Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. David made him houses in the city of David--Through the liberality
of his Tyrian ally
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
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
(Nu 4:5, 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
Zadok and Abiathar, heads of the two priestly houses of Eleazar and
Ithamar, and colleagues in the high priesthood
The Levites were the chiefs of their father's house
four belonging to the Kohathite branch, on whose shoulders the ark was
to be borne; namely, Uriel, Shemaiah--descended from Elizaphan or
and Amminadab from Uzziel
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
dress (see on
Ex 19:10, 15);
and in the neglect of these rules no step could have been taken
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
(1Ch 15:17, 18, 21),
with the instruments respectively used by each. "Ben"
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
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
pass, &c.--(See on
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
they offered an ox and a fatted sheep immediately after starting
and seven bullocks and seven rams--a perfect sacrifice, at the close of
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
(1Sa 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.