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1 Chronicles 13-15 (Amplified Bible)

1 Chronicles 13-15

Peril in Transporting the Ark

13 David consulted with the captains of the thousands and the hundreds, even with every leader. David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is from the Lord our God, let us send word everywhere to our fellow countrymen who remain in all the land of Israel, and to the priests and Levites who are with them in their cities with pasture lands, so that they may meet with us; and let us bring back the ark of our God to us, [a]for we did not seek it during the days of Saul.” Then all the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

So David gathered all Israel together, from the Shihor [watercourse] of Egypt, to the entrance of Hamath [in the north], to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim, which belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord who sits enthroned above the cherubim, the ark which is called by His name. They [b]carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio [his brother] drove the cart. David and all Israel celebrated [joyfully] before God with all their might, with songs, lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.

When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to hold and steady the ark, for the oxen [that were drawing the cart] [c]nearly overturned it. 10 The anger of the Lord burned against Uzza, and He struck him down because he touched the ark; and there he died before God. 11 David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzza; so that place is called [d]Perez-uzza to this day. 12 David was afraid of God that day, and he said, “How can I bring the ark of God home with me?” 13 So David did not bring the ark with him to the City of David, but took it aside to the house of [e]Obed-edom the Gittite. 14 So the ark of God remained with the [f]family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the Lord [g]blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that he had.

David’s Family Enlarged

14 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar timbers, masons and carpenters, to build a house (palace) for him. And David understood that the Lord had established and confirmed him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel.

Then David took more wives at Jerusalem, and he became the father of more sons and daughters. Now these are the [h]names of the children born [to him] in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada, and Eliphelet.

Philistines Defeated

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they all went up in search of David; and he heard about it and went out against them. Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the Valley of Rephaim. 10 So David inquired of God, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? And will You hand them over to me?” Then the Lord said to him, “Go up, and I will hand them over to you.” 11 So Israel came up to Baal-perazim, and David defeated the Philistines there. Then David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore they named that place [i]Baal-perazim. 12 The Philistines abandoned their gods (idols) there; so David gave a command and they were burned in a fire [as the Law of Moses required].

13 The Philistines again made a raid in the valley. 14 So David inquired again of God, and God said to him, “Do not go up after them; circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees. 15 It shall be when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the Philistine army.” 16 So David did just as God had commanded him, and they struck down the army of the Philistines from Gibeon as far as Gezer. 17 Then David’s fame spread into all the lands; and the Lord caused all nations to fear him.

Plans to Move the Ark to Jerusalem

15 David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God except the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place which he had prepared for it. David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with 120 of his relatives; of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with 220 of his relatives; of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with 130 of his relatives; of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with 200 of his relatives; of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with 80 of his relatives; 10 of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with 112 of his relatives.

11 Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites—Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, 12 and he said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves, both you and your relatives, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. 13 Because you did not [carry it as God directed] the first time, the Lord our God made an [angry] outburst against us, for we did not seek Him in accordance with the ordinance.” 14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated (dedicated) themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 The Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

16 Then David told the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives as the singers, with instruments of music—harps, lyres, and cymbals—to play loudly and to raise sounds of joy [with their voices]. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari their relatives, Ethan the son of Kushaiah, 18 and with them their relatives of the second rank: Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the gatekeepers. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were appointed to sound aloud the bronze cymbals; 20 and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah [were to play] with [j]harps tuned to Alamoth [that is, a high pitch]; 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres set to Sheminith [that is, the eighth string, a low pitch]. 22 Chenaniah, leader of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skilled. 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer the priests blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah (Jeiel) were also gatekeepers for the ark.

25 So David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26 Because God was helping the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord [to do it carefully and safely], they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah, director of the music of the singers. David also wore an ephod (a priestly upper garment) of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres.

29 It happened that as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, Michal [David’s wife] the daughter of Saul, looking down through a window, saw King David leaping and dancing [in celebration]; and [k]she despised him in her heart.


  1. 1 Chronicles 13:3 At one time Saul did consider pursuing the return of the ark (1 Sam 14:18). The account of the loss of the ark and its journey to Kiriath-jearim is recorded in 1 Sam 4-7:2.
  2. 1 Chronicles 13:7 David’s failure to review and follow God’s instructions (Ex 25:12-15) regarding the transportation of the ark resulted in tragedy (v 10).
  3. 1 Chronicles 13:9 Exactly what happened is unclear. However, the oxen might have begun to run toward the threshing floor, lured by the smell of grain left over from threshing. The fact that oxen threshing grain (trampling the stalks to separate the kernels) would naturally eat some of the grain accounts for the prohibition against muzzling the ox during threshing (Deut 25:4; cf 1 Tim 5:18). But in any case, Uzza violated the great sanctity of the ark by touching it. God could have intervened and prevented the ark from being dislodged, if He so desired.
  4. 1 Chronicles 13:11 I.e. the outburst against Uzza.
  5. 1 Chronicles 13:13 It was appropriate to leave the ark with Oded-edom because he was a Levite, but David’s decision may not have been in Obed-edom’s best interest. David probably wanted to see what would happen to him before he risked transporting the ark to the temple.
  6. 1 Chronicles 13:14 Lit house.
  7. 1 Chronicles 13:14 The ancient rabbis said that the blessing was children born into his family, and that it was a reward for the hospitality that Obed-edom showed to the ark. They also noted that this happy outcome was important to show that it was not the ark itself that caused the death of Uzza (v 10), but only the sin that he committed in touching it.
  8. 1 Chronicles 14:4 See note 3:5 regarding variations in the spelling of the names of David’s sons.
  9. 1 Chronicles 14:11 I.e. master of breakthroughs.
  10. 1 Chronicles 15:20 Or harps of maiden-like tone, i.e. soprano. This particular instrument may have resembled a guitar.
  11. 1 Chronicles 15:29 Michal strongly disapproved of David’s undignified entry into the city wearing the ephod instead of his royal robes (see note 2 Sam 6:20).
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