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1 Chronicles 15-19 Common English Bible (CEB)

David prepares to bring the chest to Jerusalem

15 After he had built houses for himself in David’s City, David prepared a place for God’s chest and pitched a tent for it. David said, “Only the Levites may carry God’s chest, because the Lord has chosen them to carry the Lord’s chest and to minister to him forever.”

David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring the Lord’s chest to the place he had prepared for it. David also gathered Aaron’s family and the Levites:

Uriel, the leader of Kohath’s family, and 120 of his relatives;

Asaiah, the leader of Merari’s family, and 220 of his relatives;

Joel, the leader of Gershom’s family, and 130 of his relatives;

Shemaiah, the leader of Elizaphan’s family, and 200 of his relatives;

Eliel, the leader of Hebron’s family, and 80 of his relatives;

10 and Amminadab, the leader of Uzziel’s family, and 112 of his relatives.

11 David called for the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the household heads of the Levites. Make yourselves holy, you and your brothers, and then bring the chest of the Lord, Israel’s God, to the place I’ve prepared for it. 13 When you weren’t with us the first time, the Lord our God burst out against us because we didn’t ask his advice properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites made themselves holy to bring up the chest of the Lord, Israel’s God. 15 The Levites carried God’s chest with poles on their shoulders, just as Moses had commanded according to the Lord’s word.

16 Then David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint some of their relatives as singers to raise their voices joyfully, accompanied by musical instruments, including harps, lyres, and cymbals.

17 So the Levites appointed Heman, Joel’s son; and from his relatives, Asaph, Berechiah’s son; and from their Merarite relatives, Ethan, Kushaiah’s son; 18 and second in rank with them their relatives: Zechariah, Jaaziel,[a] Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, and Obed-edom and Jeiel the gatekeepers.

19 The singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to make music with bronze cymbals.

20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps tuned to the Alamoth.

21 Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres tuned to the Sheminith.

22 Chenaniah was leader of the Levites who provided transportation,[b] because he was skilled at it.

23 Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the chest.

24 The priests Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer were to blow the trumpets before God’s chest. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were to be gatekeepers for the chest.

David brings the chest to Jerusalem

25 Then David, along with Israel’s elders and the captains of the thousands, went with rejoicing to bring up the chest containing the Lord’s covenant from Obed-edom’s house. 26 Since God had helped the Levites who were carrying the chest containing the Lord’s covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 David wore a fine-linen robe, as did the singers, all the Levites who were carrying the chest, and Chenaniah, the leader of transportation.[c] David also wore a linen priestly vest.[d] 28 So all Israel brought up the chest containing the Lord’s covenant with shouts of joy, accompanied by the blast of the ram’s horn, by trumpets and cymbals, and playing on harps and lyres. 29 As the chest containing the Lord’s covenant entered David’s City, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked out the window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing, she lost all respect for him.

16 They brought in God’s chest and placed it inside the tent David had pitched for it. Then they brought entirely burned offerings and well-being sacrifices before God. When David had finished offering the entirely burned offerings and the well-being sacrifices, he blessed the people in the Lord’s name and distributed a loaf of bread, a piece of meat,[e] and a raisin cake to every Israelite man and woman.

David establishes worship

David appointed some of the Levites to serve before the Lord’s chest in order to remember, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, Israel’s God: Asaph was the leader, and Zechariah his assistant; also Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel with harps and lyres; Asaph sounding the cymbals; and the priests Benaiah and Jahaziel blowing trumpets regularly before the chest containing God’s covenant. On the same day, for the first time, David ordered Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord.

David’s song of praise

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
    make his deeds known to all people!
Sing to God, sing praises to him;
    dwell on all his wondrous works!
10 Give praise to God’s holy name!
    Let the hearts rejoice of all those seeking the Lord!
11 Pursue the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always!
12 Remember the wondrous works he has done,
    all his marvelous works,
    and the justice he declared—
13         you who are the offspring of Israel, his servant,
        and the children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 The Lord—he is our God.
    His justice is everywhere throughout the whole world.
15 God remembers[f] his covenant forever,
    the word he commanded to a thousand generations,
16     which he made with Abraham,
        the solemn pledge he swore to Isaac.
17     God set it up as binding law for Jacob,
        as an eternal covenant for Israel,
18         promising, “I hereby give you the land of Canaan
        as your allotted inheritance.”
19 When they[g] were few in number—
    insignificant, just immigrants—
20     wandering from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to the next,
21         God didn’t let anyone oppress them.
        God punished kings for their sake:
22 “Don’t touch my anointed ones;
    don’t harm my prophets!”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
    Share the news of his saving work every single day!
24 Declare God’s glory among the nations;
    declare his wondrous works among all people
25         because the Lord is great and so worthy of praise.
He is awesome beyond all other gods
26     because all the gods of the nations are just idols,
        but it is the Lord who created heaven!
27 Greatness and grandeur are in front of him;
    strength and joy are in his place.
28 Give to the Lord, all families of the nations—
    give to the Lord glory and power!
29     Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
        Bring gifts! Enter his presence!
        Bow down to the Lord
        in his holy splendor!
30 Tremble before him, all the earth!
    Yes, he set the world firmly in place;[h]
    it won’t be shaken.
31 Let heaven celebrate!
    Let the earth rejoice!
    Let the nations say, “The Lord rules!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it roar!
    Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!
33 Then the trees of the forest will shout out joyfully
    before the Lord, because he is coming
    to establish justice on earth!
34 Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
    because his faithful love endures forever.
35 Say: “Save us, God, our savior!
    Gather us! Deliver us from among the nations
        so we can give thanks to your holy name
        and rejoice in your praise.”
36 Bless the Lord, Israel’s God,
    from forever in the past to forever always.
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
    Praise the Lord!

37 Then David placed Asaph and his relatives, together with Obed-edom and sixty-eight of his relatives, to minister there continually before the chest containing the Lord’s covenant, following the routines required on each day. 38 Obed-edom, Jeduthun’s son, and Hosah served as gatekeepers. 39 David also placed the priest Zadok and his other priestly relatives at the Lord’s dwelling at the shrine in Gibeon. 40 They were to offer continually, both morning and evening, entirely burned offerings to the Lord on the altar for entirely burned offerings, following the written requirements in the Lord’s Instruction, which he had given Israel. 41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen by name to give thanks to the Lord, because his faithful love lasts forever. 42 With them were also[i] the trumpets and the cymbals for the musicians and the instruments for God’s songs. Jeduthun’s family was at the gate. 43 Then all of the people left for their homes. And David returned to bless his household.

God’s promise to David

17 When David was settled into his palace,[j] he said to the prophet Nathan, “I’m living in a cedar palace while the chest containing the Lord’s covenant is under curtains.”

Nathan replied, “Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because God is with you.”

But that very night God’s word came to Nathan: Go to my servant David and tell him, This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple[k] for me to live in. In fact, I haven’t lived in a temple from the day I brought Israel out until this very day. I’ve been traveling from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling.[l] Throughout my traveling with the Israelites, did I ever ask one of Israel’s tribal leaders, whom I appointed to shepherd my people, Why haven’t you built me a cedar temple?

So then, say this to my servant David: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: I myself took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be leader over my people Israel. I’ve been with you wherever you’ve gone. I’ve eliminated all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great—like the name of the greatest people on earth. I’m going to provide a place for my people Israel, and plant them so that they may live there and no longer be disturbed. Cruel people will no longer trouble them as they did earlier, 10 when I appointed judges over my people Israel. I’ll subdue all your enemies and make you great. As for a dynasty,[m] the Lord will build one for you! 11 When the time comes for you to die, I will raise up a descendant of yours after you, one of your own sons, to succeed you, and I will establish his kingship. 12 He is the one who will build me a temple, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will become his father and he will become my son, and I’ll never withdraw my faithful love from him as I did from the one before you. 14 I’ll install him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever.

15 Nathan faithfully reported all that he had seen and heard to David.

David’s prayer

16 Then King David went and sat in the Lord’s presence. He asked:

Who am I, Lord God, and of what significance is my family that you have brought me this far? 17 But even this was too small in your eyes, God. You have spoken about the future of your servant’s dynasty and have chosen me as an important person, Lord God.

18 What more can I say to you for honoring your servant? You yourself know your servant. 19 Lord, for your servant’s sake and according to your will, you have done this great thing in order to make all these great things known.

20 Lord, no one can compare to you, no God except you, just as we have heard with our own ears.

21 Who is like your people Israel, a unique nation on the earth, that God redeemed as his own people, establishing a name for yourself by doing great and awesome things, by driving out nations before your people whom you saved from Egypt? 22 You established your people Israel as your own people forever, and you, Lord, became their God.

23 Now, Lord, confirm forever the promise you have made about your servant and his dynasty. Do as you have promised 24 so that it may be established and so that your name may be made great forever when people say, “The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, is Israel’s God.” May your servant David’s household be established before you. 25 You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build him a dynasty. That is why your servant has found the courage to pray this prayer to you. 26 Lord, you are truly God, and you promised this good thing to your servant. 27 So now willingly bless your servant’s dynasty so that it might continue forever before you, because you, Lord God, have promised. Let your servant’s dynasty be blessed forever by your blessing.

David’s wars

18 Some time later, David defeated the Philistines, subdued them, and took Gath and its villages from Philistine control. He also defeated Moab, enslaving them and requiring payment. David defeated Zobah’s King Hadadezer at Hamath, as he continued to establish his control along the Euphrates River. David captured one thousand chariots from him, seven thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand foot soldiers. Then David cut the hamstrings of all but one hundred of the chariot horses. When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Zobah’s King Hadadezer, David killed twenty-two thousand of the Arameans. David stationed soldiers[n] in Aram of Damascus, enslaved them, and required payment. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.

David took the gold shields carried by Hadadezer’s servants and brought them to Jerusalem. From Tibhath and Cun, Hadadezer’s cities, David took large amounts of bronze, with which Solomon made the bronze basin,[o] the pillars, and the bronze equipment.

When Hamath’s King Tou heard that David had defeated the entire army of Zobah’s King Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Hadoram to King David to wish him well and to congratulate him over his battle and defeat of Hadadezer, because Tou was an enemy of Hadadezer. Hadoram brought with him all kinds of gold, silver, and bronze objects. 11 King David dedicated these to the Lord along with the silver and the gold he had taken from all these nations: Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek. 12 Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, struck down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Salt Valley. 13 He stationed soldiers in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s slaves. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.

David’s administration

14 David ruled over all Israel and maintained justice and righteousness for all his people. 15 Zeruiah’s son Joab was in command of the army; Ahilud’s son Jehoshaphat was recorder; 16 Ahitub’s son Zadok and Abiathar’s son Ahimelech[p] were priests; Shavsha was secretary; 17 Jehoiada’s son Benaiah was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were the king’s chief personal advisors.

War with the Ammonites and Arameans

19 Some time later, the Ammonite King Nahash died, and his son succeeded him as king. “I’ll be loyal to Nahash’s son Hanun,” David said, “because his father was loyal to me.” So David sent messengers with condolences about his father’s death.

But when David’s servants arrived in the Ammonite territory to express his sympathy to Hanun, the Ammonite leaders asked Hanun, “Do you really believe David is honoring your father because he has sent you condolences? Of course not! His servants have come to search the city, spy it out, and overthrow it!” So Hanun took David’s servants, shaved them, cut off half their garments from their buttocks down, and sent them off.

When this was reported to David, he sent messengers to the men because they were completely ashamed. The king said, “Stay in Jericho until your beards have grown. Then you can come back.”

When the Ammonites realized that they had offended David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent one thousand kikkars of silver to hire chariots and cavalry for themselves from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. They hired thirty-two thousand chariots, as well as King Maacah and his army, who came and camped in front of Medeba, while the Ammonites left their cities and came together ready for battle. When David heard this, he sent Joab and the entire army of warriors. The Ammonites marched out and formed a battle line at the entrance to the city, while the kings who had come remained in the countryside.

10 When Joab saw that the battle would be fought on two fronts, he chose some of Israel’s finest warriors and deployed them to meet the Arameans. 11 The rest of the army Joab placed under the command of his brother Abishai. When they took up their positions to meet the Arameans, 12 Joab said, “If the Arameans prove too strong for me, you must help me, and if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I’ll help you. 13 Be brave! We must be courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his eyes.”

14 When Joab and the troops who were with him advanced into battle against the Arameans, they fled from him. 15 When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they also fled from his brother Abishai and retreated into the city. So Joab returned to Jerusalem.

16 The Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel. They sent out messengers to bring Aramean reinforcements from the other side of the river, with Shophach the commander of Hadadezer’s army at their head. 17 Upon hearing this, David gathered all Israel and crossed the Jordan. David advanced and took up positions against the Arameans to meet them in battle. After initiating the battle, 18 the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed seven thousand Aramean chariot drivers and forty thousand foot soldiers. Shophach the commander of their army was killed too. 19 When the servants of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and served him. Never again would the Arameans come to the aid of the Ammonites.


  1. 1 Chronicles 15:18 LXX; MT Jaaziel’s son
  2. 1 Chronicles 15:22 Heb uncertain
  3. 1 Chronicles 15:27 MT adds the singers.
  4. 1 Chronicles 15:27 Heb ephod
  5. 1 Chronicles 16:3 Cf LXX, Syr, Vulg; Heb uncertain
  6. 1 Chronicles 16:15 LXX; MT Remember
  7. 1 Chronicles 16:19 LXX, Vulg; MT when you were
  8. 1 Chronicles 16:30 LXX; MT the world is firmly established
  9. 1 Chronicles 16:42 LXX; MT adds Heman and Jeduthun.
  10. 1 Chronicles 17:1 Or, here and elsewhere in this chapter, house
  11. 1 Chronicles 17:4 Or, here and elsewhere in this chapter, house
  12. 1 Chronicles 17:5 MT lacks to dwelling.
  13. 1 Chronicles 17:10 Or, here and elsewhere in this chapter, house
  14. 1 Chronicles 18:6 Cf 2 Sam 8:6; Heb lacks soldiers.
  15. 1 Chronicles 18:8 Or sea
  16. 1 Chronicles 18:16 LXX, Syr; MT Abimelech
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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