During the time of David and Solomon, the original Tabernacle of the Lord made by Moses was located in Gibeon (ex. 1 Ch 16:39, 21:29). But in 2 Sam 6:17 and 1 Ch 16:1, it said David moved the ark into the tabernacle in Jerusalem that David erected.

I see that the Strong's definitions of the tabernacle/tent used in 1 Ch 16:1 is also different than that of 16:39. However both seem acceptable to refer to the original tabernacle. It would also seem to be a great irreverence to move the ark into a different tent.

I've read some websites that made a great distinction of the two tabernacles. But I'm not sure if that's the common interpretation - that there were two tabernacles during the time of David. If so, are there other references in the bible that made a distinction of the tabernacle of David and the tabernacle of Moses? Do they carry different functions or meanings?

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    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 8:53
  • @Kyle S Could you look at the exposition you posted for this very Question, and ask yourself whether that is not capable of many different renditions even in English? Then why would we not expect the number of tabernacles in any given version of the Bible to match… and which Bible version are you using? Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 0:09

4 Answers 4


The simplest explanation is that given by several commentators such as Bension -

2 Samuel 6:17. The tabernacle that David had pitched for it — For the ancient tabernacle made by Moses remained still at Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29; 2 Chronicles 1:3. From whence David did not think fit to fetch it, because he intended soon to build a temple to place it in. For the present, therefore, he only hung some curtains round about the ark, after the fashion of the tabernacle. See 2 Samuel 7:2. David offered burnt- offerings and peace-offerings — To implore the continuance of God’s mercies to them, and to thank him for those they had received.

Similarly, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary observes:

  1. they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it—The old tabernacle remained at Gibeon (1Ch 16:39; 21:29; 2Ch 1:3). Probably it was not removed because it was too large for the temporary place the king had appropriated, and because he contemplated the building of a temple.
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    So it really was treated as just a temporary construction then. I guess my other question was, does the tabernacle of David carry any significance beyond a temporary construction, such as gotquestions.org/tabernacle-of-David.html, where the tabernacle of David was a prefiguration of the salvation to the gentiles, who were forbidden from entering the Tabernacle of Moses. But having the tabernacle of David being a temporary storage of the ark would weaken the case.
    – Kyle S
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 17:28
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    @KyleS - You have raised two separate matters - the tent of David definitely temporary, nothing more, until the temple was built. Salvation for the gentiles was ALWAYS open as is simple to demonstrate from the many gentiles that became Israelites like, Caleb, Ruth, Uriah, David's gittite regiment, etc.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 21:08

Not only were their "two" tabernacles in David's time, there were almost certainly more than two. Tabernacle (מִשְׁכָּן) is a fancy English word for "tent" or dwelling place. KJV uses it in the sense of "tent" in Num. 24:5

How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!

Thus any covered Israelite sacred shine was a "tabernacle." However in the view of later biblical writers there could be only one official tabernacle at a time. This attitude, however, is anachronistic.

The Bible states that the tabernacle had been at Shiloh where it remained for most the period of Judges. Shiloh thus became a place of pilgrimage for Israelites who wished to offer their tithes and sacrifices there. However, local altars were also allowed at such sacred sites such as the high places of Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:14), Bethel (Judges 21:2), Mizpah (Judges 21:5) and—according to Samaritan tradition-—Mount Gerizim (Deuteronomy 27:11-13). Each of these is mentioned as an apparently legitimate worship site in the biblical text. While we have no concrete evidence that these altars were housed in tents, there is no reason to doubt that some of them were.

During David's early life, Samuel regularly visited the Israelite shrines at Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. "He judged Israel in all these places." (1 Samuel 7:16) Thus the presence of the official Tabernacle at Gibeon does not mean that other Israelite tabernacles did not exist elsewhere.

The Books of Kings speaks of the high places as centers of apparently legitimate Israel worship a generation after David moved the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, until the Temple was built:

The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the Lord. Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burnt incense at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings upon that altar. (1 Kings 3:2-4)

Bethel too apparently remained active and was not deemed illegitimate until the rebellion of Jeroboam I which the prophet Ahijah initially sanctioned.(1 Kings 11)

To conclude: In hindsight, we can distinguish between the official Tabernacle and temporary or local tent-altars where sacrifices and sacred vows were also made. But there were certainly more than two local centers of Israelite worship in the time of David.

  • @ Dan Fefferman - Can you supply verses where a high place and "tent" are described together? There are many high places and trees, and poles...but tents?
    – ray grant
    Commented Apr 1 at 21:05

The two tabernacles is a shadow of the two temples in the first century. There was Moses Tabernacle which separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies but also David's tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was open for them to go and praise with songs. While one was a tabernacle of reverence the other was filled with songs of high praise and open to the people. We see the truth of this the first century temple where the Jews went and there was seperation between the holy place and the holy of Holies, Jesus sought that this place was kept holy and reverential as we saw him whip people in the court. But then there is the temple that is the church, the body of Christ. This temple is open to any and there is freedom to praise with songs of glory. The connection between the church and the tabernacle of David was explained by the writer of Hebrews. It's a beautiful shadow of the church and the temple. Two tabernacles, two temples!

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 27 at 2:59

Two Different Tabernacles It is true that the Mosaic Tabernacle remained in Gibeon, and along with it the Mosaic Altar, the High Priesthood, and importantly, the Ephod. What was missing was the "Ark of the Covenant.

David set up a Tent in Jerusalem to house the recovered Ark of the Covenant. But it was not an elaborate tent made of badger skins, purple tarp, etc., like the Mosaic Tabernacle.

However, what it did have was great musical worship! Worship accompanied with instruments invented by Kind David, also known as the sweet psalmist of Israel. David enhanced worship by writing exquisite psalms that exulted the glory of Jehovah.

Typology? When the problem of assimilating Gentiles into the Early Church arose, the Apostles appealed to the erection of this Davidic tent, which was mentioned in an Old Testament prophecy by Amos:

After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen booth of David.
I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who are called by My Name, says the LORD, who makes these things known from long ago. (Acts 15:15-18; the Apostles using the LXX version. LSB)

Although the Mosaic Tabernacle's typology is appealed to by other N.T. writers (especially Hebrews) with great meaning to illustrate the realities of the Gospel, this booth of David is mentioned and used in the instructive letter to the Gentiles because it would be more relatable for the Gentiles who were not familiar with Jewish religious customs and requirements.

Also several commentators consider the type of worship in this Booth (Tent) to be a significant point worth considering, that they deem important for the reason of the success in establishing the new Church throughout the world. Exuberant singing by, not just the ministers, but by everyone from Royalty (like David) to the common man (like you and me!). In the Presence of God!

It is a worship emulated today, unfettered by rules and regulations, that brings disciples into the holy atmosphere of the Divine.

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