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The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
1David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. 3And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio,11Or and his brother; also verse 4 the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart,22Compare Septuagint; Hebrew the new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill 4with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.
Uzzah and the Ark
5And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songs33Septuagint, 1 Chronicles 13:8; Hebrew fir trees and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 6And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8And David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah,44Perez-uzzah means the bursting forth upon Uzzah to this day. 9And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
12And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 13And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 14And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
David and Michal
16As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 17And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts 19and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat,55Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew term is uncertain and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
20And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will make merry before the Lord. 22I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your66Septuagint; Hebrew my eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.
2Sa 6:1-5. David Fetches the Ark from Kirjath-jearim on a New Cart.
1. Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel—(See 2Sa 5:1). The object of this second assembly was to commence a national movement for establishing the ark in Jerusalem, after it had continued nearly fifty years in the house of Abinadab (see on 1Ch 13:1).
2. from Baale of Judah—A very large force of picked men were selected for this important work lest the undertaking might be opposed or obstructed by the Philistines. Besides, a great concourse of people accompanied them out of veneration for the sacred article. The journey to Baale, which is related (1Ch 13:6), is here presupposed, and the historian describes the course of the procession from that place to the capital.
2Sa 6:6-11. Uzzah Smitten.
6-8. they came to Nachon's threshing-floor—or Chidon's (1Ch 13:9). The Chaldee version renders the words, "came to the place prepared for the reception of the ark," that is, near the city of David (2Sa 6:13).
the oxen shook it—or, "stumbled" (1Ch 13:9). Fearing that the ark was in danger of being overturned, Uzzah, under the impulse of momentary feeling, laid hold of it to keep it steady. Whether it fell and crushed him, or some sudden disease attacked him, he fell dead upon the spot. This melancholy occurrence not only threw a cloud over the joyous scene, but entirely stopped the procession; for the ark was left where it then was, in the near neighborhood of the capital. It is of importance to observe the proportionate severity of the punishments attending the profanation of the ark. The Philistines suffered by diseases, from which they were relieved by their oblations, because the law had not been given to them [1Sa 5:8-12]; the Bethshemites also suffered, but not fatally [1Sa 6:19]; their error proceeded from ignorance or inadvertency. But Uzzah, who was a Levite, and well instructed, suffered death for his breach of the law. The severity of Uzzah's fate may seem to us too great for the nature and degree of the offense. But it does not become us to sit in judgment on the dispensations of God; and, besides, it is apparent that the divine purpose was to inspire awe of His majesty, a submission to His law, and a profound veneration for the symbols and ordinances of His worship.
9, 10. David was afraid of the Lord that day, &c.—His feelings on this alarming judgment were greatly excited on various accounts, dreading that the displeasure of God had been provoked by the removal of the ark, that the punishment would be extended to himself and people, and that they might fall into some error or neglect during the further conveyance of the ark. He resolved, therefore, to wait for more light and direction as to the path of duty. An earlier consultation by Urim would have led him right at the first, whereas in this perplexity and distress, he was reaping the fruits of inconsideration and neglect.
11. Obed-edom the Gittite—a Levite (1Ch 15:18, 21, 24; 16:5; 26:4). He is called a Gittite, either from his residence at Gath, or more probably from Gath-rimmon, one of the Levitical cities (Jos 21:24, 25).
2Sa 6:12-19. David Afterwards Brings the Ark to Zion.
12. it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God—The lapse of three months not only restored the agitated mind of the monarch to a tranquil and settled tone, but led him to a discovery of his former error. Having learned that the ark was kept in its temporary resting-place not only without inconvenience or danger, but with great advantage, he resolved forthwith to remove it to the capital, with the observance of all due form and solemnity (1Ch 15:1-13). It was transported now on the shoulders of the priests, who had been carefully prepared for the work, and the procession was distinguished by extraordinary solemnities and demonstrations of joy.
13. when they that bare the ark … had gone six paces—Some think that four altars were hastily raised for the offering of sacrifices at the distance of every six paces (but see on 1Ch 15:26).
14. David danced before the Lord—The Hebrews, like other ancient people, had their sacred dances, which were performed on their solemn anniversaries and other great occasions of commemorating some special token of the divine goodness and favor.
with all his might—intimating violent efforts of leaping, and divested of his royal mantle (in a state of undress), conduct apparently unsuitable to the gravity of age or the dignity of a king. But it was unquestionably done as an act of religious homage, his attitudes and dress being symbolic, as they have always been in Oriental countries, of penitence, joy, thankfulness, and devotion. [See on 1Ch 15:27.]
17. 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.
19. cake of bread—unleavened and slender.
a good piece of flesh—roast beef.
2Sa 6:20-23. Michal's Barrenness.
20-22. Michal … came out to meet David, &c.—Proud of her royal extraction, she upbraided her husband for lowering the dignity of the crown and acting more like a buffoon than a king. But her taunting sarcasm was repelled in a manner that could not be agreeable to her feelings while it indicated the warm piety and gratitude of David.