Yahweh Enters Rest

“Arise, Yahweh, to Your resting place, you and the ark of your strength” (Psalm 132:8). The Psalm describes the ascent of Yahweh…s ark-throne into Jerusalem as an entry into rest. Yahweh has conquered, Yahweh has taken His throne, Yahweh enters Sabbath.

Unsurprisingly, 1 Chronicles 15, which recounts the ascent of the ark, is patterned by Sabbatical sevens. The list of Levitical singers and musicians is organized as follows:

1) Three chief Levites: Heman, Asaph, Ethan, 15:17

2) Fourteen of “second rank,” 15:18

3) Levites and their assigned instruments, 15:19-21:

3a) Three chief Levites on cymbals, 15:19

3b) Eight Levites with harps, 15:20

3c) Six Levites with lyres, 15:21

4) Chenaniah the singing-teacher, 15:22

5) Two gatekeepers for the ark, 15:23

6) Seven priests with trumpets, 15:24

The three chief Levites are listed twice (1, 3a), the initial list of fourteen Levites (2) is repeated in two sections, (3b, 3c; “Ben” in v. 18 is “Beniah” in v. 20), and then another seven priests are listed (6). Twenty-one (3 7s) Levitical and priestly Levites are listed. When we add in the three chief Levites, we get a nice double-twelve. If we take the initial three chief Levites with the fourteen of second rank (v. 18), we have 17, the gematria for kabod, “glory.” The passage lists seven sounds: singing, shouting, horn, trumpet, cymbals, harps, lyres (v. 28).

Yahweh ascends to His Sabbath throne in the midst of the aural glory of twenty-one Levitical and priestly musicians. Thus, “all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh,” a clause of seven words in Hebrew.

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