Study Notes

2Samuel 6:1-23

6:1-2 Bring Up The Ark

David is going to bring the ark to his city of Jerusalem. You may wonder, "Why wasn't the ark with the king of Israel in the first place?"

Remember that from the days of Joshua and the Judges, the tabernacle with the ark was set up at Shiloh (Josh. 18; Judges 18; etc.). But then, early in the book of Samuel, the Israelites were being defeated by the Philistines. The elders decided that if they brought the ark of the covenant from Shiloh into battle with them, the Lord would deliver them from their enemies.

But instead, they lost the battle and the ark. Thousands died, and the Philistines took the ark.

God had allowed the Israelites to be defeated, but he did not allow the Philistines to go unpunished. The Lord smote the inhabitants of each city that they brought the ark into. After seven months of being tormented and stricken by the Lord, they decided that it would be best to just give it back.

They asked their diviners how to return it. They suggested preparing a new cart drawn by two cows. The cows brought the cart with the ark to Bayth SHEH-mesh. The people were happy to see it until some of them looked inside the ark and were struck down by the Lord.

1Sam. 6:21-7:2 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM, saying, "The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD; come down and take it up to you." And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Ab-ee-naw-DAWB on the hill, and consecrated El-aw-ZAWR his son to keep the ark of the LORD. And it came about from the day that the ark remained at Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM that the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

King Saul didn't seem to have any desire to bring the ark back to Shiloh or even to his own city of Ghib-AW, but now David decides to bring the ark to Jerusalem, and gathers 30,000 men for the job. Why 30,000? I believe that he chose this number because that's how many men had fallen to the Philistines when the ark was originally taken.

1Sam. 4:10-11 So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent, and the slaughter was very great; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. And the ark of God was taken...

He takes the 30,000 men to Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM, or Bah-al-AY Yeh-hoo-DAW as it was also called (Josh. 15:9; 1Chron. 13:6).

The Name Of The Lord

The author also points out that the ark of God was called by "the Name," the very name of God. While we are most familiar with the term that it was most often called - "the ark of the covenant" (41 times) - it is also very often called the ark of the Lord (35 times). The word translated "Lord" is YHWH, the name of God.

The Jewish people had great reverence for that name, refusing even to speak it aloud. Because the Scriptures were written without the vowel marks that align with the Hebrew consonants, the pronunciation of YHWH was lost thousands of years ago. Many think it is pronounced Jehovah, or Yehovah, while better scholarship points to the name Yahweh. The ark of the Lord was the ark of Yahweh, and they held it in great esteem.

6:3 A New Cart

They may have held the name of God in great esteem, but they didn't hold the ark the way that God had commanded. They have constructed a new cart to carry it from the house of Ab-ee-naw-DAWB, with his sons Ooz-ZAW and Akh-YO leading the way.

What is wrong with this? Plenty! The Lord had told Moses,

Exod. 25:10-15 "And they shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. And you shall cast four gold rings for it, and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. And you shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.

So, using the two poles in the rings was the manner in which it was to be carried. But they are using a new cart. Not the way the Lord directed, but an imitation of what the Philistines had done!

When the people of God begin to neglect the commandment of God and imitate the world, disaster is on the horizon. Today, many in Christianity are imitating the ways of the world rather than following the command of God.

A few years ago, I heard a Christian leader say, "we're trying to sell Jesus like McDonald's sells hamburgers." Isn't that the way of the world? God's way is to preach the gospel, proclaim it to the nations, because faith comes by hearing.

Yes, we are to be,

1Cor. 9:22 ...become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.

But does this mean to the point of disregarding the commandment of God to imitate the ways of the world?

Yes, it was God's desire for the ark to be in Jerusalem, but the way they were going about it was wrong. The ends does not justify the means. We cannot do wrong, and point to the results to justify our disobedience to the Word.

A believer dates an unbeliever, with the intention of leading them to Christ. Regardless of whether the unbeliever gets saved, what the Christian did was a sin.

A Christian spray-paints "John 3:16" on the side of a freeway overpass. No matter how many people read it, even are affected by it, it was still a sin commit vandalism.

When Christians break the law to get their point across, it is still wrong, no matter how much good may or may not come out of it.

David had the ark on a new cart, rather than its poles on the shoulders of the Levites. And for that, there will be a terrible tragedy.

6:4-7 Uzzah Struck Down

The ark was being brought down from the house of Ab-ee-naw-DAWB on this new cart, and Akh-YO was walking in front of it.

There was a tremendous worship service going on, with the people excited and celebrating the fact that the ark was coming to Jerusalem.

But when the cart came to the threshing floor of Naw-KONE, the oxen almost tipped the cart, and Ooz-ZAW reached up and grabbed the ark to keep it from falling.

God struck Ooz-ZAW dead for this. Why? The Law of God was clear:

Num. 4:5-6 "When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it; and they shall lay a covering of porpoise skin on it, and shall spread over {it} a cloth of pure blue, and shall insert its poles.

Num. 4:15 "And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy {objects} and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry {them,} so that they may not touch the holy {objects} and die. These are the things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry.

Num. 4:19-20 "But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy {objects:} Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; but they shall not go in to see the holy {objects} even for a moment, lest they die."

The ark was supposed to be covered. Those who looked at it were worthy of death, but God had been merciful. They were also not to touch it, lest they die. God drew the line here, and struck down Ooz-ZAW when he touched it.

There is an even more basic, and applicable, lesson here for us. Namely, God does not need our hand to try and steady His things on a rough road. The Lord does not need our help to bail him out of a tough spot.

In other words, when we try to take God's matters into our own hands, we mess it up. I think of Simon Peter in regards to this lesson. God's plan was,

Matt. 16:21-23 From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid {it,} Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

Simon thought his plan was better than God's. It wasn't. Then, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Judas led the to arrest Him, Jesus said,

Matt. 26:50 ..."Friend, {do} what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

John 18:10-11 Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"

When we get our hands into what is God's business, we get rebuked. Maybe we're doing this by trying to play the Holy Spirit in someone else's life. Maybe we're doing it by trying to pump life into something that God is allowing to die. Whatever it is, pull your hand away before God deals with you about it.

6:8-9 David Becomes Angry And Afraid

When David saw what the Lord did to Ooz-ZAW ("PEH-rets Ooz-ZAW," means "breach of Ooz-ZAW"), he became angry. The word for angry in Hebrew there means, "to be hot, furious, incensed, burn."

David's initial response was to be angry. After all, hadn't he just been in a tremendous worship service? Weren't they doing their part for the Lord? Why then would God ruin the party by doing this? David was very mad.

How many people do you know of that have gotten angry at the Lord?The last time I can remember being genuinely angry at the Lord was a few years ago on a Sunday morning. I was driving my family to church when we hit ice on a bridge and lost control. The car swung around, slammed into the side of the bridge over the river, then narrowly missed being hit by an 18-wheeler in the dense fog.

After getting back on the road to church, I was furious at God. Oh, not because of the accident, but because this had been God's perfect opportunity to kill all of us at once! Why couldn't He see that? As it stands now, we'll probably die one by one, each time the surviving family members suffering the terrible pain of losing a loved one.

I recovered from that anger fairly quickly, but it seems that some people never do. Something devastating happens, and people decide that they're going to be angry at God for the rest of their lives.

But there's something we need to understand. First of all, God's judgments are always perfect. We may not see that from our earthly perspective, but from a heavenly perspective, it will all make sense. We will proclaim,

Rev. 16:7 ..."Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments."

Another thing to point out is that often the Lord will allow a disaster to provoke us towards doing what He wants. God didn't want to have the ark paraded on a new cart. This stopped that procession!

Remember too that the Lord's intention for the early church was,

Acts 1:8 " shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

But they all just stayed in Jerusalem. So God allowed a terrible persecution to break out against the church.

Acts 8:1 ...And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria...

Disaster brought about God's will. And God wanted David to rethink this transportation of the ark with a Biblical perspective.

So David's anger was understandable, but not justified. And just as quickly as he flew into anger, he became fearful. If this happened to Ooz-ZAW, it could happen to any of them - even all of them. God had stopped the parade.

6:10-11 The Ark Stays With Obed-edom

With the fear of God in David, he was not willing to move the ark as they had been. So, for the next three months, the ark stayed in the house of O-BADE Ed-OME. O-BADE Ed-OME was a Gittite - not a Gittite from the city of the Philistines, but from Gath-rimmon (Josh 19:45; 21:24).

6:12-13 Bringing Up The Ark Again

This time, David is going to do this right. 1Chronicles tells us,

1Chr. 15:11-15 Then David called for Tsaw-DOKE and Ab-yaw-THAWR the priests, and for the Levites, for Oo-ree-ALE, Aw-saw-YAW, Yo-ALE, Shem-aw-YAW, El-ee-ALE, and Am-mee-naw-DAWB, and said to them, "You are the heads of the fathers' {households} of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel, to {the place} that I have prepared for it. Because you did not {carry it} at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance." So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. And the sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders, with the poles thereon as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.

David knew he'd had the ark carried incorrectly. He had been in disobedience to the law of God. Notice that he says, "we did not seek Him according to the ordinance." In other words, the will of God is sought in the Word of God. What an important lesson for those who seek for signs, wonders, prophecies, and dreams to hear from the Lord!

It is now the Levites that are carrying the ark, and they're doing it the way that was commanded - with the poles.

In addition, David shows his reverence by taking only six steps, then sacrificing an ox and a fatling. He is finally showing the reverence for the ark that God expected them to have.

6:14-15 David's Worship

Notice that the reverence did not inhibit David's worship. Today, many people believe that reverence stifles real worship, and that those who are reverent are not worshippers. Not true. David wrote,

Ps. 2:11 Worship the LORD with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.

There is always a balance in worship. You are rejoicing in the Lord your God, but with respect and fear. You are boldly approaching the throne with confidence, yet maintaining a broken and contrite heart. This procession was taking six paces, then sacrificing, yet David was dancing before the Lord. A perfect picture of the two facets our worship must always take.

He as dancing before the Lord wearing a linen ephod. Remember that the ephod was the apron-like garment that the priests wore. He was not covered in his usual kingly clothes, yet he was also not indecently exposed.

6:16 Michal Despises David

David's wife Me-KAWL saw this procession proceeding into the city. She saw her husband the king leaping and dancing in worship. And she despised him for it. I have discovered that there will always be someone that despises you for your worship. It happened to Martha's sister Mary when she worshiped the Lord.

Mark 14:3-5 And while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining {at the table,} there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; {and} she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly {remarking} to one another, "Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and {the money} given to the poor." And they were scolding her.

When the disciples were worshipping in Acts 2, they were also ridiculed.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

They began praising the Lord, speaking the mighty deeds of God. Some were amazed,

Acts 2:13 But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."

So, we can take it for granted that when we stand and sing or lift our hands, there will be someone who will mock us, ridicule us, make fun, or despise us. Don't let it stop you from worshipping. Offer up a true sacrifice of praise - sacrificing your reputation and your pride.

6:17 Burnt Offerings And Peace Offerings

When the ark was brought into the tent, David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

The burnt offering was for a person to be accepted before the Lord, to have atonement - his sin covered (Lev. 1:3-4). The peace offering was for restoration of fellowship with God. (The NIV actually calls it "the fellowship offering.")

6:18 Blessing The People

The spoken blessing of the people was something that God took seriously.

Num. 6:23-27 ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: 'The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.' So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them."

David spoke that blessing over the people. Now, by offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, and blessing the people, David is duplicating what Moses and Aaron did in Leviticus 9.

Lev. 9:22-24 Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he stepped down after making the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw {it} , they shouted and fell on their faces.

Nothing so supernatural as this happened when David did this, but I don't think that was his motivation.

6:19 Distributing To The People

In addition to verbally blessing the people, David also wanted to physically bless them. He distributed to everyone "a cake of bread and one of dates and one of raisins."

6:20-23 Michal Is Cursed

From the time she appeared in the Scripture, I've never liked Me-KAWL. She sarcastically railed on her husband for his worship. As a result, she was cursed with barrenness. Husbands, wives: be careful when you make observations regarding your spouse's worship or relationship with the Lord.

"I can't believe you raised your hands in worship today. Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is for me?" "You put money in the basket again this week? What are you trying to do, break us?" "Why were you crying during the message tonight? Don't you know how ridiculous you look when you do that?"

These kinds of judgments and comments to your spouse (or others) will surely result in spiritual barrenness.

God will never look at your worship in this way. He will never degrade your heart for Him.

Ps. 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

Go to next study

Go to previous study