1 Chronicles 16
By Kyle Rapinchuk
As there is still no temple, David makes arrangements for Asaph and his family to remain with the ark and blow trumpets and sing regularly before the LORD (vv. 5-7). As the passage continues the Chronicler records a song, parts of which are reflected/used in Psalms 96, 105, and 106. The song is one of thanksgiving and covers a number of topics related to God’s faithfulness, glory, and creatorship. This thankfulness, as verses 31 and 41 demonstrate, are on account of his steadfast love. Three points specifically jump out at me as I read it.
First, the people are twice exhorted to remember (v. 12, 15). They are encouraged to remember God’s wonderful works (v. 12) and then His covenant (v. 15). As Scripture often highlights, a failure to remember either or both of these things is a precursor to idolatry and all forms of wickedness.
Second, there is perhaps a somewhat curious emphasis on the nations. At the very moment that the ark has returned to Jerusalem, one would expect a more nationalistic focus on Judah. Yet David twice emphasizes the need to proclaim to the nations God’s glory and wonderful works (v. 24) and the reality that YHWH is King (v. 31). This is intriguing, and is likely best understood related to its position in the text. These reminders follow mention of God’s covenant with Abraham (v. 16) and precede God’s covenant with David (ch. 17). Much like the genealogies of chapters 1-9, this helps establish covenant continuity—God’s plan to bless the nations through Abraham’s offspring is also a concern of the Davidic Covenant.
Third, the song emphasizes God’s name, Yahweh (YHWH). Four times the song emphasizes His name (v. 8, 10, 29, 35) and calls upon people to praise and ascribe glory to the name of Yahweh.