass, [as] the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart."

David was dancing in the spirit before the ark of God. Michal was the wife of David, but was, also, the daughter of Saul. In the 6th chapter of 2 Samuel, it speaks of David leaping and dancing. We do not know why she really despised David in her heart. It could have been jealousy that Saul did not get this honor. It, also, could be that she was not as close to God as David was. We do know that she was never to have children, because of this incident.

1 Chronicles 15 Questions

1. In 1 Chronicles 15:1, David prepared a place for the ark and pitched for it a __________.

2. How long did the ark remain at Obed-edom?

3. Why does the author believe this is a new tent?

4. None ought to carry the ark, but the _________.

5. What had David done to avoid another death while moving the ark?

6. How was the ark to be carried?

7. Who are meant by "all Israel"?

8. In 1 Chronicles 15:4, who does David assemble to move the ark?

9. The children of Aaron were the _________ family.

10. Why is Kohath mentioned first?

11. Aaron was descended from Kohath through _________.

12. How many of the sons of Merari came with Asaiah?

13. Who was the chief of the sons of Gershom at the time of David?

14. Elizaphan was the grandson of _____________.

15. Who was Hebron’s father?

16. Who were the two acting high priests at the time of David?

17. Which one of them was descended from Eleazar?

18. Abiathar was the fourth from ________.

19. What did David tell the Levites to do, before they came?

20. What did they do to sanctify themselves?

21. What had David realized, since he had first tried to move the ark?

22. How had the Levites prepared themselves for this, to make sure they do not sin?

23. How did they carry the ark?

24. In 1 Chronicles 15:16, we read that there would be _________ and ______ that would accompany the moving of the ark.

25. Who were to sound with cymbals of brass?

26. What were psalteries?

27. Why was Chenaniah the leader of the singing?

28. Who were the doorkeepers?

29. Quote Numbers 10:2.

30. What does the number "seven" mean spiritually?

31. How many rams and bullocks were sacrificed?

32. What does "linen" symbolize?

33. What did David do before the ark to show his joy?

34. Who complained about what he did?

35. How was she punished?

Verses 1-17

1Ch 15:1-17

1 Chronicles 15:1-15

THE ARK OF GOD BROUGHT TO JERUSALEM ACCORDING TO THE MOSAIC LAW

"And David made him houses in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath Jehovah chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him forever. And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of Jehovah unto its place, which he had prepared for it. And David gathered together the sons of Aaron, and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, and his brethren a hundred and twenty; of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty; of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, and his brethren a hundred and thirty; of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred; of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore; of the sons of Uziel, Amminadab the chief, and his brethren a hundred and twelve. And David called for Zadok, and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, and said unto them, Ye are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of Jehovah the God of Israel, unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye bare it not at the first, Jehovah our God made a breach upon us, for we sought him not according to the ordinance. So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of Jehovah, the God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of Jehovah."

"None ought to carry the ark of God except the Levites" (1 Chronicles 15:2). "This indicates that the severe lesson evident in the death of Uzzah had been earnestly laid to heart by David, and that he was extremely anxious to be more careful in observing the Law of God."

Right here we have the certain, undeniable proof of the long prior existence of the Mosaic Law, which, in essence was the Constitution of the nation of Israel. The critical community has no recourse whatever against this chapter except to declare it fraudulent. But King David’s careful observance in these verses of the directions laid down in the Mosaic books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers speaks in tones of thunder of the antiquity, authority and genuineness of the Mosaic Books, commonly called the Pentateuch.

"Because ye bare it not at first, Jehovah made a breach upon us, for we sought him not according to the ordinance" (1 Chronicles 15:13). David did not here plead ignorance of the Mosaic Law, but his violation of its ordinances. The authentic record of this chapter removes forever any doubt of the authenticity of the Books of Moses. The regulations mentioned here had existed throughout the entire history of Israel, from the times of the Exodus; and they were carefully observed during the wilderness wanderings and by those who carried the ark during the Conquest under Joshua, and therefore had been universally known throughout Israel for at least four hundred years prior to the times of David.

It is also true that the regulation regarding "the place where God recorded his name," designated as the one and only authentic place of worship, was known throughout that whole period. The three annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles indicate that all Israel understood this.

E.M. Zerr:

1 Chronicles 15:1. City of David was the borough in Jerusalem otherwise called Mount Zion. These houses were not official buildings, except that they were for the housing of the king’s household. Prepared a place means he arranged a suitable site to pitch a tent for the ark. We have learned of David’s plan to bring the ark to its proper city, and that the plan was temporarily halted over the affair of Uzza; now he will try again.

1 Chronicles 15:2. David profited by the experience of Uzza. The language of this verse implies that Uzza was not a Levite. However, that does not account for his death, for no one was authorized to touch the ark since it was provided with the staves.

1 Chronicles 15:3. We are not to take this to mean each individual of the whole country came to Jerusalem, but the call was for certain representatives out of all Israel. This is indicated by the specifications of some verses to follow soon.

1 Chronicles 15:4. Aaron and the Levites are mentioned as separate groups. That is because Aaron’s family only of the Levites had right to the priesthood.

1 Chronicles 15:5. Kohath was the son of Levi and he was the father of Aaron the priest. At this time that family had increased to 120. 1 Chronicles 15:6-7. Levi had two other sons besides Kohath. They could not act in the priesthood but had other important activities. Their combined number was 350.

1 Chronicles 15:8. According to Numbers 3:30 Elizaphan was a Kohathite. While not all Kohathites were eligible for the priesthood, their near relation to Aaron made it appropriate that they have a special charge of the articles of service. Among the groups there were certain ones who were considered as chief or outstanding which is the point in this verse.

1 Chronicles 15:9. 1 Chronicles 6:18 shows Hebron was a son of Kohath. He had 80 descendants of whom Eliel was a chief.

1 Chronicles 15:10. Uzziel was another son of Kohath, and the group springing from him numbered 112. Since these men have been singled out in the work of moving the ark, it should be considered in connection with the statement in 1 Chronicles 15:3 about all Israel.

1 Chronicles 15:11-12. A still more specific appointment was made of the priests and others related, to prepare themselves for the duty of bringing the ark to its place.

1 Chronicles 15:13. David’s comment on the tragedy about Uzza is that God had not been sought after the due order. That refers to their moving the ark on a cart instead of carrying it with the staves.

1 Chronicles 15:14. Sanctified themselves means they got themselves in readiness for the service by whatever might be necessary for their cleansing if they were unclean. Also, the word "sanctify" means to consecrate or devote oneself. Not all men eligible for the priesthood were acting at the same time. Some of these might be engaged in other activities that were lawful, yet which would prevent their taking part in the emergency of moving the ark. David meant for them to dismiss all other engagements and be ready for the special work at hand.

1 Chronicles 15:15. The mistake made in the affair of Uzza was not to be repeated. The Levites bore the ark by placing the staves on their shoulders. This was according to the law of Moses. (Exodus 25:14.)

Verses 16-24

1Ch 15:16-24

1Ch 15:16-24

THE LEVITES APPOINT SINGERS AND INSTRUMENTALISTS

"And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren the singers, with instruments of music, psalteries, and harps, and cymbals, sounding aloud, and lifting up the voice with joy. So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari, their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaia; and with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the doorkeeprs. So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were appointed with cymbals of brass to sound aloud; And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries set to Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps set to the Sheminith, to lead. And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was over the song: he instructed about the song, because he was skillful. And Berechiah, and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark. And Shebaniah, and Joshaphat, and Nethanel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow the trumpets before the ark of God; and Obed-edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark."

"The psalteries set on Alamoth ... the harps set on Sheminith" (1 Chronicles 15:20,21). It is not definitely known just what these instructions indicated.

The detailed description here of the ceremonies that accompanied David’s bringing the ark to Jerusalem was the Chronicler’s way of emphasizing the importance of that event. "The bringing of the ark into Jerusalem brought about a permanent centralization of the religion of Israel within Jerusalem."

E.M. Zerr:

Verses 25-28

1Ch 15:25-28

1Ch 15:25-28

THE ARK ENTERS JERUSALEM

"So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, that they sacrificed seven bullocks and seven rams. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: and David had upon him an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah with shouting, and sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, sounding aloud with psalteries and harps."

E.M. Zerr:

Verse 29

1Ch 15:29

1Ch 15:29

MICHAL; SAUL’S DAUGHTER; DESPISES DAVID

"And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of Jehovah came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David dancing and playing; and she despised him in her heart."

See our commentary on 2Samuel for more info regarding this sad episode in the life of David. Some may be surprised that we find many reasons to sympathize with the lonely, mistreated daughter of Saul. Also, this writer seriously questions the propriety of David’s actions in dancing before the ark without his breeches.

We have continued to limit our comments on much of the material in Chronicles; because, important as it was to the participants, the ultimate significance of the detailed names and ceremonies outlined here is limited indeed.

E.M. Zerr:

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Chronicles 15". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/1-chronicles-15.html.
 
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