The ark removed from Kirjath-jearim. (1-5) Uzzah smitten for touching the ark, Obed-edom blessed. (6-11) David brings the ark to Zion. (12-19) Michal's ill conduct. (20-23)
Verses 1-5 God is present with the souls of his people, when they want the outward tokens of his presence; but now David is settled in the throne, the honour of the ark begins to revive. Let us learn hence, to think and to speak highly of God; and to think and speak honourably of holy ordinances, which are to us as the ark was unto Israel, the tokens of God's presence, ( Matthew 28:20 ) . Christ is our Ark; in and by him God manifests his favour, and accepts our prayers and praises. The ark especially typified Christ and his mediation, in which the name of Jehovah and all his glories are displayed. The priests should have carried the ark upon their shoulders. Philistines may carry the ark in a cart without suffering for it; but if Israelites do so, it is at their peril, because this was not what God appointed.
Verses 6-11 Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark. God saw presumption and irreverence in Uzzah's heart. Familiarity, even with that which is most awful, is apt to breed contempt. If it were so great a crime for one to lay hold on the ark of the covenant who had no right to do so, what is it for those to lay claim to the privileges of the covenant that come not up to the terms of it? Obed-edom opened his doors without fear, knowing the ark was a savour of death unto death to those only who treated it wrong. The same hand that punished Uzzah's proud presumption, rewarded Obed-edom's humble boldness. Let none think the worse of the gospel for the judgments on those that reject it, but consider the blessings it brings to all who receive it. Let masters of families be encouraged to keep up religion in their families. It is good to live in a family that entertains the ark, for all about it will fare the better.
Verses 12-19 It became evident, that happy was the man who had the ark near him. Christ is indeed a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, to those that are disobedient; but to those that ( 1 Peter. 2:6-8 ) us be religious. Is the ark a blessing to others' houses? We may have it, and the blessing of it, without fetching it away from our neighbours. David, at first setting out, offered sacrifices to God. We are likely to speed in our enterprises, when we begin with God, and give diligence to seek peace with him. And we are so unworthy, and our services are so defiled, that all our joy in God must be connected with repentance and faith in the Redeemer's atoning blood. David attended with high expressions of joy. We ought to serve God with our whole body and soul, and with every endowment and power we possess. On this occasion David laid aside his royal robes, and put on a plain linen dress. David prayed with and for the people, and as a prophet, solemnly blessed them in the name of the Lord.
Verses 20-23 David returned to bless his household, to pray with them, and for them, and to offer up family thanksgiving for this national mercy. It is angels' work to worship God, surely that cannot lower the greatest of men. But even the palaces of princes are not free from family troubles. Exercises of religion appear mean in the eyes of those who have little or no religion themselves. If we can approve ourselves to God in what we do in religion, and do it as before the Lord, we need not heed reproach. Piety will have its praise: let us not be indifferent in it, nor afraid or ashamed to own it. David was contented to justify himself, and he did not further reprove or blame Michal's insolence; but God punished her. Those that honour God, he will honour; but those that despise him, and his servants and service, shall be lightly esteemed.
2 Samuel 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 2 Samuel 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
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 ( 1 Chronicles 13:6 ), is here presupposed, and the historian describes the course of the procession from that place to the capital.
3. they set the ark of God upon a new cart--or a covered wagon This was a hasty and inconsiderate procedure, in violation of an express statute Numbers 7:9 , 18:3 ).
2 Samuel 6:6-11 . UZZAH SMITTEN.
6-8. they came to Nachon's threshing-floor--or Chidon's ( 1 Chronicles 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 ( 2 Samuel 6:13 ).
the oxen shook it--or, "stumbled" ( 1 Chronicles 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 ( 1 Samuel 5:8-12 ); the Bethshemites also suffered, but not fatally ( 1 Samuel 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 ( 1 Chronicles 15:18 1 Chronicles 15:21 1 Chronicles 15:24 , 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 ( Joshua 21:24 Joshua 21:25 ).
2 Samuel 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 ( 1 Chronicles 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
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.
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 ( 1 Chronicles 16:39 , 21:29 , 2 Chronicles 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.
18. he blessed the people--in the double character of prophet and king (see 1 Kings 8:55 1 Kings 8:56 ).
19. cake of bread--unleavened and slender.
a good piece of flesh--roast beef.
2 Samuel 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.