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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 16

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

Verses 1-43

CRITICAL NOTES.] In 2 Samuel 6:17-23, only three verses and a clause parallel with this chapter.

1 Chronicles 16:1-6.—The ark lodged in tent. After this event Levites entered upon their duties before the ark, instructed by David. Blessed (1 Chronicles 16:2) as head or father of the people. Dealt with remains of extensive thankofferings as in ancient royal hospitality. Appointed (1 Chronicles 16:4) Asaph and associates first company with cymbals; Zechariah and colleagues, with whom were conjoined Jeiel and seven others, in second company with lutes and harps.

1 Chronicles 16:7-37.—A psalm of thanksgiving. First, the order of worship then appointed for first time. This special hymn prepared for the occasion. “The language is remarkably archaic, and there can be no reasonable doubt that it is in the main an extract from a record of the time of David” [Speak. Com.].

1 Chronicles 16:8-10.—Thanksgiving (cf. Psalms 105:1-15). Wondrous miracles. His strength, the ark called such (Psalms 78:61; Psalms 132:8) because strength shown by it at Jordan, Jericho, &c.

1 Chronicles 16:11-13.—Call to seek the Lord. Seed of Israel (of Abraham in Psalms 105:6).

1 Chronicles 16:14-19.—Covenant with Abraham. Mindful, admonition. Few, literally men of number (Genesis 34:30).

1 Chronicles 16:20-22.—Preservation when wandering. Reproved (Genesis 12:17; Genesis 20:3). Anointed as kings, and priests, and prophets (Exodus 19:6).

1 Chronicles 16:23-33.—God salvation of all nations (cf. Psalms 96:0). Gladness (beauty); place (sanctuary); kindreds (1 Chronicles 16:28), generations and families. Give (ascribe); offering (1 Chronicles 16:29) in public worship. Stable (1 Chronicles 16:30), idea moral, not physical (Psalms 96:10). Sea (Mediterranean); fulness, striking poetic figure. Trees, allusion to Kirjath-jearim, “the city of woods,” where the ark had rested.

1 Chronicles 16:34-36.—This (1 Chronicles 16:24) verse is found at the commencement of Psalms 106:0; Psalms 107:0; Psalms 118:0; Psalms , 136. It was the ordinary Jewish doxology, and may be regarded as closing the first or thanksgiving portion of the service, which is then followed by a short prayer (1 Chronicles 16:35), after which comes a second doxology [Speak. Com.]. 1 Chronicles 16:35. Say (not found in Psalms 106:47), a liturgical direction. Deliver, longing for freedom. Amen (1 Chronicles 16:36), a description of the manner in which the ceremony terminated.

1 Chronicles 16:37-43.—Sequel, a description of appointment of musicians and their respective duties. Brethren (cf. ch. 26). Porters (door-keepers). Gibeon. Hence two places where worship was performed in time of David. Continually (Exodus 29:38; Numbers 28:3-6). Bless (cf. 2 Samuel 6:19-20).


THE INAUGURAL SERVICE.—1 Chronicles 16:1-6

Stress here laid upon the fact that Asaph entered for the first time upon the duties assigned him, and that the order of worship appointed by David now commenced.

I. Service to commemorate an important event. “The ark of God set in the midst of the tent.” No longer in obscurity, nor in a private house, but fixed in the city, venerated as the centre and symbol of God’s presence. In the accomplishment of any work, at the beginning of every new period in life, “thank and praise the Lord.”

II. Service conjoined with sacred rites. Rites significant and expressive, by which king and people acknowledged God’s authority and sought his favour.

1. Appropriate sacrifices. “Offering the burnt offerings,” by which victims were wholly presented and consumed. “They offered peace-offerings” in acknowledgment of God’s favour. The former speaks of atonement (Leviticus 1:3-9), the latter of reconciliation (Leviticus 3:1-5). One indicates complete self-surrender, the other thanksgiving to God. Grateful recognition of divine mercies and entire consecration to God’s service reasonable, and required at all times.

2. Earnest prayer. David publicly blessed the people and besought continued help. Needful to petition for future, as well as to be thankful for past, mercies.

3. Musical arrangement (1 Chronicles 16:4-7). Levitical service of thanksgiving dates from this time. Music cultivated in the schools of the prophets and in the palace of the king now consecrated to the highest service, and constituted part of the worship of Jehovah. Music should not minister to debauchery and excess, but to gladness and praise.

III. Service connected with hospitality. Devotion to God will lead us to think of man. When God blesses us we feel that we should distribute to others. A glad heart will open a wide hand. David’s generosity was on a large scale.

1. Suitable in variety. “Bread,” “flesh,” and “wine.” Flowers cannot grow in one element. Man requires variety; in body, animal and vegetable food, bread and water; in mind, something more than dogmas. In the house of God a table spread with boundless variety.

2. Universal in application. Women, a recognised place in the assembly, or not forgotten in their homes (children, says Josephus). Not merely to great men, but “he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel” (2 Samuel 6:19). In that day the people fared well. “That they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:22).

A PSALM OF THANKSGIVING.—1 Chronicles 16:7-22

This a composite psalm, represents a form of service rather than a psalm. The whole of it, with slight variations, found in Psalms 105:1-15; Psalms 96:0; and Psalms 106:47-48. It celebrates redemption as unfolded in history of Israel, proclaimed to the world, and triumphant in judgment. This part sets forth—

I. An exhortation to the noblest work. The work of praising God—a work in which our faculties find their vigorous, harmonious, and happy development—a work for which all rational and created beings are made. In three ways, chiefly, is this duty recommended.

1. In giving thanks to God (1 Chronicles 16:8). Author of all benefits, therefore to him all gratitude and praise, (a) By singing psalms (1 Chronicles 16:9). Best thoughts in sweet sounds. “Sing unto him,” not to please others or gratify self. (b) By social conversation. “Talk ye”—men love to speak and to hear of “wondrous works.” Christians have plenty to talk about—themes interesting and inexhaustible. Wonders of grace, mercy, and providence, (c) By glorying in his name (1 Chronicles 16:10). A name above every name, full of wonder and reverence, untainted with lust and blood. A name in which we may boast without shame, and rejoice without fear.

2. In seeking God. Seek “his face” and “his strength,” his favour and help. (a) Seek earnestly. The word repeated to stir us up—“seek, seek, seek.” (b) Seek joyfully. Not in dulness and despair—in gladness of heart and cheerful hope. (c) Seek continually (1 Chronicles 16:11). Not by assembling occasionally in tabernacle or temple, not by observance of external rites, but in constant fellowship, “for evermore.”

3. In commemorating God’s works. “Remember his marvellous works” (1 Chronicles 16:12). They are striking and impressive. Remember their nature, number, and design. What more could God have done for us? Yet how forgetful and ungrateful!

II. Motives to influence us in this noblest work. The argument founded upon God’s character and God’s care for them from beginning of history to removal of ark.

1. God’s great love. “The Lord God of Israel,” “the Lord our God.” A relation filial and unique. But Israel’s election united to universality of Jehovah’s reign, therefore he is the God, not of one, but of all nations—may be our God and Father.

2. God’s great manifestations of love. In heaven above and earth beneath, among angels and men. Making and confirming his covenant, receiving offerings and worship in his sanctuary. “Glory and honour in his presence, strength and gladness in his place” (1 Chronicles 16:27).

3. God’s great dominion. Maker of heaven and earth, Universal Sovereign; “above all gods,” for “the gods of the people are idols,” impotent and worthless—mere nonentities, for an idol is nothing; supreme in grandeur and government.

4. God’s great claims. For creation, covenant mercies and protecting care. God has right to homage and praise. They are due to him. As children, we are bound to love him; as servants, to consult his will, declare his goodness, and advance his kingdom.

5. God’s vindication of these claims. His rights can never be given to another. Men, however intelligent; gods, adorned with gold or silver, must never receive homage due to him. “He cometh to judge the earth.” “He shall judge the people righteously;” “judge the world with righteousness and with truth.”

THE SEEKER ENCOURAGED.—1 Chronicles 16:10

Yet many believe, or pretend to believe, that religion is a joyless thing! The heart has very little, if any, share in other enjoyments, which only gratify appetites, strike senses, and charm imagination. But where is the heart? Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; the end of that mirth is heaviness. In religion the heart finds relief, repose, satisfaction, and joy. “Let the heart of them that rejoice seek the Lord.” There are three reasons for this. First, because it is an evidence of grace. They may conclude against themselves, refuse to be comforted; but no man can seek to know, enjoy, and serve God from mere nature. Actions may not indicate the state of mind, but desires spring from it. We may be forced to do, but cannot be compelled to prefer and choose. Secondly, because their success is sure. This the case in no other pursuit. In fields of worldly labour we spend our strength for nought. A rival may bear off a prize which we have long been chasing, at the very moment we are seizing it. The cup of enjoyment, filled with eager hope, is often dashed to the ground from the very lip that touches it. But their heart shall live that seek God. “He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless return again,” &c. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” “Is there unfaithfulness in God? Did he ever say to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye in vain?” Thirdly, because, when they have found, their aim and wish in seeking are fully answered. All they desire is treasured up in him, and they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. The wise man tells us of success in other cases. “All is vanity and vexation of spirit”—vexation if we miss, and vanity if we gain. To one of these alternatives we are inevitably subjected. We must be disappointed in acquiring them, and this often the case; or in possessing them, and this always the case. Everything earthly falls short of hope, but impossible to form adequate expectation of the riches of glory of the inheritance in the saints. What to have God himself for our possession and exceeding joy! To be blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ! To realise happiness which solitude increases, trouble improves, and death perfects! “Eye hath not seen,” &c. While thus the heart of them that seek rejoices, the heart of others should be induced to seek him. He invites you to seek, therefore “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found” [Jay].


1 Chronicles 16:7-11. Holy duties. “Give thanks—call upon—make known—sing—talk—glory ye.”

1 Chronicles 16:11. To seek his face is to desire his presence, smile, and favour consciously enjoyed. First we seek him, then his strength, and then his face; from the personal reverence we pass on to the imparted power, and then to the conscious favour. This seeking must never cease, the more we know the more we seek to know. Finding him, we must “our minds inflame to seek him more and more.” He seeks spiritual worshippers, and spiritual worshippers seek him; they are therefore sure to meet face to face ere long [Spurgeon]. Threefold seeking.

1. The Lord for mercy.
2. His strength for service.
3. His face for happiness [A. G. Brown].

1 Chronicles 16:12-15. Subjects of Remembrance. Marvellous works God has done, and wonderful judgments (words) God has uttered. Or—

1. God’s faithfulness. “He hath remembered his covenant” (Psalms 105:8).

2. Our mindfulness of this faithfulness. “Remember” (1 Chronicles 16:12), “Be mindful” (1 Chronicles 16:15). “If the Lord keeps his promise in memory, surely we ought not to forget the wonderful manner in which he performs it. To us it should be matter of deepest joy, that never in any instance has the Lord been unmindful of his covenant engagements, nor will he be so, world without end. O that we were as mindful of them as he is!” [Spurgeon].

1 Chronicles 16:12 to 1 Chronicles 15:1. The operations of divine providence. Acts wonderful, beneficent, and memorable, comprehending the mightiest and most insignificant creatures.

2. The notice which should be taken of these operations. Amid displays of power and beauty we should not be deaf nor blind, but attentive, appreciative, and apt to learn. We should remember, relate, &c.


THE NATIONAL COVENANT.—1 Chronicles 16:15-22

Its nature, blessings, and contracting parties all specially set forth. Learn—

I. That God’s method of intercourse with men has ever been in the form of a covenant. A covenant is generally defined as an agreement between two parties, on certain terms—a conditionary and a promissory; one to be performed and the other to be fulfilled. This method of divine procedure in Adam and Christ. God requires from us faith and obedience, then he will give life and salvation. In old time ever reminded of this by symbol and sacrifice. Hence “the books of the covenant,” “the ark of the covenant,” “the blood of the covenant,” and “the tables of the covenant.” “The old covenant” and “the new covenant.” We must acknowledge God. “There is no religion without this idea of covenant with a personal God, and therefore all such views as those of Comte, Mill, and Spencer are, for all moral and religious purposes, wholly atheistical” [Tayler Lewis].

II. That this covenant method of intercourse with men displays the sovereign will and free grace of God. Man not disposed, not able to make an agreement with his Maker. God might have left man in his guilty condition, without promise, hope, or mercy. But God graciously condescended to pledge his word and bestow his grace in Christ. Adam failed, in Christ everlasting life secured. In scripture everything is traced to the sovereign grace and mere good pleasure of God. Not to merit, foreseen belief, and holiness, but “according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise and glory of his grace” (Ephesians 1:5).

III. That this covenant method of intercourse puts men under deep obligation to God. Rightly viewed, it affords no ground of complaint or despair, but for submission and hope.

1. They are chosen to great favours. “His chosen ones.” Elected, exalted in mind, character, and destiny.

2. They should render thanks for these favours. Never be slow to acknowledge debt and praise God for his mercy. He ceases not to be good, cease not to be grateful.

IV. The obligations of men to God for his covenant mercies can never cease. As long as we exist we depend upon God and should praise God. He never ignores his claims, nor alters his covenant.

1. It is of divine authority. Higher, more sacred, more certain than the law of man.

2. It is confirmed from time to time. Made with Abraham, confirmed to Jacob, established with Noah (literally, made to stand, Genesis 6:18), not because impaired, changed, or destroyed in itself. But it had been broken and forgotten—like something which had fallen down, it needed repetition and prominence. Hence

3. It isan everlasting covenant” (1 Chronicles 16:17). To last as long as moral government through the ages of the world. “Made with man as an immortal being, and in itself an evidence of his designed immortality.” A covenant of eternity (Isaiah 24:5).

THE INFANT NATION.—1 Chronicles 16:6-22

If interesting to trace some mighty river from its source to its entrance into the sea, some magnificent building from foundation to its topstone, what to trace the beginning and watch the progress of God’s people! Early incidents and history briefly given.

I. The humble origin of the nation. Numbers noisy, attract, and commend. Israel “few, even a few” (very few, Psalms 105:12), lit. men of number, who could be counted at first; but “the fewest of all people” gradually increased and made numerous as the sands and the stars. Small churches, poverty of members, no barriers to God.

II. The wonderful preservation of the nation. Few, unsettled and helpless Israel ever exposed and kept.

1. In their journeys. Migrating from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. They were not lost, nor prevented from ending their journeys. “The Lord guided them on every side.”

2. Amidst their enemies. In Egypt, Philistia, and Canaan, the heirs of promise secure. This not by forbearance of neighbours, for many sought to injure and destroy, to cut off root and branch, but “He suffered no man to do them wrong, &c.”

III. The rich inheritance of the nation. “The lot of your inheritance” (1 Chronicles 16:18).

1. Not gained by their own skill. “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them, &c.” (Psalms 44:3).

2. Bestowed by divine appointment. “The lot of your inheritance.” God planted and enriched them in gratuitous and sovereign favour. “He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents” (Psalms 78:55).

IV. The high destiny of the nation. Blessed and exalted above all others.

1. In their special relation to God. “Children and chosen ones;” bound to imitate their father in fervent prayer, holy faith, and obedience. If God sets his choice upon us, let us be more devout and zealous than others. “A people near unto him.”

2. In their elevation to bless others. Not put into Canaan to be secluded and shut up from intercourse with other nations, but to bless them. Israel a missionary people, gave a Bible and a Saviour to the world. “To make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, in name, and in honour.”

EVILDOING RESTRAINED.—1 Chronicles 16:19-22

I resolve the words into three parts.

1. Here is the nearness and dearness of the saints unto God. They are dearer to him than kings and states, simply considered; that is, otherwise than as they in their persons are also saints; for you see for their sakes he reproved kings, and so showeth that he preferreth them to kings.

2. Here is the great danger to kings and states to deal with his saints otherwise than well. It appeareth many ways; for he doth not only in words give a charge not to touch them, but he carries it in a high way (for so God will do when he pleads their cause). Touch them not; as if he had said, Let me see if you dare so much as touch them; and it is with an intimation of the highest threatening if they should; upon your peril if you do so; for that is the scope of such a speech. In deeds he made this good; not that he did altogether prevent all wrong and injuries, for they received many as they went through those lands; but at no time did he let it go unpunished. He plagued Pharaoh for Abraham’s wife’s sake (Genesis 12:0), and also Abimelech (Genesis 20:3).

3. Here is the care and protection which God had over them, set and amplified—
(1) By the number and condition of the persons whom he defended; though “few men in number,” that is, soon reckoned, for their power and strength, a few, or very small, as Septuagint.

(2) By what he did for them. He suffered no man, however great, to do them wrong, however small, not without recompense and satisfaction. Though the people had an ill eye at them (Genesis 26:11), God caused Abimelech to make a law on purpose, and to charge all his people in Isaac’s behalf, and spake in the very words of the text, “He that toucheth this man or his wife shall be put to death.” [Thomas Goodwin].


1 Chronicles 16:19 to 1 Chronicles 22:1. The condition of Israel. Few, very few, strangers and migrating. Men of number, accounted unworthy, not distinguished by external dignity and power, as Rome marks her communicants. Humblest parts of communities, but honoured of God.

2. The estimation in which they are held. God’s anointed kings and priests, ordained to reign with Christ. God’s prophets to declare and set forth his will.

3. The protection which they enjoyed. To them intrusted the word of life, preserved to the world. To them a safe passport to accomplish God’s design among men.

1 Chronicles 16:20 to 1 Chronicles 22:1. God’s people may often be removed.

2. They can never be injured.
3. God’s property in them will never be renounced [Spurgeon].


THE GREATNESS OF JEHOVAH.—1 Chronicles 16:23-33

These verses, like Psalms 96:0, celebrate Jehovah’s greatness. Great in essence and supremacy; great in mercy and dominion. All who hear and know this greatness are to tell it to others, that heaven and earth may rejoice in his reign.

I. Jehovah’s transcendent greatness.

1. He is the only true God. “The gods of the people are idols,” images in wood or stone, vanities and nothings.

2. He is the Creator of the world. “The Lord made the heavens.” His Godhead, proved by his works, chief of which is the architecture of heaven, whose lamps shine, and whose rain falls upon all mankind.

3. He is glorious in operations. His works are “marvellous.” No petty deity presiding over one nation, or one department of nature. Great in power and act, infinitely to be adored. Earthly potentates count themselves famous and strong. “God alone is great,” Massillon declared, and imperial majesties bowed their heads.

II. Jehovah must be worshipped on account of his greatness. “Worship the Lord.” Tribes and families called to honour him in his courts. “All worship be to God only” is a fit motto of a city company.

1. By submitting to his authority. No worship without submission. Recognise his claims and authority. Give him “the glory and strength” of intellect, heart, and life.

2. By presenting our gifts. Sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving springing from humble submission; gifts of money and effort prompted by love. To him who gives all, we should gladly “bring an offering and come into his courts.” “None of you shall appear before me empty.”

3. By a true spirit. God looks not at architecture and apparel. Worship must not be sinful and superficial; but reverent and sincere. (a) In the beauty of holiness. “Purity is the white linen of the Lord’s choristers,” says Spurgeon, “righteousness is the comely garment of his priests, holiness is the royal apparel of his servitors.” (b) In profoundest awe. “Fear (tremble) before him, all the earth” (Psalms 96:9). Jehovah no earthly sovereign, but clothed in omnipotent grandeur. Dread of idols, mere superstition. Holy fear the spirit of true religion.

III. Heathen nations shall know and recognise Jehovah’s greatness. “Declare his glory among the heathen” (1 Chronicles 16:24). The name of God dishonoured by heathen idolatry, vices, and cruelties. But they shall hear of his wonders of grace and mercy. The duty, the privilege of the church to tell them. A truly loyal and living church will resolve to publish salvation to the ends of the earth.

IV. The world shall rejoice in the reign of the great Jehovah. “Say among the nations, The Lord reigneth (1 Chronicles 16:31).

1. Joy in heaven. “Let the heavens be glad.”

2. Joy in earth. “Let the earth rejoice.”

3. Joy in which all creatures shall participate. “The sea, no more troubled over shipwrecked mariners, and rehearsing grief of widows and orphans, shall adopt a cheerful note.” The fields shall rejoice in culture, abundant harvests, and freedom from rapine. The trees of the wood, no longer sheltering horrid cruelty, shall “sing out at the presence” of God in the retirement and devotion of men. “These verses are full of comprehensive beauty and power. They present the gathering together of everything under the confessed dominion of the reigning Christ. Things in heaven, as well as things on earth, rejoice together in the acknowledged blessing of the Lord of peace. The Psalm is throughout a very sweet strain of millennial prophecy” [Arthur Pridham].

“The truth that David learned to sing,

Its deep fulfilment here attains.

‘Tell all the earth the Lord is King!’

Lo, from the cross a King he reigns!” [Mrs. Charles].

THE BEAUTIFUL PLACE.—1 Chronicles 16:27-29

Place, abode of the ark, the tabernacle and temple, apply to the sanctuary; public worship in God’s house.

I. Beautified by God’s presence. God pleased to locate his presence of old. “Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” Here “glory and honour” are constant attendants. In God combined, not in outward show and parade, all that is mighty and lovely, powerful and resplendent. Displays of mercy and love “beautify the place of his sanctuary and make the place of his feet glorious.”

II. Beautified by attractive services.

1. Cheerful song. “Sing unto the Lord.” No dismal rites celebrated; no bacchanalian shouts heard; mourning turned into joy. Singing a fitting expression of love, a reverent method of worship.

2. Free-will offerings. No part given reluctantly, but gladly. Offerings responsive signs and inspiriting examples to fellow-worshippers.

3. Spiritual fervour. In Psalms 96:0 we have a triple call, “sing … sing … sing.” No discordant note, no voice silent. Jew and Gentile, heaven and earth should join. The sacred fire of praise should burn and bless in perpetual flame.

III. Beautified by loyal attendants. The house of God the centre of joys and fellowships.

1. Regular in attendance. They “come before him,” habitually, punctually, and reverently; do not forget to assemble themselves together as the manner of some, but resolve “we will not forsake the house of our God.”

2. Mindful of its interests. They bring their offerings, respond to its claims, contribute to its support, and encourage its enterprises.

3. Obedient to its rules. Law everywhere, and should be decency and order in God’s house “In beauty of holiness,” a certain prescribed attire like splendid robes of ancient priests; or in right form and spirit, “in holy reverence” [Boothroyd]. Holiness in thought and heart required. Repeated and solemn warnings on this point. “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me.”

RELIGIOUS WORSHIP—1 Chronicles 16:28-29

I. It is due to God. “The glory due unto his name.”

1. It is right. However much we adore we cannot give more than he deserves. All honour, natural and reasonable, due to him as Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, and Redeemer.

2. It is acceptable. Though not enriching, yet well pleasing to him. “Whosoever offereth praise glorifieth me.”

II. It befits our moral nature. Man made to worship, the only creature capable of it.

1. It meets our aspirations. We long for God, restless and dissatisfied without him, ever display anxiety to find him. “Oh that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat.”

2. It satisfies our wants. Nothing but a personal God will do this. We feel for a living God. No sympathy with force, nor adoration of mere law. A senseless power satisfies no social or religious instincts, draws out no song or psalm. “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.”

3. It dignifies our character. “In beauty of holiness.” It detaches from earth and sin, gives beauty to contemplate, strength to imitate, and fear to humble and guide. Fellowship with God most holy and most exalting. “It is good for me to draw near to God.”

A GRAND PROSPECT.—1 Chronicles 16:30-33

Here find a splendid prospect for the heathen, “a grand missionary hymn” for the Christian Church!

I. Jehovah reigns supremely. “The Lord reigneth.” No abstract principle, no blind force nor law rules the world. Infinite and unchangeable, absolute and independent, almighty and supreme—the fountain of all being, filling heaven and earth with splendour.

II. The reign of Jehovah a cause of joy to the world. “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitudes of isles be glad.”

1. It is a reign of righteousness. Others tyrannical and oppressive have produced injustice, bloodshed, and terror. Truth and justice conspicuous everywhere in his dominions, shines bright as stars in heaven. “The heavens declare (put before us, in our sight) his righteousness” (Psalms 97:6).

2. A reign of moral stability. “The world,” shaken with revolutions, impaired with sin, “shall be stable,” settled in government and free from invasions, “that it be not moved.” Society is safe, social and political order secure where Christ is supreme.

3. A reign of purity. Idolatry shall cease, peace prevail, the earth purified; blessed with the presence and delivered by the grace of Messiah. On this account earth may rejoice and heaven be glad. “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”


God’s mercy had commenced deliverance, encouragement is given to pray for its completion. The prayer is based upon the promise, Deuteronomy 30:3, and is a psalm of thanksgiving for its prospective accomplishment.

I. The Prayer.

1. In its spirit. Earnest, humble, and sincere.

2. In its purpose. (a) For deliverance. “Save us and deliver us.” (b) For unity. “Gather us together.” (c) For gratitude. “To give thanks to thy holy name.” No longer a scattered people, but united in God’s courts to triumph in praise. God’s people a prayerful people, saved, united, and grateful to God for his goodness. Hence—

II. The Doxology.

1. Praise to God as their God. “The Lord God of Israel.”

2. Praise universal. “Let all the people say, Amen.”

3. Praise continual. “For ever and ever.” God blessed from eternity, will be through eternity, let him be praised without intermission, “from everlasting to everlasting.”


1 Chronicles 16:23-33. A song of praise.

1. Setting forth God’s excellencies. Creator, Ruler, and majestic. Claiming homage and service as due to his great name.
2. Asserting God’s supremacy in the world. “Above all gods,” overruling physical nature and social communities for the welfare of men.
3. Predicting God’s universal kingdom. Triumphant over evil and bringing universal joy.

1 Chronicles 16:23-24. Notice—I. The end desired. To see the earth singing unto the Lord and blessing his name. II. The means suggested. The showing forth his salvation from day to day; declaring his glory, &c. III. The certainty of its accomplishment. The Lord hath said it. “O sing, &c.” When he commands, earth must obey [Treasury of David]. I. Declare among the heathen the glory of God’s perfections, that they may acknowledge him as the true God. II. Declare the glory of his salvation, that they may accept him as their only Redeemer. III. Declare the glory of his providence, that they may confide in him as their faithful guardian. IV. Declare the glory of his word, that they may prize it as their chief treasure. V. Declare the glory of his service, that they may choose it as their chief occupation. VI. Declare the glory of his residence, that they may seek it as their best home [William Jackson].

1 Chronicles 16:28-29. The claims of God to the worship and homage of his creatures. What I have to demonstrate is—I. That God is entitled to the homage of his creatures, and claims it as proper and right. II. That these claims are made upon us, his intelligent creatures. It will therefore be necessary to show that we are capable of knowing God to all the extent necessary to excite in our minds the feelings of awe, reverence, and admiration, since these are essential to homage and worship. Also to prove that such claims are not only reasonable, but founded in justice and right. III. That the worship and homage required is such, that it not only does not degrade, but elevates the man that pays it; that it is not the hard requirement of despotism, but the righteous claim of infinite excellence, not the service of flattery and servility, the free-will offering of a discerning and admiring mind [J. Robinson].

1 Chronicles 16:29. The beauty of holiness. The religion of the gospel of Christ is “the beauty of holiness,” as it concerns its Author, its plan, its fruits.

1. As it concerns its Author. Whatever we can understand as meant by beauty or holiness, we see in the attributes of God, whether we consider them in all their harmony, or contemplate any one of them in particular.

2. As to its plan. Survey the gospel where we will, or regard whatever we can that is revealed concerning it, we find it to be all “beauty;” and we cannot call it by a more appropriate name than “the beauty of holiness.”

3. As to its fruits. There is a holy separation, a beautiful character of holiness, a separation as to character, feelings, and conduct; these are all the various fruits of grace; and so the man becomes beautiful in holiness [Legh Richmond, 1772–1827].

1 Chronicles 16:34. Thanks for divine goodness. I. God its source. II. Displayed in suitable ways. Mercy to the miserable. III. Lasting in its nature. Outweighing sin and rebellion. “Endureth for ever.”

1 Chronicles 16:36. The people’s amen.

1. Indicating attention, appreciation, and interest in the service.
2. A solemn sealing. Ratification and acceptance of what has been done.
3. A real duty. The people to respond (not the minister merely) with hearty and universal voice. “Amen so be it.”


MINISTRY BEFORE THE ARK.—1 Chronicles 16:37-42

The sequel of this chapter describes the arrangement of services, appointment of musicians and porters, with their respective duties.

I. An orderly service. Asaph and his brethren officiated as singers; Obed-edom and Hossah served as doorkeepers, each in his place and in his time. “Order gave each thing view” [Shaks.].

II. A musical service. This chiefly at Gibeon, where Heman and Jeduthun presided over the sacred music. In both places “musical instruments of God” used.

III. A cheerful service. “To give thanks to the Lord.” It becomes the redeemed to praise God. The greater, more numerous God’s blessings, the greater honour and service we should feel are due to him. “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”

IV. A perpetual service. At Jerusalem before the ark, ministry was “continually as every day’s work required” (1 Chronicles 16:37). At the altars at Gibeon, priests attended, incense burnt “continually, morning and evening.” A permanent local ministry and regular choir are established, in fixed place and due order. Prayer and praise should ever be kept up in God’s house, and in our own hearts and lives. “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”


1 Chronicles 16:43. David’s attention to his household. Personal religion was exemplified by David. I. By the work in which he had been engaged.

1. It was a glorious work.
2. It had been performed in a manner most acceptable to God. II. By the work to which he returned. He returned to bless his house, that is—
1. To obtain blessing for them by prayers.
2. To render himself a blessing by his conduct. Consider
(1) How highly we are privileged.
(2) How we should improve our privileges [C. Simeon, M.A.]. He that had “blessed the people” (1 Chronicles 16:18) returns to “bless his household” (1 Chronicles 16:20). Piety in public and in private—public worship and family worship. A good man after public religious duties, returns joyous, thankful, and loving to his house (cf. Lange, 2 Samuel 6:20). Ministers must not think that their public performances will excuse them from family worship; but when they have blessed the public assembly they are to return and bless their own households. And none is too great to do this. It is the work of angels to worship God; and therefore certainly can be no disparagement to the greatest of men [Benson].


1 Chronicles 16:4-7. With harps. The meaning of song goes deep. Who is there that, in logical words, can express the effect that music has on us? A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into that [Carlyle]. Like her friend Mdlle. Janotha, Jenny Lind believed her art was the gift of God, and to be dedicated to his service. “I have always put him first,” said she, in her last illness [Church Worker].

1 Chronicles 16:8-11. The Psalmist speaks of singing to the name of the Lord, blessing, extolling, thanksgiving, exalting (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:28-31). Just as the stem which is full of sap throws out many branches, so the believer who is full of a spirit of praise will give vent to it in many different forms [P. B. Power].

1 Chronicles 16:26. The Lord made the heavens. This verse is a notandum. What a tribute to astronomy is it that the Lord is so often done homage to as having made the heavens! Let the theology of nature be blended with the theology of conscience—a full recognition of the strength and the glory which shine palpably forth in the wonders of creation, with the spiritual offerings of holy worship and holy service [Thomas Chalmers].

1 Chronicles 16:32-38. Sea roar, and trees of the wood sing.

“His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave”


1 Chronicles 16:34-36. For ever. A line of praise is worth a leaf of prayer, and an hour of praises is worth a day of fasting and mourning [J. Livingstone]. It was the law in some of the old monasteries that the chanting of praise should never be interrupted, and that one choir of monks should relieve another in the holy service [Bib. Museum].

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 16". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/1-chronicles-16.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
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