1 Chronicles 16
This chapter concludes that great affair of the settlement of the ark
in the royal city, and with it the settlement of the public worship of
God during the reign of David. Here is,
I. The solemnity with which the ark was fixed,
1 Chronicles 16:1-6.
II. The psalm David gave to be sung on this occasion,
1 Chronicles 16:7-36.
III. The settling of the stated public worship of God in order
1 Chronicles 16:37-43.
|The Settlement of the Ark.
||B. C. 1045.|
1 So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of
the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt
sacrifices and peace offerings before God.
2 And when David had made an end of offering the burnt
offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the
name of the LORD.
3 And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to
every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a
flagon of wine.
4 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before
the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the
LORD God of Israel:
5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and
Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah,
and Obed-edom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph
made a sound with cymbals;
6 Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets
continually before the ark of the covenant of God.
It was a glorious day when the ark of God was safely lodged in the tent
David had pitched for it. That good man had his heart much upon it,
could not sleep contentedly till it was done,
I. The circumstances of the ark were now,
1. Better than what they had been. It had been obscure in a country
town, in the fields of the wood; now it was removed to a public place,
to the royal city, where all might resort to it. It had been neglected,
as a despised broken vessel; now it was attended with veneration, and
God was enquired of by it. It had borrowed a room in a private house,
which it enjoyed by courtesy; now it had a habitation of its own
entirely to itself, was set in the midst of it, and not crowded into a
corner. Note, Though God's word and ordinances may be clouded and
eclipsed for a time, they shall at length shine out of obscurity. Yet,
2. They were much short of what was intended in the next reign, when
the temple was to be built. This was but a tent, a poor mean dwelling;
yet this was the tabernacle, the temple which David in his psalms often
speaks of with so much affection. David, who pitched a tent for the ark
and continued steadfast to it, did far better than Solomon, who built a
temple for it and yet in his latter end turned his back upon it. The
church's poorest times were its purest.
II. Now David was easy in his mind, the ark was fixed, and fixed near
him. Now see how he takes care,
1. That God shall have the glory of it. Two ways he gives him honour
upon this occasion:--
(1.) By sacrifices
(1 Chronicles 16:1),
burnt-offerings in adoration of his perfections, peace-offerings in
acknowledgment of his favours.
(2.) By songs: he appointed Levites to record this story in a song for
the benefit of others, or to celebrate it themselves by thanking and
praising the God of Israel,
1 Chronicles 16:4.
All our rejoicings must express themselves in thanksgivings to him from
whom all our comforts are received.
2. That the people shall have the joy of it. They shall fare the better
for this day's solemnity; for he gives them all what is worth coming
for, not only a royal treat in honour of the day
(1 Chronicles 16:3),
in which David showed himself generous to his subjects, as he had found
God gracious to him (those whose hearts are enlarged with holy joy
should show it by being open-handed); but (which is far better) he
gives them also a blessing in the name of the Lord, as a father,
as a prophet,
1 Chronicles 16:2.
He prayed to God for them, and commended them to his grace. In the
name of the Word of the Lord (so the Targum), the essential eternal
Word, who is Jehovah, and through whom all blessings come to us.
|David's Psalm of Praise.
||B. C. 1045.|
7 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank
the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his
deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice
that seek the LORD.
11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his
wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his
14 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the
15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he
commanded to a thousand generations;
16 Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of
his oath unto Isaac;
17 And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to
Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of
19 When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
20 And when they went from nation to nation, and from one
kingdom to another people;
21 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings
for their sakes,
22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no
23 Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to
day his salvation.
24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works
among all nations.
25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also
is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD
made the heavens.
27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and
gladness are in his place.
28 Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the
LORD glory and strength.
29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an
offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of
30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be
stable, that it be not moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let
men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.
32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields
rejoice, and all that is therein.
33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of
the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy
endureth for ever.
35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us
together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give
thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
36 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And
all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
We have here the thanksgiving psalm which David, by the Spirit,
composed, and delivered to the chief musician, to be sung upon occasion
of the public entry the ark made into the tent prepared for it. Some
think he appointed this hymn to be daily used in the temple service, as
duly as the day came; whatever other psalms they sung, they must not
omit this. David had penned many psalms before this, some in the time
of his trouble by Saul. This was composed before, but was now first
delivered into the hand of Asaph, for the use of the church. It is
gathered out of several psalms (from the
1 Chronicles 16:7-23
is taken from
&c.; and then
1 Chronicles 16:23-34
is the whole
with little variation;
1 Chronicles 16:34
is taken from
and divers others; and then
last two verses
are taken from the close of
which some think warrants us to do likewise, and make up hymns out of
David's psalms, a part of one and a part of another put together so as
may be most proper to express and excite the devotion of Christians.
These psalms will be best expounded in their proper places (if the Lord
will); here we take them as they are put together, with a design to
thank the Lord
(1 Chronicles 16:7),
a great duty, to which we need to be excited and in which we need to be
1. Let God be glorified in our praises; let his honour be the centre in
which all the lines meet. Let us glorify him by our thanksgivings
(Give thanks to the Lord), by our prayers (Call on his
1 Chronicles 16:8),
by our songs (Sing psalms unto him), by our discourse--Talk
of all his wondrous works,
1 Chronicles 16:9.
Let us glorify him as a great God, and greatly to be praised
(1 Chronicles 16:25),
as supreme God (above all gods), as sole God, for all others are idols,
1 Chronicles 16:26.
Let us glorify him as most bright and blessed in himself (Glory and
honour are in his presence,
1 Chronicles 16:27),
as creator (The Lord made the heavens), as the ruler of the
whole creation (His judgments are in all the earth,
1 Chronicles 16:14),
and as ours--He is the Lord our God. Thus must we give unto
the Lord the glory due to his name
(1 Chronicles 16:28,29),
and own it, and much more, his due.
2. Let other be edified and instructed: Make known his deeds among
(1 Chronicles 16:8),
declare his glory among the heathen
(1 Chronicles 16:24),
that those who are strangers to him may be led into acquaintance with
him, allegiance to him, and the adoration of him. Thus must we serve
the interests of his kingdom among men, that all the earth may fear
1 Chronicles 16:30.
3. Let us be ourselves encouraged to triumph and trust in God. Those
that give glory to God's name are allowed to glory in it
(1 Chronicles 16:10),
to value themselves upon their relation to God and venture themselves
upon his promise to them. Let the heart of those rejoice that seek
the Lord, much more of those that have found him. Seek him, and
his strength, and his face: that is, seek him by the ark of his
strength, in which he manifests himself.
4. Let the everlasting covenant be the great matter of our joy and
(1 Chronicles 16:15):
Be mindful of his covenant. In the parallel place it is, He
will be ever mindful of it,
Seeing God never will forget it, we never must. The covenant is said to
be commanded, because God has obliged us to obey the conditions
of it, and because he has both authority to make the promise and
ability to make it good. This covenant was ancient, yet never to be
forgotten. It was made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were long
(1 Chronicles 16:16-18),
yet still sure to the spiritual seed, and the promises of it pleadable.
5. Let God's former mercies to his people of old, to our ancestors and
our predecessors in profession, be commemorated by us now with
thankfulness to his praise. Let it be remembered how God protected the
patriarchs in their unsettled condition. When they came strangers to
Canaan and were sojourners in it, when they were few and might easily
have been swallowed up, when they were continually upon the remove and
so exposed, when there were many that bore them ill-will and sought to
do them mischief, yet no man was suffered to do them wrong--not the
Canaanites, Philistines, Egyptians. Kings were reproved and plagued for
their sakes. Pharaoh was so, and Abimelech. They were the anointed
of the Lord, sanctified by his grace, sanctified by his glory, and
had received the unction of the Spirit. They were his prophets,
instructed in the things of God themselves and commissioned to instruct
others (and prophets are said to be anointed,
1 Kings 19:16,Isa+61:1);
therefore, if any touch them, they touch the apple of God's eye; if any
harm them, it is at their peril,
1 Chronicles 16:19-22.
6. Let the great salvation of the Lord be especially the subject of our
(1 Chronicles 16:23):
Show forth from day to day his salvation, that is (says bishop
Patrick), his promised salvation by Christ. We have reason to celebrate
that from day to day; for we daily receive the benefits of it, and it
is a subject that can never be exhausted.
7. Let God be praised by a due and constant attendance upon him in the
ordinances he has appointed: Bring an offering, then the fruit
of the ground, now the fruit of the lips, of the
and worship him in the beauty of holiness, in the holy places
and in a holy manner,
1 Chronicles 16:29.
Holiness is the beauty of the Lord, the beauty of all sanctified souls
and all religious performances.
8. Let God's universal monarchy be the fear and joy of all people. Let
us reverence it: Fear before him, all the earth. And let us
rejoice in it: Let the heavens be glad and rejoice, because
the Lord reigns, and by his providence establishes the world, so
that, though it be moved, it cannot be removed, nor the measures broken
which Infinite Wisdom has taken in the government of it,
1 Chronicles 16:30,31.
9. Let the prospect of the judgment to come inspire us with an awful
pleasure, Let earth and sea, fields and woods, though in the great day
of the Lord they will all be consumed, yet rejoice that he will come,
doth come, to judge the earth,
1 Chronicles 16:32,33.
10. In the midst of our praises we must not forget to pray for the
succour and relief of those saints and servants of God that are in
(1 Chronicles 16:35):
Save us, gather us, deliver us from the heathen, those of us
that are scattered and oppressed. When we are rejoicing in God's
favours to us we must remember our afflicted brethren, and pray for
their salvation and deliverance as our own. We are members one of
another; and therefore when we mean, "Lord, save them," it is
not improper to say, "Lord, save us." Lastly, Let us make
God the Alpha and Omega of our praises. David begins with
(1 Chronicles 16:8),
Give thanks to the Lord; he concludes
(1 Chronicles 16:36),
Blessed be the Lord. And whereas in the place whence this
doxology is taken
it is added, Let all the people say, Amen, Hallelujah, here we
find they did according to that directory: All the people said,
Amen, and praised the Lord. When the Levites had finished this
psalm or prayer and praise, then, and not till then, the people that
attended signified their consent and concurrence by saying,
Amen, And so they praised the Lord, much affected no doubt with
this newly instituted way of devotion, which had been hitherto used in
the schools of the prophets only,
1 Samuel 10:5.
And, if this way of praising God please the Lord better than an ox
or a bullock that has horns and hoofs, the humble shall see it and be
|The Service of the Ark.
||B. C. 1045.|
37 So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD
Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually,
as every day's work required:
38 And Obed-edom with their brethren, threescore and eight;
Obed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:
39 And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before
the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at
40 To offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of the
burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do
according to all that is written in the law of the LORD, which he
41 And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were
chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD,
because his mercy endureth for ever;
42 And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals
for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments
of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.
43 And all the people departed every man to his house: and
David returned to bless his house.
The worship of God is not only to be the work of a solemn day now and
then, brought in to grace a triumph; but it ought to be the work of
every day. David therefore settles it here for a constancy, puts it
into a method, which he obliged those that officiated to observe in
their respective posts. In the tabernacle of Moses, and afterwards in
the temple of Solomon, the ark and the altar were together; but, ever
since Eli's time, they had been separated, and still continued so till
the temple was built. I cannot conceive what reason there was why
David, who knew the law and was zealous for it, did not either bring
the ark to Gibeon, where the tabernacle and the altar were, or bring
them to Mount Zion, where the ark was. Perhaps the curtains and
hangings of Moses's tabernacle were so worn with time and weather that
they were not fit to be removed, nor fit to be a shelter for the ark;
and yet he would not make all new, but only a tent for the ark, because
the time was at hand when the temple should be built. Whatever was the
reason, all David's time they were asunder, but he took care that
neither of them should be neglected.
1. At Jerusalem, where the ark was, Asaph and his brethren were
appointed to attend, to minister before the ark continually,
with songs of praise, as every day's work required,
1 Chronicles 16:37.
No sacrifices were offered there, nor incense burnt, because the altars
were not there: but David's prayers were directed as incense, and
the lifting up of his hands as the evening sacrifice
so early did spiritual worship take place of ceremonial.
2. Yet the ceremonial worship, being of divine institution, must by no
means be omitted; and therefore at Gibeon were the altars where the
priests attended, for their work was to sacrifice and burn incense,
which they did continually, morning and evening, according to the
law of Moses,
1 Chronicles 16:39,40.
These must be kept up because, however in their own nature they were
inferior to the moral services of prayer and praise, yet, as they were
types of the mediation of Christ, they had a great deal of honour put
upon them, and the observance of them was of great consequence. Here
Zadok attended, to preside in the service of the altar; as (it is
probable) Abiathar settled at Jerusalem, to attend the ark, because he
had the breast-plate of judgment, which must be consulted before the
ark: this is the reason why we read in David's time both Zadok and
Abiathar were the priests
(2 Samuel 8:17,20:25),
one where the altar was and the other where the ark was. At Gibeon,
where the altars were, David also appointed singers to give thanks
to the Lord, and the burden of all their songs must be, For his
mercy endureth for ever,
1 Chronicles 16:41.
They did it with musical instruments of God, such instruments as
were appointed and appropriated to this service, not such as they used
on other occasions. Between common mirth and holy joy there is a vast
difference, and the limits and distances between them must be carefully
observed and kept up. Matters being thus settled, and the affairs of
religion put into a happy channel,
(1.) The people were satisfied, and went home pleased.
(2.) David returned to bless his house, resolving to keep up family
worship still, which public worship must not supersede.