Plans to Move the Ark to Jerusalem

David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God except the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place which he had prepared for it. David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with 120 of his relatives; of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with 220 of his relatives; of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with 130 of his relatives; of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with 200 of his relatives; of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with 80 of his relatives; 10 of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with 112 of his relatives.

11 Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites—Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, 12 and he said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves, both you and your relatives, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. 13 Because you did not [carry it as God directed] the first time, the Lord our God made an [angry] outburst against us, for we did not seek Him in accordance with the ordinance.”(A) 14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated (dedicated) themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 The Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

16 Then David told the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives as the singers, with instruments of music—harps, lyres, and cymbals—to play loudly and to raise sounds of joy [with their voices]. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari their relatives, Ethan the son of Kushaiah, 18 and with them their relatives of the second rank: Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the gatekeepers. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were appointed to sound aloud the bronze cymbals; 20 and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah [were to play] with [a]harps tuned to Alamoth [that is, a high pitch]; 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres set to Sheminith [that is, the eighth string, a low pitch]. 22 Chenaniah, leader of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skilled. 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer the priests blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah (Jeiel) were also gatekeepers for the ark.

25 So David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26 Because God was helping the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord [to do it carefully and safely], they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah, director of the music of the singers. David also wore an ephod (a priestly upper garment) of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres.

29 It happened that as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, Michal [David’s wife] the daughter of Saul, looking down through a window, saw King David leaping and dancing [in celebration]; and [b]she despised him in her heart.


  1. 1 Chronicles 15:20 Or harps of maiden-like tone, i.e. soprano. This particular instrument may have resembled a guitar.
  2. 1 Chronicles 15:29 Michal strongly disapproved of David’s undignified entry into the city wearing the ephod instead of his royal robes (see note 2 Sam 6:20).

Cross references

  1. 1 Chronicles 15:13 : Num 1:50; 1 Chr 13:7-10