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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
David brings the ark into its tent; and offers sacrifices, peace-offerings, and burnt-offerings, 1 Chronicles 16:1, 1 Chronicles 16:2; and gives portions to the people of Israel, 1 Chronicles 16:3. He appoints proper ministers and officers for the ark, 1 Chronicles 16:4-6. He delivers a solemn thanksgiving on the occasion, vv. 7-36. How the different officers served at the ark, 1 Chronicles 16:37-42. The people return home, 1 Chronicles 16:43.
1So 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.
2And 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.
He blessed the people - "He blessed the people in the name of the Word of the Lord." - T.
3And 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.
To every one a loaf of bread - A whole cake. A good piece of flesh; "the sixth part of an ox, and the sixth part of a hin of wine." - T. See 2 Samuel 6:18-20; see Jarchi also.
4And 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:
5Asaph 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;
Asaph - See the preceding chapter, 1 Chronicles 15:17 (note), etc.
6Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.
7Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
David delivered first this psalm - I believe the meaning of this place to be this: David made the psalm on the occasion above specified; and delivered it to Asaph, who was the musician, and to his brethren, to be sung by them in honor of what God had done in behalf of his people.
8Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
That seek the Lord - "That seek the Word of the Lord." - T.
11Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
12Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
Remember his marvellous works - The whole of the psalm refers to God's wondrous actions among the nations in behalf of Israel.
13O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
15Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
16Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
17And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
19When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
20And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people;
21He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
22Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Touch not mine anointed - By this title the patriarchs are generally understood: they had a regal and sacerdotal power in the order of God. In the behalf of the patriarchs God had often especially interfered: in behalf of Abraham, Genesis 12:17; Genesis 20:3; and of Jacob, Genesis 31:24; Genesis 34:26; Genesis 35:5. But the title may be applied to all the Jewish people, who were the anointed, as they were the elect and peculiar people of God. See on Hebrews 11:26 (note).
23Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
24Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
25For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
26For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
27Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
28Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
29Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
30Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
31Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.
Let the heavens be glad - "Let the supreme angels be glad, and the inhabitants of the earth rejoice." - T. In this place the Targumist uses the Greek word αγγελοι, angels, in Hebrew letters thus, אנגלי angeley.
32Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
33Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth.
34O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
35And 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.
Save us, O God of our salvation - As he is the saving God, so we may pray to him to save us. To pray to God under the attribute the influence of which we need, serves to inspire much confidence. I am weak; Almighty God, help me! I am ignorant; O thou Father of lights, teach me! I am lost; O merciful God, save me; etc. See the notes on Psalm 96:1-13 (note) and Psalm 105 (note).
36Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
37So 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:
38And Obededom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obededom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:
39And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon,
Zadok the priest - Both Zadok and Abiathar were high priests at this time: the former David established at Gibeah, or Gibeon, where the ark had been all the days of Saul; and the latter he established at Jerusalem, where the ark now was: so there were two high priests, and two distinct services; but there was only one ark. How long the service at Gibeon was continued we cannot tell; the principal functions were no doubt performed at Jerusalem.
40To 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;
41And 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;
42And 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.
Musical instruments of God - Ad canendum Deo, "to sing to God." - Vulgate. Των ωδων του Θεου, "of the sons of God." - Septuagint. The Syriac is remarkable: "These were upright men who did not sing unto God with instruments of music, nor with drums, nor with listra, nor with straight nor crooked pipes, nor with cymbals; but they sang before the Lord Almighty with a joyous mouth, and with a pure and holy prayer, and with innocence and integrity." The Arabic is nearly the same. None of the versions understand the words כלי שיר האלהים keley shir haelohim as implying instruments of music of God, but instruments employed in the song of God, or to praise God; as also the Targum. Query, Did God ever ordain instruments of music to be used in his worship? Can they be used in Christian assemblies according to the spirit of Christianity? Has Jesus Christ, or his apostles, ever commanded or sanctioned the use of them? Were they ever used any where in the apostolic Church? Does the use of them at present, in Christian congregations, ever increase the spirit of devotion? Does it ever appear that bands of musicians, either in their collective or individual capacity, are more spiritual, or as spiritual, as the other parts of the Church of Christ? Is there less pride, self-will, stubbornness, insubordination, lightness, and frivolity, among such persons, than among the other professors of Christianity found in the same religious society? Is it ever remarked or known that musicians in the house of God have attained to any depth of piety, or superior soundness of understanding, in the things of God? Is it ever found that those Churches and Christian societies which have and use instruments of music in Divine worship are more holy, or as holy, as those societies which do not use them? And is it always found that the ministers which affect and recommend them to be used in the worship of Almighty God, are the most spiritual men, and the most spiritual and useful preachers? Can mere sounds, no matter how melodious, where no word nor sentiment is or can be uttered, be considered as giving praise to God? Is it possible that pipes or strings of any kind can give God praise? Can God be pleased with sounds which are emitted by no sentient being, and have in themselves no meaning? If these questions cannot be answered in the affirmative: then, query, Is not the introduction of such instruments into the worship of God antichristian, and calculated to debase and ultimately ruin the spirit and influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? And should not all who wish well to the spread and establishment of pure and undefiled religion, lift up their hand, their influence, and their voice against them? The argument from their use in the Jewish service is futile in the extreme when applied to Christianity.
43And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.