Poole on 1 Samuel 7:1: The Ark in Obscurity, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] And the men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.



[The men of Kirjath-jearim came, etc.] Question: Why were they not afraid of the same plague that the Beth-shemites endured? Response: Because they understood that that plagued had not happened because of the Ark, but because of irreverence, which they carefully avoided (Mendoza).


The men of Kirjath-jearim gladly embraced the motion, as wisely considering that their great calamity was not to be charged upon the ark, but upon themselves, and their own carelessness, irreverence, and presumption, in looking into the ark. This place is elsewhere called Baalah, and Kirjath-baal, as is evident from Joshua 15:9, 60; 18:14; 1 Chronicles 13:6, 7.


[And they led it back] Hebrew: they caused to go up.[2] For Kirjath-jearim was on a mountain, Beth-shemesh in a valley (Mendoza).


Fetched up the ark, that is, caused it to be brought up, to wit, by the priests appointed to that work, whom they could easily procure, and undoubtedly would do it, especially having been so lately warned of the great danger of violating God’s commands in those matters. In Scripture use, men are commonly said to do that which they order or cause others to do.


Archeological Site at Kirjath-Jearim

[They brought it into the house of Abinadab in Gibeah] For, in the city there was no proper place, namely, a Sanctuary (Mendoza). That בַּגִּבְעָה they render variously; in Gibeah (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus). Now, this Gibeah was that town in Benjamin[3] (thus Lyra and Rupertus in Mendoza). Thus the Ark was successively in several places; in Jearim, in Mizpeh,[4] in Gilgal,[5] in Nob,[6] and in Gibeah;[7] whence it was transferred by David into the house of Obed-edom, 2 Samuel 6:10. And the present passage is to be explained of a twofold transfer of the Ark, one in Jearim, the other in Gibeah; although they were not contiguous, but one following the other a long time afterwards (Lyra in Mendoza). But this Gibeah is not a city diverse from Jearim, but a part of it, or a hill included in it (Mendoza, similarly Osiander, Mariana, Sanchez, Vatablus); as it is evident from this, that the Ark was transferred immediately from Jearim unto the house of Obed-edom. See 1 Chronicles 13:5, 6; 2 Chronicles 1:4; and from 1 Samuel 7:2, where it is added that the Ark abode in Jearim for twenty years (Mendoza). Therefore, others translate it, in the hill (English, Dutch). On the very hill (Pagnine, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius); which (that is, the house of Abinadab) was on the hill (Septuagint); or who was dwelling on that hill (Pagnine, Kimchi in Drusius). Some understand, which was: yet others say that אֲשֶׁר/which is found in certain codices[8] (Vatablus). Perhaps on the hill is added, because there was another Abinadab in that city (Kimchi in Drusius). They chose this place, because it was high and fortified. Just as David, when he brought the Ark to Jerusalem, chose the citadel of Zion, as especially high, to which a hostile force could not aspire (Sanchez).


They chose the house of Abinadab in the hill, because it was both a strong place, where it would be most safe; and a high place, and therefore visible at some distance, and to many persons, which was convenient for them, who were at that time to direct their prayers and faces towards the ark, 1 Kings 8:29, 30, 35; Psalm 28:2; 138:2; Daniel 6:10. And for the same reason David afterwards placed it in the hill of Zion. Some translate the word in Gibeah. But that was in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:28; Judges 19:14, whereas this Kirjath-jearim was in the tribe of Judah, 1 Chronicles 13:6, 7.


[Eleazar, his son] Why not Abinadab the father? Response: Abinadab was either infirm (Tirinus), or dead; or perhaps Eleazar was holier; or rather, Abinadab, as the head of the househould, was attending to the care of the entire house, from which God was unwilling that he should cease, lest the Ark should be made burdensome to its host. But Eleazar was without domestic cares, etc. In which the divine goodness shines forth, which conjoins the allegiance due to it with our least expense (Mendoza).


[They sanctified (thus the Septuagint, Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, English), קִדְּשׁוּ] Or they consecrated (Tigurinus, Castalio, Dutch, Vatablus); who[9] consecrated (Syriac). And he separated (Arabic). But how did they do this? Response: They ordained him to this sacred Ministry (Piscator). They consecrated him, either making him a Levite (Cajetan and Theodoret and Procopius in Mendoza). A Layman was able to receive the Ark into his house, and to keep it (Tostatus in Mendoza). But this Eleazar was a Levite, and, indeed, by reputation celebrated for religion and righteousness, as Josephus testifies[10] (Mendoza). Or, 2. making him a priest (Hugo and Dionysius in Lapide). He was consecrated by Ahitub, the priest living in Shiloh[11] (Lapide). And this Consecration, although not necessary to care for the Ark, was extremely fitting, so that this most sacred object might be kept by a holy custodian. [Others translate it otherwise:] The prepared (Hebrews in Drusius). קִדֵּשׁ signifies this in Exodus 19:10;[12] 1 Samuel 16:5[13] (Mendoza). They exhorted him, that through abstinence from his wife for a time, and through prayers and sacrifices, he present himself fit for the keeping of the Ark (Dionysius in Mendoza). Although he was pious before, yet it was needful that he be rendered holier and purer. How great a purity then does the ministry of the new law require (Mendoza)? Others: they put him in charge (Jonathan); they determined or assigned him (Menochius, Sanchez). Thus קדשׁ is taken in Jeremiah 1[14] (Sanchez).


Sanctified Eleazar; not that they made him either Levite or priest, as some would have it; for in Israel persons were not made, but born such; and since the institution of Levites and priests, none were made such that were born of other tribes or families: but that they devoted or set him apart (as this verb sometimes signifies) wholly to attend upon this work. They chose the son rather than his father, because he was younger and stronger, and probably freed from domestic cares, which might divert him from or disturb him in his work; or because he was more eminent for prudence or piety.



[That he might keep the Ark] Lest anything unbecoming or adverse should happen to it (Sanchez). That he might not allow the Ark to be carried away (Mendoza). Either the Ark, that is, that house in which the Ark was, which he was sweeping and cleaning; but he was also lying before the Ark; or he was pouring out water before the Ark (Drusius).


To keep the ark of the Lord; to keep the place where it was clean and neat, and to guard it, that none might approach or touch it but such as God required or allowed to do so.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ אַנְשֵׁ֣י׀ קִרְיַ֣ת יְעָרִ֗ים וַֽיַּעֲלוּ֙ אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן יְהוָ֔ה וַיָּבִ֣אוּ אֹת֔וֹ אֶל־בֵּ֥ית אֲבִינָדָ֖ב בַּגִּבְעָ֑ה וְאֶת־אֶלְעָזָ֤ר בְּנוֹ֙ קִדְּשׁ֔וּ לִשְׁמֹ֖ר אֶת־אֲר֥וֹן יְהוָֽה׃ [2] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲלוּ. [3] See Joshua 18:28; Judges 19:14. [4] See 1 Samuel 7:6. [5] See 1 Samuel 11:15. [6] See 1 Samuel 21:1. [7] See 2 Samuel 6:3, 4. [8] Thus in some Hebrew manuscripts, the Syriac, and some Targum manuscripts. [9] Singular. [10]Antiquities 6:1. [11] See 1 Samuel 14:3. [12] Exodus 19:10: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them (וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם) to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes…” [13] 1 Samuel 16:5: “And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves (הִתְקַדְּשׁוּ), and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified (וַיְקַדֵּשׁ) Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.” [14] Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee (הִקְדַּשְׁתִּיךָ), and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

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