And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God.—The priests and Levites, having purified themselves (1Chronicles 15:14), duly and rightly discharged their sacred office of bearing the Ark. This statement anticipates 1Chronicles 15:25, sqq. Such brief anticipative summaries of a series of events afterwards described in detail are very common in Hebrew narrative.
Upon their shoulders with the staves there-on.—Literally, with their shoulder, with the poles upon themselves.Numbers 4:4. Numbers 7:9, the reason of this command, that the ark should be carried on men's shoulders, and not in any carriage, according to Maimonides (h), was both for the honour of it, and lest its form and structure should be any ways damaged. 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. the Levites bare … upon their shoulders] Numbers 1:50; Numbers 7:9.
the staves] Exodus 25:13-14.Verse 15. - (So see Exodus 25:13-15; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9.) It is plain that from the first stress was laid upon the rings and the staves through them by which the ark was to be carried, as also the "table of shittim wood" (Exodus 25:26-28) and the "altar" (Exodus 27:4-7) and the "altar of incense" (Exodus 30:4, 5). However, these rings and staves were not found in the permanent furniture of the temple, except only for the ark. 1 Chronicles 15:11; and the "Levites" are the six princes named in 1 Chronicles 15:5-10, with their brethren, viz., (1 Chronicles 15:5-7) the three heads of the families into which the tribe of Levi was divided, and which corresponded to the three sons of Levi, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, respectively (Exodus 6:16): Uriel head of the Kohathites, Asaiah of the Merarites, and Joel head of the Gershonites, with their brethren. Kohath is first enumerated, because Aaron the chief of the priests was descended from Kohath, and because to the Kohathites there fell, on account of their nearer relationship to the priests, the duty of serving in that which is most holy, the bearing of the holiest vessels of the tabernacle. See Numbers 4:4, Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9; as to Uriel, see on Numbers 6:24; for Asaiah, see 6:30; and as to Joel, see 1 Chronicles 6:33. Then in 1 Chronicles 15:8, 1 Chronicles 15:9 we have the heads of three other Kohathite families: Shemaiah, chief of the sons of Elizaphan, i.e., Elizaphan son of the Kohathite Uzziel (Exodus 6:22); Eliel, chief of the sons of Hebron the Kohathite (Exodus 6:18); and Amminadab, chief of the sons of Uzziel. The sons of Uzziel, consequently, were divided into two fathers'-houses: the one founded by Uzziel's son Elizaphan, and named after him (1 Chronicles 15:8); the other founded by his other sons, and called by his name. Of the fathers'-houses here enumerated, four belong to Kohath, and one each to Merari and Gershon; and the Kohathites were called to take part in the solemn act in greater numbers than the Merarites and Gershonites, since the transport of the ark was the Kohathites' special duty.
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