1 Chronicles
1 David Pitches a Tent for the Ark 2-15 The Ark Is Brought to Sion 16-22 Singers 23-24 Gatekeepers 25-28 The Ark Is Brought up 29 Michal Despises David
David Pitches a Tent for the Ark

1Now [David] built houses for himself in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.

The houses David builds for himself are possibly houses for his many wives. After all, Hiram has already taken care of a house for David (1Chr 14:11Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees, masons and carpenters, to build a house for him.). David also provides a house where the ark can dwell. Even if the transport of the ark in 1 Chronicles 13 would have succeeded, then there would have been no room made ready for it. David does that now. As an application we can say that we may build for ourselves, but that we must ensure that there is also a place where the Lord Jesus, of Whom the ark is a picture, can be.

David pitches a tent for the ark. It is a simple house, not yet a temple. Also if we prepare a dwelling place for the Lord Jesus, it will be a simple accommodation and not a dwelling place that impresses the flesh. It is a place outside the camp (Heb 13:1313So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.), that is, a place apart from Christianity as an organized system. In such a system, access to God in the inner sanctuary is closed to believers and only possible through an official ecclesiastical representative. This is a denial of the perfect work of Christ by which every believer that access is made free (Heb 10:19-2219Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.).

Also today it is possible to come together as a church to be there with the Lord Jesus. It is about what is in that tent, the ark, just as it is now where the Lord Jesus is. In doing so, we must keep an eye on the whole people of God, even though many of God’s people stay away.

David cannot bring the ark into the tabernacle because it is no longer there (Psa 78:60-6160So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh,
The tent which He had pitched among men,
61And gave up His strength to captivity
And His glory into the hand of the adversary.
; Jer 7:12-1512“But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.13And now, because you have done all these things,” declares the LORD, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you but you did not answer,14therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.15I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers, all the offspring of Ephraim.). In the days of Eli the tabernacle is in Shiloh. The ark is captured by the Philistines and probably they also partly or completely destroyed the tabernacle. That is a serious judgment. The little left of it has ended up in Gibeon, as is the burnt offering altar where Solomon comes to meet the LORD (2Chr 1:5-65Now the bronze altar, which Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of the LORD, and Solomon and the assembly sought it out.6Solomon went up there before the LORD to the bronze altar which [was] at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.). God has set aside the tabernacle system. That’s why David himself puts up a tent for the ark.

There are three tents in the Old Testament as dwelling place for God:
1. the tent where Moses meets God (Exo 33:7-117Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.8And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.9Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses.10When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.11Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.; 34:34-3534But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,35the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.),
2. the tabernacle (Exodus 25-40) and
3. this tent at Sion.


The Ark Is Brought to Sion

2Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” 3And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the LORD to its place which he had prepared for it. 4David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: 5of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, and 120 of his relatives; 6of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, and 220 of his relatives; 7of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, and 130 of his relatives; 8of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, and 200 of his relatives; 9of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, and 80 of his relatives; 10of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, and 112 of his relatives. 11Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab, 12and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to [the place] that I have prepared for it. 13Because you did not [carry it] at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.” 14So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. 15The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.

To bring the ark to Sion David now gives the right orders (verse 22Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.”). Here, as king of God’s people, he takes responsibility in religious matters. On him rests the duty to lead God’s people in the right way in honoring the LORD.

He acknowledges that things went wrong last time because they “did not seek Him according to the ordinance” (verse 1313Because you did not [carry it] at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.”). The ordinance is that no one but the Levites may transport the ark and that they must do so by “carrying” it (verse 22Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.”; verse 1515The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.; Num 7:99But he did not give [any] to the sons of Kohath because theirs [was] the service of the holy [objects, which] they carried on the shoulder.). It is not enough that we do what is good, because it is also important to do it in the right, the lawful way (cf. 2Tim 2:55Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.).

David involves “all Israel” in the bringing up of the ark to Jerusalem (verse 33And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the LORD to its place which he had prepared for it.). For us it means that all believers have a duty to give the Lord Jesus the place He deserves in the meeting. For the actual replacement of the ark David mobilizes the priests and the Levites, called by name and number (verses 4-104David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites:5of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, and 120 of his relatives;6of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, and 220 of his relatives;7of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, and 130 of his relatives;8of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, and 200 of his relatives;9of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, and 80 of his relatives;10of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, and 112 of his relatives.). David determines in every respect how and by whom the transport should take place.

Two priests are mentioned (verse 1111Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab,). They come from the two lines of the remaining sons of Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar (Lev 10:1,61Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.6Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about.). Zadok is a descendant of Aaron via Eleazar, and Abiathar is a descendant of Aaron via Ithamar. The priesthood will continue through Zadok according to God’s thoughts. We see this later during the reign of Solomon and also in the temple service in the kingdom of peace which is described in the book Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40-48).

David also speaks about the condition, the spiritual preparation for the task (verse 1212and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to [the place] that I have prepared for it.). This preparation has been neglected the first time and has been the cause of God having to inflict a heavy blow on them. The condition is that those who occupy themselves with the ark must consecrate themselves. As a result, they will be kept for a second heavy blow. The positive aspect is that they will experience the joy of the LORD.

Consecration means that they separate themselves from any form of uncleanness. If we want to enjoy the blessing of the Lord’s presence, we will have to “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Cor 7:11Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.).

After the priests have done what is asked of them, they go to pick up the ark (verse 1414So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.). Then the ark is carried in the manner prescribed by the LORD, which is on the shoulders of the Levites (verse 1515The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.). The shoulders of the Levites are a better means of transport than the strongest and most beautiful cart. We see in it the picture that God has entrusted the glory of the Lord Jesus to the hands of His servants, to their responsibility.

In carrying the ark on the shoulders of the Levites we can also think of the Divine power that works in His servants (Eph 3:2020Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,). Levites present the gifts of the Lord Jesus to the church and in this context perhaps especially the teachers (Eph 4:1111And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers,). The power of God’s Spirit gives them the spiritual ability to uphold the glory of Christ in all its riches and to show it before the eyes of God’s people.

Bringing the ark to Sion is important for three reasons:

1. It means that Sion is the place where the LORD wants His Name to dwell. That is the place we must look for. Then we find the ark. For us it means that we find the Lord Jesus in the place where He is central and the service is done in accordance with His Word, because of Him the ark is a picture.

2. The ark was led into exile and is now returning from it under the guidance of David. In Scripture we read four times about an exile:
   a. Israel in Egypt,
   b. the ark at the Philistines,
   c. the two tribes in Babylonian exile and
   d. the exile that Israel is currently in.

Each time the deliverance from exile means that the people, or a remnant, return to the country.
   a1. We see that for Israel happen when the people led by Moses leave Egypt to go to the promised land.
   b1. We see it here when David brings the ark to Jerusalem.
   c1. Later we see it when a remnant from the two tribes led by Zerubbabel from the Babylonian exile goes back to Israel.
   d1. We will still see it when the current exile will end with a return to the country by the arrival of the Messiah.

3. The name of Christ is uniquely linked to Sion by David bringing up the ark to that place. Sion also represents grace (Heb 12:22a22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,). This mountain contrasts with Mount Sinai (Gal 4:2525Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.; Heb 12:18-2118For you have not come to [a mountain] that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,19and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which [sound was such that] those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.20For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.”21And so terrible was the sight, [that] Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.”), the mountain which is a symbol of man under the law. From now on, the history of Israel will be dominated by Sion, although here literally by the law as well. But fundamentally God acts on the basis of grace through the ark, through David and through Zadok. These three we find combined in the Lord Jesus.

Four names are used for the ark. This can be compared with the content of the four Gospels:

1. “The ark of the LORD” (verse 1212and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to [the place] that I have prepared for it.) we see in the Gospel according to Matthew. This name reminds us that God keeps His promises by letting the prophetic word come true in the King of Israel.

2. In Exodus the ark is also called ‘the ark of the testimony’ (Exo 25:2222There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.). We see this in the Gospel according to Mark, in which the Lord Jesus is presented as the Servant and Witness of God.

3. “The ark of the LORD’s covenant” (verse 2525So [it was] David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with joy.) is seen in the Lord Jesus as the Gospel according to Luke describes Him. The Lord Jesus as the true Man, the Man according to God’s thoughts, is the foundation of the new covenant as the expression of God’s goodness in Christ towards man.

4. The Gospel according to John shows us “the ark of God” (verse 2424Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer, the priests, blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also [were] gatekeepers for the ark.). John presents the Lord Jesus as the Son of God.

These four aspects we may see when we meet at the place where He is in the midst. He is the true center of the meeting of the church where the hearts go out to Him in His great beauty.


Singers

16Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. 17So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari their relatives, Ethan the son of Kushaiah, 18and with them their relatives of the second rank, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers. 19So the singers, Heman, Asaph and Ethan [were appointed] to sound aloud cymbals of bronze; 20and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah, with harps [tuned] to alamoth; 21and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel and Azaziah, to lead with lyres tuned to the sheminith. 22Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was [in charge of] the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful.

We see three tasks of the Levites: they carry the ark (verse 1515The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.), they perform the service of singing (verse 1616Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.) and they are guardians of the ark (verse 2323Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the ark.).

Where the ark is, is joy. David has understood that. With this in mind, he has linked a whole new service to that place: the service of the singers. At the tabernacle we do not read about singers, they are not even mentioned in the books of Samuel and of Kings. Only here, in connection with the ark’s final resting place, is this joyful service mentioned. At the place where the ark stands, singing is done.

God’s people are a singing people. This also applies to the church (Eph 5:19-2019speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;; Col 3:16-1716Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms [and] hymns [and] spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.17Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.; Heb 13:1515Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.), especially when the church meets around the Lord Jesus (1Cor 14:15b15What is [the outcome] then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.; 14:2626What is [the outcome] then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.). It is a service to the Lord, in full awareness of His guidance in that service. For He starts the hymn of praise (Heb 2:1212saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”).

All believers are involved in the service of singing. Therefore, the Lord has given us the ability to sing. This is not primarily about the melody. The melody is the bearer of the words that express the feelings of the heart. A song is ideally suited to express the feelings of the whole, where each singer has his or her own feelings.

The meetings of the church are services “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:2323But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.). All external things, that are important to Israel in the Old Testament worship, have no place in the meetings of the church. That is why the building in which the believers meet does not matter. Also there are no literal animal sacrifices, there is no priest’s clothing, there is no literal altar and so on.

The new invention for the transport of the ark in 1 Chronicles 13 is wrong because it is contrary to God’s precept. That does not mean, however, that all the new is wrong. This is the first time that the service of singing is mentioned here in front of the ark, in front of the symbol of the presence of the LORD. Moses is used to introduce the sacrifices; David is used to introduce the song. Singing is a form of sacrifice. We are encouraged to offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psa 50:14a14“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
; Hos 14:22Take words with you and return to the LORD.
Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity
And receive [us] graciously,
That we may present the fruit of our lips.
).

In verse 1717So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari their relatives, Ethan the son of Kushaiah, three main singers are mentioned: Heman, Asaph and Ethan. Heman means ‘faithful’, Asaph means ‘one who gathers, Ethan means ‘constantly’. Ethan is the same as Jeduthun (1Chr 25:11Moreover, David and the commanders of the army set apart for the service [some] of the sons of Asaph and of Heman and of Jeduthun, who [were] to prophesy with lyres, harps and cymbals; and the number of those who performed their service was:), which means ‘a choir of praise’. In the sense of these names we see indications of a continuous service of praise in the meetings of the church (Heb 13:1515Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.). The praise when the church comes together, should happen in faithfulness to God’s Word and will be unifying, so that there is a choir of praise to be heard.

The “relatives of the second rank” (verse 1818and with them their relatives of the second rank, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.) we perhaps may apply to young people who participate in the service. Although they are less experienced than the elderly, they can still make themselves heard. Under Moses only the Levies of thirty years and older were allowed to participate in the service of the tabernacle, but under David this is allowed from the age of twenty. This presupposes that those who – spiritually seen – are between twenty and thirty years old, form the group of ‘the second rank’, to grow after education and experience to the first rank. God expects in the church that young believers will also contribute to the service.

There are two types of tunes (verses 20-2120and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah, with harps [tuned] to alamoth;21and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel and Azaziah, to lead with lyres tuned to the sheminith.). In verse 2020and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah, with harps [tuned] to alamoth; “to alamoth”, an expression which is also in the heading of Psalm 46 (“set to Alamoth”, Psa 46:11For the choir director. [A Psalm] of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
). The word is related to the word ‘virgins’. Hence the idea that the tune is for soprano voices. It can also be translated with “high tuned”.

In verse 2121and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel and Azaziah, to lead with lyres tuned to the sheminith. is literally “to the sheminith”. This word is derived from a word which comes from the word for ‘eight’ – see the headings of Psalms 6 and 12 “upon an eight-string lyre“ (Psa 6:11For the choir director; with stringed instruments, upon an eight-string lyre. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
; 12:11For the choir director; upon an eight-stringed lyre. A Psalm of David.
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
). The word is used to indicate music in a lower octave and can therefore also be translated with “low tuned”. This also gives a contrast with verse 2020and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah, with harps [tuned] to alamoth;: high and low.

High tuned praise and low tuned praise arises in us when we look at the Lord Jesus as the One Who “ascended far above all the heavens” after He “had descended into the lower parts of the earth” (Eph 4:8-108Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.”9(Now this [expression], “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)). The same feelings of admiration arise with us when we see how on the one hand He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even to death on the cross, and on the other hand He was highly exalted by God (Phil 2:6-116who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, [and] being made in the likeness of men.8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.).

It says of Chenaniah that he “was [in charge of] the singing” and that he “gave instruction in singing because he was skillful” (verse 2222Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was [in charge of] the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful.). He knows how to sing. This has nothing to do with what today is called the ‘worship leader’. In spiritual terms, every believer should be “skillful”. Every believer is expected to sing praises both with his spirit and with his mind (1Cor 14:1515What is [the outcome] then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.).

It is part of “worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23-2423But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”), meaning that worship happens in a spiritual way, with the heart, but also with understanding of the truth of God’s Word about Christ and His work. Getting into ecstasy, losing control of one’s own will, is foolish and harmful for the Christian. It is reminiscent of the work of demons (1Cor 12:1-21Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.2You know that when you were pagans, [you were] led astray to the mute idols, however you were led.).


Gatekeepers

23Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the ark. 24Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer, the priests, blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also [were] gatekeepers for the ark.

Gatekeepers must guard for the honor of the ark. They stand in front of the entrance to the tent where the ark is located to ensure that no unauthorized persons enter and touch the ark. They also accompany the ark on its way to Jerusalem to ensure that no unholy hands touch the ark.

In the church every member is responsible for ensuring that nothing enters the church that affects the honor of the Lord Jesus. This concerns both the doctrine and the life of each member of the church. A special responsibility lies on the shoulders of brothers who through age and experience know God’s thoughts and function as elders in their contact with the Lord (Acts 20:28a28Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.).


The Ark Is Brought up

25So [it was] David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the singing [with] the singers. David also wore an ephod of linen. 28Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres.

Then “the ark of the covenant of the LORD” – twice it is expressly called so (verses 25-2625So [it was] David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with joy.26Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.) – is taken from the house of Obed-edom. The name of Obed-edom is mentioned several times in this chapter (verses 18,21,24,2518and with them their relatives of the second rank, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.21and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel and Azaziah, to lead with lyres tuned to the sheminith.24Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer, the priests, blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also [were] gatekeepers for the ark.25So [it was] David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with joy.). The mention of his name reflects the great appreciation God has for him. His faithfulness is rewarded. He is faithful in his own house and now has a task regarding the house of God.

The ark is brought to Jerusalem by “all Israel” “with joy”, that is to say, under the expression of joy. The carrying of the ark is done by the Levites, but the whole people are involved. The fact that the ark now arrives in Jerusalem without accidents is because God helps the Levites to carry the ark. The carriers are in themselves no better than Uzza. That things are going well now is thanks to the help of God. It also applies to us that only with the help of God, the help of His Spirit, can a service be done for Him that is pleasing to Him (cf. 2Chr 18:3131So when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel,” and they turned aside to fight against him. But Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him, and God diverted them from him.; Acts 26:2222So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;).

The awareness that God helps leads them to bring sacrifices. The sacrifices consist of “seven bulls and seven rams”. The number seven is the number of perfection. A bull is pre-eminently the animal for the burnt offering. The ram is pre-eminently the animal for the sacrifice of consecration.

Here we see that the bringing up of the ark (in picture) is done on the basis of the Lord’s work, which He performed perfectly (seven) to God’s glory (burnt offering), in full dedication to Him (offering of consecration). The spiritual application is that we can only prepare a place for the Lord Jesus if we have understood something of His perfect work as a burnt offering and a sacrifice of ordination.

David does not wear his royal garment on this occasion, but both a Levite garment and a priestly garment (verse 2727Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the singing [with] the singers. David also wore an ephod of linen.). This evokes the thought that here we have a picture of the Lord Jesus as the One Who is King and Priest in one Person.

What is happening here before our eyes is sung in Psalm 68:
“They have seen Your procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
The singers went on, the musicians after [them],
In the midst of the maidens beating tambourines” (Psa 68:24-2524They have seen Your procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
25The singers went on, the musicians after [them],
In the midst of the maidens beating tambourines.
).


Michal Despises David

29It happened when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and celebrating; and she despised him in her heart.

Michal despises David because she finds it below his dignity as king to behave like this – in her eyes frenzied. Unbelief understands nothing of the joy that the believing heart experiences in the things of the Lord. It is impossible for the carnal minded believer to share in the joy experienced by the spiritual minded believer in his fellowship with the Father and the Son.

The fact that she looks “out of the window” shows her limited insight. It presents the framework of her own imagination that is determined by origin and upbringing. She shows an arrogant complacency with which she pretends to judge David and his way of doing things.

It is a sad thing when in a marriage husband and wife do not correspond spiritually or even, as here, there is a great distance between them. This is not (in the picture) a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. This is prohibited (2Cor 6:14a14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?). It is a marriage between two people who confess to belong to God’s people.

It is vital for marriage that husband and wife agree in the purpose of their lives and that is to live to the honor of the Lord. If one of them thinks or starts thinking differently about this, it is sad. However, it does not mean that then the other person should not live for the Lord anymore. We can learn this here from David. He remains faithful to the Lord and is committed to His honor.


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