Our reading today begins with the king of Tyre sending David building materials for his palace (14:1). The Chronicler points to this as confirmation that David knew God had made him king, and that God did for the good of Israel (v. 2). This parallels the account in 2 Samuel 5:11-12. But note in the next verse that whereas 1 Samuel says David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:13), the Chronicler just says “wives” (1 Chr 14:3). The lists of sons is also slightly different. Whatever the reason, we know of David’s weakness for women. We also know that God forbade kings to “multiply wives” (Deut 17:17).
In verses 8-17, we read of David’s victories against the Philistines. The writer is adding to the reasons that David is the true king of Israel. As opposed to Saul, not only was David victorious against Israel’s greatest earthly enemy, but he only went to battle at God’s word (v. 10, 14), and recognized that it was God Who won the victories (v. 11). The writer then adds verses 17 (not in 2 Sam 5). God gave David fame in all lands and nations, and they feared him. The Chronicler is offering hope to the returning exiles (who were still under foreign rule!) that the coming Son of David would rule over the nations. And He would (see Rev 12:5).
Chapter 15 records the Ark coming to Jerusalem.* The writer is pointing to David’s restoration of the Levitical role in worship (15:2, 4, 14-15). David also establishes the music ministry to the Lord (v. 16). Verses 25-28 record the same events as 2 Samuel 6:12-15. But the writer here adds v. 26 – God was actively involved in this momentous occasion. In verse 27, we see that David took on a priestly role as the king. This would become prescriptive for all of Christ’s followers in the New Testament (see 1 Peter 2:9). The writer bookends his account by pointing out that the entire nation was as one in their worship under David (vv. 3, 28). All, that is, except Saul’s daughter (v. 29).
Psalm 132 is one of the 15 Songs of Ascents. The Songs of Ascents are the songs pilgrims would sing as they traveled up the mountain towards Jerusalem and the Temple of God, usually for the feasts. Psalm 132 is believed by some to have been written by David about the Ark coming “home” to Jerusalem. Solomon loosely quotes 132:8-10 in his prayer of dedication for the Temple (2 Chr 6:41-42). The Psalm praises God for choosing David as His anointed king, and Jerusalem as His own dwelling place (see Deut 12:11).
The Psalm begins with a call for God to remember David’s faithfulness to Him through all his hardships, all but saying that the reason David wanted to conquer the land was to give God a place to dwell, as opposed to God giving His people a place to dwell (132:1-5). In verse 6, we have the place where David formerly dwelt (Ephrathah is Bethlehem) and the place where the Ark, and therefore, God’s presence, formerly dwelt (Jaar is Kiriath-jearim). His anointed and His presence came to live together in Jerusalem.
In verse 8, the Psalmist differentiates between God and the Ark. The Ark represented His presence. David worshiped God, not the Ark. If we understand this Psalm to be Messianic (which the early church did), then the priests and saints of verse 9 are the same people, and verse 10 refers to Christ. From David’s point of view (if he did indeed write this), he is calling on God to keep His covenant with him. This seems to be exactly the case when we read verses 11-12.
Verses 13-14 describes Zion (Jerusalem) as the Personal choice of God for His dwelling. God will bless the place of His dwelling and provide for those there (v. 15). Verse 16 answers the prayer of verses 9. Verse 17-18 answers the prayer of verse 10. And, of course, on this side of the cross, we know that God’s anointed came to His people, and that His dwelling place is among them. This is about Christ and His church.
*It is important to note, I think, that the Ark was not brought to the Tabernacle. In 15:1, we are told that David prepared a place and pitched a new tent for the Ark. Many will point to the “new cart” of 13:7 and point out that since the Ark was to be carried on poles, the “new cart” displeased God and that is part of the reason for His anger. But here, even though the Ark is coming to a “new” tent, God is part of the worship and celebration (15:26). While there are those that will decry that churches include things like drums, contemporary music, modern Bible translations, etc. in worship because they are “new carts” (that is, new ways to carry the message of God), it is clear that the cart was not the problem. God is not concerned with carts, or tents, or drums, or specific translations (and as far as I know, the early church didn’t play pianos, sing hymns, and use Old English, either. But I digress…). God is concerned with people. God is concerned with the heart. God is concerned with our desire to please Him with our worship. This is why the Ark in a new tent with a non-Levite (David) acting as priest pleased Him.