1 Chronicles 15

The bringing in of the ark to the city of David was a very good work; it was resolved upon (#1Ch 13:4), and attempted, but not perfected; it lay by the way in the house of Obededom. Now this chapter gives us an account of the completing of that good work.
I. How it was done more regularly than before.
1. A place was prepared for it, #1Ch 15:1.
2. The priests were ordered to carry it, #1Ch 15:2-15.
3. The Levites had their offices assigned them in attending on it, #1Ch 15:16-24.
II. How it was done more successfully than before, #1Ch 15:25.
1. The Levites made no mistake in their work, #1Ch 15:26.
2. David and the people met with no damp upon their joy, #1Ch 15:27,28. As for Michal's despising David, it was nothing, #1Ch 15:29. (MH)

I go into great detail about all the points listed here in the Chronicles in my studies in the books of Samuel, but all I will do here is just mention a few points that fit in with what we will develop below.

Vv. 1-24

V. 1, David failed to bring the ark to him in chapter 13, as he tried to move it the wrong way. He now prepares a place for it, and prepares to go get it in the proper manner, 15:13.

After David built his house, he prepared a place for the ark of God.

In our preparation for this life, we must make room for God.

V. 2, Then David said, None ought to carry the ark... David knew the law regarding how the ark was to be moved, yet he violated that law. Why? He probably was excited about bring exalted as Israel's king, and in his excitement, he wanted to recognize the God who exalted him. In his excitement and desire to recognize the source of his power, the wanted to bring the ark to himself. He acted without thinking, and cost a man his life.

2. David now ordered that the Levites or priests should carry the ark upon their shoulders. Now he bethought himself of that which he could not but know before, that, none ought to carry the ark but the Levites, #1Ch 15:2. The Kohathites carried it in their ordinary marches, and therefore had no wagons allotted them, because their work was to bear upon their shoulders, #Nu 7:9. But upon extraordinary occasions, as when they passed Jordan and compassed Jericho, the priests carried it. This rule was express, and yet David himself forgot it, and put the ark upon a cart. Note, Even those that are very knowing in the word of God, yet have it not always so ready to them as were to be wished when they have occasion to use it. Wise and good men may be guilty of an oversight, which, as soon as they are aware of, they will correct. David did not go about to justify what had been done amiss, nor to lay the blame on others, but owned himself guilty, with others, of not seeking God in a due order, and now took care not only to summon the Levites to the solemnity, as he did all Israel (#1Ch 15:3), and had done before (#1Ch 13:2), but to see that they assembled (#1Ch 15:4), especially the sons of Aaron, #1Ch 15:11. To them he gives the solemn charge (#1Ch 15:12): You are the chief of the fathers of the Levites, therefore do you bring up the ark of the Lord. It is expected that those who are advanced above others in dignity should go before others in duty. (MH)


1) There are at times exceptions to the rule. Crossing the Jordan and compassing Jericho, the priests carried the ark rather than the Levites (Kohathites). Furthermore, the Philistines carried the ark on a cart, and no harm was done to them, other than where they tried to keep the ark. Did David remember the exceptions, and try to be another exception.

How many "exceptions to the rules" do we observe, and then try to be one of those exceptions?

Note here that the unsaved can "get away" with more than His people.

2) David had no excuse for not knowing the law concerning moving the ark, yet he did it anyway. Does power and authority (he was now king over all Israel) give one the idea of "sovereignty"—that is, he can do as he pleases?

3) He knew well the law of God in this matter, yet he overlooked that law, for whatever reason. Even the best of men, men who know the Scripture as few do, will do wrong, maybe even thinking they will be the exception because they are special.

4) David offered no excuse. He accepted the responsibility for what he did, not trying to blame others. He did not say, "Well, the Philistines were able to do it like this", nor "The Levites should have stopped me". He held himself guilty of the sin. Note that he did the same when Nathan pointed out that he was the man.

5) We read about David:

First, 1 Chronicles 13, David sinned in moving the ark improperly, and the sin resulted in the death of Uzza.

Second, 1 Chronicles 13: 3, David "loved" women, and took many wives and concubines to himself. (2 Samuel 5:13.) His major area of weakness was women. Though a strong king who could justly rule an army and a kingdom, he could not rule his own spirit. God strictly forbad His rulers from multiplying wives to himself. The warning is that they will turn his heart away from serving the Lord. (Deuteronomy 17:17.)

Of course we must condemn David for more than one wife. God never meant it to be that way, but He permitted it. This shows to us David's weakness, women. Women caused him to fall, cost him his family and Solomon the kingdom.

Notice that he took more without checking with the Lord about it.

Psalms 127:5 As Matthew Henry says: "Happy is the man that has his quiver full of these arrows but one vine by the side of the house with the blessings of God, may send boughs to the sea, and branches to the river."

David's many vines (wives) and arrows (children) got him in a barrel of trouble. (2 Samuel 5:13-16, 11:27.)

They led to his downfall, and destroyed his united kingdom, as Solomon followed in his father's footsteps, and greatly multiplied wives to himself. Israel was an oriental nation, and the orientals have a desire for many wives. The Arabs are oriental, and they are known even today for their harems.

David checked with the Lord whenever he was to confront the enemy in battle, yet he did not check with the Lord when he had to confront the enemy within– his lusts.

1 Chronicles 13:3 raises an interesting point, for which I have no answer. After David's sin with Uriah, Nathan told David:

2 Samuel 12:8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

Nathan apparently told David there that if David lusted after more women, and if he would have asked God, the Lord would have given him more women.

There are many warnings against falling into the problem of lust—I will only give one:

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Third, David love for women led to his sin with Uriah as recorded in 2 Samuel 11. That sin resulted in the kingdom being split in two.

Fourth, 1 Chronicles 21, David sinned in forcing Joab to number the people. That sin seems to have been motivated by pride, and it resulted in a plague.

Let me give a couple of interesting observations:

One, the author of the Chronicles gives the details of all of David's problems, except his sin with Uriah. That sin is not even mentioned in Chapter 20.Why is it not mentioned?

Two, in Chapter 21:1, we are told that Satan provoked David to number Israel. Yet in 2 Samuel 24:1, we are told that the Lord moved David to number Israel.

Again, we are reminded that Satan is no more than a tool of God to work God's good pleasure here on this earth.

Thus, we have recorded for us at least four major problems in David's life, yet we are told in 1 Samuel 13:14, that David was a man after God's own heart.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, we are told that the Lord looketh on the heart, and He liked what He saw in David. What about the lust and pride that was there?

Knowing the lust for women that would control David, how could the Lord say that David was a man after his own heart?

Look at the context of the words: Samuel spoke the words of 1 Samuel 13:14 after he has confronted Saul about his sin. Saul's response was to blame his sin on the people. Saul continued to refused to take responsibility and change. David, on the other hand, readily took responsibility, and changed accordingly once a sin was pointed out to him.

Anyone can be a man after God's own heart. How? By listening to correction, taking personal responsibility and changing according to the word of God.

6) David learned from the error, and did it right. My, how we need to learn from our mistakes and errors.

In 1 Chronicles 13:10 when Uzza died, David did not blame the Levites for not warning him to move the ark improperly. He did not blame Uzza for his own death, though Uzza knew better. The ark had been in Uzza's home for probably 70 years, so he obviously knew better.

When Uzza died, David did not blame the Lord for killing Uzza; rather, David gained a new respect for the Lord and His holiness.

When the plague came, David did not blame Joab nor did he blame the people for the rebellion under Absolom that brought about God's judgment.

When Nathan pointed out David's sin in 2 Samuel 12, David did not try to blame Bathsheba for exposing herself to him.

In every case, once David became aware of the sin, he immediately repented, and set about to correct the situation.

Here in 1 Chronicles 15, we see that David had learned the important lesson that Saul refused to learn—that is, the Lord is more interested in obedience than in sacrifice, so David makes all of the lengthy preparations needed to move the ark properly.

Vv. 2ff, we have listed the many things David and the people did to prepare to move the ark. There was a lot of activity required; no wonder that David tried to take a short cut, and move it on a cart. There was a lot of people and work involved to do it right.

I am sure that after what happened to Uzza, all of those responsible were extra careful to do it right this time.

V. 13, though the first time was filled with good intent, David did not seek him after due order, 15:13.

15:13 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 {f} order.
(f) According as he has appointed in the law.

Note, It is not enough that we do that which is good, but we must do it well—not enough that we seek God in a due ordinance, but we must seek after him, in a due order. Note, also, When we have suffered for our irregularities we must learn thereby to be more regular; then we answer the end of chastisement. Let us see how the matter was mended. (MH)

Also, notice David's words to the Levites: For because ye did it not at the first... David speaks as though the Levites shared in the guilt of moving the ark wrongly.

Ver. 13. Because ye did it not at the first; because you did not sanctify and prepare yourselves by solemn prayer, and seeking counsel from God, and by a serious consideration of God's will as to the manner of carrying it; which it was your duty more than others to observe and see it executed.

We sought him not: he takes a part of the guilt to himself, because it was his duty, as well as theirs, diligently to read the law and word of God, and to see it executed, and their oversight did not excuse his. After the due order; according to the rules which he appointed.

"For because in the beginning (i.e., when the ark was removed from the house of Amminadab, ch. 13) it was not you (sc., who brought it up), did Jahve our God made a breach upon us," sc. by the slaying of Uzza, 1Chron 13:11. (KD.)

Did the religious leaders, the Levites, particularly the Kohathites, become lax and lazy also? Or did David simply say that because you did not to your part, this breach took place, without placing any blame upon them. He certainly did not try to avoid his responsibility. It was his fault for not insisting they do their part. "The buck stops here."

Vv. 25, 26, ¶ 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. 26 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.

All of the leaders of the people joined in bring the ark to Jerusalem.

V. 26, God's people decided to do it God's way, and God became helper, where before He was against them, i.e., Uzza. The Lord changed from breaking forth against Uzza to being their helper. David because a restorer as he served God God's way.

Isaiah 58:1 ¶ Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. 3 ¶ Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 ¶ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. 9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

My! How we need "restorers" today who will recognize where the law-word of God has been violated, and are willing to take responsibility and who are willing to pay the price (work) to do all the areas under their influence according to God's word.

Yes, there is work, sacrifice and cleansing involved, vv. 2-24, but the result will be God's help in doing His restoration work.

Ver. 26. When God helped the Levites; either,
1. By giving them strength to carry their burden; or rather,
2. By encouraging them in their work with some comfortable sign of his presence with them, and approbation of their work and manner of carrying the ark: when they saw that he did not cut off any of the persons employed, as he had done before, but spared and favoured them; which they perceived when they had gone six paces, as appears by #2Sa 6:13. (Pool)

No doubt the Levites remembered what happened to Uzza, and were probably trembling to take up the ark. God helped them, calmed their fears, encouraged them and strengthened their faith.

Note that the very same thing that failed in the past as we tried to do it our way may well succeed when done again according to the total of God's word. Certainly, there will be great caution, if not fear, to try again what failed previously, but based upon God's instructions as found in His word, we can press ahead with God's help.

4. God helped them to do it decently and well, and without making any mistake. If we perform any religious duties so as to escape a breach, and come off with our lives, we must own it is God that helps us; for, if left to ourselves, we should be guilty of some fatal miscarriages. God's ministers that bear the vessels of the Lord have special need of divine help in their ministrations, that God in them may be glorified and his church edified. And, if God help the Levites, the people have the benefit of it. (MH)

Vv. 27, 28, David led the procession to the place prepared for the ark, dressing himself in an ephod of linen. He was no Levite, but wore a Levitical garment. In doing so, he presented himself as a priest-king, as did Christ. Notice, however, he never got so lifted up as to try to offer the sacrifices himself in the temple as did King Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:16, the place reserved only for the Levites.

V. 29, Michal, his wife, the daughter of Saul, despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:20ff., tells us that she "rebuked" him for uncovering himself. (See my notes there in 2 Samuel 6.)

She was upset because her husband, being king, had removed his kingly garments and "debased" himself to the level of a Levite. She died childless.

III. There were great expressions of rejoicing used: the sacred music was played, David danced, the singers sang, and the common people shouted, #1Ch 15:27,28. This we had before, #2Sa 6:14,15. Learn hence,
1. That we serve a good master, who delights to have his servants sing at their work.
2. That times of public reformation are, and should be, times of public rejoicing. Those are unworthy of the ark that are not glad of it.
3. It is not any disparagement to the greatest of men to show themselves zealous in the acts of devotion. Michal indeed despised David (#1Ch 15:29); but her despising him did not make him at all despicable; he did not regard it himself, nor did any that were wise and good (and why should we covet the esteem of any but such?) think the worse of him. (MH)

It is to the praise of God, not man, for men of worldly importance to show open displays of worship and service to the Christian God. However, many such men make that show for personal or political gain. However, we know that David's show was genuine, for he served his Creator the same in public and in private.

See ch 20 for further thoughts about David and sin.