Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 (= 2 Samuel 6:1-11). Removal of the Ark from Kiriath-jearim to the House of Obed-edom. Death of Uzzah
The connexion of the removal of the ark with the preceding events is more clearly seen in the account given in Samuel. David captures the stronghold of Zion from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:7), makes it his capital (ib. 2 Samuel 5:9), builds himself a palace there (ib. 2 Samuel 5:11), increases his state by taking more wives (ib. 2 Samuel 5:13), beats off the Philistines, who attack him through fear of his growing power (ib. 2 Samuel 5:17-25), and then in an interval of rest seeks to obtain religious sanction for his new capital by bringing the ark into it (ib. 2 Samuel 6:1-19).
It is to be noticed that the Chronicler believes the Tabernacle (Mishkan) of the Lord (Exodus 35-40) “which Moses made in the wilderness” (1 Chronicles 21:29) to be in existence in David’s day and to be standing at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39). Yet when the ark was taken into the city of David it was placed, not in the Mishkan, but “in the tent (Ohel) which David pitched for it” (ib. 1 Chronicles 16:1 = 2 Samuel 6:17). Thus in Chron. the two holy things, the ark and the Tabernacle, are represented as separated, and a separate daily service is connected with each; Asaph and his brethren minister before the ark in the city of David (1 Chronicles 16:37), and Zadok and his brethren before the Tabernacle at Gibeon (ib. 1 Chronicles 16:39). Nothing however is said of this in Sam., and it is more probable that Moses’ Tabernacle was destroyed before David’s day, perhaps at the time of the death of Eli and his sons (cp. Psalm 78:60). The passage 1 Kings 8:4, which asserts that the “tabernacle of the congregation” (tent of meeting, R.V.) was “brought up by the Levites” with the ark at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, is probably an interpolation, for neither the tent of meeting nor the Levites are mentioned elsewhere in Kings.
And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.1. David consulted with the captains etc.] The Chronicler is fond of associating the people with the king in religious measures so as to minimise the appearance of arbitrary power which is suggested by the language of the books of Samuel and of Kings; cp. 1 Chronicles 13:4 (the assembly said that they would do so), also 2 Chronicles 30:2; 2 Chronicles 30:4. Similarly in 1 Chronicles 28:2 the king addresses the elders as My brethren. Doubtless the Chronicler had in mind Deuteronomy 17:20.
And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:2. let us send abroad] The Heb. phrase is peculiar; let us send abroad widely, let the invitation be no limited one!
all the land of Israel] R.V. mg. lands; cp. 2 Chronicles 11:23; 2 Chronicles 15:5; 2 Chronicles 34:33.
the priests and Levites] In Samuel no mention of the Levites is made in the account of the removal of the ark.
in their cities and suburbs] R.V. mg. in their cities that have pasture-lands. It is laid down in the Hexateuch that cities are to be assigned to the Levites with “suburbs for their cattle and for their substance, and for all their beasts.” (Numbers 35:2-7; cp. Joshua 14:4; Joshua 21:2).
And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul.3. we inquired not at it] R.V. we sought not unto it. The meaning of the Heb. verb is to seek with care, to care for.
And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim.5. from Shihor of Egypt] R.V. from Shihor the brook of Egypt. Shihor (spelt elsewhere wrongly in A.V., Sihor) was the name of the brook (now wâdy el Arish) which divided Palestine from Egypt (Joshua 13:3; Joshua 15:4; Jeremiah 2:18).
the entering of Hemath] R.V. the entering in of Hamath. Hamath (now Hama) is on the Orontes. The entering in of Hamath is to be identified with the Beḳâ‘a, a broad valley between Lebanon and Anti-Libanus watered by the Orontes (Bädeker, pp. 305, 376). It is mentioned as on the northern frontier of Israel in Joshua 13:5 and elsewhere.
And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjathjearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.6. to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim] Cp. Joshua 15:9; in Joshua 15:60 Kiriath-baal. Its site has not been certainly identified; cp. Kirkpatrick’s note on 2 Samuel 6:2.
that dwelleth between the cherubims] R.V. that sitteth upon the cherubim; cp. Ezekiel 1:26.
whose name is called on it] R.V. which is called by the Name; the God whose is the ark is here distinguished from the gods of the nations as the God who bears the ineffable Name.
And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.7. a new cart] A new cart was chosen as one which had not been profaned by common work. So (Jdg 16:11-12) new ropes “wherewith no work hath been done” were used in the attempt to bind the consecrated man, Samson. So also (Mark 11:2; Mark 11:7) our Lord rode into Jerusalem on a colt “whereon no man ever yet sat.”
the house of Abinadab] Here the ark had been for at least twenty years under the charge of a man sanctified to keep it (1 Samuel 7:1-2)
And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.8. played] The Heb. word means to sport, to dance (cp. 1 Chronicles 15:29).
with all their might, and with singing] A better reading than that of 2 Samuel 6:5, with all manner of instruments made of fir wood.
and with singing] R.V. even with songs.
psalteries] The instrument here meant (Heb. nçbhel) “is generally identified at the present day with an instrument called the santir still in use among the Arabs. This consists of a long box with a flat bottom covered with a somewhat convex sounding-board over which the strings are stretched.” (Nowack, Hebräische Arckäologie, I. 275.) The “harp” (Heb. kinnôr) was a simpler instrument, a lyre rather than a true harp.
For a full discussion of nçbhel and kinnôr see Driver, Amos, p. 234.
And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.9. the threshingfloor of Chidon] LXX. (B) omits of Chidon. In 2 Samuel 6:6, Nacon’s threshing-floor.
to hold the ark] The Chronicler from a feeling of reverence shrinks from saying, and took hold of it (2 Samuel 6:6).
stumbled] R.V. mg. threw it down, but the meaning is perhaps rather, let it go, i.e. let the cart on which the ark was slip backwards. The same Heb. word is used 2 Kings 9:33; there Jehu in his mocking humour says not, Throw her down, but, Let her go, an ambiguous command meant to throw as much responsibility as possible upon those who obeyed it.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.10. before God] In 2 Samuel 6:7, by the ark of God.
And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day.11. was displeased] Rather, was wroth, presumably against his advisers for not warning him that the method adopted for the removal of the ark was wrong; cp. 1 Chronicles 15:13.
had made a breach] R.V. had broken forth; cp. Exodus 19:22.
And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.13. David brought not] R.V. David removed not.
Obed-edom the Gittite] As Gittite means man of Gath, Obed-edom was doubtless of Philistine origin; perhaps he attached himself to David during David’s sojourn among the Philistines. In 1 Chronicles 15:18; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:38 an Obed-edom is mentioned who was a Levite and a porter (doorkeeper) for the ark, but the Chronicler does not identify him with the Gittite of the same name.
And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.14. with the family of Obed-edom in his house]. Render, by (i.e. near) the house of Obed-edom in its own house. The Chronicler (regarding Obed-edom as a foreigner if not also an idolater) qualifies the expression found in 2 Samuel 6:11, “in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.”
blessed] Targ. blessed with sons and sons’ sons. The household, father, sons and grandsons amounted to 81 persons according to the Targ.