Yahweh is Good

Yahweh is Good May 10, 2017

The Chronicler can’t talk about praise without breaking out in praise. He can’t describe Israel’s worship without worshiping. 

This tic makes for some convolution. After the ark ascends to Zion and enters the tent of David, the Levitical singers praise Yahweh. The Chronicler writes, “And with [the priests] were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen, who were designated by name, to give thanks to Yahweh—for His faithful love is everlasting” (1 Chronicles 16:41).

He does it again in his account of the temple dedication. 1 Kings 8:10-11 records, “And it happened when the priests came out from the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of Yahweh, so that the priests could not stand to serve because of the cloud.” 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 is about the same episode, and uses virtually the same words: “And when the priests came forth from the holy place . . . the house of Yahweh was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to serve because of the cloud.”

The ellipsis hides a long parenthesis in which the Chronicler claims that the priests had sanctified themselves (v. 12) and elaborates the role of the Levitical musicians in the event (vv. 12–13). He lists the heads of the Levitical choir (Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun), their clothing (fine linen), their instruments (cymbals, harps, lyres), and their performance (while priests trumpet, Levites play and sing). That’s convolution enough, but as soon as he writes that they “praised Yahweh,” he inserts an act of praise—“Good indeed, for His faithful love is everlasting” (v. 13).

He does it again at the conclusion of the temple dedication. 2 Chronicles 7:6 is chiastically arranged:

A. Priests stand on guard duty

B. Levites with all the instruments of Yahweh

C. Which David the king made to praise

D. For His faithful love is everlasting

C’. In David’s praising by their hand

B’. Priests trumpeted before them

A’. All Israel standing

Again, the verb yadah (praise) provokes a kind of Pavlovian response: Yahweh’s faithful love is everlasting. (Note too the parallel of A and A’. Priests “stand” to serve, but here all Israel joins the priests in priestly posture. Having fallen face-to-the-ground before the glory [7:3], they are raised to serve in the Lord’s house.)

He’s no clinical Chronicler. He makes no pretense of distance and objectivity. In recording worship, he worships. He joins the praise he describes. Song from centuries before re-sound in the Chronicler’s doxological chronicle of doxology.

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