1 Chronicles 13
In the foregoing chapter we have David made king, by which the civil
government was happily settled. In this chapter care is taken about
I. David consults with the representatives of the people about bringing
up the ark out of its obscurity into a public place; and it is resolved
1 Chronicles 13:1-4.
II. With a great deal of solemnity and joy, it is carried from
1 Chronicles 13:5-8.
III. Uzza is struck dead for touching it, which, for the present,
spoils the solemnity and stops the proceedings,
1 Chronicles 13:9-14.
|The Removal of the Ark.
||B. C. 1048.|
1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and
hundreds, and with every leader.
2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it
seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us
send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all
the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and
Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may
gather themselves unto us:
3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we
enquired not at it in the days of Saul.
4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the
thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt
even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from
6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to
Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the
ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose
name is called on it.
7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the
house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their
might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and
with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
I. David's pious proposal to bring up the ark of God to Jerusalem, that
the royal city might be the holy city,
1 Chronicles 13:1-3.
This part of the story we had not in Samuel. We may observe in this
1. That as soon as David was well seated on his throne he had thoughts
concerning the ark of God: Let us bring the ark to us,
1 Chronicles 13:3.
Two things he aimed at herein:--
(1.) To do honour to God, by showing respect to his ark, the token of
his presence. As soon as he had power in his hand he would use it for
the advancement and encouragement of religion. Note, It ought to be
the first and great care of those that are enriched and preferred to
honour God with their honours, and to serve him, and the interests of
his kingdom among men, with their wealth and power. David said not,
"What pompous thing shall I do now?" or, "What pleasant thing?" but,
"What pious thing?"
(2.) To have the comfort and benefit of that sacred oracle. "Let us
bring it to us, not only that we may be a credit to it, but that it may
be a blessing to us." Those that honour God profit themselves. Note, It
is the wisdom of those who are setting out in the world to take God's
ark with them, to make his oracles their counsellors and his laws their
rule. Those are likely to proceed in the favour of God who thus begin
in the fear of God.
2. That he consulted with the leaders of the people about it,
1 Chronicles 13:1.
Though it was without doubt a very good work, and being king, he had
the authority to command the doing of it, yet he chose rather to do it
(1.) That he might show respect to the great men of the kingdom and put
honour upon them. Though they made him king, yet he would not rule with
a high hand. He did not say, "We will and command, and it is our royal
pleasure, that you do so and so; and we will be obeyed," but, "If it
seem good to you, and you think that the motion comes from the Lord
our God, let us send out orders for this purpose." No prince that is
wise will covet to be absolute. The people's allegiance is best secured
by taking their concurrence in their representatives. Happy then art
thou, O Britain!
(2.). That he might be advised by them in the manner of doing it,
whether just now, whether publicly. David was a very intelligent man
himself, and yet consulted with his captains; for in the multitude
of counsellors there is safety. It is wisdom to make use of the
wisdom of others.
(3.) That, they joining in it, it might pass the better for a national
act and so might procure a national blessing.
3. That he would have all the people summoned to attend on this
occasion, both for the honour of the ark and for the people's
satisfaction and edification,
1 Chronicles 13:2.
(1.) He calls the common people brethren, which bespeaks his
humility and condescension (notwithstanding his advancement), and the
tender concern he had for them. Thus our Lord Jesus is not ashamed to
call his people brethren,
(2.) He speaks of the people as a remnant that had escaped: Our
brethren that are left in all the land of Israel. They had been
under scattering providences. Their wars with the Philistines, and with
the house of Saul, had wasted the country and cut off many. We now hope
to see an end of these troubles. Let those that are left be quickened
by late judgments, and present mercies, to seek unto God.
(3.) He takes care that the priests and Levites especially should be
summoned to attend the ark; for it was their province in a particular
manner. Thus Christian magistrates should stir up ministers to do their
duty when they see them remiss.
4. That all this is upon supposition that it is of the Lord their
God. "Though it should seem good to you and me, yet if it be
not of the Lord our God, we will not do it." What ever we
undertake, this must be our enquiry, "Is it of the Lord? Is it
agreeable to his mind? Can we approve ourselves to him in it? May we
expect that he will own us?"
5. That thus it was requisite they should amend what has been amiss in
the last reign, and, as it were, atone for their neglect: "For we
enquired not at it in the days of Saul, and this was the reason why
things went so ill with us: let that original error be amended, and
then we may hope to see our affairs in a better posture." Observe,
David makes no peevish reflections upon Saul. He does not say, "Saul
never cared for the ark, at least in the latter end of this reign;"
but, in general, We enquired not at it, making himself with
others guilty of this neglect. It better becomes us to judge ourselves
than others. Humble good men lament their own share in national guilt,
and take shame to themselves,
II. The people's ready agreement to this proposal
(1 Chronicles 13:4):
The thing was right in the eyes of all the people. Nobody
could say to the contrary, but that it was a very good work and very
seasonable; so that it was resolved, nemine
contradicente--unanimously, that they would do so. Those
that prudently proposed a good work, and lead in it, will perhaps find
a more ready concurrence in it than they expected. Great men know not
what a great deal of good they are capable of doing by their influence
III. The solemnity of bringing up the ark,
1 Chronicles 13:5-8,
&c., which we read
2 Samuel 6:1-3,
&c. Here therefore we shall only observe,
1. That it is worth while to travel far to attend the ark of God. They
came out of all parts of the country, from the river of Egypt,
the utmost part south, to the entering of Hemath, which lay furthest
(1 Chronicles 13:5),
to grace this solemnity.
2. That we have reason greatly to rejoice in the revival of neglected
ordinances and the return of the tokens of God's presence. When the
light of religion shines out of obscurity, when it is openly and freely
professed, is brought into reputation, and countenanced by princes and
great ones, it is such a happy omen to a people as is worthy to be
welcomed with all possible expressions of joy.
3. When, after long disuse, ordinances come to be revived, it is too
common for even wise and good men to make some mistakes. Who would have
thought that David would commit such an error as this, to carry the ark
upon a cart?
1 Chronicles 13:7.
Because the Philistines so carried it, and a special providence drove
(1 Samuel 6:12),
he thought they might do so too. But we must walk by rule, not by
example when it varies from the rule, no, not even by those examples
which Providence has owned.
|The Death of Uzza.
||B. C. 1048.|
9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza
put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he
smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died
11 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach
upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day.
12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I
bring the ark of God home to me?
13 So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city
of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the
14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in
his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of
Obed-edom, and all that he had.
This breach upon Uzza, which caused all the joy to cease, we had an
2 Samuel 6:6-8,
1. Let the sin of Uzza warn us all to take heed of presumption,
rashness, and irreverence, in dealing about holy things
(1 Chronicles 13:9),
and not to think that a good intention will justify a bad action. In
our communion with God we must carefully watch over our own hearts,
lest familiarity breed contempt, and we think God is in any way
beholden to us.
2. Let the punishment of Uzza convince us that the God with whom we
have to do is a jealous God. His death, like that of Nadab and Abihu,
proclaims aloud that God will be sanctified in those that come nigh
and that the nearer any are to him the more displeased he is with their
presumptions. Let us not dare to trifle with God in our approaches to
him; and yet let us, through Christ, come boldly to the throne of
grace; for we are under the dispensation of liberty and grace, not
of bondage and terror.
3. Let the damp this gave to the joy of Israel be a memorandum to us
always to rejoice with trembling, and to serve the Lord with
fear, even when we serve him with gladness.
4. Let David's displeasure upon this occasion caution us to take heed
to our spirits when we are under divine rebukes, lest, instead of
submitting to God, we quarrel with him. If God be angry with us, shall
we dare to be angry with him?
5. Let the stop thus put to the solemnity caution us not to be driven
off from our duty by those providences which are only intended to drive
us from our sins. David should have gone on with the work
notwithstanding the breach made upon Uzza; so might the breach have
been made up.
6. Let the blessing which the ark brought with it to the house of
Obed-edom encourage us to welcome God's ordinances into our houses, as
those that believe the ark is a guest that nobody shall lose by; not
let it be less precious to us for its being to some a stone of
stumbling and a rock of offence. If the gospel be to some a savour of
death unto death, as the ark was to Uzza, yet let us receive it in the
love of it and it will be to us a saviour of life unto life.