1 Chronicles 16 Commentary

A psalm of thanksgiving (16:8-36)

The Chronicler records a psalm that was sung in celebration of the ark’s arrival in Jerusalem. It was typical of the psalms sung on such great national occasions. It began with a call to God’s covenant people to worship him in praise for his faithfulness to the covenant he made with Abraham (8-13). This covenant was the work of God alone. Out of all the nations of the earth he chose Abraham, promising to make his descendants into a nation and to give them Canaan for a national homeland (14-18). In the early days, when they were few in number, Abraham’s descendants could easily have been wiped out by hostile neighbours, but God miraculously preserved them (19-22).

In view of all he had done for them, God’s people were urged to praise him and to proclaim his mighty acts to others. People could never really know other gods, for those gods were lifeless, but they could know the only true God, both through the created universe and through the public worship of the sanctuary (23-27). Therefore, the peoples of the world were urged to bring God worship and sacrificial offerings (28-30), and the physical creation was urged to bring him praise (31-34). His unfailing mercy was the Israelites’ assurance that they could always depend on him to save them (35-36). (The above psalm is not in Samuel; the two psalms of 2 Samuel 22:1-23:7 are not in Chronicles.)


Plans for a permanent house (16:37-17:27)

On being brought to Jerusalem, the ark had been placed in a tent that David prepared for it (see v. 1).

David appointed temple servants to remain with the ark to guide the worship, apparently under the direction of the senior priest, Abiathar. The other chief priest, Zadok, was in charge of the worship at the tabernacle, which was still at Gibeon (37-43).

One reason why David did not shift the tabernacle from Gibeon was that he was planning to build a permanent dwelling place for the ark in Jerusalem. He wanted to build a house for God, but God wanted rather to build a house for David. The house God wanted to build was a dynasty, a line of royal descendants, one of whom would build the temple (17:1-27; see notes on 2 Sam 7:1-29).

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