Verses 1–24

Preparation is here made for the bringing of the ark home to the city of David from the house of Obed-edom. It is here owned that in the former attempt, though it was a very good work and in it they sought God, yet they sought him, not after the due order, 1 Chron. 15:13. “We did not go about our work considerately; and therefore we sped so ill.” 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. 1. David now prepared a place for the reception of the ark, before he brought it to him; and thus he sought in the due order. He had not time to build a house, but he pitched a tent for it (1 Chron. 15:1), probably according to the pattern shown to Moses in the mount, or as near it as might be, of curtains and boards. Observe, When he made houses for himself in the city of David he prepared a place for the ark. Note, Wherever we build for ourselves, we must be sure to make room for God’s ark, for a church in the house. 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, 1 Chron. 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, Num. 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 (1 Chron. 15:3), and had done before (1 Chron. 13:2), but to see that they assembled (1 Chron. 15:4), especially the sons of Aaron, 1 Chron. 15:11. To them he gives the solemn charge (1 Chron. 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. “You are the chief, and therefore more is expected from you than from others, both by way of service yourselves and influence on the rest. You did it not at first, neither did your duty yourselves nor took care to instruct us, and we smarted for it: The Lord made a breach upon us; we have all smarted for your neglect; this has been by your means (see Mal. 1:9): therefore sanctify yourselves, and mind your business.” When those that have suffered for doing ill thus learn to do better the correction is well bestowed. 3. The Levites and priests sanctified themselves (1 Chron. 15:14) and were ready to carry the ark on their shoulders, according to the law, 1 Chron. 15:15. Note, Many that are very remiss in their duty, if they were but faithfully told of it, would reform and do better. The breach upon Uzza made the priests more careful to sanctify themselves, that is, to cleanse themselves from all ceremonial pollution and to compose themselves for the solemn service of God, so as to strike a reverence upon the people. Some are made examples, that others may be made exemplary and very cautious. 4. Officers were appointed to be ready to bid the ark welcome, with every possible expression of joy, 1 Chron. 15:16. David ordered the chief of the Levites to nominate those that they knew to be proficients for this service. Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were now first appointed, 1 Chron. 15:17. They undertook to sound with symbols (1 Chron. 15:19), others with psalteries (1 Chron. 15:20), others with harps, on the Sheminith, or eighth, eight notes higher or lower than the rest, according to the rules of the concert, 1 Chron. 15:21. Some that were priests blew with the trumpet (1 Chron. 15:24), as was usual at the removal of the ark (Num. 10:8) and at solemn feasts, Ps. 81:3. And one was appointed for song (1 Chron. 15:22), for he was skilful in it, could sing well himself and instruct others. Note, As every man has received the gift, so he ought to minister the same, 1 Pet. 4:10. And those that excel in any endowment should not only use it for the common good themselves, but teach others also, and not grudge to make others as wise as themselves. This way of praising God by musical instruments had not hitherto been in use. But David, being a prophet, instituted it by divine direction, and added it to the other carnal ordinances of that dispensation, as the apostle calls them, Heb. 9:10. The New Testament keeps up singing of psalms, but has not appointed church-music. Some were appointed to be porters (1 Chron. 15:18), others door-keepers for the ark (1 Chron. 15:23, 24), and one of these was Obed-edom, who reckoned it no doubt a place of honour, and accepted it as recompence for the entertainment he had given to the ark. He had been for three months housekeeper to the ark, and indeed its landlord. But, when he might not be so any longer, such an affection had he for it that he was glad to be its door-keeper.