David and the Psalms
The Liturgical World 03
Many of us when we hear the word ‘worship’ often begin thinking about Christian music in general. Yet this is a new development. From the time of Noah until the time of David we do not read of singing in a worship setting. Beside from an initial trumpet blast calling the Israelites to gather the offerings seem to have been done almost silently. When we do see singing and music it is often in response to God’s saving acts (the song of Miriam) or part of battle (the trumpets of Jericho).
David brings music and singing into the worship liturgy of Israel. It begins when he brings the Ark up into Jerusalem and places it in a tent that he has pitched. This is not Moses’ tent of meeting which was still in existence but a new tent, David’s tent, on Zion.
Bringing the Ark up to Jerusalem
1 Cor 15-16 report to us the story of David bringing up the Ark into Jerusalem. In this story he appoints the levites to sing before the Ark.
1 Chronicles 15:16
 David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.
1 Chronicles 15:24
 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, should blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were to be gatekeepers for the ark.
At first we see this happening in ch 15 with the act of bringing the ark into Jerusalem. Sacrifices are offered every couple of steps and the levites are raising sounds of Joy.
The flow of the events in chapters 15-16 could be outlined below.
1 Chr 15:1. A new tent is pitched
1 Chr 15:2. Levites are commanded to carry the ark
1 Chr 15:3-4, All Israel and Levites gathered at Jerusalem
1 Chr 15:5-15, Levites called to consecrate themselves in light of the previous sin.
1 Chr 15:16-24, Levitical singers and musicians appointed to raise sounds of joy and blow trumpets before the ark.
1 Chr 15:25-28, The Ark is brought up into Jerusalem with rejoicing, sacrifice and loud music.
1 Chr 15:29, The sin of Michal
1 Chr 16:1, Sacrifices of ascension and peace are offered.
1 Chr 16:2-3, David blesses the people, gives them gifts of bread, meat, and cake of raisin.
1 Chr 16:4-7, David appoints Levites to minister before the Ark to invoke, to thank, to praise the Lord, to play harps and lyres, and to regularly blow trumpets before the Ark. David appoints that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by them.
1 Chr 16:8-36a, David’s song of thanksgiving.
1 Chr 16:36b, the people respond with Amen and praise the Lord.
1 Chr 16:37-38, Asaph and his brothers left to minister to the Lord regularly before the Ark.
1 Chr 16:39-40, Zadok and the priests left to offer offerings to the Lord at the tent of meeting in Gibeah.
1 Chr 16:41-42, Heman and Jeduthun espressely named to give thanks to the Lord with their musical instruments. Sons of Jeduthun are gatekeepers.
1 Chr 16:43, People depart to their homes and David blesses his family.
What is of special interest to us is 16:37-40
37 So David left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister regularly before the ark as each day required, 38 and also Obed-edom and his sixty-eight brothers, while Obed-edom, the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah were to be gatekeepers.
39 And he left Zadok the priest and his brothers the priests before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon 40 to offer burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, to do all that is written in the Law of the LORD that he commanded Israel.
The pitching of David’s tent in Jerusalem does not bring to an end the tent of meeting at Gibeah. Instead we now have two places of worship, one primarily sacrificial (Gibeah) and the other primarily musical (Zion).1
The sacrificial worship at Gibeah is to continue regularly according to the Law of Moses, morning and evening, and to do all that Lord commanded Israel. Likewise the worship at Zion is to be done ‘regularly’ as ‘each day required’. Both words are levitical technical terms referring to the morning and evening sacrifice2 and the liturgical calendar.3 This informs us ‘that songs were sung at Zion at the time of the daily offerings, and apparently a heightened musical performance took place on feast days, to coordinate with the heightened sacrificial worship.’4
This is a unique period in redemptive history. Never have the Levites been able to ‘minister before the Ark’. Moses appointed them to raised up the ark on their shoulders to carry it to and throw, but now David has organised them to raise up the ark in song. Only the high priest could enter the most holy place and minister before the ark yet now these Levites have free access to minister before the ark.
Asaph in Psalm 50:14 writes ‘offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving’ (vs14) and again ‘the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me’ (vs23). David says in Psalm 27:6 ‘I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.’
Surprisingly this free access to worship before the Ark in song is extended to David. In bringing up the Ark in 1 Chr 15 David had already worn the ephod of a priest and speaks the blessing upon the people at the conclusion. It seems he has a priestly role or worship leading role at this tent on Zion. In 2 Sam 7 after bringing the Ark to Jerusalem David desires to build a house for the Lord. Nathan the prophet instead tells David that God would build David’s house. Afterwards in vs18 we read ‘then King David went in and sat before the LORD’. The only possible location for this to happen is in the tent he had just pitched for the ark of the Lord.
Unlike the tent of meeting the tent of David seems to be undivided. The evidence pointing us in this direction is first negative and then positive. Negatively there is no mention of the tent being divided into two rooms. We only read simply of a tent pitched for the ark. Postively the free access of the Levites and David himself to sing, stand and even sit before the Lord best agrees with an undivided tent. David will say in Psalm 27:4
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
David desires to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and dwell in his house all the days of his life. His desire is fulfilled in the tent that he has pitched, for there he may gaze upon the Lord and dwell in his presence. As all the psalms written by David were written before the Temple of Solomon was built we may understand them (any many other psalms) in reference to the tent of David where the Lord dwells enthroned on the cherubim of the ark.
Here in this unique period of redemptive history we see songs and sacrifice begin to merge. As already quoted in the psalms of David and Asaph above ‘thanksgiving’ is specifically called a ‘sacrifice.’ The daily offerings of animals at Gibeah are being mixed with the daily songs of Zion.5 This has importance for us as Christians, not only because the worship leader is a king of the tribe of Judah, not only because there is free access into God’s presence, but because this tent is applied to us in the book of Acts (15:13-18).
13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’
As Christians we are called to ‘present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship’ (Romans 12:1) as well as to ‘continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name’ (Hebrews 13:15).
We are living out the rebuilt tent of David as the church. Here our king from Judah is our worship leader and our sacrifice, through Him we have free access into God’s presence, and through him we offer up ourselves to God through praise and thanksgiving.
The context informs us that the ministry here is musical. 1 Chr 16:4-7 Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph was the chief, and second to him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, who were to play harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, 6 and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. 7 Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the LORD by Asaph and his brothers.
“Continually" translates tamid, a technical term for the morning and evening offerings at the Mosaic tabernacle. Exodus 29:41-42 prescribes an ascension offering of a lamb every evening and morning, as a "continual [tamid] ascension throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before Yahweh." In Numbers 28-29, the same word is used some seventeen times, always with reference to the daily ascension offering. - Peter J. Leithart. From Silence to Song
The phrase "as every day's work required" or some similar phrase is used in connection with the appointed times or feasts of Israel.'; Leviticus 23:37 summarizes the liturgical calendar of Israel with these words: "These are the appointed times of Yahweh which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present food offerings to Yahweh-ascensions and tributes, communion sacrifices and libations, each day's matter on its own day." Again in 2 Chronicles 8:12-13, 13, Solomon kept the appointed times prescribed by the Mosaic law "according to the daily rule," and the restoration community celebrated the Feast of Booths by offering the prescribed number of ascensions "as each day required" (Ezra 3:4).Thus, this phrase refers specifically to the additional animal offerings provided for Israel's feast days; to the tamid offerings were added offerings "according cording to the daily rule.” - Peter J. Leithart. From Silence to Song
Peter J. Leithart. From Silence to Song
Sacrifice and Song will be brought together in Solomon’s Temple, 2 Chr 5:12.