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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
David goes with thirty thousand men to being the ark from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 6:1-5. The ox stumbling, Uzzah, who drove the cart on which the ark was placed, put forth his hand to save it from falling: the Lord was displeased, and smote him so that he died, 2 Samuel 6:6, 2 Samuel 6:7. David, being alarmed, carries the ark to the house of Obed-edom, 2 Samuel 6:8-10. Here it remained three months; and God prospered Obed-edom, in whose house it was deposited, 2 Samuel 6:11. David, hearing of this, brings the ark, with sacrifices and solemn rejoicings, to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 6:12-15. Michal, seeing David dance before the ark, despises him, 2 Samuel 6:16. He offers burnt-offerings and peace offerings, and deals among all the people, men and women, a cake of bread, a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine each, 2 Samuel 6:17-19. Michal coming to meet him, and seeing him dance extravagantly before the ark, reproaches him for his conduct: he vindicates himself, reproves her, and she dies childless, 2 Samuel 6:20-23.
1Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
Thirty thousand - This is supposed to have been a new levy; and thus he augmented his army by 30,000 fresh troops. The Septuagint has 70,000.
2And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
From Baale of Judah - This is supposed to be the same city which, in Joshua 15:60, is called Kirjah-baal or Kirjath-jearim; (see 1 Chronicles 13:6); or Baalah, Joshua 15:9.
Whose name is called by the name of the Lord - That is, The ark is called the ark of the Lord of hosts. But this is not a literal version; the word שם shem, Name, occurs twice together; probably one of them should be read שם sham, There. There the name of the Lord of hosts was invoked, etc.
3And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
A new cart - Every thing used in the worship of God was hallowed or set apart for that purpose: a new cart was used through respect, as that had never been applied to any profane or common purpose. But this was not sufficient, for the ark should have been carried on the shoulders of the priests; and the neglect of this ceremony was the cause of the death of Uzzah.
4And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
5And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
On all manner of instruments made of fir wood - This place should be corrected from the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 13:8 : "All Israel played before God, with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries," etc. Instead of בכל עצי bechol atsey, "with all woods" or "trees;" the parallel place is בכל עז bechol oz. "with all their strength:" this makes a good sense, the first makes none. The Septuagint, in this place, has the verse reading; εν ισχυΐ, with might.
6And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.
Uzzah put forth his hand - In Numbers 4:15-20, the Levites are forbidden to touch the ark on pain of death, this penalty was inflicted upon Uzzah, and he was the first that suffered for a breach of this law.
7And 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.
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.
8And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day.
9And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?
10So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.
But David carried it aside - The house of Obed-edom appears to have been very near the city, which they were about to enter, but were prevented by this accident, and lodged the ark with the nearest friend.
11And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.
The Lord blessed Obed-edom - And why? Because he had the ark of the Lord in his house. Whoever entertains God's messengers, or consecrates his house to the service of God, will infallibly receive God's blessing.
12And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.
So David - brought up the ark - The Vulgate adds to this verse: And David had seven choirs, and a calf for a sacrifice. The Septuagint make a greater addition: "And he had seven choirs carrying the ark, a sacrifice, a calf, and lambs. And David played on harmonious organs before the Lord; and David was clothed with a costly tunic; and David and all the house of Israel, brought the ark of the Lord with rejoicing, and the sound of a trumpet." Nothing of this is found in any MS., nor in the Chaldee, the Syriac, nor the Arabic, nor in the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 15:25.
13And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.
14And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
And David danced before the Lord - Dancing is a religious ceremony among the Hindoos, and they consider it an act of devotion to their idols. It is evident that David considered it in the same light. What connection dancing can have with devotion I cannot tell. This I know, that unpremeditated and involuntary skipping may be the effect of sudden mental elation.
15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
16And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
She despised him in her heart - She did not blame him outwardly; she thought he had disgraced himself, but she kept her mind to herself.
17And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
18And 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.
He blessed the people in the name of the Lord - David acted here as priest, for it was the general prerogative of the priests to bless the people, but it appears, by both David and Solomon, that it was the prerogative of the kings also.
19And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.
A cake of bread - Such as those which are baked without leaven, and are made very thin.
A good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine - The words of flesh and of wine we add; they are not in the Hebrew. The Chaldee translates one part and one portion; but all the other versions understand the Hebrew as we do.
20Then 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!
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.
21And David said unto Michal, 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.
It was before the Lord, which chose me - David felt the reproach, and was strongly irritated, and seems to have spoken to Michal with sufficient asperity.
22And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
I will yet be more vile - The plain meaning of these words appears to be this: "I am not ashamed of humbling myself before that God who rejected thy father because of his obstinacy and pride, and chose me in his stead to rule his people; and even those maid-servants, when they come to know the motive of my conduct, shall acknowledge its propriety, and treat me with additional respect; and as for thee, thou shalt find that thy conduct is as little pleasing to God as it is to me." Then it is said, Michal had no child till the day of her death: probably David never more took her to his bed; or God, in his providence, might have subjected her to barrenness which in Palestine was considered both a misfortune and a reproach. Michal formed her judgment without reason, and meddled with that which she did not understand. We should be careful how we attribute actions, the reasons of which we cannot comprehend, to motives which may appear to us unjustifiable or absurd. Rash judgments are doubly pernicious; they hurt those who form them, and those of whom they are formed.
23Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.