1 Chronicles 15-19 New Living Translation (NLT)
Preparing to Move the Ark
15 David now built several buildings for himself in the City of David. He also prepared a place for the Ark of God and set up a special tent for it. 2 Then he commanded, “No one except the Levites may carry the Ark of God. The Lord has chosen them to carry the Ark of the Lord and to serve him forever.”
3 Then David summoned all Israel to Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. 4 This is the number of the descendants of Aaron (the priests) and the Levites who were called together:
5 From the clan of Kohath, 120, with Uriel as their leader.
6 From the clan of Merari, 220, with Asaiah as their leader.
7 From the clan of Gershon,[a] 130, with Joel as their leader.
8 From the descendants of Elizaphan, 200, with Shemaiah as their leader.
9 From the descendants of Hebron, 80, with Eliel as their leader.
10 From the descendants of Uzziel, 112, with Amminadab as their leader.
11 Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem. 15 Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses.
16 David also ordered the Levite leaders to appoint a choir of Levites who were singers and musicians to sing joyful songs to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel along with his fellow Levites: Asaph son of Berekiah, and Ethan son of Kushaiah from the clan of Merari. 18 The following men were chosen as their assistants: Zechariah, Jaaziel,[b] Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers—Obed-edom and Jeiel.
19 The musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were chosen to sound the bronze cymbals. 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were chosen to play the harps.[c] 21 Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were chosen to play the lyres.[d] 22 Kenaniah, the head Levite, was chosen as the choir leader because of his skill.
23 Berekiah and Elkanah were chosen to guard[e] the Ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer—all of whom were priests—were chosen to blow the trumpets as they marched in front of the Ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were chosen to guard the Ark.
Moving the Ark to Jerusalem
25 Then David and the elders of Israel and the generals of the army[f] went to the house of Obed-edom to bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant up to Jerusalem with a great celebration. 26 And because God was clearly helping the Levites as they carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.
27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment.[g] 28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres.
29 But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.
16 They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. 2 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord. 3 Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates,[h] and a cake of raisins.
4 David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. 6 The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.
David’s Song of Praise
7 On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:
8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
14 He is the Lord our God.
19 He said this when you were few in number,
23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
28 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord,
31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord.
Worship at Jerusalem and Gibeon
37 David arranged for Asaph and his fellow Levites to serve regularly before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, doing whatever needed to be done each day. 38 This group included Obed-edom (son of Jeduthun), Hosah, and sixty-eight other Levites as gatekeepers.
39 Meanwhile, David stationed Zadok the priest and his fellow priests at the Tabernacle of the Lord at the place of worship in Gibeon, where they continued to minister before the Lord. 40 They sacrificed the regular burnt offerings to the Lord each morning and evening on the altar set aside for that purpose, obeying everything written in the Law of the Lord, as he had commanded Israel. 41 David also appointed Heman, Jeduthun, and the others chosen by name to give thanks to the Lord, for “his faithful love endures forever.” 42 They used their trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments to accompany their songs of praise to God.[i] And the sons of Jeduthun were appointed as gatekeepers.
43 Then all the people returned to their homes, and David turned and went home to bless his own family.
The Lord’s Covenant Promise to David
17 When David was settled in his palace, he summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace,[j] but the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant is out there under a tent!”
2 Nathan replied to David, “Do whatever you have in mind, for God is with you.”
3 But that same night God said to Nathan,
4 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: You are not the one to build a house for me to live in. 5 I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day. My home has always been a tent, moving from one place to another in a Tabernacle. 6 Yet no matter where I have gone with the Israelites, I have never once complained to Israel’s leaders, the shepherds of my people. I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?”’
7 “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! 9 And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, 10 starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will defeat all your enemies.
“‘Furthermore, I declare that the Lord will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 11 For when you die and join your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, one of your sons, and I will make his kingdom strong. 12 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for me. And I will secure his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my favor from him as I took it from the one who ruled before you. 14 I will confirm him as king over my house and my kingdom for all time, and his throne will be secure forever.’”
15 So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the Lord had said in this vision.
David’s Prayer of Thanks
16 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed,
“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great,[k] O Lord God!
18 “What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like. 19 For the sake of your servant, O Lord, and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known.
20 “O Lord, there is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! 21 What other nation on earth is like your people Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you redeemed your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations that stood in their way. 22 You chose Israel to be your very own people forever, and you, O Lord, became their God.
23 “And now, O Lord, I am your servant; do as you have promised concerning me and my family. May it be a promise that will last forever. 24 And may your name be established and honored forever so that everyone will say, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And may the house of your servant David continue before you forever.
25 “O my God, I have been bold enough to pray to you because you have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him—a dynasty of kings! 26 For you are God, O Lord. And you have promised these good things to your servant. 27 And now, it has pleased you to bless the house of your servant, so that it will continue forever before you. For when you grant a blessing, O Lord, it is an eternal blessing!”
David’s Military Victories
18 After this, David defeated and subdued the Philistines by conquering Gath and its surrounding towns. 2 David also conquered the land of Moab, and the Moabites who were spared became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.
3 David also destroyed the forces of Hadadezer, king of Zobah, as far as Hamath,[l] when Hadadezer marched out to strengthen his control along the Euphrates River. 4 David captured 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, and 20,000 foot soldiers. He crippled all the chariot horses except enough for 100 chariots.
5 When Arameans from Damascus arrived to help King Hadadezer, David killed 22,000 of them. 6 Then he placed several army garrisons[m] in Damascus, the Aramean capital, and the Arameans became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money. So the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.
7 David brought the gold shields of Hadadezer’s officers to Jerusalem, 8 along with a large amount of bronze from Hadadezer’s towns of Tebah[n] and Cun. Later Solomon melted the bronze and molded it into the great bronze basin called the Sea, the pillars, and the various bronze articles used at the Temple.
9 When King Toi[o] of Hamath heard that David had destroyed the entire army of King Hadadezer of Zobah, 10 he sent his son Joram[p] to congratulate King David for his successful campaign. Hadadezer and Toi had been enemies and were often at war. Joram presented David with many gifts of gold, silver, and bronze.
11 King David dedicated all these gifts to the Lord, along with the silver and gold he had taken from the other nations—from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek.
12 Abishai son of Zeruiah destroyed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 13 He placed army garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. In fact, the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.
14 So David reigned over all Israel and did what was just and right for all his people. 15 Joab son of Zeruiah was commander of the army. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. 16 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech[q] son of Abiathar were the priests. Seraiah[r] was the court secretary. 17 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard.[s] And David’s sons served as the king’s chief assistants.
David Defeats the Ammonites
19 Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun[t] became king. 2 David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent messengers to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death.
But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, 3 the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the land so they can come in and conquer it!” 4 So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved them, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame.
5 When David heard what had happened to the men, he sent messengers to tell them, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance.
6 When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 75,000 pounds[u] of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. 7 They also hired 32,000 chariots and secured the support of the king of Maacah and his army. These forces camped at Medeba, where they were joined by the Ammonite troops that Hanun had recruited from his own towns. 8 When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them. 9 The Ammonite troops came out and drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city, while the other kings positioned themselves to fight in the open fields.
10 When Joab saw that he would have to fight on both the front and the rear, he chose some of Israel’s elite troops and placed them under his personal command to fight the Arameans in the fields. 11 He left the rest of the army under the command of his brother Abishai, who was to attack the Ammonites. 12 “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me,” Joab told his brother. “And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will help you. 13 Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.”
14 When Joab and his troops attacked, the Arameans began to run away. 15 And when the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they also ran from Abishai and retreated into the city. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem.
16 The Arameans now realized that they were no match for Israel, so they sent messengers and summoned additional Aramean troops from the other side of the Euphrates River.[v] These troops were under the command of Shobach,[w] the commander of Hadadezer’s forces.
17 When David heard what was happening, he mobilized all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and positioned his troops in battle formation. Then David engaged the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. 18 But again the Arameans fled from the Israelites. This time David’s forces killed 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers, including Shobach, the commander of their army. 19 When Hadadezer’s allies saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to David and became his subjects. After that, the Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.
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