1 Chronicles 15 (ESV)✞: The Ark Brought Back to Jerusalem
We’ve been looking at the story of David bringing the Ark of the LORD to Jerusalem. In Chapter 13 we read about his first, unsuccessful attempt, in which Uzzah was struck down for touching the Ark because David (and the Levites) hadn’t been following proper procedure for carrying it. Then in the last chapter Chronicles’ author(s) backtracked to remind the reader of David’s blessings by the LORD: his expanding family and success against the Philistines.
In this chapter they are successful in bringing the Ark to the capital because they do it right.
I’ve been linking to a chart provided by ESV.org that compares the timelines of Chronicles with Samuel/Kings, and it’s worth noting that verses 1–24✞ of this chapter don’t appear in the other books at all; it’s original to Chronicles. And what’s discussed in these verses? Preparations!
|1||David prepares a place for the Ark|
|2||David dictates that only the Levites are allowed to carry the Ark (as prescribed by God)|
|3–14||David summons the Levites and has them consecrated for the duty|
|15||It’s confirmed that, yes, the Levites are the ones carrying the Ark|
|16–24||Musicians, singers and gatekeepers are appointed to receive the Ark when it arrives|
We then get the story of the Ark’s journey:
25 So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. 26 And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.
And finally, when the Ark arrives, the author(s) make brief mention of David’s wife Michal, who “despised him in her heart” (v. 29✞), though Chronicles won’t actually tell the story, readers are simply expected to know it (from 2 Samuel 6:20–23 (ESV)✞).
What’s interesting to me is how much space the author(s) of Chronicles devote to preparation for the Ark’s new home in Jerusalem as opposed to the actual event itself. After all of the work David and the Levites do to prepare, the actual journey itself almost feels like a non-event – and I think that’s the point the author(s) are trying to make.
Yes, the first time David and the Levites tried to move the Ark they did it improperly, but when they made up their minds to do it right they did it right! After all the work they did to make sure they had a good home for the Ark, made sure they were going things properly, made sure they had the right people doing the right things… actually moving the Ark was pretty easy!
I don’t think this is an exact analogy, but I do compare it to how Christians should deal with trials and tests, which is that we should be so close to God in the first place (including knowing His Word) that by the time the trials arrive we’re already prepared.
If I wait until bad times hit and then go to the Bible to look for answers I’m pretty much guaranteed to come up lacking. It is very, very rare that we can turn to the Bible in times of need and find that a passage speaks to my exact situation, and simply gives me an answer! Rather, it’s usually a base of Scriptural knowledge I’ve already built up over years, and a relationship with God, that help me to deal with my troubles. Maybe I can’t think of a specific passage that’s helping me—or if I can, it’s a passage that only has meaning to me because of the base of other Scriptural knowledge I’ve built up—but because I already know my Scriptures, and already have a relationship with God, it’s easier to trust Him in the bad times.
Not always easy, but easier.