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David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

15 David constructed buildings in the City of David; he then prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “Only the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to serve before him perpetually.” David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring the ark of the Lord up to the place he had prepared for it. David gathered together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:

From the descendants of Kohath: Uriel the leader and 120 of his relatives.

From the descendants of Merari: Asaiah the leader and 220 of his relatives.

From the descendants of Gershom:[a] Joel the leader and 130 of his relatives.

From the descendants of Elizaphan: Shemaiah the leader and 200 of his relatives.

From the descendants of Hebron: Eliel the leader and 80 of his relatives.

10 From the descendants of Uzziel: Amminadab the leader and 112 of his relatives.

11 David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, along with the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He told them: “You are the leaders of the Levites’ families. You and your relatives must consecrate yourselves and bring the ark of the Lord God of Israel up to the place I have prepared for it. 13 The first time you did not carry it; that is why the Lord God attacked us, because we did not ask him about the proper way to carry it.”[b] 14 The priests and Levites consecrated themselves so they could bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 The descendants of Levi carried the ark of God on their shoulders with poles, just as Moses had commanded in keeping with the Lord’s instruction.[c]

16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint some of their relatives as musicians; they were to play various instruments, including stringed instruments and cymbals, and to sing loudly and joyfully.[d] 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; one of his relatives, Asaph son of Berechiah; one of the descendants of Merari,[e] Ethan son of Kushaiah; 18 along with some of their relatives who were second in rank, including Zechariah,[f] Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.

19 The musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play the harps according to the alamoth style;[g] 21 Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to play the lyres according to the sheminith style,[h] as led by[i] the director; 22 Kenaniah, the leader of the Levites, was in charge of transport,[j] for he was well-informed[k] on this matter; 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were guardians[l] of the ark; 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer the priests were to blow the trumpets before the ark of God; Obed-Edom and Jehiel were also guardians[m] of the ark.

25 So David, the leaders of Israel, and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from the house of Obed-Edom with celebration. 26 When God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 David was wrapped in a linen robe, as were all the Levites carrying the ark, the musicians, and Kenaniah the supervisor of transport and the musicians;[n] David also wore a linen ephod.[o] 28 All Israel brought up the ark of the Lord’s covenant; they were shouting, blowing trumpets, sounding cymbals, and playing stringed instruments. 29 As the ark of the Lord’s covenant entered the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked out the window. When she saw King David jumping and celebrating, she despised him.[p]


  1. 1 Chronicles 15:7 sn Gershom is a variant spelling of the name Gershon.
  2. 1 Chronicles 15:13 tn Heb “because for what was at first [i.e., formerly] you [were] not, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him concerning the procedure.”
  3. 1 Chronicles 15:15 tn Heb “word, message.”
  4. 1 Chronicles 15:16 tn Heb “causing to be heard to lift up with a voice of joy.”
  5. 1 Chronicles 15:17 tn The Hebrew text adds, “their brothers.”
  6. 1 Chronicles 15:18 tc The Hebrew text adds בֶּן (ben, “son”) here; the word is omitted in three Hebrew mss and most LXX mss. If the word is original, perhaps the name of Zechariah’s father was accidentally omitted. Some English versions treat the word as an additional name in the list (“Ben”; e.g., KJV, ASV, NASB).
  7. 1 Chronicles 15:20 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word עֲלָמוֹת (ʿalamot) is uncertain; perhaps it refers to a particular style of music. See HALOT 835-36 s.v. עַלְמָה.
  8. 1 Chronicles 15:21 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word שְׁמִינִית (sheminit) is uncertain; perhaps it refers to a particular style of music. See HALOT 1562 s.v. שְׁמִינֹי.
  9. 1 Chronicles 15:21 tn Heb “for” or “according to.”
  10. 1 Chronicles 15:22 tc The MT reads בְּמַשָּׂא יָסֹר בַּמַּשָּׂא (bemassa’ yasor bammassa’), leader of the Levites “in [the] lifting up, an instructor in lifting up.” The LXX reads ἄρχων τῶν ᾠδῶν (archōn tōn ōdōn) “ruler/leader of the songs,” apparently omitting the first Hebrew בְּמַשָּׂא (bemassa’) and then reading the similar sounding יָשֹׂר (yasor) “one who rules” for יָסֹר (yasor) “instructor.” The Vulgate associates the first Hebrew בְּמַשָּׂא (bemassa’) with prophesy (see note below) and the second with song. Luther renders “the master in song to teach them to sing” (see Keil and Delitzsch, The First Book of Chronicles, 204).tn Or “in charge of the singing,” i.e., was the director or conductor of music. The difficulties are: 1) the meaning of “lifting up,” 2) where to supply the verb “to be,” 3) choosing which elements of context to rely on. 1) The verb נָשָׂא (nasaʾ; “to lift, carry”) can mean to carry a load, but is also used in many idiomatic expressions, including to “raise” the voice. The noun מַשָּׂא (massaʾ) most often means a load or a prophetic announcement. DCH, a recent major dictionary, includes “perhaps music” under מַשָּׂא I, while noting that מַשָּׂא II is used at Qumran specifically as an “utterance or praise.” So מַשָּׂא likely refers either to carrying [the ark of the covenant] or to raising the voice/sound (קוֹל; qol) [of music]. A third possibility is that the expression is a technical term, a shorthand for the raising of hands in the conducting of music. 2) As a noun clause, the verb “to be” must be understood at some point, either “Kenaniah was leader of the Levites in [the] lifting up, an instructor in lifting up” or “Kenaniah, leader of the Levites in [the] lifting up, was an instructor in lifting up. 3) There are a four primary contextual considerations. A) Chapter 15 is about transporting the ark; verse 2 (but not 12-13) uses the root נָשָׂא (nasaʾ). B) Identifying what transporting activity Kenaniah would be trained/wise in and instructor of. They were no longer moving the tabernacle from place to place. C) Verse 16 appears to set the agenda for vss 19-22; it identifies musical instruments that Levites are appointed to in 19-21. Verse 16 last lists “causing the voice/sound (קוֹל; qol) to rise with joy.” The Hebrew root is רוּם (rum; “to be/make high”) not נָשָׂא, but this may only be due to the Hiphil stem. נָשָׂא is a very common verb but only occurs twice in the Hiphil, possibly due to a preference to switch verbs for the causative concept. D) A Kenaniah mentioned in 1 Chr 26:29 is in charge of external responsibilities, officers and judges. If this is the same Kenaniah, that would represent a significant change in responsibilities for an instructor of musical conducting, but may embrace oversight of transportation.
  11. 1 Chronicles 15:22 tn This is a Hiphil participle of בִּין (bin; “to understand”). In the Hiphil it means to act with skill or understanding, or to give understanding, i.e., to explain or teach.
  12. 1 Chronicles 15:23 tn Heb “gatekeepers.”
  13. 1 Chronicles 15:24 tn Heb “gatekeepers.”
  14. 1 Chronicles 15:27 tn Heb “the leader, the lifting up, the musicians.” See also the note on the word “matter” in v. 22.
  15. 1 Chronicles 15:27 sn An ephod was a priestly garment worn over the robe.
  16. 1 Chronicles 15:29 tn The Hebrew text adds “in her heart.”