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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 6

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.

Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of lsrael - (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 (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 13:1-5).

Verse 2

And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. From Baale of Judah - or Baalah (Joshua 15:9; Joshua 15:11; Joshua 15:60), or Kirjath-baal (2 Samuel 18:14); i:e., Kirjath-jearim, now Kuryet el-Enab (see the notes at these passages, and 1 Chronicles 2:50; 1 Chronicles 2:52). A very large force of picked men was 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 edifice, it is said, from Baale. The journey to Baale, which is related, 1 Chronicles 13:6, is pre-supposed, and the historian describes the course of the procession from that place to the capital.

Verse 3

And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

They set the ark of God upon a new cart - or covered wagon (see the notes at 1 Samuel 6:7).This was a hasty and inconsiderate procedure, in violation of an express statute (see the notes at Numbers 4:14-15; Numbers 7:9; Numbers 18:3); and although the Philistines, who had conveyed it from their territory to the borders of lsrael in a cart, had been allowed, as ignorant pagans, to do so with impunity, the case was very different with those who had been instructed in the divine law. But the whole population were moved to such transports of joy by the prosperous course of national events, that in the delirium of that festive season they did not pause to consider minutely the measures they adopted for attaining their object. They were extremely anxious to have the ark established in Jerusalem, where they could have access to it on all occasions when there was need to pray for counsel and succour; and for the attainment of so precious a treasure, so important a benefit to the national interest, all classes were eager to undertake any trouble, or to submit to any inconvenience. But, unhappily, they 'did evil, that this good might come.'

Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart - their services being enlisted probably on account of the inability of their father to accompany the cavalcade, from age or death.

Verse 4

And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.

Brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah [ bagib`aah (H1389), with the article] - on the hill (1 Samuel 7:1), or the mount (Joshua 15:11).

Ahio went before the ark - namely, as leading the oxen which drew it.

Verse 5

And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood. The quality of the wood used in the formation of musical instruments is of the greatest importance. The peculiar fitness of fir wood for that purpose was recognized in very ancient times (Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptians,' 2:, pp 32, 35; 'Egypt's Testimony,' p. 217), and the knowledge of it probably borrowed from Egypt by the Hebrews. Indeed, a preference still continues to be given to this wood above that of every other tree, in the fabric of musical instruments. [The Septuagint has interpolated: en oodais, with songs].

On harps - (see the notes at 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 16:23.)

On psalteries - (see the notes at 1 Samuel 10:5.)

On timbrels - (see the notes at Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34.)

On cornets - a musical instrument which gave a tinkling sound on being rapidly moved, (Wilkinson's 'Ancient Egyptians,' 2:, p. 323, etc.)

On cymbals - an instrument of percussion (see the notes at 1 Samuel 18:6), two being struck together to produce a clanging sound (Wilkinson's 'Ancient Egyptians,' 3:, p. 72, 73: cf. Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 7:, ch. 12:, sec. 3). The musicians and singers were divided into seven companies (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 15:1-29:: cf. Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 7:, ch. 4:, sec. 2). It has been supposed by some writers that Psalms 24:1-10 was sung in parts on this occasion.

Verse 6

And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.

Came to Nachon's threshing-floor, Uzzah put forth his hand. Although he was not a priest, he might be a Levite, and as such was interdicted by express statute from touching any holy thing (Numbers 4:15: cf. 1 Samuel 6:19). The Chaldee version renders the words, 'came to the place prepared for the reception of the ark' - i:e., 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 lay dead upon the spot; and this melancholy occurrence not only threw a cloud over the joyous scene, but entirely stopped the procession, because the ark was left where it then was, in the near neighbourhood 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; the Bethshemites also suffered, but not fatally, their error proceeding 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 offence; 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.

Verse 7

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 8

And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day.

David was displeased - rather, grieved; for, whatever were his first impressions, he became sensible of the sin that had been committed, and, sincerely repenting, took care that the people should not again all into the same, error (cf 1 Chronicles 15:2; 1 Chronicles 15:13). Josephus informs us ('Antiquities,' b. 7:, ch. 4:, sec. 2) that the name of the place was continued even until his time.

Verse 9

And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?

David was afraid of the Lord that day ... 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.

Verse 10

So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 11

And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.

Obed-edom the Gittite - a Levite (1 Chronicles 15:18; 1 Chronicles 15:21; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:5; 1 Chronicles 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 21:24-25).

Verse 12

And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.

It was told king David ... The lapse of three months, which had proved that the ark could be kept without either danger or inconvenience, not only restored the agaitated mind of the monarch to a tranquil and settled tone, but led to a discovery of his former error. Having learned that the ark was kept in its temporary resting-place, not only without inconvenice or danger, but with great advantage, he resolved fothwith 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.

Verse 13

And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.

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 1 Chronicles 15:26).

Verse 14

And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

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 favour, (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; Judges 21:21; 1 Samuel 18:6; Psalms 149:3; Psalms 105:1-45, etc.,) with all his might-intimating a wild movement of the feet with 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-the linen ephod being not exclusively the official habit of priest and Levites, but worn frequently by others (cf. 1 Samuel 2:18) who were in any capacity engaged in the service of God. But the laying aside of his kingly attire, and the assumption of this light tunic, was unquestionably done as an act of religions homage, his attitudes and dress being symbolic, as they have always been in Oriental countries, of penitence, joy, thankfulness, and devotion. It was customary for bands of women to meet warriors on their return home (1 Samuel 18:7-8) with music and dancing, one leading the rest, as Miriam also did before the Lord, as "a man of war" (Exodus 15:20). On this accasion David acted himself as the leader, in lieu of Michal, who ought to have lad the female choir (see the notes at 2 Samuel 6:16; 2 Samuel 6:20).

Verse 15

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

Michal ... saw king David leaping and dancing ... and she despised him in her heart. The pride of her aristocratic rank was grievously offended by her husband's public exhibition of himself in a character so undignified, and resembling, as she thought, rather the conduct of mountebank or buffoon than the sovereign of Israel. But Michal's thought was different from the ludicrous ideas which our imaginations are apt to associate with a man of grave character and dignified rank indulging in wild gestures and grotesque attitudes. The dance consisted in serious and solemn measures, and was associated in the minds of Eastern people with sentiments of religious worship. But Michal, who had no proper sense of religion, considered that David was exalting the priesthood above the throne, or, in other words, giving undue honour-an excess of eclat-to the officials of the sanctuary.

Verse 17

And 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: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

In the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it. The old tabernacle remained at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29; 2 Chronicles 1:3). It was probably not removed because it was too large for the temporary place the king had appointed for it, and because he contemplated the erection of a magnificent temple.

And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings ...

Verse 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.

He blessed the people - in the name of God, as Moses, Joshua, and Samuel had done before him. As the vicegerent or representative of Yahweh, he was entitled to do this act as much as any other connected with the office of theocratic ruler (see the notes at 1 Kings 8:53; 1 Kings 8:56) There was here no interference with the special duties of the sacerdotal office. Manoah (Judges 13:16-19) and Samuel (1 Samuel 7:9: cf. 1 Kings 18:1-46) had offered burnt offerings; and any one might offer peace offerings, except under conditions which, according to the law, rendered such oblations the exclusive work of the priests.

Verse 19

And 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, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.

He dealt among all the people ... a cake of bread [ chalat (H2471) lechem (H3899)] - a cake of the sort that were offered in sacrifices (Leviticus 8:26; Leviticus 24:5); unleavened, perforated (Exodus 29:2; Exodus 29:23; Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 8:26; Leviticus 24:5; Numbers 15:20); as are used among the Arabs and modern Jews, and smeared over with olive oil.

And a good piece of flesh, [ wª'eshpaar (H829)] - (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:3.) [This meaning rests on what Gesenius terms an absurd derivation of the word from 'eesh (H784), fire, and paar, bullock; so that the term used would signify, as in the English version, a liberal allowance of roasted flesh (meat). But that eminent lexicographer confidently maintains that the word denotes a measure or cup, from shaapar (H8231), to measure; or, according to another suggestion, which accords with our translation, a portion of the sacrifice measured out.]

And a flagon of wine, [ wa'ashiyshaah (H809)] - a cake of dried grapes or raisins, compressed into a certain form (Song of Solomon 2:5; Hosea 3:1). These are mentioned last, as dainties intended for the refreshment of the weary and languid (Gesenius). [The Septuagint renders the passage: diemerise kollurida artou kai eschariteen. Kai laganon apo teeganou, he distributed a cake of bread (punctured, so as to be hard as biscuits) - a cake baked on the hearth, and a cake from the frying-pan. According to this version, the royal donative to the people consisted entirely of three different kinds of bread, or preparations of flour, while no mention is made either of flesh or of wine (see Septuagint on 1 Chronicles 16:3, where it is evident that the Septuagint translators did not attach very clear or definite significations to the different Hebrew words). The Vulgate attaches the meaning of flesh to the second of the three words in the Hebrew original, while it takes the other two, in common with the Septuagint, to denote different preparations of bread.-`Partitus est universae multudini Israel, tam viro quam mullieri, singulis collyridam panis unam, et assaturam bubulae carnis unam, et similem frixam oleo.' Josephus also ('Antiquities,' b. 7:, ch. 4:, sec. 2) take the same view as that given by our translators-`The king treated the whole multitude, dealing out both to the women and the men and the children a loaf of bread, with a cake, and another cake baked in a pan, and a portion of the sacrifice.'] The bread used on this festive occasion might be leavened or unleavened, of which there were three varieties, (Leviticus 7:11, etc.) As to the peace offerings, the whole animal, excepting some specified portions, was, after the presentations at the sanctuary, returned to the offerer, to constitute a repast for his family, and any friends he might invite, although, when offered as thanksgivings, the condition was imposed that they must be eaten on the day they were presented (Leviticus 7:15).

The immense scale on which, at seasons of national rejoicing, peace offerings were made, may be judged of from what took place at the dedication of the temple; and we may be certain that a pious and munificent monarch like David would, on an occasion in which he felt so lively an interest, not be inferior in respect of royal liberality to Solomon. It may be fairly concluded, then, that, from the immense number of the peace offerings he presented, there would be ample provision from which every individual in the multitude would receive a reasonable share of the sacred flesh, especially when it is borne in mind that the inhabitants of the warm countries of the East have always been very moderate in their use of animal food [see Harmer's 'Observations,' 4:, pp. 177-187, where he strenuously contends, not for the correctness of the English version in this passage generally, but for the particular circumstance of wine being used, and for the flagon being the vessel in which it was served, apparently mistaking laganos, a cake, for lageenos, a flagon, and taking the flagon to mean a dried gourd]. The Arabic is the only version which gives countenance to the "flagon of wine."

Verse 20

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

Michal ... came out to meet David. Proud of her royal extraction, she upbraided her husband with lowering the dignity of the country by the active share he had taken in the public ceremonial, especially by mingling in the dance along with the bands of male and female musicians.

Uncovered himself ... as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself, [ haareeqiym (H7386), the empty, i:e., worthless, people; kªhigaalowt (H1540) niglowt (H1540), uncovering, is uncovered.] There is nothing in the original corresponding to "shamelessly." The words 'naked' and 'uncovered' are frequently used by the sacred writers in a restricted sense [as by Tacitus, 'rejecta veste superiore'] (see the notes at 1 Samuel 19:24). But her taunting sarcasm was repelled by her justly-offended husband, in a manner that could not be agreeable to her feelings, while it indicated the warm piety and gratitude of David.

Verses 21-22

And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 23

Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

Therefore Michal ... had no child unto the day of her death - (see the notes at 2 Samuel 21:8.)

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-samuel-6.html. 1871-8.
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