1 Chronicles 17:1
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, See, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remains under curtains.
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(1) Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house.—In both texts the story of this chapter naturally follows that of the removal of the Ark, although the events themselves appear to belong to a later period of David’s reign, “when the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies” (2Samuel 7:1; comp. 1Chronicles 17:8). 1Chronicles 17:11-14 indicate some time before the birth of Solomon, but the date cannot be more exactly determined.

David.—Thrice in 1Chronicles 17:1-2, for which Samuel has the king.” The chronicler loves the name of his ideal sovereign.


Lo.—Samuel, “See, now.”

An house.—The house—viz., that which Hiram’s craftsmen had built (1Chronicles 14:1, sqq.).

Of cedars.—A vivid allusion to the splendour of the palace, with its doors, walls, and ceilings of cedar wood. “Cedar of Labnana” (Lebanon) was in great request with the Assyrian monarchs of a later age for palace-building.

Under curtains—i.e., in a tent (Habakkuk 3:7). Samuel has, “dwelleth amid the curtain” (collect.). The verb is omitted here for brevity.

1 Chronicles 17:1. Now it came to pass, &c. — This whole chapter is explained 2 Samuel 7., where the same things are recorded with very little variation of the words.17:1-27 David's purposes; God's gracious promises. - This chapter is the same as 2Sa 7. See what is there said upon it. It is very observable that what in Samuel is said to be, for thy word's sake, is here said to be, "for thy servant's sake," ver. 19. Jesus Christ is both the Word of God, Re 19:13, and the Servant of God, Isa 42:1; and it is for his sake, upon account of his mediation, that the promises are made good to all believers; it is in him, that they are yea and amen. For His sake it is done, for his sake it is made known; to him we owe all this greatness, from him we are to expect all these great things. They are the unsearchable riches of Christ, which, if by faith we see in themselves, and see in the Lord Jesus, we cannot but magnify as the only true greatness, and speak honourably of them. For this blessedness may we look amidst the trials of life, and when we feel the hand of death upon us; and seek it for our children after us.Compare throughout 2 Samuel 7 and the notes found there. CHAPTER 17

1Ch 17:1-10. David Forbidden to Build God a House.

1. as David sat in his house—The details of this chapter were given in nearly similar terms (2Sa 7:1-29). The date was towards the latter end of David's reign, for it is expressly said in the former book to have been at the cessation of all his wars. But as to narrate the preparations for the removal of the ark and the erection of the temple was the principal object of the historian, the exact chronology is not followed.


David, deigning to build God a house, Nathan at first approveth of it; after, by the word of God, forbiddeth him 1 Chronicles 17:1-10; promising him blessings and benefits in his seed, 1 Chronicles 17:11-15. David’s prayer and thanksgiving, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27.

This whole chapter is explained, 2 Samuel 7, where the same things are recorded with very little variation of the words; which also hath been considered in my notes upon that chapter; to which I refer the reader, taking notice here but of some very few things. See Chapter Introduction Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of {a} cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under {b} curtains.

(a) Well built and fair.

(b) That is, in tents covered with skin.

1. as David sat] R.V. when David dwelt.

in his house] Samuel adds, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies. The Chronicler omits these words probably because his next three chapters (18–20) are devoted to wars (cp. 2 Samuel 8, 10).

of cedars] R.V. of cedar (as Sam.).

the ark of the covenant] So called because it contained the two tables of the covenant, 1 Kings 8:9.

remaineth] R.V. dwelleth (as Sam.).Verse 1. - We may easily imagine how the excitement, though not the deeper interest, attending the removal of the ark and the festival on occasion of its safe establishment on Zion had now subsided. David's thoughts respecting the honour due to God and to the ark of the covenant had time to grow into convictions, and they were greatly and rightly stimulated by reflection on his own surroundings of comfort, of safety, of stability and splendour. He revolves the possible methods and the right methods of showing that honour due. The completion of his own house, one presumably fit for the permanent abode of the King of Israel (1 Chronicles 14:1), is the clear demonstration to him that the ark should not dwell in a mere tent. It is a true touch of life, when it is written that as David sat in his house these thoughts possessed him, and so strongly. The exact time, however, here designed, and the exact occasion of his revealing the thoughts that burned within him, to Nathan, do not appear either here or in the parallel place. In the opinion of some, an indication of some interval having elapsed is found in the words (2 Samuel 7:1), "The Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies;" while others consider those words to refer to the victories gained over the Philistines, as recorded in ch. 14. Nathan the prophet. This name suddenly breaks upon us, without any introduction, here for the first time. Nathan is emphatically entitled "the prophet," but perhaps merely to distinguish him from Nathan, David's eighth son. Amid many other important references to Nathan, and which speak for themselves, must be specially noted 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29. And it will be noticed from the former of these references, in particular how Nathan is the prophet (הַגָּבִיא); not (like Samuel and Gad) seer (הָרֹאֶה or הַתוֶה). Possibly he is intended in 1 Kings 4:5. An house of cedars. The cedar here spoken of does, of course, not answer to our red, odorous cedar. The word employed is אֶרֶז, in the plural number. The first Biblical use of this word is found in Leviticus 14:4, 6, 49-52. It is derived by Gesenius from an obsolete word אָרַז, from the grip and the firmness of its roots. It is probably the derived signification, therefore, that should be adhered to (as in the Authorized Version), and not the original, where in Ezekiel 27:24, the plural of the passive participial is found, "made of cedar," not with A. Schultens, "made fast." The cedar genus belonging to the order Coniferae, is odoriferous, very lasting, and without knots. The numerous good qualities which it possesses are spoken to in the variety of uses, and good kind of uses, to which it was put - these all crowned by the almost solitary spiritualized appropriation of the tree, found in Psalm 92:12. From a comparison of 1 Kings 5:6, 8 (in the Hebrew, 20, 22) with 2 Chronicles 2:3, 8, and some other passages, we may be led to believe that the cedar as the name of timber was used occasionally very generically. Nevertheless, the very passages in question instance by name the other specific kinds of wood. Two of the chief kinds of cedar were the Lebanon and the Deodara, which is said not to have grown in Syria, but abounds in the Himalayas. And as the use of the Lebanon cedar for some purposes (e.g. for the masts of ships) is almost out of the question, it is exceedingly probable that this Deodars and some other varieties of pines are comprehended under the eh-rez. Dean Stanley points out what may be described as very interesting moral landmark uses of the celebrated cedars of Lebanon, in those passages which speak of Solomon's sweep of knowledge, commencing in the dewing direction from them (1 Kings 4:33), of the devouring fire that should begin with the bramble and reach high up to those cedars (in Jotham's parable, Judges 9:15), and (in the parable of Joash, King of Israel, to Amaziah, King of Judah, 2 Chronicles 25:18) of the contempt with which the family of the cedars of Lebanon is supposed to hear of the matrimonial overtures of the family of the thistles of Lebanon. Stanley's pages ('Sinai and Palestine,' edit. 1866, pp. 414-414d) are full of interest on the subject of the cedars of Lebanon (see also full article in Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1:285, 286; and Dr. Thomson's 'Land and the Book,' pp. 197-200). Cedar was the choice wood for pillars and beams, boarding and ceiling of the finest houses; and alike the first and second temples (Ezra 3:7) depended upon the supply of it. Under curtains. Here rightly in the plural, though our parallel (2 Samuel 7:2) shows the singular (Exodus 26:1-13; Exodus 36:8-19). Division of the Levites for the management of the public worship. - At the same time as he set up the ark in the tent erected for it on Mount Zion, David had prepared a new locality for the public worship. The Mosaic tabernacle had continued, with its altar of burnt-offering, to be the general place of worship for the congregation of Israel even during the long period when the ark was separated from it, and it was even yet to be so; and it became necessary, in order to carry on the religious service in both of these sanctuaries, to divide the staff of religious officials: and this David now undertook.

1 Chronicles 16:37-38

Before the ark he left Asaph with his brethren (ל( nerht before the accus. obj., according to the later usage), to serve, to minister there continually. בּיומו לדבר־יום, "according to the matter of the day on its day," i.e., according to the service necessary for each day; cf. for this expression, Exodus 5:13, Exodus 5:19; Exodus 16:4, etc. "And Obed-edom and their brethren." In these words there is a textual error: the plural suffix in אחיהם shows that after אדום עבד at least one name has been dropped out. But besides that, the relation in which the words, "and Obed-edom the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah, to be porters," stand to the preceding clause, "and Obed-edom and their brethren," is obscure. Against the somewhat general idea, that the words are to be taken in an explicative sense, "and Obed-edom indeed," etc., the objection suggests itself, that Obed-edom is here defined to be the son of Jeduthun, and would seem to be thereby distinguished from the preceding Obed-edom. In addition to that, in 1 Chronicles 15:21 and Obed-edom is mentioned among the singers, and in 1 Chronicles 16:24 one of the doorkeepers bears that name, and they are clearly distinguished as being different persons. On the other hand, however, the identity of the two Obed-edoms in our verse is supported by the fact that in 1 Chronicles 26:4-8 the doorkeepers Obed-edom with his sons and brethren number sixty-two, which comes pretty nearly up to the number mentioned in our verse, viz., sixty-eight. Yet we cannot regard this circumstance as sufficient to identify the two, and must leave the question undecided, because the text of our verse is defective. Jeduthun the father of Obed-edom is different from the chief musician Jeduthun ( equals Ethan); for the chief musician is a descendant of Merari, while the doorkeeper Jeduthun belongs to the Korahites (i.e., Kohathites): see on 1 Chronicles 26:4.

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