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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 6

Verse 1

Before Christ 1044.

2 Samuel 6:1. Again David gathered together all the chosen men, &c.— Afterwards David levied yet thirty thousand men, the chosen strength of Israel; i.e. thirty thousand more than he had before his late victory over the Philistines. Houb.

Verse 2

2 Samuel 6:2. From Baale of Judah Baale is the same city which in Jos 15:60 is called Kirjath-baal, or Kirjath-jearim. See 1 Chronicles 13:6.

Verse 5

2 Samuel 6:5. On all manner of instruments made of fir-wood In the Hebrew, on all fir-wood. In the parallel place, 1Ch 13:8 it is, with all their might, and with singing, which is in all respects the preferable reading: for the word עצי atzei, translated fir-wood, is not used for musical instruments; and besides, it is not probable that all the musical instruments were made of the same species of wood, whether fir, or cypress as some translate.

REFLECTIONS.—Long had the ark lain neglected in the house of Abinadab: we find but once mention made of consulting God before it during all Saul's reign; but David knew the value of that sacred treasure, and therefore prepared to remove it to a place more suited to its reception.

1. He speaks highly of the ark, from its relation to God, whose presence made it glorious, and who was pleased to dwell between the cherubims. Note; (1.) It is God's presence in all ordinances that makes them glorious. (2.) They who have high thoughts of God, will reverence all his holy institutions.

2. He makes great preparations to attend it with a magnificent retinue, in solemn pomp and holy joy. Thirty thousand men, the flower of his army, to guard it; the prime nobility, elders, and great men, out of all the tribes, and instruments of music of all kinds, himself leading the sacred band; and accounting himself honoured, though a king, in this employment of praise and humble attendance before the God of Israel. Note; (1.) The greatest kings need not think it any disparagement to their dignity, to join with the meanest Israelite before that God who regardeth not the persons of the rich more than of the poor. (2.) Sacred psalmody always revives, whenever God revives a spirit of religion.

Verse 6

2 Samuel 6:6. When they came to Nachon's threshing-floor The word נכון Nachon is used by way of anticipation, in allusion to the fate of Uzzah; for נחה nakah, signifies to smite, and נכון nachon, the act of smiting. In 1Ch 13:9 it is called the threshing-floor of Chidon, which conveys the same idea; for כיד kid, signifies destruction. See Houbigant's note on the verse.

The oxen shook it The oxen stuck in the mire. Bochart. tom. 1. 13.

Verse 7

2 Samuel 6:7. God smote him there for his error, &c.— "The ark," says Dr. Chandler, "ought not to have been drawn by oxen, but carried by the Levites on their shoulders, as we find it afterwards, 2 Samuel 6:13. Beside this, the Levites were prohibited from touching the ark, under the express penalty of death, Numbers 4:15-20. As this was the first instance that we have of violating this prohibition, the penalty of death was incurred, and therefore justly inflicted by him who threatened it, as a warning to others to preserve a due reverence for the institution; it also shews, that the prohibition was divine: and, as David himself and the whole house of Israel were present at this solemnity, the nature of the death, and the reason why it was inflicted, could not be concealed."

Verse 8

2 Samuel 6:8. And David was displeased Rather was afflicted; was much distressed.

REFLECTIONS.—1. Every stroke upon others for their sin, should be a warning to us to repent of our own. 2. If the breach between the broken law of a holy God, and a sinful soul, be not healed by the Lord Jesus Christ, an everlasting monument will remain of God's inexorable justice upon the sinner. 3. Obed-edom was no loser by his blessed visitant. He welcomed the ark to his house, notwithstanding the terrible judgments which had overtaken those who irreverently treated it. He knew that if he avoided their sin, he need not fear their punishment; and God rewarded him in a remarkable blessing on himself and household; so that in the three months that the ark continued with him, everything prospered. Note; (1.) None ever lost by fidelity to God. Godliness hath the promise of the life which now is, as well as of that which is to come. (2.) It is a blessing to dwell under a good man's roof, for all who are about him are the better for him. (3.) All our prosperity must be ascribed to God; and when he adds to all a thankful heart, then we are blessed indeed!

Verse 14

2 Samuel 6:14. David danced before the Lord David's behaviour in this particular was no disparagement to his regal dignity. His dancing, that is, his moving in certain solemn measures, suited to music of the same character and tendency, was an exercise fully justifiable in him. Piety taught David, that all men are upon a level in the solemnities of religion. See Delaney; where the reader will find a dissertation upon dancing, wherein David's dancing before the ark is examined, fully vindicated, and shewn to be very different from that kind of dancing which is too much practised in these days.

Verse 19

2 Samuel 6:19. Flagon of wine Draught of wine. Hiller. 332.

REFLECTIONS.—The blessing of the ark on Obed-edom and his house soon reached the ears of David; and now his fears are removed, and his desires return to have the ark with him at Jerusalem. Hereupon once more he attempts to remove it, and through the Divine blessing succeeds. Note; Though we are sore let and hindered in our race, we must not despair; success shall at last crown our labours.

1. David saw and rectified his former mistake: the Levites, according to Divine prescription, are appointed to carry the ark; and when they had gone six paces, David caused oxen and fatlings to be offered as an atonement for former errors, and in thankfulness for present help. Note; (1.) When God by his correction has led us to repentance, we need not doubt that we shall inherit a blessing. (2.) The blood of the one great Sacrifice must be regarded in all our undertakings, as the sole foundation for our dependance on God's favour and regard.

2. David in all humility, with every demonstration of joy, preceded the ark. He laid his royal robes aside, and, in an ephod like that which the ministers of the sanctuary wore, with exultation leaped and praised God with all his might: his heart was engaged in the blessed service, and his body spoke the transport of his soul.
3. The people joined their king in these lively expressions of joy: with shouts of triumph, and the trumpet's cheerful voice, they brought up the ark to the tabernacle. David had provided for it, according to the former usage; and there before it David offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, expressive of his gratitude and thankfulness for the success he had met with.
4. David dismissed the people. He blessed them in the name of God; prayed for them and over them, that they might thus ever delight in God and his ways; and gave each of them a cake, and meat (probably part of the sacrifices, which were always eaten as a sacred feast), and wine. And thus the people returned to their houses, highly satisfied. Note; (1.) All God's people are called to feast on the one great Sacrifice, and to eat that bread, and drink of that cup, which the Saviour, the Son of David, has provided for us. (2.) A generous and munificent spirit naturally engages our regard. (3.) When we have the blessing of the King of kings upon us, then may we well depart in peace.

Verse 20

2 Samuel 6:20. Who uncovered himself to-day The original word נגלה niglah, which we render uncovering himself, does not mean exposing any part of the body to view, and is, I believe, never used in that sense, without some other word to determine it to that meaning. And as, in the parallel place, 1Ch 15:29 this circumstance is not at all taken notice of, but only that when she saw David dancing and leaping (or, as the word should be rendered, playing on some musical instrument, as it is used 2 Samuel 6:5.), she despised him; the meaning can be nothing more than that, by dancing before the ark without his royal habit, (exchanged for the linen ephod,) and playing on his harp, or some musical instrument like the rest of the people; he appeared, i.e. exposed himself in her eyes, and in the eyes of the maid-servants of his servants, to the very meanest of the beholders, just as one of the vain fellows, openly uncovereth, or exposeth himself. The haughty woman, in the contempt of her heart, calls the Levites, the bearers of the ark, the singers and players on the instruments, רקים rekim, empty, low, worthless people; and likens David to them, because he discovered himself as they discovered themselves; i.e. appeared in the same habit, and played and danced just as they did. Michal, perhaps, had learnt infidel notions during her cohabitation with Phaltiel, and, seeing the procession from her window, thought the behaviour of David inconsistent with the dignity of the king of Israel. The word shamelessly is not in the original, but injudiciously inserted by our translators, who have themselves put a better word in the margin, namely, openly. The Hebrew words are literally, by uncovering, uncovereth; and the passage literally runs thus: How glorious was the king of Israel to-day, who openly appeared to-day, in the eyes of the hand-maids of his servants, according to the open appearance in which one of the vain fellows openly appeareth!

Verse 21

2 Samuel 6:21. It was before the Lord I uncovered myself before the Lord. Houb. Who renders the last clause of the verse, therefore have I rejoiced before the Lord. The Hebrew word, שׂחקתי sichakti, according to Chandler, refers to David's playing like the rest of the people on some musical instrument, as it is expressly said in the 5th verse, that David and all the house of Israel played [משׂחקים mesuchekim] before the Lord.

Verse 22

2 Samuel 6:22. I will yet be more vile—and—base The words נקלתי nekalloti, and שׁפל shapal, which, we render vile and base, by no means convey the ideas which those English words convey. The first is twice rendered in our version by despised; Genesis 16:4-5. The almost constant sense of the latter is humble; and the passage before us should be rendered, And I will be more despicable than this, and humble in mine own eyes. David's reply is severe, but just, and suited to the nature of Michal's reproach: "Have I descended beneath the dignity of my character, as king of Israel, by divesting myself of my royal robes, and, by dancing, acted like one of the vain people? It was before the Lord, who chose me before thy father, &c. And I will play (viz. on my musical instruments) before the Lord, And if this be to make myself cheap or contemptible, I will be more so; and whatever may be my condition as a king, I will always be humble in the judgment I form of myself: and as for those maid-servants, of whom thou speakest, I shall be honoured amongst them: the meanest of the people will respect me more for my popularity, when they see me condescend to share in their sacred mirth." And in this he acted as a wise and politic, as well as a religious prince. See Leland's Script. Vind. vol. 1: p. 289.

Verse 23

2 Samuel 6:23. Therefore Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child, &c.— Either neglected from henceforth by David, or, as is more probable, immediately punished by God himself, Michal had no children from this time till the day of her death; or rather, as the Jews say, with whom Bishop Patrick agrees, she never had any children. See the note on chap. 2Sa 21:8 and Pfeiffer's Dubia Vexata.

REFLECTIONS.—1. The exercises of religion often provoke the contempt of carnal minds. Having no senses exercised to relish holy joys, they despise them. 2. It is no new thing for the enemies of God's people to charge them with lewdness, and to reproach their assemblies as indecent. 3. Ridicule, not reason, is the weapon chiefly employed by the enemies of truth. 4. We must not be laughed out of a religious profession, nor be ashamed of it; but the more we are opposed, or insulted, the more resolutely must we persevere. 5. If God knows our hearts to be upright before him, the censures of others may well lie light upon us. 6. We can never sufficiently humble ourselves before a holy God; in whose presence the greatest king is no better than sinful dust and ashes.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/2-samuel-6.html. 1801-1803.