The Ark Comes to the Temple
“The LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. And there I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel” (6:10–11).- 2 Chronicles 5:1–6:11
After the temple and its furnishings were completed, it was time to bring to the temple the treasures David dedicated to the Lord and, more important, the ark of the covenant. Today’s passage describes that process.
Second Chronicles 5:1 tells us that the first thing Solomon did once the temple was finished was to fill the rooms in the temple portico with “the things that David his father had dedicated . . . the silver, the gold, and all the vessels” (see 1 Chron. 29:1–5). These would constitute the initial deposits into the “treasuries of the house of God” and would be used for temple upkeep (2 Chron. 5:1).
Next, Solomon assembled the elders and other leaders of Israel to witness his bringing of the ark and other vessels from “the tent of meeting”—the tabernacle—into the temple. We see in 2 Chronicles 5:2–5 that these things were brought up “out of the city of David, which is Zion,” meaning not that they left Jerusalem but that they were taken up the temple mount, which was also located in the Holy City. David had brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem during his reign (2 Sam. 6). Scripture does not tell us exactly when the tabernacle and its vessels came to Jerusalem, but at some point before the events recorded in today’s passage, the tabernacle would have been transported to the city from Gibeon (1 Chron. 21:29).
Much celebration attended the transport of the tabernacle and the ark. Offerings of praise and thanksgiving were so grand that the number of animals sacrificed could not be counted (2 Chron. 5:6). Music also played a prominent role. In addition to Levitical singers with cymbals, harps, and lyres, 120 priests picked up trumpets and joined in providing the tunes for worship (vv. 7–12). These would have been priests who were temporarily on a break from temple service because it was not their turn in the rotation of priests who kept the sanctuary. While the musicians sang and played in unison, the glory cloud—a visible depiction of God’s presence—filled the temple (vv. 13–14). The same thing had happened in the tabernacle when it was finished (Ex. 40:34–38), so the presence of the cloud indicated God’s approval of the temple as His earthly dwelling place.
Solomon spoke to the people, announcing that God had kept His promises in allowing him to build the temple (2 Chron. 6:1–11). A high point in the history of old covenant Israel had been reached, but sadly, decline was not far off.
Our omnipresent Creator is not confined to any one place. However, He did make His presence felt in a special way in the old covenant temple. Today He is “enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Ps. 22:3). When God’s people gather for worship, they can be sure of the Lord’s presence among them. Let us keep that in mind this Lord’s Day and always so that we might understand what is happening in our worship.
Passages for Further Study
1 Kings 8:1–21