1 Chronicles 15 – “The Ark’s Entrance Ceremony”

Old_Window_Young_GirlHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David appoints the Levites to carry the ark, and he assembles the people in Jerusalem to celebrate. The ark is brought amidst a joyous parade, and Michal (David’s wife) disapproves of her husband’s excessive enthusiasm.

II. Photo
David’s enthusiasm was not well received: “As the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD arrived at the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing, and she despised him for it.” (v. 29)

III. Important Verses
v. 15: The Levites carried the Ark of God by means of poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD.
v. 16: David ordered the officers of the Levites to install their kinsmen, the singers, with musical instruments, harps, lyes, and cymbals, joyfully making their voices heard.
v, 25: Then David and the elders of Israel and the officers of the thousands who were going to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom were joyful.
v. 27: Now David and all the Levites who were carrying the Ark, and the singers and Chenaniah, officer of song of the singers, were wrapped in robes of fine linen, and David wore a linen ephod.
v. 29:  As the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD arrived at the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing, and she despised him for it.

IV. Outline
1-2. Initial preparations
3. Assembling the Israelites
4-10. Assembling the Levites
11-24. The Levites carry the ark and provide music
25-28. The procession
29. Michal’s dismay

V. Comment
Chapter 15 returns to the ark narrative, and Collins provides an appropriate summary: “David decrees that no one but the Levites are to carry the Ark. The Chronicler then provides lists of priests and Levites who are entrusted with this task, and also of the singers and cultic musicians. David, we are told, wore a robe of fine linen and a linen ephod. This rather dignified apparel does not fit well with the picture of the king leaping and dancing, thereby incurring the contempt of his wife Michal in 15:29 (cf. 2 Sam [6]:20-23).” (447)

The last verse of our chapter describes Michal’s dismay over David’s dancing: “As the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD arrived at the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing, and she despised him for it.” The parallel passage in 2 Sam 6:20-23 records the conversation that Michal and David engaged in: “David went home to greet his household. And Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, ‘Didn’t the king of Israel do himself honor today — exposing himself today in the sight of the slavegirls of his subjects, as one of the riffraff might expose himself!’ David answered Michal, ‘It was before the LORD who chose me instead of your father and all his family and appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel! I will dance before the LORD and dishonor myself even more, and be low in my own esteem; but among the slavegirls that you speak of I will be honored.’ So to her dying day Michal daughter of Saul had no children.”

David was said to have danced while wearing the ephod (v. 27). While the ephod was primarily a priestly garment, it was worn by certain non-priests besides David. Meyers writes: “Since the word ephod refers to a sacred vestment, most of the usages are in the priestly passages of the Pentateuch, mainly in the tabernacle texts of Exodus. However, other individuals involved in cultic activity—notably Gideon (Judg 8:27), the priest of Micah (Judg 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20), Eli (1 Sam 14:3), Samuel (1 Sam 2:18, 28), and David or his priests (1 Sam 21:9; 22:18; 23:16; 30:7; 2 Sam 6:14; 1 Chr 15:27)—are associated with the ephod. In Hos 3:4 it is mentioned, along with the teraphim, independently of a priestly figure.” (“Ephod,” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. II p. 550)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
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).
Meyers, Carol. “Ephod” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. II p. 550
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