2 SAMUEL CHAPTER 6.
The Ark Brought to Jerusalem.
THE FIRST ATTEMPT ENDS SADLY. — V.1. Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, the captains and leaders of the army, together with the best soldiers of the nation, thirty thousand. V.2. And David arose and went with all the people that were with him, from Baale of Judah, to Kirjath-baal or Kirjath-jearim, to bring up from thence the ark of God, which had been in the house of Abinadab some seventy years, since the time that the Philistines had returned this trophy, 1 Sam. 7, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubim; for at the ark, before the ark, the name of Jehovah Sabaoth, who appeared over the cover of the ark, between the cherubim on the mercy-seat, was invoked. V.3. And they set the ark of God, literally, “let it ride,” upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah, on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, here probably in the sense of grandsons of Abinadab, and sons of Eleazar, who had been the first guardian of the ark, drave the new cart. Strictly speaking, this mode of transporting the ark did not agree with the legal requirement, which demanded that the ark should always be carried by Levitical priests, Num. 7, 9. V.4. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, on the hill, accompanying the ark of God, the two men acting as guardians; and Ahio went before the ark, while Uzzah walked along at the side of the cart. V.5. And David and all the house of Israel, the entire assembled multitude, played before the Lord, in His honor, on all manner of instruments made of fir-wood, with all their might, and with songs, 1 Chron. 13, 8, even on harps, the Jewish zithers, and on psalteries, small harps held in the hand, and on timbrels, tabrets or hand-drums, and on cornets, sistrums, instruments which gave forth a musical sound when shaken in time with the rest of the music, and on cymbals, the well-known metal plates used to this day. V.6. And when they came to Nachon’s threshing-floor, a permanent floor along the road leading to Jerusalem, probably covered with a roof, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen shook it; in stepping to the side of the road or in slipping they jostled the ark, so that it seemed about to fall off. V.7. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, for the unauthorized touching of the ark, as of the throne of God’s glory in the midst of Israel, was a profanation of the Lord’s majesty; and God smote him there for his error, for his rash mistake in touching the ark; and there he died by the ark of God, he was struck down immediately. V.8. And David was displeased, becoming angry that his undertaking had resulted in such a misfortune, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah, by inflicting this stroke; and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah (the breach of Uzzah) to this day. V.9. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, the anger over his misfortune gradually turned to apprehension and then to fear, as he considered that his disregard of the Lord’s command about transporting the ark had evidently been the cause of the unfortunate happening, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me? David felt that he was guilty before the Lord and unworthy of His presence. V.10. So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him in to the city of David, fearing that misfortune might strike his entire family if he proceeded with his plan; but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, who hailed from Gath-Rimmon, the Levitical city in Dan, a musician and also a porter at the Sanctuary in Jerusalem. V.11. And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite, three months; and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. To the believers of the New Testament the most holy thing is God’s Word and Sacrament, for where the means of grace are administered, there the Triune God dwells. To the believing Christians the Word of God is a savor of life unto life, but to those who despise His grace it is a savor of death unto death.
THE SECOND ATTEMPT SUCCESSFUL. — V.12. And 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. So the mere presence of the ark did not bring misfortune, as David had feared. All depended, rather, upon one’s attitude toward the Lord, whether that was one of rash presumption or of humble faith. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom in to the city of David, where he had prepared a place and pitched a tent for it, 1 Chron. 15, 1, with gladness, with festival joy, in solemn procession. V.13. And it was so that, when they that bare the ark of the Lord, for David did not repeat his first mistake of transporting it on a cart, had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings, literally, “he caused to be sacrificed an ox and a fat calf,” in order to consecrate the procession, which had started so auspiciously. V.14. And David, when the procession moved on, danced before the Lord with all his might, in an ecstasy of holy joy; and David was girded with a linen ephod, a copy of those worn by the priests, for David, as the head of a nation of priests, wore this garment in honor of Jehovah. V.15. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, amid the joyful acclamation of the people, and with the sound of the trumpet, used on all festive occasions. V.16. And as the ark of the Lord came in to the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, showing the characteristics of her father rather than those of her husband, looked through a window, for she had probably disdained to mingle with the common people, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, placing himself on a level with the multitude; and she despised him in her heart, considering his behavior unseemly and unbecoming his royal dignity. V.17. And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in a space marked off as particularly holy, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it, a large tent with costly curtains. And David offered burnt offerings and peace-offerings before the Lord, preparing for the sacrificial meal which was then celebrated. V.18. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace-offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, not with the blessing of Aaron, which pertained to the priests only, but in an address in which he called down upon them the blessings of Jehovah. V.19. And, after the ceremony of dedication, he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, like those baked for sacrificial meals, Ex. 29, 23; Lev. 8, 24. 25, and a good piece of flesh, either a slab of bread or a measure of wine, the word in the original meaning “measure,” and a flagon of wine, a cake of pressed raisins. So all the people departed every one to his house, at the completion of the festival meal. V.20. Then David, still filled with elation over the success of his undertaking, returned to bless his household, as he had blessed the entire assembly And Michal, the daughter of Saul, still under the influence of her feeling of disgust, came out to meet David and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to-day, emphasizing his title in bitter irony, who uncovered himself to-day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, degrading himself by exchanging his long royal garments for the light and comparatively short priestly dress, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! She accused him of forgetting his royal dignity and acting the buffoon, the common street-dancer. V.21. And David said unto Michal, in a gentle, but very effective reproof of her pride, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father and before all his house, the sons who might have been his successors, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Saul had been rejected by God on account of his pride, and here the same ugly trait showed in his daughter. But David had been placed ahead of Saul and his own family, hence he adds: Therefore will I play before the Lord, willing to abase himself in the presence of Jehovah. V.22. And I will yet be more vile than thus, ready to bear still greater contempt on the part of men, and will be base in mine own sight; and of the maid-servants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor, fully satisfied with the homage given him by the lowest in the nation. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. V.23. Therefore, because she had exhibited such unwarranted pride, Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child unto the day of her death, one of the severest punishments known in the Old Testament. Like David and the children of Israel, the believers rejoice in the Lord and in His Word and gladly sing praises to Him, nor will they be deterred by the contempt of the world.