1 Chronicles 15
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 1 Chronicles 15:1-24. David’s Preparations for Bringing Home the Ark

There is no parallel in Samuel to this section; on the other hand Chronicles omits the reason given in 2 Samuel 6:12 for the renewal of David’s attempt to bring home the ark, viz., that David heard of the blessing which had befallen Obed-edom, in whose house the ark had been left.

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.
1. made him houses] Cp. 2 Samuel 5:9.

a tent] a new tent, not the old tabernacle (1 Chronicles 16:39). Cp. the prefatory note to ch. 13.

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.
2. None … but the Levites] Numbers 1:50; Numbers 7:9. Nothing is said in the parallel place (2 Samuel 6:13) of the Levites, but bearers (and not a cart) are spoken of with regard to this second attempt. Cp. 2 Chronicles 5:4, note.

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.
3. gathered all Israel together] R.V. assembled all Israel. It was a solemn religious assembly (Heb. Qâhâl, Greek ἐκκλησία).

his place] R.V. its place, his being the obsolete genitive of it.

And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites:
Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty:
5. the sons of Kohath: Uriel] Kohath had four sons (Exodus 6:18 = 1 Chronicles 6:18) Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Here the descendants of Amram (exclusive of the priests, the Aaronites) represented by Uriel head the list (1 Chronicles 15:5), and the descendants of Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel appear in 1 Chronicles 15:8-10 respectively. Elizaphan (1 Chronicles 15:8), either stands for the Izhar of Exodus 6:18, or is the name of some prominent descendant of Izhar after whom the whole family was named. As regards number the Kohathites were 512 against 350 of the sons of Merari and the sons of Gershom combined. In 1 Chronicles 6:60-63 (45–48 Heb. division) 23 cities are reckoned to Kohath against 25 to Merari and Gershom combined. The Kohathites formed the largest and most important of the three divisions of the Levites.

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 an 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 Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren an 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,
11. Zadok and Abiathar] This double priesthood (2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 15:29; 2 Samuel 15:35; 2 Samuel 19:11; 2 Samuel 20:25) came to an end in the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 2:27; 1 Kings 2:35). Zadok is always mentioned first as being descended from Eleazar the third son of Aaron, while Ithamar from whom Abiathar (Ahimelech) was descended through Eli (1 Kings 2:27) was the fourth son (1 Chronicles 24:1; 1 Chronicles 24:3). In two of the passages quoted in this note Abiathar (probably being confused with his father) is called Ahimelech or Abimelech (2 Samuel 8:17 = 1 Chronicles 18:16; 1 Chronicles 24:3). Conversely in Mark 2:26 Ahimelech is called Abiathar. In the Chronicler’s list of highpriests (1 Chronicles 6:4-14) Zadok alone is mentioned, the line of Eleazar alone being given. Cp. Kirkpatrick on 2 Samuel 6 (Prefatory Note); and on ib. 2 Samuel 8:17.

the priests] Only the two chief priests are mentioned here. Other priests blew with the trumpets in front of the ark (1 Chronicles 15:24).

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.
12. the chief of the fathers of the Levites] R.V. the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites.

sanctify yourselves] Cp. 2 Chronicles 29:5. For the method of sanctifying cp. Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:15.

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.
13. ye did it not] R.V. ye bare it not.

made a breach] 1 Chronicles 13:11 (cp. R.V.); 1 Chronicles 14:11 (cp. R.V. mg.).

we sought him not] Render, we sought not unto it. Cp. note on 1 Chronicles 13:3.

after the due order] R.V. according to the ordinance. Cp. 1 Chronicles 15:15 for the observance of the ordinance.

So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD 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 the LORD.
15. the Levites bare … upon their shoulders] Numbers 1:50; Numbers 7:9.

the staves] Exodus 25:13-14.

And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.
16. psalteries] See note on 1 Chronicles 13:8.

sounding, by lifting up] R.V. sounding aloud and lifting up. So. 1 Chronicles 15:19; 1 Chronicles 16:42.

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;
17. Herman the son of Joel] a descendant of Samuel the prophet; 1 Chronicles 6:33 (1 Chronicles 6:18, Heb.). Cp. Psalms 88 (title). As Heman was descended from Kohath, Asaph from Gershom, and Ethan from Merari, each division of the Levites was represented by a chief musician. Heman was king’s seer (1 Chronicles 25:5).

Asaph the son of Berechiah] a descendant of Gershom; 1 Chronicles 6:39-43 (24–28, Heb.). Asaph was the chief of the musicians; 1 Chronicles 16:5; 1 Chronicles 16:7. One of the small collections of Psalms from which our Psalter was compiled was named after him; cp. the titles of Psalms 50, 73-83.

Ethan the son of Kushaiah] a descendant of Merari; 1 Chronicles 6:44-47. Cp. Psalms 89 (title). He is apparently called Jeduthun in 1 Chronicles 25:1-6.

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 Obededom, and Jeiel, the porters.
18. their brethren] The names of these are repeated in 1 Chronicles 15:20-21, where they are distributed according to musical instruments.

Ben] This word, which means “son,” seems to have slipped in by mistake.

the porters] R.V. the doorkeepers, the Heb. word being the same as in 1 Chronicles 15:23-24. See the notes on 1 Chronicles 9:17.

So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass;
19. to sound] R.V. to sound aloud.

And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;
20. on Alamoth] R.V. set to Alamoth; cp. Psalms 46 (title) R.V.

And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel.
21. Azaziah] a name not found in 1 Chronicles 15:18.

on the Sheminith to excel) R.V. set to the Sheminith to lead. Cp. Psalms 6 (title, R.V. mg.).

And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.
22. was for song] The Heb. word (massa) used here twice for “song” (lit. “burden”) means sometimes “burden” in a physical sense; hence R.V. mg. was over the carrying of the ark.

And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark.
23. were door-keepers for the ark] The same statement is made in 1 Chronicles 15:24 concerning Obed-edom and Jehiah.

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 Obededom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.
24. the priests] In Numbers 10:1-10 it is enjoined to make two silver trumpets to be blown by the priests on days of joy and on feast-days. This festal trumpet was different from the “cornet” (1 Chronicles 15:28), properly a ram’s horn, which was freely used for secular purposes. See Driver, Amos, p. 144 ff. (with illustrations).

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 Obededom with joy.
25–16:3 (= 2 Samuel 6:12-20). The Bringing Home of the Ark. Michal despises David

25, 26. So David, and the elders … went … And it came to pass … that they etc.] Render, And it came to pass that David and the elders … who went to bring up the ark …, It came even to pass when the Lord helped the Levites … that they (i.e. David and the elders) offered seven bullocks and seven rams. The phrase, it came to pass (1 Chronicles 15:25) is repeated in 1 Chronicles 15:26 because of the length of the parenthesis which separates it from the words, that they offered, which complete the construction. The awkwardness of the whole sentence arises from the fact that the Chronicler has filled out the briefer statement of 2 Samuel 6:13.

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.
26. when God helped the Levites] In 2 Samuel 6:13, when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces. The Chronicler interprets the safe start as a sign of Divine assistance.

seven bullocks and seven rams] In Sam. an ox and a fatling (so R.V., not, oxen and fatlings as A.V.). The smaller sacrifice of Samuel is represented as the king’s own offering, the larger sacrifice of Chron. as that of the king and his elders combined.

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.
27. the master of the song] R.V. mg., the master of the carrying of the ark. Cp. 1 Chronicles 15:22, note.

an ephod of linen] A linen ephod was the ordinary vestment for all priests (1 Samuel 22:18). The highpriest’s ephod was a more elaborate garment (Exodus 28:6-12), fitted with the means of divination (1 Samuel 23:6; 1 Samuel 23:9-12).

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.
28. with shouting] The Heb. word (tĕrû‘ah) is technical in the sense of a blast with the festal trumpets (Numbers 10:1-10), and in this sense it should be taken here, since the Chronicler has expanded the account given in Samuel by introducing a mention of these trumpets.

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.
29. looking out at a window saw] R.V. looked out at the window and saw.

playing] a synonym of dancing, obsolete in modern English. The closest rendering is perhaps, leaping as in sport. The unrestrained joyousness of this action might easily degenerate (as in idolatrous worship) into licence. The Chronicler omits to say that the dancing was “before the Lord” (2 Samuel 6:16). David’s subsequent interview with Michal (ib. 2 Samuel 6:20-23) is also passed over in Chron.

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