Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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      2 Samuel - Chapter 06 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. David brought together thirty thousand of Israel's best soldiers and
    2. led them to Baalah in Judah, which was also called Kiriath-Jearim. They were going there to get the sacred chest and bring it back to Jerusalem. The throne of the LORD All-Powerful is above the winged creatures on top of this chest, and he is worshiped there.
    3. They put the sacred chest on a new ox cart and started bringing it down the hill from Abinadab's house. Abinadab's sons Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the ox cart,
    4. with Ahio walking in front of it.
    5. Some of the people of Israel were playing music on small harps and other stringed instruments, and on tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. David and the others were happy, and they danced for the LORD with all their might.
    6. But when they came to Nacon's threshing-floor, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and took hold of the sacred chest.
    7. The LORD God was very angry at Uzzah for doing this, and he killed Uzzah right there beside the chest.
    8. David got angry at God for killing Uzzah. He named that place "Bursting Out Against Uzzah," and that's what it's still called.
    9. David was afraid of the LORD and thought, "Should I really take the sacred chest to my city?"
    10. He decided not to take it there. Instead, he turned off the road and took it to the home of Obed Edom, who was from Gath.
    11. The chest stayed there for three months, and the LORD greatly blessed Obed Edom, his family, and everything he owned. Then someone told King David, "The LORD has done this because the sacred chest is in Obed Edom's house." Right away, David went to Obed Edom's house to get the chest and bring it to David's City. Everyone was celebrating.
    12. (SEE 6:11)
    13. The people carrying the chest walked six steps, then David sacrificed an ox and a choice cow.
    14. He was dancing for the LORD with all his might, but he wore only a linen cloth.
    15. He and everyone else were celebrating by shouting and blowing horns while the chest was being carried along.
    16. Saul's daughter Michal looked out her window and watched the chest being brought into David's City. But when she saw David jumping and dancing for the LORD, she was disgusted.
    17. They put the chest inside a tent that David had set up for it. David worshiped the LORD by sacrificing animals and burning them on an altar,
    18. then he blessed the people in the name of the LORD All-Powerful.
    19. He gave all the men and women in the crowd a small loaf of bread, some meat, and a handful of raisins, and everyone went home.
    20. David went home so he could ask the LORD to bless his family. But Saul's daughter Michal went out and started yelling at him. "You were really great today!" she said. "You acted like a dirty old man, dancing around half-naked in front of your servants' slave-girls."
    21. David told her, "The LORD didn't choose your father or anyone else in your family to be the leader of his people. The LORD chose me, and I was celebrating in honor of him.
    22. I'll show you just how great I can be! I'll even be disgusting to myself. But those slave-girls you talked about will still honor me!"
    23. Michal never had any children.
Reflections

2 Samuel - Chapter 06

Entered: January 23, 2008
During the time of the judges the ark of God had been lost to the Philistines and then the Philistines returned it after they became infested with tumors. It ended up at the house of Abinadab and had remained there until this time. Following his defeat of the Philistines David set out to bring the ark to Jerusalem. He took his troops, 30,000 men strong, with him to retrieve the ark and they mounted it on a new cart and began the journey to Jerusalem celebrating as they went. At Nacon's threshing floor the oxen stumbled and Uzzah, one of the men attending the ark, reached out to steady it, and when he touched it the Lord struck him dead. This both angered David and made him fearful. He said, "How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?" So instead of taking it to Jerusalem he took it to the house of Obed-edom and left it there. The ark remained there three months and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his family. When David heard of this he went and had the ark moved to Jerusalem. It was on this occasion that David was celebrating and dancing as the ark entered Jerusalem. He was wearing only a linen ephod and when his wife Michal saw him she despised him in her heart. After the ark was set in place and burnt offerings made and celebrations were made, David returned home. Michal came to him and accused him of exposing himself "in the sight of the slave girls of his subjects like a vulgar person would expose himself." David defended his actions saying he was dancing before the Lord and he would continue to celebrate and humble himself before the Lord. Because of this criticism of her husband because of his worship of the Lord, Michal was unable to bear children.

Entered: June 20, 2013

Sometime after David had established Jerusalem as the royal city, he determined to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem from Baale-judah and also establish Jerusalem as the center for worship. In his zeal to do this, David failed to inquire of God or investigate the proper method for transporting the ark. This cost the life of Uzzah, one of the men helping transport the ark. David chose to use a new cart pulled by oxen to transport the ark which was the method used by the Philistines who moved it from their territory to Baale-judah. This was not, however, the prescribed method, for it was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites using poles made for that purpose. We have to wonder why the Levites did not instruct David on this point. 

Transported by the cart, the oxen stumbled when crossing an outcropping of rocks at Nacon's threshing floor and Uzzah instinctively reached out to steady the ark and "the LORD's anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence." (6:7) David was angry with the Lord for this outburst and was unwilling to move the ark any further. So he left it at the house of Obed-edom. Three months later David heard that the Lord was blessing Obed-edom and his family and considered this a sign that the ark could be moved on to Jerusalem. In 1 Chronicles 15:13, it is recorded that David confessed to the Levites that on their first attempt to move the ark, "we didn't inquire of Him about the proper procedures." 

This time the ark was carried by the Levites and brought to Jerusalem. David was exuberant in his joy over bringing the ark to Jerusalem and danced before the Lord wearing a linen ephod as the ark was brought into the city. This was observed by his wife Michal, Saul's daughter, and she "despised him in her heart." Later, when he returned home, she admonished him for it saying, "How the king of Israel honored himself today! He exposed himself today in the sight of the slave girls of his subjects like a vulgar person would expose himself." (6:20) David defended himself saying that he was "dancing before the Lord" and he would not be deterred from doing so. Though she would not honor him for his worship to the Lord, the slave girls of, whom she spoke, would do so. Verse 23 states that Michal had no children "to the day of her death," suggesting that this was God's punishment for her attitude toward David. A critical spirit toward the manner in which one choses to worship God is indicative of one's own lack of true worship.

God's outburst against Uzzah for touching the ark seems a bit harsh to us and also to David. Especially so since the Philistines moved the ark in this manner without incident. But we are reminded that judgment begins "with God's household." (1 Peter 4:17) However, Peter goes on to say, "if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?" Those who should know better are judged first. Those who are not a part of God's household and not aware of His instructions, judgment comes later but also more harshly for their avoidance of God altogether.