I Chronicles 15

The Word Made Fresh

1After David built up the city of David, he made plans for a tent in which to place God’s covenant chest. 2He said, “The LORD designated the Levites as the only ones who are allowed to carry the covenant chest, and they are the only ones who have permission to serve before the LORD from now on.”

3Then he summoned all the people of Israel to Jerusalem to bring the LORD’s covenant chest to the place he had prepared. 4He gathered the descendants of Aaron and the Levites, 5There were one hundred twenty from the family of Kohath, led by Uriel. 6There were two hundred twenty from the family of Merari, led by Asaiah. 7There were one hundred thirty from the family of Gershon, led by Joel. 8There were two hundred from the family of Elizaphan, led by Shemaiah. 9There were eighty from the family of Hebron, led by Eliel. 10There were one hundred twelve from the family of Uzziel, led by Amminadab.

11Then David met with the priests Zadok and Abiathar, along with the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12He said to them, “You are the family heads of the Levites. Ritually prepare yourselves along with your families so that you can bring the covenant chest of the LORD, the God of Israel, up to the place I have prepared for it. 13You weren’t the ones who carried it before, and the LORD punished us because we did not treat it properly.” 14So the priests and Levites ritually prepared themselves, 15and the Levites carried the covenant chest of God on their shoulders with the carrying poles inserted in the loops, just as the LORD had designed it for Moses.

16David told the Levite leaders to appoint some of their relatives to be singers and to play the harps, lyres and cymbals, and raise loud and joyful songs. 17The Levites appointed Heman son of Joel, along with Asaph son of Berechiah, and Ethan son of Kushaiah, a descendant of Merari. 18Next in order were Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah. The gatekeepers were Obed-Edom and Jeiel. 19The singers – Heman, Asaph, and Ethan – were to sound the bronze cymbals. 20Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps to the tune of Alamoth. 21Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead them with lyres to the tune of Sheminith. 22Chenaniah was to be the music director for the Levites, for that was his skillset. 23Berechiah and Elkanah were to guard the gate where the covenant chest was to be placed. 24Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer the priests were to blow the trumpets as the covenant chest was set in its place. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also assigned as doorkeepers for the chest.

25Then David and the leaders of Israel, along with the army generals, went to bring the covenant chest of the LORD from the home of Obed-Edom, rejoicing on their way.26Since the LORD enabled the Levites to carry the chest, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27David wore a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites carrying the chest, along with the singers and Chenaniah the choir director and David wore linen aprons. 28All Israel took part in bringing the covenant chest with shouts, horns, trumpets, and cymbals, and loudly playing harps and lyres.

29As the covenant chest entered the city of David, Michal, daughter of Saul looked out her window and saw king David leaping and dancing, and despised him for it.


1-10: We return now to the attempt to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. Having built houses for himself with help from Hiram of Tyre, David prepares a place for the ark and makes plans to bring it from Obed-Edom’s house. This time he is more careful in handling the ark. He declares that only Levites are to carry it. He assembles the three sections of the priests; Kohathites, Merarites, and Gershomites – 470 of them in all – and three groups of Levites; sons of Elizaphan, sons of Hebron, and sons of Uzziel – an additional 392. The Hebronites and Uzzielites were divisions of the Kohathites (see Numbers 3:27), and Elizaphan was a son of Uzziel (Numbers 3:30) whose descendants are apparently given their own particular duties at some later date.

11-15: Zadok and Abiathar are the chief priests, and David gives them special instructions along with the heads of the six sections listed above. He is convinced that the problems encountered before were a result of not properly honoring God, and orders them to sanctify themselves in preparation. They go through whatever purification rituals are required, and this time they carry the ark manually the way it was done in the wilderness, rather than use a cart.

16-24: David also takes particular pains to organize the band and chorus to accompany the ark on its journey.

25-28: This time the Levites sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams to honor God, and great rejoicing accompanied the ark as it entered the city. David and the Levites all wore linen aprons, and David was dressed in a fine linen robe, reminiscent of Aaron in the wilderness. They shout and sing and dance their way into the city.

29: Michal was a daughter of Saul, David’s first wife (1 Samuel 18:27). She sees him leaping and dancing and is disgusted by the whole scene.


The bringing in of the ark is described in 2 Samuel 6:12-16. The account in 1 Chronicles is much more elaborate, emphasizing the participation of the religious establishment. In 2 Samuel there was no organization of Levites, and when they began to carry the ark David sacrificed one ox and one fatling. In Chronicles the Levites are elaborately organized and they are the ones who sacrifice 7 bulls and seven rams. In 2 Samuel David’s first wife, Saul’s daughter Michal, confronted David (2 Samuel 6:20-23), and we were told that David had nothing to do with her after that, and that she died childless. In Chronicles we are told only that she despises David for his public display, and we simply never hear more about her.