Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 6:7

And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Anger;   Ark;   David;   Judgments;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Miracles;   Nachon;   Presumption;   Rashness;   Sacrilege;   Uzzah;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - God;   God's;   Judgments, God's;   Smitten of God;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Anger of God, the;   Ark of the Covenant;   Judgments;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahio;   Ark of the Covenant;   Uzzah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Building;   Jerusalem;   Touch;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Obed-Edom;   Perez-Uzzah;   Uzzah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bethshemesh;   Dance;   Kohath;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ahio;   Kiriath-Jearim;   Kohathites;   Obed-Edom;   Purity-Purification;   Samuel, Books of;   Transportation and Travel;   Uzzah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Anger (Wrath) of God;   Ark;   Chronicles, I;   Clean and Unclean;   Jerusalem;   Medicine;   Priests and Levites;   Uzza;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Uzza, Uzzah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Fellow;   Nachon;   Uzzah;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Jerusalem;   Obed-edom;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jerusalem;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Err;   Uzza;   Wrath (Anger);   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ark of the covenant;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Anger;   Ark of the Covenant;   Atonement;   Holiness;   Memra;   Miracle;   Uzza, Uzzah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Smote him there for his error - Uzzah sinned through ignorance and precipitancy; he had not time to reflect, the oxen suddenly stumbled; and, fearing lest the ark should fall, he suddenly stretched out his hand to prevent it. Had he touched the ark with impunity, the populace might have lost their respect for it and its sacred service, the example of Uzzah must have filled them with fear and sacred reverence; and, as to Uzzah, no man can doubt of his eternal safety. He committed a sin unto death, but doubtless the mercy of God was extended to his soul.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For his error - The Hebrew is difficult, and some prefer the reading of the parallel passage, “because … ask” 1 Chronicles 13:10.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-6.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah,.... And which was manifest by smiting him:

and God smote him there for his error; committed at this time, which was complicated; as that the ark was put upon a cart, to which he might be the chief adviser, as Procopius Gazaeus notes, when it should have been carried on the shoulders of the Levites; and that be touched it with his hand, which none but priests might do, supposing him to be a Levite, which it is not clear he was, however not a Kohathite; and he took hold of it in order to carry it in his arms, which even Levites, and those Kohathites, might not do, but with staves put into it, which only they were to hold; and besides, as Abarbinel observes, he showed little faith in the power and providence of God, as if he could not take care of the ark without him:

and there he died by the ark of God; directly, upon the spot, by the side of it; whether he was struck by lightning, or in what way, cannot be said; however, he died by the immediate hand of God, in token of his displeasure: and this shows that it is dangerous in matters of worship to act contrary to the command of God, even in things that may seem small and trivial; and though what may be done may be done with a good intention, as this was, yet that will not excuse the sin; nor are those who are the most forward and zealous in religious matters exempted from marks of God's displeasure when they go wrong.

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 6:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(d) Here we see the danger it is to follow good intentions, or to do anything in God's service without his express word.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-6.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

He died — This may seem very severe, considering his intention was pious, and his transgression not great. But, besides that, men are improper judges of the actions of God; and that God's judgments are always just, though sometimes obscure: it is reasonable, God should make some present examples of his high displeasure against sins, seemingly small; partly, for the demonstration of his own exact and impartial holiness; partly, for the establishment of discipline, and for the greater terror and caution of mankind, who are very prone to have slight thoughts of sin, and to give way to small sins, and thereby to be led on to greater; all which is, or may be prevented by such instances of severity: and consequently there is more of God's mercy, than of his justice, in such actions, because the justice is confined to one particular person, but the benefit of it common to mankind in that, and all future ages.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "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 6:7 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.

Ver. 7. And the anger of the Lord was kindled.] For he will not take up with a careless and slubbered service: he "will be sanctified in all those that draw near unto him." [Leviticus 10:3]

And God smote him there for his error.] Smote the breath out of his body: the Rabbis say it was done by rending his arm from his shoulder: that it was by a rent or rupture, may be gathered from the name given thereupon to the place Perez Uzza, or the Breach of Uzza. Ipso in officio inofficiosus fuit qui iniussa praesumpsit, saith Salvian. (a) He was too officious, and therein inofficious; this was his error, his factum imprudens, as Tremellius rendereth it. See Numbers 4:15. Satan, who loveth to be God’s ape, told the heathens that Ilus Palladium ex incendio eripiens, dum arderet Templum Minervae, luminibus privatus est. (b) Ilus, whilst he snatched the image of their goddess Minerva out of her burning temple, lost his eyes.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". 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 6:7. 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."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". 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

God smote him with some deadly disease or stroke, as it follows.

For his error; either,

1. For his touching the ark, when he was no Levite, as Josephus reports; nor indeed was Kirjath-jearim a Levitical city; or, that being but a Levite, he touched the bare ark, which only the priests might do, Numbers 4:15 18:3. And though the ark was ordinarily covered, yet it is not impossible but the covering might be either loose, and so blown aside by the wind; or worn out, and so he might touch the ark itself. Or,

2. Because he put the ark into a cart, and thereby exposed it to the danger of falling, which would have been a great disencouragement to the Israelites, and a reproach to, the ark. And though Ahio also might have a hand in putting it into the cart, yet Uzzah only is smitten; either because he was the elder brother, and the person to whose care the ark was more especially committed; or because he was the chief author of this counsel of putting it into a cart; or because he added a new fault of touching the ark, and that out of distrust of God’s care over it.

There he died: this may seem very severe, considering that his intention was pious, and his transgression not great. But, besides that men are very improper judges of the actions of God, and that God’s judgments are always just, though sometimes obscure, there are many things to be said of this and suchlike cases.

1. That it is fit and reasonable that God should make some persons examples of his just and high displeasure against sins seemingly small; partly for the demonstration of his own exact and impartial holiness; partly for the establishment of discipline, (for which very reason even earthly princes have ofttimes inflicted great punishments for small offences,) and for the greater terror and caution of mankind, who are very prone to have slight thoughts of sin, and to give way to small sins, and thereby to be led on to greater; all which is or may be prevented by such instances of severity; and consequently, there is more of God’s mercy than of his justice in such actions, because the justice is confined to one particular person, but the mercy and benefit of it public and common to mankind of that and all future ages.

2. That God is justly most severe in those things which immediately concern his worship and service; and against those persons who have the nearest relation to him, and the greatest opportunities of knowing, and the highest obligation of careful practicing, those duties which they neglect: see Leviticus 10:3.

3. That this punishment possibly was not so great as it may seem to be; for as for his body, the disease, though dangerous, might not be exceedingly painful; and for his soul, the stroke probably was not so sudden as not to give him space of repentance.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". 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

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-6.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

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

God knew what was in Uzzah’s heart, even if we do not. And what happened next would have surprised no one who saw what he had done. Indeed they would have expected it. Had it not happened it could have caused great harm and confusion to them in their inner thinking. It would have decreased the significance of the Ark. (We must remember that this was in a day when to approach a king incorrectly could lead to the death penalty, and when to touch the king’s person could be seen as treason). There are some things the effects of which are considered to be so enormous that they must be prevented at all costs, and this was one of them. In fact we can truly say that for God not to have acted would probably have debased the whole religion of Israel in the eyes of Israel and have reduced it to idolatry. For the Ark bore the Name, and thus bore the One Who invisibly sat on it between the cherubim (the writer reminded us of that quite deliberately in 2 Samuel 6:2). So for there to be no reaction to its being touched would have debased the idea of the true fear of God and the reality of His invisible presence. It would have been a barrier in the future to man’s true appreciation of the ‘otherness’ and holiness of God, and yet of His closeness to His people. (Spiritual conceptions in those days were very tied up with physical things). It would have contradicted the idea that in some unique way God was present where His Ark was. Idolatrous images could be touched precisely because of the nature of their gods. So by his action Uzzah was simply demoting God to having the same nature as an idol.

God knew all that and acted. His wholehearted antipathy to what Uzzah had done was revealed by His smiting him in such a way that he died. It was an indication that God was ‘angry’ (reacting against Uzzah) because He knew Uzzah’s thoughts and the effect that Uzzah’s action could have had on men’s thinking and approach to Him, and no doubt also because He knew what it revealed about Uzzah’s own innermost attitude of heart. He had committed a ‘sin unto death’.

YHWH’s action here may appear extreme to us but it settled in men’s hearts from this moment on the recognition that He was not in any way of this world, that no priest or other personage, not even the ‘keeper of the Ark’, could fully act in His Name, or usurp His rights, or claim special privilege in dealings with Him. All must for ever be obedient, and subservient to His will, and act as He revealed, and not the other way round, and it emphasised that He stood alone because He was ‘wholly other’. The dead body lying sprawled on the cart thus became a permanent warning for the future that God was such that He was not to be trifled with, and of what happened to any who ignored His strict requirements. As a result the holiness of the Ark was enhanced, and its continuing significance emphasised. Indeed had Israel learned the lesson that was taught here the new kingdom would have progressed and grown and all that followed would never have happened. That was how important the lesson was. They were to recognise that the Holy One of Israel was truly among them. (The failure to learn that lesson did not just result in one man being struck down, it finally resulted in many being struck down and Jerusalem and the Temple being totally destroyed).

What happened to Uzzah here can be compared with what happened to Nadab and Abihu when the initial covenant had been established under Moses, something which had also commenced a new beginning for God’s people (Leviticus 10:1-2); with what had happened to Achan at the new entry into the land when God’s kingly rule was initially being established in Canaan (Joshua 7), and with what would one day happen to Ananias and Saphira at the commencement of an even greater Kingly Rule (Acts 5:1-11). In all these cases they were people who failed to obey God implicitly at the commencement of a new phase in His kingly rule, and treated lightly their response towards Him, and discovered the consequences.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/2-samuel-6.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 6:7. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah — For his rashness in touching the ark. Some have thought it was because he was not a Levite, and therefore should not have touched it. But it is pretty plain he was, being the brother of Eleazar, who, as a Levite, was consecrated to take care of the ark, 1 Samuel 7:1. But, although a Levite, he was guilty of a double error; first, in not carrying the ark upon his shoulders, together with his brethren; which their neglecting to do, on this solemn occasion, and consulting their ease more than their duty, was an offence of no small aggravation. Secondly, in touching it, which even the Levites were prohibited from doing, under the express penalty of death, Numbers 4:15-20. And this penalty, being incurred by a violation of that prohibition, was justly inflicted by him that threatened it, as an example to others, and to preserve a due reverence to the institution; especially as this, it appears, was the first instance of such violation. Add to this, the infliction of the penalty in this extraordinary way, manifested the prohibition to be divine; and as David himself, and the whole house of Israel, by their heads and representatives, were present at this solemnity, the nature of the punishment, and the reason why it was executed, would be made very public. Some have observed, thirdly, that Uzzah discovered by this action his want of faith, in the presence of God with the ark, and in his power, as if he were not able to preserve that sacred symbol of his presence from falling without Uzzah’s helping hand. Uzzah, therefore, they say, was thus punished to teach and impress on the minds of the people, that God was peculiarly present with the ark, in order that they might be deterred from breaking any of his laws, or profaning sacred things. It may not be improper to add to the above the following observations from Poole. “God’s smiting Uzzah, so that he instantly died by the ark, may seem very severe, considering his intention was pious, and his transgression not great. But, besides that men are improper judges of the actions of God; and that God’s judgments are always just, though sometimes obscure; it is reasonable God should make some present examples of his high displeasure against sins seemingly small; partly for the demonstration of his own exact and impartial holiness; and partly for the establishment of discipline, and for the greater terror and caution of mankind, who are very prone to have slight thoughts of sin, and to give way to small sins, and thereby to be led on to greater; all which is, or may be, prevented by such instances of severity; and consequently there is more of God’s mercy than of his justice in such actions, because the justice is confined to one particular person, but the benefit of it is common to mankind in that and all future ages.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-6.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Rashness. Hebrew shal, means also "error, ignorance," &c. Syriac and Arabic better, "because he put forth his hand." (Kennicott) --- Oza had touched the ark uncovered, (Serarius) shewing too little confidence in God, as if he could not have hindered it from falling; (Rabbins) or perhaps he was the advisor of the ark's being placed upon a cart, instead of the Levites' shoulders. (Tirinus) --- It is not certain that he was a Levite; and the privilege belonged to the sons of Caath, who could claim this honour only after the ark had bee folded up with three covers. Moreover, the priests seem to have been always selected to carry the ark, after they came into the promised land, ver. 3., and 1 Kings iv. 4., &c. It is hoped that the fault of Oza would be expiated by his sudden death, (Calmet) as his intention was laudable. (Tirinus) --- But God would teach his ministers with what caution they were to treat sacred things, (Calmet) and how exactly all his injunctions were to be observed. (Haydock)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

error = negligence.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "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

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "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

(7) For his error.—The original is hero very obscure: 1 Chronicles 13:10 has “because he put his hand to the ark.” (Comp. 1 Samuel 6:19.) Especial sacredness was by the law attached to the ark, and it was strictly commanded, that when it was to be moved it should be first covered by the priests, and then borne by the Levites by means of its staves; but until it was covered, the Levites might not look upon it, and might not touch it, upon pain of death (Numbers 4:5; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 4:19-20). Uzzah was probably a Levite, or, at any rate, had been so long in the house with the ark that he ought to have made himself familiar with the law in regard to it. What may seem, at first thought, an exceeding severe penalty for a well-meaning, though unlawful act, is seen on reflection to have been a very necessary manifestation of the Divine displeasure; for this act involved not only a violation of the letter of the law (of which David also was guilty), but a want of reverence for the majesty of God as symbolised by the ark, and showed a disposition to profane familiarity with sacred things. “Uzzah was a type of all who, with good intentions, humanly speaking, yet with unsanctified minds, interfere in the affairs of the kingdom of God, from the notion that they are in danger, and with the hope of saving them” (O. von Gerlach). Judgments of this kind were, however, temporal, and give in themselves no indication of the treatment of the offender beyond the grave.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
God smote
Leviticus 10:1-3; 1 Samuel 6:19; 1 Chronicles 13:10; 15:2,13; 1 Corinthians 11:30-32
error
or, rashness.
Reciprocal: Exodus 4:14 - anger;  Leviticus 10:2 - fire;  Numbers 1:51 - the stranger;  Numbers 3:10 - and the stranger;  Numbers 4:15 - they shall;  Numbers 4:18 - GeneralNumbers 18:4 - a stranger;  Judges 20:28 - Shall I yet;  1 Samuel 6:20 - General1 Kings 11:9 - angry;  1 Kings 13:21 - thou hast disobeyed;  1 Chronicles 13:11 - displeased;  Lamentations 3:39 - a man;  Hebrews 9:7 - errors;  Hebrews 12:5 - nor faint

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-6.html.