Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
The Removal of the Ark from Kirjath-Jearim. David's Building, His Wives and Children, and His Victories over the Philistines.The Bringing of the Ark into the City of David, and the Arrangement of the Worship in Mount Zion
1 Chronicles 13-16
All these facts are described in the second book of Samuel, for the most part in the same words. There, however, the contents of our chapter 14, David's building, wives and children, and victories over the Philistines, immediately follow, in Ch1 5:11-25, the account of the conquest of the citadel of Zion (Ch1 11:4-8); and then in 2 Sam 6 the removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim, and the bringing of it, after an interval of three months, to Jerusalem, are narrated consecutively, but much more shortly than in the Chronicle. The author of the books of Samuel confined himself to a mere narration of the transfer of the ark to Jerusalem, as one of the first acts of David tending to the raising of the Israelitish kingship, and has consequently, in his estimation of the matter, only taken account of its importance politically to David as king. The author of our Chronicle, on the contrary, has had mainly in view the religious significance of this design of David to restore the Levitic cultus prescribed in the Mosaic law; and in order to impress that upon the reader, he not only gives a detailed account of the part which the Levites took in the solemn transfer of the ark of God (1 Chron 15), but he sets forth minutely the arrangements which David made, after the ark had been brought into the capital of the kingdom, for the restoration of a permanent worship about that sanctuary (1 Chron 16). Both the narratives are taken from an original document which related the matter more at length; and from it the author of 2 Samuel has excerpted only what was important for his purpose, while the author of the Chronicle gives a more detailed account. The opinion held by de Wette and others, that the narrative in the Chronicle is merely an expansion by the author of the Chronicle, or by the author of the original document followed by our chronicler, of the account in 2 Sam 6, for the purpose of glorifying the Levitic cultus, is shown to be incorrect and untenable by the multitude of historical statements peculiar to 1 Chron 15 and 16, which could not possibly have been invented.
1 Chronicles 13:1
The removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim. Cf. Sa2 6:1-11, with the commentary on the substance of the narrative there given.
The introduction to this event is in Sa2 6:1 and Sa2 6:2 very brief; but according to our narrative, David consulted with the chief men over thousands and hundreds (Ch1 15:25), viz., with all the princes. The preposition ל before כּל־נגּיד groups together the individual chiefs of the people just named. He laid his purpose before "all the congregation of Israel," i.e., before the above-mentioned princes as representatives of the whole people. "If it seem good to you, and if it come from Jahve our God," i.e., if the matter be willed of and approved by God, we will send as speedily as possible. The words נשׁלחה נפרצה without the conjunction are so connected that נשׁלחה defines the idea expressed by נפרצה, "we will break through, will send," for "we will, breaking through," i.e., acting quickly and energetically, "send thither." The construction of שׁלח with על is accounted for by the fact that the sending thither includes the notion of commanding (צוּה על). כּל־ארצות, all the provinces of the various tribal domains, is used for כּל־חארץ, Sa1 13:19, here, and Ch2 11:23 and Ch2 34:33; in all which places the idea of the division of the land into a number of territories is prominent. This usage is founded upon Gen 26:3 and Gen 26:4, where the plural points to the number of small tribes which possessed Canaan. After ועמּהם, על or על נשׁלחה is to be repeated. The words דרשׁנהוּ לא in Ch1 13:3, we have not sought it, nor asked after it, are meant to include all.
1 Chronicles 13:4
As the whole assembly approved of David's design (כּן לעשׂות, it is to do so = so much we do), David collected the whole of Israel to carry it out. "The whole of Israel," from the southern frontier of Canaan to the northern; but of course all are not said to have been present, but there were numerous representatives from every part, - according to Sa2 6:1, a chosen number of 30,000 men. The מצרים שׁיחור, which is named as the southern frontier, is not the Nile, although it also is called שׁחר (Isa 23:3 and Jer 2:18), and the name "the black river" also suits it (see Del. on Isaiah, loc. cit.); but is the שׁיחור before, i.e., eastward from Egypt (מצרים על־פּני אשׁר), i.e., the brook of Egypt, מצרים נחל, the Rhinocorura, now el Arish, which in all accurate statements of the frontiers is spoken of as the southern, in contrast to the neighbourhood of Hamath, which was the northern boundary: see on Num 34:5. For the designation of the northern frontier, חמת לבוא, see on Num 34:8. Kirjath-jearim, the Canaanitish Baalah, was known among the Israelites by the name Baale Jehudah or Kirjath-baal, as distinguished from other cities named after Baal, and is now the still considerable village Kureyeh el Enab; see on Jos 9:17. In this fact we find the explanation of י אל ק בּעלתה, Ch1 13:6 : to Baalah, to Kirjath-jearim of Judah. The ark had been brought thither when the Philistines sent it back to Beth-shemesh, and had been set down in the house of Abinadab, where it remained for about seventy years; see 1 Sam 6 and Sa1 7:1-2, and the remarks on Sa2 6:3. שׁם נקרא אשׁר is not to be translated "which is named name," which gives no proper sense. Translating it so, Bertheau would alter שׁם into שׁם, according to an arbitrary conjecture of Thenius on Sa2 6:2, "who there (by the ark) is invoked." But were שׁם the true reading, it could not refer to the ark, but only to the preceding משּׁם, since in the whole Old Testament the idea that by or at the resting-place of the ark Jahve was invoked (which שׁם אשׁר would signify) nowhere occurs, since no one could venture to approach the ark. If שׁם referred to משּׁם, it would signify that Jahve was invoked at Kirjath-baal, that there a place of worship had been erected by the ark; but of that the history says nothing, and it would, moreover, be contrary to the statement that the ark was not visited in the days of Saul. We must consequently reject the proposal to alter שׁם into שׁם as useless and unsuitable, and seek for another explanation: we must take אשׁר in the sense of ὡς, which it sometimes has; cf. Ew. 333, a.: "as he is called by name," where שׁם does not refer only to יהוה, but also to the additional clause הכּרוּבים יושׁב, and the meaning is that Jahve is invoked as He who is enthroned above the cherubim; cf. Psa 80:2; Isa 37:16. - On the following Ch1 13:7-14, cf. the commentary on Sa2 6:3-11.