Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
KIRJATH-JEARIM ON A
1. Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel--(See
The object of this second assembly was to commence a national movement
for establishing the ark in Jerusalem, after it had continued nearly
fifty years in the house of Abinadab (see on
2. from Baale of Judah--A very large force of picked men were selected
for this important work lest the undertaking might be opposed or
obstructed by the Philistines. Besides, a great concourse of people
accompanied them out of veneration for the sacred article. The journey
to Baale, which is related
is here presupposed, and the historian describes the course of the
procession from that place to the capital.
3. they set the ark of God upon a new cart--or a covered wagon
This was a hasty and inconsiderate procedure, in violation of an
express statute (see on
Nu 7:9; 18:3).
6-8. they came to Nachon's threshing-floor--or Chidon's
The Chaldee version renders the words, "came to the place prepared for
the reception of the ark," that is, near the city of David
the oxen shook it--or, "stumbled"
Fearing that the ark was in danger of being overturned, Uzzah, under
the impulse of momentary feeling, laid hold of it to keep it steady.
Whether it fell and crushed him, or some sudden disease attacked him,
he fell dead upon the spot. This melancholy occurrence not only threw a
cloud over the joyous scene, but entirely stopped the procession; for
the ark was left where it then was, in the near neighborhood of the
capital. It is of importance to observe the proportionate severity of
the punishments attending the profanation of the ark. The Philistines
suffered by diseases, from which they were relieved by their oblations,
because the law had not been given to them
the Bethshemites also suffered, but not fatally
their error proceeded from ignorance or inadvertency. But Uzzah, who
was a Levite, and well instructed, suffered death for his breach of the
law. The severity of Uzzah's fate may seem to us too great for the
nature and degree of the offense. But it does not become us to sit in
judgment on the dispensations of God; and, besides, it is apparent that
the divine purpose was to inspire awe of His majesty, a submission to
His law, and a profound veneration for the symbols and ordinances of
9, 10. David was afraid of the Lord that day, &c.--His feelings on
this alarming judgment were greatly excited on various accounts,
dreading that the displeasure of God had been provoked by the removal
of the ark, that the punishment would be extended to himself and
people, and that they might fall into some error or neglect during the
further conveyance of the ark. He resolved, therefore, to wait for more
light and direction as to the path of duty. An earlier consultation by
Urim would have led him right at the first, whereas in this perplexity
and distress, he was reaping the fruits of inconsideration and neglect.
11. Obed-edom the Gittite--a Levite
(1Ch 15:18, 21, 24; 16:5; 26:4).
He is called a Gittite, either from his residence at Gath, or more
probably from Gath-rimmon, one of the Levitical cities
(Jos 21:24, 25).
12. it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of
Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of
God--The lapse of three months not only restored the agitated mind
of the monarch to a tranquil and settled tone, but led him to a
discovery of his former error. Having learned that the ark was kept in
its temporary resting-place not only without inconvenience or danger,
but with great advantage, he resolved forthwith to remove it to the
capital, with the observance of all due form and solemnity
It was transported now on the shoulders of the priests, who had been
carefully prepared for the work, and the procession was distinguished
by extraordinary solemnities and demonstrations of joy.
13. when they that bare the ark . . . had gone six paces--Some think
that four altars were hastily raised for the offering of sacrifices at
the distance of every six paces
(but see on
14. David danced before the Lord--The Hebrews, like other ancient
people, had their sacred dances, which were performed on their solemn
anniversaries and other great occasions of commemorating some special
token of the divine goodness and favor.
with all his might--intimating violent efforts of leaping, and
divested of his royal mantle (in a state of undress), conduct
apparently unsuitable to the gravity of age or the dignity of a king.
But it was unquestionably done as an act of religious homage, his
attitudes and dress being symbolic, as they have always been in
Oriental countries, of penitence, joy, thankfulness, and devotion.
17. 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--The old
tabernacle remained at Gibeon
(1Ch 16:39; 21:29;
Probably it was not removed because it was too large for the temporary
place the king had appropriated, and because he contemplated the
building of a temple.
18. he blessed the people--in the double character of prophet and
1Ki 8:55, 56).
19. cake of bread--unleavened and slender.
a good piece of flesh--roast beef.
20-22. Michal . . . came out to meet David, &c.--Proud of her royal
extraction, she upbraided her husband for lowering the dignity of the
crown and acting more like a buffoon than a king. But her taunting
sarcasm was repelled in a manner that could not be agreeable to her
feelings while it indicated the warm piety and gratitude of David.