Spiritual Center

After the destruction of Nob, the city of priests, the spiritual center had moved to Gibeon. The Holy Tabernacle and most of its sacred vessels were there. However, the Holy Ark containing the Tablets had for many years been left in Kiryath-Jearim, in the house of Abinadab. David now determined to hallow Jerusalem by the presence of the Holy Ark, and to make this city the spiritual center of Israel. So he marched out with thirty thousand chosen men of Israel, took the Ark from the house of Abinadab, and placed it in a new cart led by Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab's sons. But the solemn occasion was marred by a sad incident. The Holy Ark had to be borne only on the shoulders of priests, and no laymen were permitted to touch the Ark. Now as the procession marched along, the oxen broke away from the cart, and Uzzah placed his hand on the Ark to protect it. For this disregard of the Law he was punished with instantaneous death. David and the people paused, afraid of the holiness of the Ark. The king then caused it to be brought into the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite, who lived near at hand. There it was left for three months, during which time G‑d's blessing descended upon Obed-Edom and his whole family. Thereby encouraged, David resumed his former intention of bringing the Ark into his own city of Jerusalem, and he made great preparations for its appropriate reception. This time the Ark was not entrusted to a cart and oxen; instead, it was borne aloft upon the shoulders of chosen men. Singers and musicians of every kind followed in a long train, whilst before the Ark went David, dressed as a priest in a linen ephod, singing and dancing. At frequent intervals the procession stopped in order to offer solemn sacrifices to G‑d. A shout of delight rang from the walls of Jerusalem as the holy Ark was borne into the 'city. It was carried to the Tabernacle, which now became truly the Sanctuary of the nation.

One last wish was now uppermost in David's heart; the city of Jerusalem yet wanted a Temple, where the Ark of G‑d, no more enclosed in a movable tent, would rest worthily enshrined. But G‑d declared His will, namely, that the building of the Temple should not be undertaken by David, but rather by his son and successor, whose peaceful reign would be unstained by bloodshed. At the same time G‑d repeated the most glorious promise of help and favor to David and his posterity forever.

If he was not to build the Holy Temple, David decided that he would at least make the preparations for its construction. Together with the Sanhedrin, the Highest Court in Israel, David worked out the plans for the construction of the Temple and began to store away the necessary building material, gold, silver, bronze, and precious stones, so that nothing would be lacking for the great and sacred edifice that was to be the pride of Israel.