Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 6:20

But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, "How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants' maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - David;   Family;   Irony;   Michal;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Business Life;   Capital and Labour;   Employers (Masters);   Irony;   Masters (Employers);   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Families;   Hyke or Upper Garment;   Prayer, Social and Family;   Reviling and Reproaching;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ark of the Covenant;   Dancing;   Michal;   Uzzah;   Vanity;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Michal;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Jews, Judaism;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Chronicles, Books of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Belial;   Dance;   Dress;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Michal;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chronicles, I;   Jerusalem;   Priests and Levites;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Raca;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Michal ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Nachon;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Mi'chal;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Criticism (the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis);   Fellow;   Games;   Handmaid;   Merab;   Michal;   Priests and Levites;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ark of the Covenant;   Costume;   Samuel, Books of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

To bless his household - This was according to the custom of the patriarchs, who were priests in their own families. It is worthy of remark, that David is called patriarch by Stephen, Acts 2:29, though living upwards of four hundred years after the termination of the patriarchal age.

How glorious was the king of Israel - This is a strong irony. From what Michal says, it is probable that David used some violent gesticulations, by means of which some parts of his body became uncovered. But it is very probable that we cannot guess all that was implied in this reproach.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Then David returned … - He had passed his house to accompany the ark to the tabernacle he had pitched for it, when Michal saw him dancing. He now returns to bless his household. He had blessed the people 2 Samuel 6:18, but there were the inmates of his own house whom the customs of the age did not allow to be present, and so, with his usual considerate kindness and affection, David came to bless them also on this solemn occasion.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-6.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 6:20

David returned to bless his household.

Family worship

1. There can be no question that these words are intended to denote that when the public work of the day was done David returned to his own dwelling to implore the blessing of Almighty God upon his family by prayer and supplication.

I. With regard to the obligations to family worship.

1. I begin by observing that this duty arises out Of the relation in which families stand to God. He is their Founder and Benefactor. He “placeth the solitary in families;” children “are His heritage, and the fruit of the womb His reward.” Does the duty of social worship result from man’s being placed in society? Here is a society of the closest and most endearing kind, in which there is a clear and felt community of wants and necessities, a closer conjunction of interests than can possibly subsist in any other situation.

2. While the relation in which families stand to God evinces the obligation to family worship, the relation in which the head of the family stands to its several members makes it no less apparent. He is invested with a certain delegated authority over them, which lie is bound to employ for the promotion of the Divine glory. The power which he thus possesses is a department of the stewardship which the great Proprietor commits to the care of men: and if it be neglected, if its responsibility be not habitually felt, he is a faithless steward, and must fail in rendering an account.

3. So consonant is this duty to the natural sentiments of the human heart that even heathen nations appear to have been sensible of its propriety; for besides their tutelar deities who were supposed to preside over cities and nations, and who had public honours paid to them in that character, we read of the “penates,” or household gods, to whom families addressed their devotions. Such were, in all probability, the “teraphim,” or graven images, which Rachel carried away when she left the house of her father, Laban the Syrian; and those also which Micah, a man of Mount Ephraim, had in his dwelling, and on account of which he engaged a young man to officiate as priest or domestic chaplain.

4. But the obligation to this duty will more clearly appear when we attend to what the Scriptures teach us regarding it.

II. The advantages which accrue from the faithful discharge of this duty.

1. When accompanied with suitable dispositions of mind, family worship exercises a most beneficial influence even upon the temporal interests of those who practise it. It cannot fail to give a certain order and regularity to all the concerns of the household; for, being performed at a stated time, morning and evening, account will be laid, both by the head and the members of the household, to have their affairs in such a state that it may be performed with convenience; and thus habits of regularity and dispatch will be acquired, which must prove highly conducive to domestic economy and comfort.

2. The influence of domestic worship in promoting the temporal interests of a family is still further apparent from its tendency to promote industry in business and sobriety of life. The man that offers up his desires to God for the welfare of his household feels that by that very act he becomes bound to concur in every practicable way towards that end; and no one can continue long to pray for a blessing on his secular affairs, while at the same time he neglects his business and spends his time and substance in idleness and dissipation.

3. Attention to this duty is calculated to promote the worldly interests of a family, inasmuch as it draws down the blessing of God upon their labours. It is His blessing alone that maketh rich and prosperous, and in what manner is that blessing more likely to be obtained than by a whole family joining in prayer, and asking it daily of God? “The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but He blesseth the habitation of the just.”

4. Another, and far more valuable benefit, which flows from the faithful discharge of this duty, is its tendency, under the blessing of God, to promote the spiritual and eternal interests of those who practise it. It is one of the most important means through which God has promised to convey the blessings of salvation. He has assured us by an apostle that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

5. The regular performance of this duty is no less advantageous to the members of his household. To some, it is true, family worship, like all other means of grace, may yield no saving or spiritual benefit. As there are some spots of ground so completely sterile and impenetrable, that no culture can make them fruitful, even so there are some hearts so hard and callous that the wisest instruction, the most fervent prayers, and the most holy example produce no impression upon them. Still, however, we may safely assert that family devotion, when punctually and faithfully observed, has a most powerful tendency to form the minds of a household to the love and practice of religion. Who knows not the force of early impressions and the strength of early habits?

6. Nor is the influence of family worship confined to the members of the household who engage in it. It has a tendency to promote the truest and most permanent welfare of the community at large. Society rests upon reverence for law, and nothing can uphold it so well as reverence for the law of God. It is the caricature of this principle, religious serfdom, on which the continental despotisms at this moment are striving to rest their tottering thrones. We have in this country the blessed reality to a considerable extent, enlightened and genuine regard for the Divine law, and that among the masses of the people.

7. Nor is the influence of the duty we are recommending more useful and extensive than it is lasting. Besides blessings imparted to a neighbourhood, a congregation, a city, a nation, there may be blessings scattered over a long track of generations. Out of one home many homes may arise; each of these again may become a wellhead of moral and religious power. Thus a seed shall be preserved and multiplied to serve God, which shall be accounted to Him for a generation.

III. Some of the most popular excuses or apologies for the neglect of the duty of family worship.

1. One of the most common of these apologies is want of time. The time that is necessary for the performance of this exercise might easily be redeemed from sleep, idleness, business, or amusement. Besides, the advantages attending the duty would more than compensate the expense of time. By the spirit of order and regularity which, as we have seen, it tends to produce, time will be saved, instead of being lost, while, by drawing down the blessing of God on your labours, your united supplications will promote the success of your worldly employments. “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”

2. But a more plausible excuse for the neglect of the duty of family worship is want of ability. But let me entreat those who complain of this inability to remember that in prayer, as in other things, facility and correctness are to be acquired only by frequent practice and use. You can never form any accurate judgment of your qualifications until you have made the trial. Another reason-which has been offered by some for neglecting family prayer is that they cannot overcome their natural reluctance and timidity to engage in prayer in the presence of others. To be ashamed of engaging in family prayer is virtually to be ashamed of religion itself; and how awfully criminal such conduct must be, against which are pointed such denunciations as the following--“Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels.”

4. There are others who plead as an excuse for neglecting this duty that it had been so long neglected that they know not how to begin. To introduce family worship now, they think, would only be exhibiting their own inconsistency of character.

5. There is only one excuse more to which we would request your attention, namely, that of those who acknowledge the reasonableness of the duty which has been recommended, but who are reluctant to attend to it, from the fear of the opposition, censure and ridicule which they may meet with from their families. But I would ask those who urge this plea, whether they have ever made the experiment? If they have not, how know they but that this is a hindrance which exists only in their own imagination? There is, even in the very worst of men, a natural reverence for holiness, and I believe that the instances are extremely rare in which the members of a household will openly discourage or censure the ordinances of religion. (P. Grant.)

Blessing the household

You should bless your house-holds--

I. By your prayers. Spiritual sacrifices of prayers and praise will ever be presented on the domestic altar by those who are alive to the spiritual interests of their families. It will be their constant practice to take them by the hand, as it were, to the throne of the heavenly grace, and there devoutly to pray with them and for them. The importance of such engagements, in the great and important business of blessing our households, cannot possibly be estimated. You should bless your households,

II. By your instructions. “That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good.” Hence the importance of sound Scriptural knowledge to the young of our different families. You should bless your households,

III. By your discipline. It is said of David that “he had not offended Aronijah in any thing in saying, What hast thou done?” How neglectful was this renowned and illustrious individual, in this particular instance, of a most important part of a parent’s duty! Every one acquainted with a parent’s relation and obligations, and conversant with the management and direction of a family, must be fully aware of the importance of discipline to comfort, good order, and regularity. There must be established, in our different houses, an inviolable connexion between authority and obedience. Remember that discipline is God’s established law. He exercises it in his family; and we must in ours. You should bless your households,

IV. By your example. Not only in the church and the world, but also in your different families, is faith to be shown by your works. (W. Snell.)

Domestic religion

These words seem to intimate what at all events is certain from other accounts of this great and good man, that domestic devotion was his habitual practice. With him religion was not an affair restricted to times and places; but it was a hallowed habit, which accompanied him into the camp and the cabinet, into the closet and the family circle; and his example is particularly worthy of our notice, because it is that of a man, who did not consider himself in any degree exempted from the most sacred obligations of domestic life by the many duties of his public and elevated station. Let us, then, take occasion from it to make some remarks upon the importance of religion in the family.

I. Domestic religion tends to promote the temporal welfare of families. The prosperity of every family depends upon the right spirit and practice of its members. In the natural course of things, it is to be looked for only as the reward of virtuous and well-directed industry; it is consequent upon harmony and order, sobriety and diligence, discretion and integrity, in the affairs of life.

II. Family religion is recommended by the substantial support and comfort it affords in all seasons of domestic trial and affliction. Every householder has not only certain duties of a social and secular nature to discharge, but a course of trial to undergo, which calls for patience and resignation to the will of God. We need not descant upon those afflictions of domestic life which so often turn the abode of joy into the scene of heartrending sorrow. The best and most prosperous family is, we all know, liable to those disappointments, losses, and sorrows which are common to society in every form.

III. Family-religion is, moreover, powerfully recommended as ranking amongst the most efficient means of promoting the cause of truth and Godliness. The service of God is the grand object for which human beings are united together under the domestic constitution, and endued with the mighty power of the social affections. If you look for the final end in anything short of this, it must be something limited merely to the objects of a transitory life, and falling therefore immeasurably short of all that relates immediately to the interest of sinful and immortal creatures. Now the great importance of family-worship, in reference to the grand designs of the domestic constitution, must be evident under whatever aspect you consider the subject.

1. If you contemplate it in reference to those who are entrusted with household authority, it must manifestly be of great advantage to them in the discharge of their sacred duties. The parent and the master are, as such, accountable to the Judge of all for the manner in which they act in regard to the precious means of usefulness placed at their disposal. The souls of their children and domestics are entrusted to their care.

2. The worship and fear of God in families must directly tend to restrain the evil tendencies of those who are placed under authority, and to promote most effectually their spiritual welfare. Every household which duly recognises the authority of the supreme Parent in the stated exercises of devotion, is a most important school for the acquisition of the best principles and habits.

3. These remarks will suffice, however, to shew the vast importance of family-religion in relation to the general interests of Christianity. It is to education conducted on religious principles that the world, under the Divine blessing, will always be principally indebted for whatever it shall possess of genuine wisdom and goodness. Happy, then, thrice happy, is the family which is animated by the spirit of devotion, and regulated by the principles of Christianity! In a world of sin and sorrow it presents a scene most refreshing to the eye--a home of peace and blessedness--a garden of the Lord, where the trees of righteousness are seen to grow and blossom with the fruit of immortality. In conclusion, we would exhort those who enjoy the inestimable advantages of parental and religious discipline, to remember their great, responsibility to God, and to consider well how much depends upon the improvement of their privileges. (C. R. Muston, M. A.)

The duty and advantages of family prayer

Our text points to the more enlarged view of gospel expansiveness--the extension of our religious privileges to those around us, in order that they in their turn may extend like blessings to others.

I. The duty of family worship.

1. First, then, the consent of all pious antiquity, patriarchs and prophets, of evangelists and holy men, whether dwelling in wilderness-tents or in houses of cedar, in an upper room at Jerusalem or in a lonely hut by the sea-shore, that they all prayed with and blessed their households.

2. On the score of its reasonableness, on the identity of interests and sympathies which must exist in the same household.

3. The consideration of that law of stewardship which, in spiritual things as well as in temporal, makes each man his brother’s keeper, his brother’s instructor, his brother’s counsellor, and priest and friend. What that master would be thought of who should neglect to snatch a servant from the flames, or what that parent would be thought of who from his children should withhold their daily food, we need not be told; yet wherein is he to be otherwise accounted of, who should behold his servants day by day as brands unpitied in the burning, or who should feed his children only with “the meat that perisheth,” when their immortal natures were hungering for that which “endureth to everlasting life?”

II. Some of the advantages which result from a devout observance of the duties of family religion.

1. The low ground of worldly interests and worldly comforts as being furthered thereby. You know your happiness lies largely in the faithfulness, the trustworthiness, the affection and love of your domestics: what more likely to kindle such qualities within them than to witness your daily and devout mindfulness of the fact that you also “have a Master in Heaven?”

2. Again, the duty will be of the highest practical benefit to yourselves. When you have risen from your knees you will feel that a solemn necessity is laid upon you to live and speak and act according to the spirit of your prayers: be it even from no worthier motive than a regard to your own consistency, temper will be curbed, uncharitableness will be repressed, pride will bring down its lofty looks, and anger hold out the kind and forgiving hand.

3. Another benefit of a devoutly conducted family service is good to the souls of others; to the souls of the servants that wait on thee, of the relations that tarry with thee, of the stranger who--though it may be but for a night--may be sojourning within thy gates.

4. Once more, by keeping up these devout solemnities in your household, you secure a remembrance in the private intercessions of its members. When all pray with you, then all will pray for you: the walls of every chamber shall hear mention of your name: prayer shall watch over your infant’s slumbers: prayer shall smoothe for you the bed of languishing: “as the mountains are round about Jerusalem,” shall prayer compass your daily path: as guardian angels shall prayer stand round your bed. (D. Moore, M. A.)

How glorious was the King of Israel to-day.

The jeer of sarcasm, and the retort of piety

David had simply divested himself of his robes, and acted like the rest of the people in playing before God. She accused him of immodesty; this was, of course, but a pitiful satire, he having in all things acted blamelessly, though humbly, like the rest of the people. His reply to her was with usual tartness. Seldom did he seem to lose his temper for a moment, but in this case he half did so at any rate. His answer was, “It was before the Lord which chose me before thy father, and before all his house.” Thus significantly, and as it were ominously did he remind her of her pedigree. And because she had slighted her husband when he had acted in God’s service according to the dictates of his heart, the Lord struck her with a curse--the greatest curse which an Eastern woman could possibly know--a curse, moreover, which wiped out the last expiring hope of her family pride--she went childless to the day of her death.

I. David’s trouble. His trouble was peculiar. It came from a quarter where he ought least to have expected it. Has it not been to many a Christian woman that her husband has been her greatest enemy in religion, and many a Christian man has found the partner of his own bosom the hardest obstacle in the road to heaven? Natural affections are so interwoven with a thousand ligaments that they cannot be easily broken; but they are delicate as the finest nerves, and can never be injured without causing the most dolorous sensation.

II. David’s justification. What did David say in extenuation of what he had done? He said, “It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, and appointed me ruler over the people, over Israel, therefore will I play before the Lord.” David’s justification of his acts was God’s election of him. Let me cull a picture from the memoir of one in years gone by. He preaches in a church in Glasgow; he is just inducted into the church, preferment lies open before him, he may speedily be made a Bishop if he likes, he seeks it not. Without mitre or benefice he takes to Kennington-common and Moorfields, goes to every stump and hedge in the country, so that he is Rural Dean of all the commons everywhere, and Canon Residentiary nowhere. He is pelted with rotten eggs; he finds one time that his forehead has been laid open in the midst of the sermon, while he has been laying men’s hearts open. Why does he do it? Men say he is fanatical. What did Whitfield need to do this for? What did John Wesley need to go all over the country for? Why, there is the Rev. Mr. So-and-so, with his fourteen livings, and never preaches at all--good man he is. “Oh,” say the world, “and he makes-a good thing, depend upon it.” That is a Common saying, “He makes a good thing of it.” And when he died, he did make a good thing of it, for he silenced the tongue of slander, leaving nothing but an imperishable reputation behind. When Mr. Wesley was labouring abundantly, they said, “He is a rich man;” and taxed him for his plate very heavily. He said, “You may take my plate at any rate if you like, for all I have is two silver spoons; I have one in London, and one in York, and by the grace of God, I shall never have any more as long as there are poor people about.” But the people said, “Depend upon it, they are making a good thing of it; why cannot they be still as other people.” What other men could not do, or would not do, they did; they could not rest before they did it; they could dance like David before the ark, degrading the clerical character; they could bring down the fine dignity of the parson, to stand like a mountebank before the shows of Moor-fields, or in the Spa-fields’ riding schools; they could come down on stage-boards to preach the gospel; they were not ashamed to be like David--they thought all this disgrace was honour, and all this shame was glory; and they bore it all, for their justification was found in the fact that they believed God had chosen them; and therefore they chose to suffer for Christ’s sake, rather than reign without Christ. And now, if you think God has chosen you and yet do not feel that He has done great things for you, or holds any strong claims upon your gratitude, then shun the cross. If you have never had much forgiven, get over the stile, and go down the green lane into Bye-path meadow, if it is comfortable walking, go down there. If you do not owe much to the Lord Jesus Christ, shirk his service, go up in the corner there when the trumpet plays, and tell Michal you are very sorry you have displeased her. Say, “I will never do the like again, trust me; I am sorry you do not like it; I hope you will now forgive me; but as I hold religion to be a thing to please everyone as well as myself, I will never dance before the ark again.” Do that now if you are under no very great obligation to the Father of spirits, and have never tasted the distinguishing love of God to your souls. But oh, there are some of you ready to start up from your seats, and say, “Well, I am not that man!” and assuredly, as your pastor, I can look on some of you that have had much forgiven. Not long ago you were up to the throat in drunkenness; you could blaspheme God. Not very long ago perhaps you carried on dishonesty, and never entered the house of God. Some of you were frivolous, gay, careless, despisers of God, without hope, without Christ, strangers to the commonwealth of Israel. Well, and what brought you here now? Why, sovereign grace has done it. The mercy you have received is a complete justification for anything that you may do in God’s service, any ecstacy that you may feel when you are worshipping him, and any excess of liberality you may display when you are engaged in pressing on to the kingdom of your Lord and Master.

III. Not less worthy of our notice was his resolution. What did he say? “I will yet be more vile than thus, and I will be base in mine own sight.” Resolve, when you are in any sort of persecution, to face it with a full countenance. Like a nettle is the persecutor; touch it gently and it will sting you, but grasp it, and it hurts you not. Lay hold of those who oppose you, not with rough vengeance, but with the strong grip of quiet decision, and you have won the day. Yield no principle, no, not the breadth of a hair of that principle. Stand up for every solitary grain of truth; contend for it as for your life. Think of the snows of the Alps, and call to mind the Waldenses, and the Albigenses, your great forerunners. Think again, of the Lollards, the disciples of Wickcliffe; think of your brethren in Germany, who, not many centuries ago, nay, but a century ago, were sewn up in sacks, had their hands chopped off, and bled and died--a glorious list of martyrs. Your whole pedigree, from the beginning to the end, is stained with blood. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been made to suffer the violence of men; and you I will you yield? Shall these soft times, these gentle ages, take away your pristine valour--make you the craven sons of heroic fathers? No, if you are not called to the sufferings of a martyr, yet bear the spirit of a martyr. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Afraid of the excitement of religion

The Sunday services were well attended and were used of God to the conversion of some. Each night showed fresh cases of blessing, and the last day I was asked to visit the Bible class leader, who had been taken ill on the Monday on entering the room he exclaimed, “This is a judgment on me.” “What, do you mean?” said I. “Well, I prayed in public last week that the Lord would keep all excitement out of the meetings, and He answered it by keeping me out of them altogether, and I have not been able to get my young men to any of them.” It is wise to distinguish between the “religion of excitement” and the “excitement of religion.” We must never put perspiration in the place of inspiration, or thunder in the place of lightning. (Newton Jones.)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 6:20". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-samuel-6.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

MICHAL CONFRONTS DAVID; THEIR ESTRANGEMENT

"And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, "How the king of Israel honored himself today before the eyes of his servant's maids, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself? And David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord - and I will make merry before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes, but by the maids of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor." And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child till the day of her death."

It is significant that David did not deny Michal's charge against him, referring to his conduct as "contemptible," and promising to be even more so in the future, his only justification of it being simply that he did it "before the Lord."

Some have suggested that Michal's going forth to meet David and her reproach of him in the presence of others constituted a major insult of the king. However, that might very well have been the only opportunity that Michal had to speak with her husband. It should be remembered that she dwelt in the king's harem and would never have any kind of personal contact with him unless he sent one of his eunuch's to summons her and bring her to his bedroom. There is no evidence whatever that she ever had any other opportunity to speak with David except this one.

"And Michal, Saul's daughter, had no child to the day of her death" (2 Samuel 6:23). This may not mean that Michal died childless, but merely that she had no child after her return to David. Her five sons are mentioned in 1 Samuel 21:10. The RSV identifies them as sons of "Merab," Saul's oldest daughter, but certain old manuscripts, the Hebrew text, and the Greek (LXX) identify them as the sons of Michal, as indicated in the footnote of the RSV. Josephus declares that, "She bare five children."[26] Porter stated that the natural way of understanding 2 Samuel 6:23 is that, "Michal's barrenness was for the rest of her life due to her estrangement from David, and not that she was stricken by Jehovah with barrenness."[27] H. P. Smith also supported that same understanding of the passage.[28] A comparison of various versions will show that a great deal of uncertainty clouds many passages in these historical books. However, that uncertainty does not pertain to anything of vital importance to Christians.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-6.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then David returned to bless his household,.... His wife, children, and servants, to wish all happiness to them on this occasion, and pray to God for blessings on them temporal and spiritual. This was done when he came from the place where the ark was set, and was come to his own palace:

and Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David; before he had gotten quite to his own house:

and said, how glorious was the king of Israel today; which she spoke in an ironical jeering way, meaning the reverse, how inglorious, mean, and despicable he had made himself to be, by his airs and gestures:

who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! because he had put off his royal robes, and put on a linen ephod; for that he had stripped himself naked cannot be supposed, nor do her words import so much though a passionate exaggeration of the case.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Then David returned to i 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!

(i) That is, to pray for his house, as he had done for the people.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-6.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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!

Bless his household — Ministers must not think, that their public performances will excuse them from family worship: but when they have blessed the public assembly, they are to return and bless their own household. And none is too great to do this. It is the work of angels to worship God; and therefore certainly can be no disparagement to the greatest of men.

Who uncovered — By stripping himself of his royal robes, that he might put on a Levitical ephod.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-6.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 6:20 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!

Ver. 20. To bless his household.] To show himself as good a householder as he was a king. See his care there. [Psalms 101:1-8] And this he calleth "a perfect way," as opposed to hypocrisy. [Psalms 101:2] Michal was not blessed, but cursed through her own default.

Came out to meet David.] She could not keep in her chamber window; but must needs come out to tell him her mind.

How glorious was the king of Israel today!] Words as full of pride and scorn as was possible. Barren Michal hath still too many sons, that make religion not more a form than a scorn: and no marvel that such are plagued with continual fruitlessness, as she.

Who uncovered himself.] And did not her father Saul do as much when he prophesied at Naioth? [1 Samuel 19:24] Why then is that a fault in Titius that was none in Cajus?

In the eyes of the handmaids.] Thus she proudly exaggerateth.

As one of the vain fellows.] Scurriliter et histrionice, leaping and dancing. Nemo sobrius saltat, (a) saith Cicero, who also accuseth a certain Roman lady, because she could sing and dance daintily. But how David danced, 2 Samuel 6:14.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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, 1 Chronicles 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!

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-6.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Who uncovered himself; either, first, by stripping himself of his royal robes, that he might put on a Levitical ephod; or by discovering some part of his thighs or legs, as might possibly happen whilst he

danced with all his might, as is said above, 2 Samuel 6:14, considering that the men did then wear loose garments; or she speaks thus, not that he did so, but only by way of aggravation of his fault, and to vilify him the more, as is usual with persons in such cases.

The handmaids of his servants; who either bore a part in the solemnity, as women sometimes did, Exodus 15:20; or at least were spectators of it, and of David’s carriage in it.

As one of the vain fellows; as idle and light persons use to do.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-6.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

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.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-6.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 6:20. David returned to bless his household — As he had done his people. Ministers must not think that their public performances will excuse them from family worship; but when they have blessed the public assembly they are to return and bless their own household. And none is too great to do this. It is the work of angels to worship God; and therefore certainly can be no disparagement to the greatest of men. How glorious was the king of Israel! — This she spoke ironically, by way of derision and contempt. Who uncovered himself to-day — Stripped himself of his royal robe, and put on a linen ephod. “The original word, נגלה, niglah, which we render uncovering himself, doth not mean exposing any part of the body to view, and is never used in that sense, without some other word to determine it to that meaning. And as in the parallel place (1 Chronicles 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 ephods) and playing on his harp, or some musical instrument, like the rest of the people, he appeared (that is, exposed himself in her eyes) as one of the vain fellows.” — Dodd. In the eyes of the handmaids of his servants — The women probably bore a part in this procession and solemnity, as they did Exodus 15., or, at least, were spectators of it; from which, indeed, none were excluded, though ever so mean. As one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself — Throws off his clothes, and cares not who sees him. The word shamelessly is not in the original, but injudiciously inserted by our translators, who have themselves put a better word, namely, openly, in the margin. The Hebrew words כנגלות נגלות, cheniggaloth nigloth, literally translated, are, as in uncovering he uncovereth. Michal doubtless spoke this by way of reproach, of his putting off his proper royal apparel, and mixing with the multitude. If she meant to intimate that he had exposed himself immodestly, she aggravated his action in a fit of passion; for it is not at all credible that he should do any thing of the kind. There can be no doubt but he kept himself within the bounds of modesty and decency, especially as he was employed in sacred work. He was acting according to the command of God, who required the Israelites to rejoice in their feasts, Deuteronomy 12:7; and Deuteronomy 16:14; but certainly not with a trifling, lascivious, and petulant mirth, but with a pious, holy, and moderate joy, becoming the presence of God. But as Michal judged of David, so do carnal and worldly-minded men judge of true piety, and of those who make a profession of it. It is all weakness and meanness of spirit, or it is enthusiasm and extravagance in their eyes. But David’s reply to Michal may teach us not to be ashamed of religion, or of any part of it, whatever reproach may be cast upon us for it. The erroneous judgment and sneers of ungodly men should be despised and disregarded when the honour of God is in question.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-6.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fellows. Septuagint, "dancers." Michol exaggerates, as David had been guilty of no indiscretion, ver. 14. (Calmet) --- St. Gregory (Mor. xxvii. 27,) styles her "insane." Yet Abulensis does not sufficiently approve of David's conduct. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

daughter of Saul. Note this. It does not say "the wife of David".

uncovered = disrobed, referring to his royal robes.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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 (Hebrew #7386), the empty, i:e., worthless, people; k

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) Returned.—Michal had seen David from the window as he passed by his house on his way with the ark to its tent. Now, having dismissed and blessed the people, he returns to bless those members of his household whom eastern custom had not allowed to take part in the ceremonies, and is met by Michal with her cutting irony. The account of this is omitted from the narrative in Chronicles.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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!
bless
18; Genesis 18:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Chronicles 16:43; Psalms 30:1; *title; Psalms 101:2
Michal
16; Psalms 69:7-9; Mark 3:21
glorious
Nehemiah 4:3,4; Isaiah 53:2,3; John 13:6; 1 Corinthians 4:10-13; Philippians 2:7,8
uncovered
We are only to understand by this expression that David had divested himself of his royal robes, in order to appear humble before the Lord, by assimilating himself to the condition of one of the priests or Levites: for we find that he was "girded with a linen ephod;" and consequently no part of his body was exposed, having only put off his outer garments. The terms uncovered or naked frequently mean no more than this in Scripture.
14,16; 1 Samuel 19:23,24
vain fellows
Judges 9:4; Job 30:8
shamelessly
or, openly.
Reciprocal: Genesis 37:19 - Behold;  Joshua 22:6 - General1 Samuel 14:49 - name of the firstborn;  1 Samuel 24:14 - the king;  2 Samuel 19:39 - blessed;  1 Chronicles 15:29 - she despised;  Job 2:10 - as one;  Isaiah 20:2 - naked;  Matthew 5:22 - Raca;  John 21:7 - naked;  Hebrews 7:7 - the less

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-6.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"David returned to bless his household."2 Samuel 6:20.

David had been bringing up the ark from Kirjath-jearim; the ark had rested in the house of Obed-edom; David brought the ark into Zion with sacrifices, and he danced before it, and he placed it in the tabernacle with great joy and feasting,—"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."—The history says, "All the people departed every one to his own house;" and then it adds, "David returned to bless his household."—Public worship does not obviate the necessity of private worship.—There should be a church in every house.—Every hearthstone should have its sacred altar; the clear way from every window in the house should be a path ending only in heaven.—What avail is it that a man has served the public if he has neglected his own family? Of what advantage is it that a man has been most eloquent to others, and most silent to those of his own household? Pitiful indeed is the life of the man who is most popular with those who know him least, and who is but scantily welcomed by those who live with him in common family relations. There is indeed an exception to this household enthusiasm in the instance given in this chapter; for Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and reproached him, being out of sympathy with his religious enthusiasm.—Michal was to blame, not David.—David said, "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."—Where a man has unfortunately married a wife who is not in sympathy with him, he must not cast all the responsibility upon other people; he fashioned the sword with which he is pierced; he kindled the fire which leaps upon him like an avenging flame.—The lesson is that men ought not to enter into relationships that axe not deeply sympathetic; if there is any disparity as to religious conviction and religious enthusiasm, it will tell in the long run upon family peace.—At first when passion burns and love has taken leave of reason there may be an apparent smoothness in all the outlying way; but when reason begins to assume its function, and life settles down into its ordinary levels, and the daily wear and tear of business is felt, then it will be seen that there is no true union that does not begin in religious identity of sympathy and purpose.—Where the house is divided upon religion it is divided fatally; no compromise can create an enduring truce: a profound mistake was made at the beginning, and it will exert its disastrous influence until the dissolution of the unhappy bond.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:20". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/2-samuel-6.html. 1885-95.