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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 6

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-23

2 Samuel 6:2 . Baale of Judah. It is called Baalah, Joshua 15:9. It was no doubt the place formerly called Kirjath-jearim.

2 Samuel 6:8 . David was displeased. ויחר vayickar, perturbatus fuit, as Junius reads. David was troubled with anguish and sorrow of heart for the death of Uzzah. The whole 30,000 were so terrified that they left the awful ark in the field. The priests, the unskilful priests, were to blame for putting the ark on a cart. The war of the ark with Eli’s sons, with Dagon, with Philistia, with the men of Bethshemeth, chap. 6., and now with Uzzah, should teach ministers to sanctify the Lord God; and let all tyrants learn to abstain from persecuting the church. The office of the sword is to punish real crimes.

2 Samuel 6:14 . Girded with a linen ephod. The levites wore such upper shawls, 1 Chronicles 15:27; but different ones, it would seem, from the ephod of the priests. Exodus 28:0. The orders of each were thus distinguished.

2 Samuel 6:23 . Michal had no child. Saul drove David from this princess presently after their marriage; the person to whom Saul confided her was an aged man; now she had not been long restored. Children were denied her by the special designation of heaven. When that is the case, families should patiently bow to the will of providence.


David in his exile had often lamented his absence from the ark, and the altar of God. Now he was desirous to have this ark enthroned and lodged contiguously to his house, that he might daily bow in the divine presence, and promote piety in his court. The motive was good and noble; and in the issue it was signally owned by marks of divine approbation.

Devout in his person, he wished to remove the ark with every expression of piety and national homage. He assembled thirty thousand men of the best families in Israel; he assembled an army of levites and musicians; and arraying himself as a levite, he led the vast train of musicians; and singing the 68th Psalm, they made the earth to ring, and the heavens to resound the praises of God. It is well, undoubtedly well, for a nation to pay the most public homage to God for its mercies; but in all this eclat and shouting, it is feared there was a preponderancy of human joy mixed with the divine. Leaving the law of God, which expressly enjoined the ark to be borne by the priests, or by the levites, they imitated the profane Philistines and carried it on a cart. Uzzah, for whom no pleas of ignorance can be urged, put forth his hand to stay it when it shook on the carriage; and God therefore struck him dead, and awed all the people by the terrors of his presence. Ah, how soon were their shoutings changed to weeping! Every one forsook the ark at Nachon’s threshing floor, and went home empty and ashamed, full of reflections and fears concerning the glory and terrors of the Lord. Let us learn to reverence holy things. The ark was typical of Jesus Christ, and no one must meddle with his work: neither can any sinner approach his Maker without the atoning blood. Let us learn also to be exact in keeping the commandments of God, and neither diminish their force, nor accommodate them to our humour. Let the lazy priests be here warned, for the Hebrew priests employed a cart instead of bearing the sacred symbols of the divine presence in their hands.

Well, though the king and his people went home without the ark, Obed- edom graciously received it into his house: and as the Lord blessed Laban for the sake of Jacob, and Potiphar for the sake of Joseph, so he blessed this man because of the ark. His family was healthy, his cattle were strong, and his lands loaded with the riches of the earth. And how many religious families in all ages have been blessed because they have encouraged the gospel, and cherished the ministers of religion? How many families within the last two hundred years might be referred to in Britain whom God has blessed, because they have aided the cause of righteousness and truth, and fed the ministers of religion at their table. Surely we have in this land a thousand Obed-edoms whom God has already requited with the hundredfold reward, and in the world to come he will give them life everlasting.

The blessings on the house of Obed-edom emboldened David to perfect his design in the removal of the ark. But the second time, having learned obedience, he caused it to be borne by the hand; and he offered sacrifice on its being removed six paces. It is the judgments of God which compel the world and the church to revere his name, and to adore with trembling; for he has power to maintain his right. David this day possessed the height of joy, and saw the consummation of all his wishes; for the ark being near his person he was afraid of no danger. But no joy is to be expected on earth without some check, and some alloy. In the midst of his transports he had the calamity to be despised and reproved by his queen, whom he tenderly loved. She felt her pride hurt on seeing him so plainly dressed, and by his degrading himself, as she thought, to a level with his subjects. What a calamity when a woman takes no part in the sacred joys and fervent worship of her husband! Michal’s soul was barren of the grace of God, and God punished her with perpetual barrenness of womb. She might by David’s prayers have obtained a son; but this was now forfeited. Such was her punishment for falsely accusing her lord of degrading himself before men, when he had done it solely before the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-samuel-6.html. 1835.
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