A photo of an ancient stone tablet with the inscription "Obed-Edom" engraved on it, representing the historical significance of this biblical figure in a visually captivating manner.

Who Was Obed-Edom In The Bible?

The ark of the covenant plays an important role throughout the Bible. At one point in 1 Chronicles, the ark resides in the house of a man named Obed-Edom. But who exactly was Obed-Edom and why did he temporarily safeguard this sacred artifact?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Obed-Edom was a Levite musician appointed by King David to take the ark of the covenant into his home for three months after an incident where a man named Uzzah was struck dead for touching it improperly during transport.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore Obed-Edom’s family history, his appointment as a guardian of the ark, the blessings he received during this period, and the lasting legacy of his faithfulness.

Obed-Edom’s Lineage and Family History

His Identification as a Levite from Gath Rimmon

Obed-Edom is identified in the Bible as a Levite from the town of Gath Rimmon (Joshua 21:24). The Levites were one of the 12 tribes of Israel and were designated by God to assist the priests with tabernacle and temple duties (Numbers 3:5-10).

As a Levite, Obed-Edom came from a priestly family line devoted to service in the house of God.

His Classification as a Korahite Levite

More specifically, Obed-Edom is called a Korahite Levite (1 Chronicles 26:1), meaning he descended from Korah, a Levite leader during the time of the Exodus from Egypt. The Korahites were gatekeepers and musicians in the tabernacle and temple (1 Chronicles 9:19).

This priestly heritage equipped Obed-Edom for his later service caring for the Ark of the Covenant.

His Descendants and Their Roles

The Bible records that Obed-Edom had eight sons (1 Chronicles 26:4-5). Two of his sons, Shemaiah and Obed-Edom’s son Jehiel, were gatekeepers for the Ark when it was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:18, 24).

His descendants also served as temple treasurers and administrators (1 Chronicles 26:15-19). In this way, Obed-Edom’s family continued in priestly service for generations after him.

The Ark Comes to Obed-Edom

David’s First Failed Attempt to Move the Ark

King David’s first attempt to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem ended in tragedy (2 Samuel 6:1-11). When the oxen stumbled, a man named Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark and was struck dead for touching it.

David was angry and afraid, so he left the Ark at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.

Obed-Edom’s Appointment as Guardian

Very little is known about Obed-Edom except that he was a Levite from the town of Gath-rimmon (1 Chronicles 15:24). When David abandoned his effort to move the Ark, for some reason he entrusted it to Obed-Edom’s care.

Perhaps Obed-Edom was known to David as a capable and God-fearing man. As a Levite, Obed-Edom came from the tribe designated as the caretakers of the Tabernacle (Numbers 1:47-53). So he would have understood the rituals and requirements surrounding the Ark of the Covenant.

The Three Month Stay in His House

The Ark of the Covenant remained at the house of Obed-Edom for three months (2 Samuel 6:11). This turned out to be a great blessing for Obed-Edom and his entire household:

  • The Lord blessed Obed-Edom and his entire household because of the Ark’s presence (2 Samuel 6:11).
  • Later, when David successfully moves the Ark, Obed-Edom is listed among the musicians and gatekeepers appointed for Ark duty (1 Chronicles 15). This indicates the Lord’s blessing on Obed-Edom continued beyond the Ark’s three-month stay.

The detailed genealogy records also show that Obed-Edom later had eight sons (1 Chronicles 26:4-8). This demonstrates the fulfillment of the blessing on his household.

Key Facts About Obed-Edom
Hometown: Gath-rimmon Occupation: Levite, musician
Special Honor: Ark guardian Blessing: Household prosperity

Blessings and Benefits Experienced by Obed-Edom

Material Prosperity for Housing the Ark

The Bible records that when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to the house of Obed-Edom, he was tremendously blessed with material prosperity (2 Samuel 6:11-12). His willingness to shelter the Ark brought great divine favor upon his household.

For the three months that the Ark resided with him, Obed-Edom received bountiful harvests and livestock reproduction. His lands flourished with an abundance of crops and his flocks multiplied rapidly. Additionally, his family was enlarged as his household increased in number.

Without a doubt, God rewarded Obed-Edom’s service richly.

Appointment as Temple Musician and Gatekeeper

Besides material prosperity, Obed-Edom also gained the privilege of Temple service. 1 Chronicles records his appointment as both a doorkeeper and musician in God’s house (1 Chronicles 15:18; 16:38).

As a Levite gatekeeper, Obed-Edom held an important position managing entry to the Temple. He likely served in rotation with other Levites to guard the sanctuary entrances. Moreover, as one of the choir’s instrumentalists, Obed-Edom had the joy of musically praising God alongside notable composers and singers like Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun.

Continued Blessings on His Descendants

The generous blessings that the Ark’s presence brought did not cease after it was moved. The prosperity of Obed-Edom persisted throughout his life and onto his offspring.

Obed-Edom’s blessing extended to at least eight sons (1 Chronicles 26:4-5). Two became Temple gatekeepers like their father, demonstrating God’s ongoing favor. Even multiple generations later, around sixty of Obed-Edom’s descendants assisted Kore son of Imnah, a Levite appointed by King Hezekiah, to distribute offerings (1 Chronicles 26:1-19).

The legacy of divine blessing persisted for Obed-Edom’s family.

Clearly, Obed-Edom’s obedience to shelter the Ark opened the floodgates for God’s abundance. Both prosperity and privilege flowed mightily onto Obed-Edom for his faithful service, establishing blessing for generations.

Lessons from Obed-Edom’s Faithfulness

God Rewards Those Who Honor His Holiness

When David attempted to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, tragedy struck Uzzah who irreverently touched the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-7). David became afraid and left the ark with Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months (2 Samuel 6:10-11). During this time, God blessed Obed-Edom’s household.

This demonstrates that God blesses those who honor the holiness of His presence, as Obed-Edom did.

Minor Characters Can Play Pivotal Roles

Though a seemingly minor character, Obed-Edom’s caretaking of the ark was pivotal. His faithfulness gave David confidence to move the ark to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:25-26). This shows that God uses faithful people, however obscure, to accomplish His purposes.

Statistics indicate that 95% of Bible characters speak 5 verses or less. Though having few recorded words, many minor biblical figures like Obed-Edom significantly impacted biblical events.

Faithfulness Has Multi-Generational Impacts

Obed-Edom was a Levite gatekeeper from Gath Rimmon (1 Chronicles 15:18, 21, 24). His family was blessed for his faithfulness in caring for the ark (2 Samuel 6:11-12). Several of his descendants served as gatekeepers and singers in the temple decades later (1 Chronicles 25:1, 26:4-5, 15).

This demonstrates that the impacts of faithfulness can positively affect generations to come. As GotQuestions.org notes, “Obed-Edom’s faithful caretaking allowed his family the privilege of being involved in historic worship events for years to come.”


Obed-Edom exemplifies both the fear of the Lord that comes with honoring holy things and the blessings that follow obedience. As a relatively obscure figure, he could never have expected to play host to the ark of the covenant.

Yet when duty called, he faithfully took the ark in without questioning or complaint. As a result, the presence of the Lord brought rich blessing to his household.

May we, like Obed-Edom, embrace opportunities to serve God with reverence and joy – whether large or small. When we honor the Lord, we can trust that He will honor us.

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