1 Chronicles 15


Gill, in his commentary, gives us a useful summary of this chapter.

‘David, having prepared a place for the ark of God, gathered the Israelites, Levites, and priests, to assist in the bringing of it up thereunto, 1 Chronicles 15:1 and which was done in a very honourable and joyful manner, 1 Chronicles 15:24, though David, for his behaviour, was despised by Michal his wife in her heart, 1 Chronicles 15:29.’

The Ark Brought To Jerusalem

‘After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the LORD chose them to carry the ark of the LORD and to minister before him forever.” David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the LORD to the place he had prepared for it. He called together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites: From the descendants of Kohath, Uriel the leader and 120 relatives; from the descendants of Merari, Asaiah the leader and 220 relatives; from the descendants of Gershon, Joel the leader and 130 relatives; from the descendants of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the leader and 200 relatives; from the descendants of Hebron, Eliel the leader and 80 relatives; from the descendants of Uzziel, Amminadab the leader and 112 relatives. Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the LORD our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD.’ 1 Chronicles 15:1-15

After the events surrounding the ark of the covenant, Uzzah and his death, 1 Chronicles 13:5-14, David now makes the proper preparations for moving the ark according to God’s will, 2 Samuel 6:12-19.

It appears that David erected a temporary tent for the ark, because the actual tabernacle itself was still in Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 16:39-40.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The order of the sons of Levi according to primogeniture is, Gershom, Kohath, Merari, Genesis 46:11 / Exodus 6:16. But the Kohathites, of whom came the priestly family of the Aaronites, had precedence in all respects. To them especially was committed the attendance upon the ark and the bearing of it. Of the six Levitical families mentioned, 1 Chronicles 15:5-10, one only was descended from Gershom, one from Merari, and four (Uriel, Elizaphan, Hebron, and Uzziel) from Kohath.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning David.

‘David did not here plead ignorance of the Mosaic Law, but his violation of its ordinances.’

He calls for the Levites and tells them to sanctify themselves according to the law, Leviticus 16:19 / 2 Samuel 11:4, which again that David wants things done properly this time in accordance to God’s will.

Notice the Levites carried the ark of God with poles, Numbers 4:15, this time they are moving the ark according to God’s will, Exodus 25:12-15. It appears that David has learned his lesson concerning moving the ark.

‘David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaiah; and with them their relatives next in rank: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers. The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals;  Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth, and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith. Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skilful at it. Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark.’ 1 Chronicles 15:16-24

Here we read about how David appointed musicians. As a good leader, he was humble enough to delegate the responsibilities and encourage the leaders of the Levites to appoint their own to be the singers.

No one really knows what the word ‘alamoth’ means, some believe it’s a musical instrument, but it does appear in the heading for Psalm 46.

The word ‘sheminith’, means according to the set to the eighth. This is a reference to some specific tune, much like song leaders do today when they ask the congregation to turn their hymn books to a certain hymn number. It is used in the headings of Psalm 6 and Psalm 12.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following concerning, Kenaniah.

‘This appears to have been the master singer; he gave the key and the time, for he presided in the elevation, probably meaning what is called pitching the tune, for he was skilful in music, and powerful in his voice, and well qualified to lead the band: he might have been precentor.’

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Singing had long been recognized as appropriate to religious ceremonies, Exodus 15:21 / Judges 5:1 / 1 Chronicles 13:8, but this is the first occasion on which we find the duty of conducting musical services expressly laid on the Levites. Henceforth, the services of the tabernacle and the temple were regularly choral, and a considerable section of the Levites was trained in musical knowledge and set apart to conduct this portion of the national worship.’

Coffman, in his commentary says the following.

‘The detailed description here of the ceremonies that accompanied David’s bringing the ark to Jerusalem was the Chronicler’s way of emphasizing the importance of that event. The bringing of the ark into Jerusalem brought about a permanent centralization of the religion of Israel within Jerusalem.’

‘So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the musicians, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps. As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.’ 1 Chronicles 15:25-29

As we read here, we see that the moving of the ark of the covenant was a national event and involved a lot of celebration.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The death of Uzza had deeply impressed both David and the Levites, and it was doubted whether God would allow the ark to be moved anymore. Sacrificial animals were held ready; and when it appeared, by the movement of the ark six paces, 2 Samuel 6:13, without any manifestation of the divine displeasure, that God was not opposing but rather helping the Levites in their task, the victims were at once offered.’

The events recorded concerning Michal, the daughter of Saul are also recorded in 2 Samuel 6:16-23.

It’s clear that Michal doesn’t love David as she did in the beginning, 1 Samuel 18:20, she’s upset with him because he danced around naked in front of other women and we must also remember that David had no right to take her back in the first place as his wife, Deuteronomy 17:17. She was probably struggling to forgive David for taking her away from her husband, Paltiel, 2 Samuel 3:15-16.

David tells Michal that what he did wasn’t for his own pleasure or because he was trying to win people over, his motives were pure, he was simply excited about the Ark coming to Jerusalem because that meant God was with them again, and he did was glorify God.

David tells her that the Lord chose him before He chose Saul, her father, and as a result of Michal’s resentment towards David, she was punished by not being able to have any children, which was shameful for an Israelite, 1 Samuel 1:5-7.

Go To 1 Chronicles 16


"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."