1 Chronicles 15:26
And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) When God helped the Levites that bare the ark.—Comp. 2Samuel 6:13, “And it was so, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings” (sing. collect.). God had been adverse to those who conducted the Ark on the former occasion (1Chronicles 13:9), as was inferred from the sudden death of Uzza. Now, when the Levites had undertaken the work in due order, and no harm had befallen, it was understood that the Divine goodwill was with the enterprise. That they had borne the holy Ark six paces without any sign of wrath was enough to call forth the grateful offerings of hearts relieved from a dread which only ceased to haunt them when the event proved it to be groundless. Our text, more exact than Samuel, gives the number and kind of the victims then sacrificed. Others refer the two accounts to different sacrifices, taking Samuel to mean that at every six paces a bullock and a fat sheep were slain by priests stationed all along the course, while they suppose our text to refer to a final sacrifice, offered when the Ark had reached its destination. This solution of the difficulty appears incredible, especially as regards the supposition of priests not mentioned in the narrative. Another view understands our text in this sense, but makes the offering in Samuel an initial sacrifice of consecration. But it is not likely that the two sacrifices are really different: (1) because the narrative here is generally parallel with Samuel; and (2) the chronicler may have intentionally paraphrased the older text for the sake of explanation. (Comp. Numbers 23:1; Numbers 23:29 for the sacrifice.)

1 Chronicles 15:26. God helped the Levites — Not only preserved them from committing any error, so that no plague was inflicted upon them as had happened to Uzza, but gave them strength to bear their burden, and encouraged them in their work with some comfortable sign of his presence with them, and approbation of them.15:25-29 It is good to notice the assistance of Divine Providence, even in things which fall within the compass of our natural powers; if God did not help us, we could not stir a step. If we do our religious duties in any degree aright, we must own it was God that helped us; had we been left to ourselves, we should have been guilty of some fatal errors. And every thing in which we engage, must be done in dependence on the mercy of God through the sacrifice of the Redeemer.When God helped the Levites - The death of Uzza had deeply impressed both David and the Levites, and it was doubted whether God would allow the ark to be moved anymore. Sacrificial animals were held ready; and when it appeared - by the movement of the ark six paces 2 Samuel 6:13, without any manifestation of the divine displeasure - that God was not opposing but rather helping the Levites in their task, the victims were at once offered. 26. it came to pass, &c.—(See on [381]2Sa 6:13-23).

they offered seven bullocks and seven rams—The Levites seem to have entered on this duty with fear and trembling; and finding that they might advance without any such indications of divine wrath as Uzza had experienced (1Ch 13:10), they offered an ox and a fatted sheep immediately after starting (2Sa 6:13), and seven bullocks and seven rams—a perfect sacrifice, at the close of the procession (1Ch 16:1). It is probable that preparations had been made for the offering of similar sacrifices at regular intervals along the way.

When God helped the Levites; either,

1. By giving them strength to carry their burden; or rather,

2. By encouraging them in their work with some comfortable sign of his presence with them, and approbation of their work and manner of carrying the ark: when they saw that he did not cut off any of the persons employed, as he had done before, but spared and favoured them; which they perceived when they had gone six paces, as appears by 2 Samuel 6:13. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord,.... Not merely granted them bodily strength to carry it, which did not require a great deal; but helped them to carry it with cheerfulness, and without fear, and so as to commit no error, nor in any respect provoke his displeasure, as when it was brought before from Kirjathjearim:

that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams; by way of thanksgiving, besides what David offered; and this was done by the way, see 2 Samuel 6:13.

And it came to pass, when God {n} helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered {o} seven bullocks and seven rams.

(n) That is, gave them strength to execute their office.

(o) Besides the bullock and the fat beast which David offered at every sixth pace, 2Sa 6:13.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. when God helped the Levites] In 2 Samuel 6:13, when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces. The Chronicler interprets the safe start as a sign of Divine assistance.

seven bullocks and seven rams] In Sam. an ox and a fatling (so R.V., not, oxen and fatlings as A.V.). The smaller sacrifice of Samuel is represented as the king’s own offering, the larger sacrifice of Chron. as that of the king and his elders combined.Verse 26. - This verse with the following four are paralleled by 2 Samuel 6:12-16 The contents of this verse in particular reveal the intense anxiety and the trembling fear and awe with which the sacred burden was now again lifted. A world of meaning and of feeling for all those present at least underlay the expression, When God helped the Levites that bare the ark (comp. 1 Samuel 6:14, 15; 2 Samuel 6:13, 18). The offering of seven bullocks and seven rams is thought by some to he additional to David's offering, when he had gone "six paces" (2 Samuel 6:13). Much more probably, however, the "six paces" meant, not six footsteps, but six lengths that would make some distance. These singers formed three choirs, according to the instruments they played. Heman, Asaph, and Ethan played brazen cymbals להשׁמיע (1 Chronicles 15:19); Benaiah and the seven who follow played nablia (psalteria) עלמות על (1 Chronicles 15:20); while the last six played lutes (harps) לנצּח השּׁמינית על (1 Chronicles 15:21). These three Hebrew words plainly denote different keys in singing, but are, owing to our small acquaintance with the music of the Hebrews, obscure, and cannot be interpreted with certainty. נצּח, going over from the fundamental signification glitter, shine, into the idea of outshining and superior capacity, overwhelming ability, might also, as a musical term, denote the conducting of the playing and singing as well as the leading of them. The signification to direct is here, however, excluded by the context, for the conductors were without doubt the three chief musicians or bandmasters (Capellenmeister), Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, with the cymbals, not the psaltery and lute players belonging to the second rank. The conducting must therefore be expressed by להשׁמיע, and this word must mean "in order to give a clear tone," i.e., to regulate the tune and the tone of the singing, while לנצּח signifies "to take the lead in playing;" cf. Del. on Psalm 4:1. This word, moreover, is probably not to be restricted to the singers with the lutes, the third choir, but must be held to refer also to the second choir. The meaning then will be, that Heman, Asaph, and Ethan had cymbals to direct the song, while the other singers had partly psalteries, partly lutes, in order to play the accompaniment to the singing. The song of these two choirs is moreover distinguished and defined by עלמות על and השּׁמינית על. These words specify the kind of voices; עלמות על after the manner of virgins, i.e., in the soprano; השּׁמינית על, after the octave, i.e., in bass - al ottava bassa. See Del. on Psalm 6:1; Psalm 46:1. In 1 Chronicles 15:22-24 the still remaining priests who were engaged in the solemn procession are enumerated.
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