My post about I Chronicles 15 today will focus more on what a commentary said about a verse in I Chronicles 15, rather than the contents of the chapter itself.
I Chronicles 15:1 states: “And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent” (KJV).
David had brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. There, he pitched a tent for it. He did not take the Ark to the Tabernacle at Gibeon, even though the Tabernacle was long the place where the Ark of the Covenant resided, until they got separated from each other. Rather, David pitched another tent for the Ark. Why? E.W. Bullinger in The Companion Bible says the following:
“Had the Tabernacle of Moses been brought to Jerusalem, difficulties would have arisen in building the Temple. David’s Tabernacle was merely provisional. The provision will yet be repeated before the erection of the future Temple. See Acts 15:16.”
Bullinger’s point may be that it was just better for the Tabernacle to be out of the way when the Temple was being built. The Tabernacle was a holy object and had to be handled with extreme care. David’s tent for the Ark, however, was just a provisional tent for the Ark. It would be easier to work around David’s provisional tent than it would be to work around the sacred Tabernacle. At least that’s my guess about what Bullinger means when he says that “Had the Tabernacle of Moses been brought to Jerusalem, difficulties would have arisen in building the Temple.”
But you may have noticed that Bullinger goes a step further. He thinks that, in the future, there will be a repeat of this: that there will be a provisional tent of David that will exist until the new Temple is built.
Bullinger quotes Acts 15:16, which is actually a quotation of Amos 9:11. Amos 9:11 states: “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old” (KJV).
So the Tabernacle of David will be reestablished. Will this be like the tent that David made for the Ark in Jerusalem? If not, what exactly is the Tabernacle of David that Amos 9:11 is mentioning?
I checked out my E-Sword commentaries. One view is that Amos 9:11 is acknowledging that the palace of David had degenerated from palace to hut, with all the problems that Jerusalem was experiencing. Indeed, the Tabernacle of David probably refers to where David’s descendant will be rather than the place of the Ark of the Covenant, for Isaiah 16:5 depicts the Davidic descendant sitting upon the throne in the Tent of David, judging righteously. Amos 9:11 and Isaiah 16:5 may be treating this Tabernacle of David as provisional until the Davidic ruler gets a palace: after Israel’s restoration, after all, it may take a while before Israel gets on her feet enough to build the Davidic ruler a palace. Or perhaps those passages long for a simple time, when the king sits in a lowly Tabernacle rather than a haughty palace.
The problem, in my opinion, with saying that the Tabernacle of David will be a Tabernacle for the Ark until the Temple is rebuilt is that Jeremiah 3:16 forecasts a time when the Ark of the Covenant will never again come to people’s minds. Bullinger himself says that the Ark was destroyed with the Temple, Jerusalem, and the Old Covenant. So what does Bullinger believe the future Tabernacle of David will house until the Temple is rebuilt? God’s presence, apart from the Ark? The thing is, the point of Jeremiah 3:16 seems to be that God will be enthroned in Jerusalem and will not need an Ark. Zechariah 14:21 may have a similar vision, for it affirms that every pot in Judah and Jerusalem will be holy. If God’s glory then will be too big to be confined to an Ark, why should we assume that it will be confined to a tent? Yet, Ezekiel may have a different vision from that of Jeremiah and Zechariah, for it does depict an eschatological Temple.