Preparations for the removal of the ark. (1-24) The removal of the ark. (25-29)
Verses 1-24 Wise and good men may be guilty of oversights, which they will correct, as soon as they are aware of them. David does not try to justify what had been done amiss, nor to lay the blame on others; but he owns himself guilty, with others, of not seeking God in due order
Verses 25-29 It is good to notice the assistance of Divine Providence, even in things which fall within the compass of our natural powers; if God did not help us, we could not stir a step. If we do our religious duties in any degree aright, we must own it was God that helped us; had we been left to ourselves, we should have been guilty of some fatal errors. And every thing in which we engage, must be done in dependence on the mercy of God through the sacrifice of the Redeemer.
1 Chronicles 15:1-24 . DAVID BRINGS THE ARK FROM OBEDEDOM.
1. David made him houses in the city of David--Through the liberality of his Tyrian ally ( 1 Chronicles 14:1 ), David was enabled to erect not only a palace for himself, but to furnish suitable accommodation for his numerous family. Where polygamy prevails, each wife has a separate house or suite of apartments for herself and children.
prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent--that is, made an entirely new one upon the model of the former. The old tabernacle, which Moses had constructed in the wilderness and which had hitherto served the purpose of a sacred covering, was to be left at Gibeon, either because of the unwillingness of the inhabitants to part with such a venerable relic, or because there was no use for it in Jerusalem, where a more solid and sumptuous edifice was contemplated. If it appear surprising that David "made him houses" before he prepared this new tabernacle, it should be remembered that he had received no divine intimation respecting such a work.
2. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites--After the lapse of three months ( 1 Chronicles 13:14 ) the purpose of transporting the ark to Jerusalem was resumed. Time and reflection had led to a discovery of the cause of the painful catastrophe that marred the first attempt. In preparing for the solemn procession that was now to usher the sacred symbol into its resting-place, David took special care that the carriage should be regulated in strict conformity to the law ( Numbers 4:5 Numbers 4:15 , 7:9 , 10:17 ).
3. David gathered all Israel together--Some are of opinion that this was done on one of the three great festivals, but at whatever time the ceremonial took place, it was of great importance to summon a general convocation of the people, many of whom, from the long-continued disorders of the kingdom, might have had little or no opportunity of knowing anything of the ark, which had been allowed to remain so long in obscurity and neglect.
4. David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites--The children of Aaron were the two priests ( 1 Chronicles 15:11 ), Zadok and Abiathar, heads of the two priestly houses of Eleazar and Ithamar, and colleagues in the high priesthood ( 2 Samuel 20:25 ). The Levites were the chiefs of their father's house ( 1 Chronicles 15:12 ); four belonging to the Kohathite branch, on whose shoulders the ark was to be borne; namely, Uriel, Shemaiah--descended from Elizaphan or Elzaphan--( Exodus 6:22 ), Hebron ( Exodus 6:18 , 1 Chronicles 6:2 ), and Amminadab from Uzziel ( Exodus 6:22 ).
12. sanctify yourselves--This special sanctification, which was required on all grave and important occasions, consisted in observing the strictest abstinence, as well as cleanliness, both in person and Exodus 19:10 Exodus 19:15 ); and in the neglect of these rules no step could have been taken ( 2 Chronicles 30:3 ).
16-24. David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint . . . the singers with instruments--These eminent Levites were instructed to train the musicians and singers who were under them, for the solemn procession. The performers were ranged in three choirs or bands, and the names of the principal leaders are given ( 1 Chronicles 15:17 1 Chronicles 15:18 1 Chronicles 15:21 ), with the instruments respectively used by each. "Ben" ( 1 Chronicles 15:18 ) is omitted. Either it was used merely as a common noun, to intimate that Zechariah was the son of Jaaziel or Aziel, or Ben is the same as Azaziah.
22. Chenaniah, chief of the Levites--He was not of the six heads of the Levitical families, but a chief in consequence of his office, which required learning, without regard to birth or family.
instructed about the song--He directed all these bands as to the proper time when each was to strike in or change their notes; or, as some render the passage, "He led the burdens, for he was skilled," that is, in the custom which it was necessary to observe in the carriage of the holy things [BERTHEAU].
23. Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers--who marched immediately in front, while Obed-edom and Jeiel went in the rear, of the ark.
25. So David, and the elders . . . and captains . . . went--The pious design of David in ordering all his principal ministers and officers to take part in this solemn work and imparting so much pomp and imposing ceremony to the procession, was evidently to inspire the popular mind with a profound veneration for the ark and to give the young especially salutary impressions of religion, which would be renewed by the remembrance that they had been witnesses of the august solemnity in which the king and the highest aristocracy of the land participated, vying with all other classes to do honor to the God of Israel.
26. it came to
they offered seven bullocks and seven rams--The Levites seem to have entered on this duty with fear and trembling; and finding that they might advance without any such indications of divine wrath as Uzza had experienced ( 1 Chronicles 13:10 ), they offered an ox and a fatted sheep immediately after starting ( 2 Samuel 6:13 ), and seven bullocks and seven rams--a perfect sacrifice, at the close of the procession ( 1 Chronicles 16:1 ). It is probable that preparations had been made for the offering of similar sacrifices at regular intervals along the way.
27. a robe of fine linen--Hebrew, Butz--is rather supposed in the later books to denote cotton.
an ephod--a shoulder-garment, a cincture or cape over his dress. It was worn by the priests, but was not so peculiar to them as to be forbidden others ( 1 Samuel 2:18 , 22:18 ).
29. Michal . . . saw . . . David dancing and playing--His movements would be slow and solemn, suitable to the grave and solemn character of the music. Though his royal robes were laid aside, he was attired like the other officials, showing a becoming humility in the immediate presence of God. The feelings manifested by Michal were only an ebullition of spleen from a proud and passionate woman.