2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion.

"Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, she may forget, yet will I not forget thee."

In this response Yahweh declares that his affection for Zion is stronger than the strongest propensity of human nature.

The heart of woman has been steeled against her own offspring; for in the siege of Jerusalem,

"the hands of pitiful women have sodden their own children:"

but though they might forget to cherish their own flesh, Yahweh can neither finally forget nor forsake Zion, for "they are beloved for the fathers' sake." "I will not forget thee," are the emphatic words of Zion's God. But He does not cease with this assurance for he goes on to say,-

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. Thy children shall hasten; thy destroyers and them that made thee waste shall go forth from thee."

This declaration is fatal to the permanent occupation of Jerusalem by the Ottoman or any other Gentile power. All Gentiles are to be expelled from that city...

Herald 01 /1855

5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.

The finishing of the house of Yahweh was the signal for a great celebration. David, who had received the pattern of the house under inspiration, had entrusted the entire plan to Solomon, who had faithfully built it according to the details provided. 7 But David had also given him the pattern of the courses, and, as a result, when Solomon was ready to bring up the ark of the covenant, he knew exactly what to do, and whom to call upon.

Not only was the temple to be dedicated, but the entire system of temple worship was to be inaugurated, according to all that David had prepared at the end of his life. In his mind, the destiny of the nation was incomplete and unfulfilled, until it could be centred around the worship of Yahweh in the place of His habitation.

For David, the focal point of the sanctuary was the ark, as the centre of mercy and forgiveness, and the place where sin could be removed. In his farewell speech to the nation, he referred to it as the "footstool of God", the "place of the mercy seat", and the "chariot of the cherubim", in threefold allusion to the ark and the mercy seat which covered it. 8

Now the time had come for the ark to be brought to this house "exceeding magnifical" which had been prepared. The elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers and a great congregation were all present in Jerusalem at the invitation of the king to witness the bearing of the ark and the dedication of the house.

Two processions advanced from different directions toward the temple. One group of priests and Levites came from the north, travelling from the high place of Gibeon to bring the venerable remnants of the tabernacle system. They were joined on Mount Moriah by another company who came from the south, bringing up from Zion the ark of the covenant, borne upon the shoulders of the Kohathites.

The procession bearing the ark moved up from the city of David, entering the temple area from the eastern entrance, and at the same time King Solomon ascended the brazen platform that he had built, upon which he would lead the nation in prayer and worship. 9 The nation stood as privileged onlookers, as they assembled in the great court to hear the king at prayer and the singers in praise.

"And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim: for the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above. And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day." (2 Chronicles 5:7-9)

7 1 Chronicles 28:11,12,19-21.

8 1 Chronicles 28 (verses 2,11,18)

9 2 Chronicles 6: 13

[The ark was among the people..."blessed to witness the procession of the ark"

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" - Jhn 1: 14.

before entering the Most Holy

"blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" - Jhn 20: 29]

But they were also blessed to witness the procession and arrival of the ark. Silence fell upon the congregation as the holy ark reached the holy mount and was carried across the Court of the Priests, passing between the pillars Jachin and Boaz, and through the porch, where it disappeared from the gaze of the nation into the temple itself.

It was borne through the Holy Place, and finally into the Most Holy, where the guardians of the cherubim were waiting to enfold it within their wings. In preparing a "place" for the ark, Solomon had cut a flat depression on the rocky floor. 10

Rectangular in shape, it was of the exact length to fit the ark, yet wide enough to also permit the scroll of the book of the law to be laid alongside it. The Kohathites who bare the ark were also responsible for the safekeeping of the scroll, and now was the moment for it to be deposited. 11 Here, at last, the ark was placed securely, that it might rest in its place.

I t gave added meaning to the prayer that Solomon offered, in echo of his father's words:

"Now therefore arise, 0 Yahweh Elohim, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength." 12

As proof that its resting place had been reached, the staves by which the ark had been borne by the Kohathites were finally withdrawn, first into the Holy Place until fully removed, and then placed beside the ark, within the Most Holy. 13 It would be the burden of the Levites no longer, for the ark had come to its final home. 14

It was uncommon to witness such a company of priests as those who assembled on this day. Sanctified for service, and arrayed in their priestly robes, they filled the expanse of the court, their very numbers adding to the solemnity of what was to be done on this day.

When these events were concluded, a new order of worship would commence, with courses of priests replacing each other in a weekly cycle. 15 On this occasion, however, all twenty-four courses of priests were in attendance, as they waited anxiously for the return of their brethren from the oracle.

10 References to the "place" of the ark (2 Chronicles 5:7,8; 1 Kings 8:21) were not general but specific, and appear to relate to this physical aspect of the Most Holy, Details of this remarkable archaeological discovery are set down in The Quest, Leen Ritmeyer, pages 268-277,

11 The law gave instruction for the Kohathites to take the book of the law and to "put it in the side of the ark" (Deuteronomy 31:24-26), But the phrase mis-sad arown is better rendered RSV, ASV, ESV: "qy the side", Rotherham: "(jt the side," The injunction related initially to the tabernacle, but was evidently provided for in Solomon's temple by this incision on the rock floor,

12 Solomon's words (2 Chronicles 6:41) are taken from his father's psalm (Psalm 132:8,9), which was written much earlier in his life, but was only now about to be fully realised, in the dedication of the house by Solomon,

13 The staves would be positioned on the long side of the ark, and, once set down, would have needed to be withdrawn back partly into the Holy Place before they were free of the rings. They would then be placed on the ground beside the ark, and the doors closed. This sequence of removing the staves is the likely explanation of the puzzling words of the record (2 Chronicles 5:9).

14 1 Chronicles 23:25,26.

15 1 Chronicles 9:25; 2 Chronicles 23:8.

Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 4

12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them 120 priests sounding with trumpets:)

And as with the priests, so with the singers, for so special was this moment, so important this event, that all twenty-four courses were joined together for an unparalleled offering of praise. For the first time, those of Heman and Jeduthun were permitted to join the House of Asaph to sing before the ark.

Despite meeting together, shortly before David died, for their formal assignment into courses, these singers had never been together since, and certainly not to sing as a combined choir. But as their numbers swelled, there was a rising sense of excitement that rippled through the group, massed around the altar on its east side.

Asaph himself was not there, for he was either too old, or already dead, as was his contemporary David. But the legacy of the man had begun, for it was his sons and his family who were still ranked first among the singers. 17

The choirs of Jeduthun and Heman, in departing from Gibeon, were coming to join the House of Asaph, and not the other way around. Their time alone in ministering before the ark gave them the primacy among the choirs, and so the House of Asaph led the praise. 18

It was an impressive scene. The assembled singers, all arrayed in white linen stood in a vast semicircle facing westwards toward the entrance of the temple. They waited with their cymbals, psalteries and harps, while standing with them were one hundred and twenty priests with trumpets, ready to join the singers in an acclamation of praise that soon would reverberate across the temple courts.

In front of them, near the pillars before the porch, the Chief Musician stood, waiting for only one thing, as the massed choir stood in silence before him. His eyes were fixed upon the temple doors that he might see the priests emerge. Their return to the Court of the Priests would be the sign that the ark of God's presence was now in its resting place, and that God Himself had chosen this house.

17 Note the small but crucial word in the expression "Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph" (2 Chronicles 5:12).

18 The mention of Asaph first here (2 Chronicles 5:12), before Heman and Jeduthun, was not accidental. It followed the same order referred to when the courses were appointed (1 Chronicles 25:1), where it was made clear that all courses came under Asaph, and the first course, tellingly, came forth for his family (verses 6,9).

Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 4

13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Yahweh; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised Yahweh, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of Yahweh;

Leading the song of praise

At last the priests emerged, and the Chief Musician lifted his hand and gave the signal for the music to begin. Immediately the singers burst forth into an outpouring of song that would rarely, if ever, be heard again. It was no surprise what song they sang, for it was the psalm given to the House of Asaph when they were chosen to sing before the ark:

"0 give thanks unto Yahweh; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever."

The choirs of Heman and Jeduthun joined with them on this day, singing the same song, since they also would, from henceforth, sing it in their respective courses. But in a special way it would always be the hymn of the House of Asaph, for to them it was first given, and they would guard it ever after.

Their leadership of the choir even now was faithful in preserving their heritage, for in their song they gave thanks and offered praise, just as they had done when David first appointed them. 19

Occasions when the entire congregation was led into united worship by the choir were exceptional, and demanded of both singers and audience their earnest participation. Only when the choir sang with intensity of focus were they able to sound as one voice. 20

Aware of each other, and aware of their words, they sang in such unity that their voices merged to become one. But so glorious was that song that it contained the power to transport their hearers alike into the realm of the divine presence. The singers did so on this day, for such was their tremendous spirit of fellowship that they were deemed to make but one sound in their earnest and united spirit to honour God.

That Yahweh was honoured in their hymn was confirmed, for He gave by unmistakable sign the most vivid and dramatic evidence of His pleasure in their worship. Even as they sang, the glory ofYahweh pervaded the house, to envelop it as a thick cloud so brilliant in its majesty, so effulgent in its splendour, that the priests were driven from the house by the brightness of His radiance.

Remarkable though it might have seemed, it wasn't the priests bringing the ark into the sanctuary that drew down the glory of the divine presence, but the singers, who sang in understanding of what the ark stood for.

Of greater significance than the priests who physically brought the ark into the Most Holy, were these who spiritually drew near to God in song. They believed they had entered into His presence, and God sealed His approval of their spirit by the flashing majesty of the Shekinah glory. 21

God was enthroned upon the praises of Israel, and overwhelmed His people by this manifestation of His royal majesty.

19 The careful use of the terms "praising" (halal[), and "thanking" (yadah) used here

(2 Chronicles 5:13) are both drawn from the terms of their appointment, and their family psalm (1 Chronicles 16:4,35).

20 The words for "sound" and "voice" used here (2 Chronicles 5:13) are the same (kole).

21 This is evident from the passage "and when they lifted up their voice ... then the house was filled with a cloud" (2 Chronicles 5:13). Although the word "then" is in italics, the sense of cause and effect is clear.

Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 4

Music is a very prominent aspect of Divine worship in Scripture

David's and Solomon's arrangements for the musical service are given in great detail, and with each reformation and restoration-Hezekiah, Josiah, Nehemiah-this aspect is much to the fore.

It is a notable fact that in the Mosaic Tabernacle arrangement, there is no mention of music, while in the Temple it appears to be the principal aspect of the service.

This is not to indicate that our present Tabernacle and wilderness dispensation is without its joy and thanksgiving and praise, but it does teach that all our joy and desire has its roots in the future living Temple Age, and that we cannot in their fullness, sing the songs of Zion in a strange and captive land.

Our joy at present, though deep, and rooted in thankfulness and praise, is largely overlaid with passing sorrow, as we walk in mortal weakness through a dark vale of tears-

"Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in

the morning" (Psa. 30:5).

Music is harmony, unity, beauty, and purposeful orderliness of sound, and our God is a God of order and beauty. Noise is confused sound-Babel-the world. Music is disciplined, purposeful, meaningful sound. We shall be greatty struck if we look through a concordance under the word "sing" and see the long list of stirring exhortations and commands to lift up the voice in joy and thanksgiving and praise.

It is surely remarkable that musical sounds, from one tone to its repetition at a higher pitch-the octave-naturally falls into a sevenfold division-a division recognized by ancient


And it is further remarkable that it has been found that to be able to transfer harmonies to different keys in the scale, the addition of five half notes is required, so that the full scale has twelve steps. Surely this reappearance of the divine seven,twelve pattern in so fundamental a thing is more than mere coincidence.

Music has great power. David's pure and spiritual psalms of praise soothed the spirit of Saul and inspired him, temporally, at least, to better things; and Elisha, in trying and alien

circumstances, called for a minstrel that his mind might be better prepared to speak the Word of God.

This must be the purpose and result of our hymns. Herein all our hearts can be united as one. In the dedication of the completed typical Solomon Temple, it was when the players and singers were

"AS ONE in praising and thanking the Lord" that "the glory of the Lord filled the house" {2 Chr. 5:13, 14).

Christ's whole desire was that his true brethren should be one, as he and the Father were one. Our singing must accomplish in us this joyful spirit of mutual love and oneness.

Music has great power, but its true purpose is Divine worship and spiritual joy. Man has profaned it to fleshly things.

Bro Growcott - the 144 000 on Mount Zion

14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of Yahweh had filled the house of Elohim.

The cherubim set up in the tabernacle and first temple were enveloped in a cloud of thick darkness (2 Chron. 5:14; 6:1). At night, the cloud which was visible without the former, appeared like a blaze of fire, but in the day, it towered aloft as a pillar of cloud. Darkness and fire were frequent accompaniments of the divine presence; indeed, always so upon great occasions.

The presence of the Lord upon Mount Sinai was a magnificent and terrible example; and when Jesus expired in blood, Judea was veiled in darkness, and God looked upon it.

With the exception of the thunder, the earthquake, the tempest, and the flashing lightning, God's communing with Moses, and after him with the high priests, were conducted from between the cherubim, as upon Sinai -

- "the Lord descended upon it in fire and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and God answered him by a voice" (Exod. 19:18, 19); 

so that the thick darkness became luminous and indicated His presence.

The illumination of the darkness without the voice would be sufficient to give assurance of acceptance. The priest having witnessed this on the great day of atonement, when he came out to the people, looking for Him with anxiety to know the result, would be enabled to report to them that the Lord had shined forth.

This was the sign to them of a typical salvation. Hence, Asaph prays

"give ear, O Shepherd of Israel; Thou that dwellest between the cherubim shine forth -- stir up Thy strength and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved" (Psalm 80:1-3)

Elpis Israel 1.5.