Obed-Edom was a man of the time of King David who received the Ark of the Covenant in his home for three months. While the Ark was in his home, his family was greatly blessed. After that time, the Ark was taken to Jerusalem.
The Bible does not tell us much about Obed-edom’s life. We only know that he was the son of Jeduthun, of the tribe of Levi, and that the Ark of the Covenant stayed in his house and that was a blessing in his life. Obed-Edom later served as a temple porter, along with his relatives.
The Ark of the Covenant at Obed-Edom’s house
After he became king of Israel, David decided to take the Ark of the Covenant to the country’s new capital: Jerusalem. Until then, the tabernacle where the Ark was kept did not have a fixed place. It had been set up in several cities in Israel and there was no official holy city. But when the Ark came to Jerusalem, it became his permanent place.
To transport the Ark of the Kiriath-Jearim Covenant (the last place where the Ark had been kept) to Jerusalem, King David prepared a great solemn procession. But he did not follow God’s rules on transporting the Ark. Instead of being carried by priests using sticks, the Ark was carried on a cart drawn by oxen.
On the way, the oxen stumbled and Uzza, one of the priests, touched the Ark so that it would not fall. But no one had the right to touch the Ark of the Covenant, so God punished Uzza and he died instantly. This made David very upset and he gave up taking the Ark to Jerusalem ( 2 Samuel 6: 6-8 ). So the Ark was taken to Obed-Edom’s house, and kept in his care.
The Ark of the Covenant stayed in Obed-Edom’s home for three months and God blessed his family and everything he owned ( 1 Chronicles 13: 12-14 ). The Ark represented the presence and glory of God. The blessing in Obed-Edom’s life shows us how important it is to have God present in our lives. It was not the Ark that blessed Obed-edom; it was the presence of God.
Find out here: what is the meaning of the Ark of the Covenant?
The Ark is taken to Jerusalem
King David heard the news that Obed-Edom had been very blessed and was glad. God was not angry that he was taking the Ark to Jerusalem. He only demanded that it be done according to His commandments ( 1 Chronicles 15: 12-13 ). Obedience to God is more important than great religious acts.
David prepared another great procession, this time with priests carrying the Ark on poles on their shoulders, and the Ark was taken from Obed-edom’s house to Jerusalem ( 1 Chronicles 15: 14-15 ). The procession was a great party with music, dance and many sacrifices to God.
The Ark left Obed-Edom’s home but the blessing on his home was not withdrawn. He and his relatives became gatekeepers for the tabernacle, guarding the Ark of the Covenant (
1 Chronicles 15: 23-24
). God blessed Obed-edom with many children, who became capable men and leaders, all working in the temple service ( 1 Chronicles 26: 4-6 ).