1 Chronicles 16 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

1 Chronicles 16
Pulpit Commentary
So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God.
Verse 1. - In the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it. So ch. 15:1 distinctly states that David had "pitched a tent" for the ark, and evidently to be ready for its arrival. On the other hand, there is no mention of any such tent having been got in readiness in ch. 13. or in 2 Samuel 6:1-11, which give the account of the attempt that disastrously failed. The expressions which are there used would rather lead to the conclusion that David's intention was to take the sacred structure into his own home (2 Samuel 6:9, 10; 1 Chronicles 13:12, 13), for a while, at all events. The אֹהֶל (tent) of the original designates, when Intended strictly, a haircloth covering, resting on poles or planks (Exodus 26:7, 11; Exodus 36:14, 19). The first occasion of the use of the word is found in Genesis 4:20. The סֻכָּח (booth) was made of leaves and branches interwoven (Leviticus 23:34, 40, 42; Deuteronomy 16:13). The מִשְׁכָּן (tabernacle) was the dwelling-place or pavilion, which owned to the ten inner curtains as well as the outer covering and the framework (Exodus 25:9; Exodus 26:1, 12-15, etc.; Exodus 39:32; 40:2, 29). The first occurrence of this word is in the first of these last-quoted references. Burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. The identical words of 2 Samuel 6:17, 18, where the Authorized Version translates "burnt offerings and peace offerings." These were the two great sacrifices - the former speaking of atonement (Leviticus 1:3-9, etc.), the latter of reconciliation effected and the enjoyment of peace (Leviticus 3:1-5, etc.). Neither here nor in the parallel place is any mention made of the altar upon which these sacrifices were offered.
And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD.
Verse 2. - He blessed the people in the name of the Lord; i.e. reverently in the Name of the Lord, and as vividly conscious of being in his presence, he pronounces blessings upon the people, and by short ejaculatory prayer and holy wish further begs for them those blessings which God only can give. In the time of David and Solomon (1 Kings 8:14) the king realized far more closely the idea of the paternal relation to the people than had ever been since the time of the patriarchs of the elder days.
And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine.
Verse 3. - Each little clause of this verse is replete with interest. The royal giver, who now dealt to every one of Israel, was, after all, but a channel; yes, and only one channel, through which the fulness and the bounty of the royal Giver of every good and perfect gift, of all good whatsoever, of all things necessary to life and godliness, are supplied to every one of his creature-subjects. But it is highest honour, as servant and instrument alone, to figure forth him in any way. The second little clause tells us either that women took a recognized place on occasion of this joyous festival, or that the hospitality of such an occasion did not forget them and their homes. And the following three little clauses require closer examination. The word here translated "loaf" in the expression loaf of bread is כִּכַּר, for which in this sense we may turn to Exodus 29:23; Judges 8:5; 1 Samuel 2:36; 1 Samuel 10:3; Proverbs 6:26; Jeremiah 37:21. The corresponding word, however, in the parallel place is חַלַח (for which see Exodus 29:2, 23; Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 7:12, 13; Leviticus 8:26; Leviticus 24:5; Numbers 6:15, 19; Numbers 15:20). The essential meaning of the former word is a circle, hence applied to the cake because of its shape, and of the latter word perforation, hence applied to the cake because it was perforated. A good piece of flesh. This is the Authorized Version rendering of אֶשְׁפָּר, which occurs only in the parallel place and here. The Vulgate translates assatura bubulae carnis; the Septuagint, ἐσχαρίτη. The imagined derivation of the word from פָּר (ox) and אֵשׁ (fire), or from שָׁפַד (to burn), seems to be what has led to these translations, helped, perhaps, by the apparent convenience of adapting meat from the sacrifice to the bread. But Gesenius, Rodiger, Keil, and others prefer the derivation שָׁפַר (to measure), and they would render "a measure" of wine. And a flagon. This is the Authorized Version rendering of the original אֲשִׁישָׁה, found in the parallel place as well as here, and also in the only other places (two in number, and in the plural) where it occurs (Song of Solomon 2:5; Hoses 3:1). But there is no doubt, or but little, that the rendering should rather be "dried, pressed cakes of raisins or grapes." It is then to be derived from the root אָשַׁשׁ (to press). The substantive has both masculine and feminine form in plural. The Vulgate translates similam frixam oleo, which means a "baked cake of flour and oil;" and the Septuagint, λάγανον ἀπὸ τηγάνου in the parallel places. But here the Septuagint reads ἄρτον ε{να ἀρτοκοπικὸν καὶ ἀμορίτην ασ the whole account of the loaf, the good piece of flesh, and the flagon.
And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel:
Verses 4-7. - These verses contain a statement of the arrangement David made of a more permanent nature, but to date from this commencement, for the service of thanksgiving by the Levites. Verse 4. - To minister; i.e. to officiate, as we should say, in the service before the ark. The verse seems to describe what should be the essence of that service. It was threefold - to record, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel. The word here used for "record" is the Hiph. of זָכַר (to remember), and is remarked upon by Gesenius as a title strictly appropriate to the character of the two psalms Psalms 38 and Psalms 70, on the head of which it stands, as meaning, "to make others remember" (see also such passages as Exodus 20:24; 2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 18:18; 2 Samuel 20:24; Isaiah 43:26; Isaiah 63:7). The minds of the people were to be refreshed in this service and in their very psalm of praise (so note in this sense vers. 8, 9, 12, 21, etc.), by being reminded or told, so far as the youngest of them might be concerned, of God's marvellous and merciful deeds for their forefathers of many, many a generation. Then they were to give intelligent and hearty thanks. And, lastly, they were to offer to approach that purest form of worship which consists in adoring praise. One might imagine with what zest they would have accepted, with what fervour they would have added lip and instrument of music to it - that one verse which needed the revolution yet of nearly another three thousand years, that it might flow from the devotion or' Addison.

"When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I'm lost
In wonder, love, and praise."
Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals;
Verse 5. - Obed-edom. No colon should follow this name. And the first time of the occurrence of the name Jeiel in this verse should probably have shown the Jaaziel of 1 Chronicles 15:18. The contents of this verse put us, then, into possession of this much, that Asaph presided (1 Chronicles 6:39) at this musical service, and that his instrument was the cymbals (1 Chronicles 15:19), with which time was kept; that Zechariah was next to him, and, with eight others formed a band, who played on psalteries (or lutes) and harps. If we may guide ourselves by vers. 20, 21 of the preceding chapter, three of these - viz. Mattithia, Jeiel, Obed-edom - performed on the harp, the other six on the psaltery, or lute.
Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.
Verse 6. - Jahaziel. Probably the Eliezer, who in 1 Chronicles 15:24 is coupled as priest with Benaiah, should stand in the place of this name or else vice versa.
Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
Verse 7. - The rendering should run, On that day did David first commit to the hand of Asaph and his brethren to render praises to Jehovah; i.e. after the following manner and words. The word first marks the solemn establishment of set public worship in the metropolis.
Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
Verses 8-36. - These verses, then, provide the form of praise which David wished to be used on this, and probably in grateful repetition on some succeeding occasions. David makes selections from four psalms already known; for it cannot be supposed that the verses we have here were the original, and that they were afterwards supplemented. The first fifteen verses (viz. 8-22) are from Psalm 105:1-15. The next eleven verses (23-33) are from Psalm 96:1-13; but a small portion of the first and last of these verses is omitted. Our thirty-fourth verse is identical with Psalm 107:1; Psalm 118:1; Psalm 136:1; and forms the larger part of Psalm 106:1. It is, in fact, a doxology. And our thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth verses consist of a short responsive ("and say ye") invocation, followed by another doxology. These are taken from Psalm 106:47, 48. Hereupon "all the people" are directed to find the final outburst of praise to Jehovah, and "Amen." In the first of these selections (vers. 8-23) there is no material variation from the language of the psalm itself. Yet the original psalm has Abraham, where our own thirteenth verse reads Israel. And the original psalm uses the third person, where our fifteenth and nineteenth verses have the second person. In the second selection it is worthy of note that our ver. 29, "Come before him," probably preserves the ante-temple reading, while Psalm 96:8 was afterwards, to fit temple times, altered into, "Come into his courts." The arrangement of all the succeeding clauses does not exactly agree with the arrangement of them found in the psalm, as for instance in the latter half of our ver. 30 and in ver. 31, compared with the clauses of vers. 10,11 of the psalm. Again, one clause of the tenth verse of the psalm, "He shall judge the people righteously," is not found in either alternative position open to it through the inversion of clauses, in our vers. 80, 81. The rhythm and metre of the psalm are, however, equally unexceptionable. The whole of the twenty-nine verses of this Psalm of praise (vers. 8-36 inclusive) are divided into portions of three verses each, except the portion vers. 23-27 inclusive which consists of five verses. As regards the matter of it, it may be remarked on as breaking into two parts, in the first of which (vers. 8-22) the people are reminded of their past history and of the marvellous providence which had governed their career from Abraham to the time they were settled in Canaan, but in the second (vers. 23-36) their thought is enlarged, their sympathies immensely widened, so as to include all the world, and their view is borne on to the momentous reality of judgment. Verses 8-10. - These verses are an animated invocation to thanks and praise.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
Verses 11-14. - The call to thanksgiving and to the praise of adoration is nosy in these verses suceeded by an earnest admonition to practical seeking of the Lord, and mindful obedience to him.
Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
Verses 14-22. - These verses rehearse the ancient and blissful covenant which had made Israel so to differ. These are called mine anointed... my prophets, in harmony with what we read in the splendid passage, Exodus 19:3-6. The substitution in our vers. 15, 19 of the second person pronoun plural, in place of the third person of the psalm, helps speak the reality of this occasion and its dramatic correctness. The literal original of our Authorized Version in ver. 19, but few, even a few, is, men of number, i.e. men who could easily be numbered.
Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people;
He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
Verses 23-36. - The grandeur and unusual comprehensiveness of the adoration and homage here proclaimed, as to be offered to the omnipotent Ruler of all nations, should be well pondered. Our eye and ear may have become too familiar with it, but when put a little into relief, and referred to its original time of day, it is fit to be ranked among the strongest moral evidences of inspiration in the word and the speaker. Verse 23. - This verse is composed of the latter half of each of the first two verses of the psalm (96.).
Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth.
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Verses 34-36. - These verses, from the first, forty-seventh, and forty-eighth of Psalm 106, must have suggested the sad intermediate contents of that psalm, the significant key-note of which is sounded in our thirty-fifth verse. The suggestion in the midst of the unbounded gladness of this day is affecting, and must have been intended for salutary lesson and timely warning. In the midst of the fulness of praise and joy, the people are led to prayer - say ye - and the prayer is an humble petition for salvation, union, and protection from every enemy. God's treatment of his anointed people had been on his part one continued protection and one prolonged salvation. Yet they had often neither prayed for these nor acknowledged them. Now they are led again by the hand, as it were, to the footstool of the throne.
And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required:
Verses 37-43. - These verses give the now new-ordained distribution of priests and Levites, to minister and to attend to the service of praise before the ark. And the first of them may be considered to mark an important step in advance in the crystallizing of the world's ecclesiastical institutions. Asaph and his brethren of song are left there before the ark of the covenant... to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required. A permanent local ministry and choir are thus established, with a fixity of place on Zion, and regularity of time that had been hitherto unattainable.
And Obededom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obededom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:
Verse 38. - Obed-edom with their brethren. Explanation is needed of the plural pronoun "their." Either another name is wanted with Obed-edom, or tacit reference is made to "Asaph and his brethren," as though the name Asaph had not been followed in its own place by the clause "and his brethren." Keil draws attention to the "three score and two" of 1 Chronicles 26:8, in connection with the three score and eight of this place; and it has been proposed to make up this number by some of the sons of Hosah, of our following verse and of 1 Chronicles 26:11. In this case the name Hesah might be the name missing before, "and their brethren." Conjecture, however, has not sufficient clue here to warrant it, and the textual state of this verse must be debited with the obscurity. The ambiguity respecting the name Obed-edom has already (1 Chronicles 13:14) been alluded to. Neglecting this ambiguity, it may be repeated that Obed-edom,... son of Jedithun (as the Keri of this passage is) was a Merarite Levite, while Obed-edom son of Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 15:25) was of Gath-rimmon, a Gittite (2 Samuel 6:10-12; Joshua 21:24), a Kohathite (1 Chronicles 6:66, 69), and a Korhite (1 Chronicles 26:1-5).
And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon,
Verse 39. - While those above-mentioned were to officiate before the ark on Zion, those mentioned in this and following verses are the officiating staff at Gibson. It is now brought into prominence that the ark and the tabernacle are in two separate places. The great ordinary sacrifices and services, "all that is written in the Law of the Lord," are carefully observed on the original altar (Exodus 38:2) in the tabernacle. Other and special sacrifices evidently were offered in the presence of the ark. The tabernacle erected in the wilderness was first stationed at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1; 1 Samuel 4:3, 4). The occasion of its removal to Nob (1 Samuel 21:1; 1 Samuel 22:19) is not narrated. The present passage first tells us where it had been since the slaughter of the priests at Saul's command by Doeg the Edomite. Some distinct statement, like that of 1 Chronicles 21:29 and 2 Chronicles 1:3, might have been expected here. Zadok the priest is given (1 Chronicles 6:4-9) as in the line of Eleazar.
To offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD, which he commanded Israel;
Verse 40. - To offer burnt offerings; i.e. the customary morning and evening sacrifices.
And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever;
Verses 41, 42. - Comparing these verses with vers. 4-6 and 37-40, it may be supposed that we are intended to understand that of all who were set apart and who had been expressed by name (as e.g. 1 Chronicles 15:4-24), some were now formally appointed to serve before the ark, and some in the tabernacle at Gibeon. The confusion existing in these verses by the repetition of the preposition with, and the proper names Heman and Jeduthun, betrays some corruptness of text. The Septuagint does not show them in the latter verse. The sons of Jeduthun are found in 1 Chronicles 25:3.
And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.
And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.
Verse 43. - (See 2 Samuel 6:19, 20.)

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