Chapter 15

"Removal of Ark from House of Obed-Edem."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
is provided by


Once David had become king of Israel, as we read in I Chronicles 13, he wanted to go to Kirjath-Jearim and get the Ark of the Covenant and bring it back to the city of David. The ark had been taken in a battle by the Philistines, and they kept it their at Kirjath-Jearim. The ark of God, also called the "ark of the Covenant" had the mercy seat mounted on top of the ark and stationed between two cherubims. This would be the place where God would commune with His people. Exodus 25:22 "And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."

With all the best laid plans by David and the men of Judah, a new cart had been built for the moving of the ark, and this new cart would be pulled behind oxen. This was against the instructions of God, as to how and by whom the ark was to be moved. As the ark was being moved, the oxen started to trip, and in an instant, young Uzza, the fellow in charge of the movement reached out and touched the ark with his hand, and God smote him dead instantly. God gave His instructions to Moses as to how the ark was to be moved, and the use of oxen and a cart went contrary to the Divinely prescribed law, as given in Numbers 4:15; "...the sons of Kohath shall bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die, These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation." God prescribed only the Levite family of Kohath to have the responsibility of the movement of the ark, and only after Aaron's family had prepared the ark for movement.

As the ark was being moved, the oxen tripped, and instantly Uzza put his hand out to steady the ark on the cart, and instantly God struck him down. Once Uzza died, all movement stopped immediately, and the ark was left near by at the home of Obed-edom to care for the ark until it could be moved in accordance with God's instructions given to Moses and Aaron. Obed-edem taught his family the proper care and respect for the ark, and God blessed Obed, his family and his possessions. So David had three months to prepare the way for the ark to be removed within God's guidelines, and that is what I Chronicles 15 is about.

I Chronicles 15:1 "And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent."

I Chronicles 15:2 "Then David said, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto Him for ever."

I Chronicles 15:3 "And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord unto his place, which he had prepared for it."

I Chronicles 15:4 "And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites:"

David is now bringing in the people that God designated to be in charge of all movement of the ark of the covenant. Remember from Leviticus 25:22 that the ark of the covenant could only be moved after it had been covered properly by the sons of Aaron,, and then moved only by the Kohathites.

I Chronicles 15:5 "Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty:"

During the time of the wanderings in the wilderness, the family of the Levites were divided into four groups. The Merarites, the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and Moses, Aaron, and the family of priests. Each family was restricted to certain specific duties. Aaron's family was confined to making the sacrifices, and all those duties within the tabernacle dealing with holy things of God, and they would be the priests of the congregation. The families of the Merarites and Gershonites were in charge of the taking down and setting up of the tent, boards, panels and heavy things that went to make up the Tabernacle. However the Kohathites responsibility was the movement of the ark, after the sons of Aaron had prepared it for movement.

I Chronicles 15:6 "Of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief and his brethren two hundred and twenty:"

I Chronicles 15:7 "Of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren and hundred and thirty:"

I Chronicles 15:8 "Of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred:"

I Chronicles 15:9 "Of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief , and his brethren fourscore;"

I Chronicles 15:10 "Of the sons of Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren and hundred and twelve."

I Chronicles 15:11 "And David called Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab,"

I Chronicles 15:12 "And said unto them, "Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it."

I Chronicles 15:13 "For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order."

As we read in Numbers 3, God laid out the order that each family would camp, and each family would move out in that order when the camp was on the move. David was set on following that same order to Moses to the letter. As you read through the books of Chronicles, many times names are spelt differently than in the books of Moses, or the books of the kings. However, remember that there was a thousand years that had passed from Moses to the coming out of captivity in Babylon. Then to, by the end of the captivity in Babylon, nearly half of all those returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the city streets and walls, and establish the Temple worship were "Nethinims", meaning they were "strangers given to service" along with their families. There were 42,360 people moving as a wagon train from St. Louis, Missouri to Salt Lake City, Utah to reestablish temple worship. The wagon train was moving in twelve separate units.

As you read the names in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the number count was the same, but the spelling of the names, and the assigning to families did vary some what. Then in I Chronicles 2:55, the "Kenites" made a point of reminding us that they had taken over the duties of the Levitical priests, the duties that God had assigned only to the sons of Aaron, and these three families of Kenites, the "Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites" had become the the scribes, the records keepers, and spiritual and civil leaders in the group. They carried out the duties that were given to the Levites. We read in Ezra 8:15, of the hundreds of priests going to Jerusalem, not one of the Levites were in that wagon train.

Ezra 8:15 "And I [Ezra] gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days; and I viewed the People, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi."

We see that Ezra was sort of like David, he went ahead with his plans to bring the ark of the covenant home, and overlooked the instructions of God written to His people. How then were they going to set up temple worship, and leave out the Levites? It's sort of like how many church houses of today operate, they like to lay out their plans, set up their traditions that go against the Word of God, but they never get around to checking if those plans please our heavenly Father. Now after the death of Uzza, David became aware of the error in this thinking, and corrected those plans.

I Chronicles 15:14 "So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel."

God's ways and instructions are now going to be met, and the priests and Levites will be in charge of the movement of the ark.

I Chronicles 15:15 "And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord."

These "children of the Levites" that were assigned to carry the ark would have to be from the Kohathites family, and Levites assigned to the movement.

I Chronicles 15:16 "And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy."

I Chronicles 15:17 "So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah;"

So we see that four of the men assigned by David to carry the ark of the covenant were Kohathites; also Ethan of the family of the Merarite, and Asaph, a Gershonite. God's instructions had been met.

I Chronicles 15:18 "And with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Elab, and Benaiab, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and porters."

I Chronicles 15:19 "So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound the cymbals of brass."

Note that these singers were appointed to play their instruments, and not for singing.

I Chronicles 15:20 "And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Masseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;"

I Chronicles 15:21 "And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel."

I Chronicles 15:22 "And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful."

Leadership did not come by birth, but by merit. Chenaniah was skilled as a musician. This is very similar to what goes on today at special occasions, when song writers are hired to write music to set the mood for the occasion being celebrated.

I Chronicles 15:23 "And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark."

I Chronicles 15:24 "And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, and priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark."

I Chronicles 15:25 "So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy."

I Chronicles 15:26 "And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams."

I Chronicles 15:27 "And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen."

I Chronicles 15:28 "Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps."

I Chronicles 15:29 "And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart."


Last Chapter I Chronicles Next Chapter
Old Testament Return to all Books New Testament

Home .~ Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field

PLEASE NOTE: These studies may be stored on your private computer as a library, printed out in single copy (or you may print enough for a study group) for private study purposes provided the Author and Source are included with each and every excerpt or copy.

These studies
may not be reproduced collectively ONLINE , or in successive part, on any WEBSITE, EMAIL LIST or PUBLIC ELECTRONIC LIBRARY without expressed written consent.

2000-2004 theseason.org Webmaster