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1 Chronicles 13

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

 NASB  NKJV  NRSV  TEV   NJB
(LXX versing)
Peril in Transporting the Ark The Ark Brought from Kiriath-jearim David's Concern to Bring the Ark to Jerusalem The Covenant Box is Moved from Kiriath Jearim The Ark Brought Back from Kiriath-jearim
13:1-4 13:1-4 13:1-4 13:1-4 13:1-3
13:4-11
13:5-8 13:5-8 13:5-8 13:5-8
13:9-14 13:9-12 13:9-14 13:9-11
13:12-14 13:12-14
13:13-14

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

  1. 1 Chronicles 13 reflects 2 Samuel 6.

  2. 1 Chronicles 14 reflects 2 Samuel 5.

  3. Notice how the Chronicler often subordinates chronology for theology.

  4. The OT is not modern western, cause-and-effect chronological history. History is hard to define. It often reflects the views of the one who selected what to record, how to record it, and his comments on it.

  5. 1 Chronicles 13:1-4 have no parallel in 2 Samuel 6. They are not about democracy but about tribal unity (i.e., "all Israel").

  6. The Chronicler wants David's priority to be with spiritual, cultic matters. This is why:
    1. he reverses the chronology of 2 Samuel 5 and 6
    2. he leaves out David's motives expressed in 2 Sam. 6:12

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE OLD TESTAMENT AS HISTORY

SPECIAL TOPIC: OLD TESTAMENT HISTORICAL NARRATIVE

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 13:1-4
1Then David consulted with the captains of the thousands and the hundreds, even with every leader. 2David said to all the assembly of Israel, "If it seems good to you, and if it is from the Lord our God, let us send everywhere to our kinsmen who remain in all the land of Israel, also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their cities with pasture lands, that they may meet with us; 3and let us bring back the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul." 4Then all the assembly said that they would do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

13:1-4 This account is not recorded in 2 Samuel 6.

13:1 "the thousands and the hundreds" These numbers refer to military units.

Notice there are three levels.

  1. rulers (BDB 978) of thousands
  2. rulers (BDB 978) of hundreds
  3. every leader (BDB 617)

This term has a wide semantical field and is used in Chronicles for

  1. tribal chief ‒ 1 Chr. 12:27; 2 Chr. 19:11
  2. military commander ‒ 1 Chr. 13:1; 27:4
  3. palace official ‒ 2 Chr. 28:7
  4. temple officials ‒ 1 Chr. 9:20; 26:24; 2 Chr. 31:12
  5. high priest ‒ 2 Chr. 31:13

SPECIAL TOPIC: THOUSAND (eleph)

13:2 "the assembly of Israel" This is the Hebrew Qahal. In the LXX it is translated "ekklesia" which the early church used to describe itself.

SPECIAL TOPIC: CHURCH (ekklesia)

▣ "if. . .if" Notice how the freewill choice of the assembly (cf. 1 Chr. 13:4) is parallel with the will of YHWH (assuming an intended repeat of the VERB).

SPECIAL TOPIC: PREDESTINATION (CALVINISM) VS. HUMAN FREE WILL (ARMINIANISM)

▣ "let us send everywhere" This is literally two COHORTATIVE VERBS.

  1. "to send" (2 Chr. 31:5) or "to break through" (cf. 1 Chr. 13:11) ‒ BDB 829 I, KB 971, Qal COHORTATIVE
  2. "spread abroad" ‒ BDB 1018, KB 1511, Qal COHORTATIVE

▣ "their cities" This refers to the special cities given to the tribe of Levi (cf. Joshua 20-21). These were spread through Canaan and the trans-Jordan area. They did not belong exclusively to the Levites, but plots of land surrounding them were assigned to Levitical families.

13:3 This is another COHORTATIVE. Israel had neglected the ark during the reign of Saul (cf. 1 Sam. 7:1-2; 1 Chr. 10:14).

It is possible that "it" should be "he," referring to YHWH (cf. NET Bible). If so, this is another evidence why the kingship passed from Saul to David.

13:4-5 "all the assembly. . .all the people. . .all Israel" This corporate national unity is a major theological theme in Chronicles (cf. 1 Chr. 13:6,8). The focus is the promise to the Patriarchs. YHWH's people who divided in 922 B.C. are now one again.

SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT PROMISES TO THE PATRIARCHS

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 13:5-8
5So David assembled all Israel together, from the Shihor of Egypt even to the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim, which belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, the Lord who is enthroned above the cherubim, where His name is called. 7They carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. 8David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, even with songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and with trumpets.

13:5 "Shihor" There are two theories.

  1. the most southern border of Canaan. It is known as "the Wady-el-Arish," "the brook of Egypt" (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:65), or "the River of Egypt" (cf. Gen. 15:18). It is associated with this southern boundary in Jos. 13:3, cf. 1 Chr. 13:5.
  2. another name for one of the eastern delta channels of the Nile (cf. Isa. 23:3; Jer. 2:18)

▣ "Hamath" This is a Syrian city on the Orontes River. It denoted the most northern reaches of God's land-gift to Israel (cf. Num. 34:8; 1 Kgs. 8:65; 2 Kgs. 14:25; 2 Chr. 7:8).

Notice that this verse assumes that the Israeli tribes have all conquered their tribal allocations from the very south to the very north. The book of Judges shows this was never the case!

Also notice the usual phrase to denote all of Israel "from Dan to Beersheba" (cf. Jdgs. 20:1) is replaced with "Shihor. . .Hamath." Even when the "Dan to Beersheba" is used, the Chronicler lists "Beersheba" first (cf. 1 Chr. 21:2; 2 Chr. 30:5), which shows his orientation favoring Judah.

▣ "the ark of God" SPECIAL TOPIC: ARK OF THE COVENANT

13:6 "Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim" The name "Baalah" would refer to a Canaanite female fertility goddess (Asherah, Anath, Astarte). This was a location in northern Judah but it goes by several names.

  1. Baalah, Kiriath-jearim ‒ Jos. 15:9,10; 1 Chr. 13:6
  2. Kiriath-baal ‒ Jos. 15:60; 18:14
  3. Baale-judah ‒ 2 Sam. 6:2

There are other locations in Judah that go by this name.

  1. a city in the Negev ‒ Jos. 15:29
  2. a Mount Baalah in the northwest part of Judah's tribal allocation ‒ Jos. 15:11
  3. a city in Simeon (later incorporated into Judah) called "Balah" ‒ Jos. 19:3; 1 Chr. 4:29

SPECIAL TOPIC: FERTILITY WORSHIP OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST

▣ ". . .God, the Lord" These are the two most common names for Deity in the OT (cf. 1 Chr. 13:2). They represent two aspects of Deity's character.

  1. Elohim ‒ creator, provider, sustainer
  2. YHWH ‒ covenant maker, savior

SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY, C and D.

▣ "the Lord who is enthroned above the cherubim" The space above the ark was viewed as the place YHWH dwelt enthroned (cf. 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2; 2 Kgs. 19:15; 1 Chr. 13:6; Isa. 37:16; Ps. 80:1; 99:1). Heaven and earth united here. It was His footstool (cf. 1 Chr. 28:2; Ps. 99:5).

SPECIAL TOPIC: ARK OF THE COVENANT

SPECIAL TOPIC: CHERUBIM

▣ "where His name is called" The Name stands for the person.

Calling on the name of the Lord/Lord was an act of worship (cf. Rom. 10:9-13).

SPECIAL TOPIC: "THE NAME" OF YHWH (OT)

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE NAME OF THE LORD (NT)

CC:VV "13:7 "they carried the ark of God on a new cart"" This was not the proper method of transporting the ark. It was to be carried by priests. After this tragedy (cf. 1 Chr. 13:9; 2 Sam. 6:6-11) David transported it in the proper way, with proper respect (cf. Exod. 25:14; Num. 4:15; Deut. 10:8; 1 Chr. 15:2,13) and later with due respect.

This may also reflect the improper way the traditions of the Philistines moved the ark (i.e., a new cart, cf. 1 Sam. 6:1-7). David must realize that neither the Philistines' way or his way (i.e., a new cart) was acceptable, even with good motives (i.e., Uzzah; see Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 219-221). God had told His people how to move the ark to keep it "holy" and they did not do it. Disobedience has consequences!

13:8 Music, both vocal and instrumental, was a major aspect of tabernacle and temple worship from David's day forward.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 13:9-14
9When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, because the oxen nearly upset it. 10The anger of the Lord burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God. 11Then David became angry because of the Lord's outburst against Uzza; and he called that place Perez-uzza to this day. 12David was afraid of God that day, saying, "How can I bring the ark of God home to me?" 13So David did not take the ark with him to the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the Lord blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.

13:9 "Chidon" The place is called "Nacon" in 2 Sam. 6:6.

▣ "Uzza" He was from the tribe of Judah, line of Abinadab (cf. 1 Sam. 7:1; 2 Sam. 6:3,4; 1 Chr. 13:7).

13:10 "The anger of the Lord burned" This is an anthropomorphic statement.

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE

13:11 "because of the Lord's outburst" The MT has "the Lord had broken through a break-through," where the Qal PERFECT VERB and NOUN of the same root are used (BDB 829 I, KB 971). This same VERB is used in 1 Chr. 13:2. It is also used in 1 Chr. 14:11; 15:13. YHWH acts in human history for His purposes!

▣ "Perez-uzza" This is a play on the word "break-through" (BDB 829 II).

13:12 "David was afraid of God" Notice how the true humanity of David is expressed by

  1. David became angry, 1 Chr. 13:11 (i.e., from the great joy of 1 Chr. 13:8)
  2. David was afraid of God, 1 Chr. 13:12
  3. David brought the ark to Jerusalem only when he saw God's blessing on the house of Obed-edom (1 Chr. 13:13-14; 26:5)

13:13 "Obed-edom the Gittite" This would denote a person from Gath, possibly a Levitical city in Dan (i.e., Gath-rimmon, cf. Jos. 19:45; 21:24,25; 1 Chr. 6:69). Josephus, Antiq. 7.5.4, says he was a Levite (cf. 1 Chr. 15:18,21,24,25). This may have been the reason David left the ark in his care.

The problem is that the Philistine city of Gath is much closer to Kiriath-jearim, which would mean that the ark was left with not only a non-Israelite but an enemy of Israel (cf. 2 Sam. 5:18,25, i.e., the second Philistine exile of the ark).

13:14 "family. . .house. . .family" This is three uses of one word ("beth," BDB 108).

  1. family
  2. house
  3. household

This same play occurs in the significantly important 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17 about David's "house" and his desire to build YHWH a "house" (i.e., "temple") but YHWH will build him a dynasty (i.e., house).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Why does the Chronicler reverse 1 Samuel 5 and 6?
  2. How does the theological theme "all Israel" play out in this chapter?
  3. How do human free will and Divine sovereignty merge in 1 Chr. 13:2?
  4. What is the theological significance of 1 Chr. 13:3?
  5. What is the symbolism of YHWH connected to the ark in 1 Chr. 13:6?
  6. Why was Uzzah killed and why is David angry and afraid?
  7. Who is Obed-edom?

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