2 Samuel 6
Barnes' Notes
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
Again - It should be, "and David again gathered," etc., i. e. after the previous gathering, either for his election to the kingdom 2 Samuel 5:1-3 or for the Philistine war 2 Samuel 5:17-25, he assembled them again for the peaceful purpose of bringing up the ark to Mount Zion (see marginal reference). The whole narrative indicates the progressive consolidation of David's power, and the settlement of his monarchy on strong foundations.

And 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 - See the margin and 1 Samuel 6:21 note.

Whose name ... - The literal rendering is, "Upon which is called the Name, the Name of Yahweh of Hosts, who sits upon the cherubim," i. e. the ark which is called after the Lord of Hosts and bears His Name (see Deuteronomy 28:10; 1 Kings 8:43; Isaiah 4:1).

And 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.
The house of Abinadab in Gibeah - . Rather, on the hill (as in margin and 1 Samuel 7:1). It does not at all follow that Abinadab was still alive, nor can we conclude from Uzzah and Ahio being called sons of Abinadab, that they were literally his children. They may well have been sons of Eleazar and grandsons of Abinadab, or yet more remote descendants; since there is no distinct evidence that Abinadab was alive even when the ark was brought to Kirjath-jearim. The house may have retained the name of "the house of Abinadab" long after his death.

And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
And 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.
Played - i. e. danced to music vocal and instrumental (see Judges 16:25 note).

Cornets - Rather, from the etymology of the Hebrew word (to shake), and their being coupled with the cymbals, and being rendered sistra in the Vulgate, some kind of instrument with bells or rings, which gave a sound by being shaken.

And 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.
Shook it - The use of the Heb. word here is unusual. Some take the word as in 2 Kings 9:33, and render the passage: "The oxen were throwing, or had thrown it down," very likely by turning aside to eat what grain there might be on the threshing-floor.

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

And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day.
Displeased - Grief allied to anger seems to be intended. Compare 1 Samuel 15:11 note. On the name of the place, compare 2 Samuel 5:20.

And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?
So 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.
Obed-edom was a Levite of the family of Merari, being 1 Chronicles 15:18-24; 1 Chronicles 16:38 a son of Jeduthun, who was a Merarite. He was a porter, a player on the harp, and was one of the Levites especially designated to take part in the musical services on the occasion of bringing up the ark to Zion, and to minister before it when brought up. He is called a Gittite perhaps from Gath-Rimmon, in Manasseh, which belonged to the Kohathites Joshua 21:25. Marriage with a Kohathite, or some other cause, would account for his dwelling in a Kohathite city.

And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.
And 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.
With gladness - Especially with joyful music and song (1 Chronicles 15:16, etc.).

And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.
The meaning is, not that they sacrificed oxen and fatlings every six steps, which would have been impossible, but that when - after the arrangement made by David for the Levites to carry the ark 1 Chronicles 15:2, 1 Chronicles 15:12, 1 Chronicles 15:15 they had borne it successfully and with visible tokens of God's favor, out of the house of Obed-edom and six "steps" on the road to the city of David to the sound of the musical instruments - then they stopped and offered solemn sacrifices. Possibly "the step" may have had a technical sense, and denoted a certain distance, say a stadium. Six such distances would have been nearly a mile, and if the ground was difficult and steep, the successful progress of "those that bare the ark," so far, would have been a fit cause for a thanksgiving sacrifice.

And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
Danced - The Hebrew word is found only here and in 2 Samuel 6:16. It means "to dance in a circle," hence, simply to dance. The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 15:27 gives a widely different sense.

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
And 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 - In the days of Saul the ark had been neglected 1 Chronicles 13:3, and Saul had in everything shown himself to be an irreligious king. Michal seems to have been of a like spirit.

The whole section, 2 Samuel 6:16-36, should be compared with 1 Chronicles 15:29; 1 Chronicles 16:43.

The peace offerings were with a special view to feasting the people. (Compare 1 Kings 8:63-66.)

And 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.
And 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 - So did Solomon 1 Kings 8:14.

And 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 good piece of flesh - The word thus paraphrased is only found here and in marginal reference A piece of meat from the peace offerings is probably meant. From the fact that the chronicler explains the preceding cake by the more common word loaf, but leaves this obscure word unexplained, one might infer that it was already obsolete and unknown in his time. The Septuagint translates it: "a cake baked on the hearth;" the Vulgate "a piece of roast beef."

A flagon of wine - Rather, "a cake" of grapes or raisins Hosea 3:1; Sol 2:5, or made with oil or mead.

Then 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!
Then David returned ... - He had passed his house to accompany the ark to the tabernacle he had pitched for it, when Michal saw him dancing. He now returns to bless his household. He had blessed the people 2 Samuel 6:18, but there were the inmates of his own house whom the customs of the age did not allow to be present, and so, with his usual considerate kindness and affection, David came to bless them also on this solemn occasion.

And 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.
Play - See 2 Samuel 6:5 note. The speech might be paraphrased, Before the Lord which chose me, etc., yea, before the Lord have I danced. He humbles Michal's pride by the allusion to her father's rejection, and shows by Saul's example how little pride contributes to the stability of greatness. Therefore, for his part, he will not think anything done for the glory of God too mean for him; and if he cannot have honor from Saul's daughter, he will be content to be honored by the maid-servants.

And 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.
Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

Bible Hub
2 Samuel 5
Top of Page
Top of Page