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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
2 Samuel 6

 

 

Verse 1

1. All the chosen men of Israel — According to 1 Chronicles 13:1-5, David took counsel in this matter with all the chief men, and then “gathered all Israel together from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath.” The expression all Israel often stands for the representatives or chosen men from all the tribes, who in the present instance numbered thirty thousand.


Verses 1-19

REMOVAL OF THE ARK TO ZION, 2 Samuel 6:1-19.

Having smitten his enemies and fortified Mount Zion, and having for a time, rest from war, David most judiciously took measures to make the capital of his kingdom the central place of worship for all the tribes. He doubtless knew Jehovah’s promise to choose out of all the tribes a place to put his name, (Deuteronomy 12:5; Deuteronomy 12:11,) and the signal providences that had given him possession of Zion convinced him that this was the chosen city. It was manifestly important, therefore, that the ark of the covenant, the most sacred of all the shrines of the sanctuary, be brought with appropriate ceremonies from its obscurity in Kirjath-jearim, and placed in the city of the king. The parallel account of this event in 1 Chronicles 13, 15, , 16, is more elaborately drawn. For this grand occasion David probably composed Psalms 24.


Verse 2

2. From Baale of Judah — Another name for Kirjath-jearim. See on Joshua 15:9. The preposition from ( מן) is probably the error of some ancient copyist. In Chronicles it is went up to Baal-ah.

Whose name is called by the name of the Lord — Rather, as De Wette, Keil, and others translate, Over which is called the name, the name of Jehovah of hosts. The repetition of the word name intensifies the thought of the personal Presence of Jehovah over the mercy-seat. “There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony.” Exodus 25:22.


Verse 3

3. A new cart — Like that which the Philistine diviners ordered for the removal of this same ark from their coasts. 1 Samuel 6:7. Strange carelessness on the part of the Israelites, amounting to sacrilege. The only lawful way to bear this holy shrine was by means of the staves extending through the rings on its sides. Exodus 25:14.

That was in Gibeah — Rather, that was in the hill, as the margin and 1 Samuel 7:1. Here the ark had stood in obscurity and neglect for more than sixty years.

Sons of Abinadab — Born, doubtless, many years after the ark had been given in charge of their father.


Verse 4

4. And they brought — The first part of this verse, as far as the word Gibeah, is a repetition from the preceding verse, and is probably a mistake of the copyist, who seems to have twice transcribed the same line.

Accompanying the ark — Rather, with the ark, the preposition with connecting cart of the preceding verse and the ark. The sons of Abinadab drave the new cart with the ark of God, that is, the new cart that bore the ark.

Ahio went before the ark — To guide the oxen, while Uzzah, as appears afterwards, walked behind, keeping his eyes upon the movements of the ark. These sons of Abinadab evidently lacked a becoming reverence for the ark. From childhood they had seen it in their home, and had become so familiar with the sight as to lose from their minds the sacred associations of its former history.

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Verse 5

5. Played before the Lord — Danced, and sang, and played on the musical instruments here mentioned.

All manner of instruments… of fir wood — This is properly regarded by most commentators as a corruption of the more correct reading of 1 Chronicles 13:8 : with all their might and with songs.

Harps… psalteries… timbrels — See note on 1 Samuel 10:5.

Cornets — Rather, sistra; for the original Hebrew word occurs here only, and seems clearly to mean the sistrum, an instrument of Egyptian origin, which was used by taking it in the right hand and shaking it. The cornet was a sort of horn.

Cymbals — Instruments consisting of two convex pieces of metal, which when struck together made a loud clanging sound.


Verse 6

6. Nachon’s threshingfloor — The familiar mention of such places, now utterly unknown, is evidence of the antiquity, genuineness, and credibility of these sacred writings.

Put forth his hand to the ark — This was sacrilegious transgression of the law: “The sons of Kohath shall come to bear it; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.” Numbers 4:15.


Verse 7

7. For his error — More literally, On account of the error. There were two errors of which he was guilty, attempting to transport the ark with cart and oxen, and presuming to touch the ark itself. “When we reflect what an encouragement the impunity of this offence might have been for the introduction of other innovations, it is not to be wondered at that the Lord should manifest his displeasure at this offence by inflicting the punishment he had denounced against it, thus discouraging any future attempts to make alterations in the theocratical institutions which he had established.” — Kitto.


Verse 8

8. David was displeased — Mortified and chagrined at the sudden and unhappy interruption of the triumphal procession. Various passions for the moment revelled in his soul. He was angry with himself for neglect and carelessness in allowing the ark to be removed in this way, and afterwards, according to 1 Chronicles 15:2; 1 Chronicles 15:13, he said: “None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us.”

Because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah — Because of the neglect and carelessness which occasioned the demand for such a judgment from the Lord. David was not angry against God, for the next verse tells us that he was afraid of him.

Made a breach — Violently interposed in a sudden stroke of Divine judgment.


Verse 9

9. Afraid — Thrilled with fear and trembling lest the judgments of the Lord were not yet at an end, and all attempts to remove the ark into the city would now prove abortive.


Verse 10

10. Obed-edom — A Levite descended from Kohath, (see 1 Chronicles 26:8,) and afterwards honoured as one of the “doorkeepers for the ark.” 1 Chronicles 15:24. His family long continued in the sanctuary service as keepers of the sacred vessels. 2 Chronicles 25:24.

The Gittite — So called from the name of his birthplace, the Levitical city of Gath-rimmon in the tribe of Dan. Joshua 19:45; Joshua 21:24.


Verse 11

11. Blessed Obed-edom — The consecrated house, where the presence of God abides and is reverenced, will not be wanting in divine blessings.


Verse 12

12. David went and brought up the ark — This time having all things done according to the instructions of the law, as the account in 1 Chronicles 15 more fully shows.


Verse 13

13. When they… had gone six paces, he sacrificed — Some think such sacrifices were offered all along the way, at the distance of six paces apart, from the house of Obed-edom to Zion. But this is improbable, and the text only affirms that the sacrifice was offered after the bearers of the ark had gone the first six steps. 2 Samuel 6:17 and 1 Chronicles 16:1, however, inform us that other offerings were made after the ark arrived at Zion.


Verse 14

14. Danced before the Lord — From the most ancient times, both among the Jews and other nations, dancing formed a part of the ceremonies of religious processions and festivals, but the performers were usually a band of females. Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; Judges 21:21; 1 Samuel 18:6. When persons of different sexes engaged, they seem always to have kept in separate companies, and never to have danced promiscuously.

Girded with a linen ephod — See on 1 Samuel 2:18. The ephod was worn by David on this occasion, probably, for the purpose of showing special respect and reverence for the ark of God.


Verse 15

15. With shouting — Crying, as they approached the gates of Zion, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates!”


Verse 16

16. She despised him in her heart — She was the daughter of a king, and held artificial notions of royalty; and she thought he dishonoured his royal dignity by mingling in the dance. See note on 2 Samuel 6:20.


Verse 17

17. The tabernacle that David had pitched for it — But why did David make a new tabernacle for the ark, and not bring to his city the old one, which seems to have remained at Gibeon? Several reasons may be given. Since the desecration of Shiloh the old tabernacle was removed from one place to another, and had probably been so often remodelled and repaired that it had lost its sacredness in the eyes of the nation, and David deemed it far better to build an entirely new tabernacle. A weightier reason was, that there were now two high priests, Abiathar, who had long been attached to David, and Zadok, whom Saul had anointed in the room of the slain Abimelech, and who was now at Gibeon. 1 Chronicles 16:39. It would have been imprudent for David to depose either of these, and therefore he wisely kept up the service of the tabernacle at Gibeon to afford Zadok the opportunity of exercising his office without interfering with Abiathar. He doubtless built this new tabernacle after the pattern of the old one, and his place in the midst, in which the ark was set, was the holy of holies.


Verse 20

MICHAL’S REPROOF, 2 Samuel 6:20-23.

20. To bless his household — The people seem (2 Samuel 6:18) to have gladly received his blessing, but at his own home he met from one member, repulse.

As one of the vain fellows — “The proud daughter of Saul was offended at the fact that the king had let himself down on this occasion to the level of his people. She availed herself of the shortness of the priest’s shoulder-dress to make a contemptuous remark concerning David’s dancing, as an impropriety that was unbecoming in a king. ‘Who knows whether the proud woman did not intend to sneer at the rank of the Levites, as one that was contemptible in her eyes?’” — Keil.


Verse 21

21. Chose me before thy father — A remark calculated to humble Michal by reminding her of her father’s fall.


Verse 22

22. I will yet be more vile — I am ready to be still more despised, if I may thereby honour Jehovah. How unlike the spirit of Michal, who seems to have had little interest in the God of Israel.


Verse 23

23. Had no child — A judgment upon her, in the eyes of the daughters of Israel, for her rash and haughty action. As Jehovah had rejected Saul from being king, so from that day David seems to have rejected Michal.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-6.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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