1 Chronicles 13 – “The Ark is Brought to the House of Obed-edom”

handHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David chooses to bring the ark to Jerusalem. The procession is euphoric, but Uzza is suddenly killed by God for inappropriately touching the ark. David decides to temporarily house the ark in the house of Obed-edom.

II. Photo
Uzza is struck down by God: “… Uzza put out his hand to hold the Ark of God because the oxen had stumbled. The LORD was incensed at Uzza, and struck him down, because he laid a hand on the Ark; and so he died there before God.” (vv. 9-10)

III. Important Verses
vv. 7-8: They transported the Ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab; Uzza and Ahio guided the cart, and David and all Israel danced before God with all their might — with songs, lyres, harps, timbrels, cymbals, and trumpets.
vv. 9-11: But when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to hold the Ark of God because the oxen had stumbled. The LORD was incensed at Uzza, and struck him down, because he laid a hand on the Ark; and so he died there before God. David was distressed because the LORD had burst out against Uzza; and that place was named Perez-uzzah, as it is still called.
vv. 12-13: David was afraid of God that day; he said, “How can I bring the Ark of God here?” So David did not remove the Ark to his place in the City of David; instead, he diverted it to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.

IV. Outline
1-4. Agreement to bring the ark to Jerusalem
5-8. The return of the ark
9-11. Uzza is killed because of his trespass
12-14. The ark is temporarily housed with Obed-edom

V. Comment
Chapter 13 begins a four-chapter discussion about the ark in Jerusalem. The narrative is based on the book of Samuel, but the quotations are not exact. De Vries writes: “Following a transition from chs. 11-12, [the Chronicler] paraphrases the hieros logos [sacred tale] of 2 Samuel 6 to the point where the ark is deposited in the ‘house’ of Obed-edom. He then shifts back to 2 Sam 5:11-25 to pick up important details concerning homage received from Hiram, David’s growing family, and his victories in the vale of Rephaim. This provides a basis for enabling David to prepare a suitable shrine for the ark, and once the Levites have been instructed in carrying the ark and the singers in making melodious music, the entrance and installation, adapted from 2 Sam 6:12-13, is recounted. After David arranges for the regular service before the ark, the ceremony is concluded and the people are sent home.” (135)

There are important differences between our chapter and the book of Samuel. De Vries notes that the condemnatory phrase “for throughout the days of Saul we paid no regard to it” is not found in Samuel. He writes: “[This is the Chronicler’s] own ungracious comment, strengthening his censure of Saul and further glorifying David.” He also notes that “[the Chronicler] surely knows his Bible, for he has to take the reference to Kiriath-jearim from 1 Sam 7:1, not from the parallel in 2 Sam 6:3 (an unlikely alternative is that he is drawing upon an independent source).” (137)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
De Vries, Simon J. “1 and 2 Chronicles,” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).
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