2 Samuel 6
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics

1. The ark was the central point of the religion of Israel. In this sacred chest were deposited the two tables of the Law (the testimony, the great document of the covenant); on it rested the covering (kapporeth) propitiatory (LXX.), expiatory (Vulgate), or mercy seat (Authorized Version), "above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat," whereon the invisible King of Israel, the Lord of hosts, was enthroned; and there atonement was made, by the sprinkling of blood, for the sins of the people (Exodus 25:10-22). It was a symbol of Jehovah's presence and fellowship, his righteousness and mercy, his protection and blessing; a type of heavenly things.

2. Of the ark nothing is recorded since it was placed, about seventy years previously, on its return from the land of the Philistines, in the house of Abinadab, on the hill, at Kirjath jearim; and Eleazar, his son, was consecrated to keep it (1 Samuel 6:21, 22). During this long period it continued there, separated from the tabernacle (in Nob, 1 Samuel 21:6; 1 Samuel 22:13, 19; and afterwards in Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 21:29), unsought and neglected (1 Chronicles 13:3), "buried in darkness and solitude." The worship and service of God were necessarily incomplete - an effect and evidence of the imperfect relations subsisting between the nation and its Divine King, and of its divided and distracted condition.

3. The time had now come for the restoration of the ark to its proper place as the centre of national worship. The union of all the tribes under "the man of God's choice," the conquest of Jerusalem, the defeat of the Philistines, prepared the way for the great enterprise; and to it David was impelled by a truly theocratic spirit. "This act had its root in David's truly pious feeling, was the living expression of his gratitude to the Lord for his favour, and aimed at the elevation and concentration of the religious life of Israel" (Erdmann).

4. The truths and principles symbolized by the ark are fully embodied in Christ and Christianity (Hebrews 9:11). It may, therefore, be regarded, generally, as representing the true religion; and its restoration from "captivity" a religious reformation (see 1 Samuel 7:2-6). In the going forth of the king at the head of "all Israel" from Jerusalem "to Baale, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah (twelve miles distant), to bring up thence the ark of God," we observe -


1. The rendering to God of the honour which is his due, by open acknowledgment of his supremacy, proper reverence for his great Name, cheerful obedience to his requirements. The religious life of a people is not only expressed in a proper regard for the ordinances of public worship (1 Samuel 1:3), but also greatly promoted thereby. When these are neglected, corrupted, or negligently performed, there can hardly be a higher aim than to make them attractive and pure, and induce a worthy performance of them. "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!" (Psalm 96:9).

2. The realization of closer communion with God, and the reception of the blessings that flow from such communion - mercy and grace, righteousness and strength, safety and peace. "True religion can never be the affair of the individual alone. A right religious relation to God must include a relation to our fellow men in God, and solitary acts of devotion can never satisfy the wants of healthy spiritual life, which calls for a visible expression of the fact that we worship God together in the common faith which binds us into a religious community. The necessity for acts of public and united worship is instinctively felt, wherever religion has a social influence, and in Israel it was felt the more strongly because Jehovah was primarily the God and King of the nation, who had to do with the individual Israelite only in virtue of his place in the commonwealth" (J. Robertson Smith, 'The Prophets of Israel').

3. The fulfilment of the purpose of God concerning his people - that they may be holy, united, prosperous, mighty, and "show forth his praise" (Isaiah 43:21). "O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity" (Psalm 118:25). "The next great step of David (after the conquest of Jerusalem) was the re-establishment of the national religion, the worship of Jehovah, with suitable dignity and magnificence. Had David acted solely from political motives, this measure had been the wisest he could adopt. The solemn assembling of the tribes would not only cement the political union of the monarchy, but also increase the opulence of his capital and promote the internal commerce of the country.; while it brought the heads of the tribes, and indeed the whole people, under the cognizance and personal knowledge of the sovereign, it fixed the residence of the more eminent of the priesthood in the metropolis" (Milman).

II. AN ENEGETIC LEADER. The enterprise was initiated, inspired, accomplished, by David, whose anxious thought on the matter is alluded to in Psalm 132. (written subsequently), 'Jehovah's resting-place.'

"Remember, O Jehovah, to David
All his harassing cares,
Who sware to Jehovah,
Vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:

I will not come into.the tent of my house,
I will not go up to the couch of my bed,
I will not give sleep to mine eyes,
Nor slumber to mine eyelids,

Until I find a place for Jehovah,
A dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.'
Lo! we heard of it at Ephratah,
We found it in the fields of the wood.

Let us go into his dwelling,
Let us bow ourselves before his footstool.
Arise, O Jehovah, to thy rest,
Thou and the ark of thy strength."

(Psalm 132:1-8.) At Ephratah, at Bethlehem, the idea of making this great transference (Acts 7:46) may have first "occurred to David's mind" (Stanley; but see Commentaries on this psalm). "And David consulted with the captains of thousands," etc. (1 Chronicles 13:1-4); "gathered together all the chosen men [warriors] of Israel;" and "arose and went."

1. Eminent piety in the individual manifests itself in deep and tender concern with respect to a common neglect of Divine worship, and in wise and diligent effort to repair it. "David's ruling passion was zeal for the house and worship of God" (Psalm 26:8).

2. Men in authority should make use of their position for that purpose; not, indeed, in the way of compulsion, but of example and persuasion. "Where shall we find today men whose first concern is for the honour of God; who really believe that the favour of the Highest is the true palladium of their country's welfare?" (Blaikie).

3. Thus one man sometimes effects a general and lasting reformation. It was so with Samuel and David, and it has been so with others. How much may be accomplished by one man who is thoroughly in earnest!

4. In this manner such a man fulfils the will of God concerning him, and proves his Divine calling (see 1 Samuel 13:14). "These things show David to be 'a man after God's own heart,' every way fitted for the purpose for which he was exalted, a prince of the largest capacities and noblest views; and the extensiveness and national utility of the scheme he formed, in which the honour of God and the welfare and advantage of his people were equally consulted, demonstrate the piety and goodness of his heart, and clothe him with a glory in which no prince could ever rival or equal him" (Chandler, 'Life of David,' pp. 236, 320).

III. A SYMPATHETIC PEOPLE. In response to David's appeal, "all the congregation that were with him," etc.

1. A leader of men, however great, stands in need of their sympathy and support, and can do nothing without them.

2. It is by their means that he achieves success. The age contributes as much to him as he to it.

3. The union and cooperation of the people with him are a sign of the favour and blessing of God, and a condition of further prosperity. "The new enthusiasm and elevation of the community was not the creation of David. It met him as his noblest incentive; but it is the completeness with which he suffered it to take possession of him... that constitutes the secret of his peculiar greatness, and the charm which never failed to attach to his struggles and triumphs all the strongest and purest spirits of his age" (Ewald).

IV. A UNITED AND ZEALOUS ENDEAVOUR. Captains of thousands, every leader, brethren everywhere, all Israel from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hamath, priests and Levites, chosen warriors, numbering thirty thousand (seventy thousand, LXX.), went "to find the lost relic of the ancient religion." They felt the value of the object of their search; were intent on its possession; "of one heart and one soul;" rested not in wishes and prayers merely, but exhibited their concord in practical, appropriate, persevering activity. It was a fresh starting point for the nation, the commencement of a new religious era. Be it ours now to seek and strive after a still more glorious time!

"Oh, may the hour
Soon come when all false gods, false creeds, false prophets,
Allowed in thy good purpose for a time,
Demolished, - the great world shall be at last
The mercy seat of God, the heritage
Of Christ, and the possession of the Spirit,

The Comforter, the Wisdom! shall all be
One land, one home, one friend, one faith, one law,
Its ruler God, its practice righteousness, Its life peace!"

(Bailey, 'Festus'. = - D.

2 Samuel 6:3-5 (1 Chronicles 13:7, 8). - (KIRJATH-JEARIM.)
The enterprise was marked by -

I. A GREAT DISCOVERY. "We found it in the fields of the wood" (Psalm 132:6).

1. An invaluable treasure, long hidden, from view; like the "treasure hid in a field," and the "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:44-46).

2. A significant memorial of God's mercies in times past. What manifold and mighty events would be brought to remembrance by the sight of the sacred, venerable, and mysterious coffer, when it came forth, as from its grave, into the light of day!

3. A sure pledge of the continued favour of God in time to come. "The ark was, as it were, the palladium of Israel, the moving sacrament of that rude people; not itself Divine any more than our sacramental bread is Christ's body, or our symbolic water God's grace, but the visible symbol of a presence supposed to be local, or of a power manifested in answer to prayer" (Rowland Williams). Yet it was "not a mere dead, idle shadow to look upon, but what certainly declared God's nearness to his Church" (Calvin).

II. A JOYFUL PROCESSION. "And they set [carried] the ark. of God upon a new cart [waggon]; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons [grandsons] of Abinadab, drave the cart; and Ahio went before [Uzzah going alongside.] the ark. And David and all Israel played [sported] before Jehovah with all their might, with songs, and with harps," etc. (1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 19:20). Already commenced the higher order of Divine service, to be afterwards more fully organized and established. For this occasion (as some have supposed) David wrote Psalm 68. 'The ark setting forward in victorious might.'

"Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered,
And let them that hate him flee before his face." Such language was historically appropriate (Numbers 10:35). The sacred procession served:

1. To express their gratitude, gladness, and triumph.

2. To deepen their devotion, union, and joy.

3. To produce a beneficial and lasting impression on the nation.

4. To exalt the Name of Jehovah among surrounding peoples. No less than eleven psalms, either in their traditional titles, or in the irresistible evidence of their contents, bear traces of this great festival. The twenty-ninth psalm (by its title in the LXX.), is said to be on the 'going forth of the tabernacle.' The thirtieth (by its title), the fifteenth, and the hundred and first (by their contents), express the feelings of David on his occupation of his new home. The sixty-eighth, at least in part, and the twenty-fourth, seem to have been actually composed for the entrance of the ark into the ancient gates of the heathen fortress (Psalm 96., 105., 106., 6., 46., 132.) (Smith's 'Dictionary'). "The hymns of David excel no less in sublimity and tenderness of expression than in loftiness and purity of religious sentiment. In comparison with them, the sacred poetry of all other nations sinks into mediocrity. They have embodied so exquisitely the universal language of religious emotion, that (a few fierce and vindictive passages excepted, natural in the warrior poet of a sterner age) they have entered, with unquestioned propriety, into the ritual of the holier and more perfect religion of Christ... How many human hearts have they softened, purified, and exalted! Of how many wretched beings have they been the secret of consolation! On how many communities have they drawn down the blessings of Divine providence, by bringing the affections into unison with their deep devotional fervour!" (Milman).

III. AN INEXCUSABLE TRANSGRESSION. "The act of David and of Israel was evidently intended as a return to the Lord and submission to his revealed ordinances; but, if so, obedience must be complete in every particular" (Edersheim). It was ordained that the ark should be borne with staves on the shoulders of men, the elect men of the nation (Numbers 7:9), and, in placing it on a new cart drawn by oxen, after the manner of the heathen (1 Samuel 6:10, 12), they acted contrary to the Divine ordinance, as David subsequently recognized (1 Chronicles 15:13). Were they fully aware of the nature and importance of that ordinance? Perhaps not; especially after it had been so long in abeyance. Were they altogether ignorant of its existence? This could hardly have been the case with the priests and Levites. Such ignorance, moreover, would have been highly culpable: They were doubtless acquainted with it; but they were forgetful, careless, negligent, and adopted the method which seemed most expedient and to have been previously sanctioned.

1. "All religious reformations which are wrought by men, are blemished by human infirmities" (Wordsworth).

2. Long neglect of Divine ordinances commonly renders, the renewed performance of them exceedingly defective.

3. Fresh and fervid zeal is often inconsiderate, self-confident, and rash.

4. Example is apt to mislead; and should be imitated only in so far as it accords with the Word of God.

5. The end sought may be in accordance with the Divine will, whilst the means employed for the attainment thereof are contrary to it.

6. Good intentions do not justify forbidden actions. "Two things make a good Christian - good actions and good aims. A good aim maketh not a bad action good, as here; and yet a bad aim maketh a good action bad, as we see in Jehu" (Trapp).

7. The conduct which is blameless in some may be sinful in others who have received higher privileges.

8. Although the transgression of God's Law may be borne with for a time, it is sure to be followed by deserved chastisement.

9. If negligence and disobedience in relation to the material symbol were displeasing to God, much more must they be so in relation to the spiritual truth of which it was a shadow (Hebrews 10:29).

10. The noblest agents should be chosen for the performance of the noblest services. - D.

Read who the Church would cleanse, and mark
How stern the warning runs:
There are two ways to guard her ark -
As patrons and as sons."

(Lyra Apostolica.') The fair prospects of a great enterprise are sometimes darkened, as by a thunderstorm, in consequence of the improper manner in which it is conducted. The forbearance of God toward those who transgress his ordinances is often unheeded, and becomes an occasion of further transgression, until the occurrence of a signal disaster fills them with fear and trembling. The act of one man, it may be, gives definite expression to the spirit which influences many, and on him falls the lightning stroke of Heaven, as a punishment for his sin and a chastisement of all who are associated with him; a solemn call to consideration and amendment.

"Give unto Jehovah, O ye sons of God,
Give unto Jehovah glory and strength;
Give unto Jehovah the glory of his Name;
Worship Jehovah in holy attire.
The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters.
The God of glory thundereth."

(Psalm 29:1-3.)

I. A SEEMING EXIGENCY. The ark in danger! "For [at the threshing floor of Nachon, or Chidon] the oxen shook it [kicked, broke loose, or stumbled]," so that the support of Uzzah was apparently needful to arrest its fall. In like manner religion - the Church, its worship, sacraments, doctrines - sometimes appears in perilous need of human help. But the apparent exigency:

1. Is commonly the result of previous neglience and disobedience on the part of those to whom its interests are entrusted, and the false position in which it is placed. If the "due order" (1 Chronicles 15:13) had been observed, the danger would never have arisen.

2. Serves the purpose of testing and manifesting the character of men. Will it lead them to consider, Perceive their error, and amend; or occasion further aberrations?

3. Can never warrant an interference which is expressly prohibited, however great the danger or sincere the desire to avert it. "You must rather leave the ark to shake, if it so please God, than put unworthy hands to hold it up" (Bacon).

4. Is not so great as it appears; for God is able to prevent its fall or overrule it for good. "The special moral of this warning is that no one, on the plea of zeal for the ark of God's Church, should resort to doubtful expedients and unlawful means for the attainment of his end" (Wordsworth).

II. A SERIOUS ERROR. "Uzzah reached forth to the ark of God, and took hold of it." The Levites (of whom Uzzah was one) were to carry it on staves; but "not touch any holy thing, lest they die" (Numbers 4:15). His error was practical; though in itself trivial, a direct breach of the legal requirement; and (as is often the case with an apparently insignificant act) indicated an unsanctified mind. He was "a type of all who, with good intentions, humanly speaking, yet with unsanctified minds, interfere in the affairs of the kingdom of God from the notion that they are in danger and with the hope of saving them" (O. von Gerlach).

1. He acted "unnecessarily, and from the precipitate impulse of human nature" (Ewald), unregulated and unrestrained by proper thought and a higher will.

2. With rashness, irreverence, and profanity; begotten of long familiarity with the venerable relic (see 1 Samuel 6:19). He looked upon it as little other than a piece of sacred furniture.

3. In a spirit of official pride and presumption, as its hereditary guardian and immediate conductor. "Perhaps he affected to show before this great assembly how bold he could make with the ark, having been so long acquainted with it" (Matthew Henry). Men of high position, great possessions, and eminent gifts in the Church, sometimes display a similar spirit, and even affect to patronize the worship of God!

4. With improper anxiety about the means of progress and success, and want of faith in the Divine presence and might. "In our own days there are not awanting men like Uzzah, who act as if it were all over with Christianity if they did not maintain it against the power of modern negations." Their zeal is shown in various ways. But "this zeal, notwithstanding its good intention, is yet unholy, because it is as faint-hearted as it is presumptuous. The Lord needs not such helpers" (Krummacher).

III. A STARTLING JUDGMENT. "And the anger of Jehovah was kindled .... and he died there by the ark of God." A flash of lightning, an apoplectic stroke, or other secondary cause, was the instrument thereof; in the presence of all Israel, and even before the mercy seat, he suffered the penalty of his error ("rashness," ver. 7); and the spot where he fell became a monument of the wrath of God and his power to protect his "holy things" (Ezekiel 22:8).

1. On those who continue to break the Divine Law "the fiery indignation," though long delayed, breaks forth suddenly and "without remedy" (Hebrews 10:31).

2. Punishment is most severe on those who are most honoured, and who ought to be a pattern to others of reverence and obedience (Numbers 3:4; 1 Samuel 5:6; 1 Samuel 6:19; 2 Chronicles 26:21; Acts 5:5; Acts 12:23).

3. The consequences of sin reveal the measure of its sinfulness.

4. The judgment inflicted on one affects many, and represents their desert, The procession was stopped, the enterprise hindered, rejoicing turned into mourning, "and great fear came upon all" (Acts 5:11). "When many have sinned God commonly punishes one or two of the leaders, in order that others may remember their sin and beg forgiveness" (Osiander). Judgment is mingled with mercy. The punishment of one is for the good of many.


1. To consider the awful holiness and majesty of the great King (Malachi 1:11, 14); "for our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29).

2. To learn the spiritual meaning and sanctity of his ordinances.

3. To cherish a spirit of profound humility and reverence in his service.

4. To exercise repentance and trust, and new and faithful obedience to his will in all things. Then -

"Jehovah will give strength to his people;
Jehovah will bless his people with peace."

(Psalm 29:11.) D.

A startling event. Startling to us to read of. How much more to witness, in the midst of all the pomp and joy with which David was bringing the ark to consecrate his newly founded capital, to inaugurate a revival of religion amongst the people, and thus make some fitting return to God for all his goodness to monarch and subjects, and promote in the best and surest way the welfare of all! It is by sudden, startling, and terrible events that God very commonly calls attention to his laws, and avenges the breach of them. By such means the laws of nature come to be known, reverenced, and obeyed; and are thus brought into subjection to man, and made to promote his well being. And by similar means men are made to reflect upon the laws of God with respect to religion and morals, and so the spiritual good of men is promoted. With reference to the sudden death of Uzzah, we remark -

I. IT WAS THE PUNISHMENT OF HIS SIN. "The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah." Every sudden death is not a judgment, even when the result of disobedience of some law. Instances: a child killed while playing with fire or deadly weapons; a man struck dead by the electric fluid while experimenting with it. But the phrase we have quoted compels us to regard Uzzah's death as a punishment of sin. At first it seems difficult to discover in what the sin consisted. His conduct, in reaching out his hand to the ark and laying hold of it, seems to have been at least well-meaning: he desired to preserve it from falling to the ground. But well-meaning acts may be wrong and severely punished. In this case there were:

1. Disobedience to a plain law, with the penalty of death attached. (See Numbers 4:15.) Indeed, the method of bearing the ark on this occasion was altogether contrary to the Law (Exodus 25:14; Numbers 7:9), as David learned by this event (see 1 Chronicles 15:13-15). There appears to have been at this period a general neglect of the Law of Moses, and ignorance of its requirements. How, otherwise, can we account for the ark itself lying so long neglected (1 Chronicles 13:3)? But, surely,.those who had the care of the ark ought to have known the law of God respecting it, or searched it out diligently when a new departure was contemplated, that they might both act rightly themselves and prevent the king from copying the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:7) instead of obeying the Divine Law. In the swift punishment that followed Uzzah's act, the memorable maxim was again, and most impressively, proclaimed, "To obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22) - better than the most splendid pageant in honour of religion from which obedience is absent.

2. Irreverence. The ark was one of the most sacred things in the religion of Israel. It was a symbol of God's presence, his local dwelling place, "called by the Name, even the Name of the LORD of hosts, that sitteth upon the cherubim" (ver. 2, Revised Version); a witness, therefore, for him: an assurance that he was with them while they were loyal and obedient; the central point of worship and national life. It was, therefore, to be treated with utmost reverence. In the services of religion it was, as a witness for the invisible God, to be itself invisible, concealed by the second veil; it was to be approached only by the high priest, and by him only once a year, and with incense, the smoke of which should prevent his beholding it (Leviticus 16:13). But it had long been separated from its proper place in the tabernacle, and kept in a private house, the inmates of which had probably become so familiar with it that they ceased to cherish due reverence for it. Hence the rash act of Uzzah. True, the temptation was sudden and strong. But so are many temptations. All the more need to cherish such habitual piety, self-control, and watchfulness, as shall preserve us in the hour of peril. The recollection of the circumstances under which the ark had been brought into the house of Abinadab should have been sufficient to arrest the impulse to lay hold of it (1 Samuel 6:19-21).

3. Presumption. In pushing himself forward without warrant, and against the law, to preserve the ark from injury. Better to have left it to the care of him to whom it belonged, and who had shown in former days his care for it and his power to protect it (1 Samuel 5.). It was an instance of zeal without knowledge and faith, and in which self was prominent rather than God.

II. THE DEATH OF UZZAH WAS FOR THE INSTRUCTION AND WARNING OF DAVID AND HIS PEOPLE. David was seeking to revive and re-establish religion, and this act of God appeared to be a hindrance to his good design; but in fact it tended to promote it more effectually than all the measures of the king.

1. It was an impressive demonstration that Jehovah their God was still among them, the living God, the Almighty, the Holy One, observing and punishing sin. It showed that his laws were still living laws, not obsolete, though forgotten; that the sacred things which he had appointed were still sacred in his eyes, however neglected, and were to be so esteemed by the people; that, in particular, the ark was still the symbol and pledge of his living presence, as a God to be approached and worshipped with reverence, yet also with confidence in the covenant of which it was the sign. Thus the impression produced by the terrible event would tend to the revival of religious faith and feeling, and secure that David's endeavours should not end in the establishment of a mere ritual, however orderly and stately, but in sincere worship and corresponding life. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last, that the revival of religion began with terrible judgments. We also need a living faith in the living God - faith in his relation to us and presence with us; faith in his love, awakening our confidence and affection; faith also in his majesty, holiness, and justice, awakening our "reverence and godly fear." To this end we should meditate on the awe-inspiring aspects of the Divine character and government, as they appear in nature and providence and in the inspired book. Otherwise our religion is likely to become a weak, superficial, and sentimental thing, without depth and power.

2. It was a warning that was adapted to guide and restrain the religious zeal of the king. There was danger that, in his ardent desire for the re-establishment of the national worship with fitting circumstances of splendour and orderliness, he should not pay due attention to the instructions of the Law, but should violate the will of God in the endeavor to pay to him and secure for him due honour. Uzzah's death would teach him that the Divine will must be first regarded. He learnt this lesson so far as the mode of removing the ark was concerned. He could scarcely fail to keep it in mind. in all his subsequent proceedings. Great zeal for religion has ever a similar peril. Under its influence there is danger of adopting, with the best intentions, means and methods which are not according to the Divine Word. The most powerful persons are the most likely to feel as if their own will might be their law. Thus carnality and worldliness come to regulate the affairs of the Church, and the Law of God is violated in letter or in spirit. Hence the "will-worship, the volunteered, self-imposed, officious, supererogatory service" (Lightfoot on Colossians 2:23), which has so extensively prevailed in Christendom, and which has originated or fostered errors of doctrine; hence also the terrible crimes against Christian liberty and love which have been committed ad majorem Dei gloriam, and thought to be sanctified thereby.

3. There remain the common lessons taught by every death, especially by sudden deaths, and yet more especially by sudden deaths in the midst of displays of human power and glory. The uncertainty of life, the certainty of death, the awfulness of death in sin (John 8:21, 24), the vanity of earthly pomp and splendour, the necessity of habitual preparedness, the value of sincere and spiritual worship and service of God, the appropriateness of the admonition, "Be ye also ready," and of the prayer, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." - G.W.

And David was afraid of the Lord that day (ver. 9). By none was "the disaster of Uzzah" more keenly felt than by the king. He was disappointed, grieved, and displeased at the interruption of the enterprise on which he had set his heart; and, clearly perceiving the primary offence that had been committed, he was angry with all who were responsible for it, not least with himself (2 Corinthians 7:11). "The burning of David's auger was not directed against God, but referred to the calamity which had befallen Uzzah, or, speaking more correctly, to the cause of the calamity which David attributed to himself or to his undertaking" (Keil). His attitude of soul toward Jehovah "that day" was not, indeed, altogether what it should have been. Conscious of sinfulness and liability to err, he was full of apprehension of a similar judgment on himself, if he should receive the ark; and his fear (though springing up in a devout heart) was an oppressive, paralyzing, superstitious terror, like that of the men of Bethshemesh (1 Samuel 6:20), rather than an enlightened, submissive, and becoming reverence. "This was his infirmity; though some will have it to be his humility" (Trapp). We thus see wherein fear is -

I. NEEDFUL. It is as natural and proper a motive as gratitude, hope, or love; is often enjoined; and, in the sense of unbounded reverence, it constitutes "the religious feeling in its fundamental form" (Martensen). To men in their present condition it is specially needful in order to:

1. Arrest heedless footsteps and constrain to serious reflection and self-examination. "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:11; Psalm 4:4).

2. Convince of sin, restrain pride and presumption, and lead to godly sorrow.

3. Deter from disobedience, and induce circumspection and diligence (Psalm 89:7; Proverbs 16:6; 1 Corinthians 10:12; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:17). "Fear is a great bridle of intemperance, the modesty of the spirit, and the restraint of gaieties and dissolutions; it is the girdle to the soul and the handmaid to repentance; the mother of consideration and the nurse of sober counsels. But this so excellent grace is soon abused in the best and most tender spirits. When it is inordinate, it is never a good counsellor, nor makes a good friend; and he that fears God as his enemy is the most completely miserable person in the world" (Jeremy Taylor, 'Of Godly Fear').

II. SINFUL. It is so when associated with:

1. Misinterpretation and false judgments of God's dealings; such false judgments being themselves due to personal disappointment or other self-blinding influence. "In his first excitement and dismay David may not have perceived the real and deeper ground of this Divine judgment;" and thought that God had dealt hardly with him.

2. Suspicion, distrust, and "the evil heart of unbelief departing from the living God;" from which even the best of men are not exempt, especially when impressed with his severity and forgetful of his goodness (Romans 11:22).

3. Servile thoughts of the service of God, as a restraint upon freedom and a source of trouble and danger. "How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?"

4. Immoderate and morbid indulgence of the feeling, instead of immediate return to God at "the throne of grace," in penitence, hope, and renewed devotion (1 Samuel 16:2; 1 Samuel 28:1).


1. Producing inward distraction and despondency.

2. Estranging from the fellowship and service of God, and preventing the accomplishment of holy purposes. How many excellent enterprises are abandoned through unworthy fears!

3. Depriving of invaluable blessings. The loss of David appears by the gain of Obed-Edom (ver. 11), into whose dwelling the ark brought sunshine and prosperity. But with time and reflection his misjudgments were corrected, his faith revived, his fear was sanctified (Psalm 101:2) and associated with holy and ardent aspiration after the presence of God in his tabernacle, and he wrote Psalm 15., 'The character of the true worshipper and friend of God.'

"Jehovah, who may sojourn in thy tabernacle?
Who may dwelt in thy holy mountain?
He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness,
And speaketh truth in his heart ....
He that doeth these things shall never be moved."

(Psalm 15:1-5.) D.

The death of Uzzah made David "afraid of the Lord," and deterred him from fulfilling his purpose to bear the ark into the place which he had prepared for it in his newly founded metropolis. He seems for the time to have dreaded lest it should bring evil with it instead of good - a curse instead of a blessing. So the vast assembly was dispersed, and the day which was to have been so glorious and auspicious ended in disappointment and gloom. David's feeling is an illustration of religious terror, or the dread of God.


1. It is to be distinguished from that "fear of the Lord" which is so often inculcated in the Word of God, and which is especially characteristic of the piety of the Old Testament. This is reverence of God, of his nature, authority, and laws. It includes, indeed, a dread of offending him, because of the certainty and terribleness of punishment; but it includes also veneration, esteem, and love. The feeling which is described in the text is simply alarm, terror.

2. It may be awakened by various causes.

(1) Terrible acts of God: sudden deaths, as that of Uzzah, those of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5, 10, 11); violent tempests; earthquakes; deadly pestilence.

(2) Terrible aspects of his nature. Holiness and hatred of sin; justice, displeasure against sinners; together with his perfect knowledge and unbounded power.

(3) His threatenings.

(4) The consciousness of sin. This is the secret of the dread which springs from the thought of God. A solemn awe is compatible with innocence, but the holy would not be "afraid of God," or if for a moment, at some startling and threatening event, only for a moment.

II. ITS VALUE. In itself and standing alone, it is of no religious worth at all. It is compatible with enmity to God, which is the opposite of true religion. When it springs into the heart of a good man it may be associated with very wrong feeling. David was "displeased" with God, while "afraid" of him (ver. 8). It tends to drive them from him while seeming to draw them to him; for it is apt to generate a religion without love, without even reverence - an obedience which is slavish and destitute of true virtue. It is favourable to superstition, indeed, and may stimulate to great liberality; but, while acting alone, it cannot produce genuine godliness and true holiness. It is the feeling on which priestcraft in all lands flourishes. Yet it is good as a first step in those that need it, and a preparation for what is better; and some measure of it, blended with other emotions, is always of value to many, if not all. In Psalm 119., where every feeling of a pious soul finds expression, this is included (ver. 120). And our Lord enjoins it as a safeguard against the fear of man (Luke 12:4, 5). This fear is of great value:

1. To arouse the conscience and prepare for better things. Many are so hardened that they are incapable of being, in the first instance, drawn by love; their fears must be excited.

2. To make the gospel welcome; which, revealing the love of God and the redemption which is by Jesus Christ, is fitted and intended to allay the dread of God and awaken confidence and affection.

3. To stimulate in obedience to God and deter from sin. It is true that love is the noblest stimulus, and that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18); but love is not perfect in this world, and fear is needed when temptation is strong and the better feelings are for the time dormant. - G.W.

2 Samuel 6:10, 11 (1 Chronicles 13:13, 14). - (THE HOUSE OF OBED-EDOM.)
By means of the ark "the thoughts of many hearts" were "revealed." Whilst Uzzah treated it with irreverence, and David regarded it with dread, Obed-Edom the Gittite (of Gath-rimmon) received it" with reverence and godly fear." He was a Levite, and (like Samuel) of the sons of Korah, a branch of the Kohathites, whose office it was to "bear upon their shoulders" (Numbers 7:9); and is subsequently mentioned as porter (musician), and doorkeeper of the ark (1 Chronicles 15:18, 21, 24; 1 Chronicles 16:5, 38; perhaps "the son of Jeduthun"). He did not seek to have the ark placed under his care; but, when requested by the king, he was not afraid to receive it, well knowing "that, although God is a consuming fire to those who treat him with irreverence, he is infinite in mercy to those who obey him." "Oh, the courage of an honest and faithful heart!" (Hall). The ark in the house of Obed-Edom may be considered as representing religion in the home; and wherever it truly dwells there is:

1. A consciousness of the presence of God; of which the ark was the divinely ordained symbol As often as he and his household looked upon the sacred vessel, mysteriously veiled with its blue covering, they would be the more deeply impressed with the conviction of that presence. We have no longer the symbol; but we have the spiritual reality which it signified; the one is taken away that the other may be more fully recognized, and its recognition cannot but produce in the home thoughtfulness, reverence, and self-restraint.

2. Obedience to his commandments; which were deposited in the ark (2 Chronicles 2:10). The Law must be written on the fleshy tablets of the heart; made the rule of life; and diligently taught to the children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). The sins which it forbids will thus be avoided, the virtues which it enjoins practised; "righteousness, goodness, and truth," the foundation on which the home is built; and the will of God being recognized as supreme, order and harmony will prevail.

3. Confidence in his mercy; according to the appointed method of reconciliation set forth by the mercy seat, and fulfilled in Christ (Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 2:1). The fatherly love of God, being "known and believed," becomes a perpetual incentive to love God and one another (Ephesians 4:32; Romans 13:10). The pervading element of the home should be love. "Jesus Christ - Love; the same."

4. The enjoyment of his fellowship; which was assured at the mercy seat. "There will I commune with thee" (Exodus 25:22). "Communion with God is the very innermost essence of all true Christian life;" and it is maintained and perfected in the home by family prayer (ver. 20).

5. Repose under his protection; represented by the overshadowing cherubim. While Obed-Edom guarded the ark of God, he was himself guarded by the God of the ark. "The Lord is thy Keeper" (Psalm 121:5). "He shall give his angels charge over thee," etc. (Psalm 91:1, 11).

6. The reception of his blessing. "And Jehovah blessed Obed-Edom, and all his household" (ver. 11), "all that he had" (1 Chronicles 13:14) - blessed him with spiritual, providential, enduring benefits (1 Chronicles 26:4-8). "It paid well for its entertainment. The same hand that punished Uzzah's proud presumption rewarded Obed-Edom's humble boldness, and made the ark to him 'a savour of life unto life'" (Matthew Henry). "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children" (Proverbs 13:22; Psalm 102:28).

7. The promotion of his honour and glory. "And it was told King David," etc. Religion in the home "cannot be hid;" the fame thereof goes abroad and incites many - perchance a whole nation - to render to God the honour which is his due, "so that glory may dwell in our land." - D.

Divine chastisements and Divine benedictions have in this world the same end in view - the promotion of true religion. The judgment on Uzzah and the blessing on the house of Obed-Edom were alike intended to reawaken a living faith and piety in the nation, by showing that Jehovah, the living God, was amongst them, and was still prepared to honour his own institutions and bless those who honoured them, whilst those who dishonoured them would incur his displeasure. Obed-Edom honoured God by receiving the ark into his house and caring for it; and, in return, God's blessing rested on him and all his. They act a similar part who receive into their homes and honour there God's book, God's servants, God's poor; those also who establish in their houses the practice of family worship, and keep alive in their families a warm interest in all that concerns the Church and kingdom of God. They and theirs enjoy the abiding presence and blessing of him who has said, "Them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed" (1 Samuel 2:30). Notice -

I. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE ARK INTO THE HOUSE OF OBED-EDOM. It was owing to the panic occasioned by the death of Uzzah. May illustrate the apparently accidental circumstances which have sometimes introduced religion and the practice of family worship into families.

II. THE WELCOME IT RECEIVED. Obed-Edom, in this instance, excelled David. The alarm excited by Uzzah's death did not deter him from receiving the ark into his house. Faith subdued fear. He may well have felt that the act would be well pleasing to God; that it would bring him and his nearer to God; that the ark would sanctify his home and turn it as into a temple; and that it could and would occasion no harm to those who honoured it for God's sake. So should the things, persons, and practices that bring God nearer to a household be welcomed; and so will they be welcomed by such as have begun to reverence and love him.

III. THE BLESSING WHICH ACCOMPANIED IT. "The Lord blessed Obed-Edom, and all his household." What form God's blessing took in this case, so that in the course of three months it could become manifest to others, we are not told; perhaps some marked increase of worldly prosperity. And such an indication of God's blessing is not uncommon in households where piety rules. But there are other blessings of God which to his children are more precious, and which are to be confidently expected by families which honour him.

1. A pervading sense of Gears presence and love. This would surely result from having the ark in the house; and not less is it the result of having a Bible which is really valued and consulted, and a family altar.

2. The enjoyment of the Divine Spirit. The actual living operation of the present God on the conscience, heart, and life. He "gives his Holy Spirit to them that ask him." As the result of these:

3. A new sacredness given to family life and duty. The presence of the ark in the house would sanctify everything there, making the relationships sacred, and turning common duties into holy rites. Hence:

4. Higher and more steadfast family affections. Love to each other sanctified and elevated by common love to the heavenly Father and Divine Brother and Friend; unselfishness; unity; mutual helpfulness.

5. More cheerful and free, and therefore stricter, obedience to the Divine laws. The will of God as to the duties of parents, children, and servants, and of all towards those without, shining in a diviner light, better understood, and better practised. Hence the virtues which promote material and social welfare.

6. Family happiness. Springing naturally, as we say, but none the less as the result of the Divine appointment and active blessing, from such living. Happiness in and from the daily round of duty and affection. Happiness in the enjoyment together of God's gifts. Peace in trouble. Hope when one departs to the better home; a sense of union still ("We are seven"), and assurance of reunion in due time.

7. Moral and spiritual fruitfulness. Such a family dwells in an atmosphere highly favourable for the production and growth of piety and all moral excellence in those connected with it. It is a nursery for the Church. From such the best Christians and Christian workers go forth. Similar family life is multiplied and perpetuated in the subsequent homes of sons and daughters.

IV. THE EFFECT OF THE BLESSING ON DAVID. He was reassured, and took measures, at once more according to the Law and more successful, for fulfilling his purpose to bring the ark to Zion. Similarly, the aspect presented by families which serve God and manifestly enjoy his blessing is adapted to incite, and has often incited, others to go and do likewise. Finally, families which regard not God may have many desirable things, but cannot really enjoy the Divine blessing. "The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked," while "he blesseth the habitation of the just" (Proverbs 3:33). - G.W.

A man's ruling passion, although repressed for a season, surely reappears. It was thus with David's affection for the ark of God, and his desire to bring it up to Zion, where he had prepared a new tent, tabernacle, or pavilion (Psalm 27:5), for its reception (ver. 17), in or adjoining his own palace (1 Chronicles 14:1; 1 Chronicles 15:1). His zeal, which had been checked by fear, now revived

"As florets, by the frosty air of night
Bent down and closed, when day has blanched their leaves,
Rise all unfolded on their spiry stems."



1. Incited by the example of another, and the manifest success attending his conduct. "And it was told King David," etc. (ver. 12); "And David said, I will go and bring back the ark with blessing to my house" (Vulgate). To this also his study of the Law, meditation and prayer, during the preceding three months contributed.

2. Accompanied with the conviction and confession of the cause of previous failure (ver. 13; 1 Chronicles 15:2, 13, 15). "Pious men will profit by their own errors, stand the stronger for their falls, and not abate in their zeal and affections, but learn to connect them with humility, and to regulate them according to the precepts of the sacred Scripture" (Scott).

3. Carried out with more careful and diligent preparation than before. "David gathered all Israel together" - the priests (Abiathar, 1 Samuel 30:7; Zadok, 1 Chronicles 12:28) and the Levites (mentioned only once in 2 Samuel, viz. ch. 15:24); charged them to sanctify themselves to bring up the ark, and directed the chiefs of the latter to appoint singers with musical instruments for the procession (1 Chronicles 15:12-16), among whom he seems to have "found a faculty of song and music already in existence" (Hengstenberg).

II. AN AUSPICIOUS COMMENCEMENT. "When they had. gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings" ("seven bullocks and seven rams," 1 Chronicles 15:26) - "a thank offering for the happy beginning, and a petition for the prosperous continuation of the undertaking" (Bottcher).

1. The first steps of an enterprise are of high importance, and, until they are actually taken, even the best prepared are seldom without misgiving.

2. When taken with the manifest approval of Heaven, they afford strong confidence and hope of a successful issue.

3. The gladness (ver. 12) of successful effort is all the greater because of previous anxiety and grief (Psalm 126:6). The procession was led by eight hundred and sixty-two Levites clad in white, in three choirs, playing respectively on cymbals, psalteries, and harps; over the first of which were Heman (grandson of Samuel), Asaph, and Ethan, or Jeduthun. Then followed Chenaiah, "chief" or marshal "of the Levites for bearing;" two doorkeepers; the ark, attended by seven priests blowing silver trumpets (Numbers 10:1-10); and two other doorkeepers (of whom Obed-Edom was one). Last of all came the king, with the elders and captains of thousands, and the whole body of the people.

"Before went the singers, behind the players on stringed instruments;
In the midst of damsels striking timbrels.
There is Benjamin the youngest, their ruler;
The princes of Judah - their motley band,
The princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali."

(Psalm 68:26, 28.)

III. A FESTAL AND TRIUMPHAL PROGRESS. "With shouting and sound of trumpet" (ver. 15). Again arose the well-known shout, "Let God arise," etc.! (Psalm 68; Psalm 132:8). The king may have composed the hymns sung by the Levites, and himself carried a harp in his hand. His clothing "had a priestly character, and not only the ephod of white, but also the meil of white byssos, distinguished him as the head of a priestly people" (Keil, on 1 Chronicles 15:27). And David, having laid aside his royal garment, which would impede his movements, "danced before Jehovah with all his might" (ver. 14).

"The same who sang
The Holy Spirit's song, and bare about
The ark from town to town; now doth he know
The merit of his soul-impassioned strains
By their well-fitted guerdon."

(Dante, 'Par.,' 20.) Simonides used to say of dancing that it was silent poetry, and of poetry that it was eloquent dancing (Delany, from Plutarch). There is "a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:4). David's dancing was a religious act (ver. 21); customary among a people of simple and demonstrative habits, on a return from victory and in public worship (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6); rendered familiar to him in the school of the prophets (1 Samuel 19:24); practised only on an extraordinary occasion; a natural expression of personal gratitude and joy (Psalm 30:11) in a man of ardent temperament; a sign of humble, avowed, and unreserved devotion to Jehovah (Psalm 150:4); a means of identifying himself with the people, and of infusing his own spirit into them. Those persons who condemn him as deficient in modesty and dignity should remember these things: those who commend dancing as a social amusement or recreation by his example must find other grounds for their commendation; and these who justify the unseasonable, vain, and indelicate manner in which it is ordinarily performed, by his conduct, either misunderstand or shamelessly pervert it (Job 21:7-15). Of religious excitement it may be said that:

1. It does not prevail to such an extent as might have been expected from the glorious truths set forth in the Word of God.

2. It is of great value in inducing the performance of duty, overcoming obstacles, and leading to a decisive course of action. Reason and conscience are often insufficient of themselves to influence the will effectually.

3. It is fraught with serious danger - of not being properly regulated by intelligence, of running into imprudence and excess, of being superficial and transient, and perverted to an unworthy and sinful end.

4. It requires to be controlled by an enlightened conscience, transformed into fixed principles, and translated into holy and useful deeds. Unless it be immediately acted upon it is injurious rather than beneficial. - D.

A grand day for Israel, and indeed for the world; the beginning of the religious significance of "Zion" and "Jerusalem," and the mighty spiritual influence which has gone forth far and wide from that centre. With respect to the bringing of the ark "into the city of David," we remark -

I. IT WAS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A DELAYED PURPOSE. Although David was shocked and alarmed by the event which compelled him to desist from his first endeavour, he did not give up his purpose, but evidently set himself to prepare for a more imposing and appropriate introduction of the sacred symbol into his metropolis than he at first contemplated. The narrative in 1 Chronicles 15. and 16. shows this; for . such elaborate arrangements could not have been made in a short time. Delay tests the resolutions and purposes of men, reveals their quality, intensifies those which spring from true and reasonable zeal, and issues in their fuller execution.

II. IT WAS MARKED BY STRICT OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW OF GOD. The death of Uzzah had led to careful study of the Divine directions, which were now rigidly obeyed (1 Chronicles 15:12-15, with which corresponds ver. 13 of our text, "they that bare the ark of the Lord"). It is well when painful experience of the penalties of disregard to God's laws leads to inquiry and improvement. Unhappily, multitudes who suffer the penalties fail to profit by them.

III. IT WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH MUCH WORSHIP. Sacrifices were offered when a successful start had been made. Others, in greater number, when the ark had been placed in the tent prepared for it. The praises of God were sung as the procession moved on; and at the close of the ceremonies David "blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts." The suitableness of all this to the occasion is obvious.

IV. IT WAS A SEASON OF GREAT GLADNESS. Indicated by David's dance "before the Lord with all his might." Also by the shouting and the noise of musical instruments; and the royal gifts to the people at large, that all might feast.

V. IT WAS A NATIONAL TRANSACTION. All the tribes, by their representatives in great numbers, and all classes of the people - the king, the priests and Levites, the nobles, the officers of the army and their forces, the rich and the poor - united in the celebration. It was an act of national homage to the supreme Sovereign of the people - a kind of enthronement of him in his metropolis. It was intended and well adapted to make the people realize afresh that they were one nation, and to bind them in a closer unity hereafter, religious as well as civil.

VI. IT WAS THE INAUGURATION OF A NEW AND BETTER ERA IN RELIGION. The ark was not thus brought to Jerusalem to remain solitary and neglected, as it had so long been, but that before it Divine worship might be conducted daily in a manner becoming the new circumstances of the people. For this David had made careful preparation, organizing part of the priests and Levites for the purpose, while others were appointed to minister at Gibeon, where the tabernacle proper and the altars were (1 Chronicles 16:4-42). For the national worship was not even now conducted in strict accordance with the Mosaic Law, since that required the ark and the altars, and the priestly and Levitical ministrations, to be all in one place. On account of Circumstances which are not explained, though they may be surmised, the king could not do all that he would, but he did what he could; and this prepared the way for the more exact obedience to the Law which was rendered when the temple was built.

VII. IT MADE MANIFEST THE CHARACTER OF THE KING. His convictions as to the claims of God over him and his people; his zeal for the worship of God, and desire to infuse a similar spirit into the nation; his humility in descending from his elevation and fraternizing with, whilst he led, the people. By the whole narrative we are reminded of:

1. The necessity and worth to a nation of true religion. To elevate its life, unite its various parts and classes, promote mutual justice and a spirit of brotherhood, regulate its conduct towards other peoples, and withal secure the blessing of God.

2. The worth of godly rulers. From their position, rulers necessarily exercise a wide influence, and it is a happy circumstance when their example is in favour of religion and virtue.

3. The difference between national religious pageants and ceremonies, and true national religion. Many will unite in the former who have no part in the latter. The former are often more brilliant and imposing as the latter decays. National Christianity can exist only as the individuals who compose the nation are sincere Christians.

4. The lessons which the proceedings here recorded suggest to those engaged in opening a new Christian sanctuary. Concern to secure the abiding presence and blessing of God. Much praise and prayer: praise for all the mercies which have led up to the day, and all the revelations and promises that give hope to its proceedings; prayer for the help of God in all, his acceptance of the work done in his Name, his use of it for the promotion of his kingdom, the good of his Church, and the salvation of those without. Much gladness and mutual congratulation on account of the work accomplished, and the good that may be hoped for from it to individuals, families, the neighbourhood, etc. A hearty union of all classes in the services, introductory to permanent union in mutual love and combined effort. - G.W.

She despised him in her heart. A graphic picture here. A numerous and joyous procession marching into the city with the ark of God, with sacred music and singing and dancing; the king at the head of all, more joyous and enthusiastic than all the crowd besides; and Michal, behind her window, cool and collected, without sympathy with the object or spirit of the proceeding, yea, looking on with contempt, especially for her husband, who was so demonstrative in his display of zeal and gladness. She has many imitators. There are many who regard fervid zeal in religion with contempt.


1. Alleged reasons; as

(1) that it is fanatical; or

(2) unintellectual, a sign of weak mind; a style of religion fit only for women and weak-minded men; or

(3) hypocritical; or

(4) not respectable.

The better sort of people, it is alleged, keep their religion within due bounds; certainly will eschew forms of religious earnestness which associate closely the upper classes with the common people.

2. Secret causes. May be:

(1) Ignorance. Want of knowledge of Christianity. Acquaintance with its great facts, doctrines, and precepts, and the exemplification of them in the lives of our Lord and his apostles, would make it clear that they demand and justify the utmost warmth of love and zeal; so that for Christians to be zealous in holding, practising, and propagating their religion is simply to be consistent.

(2) Irreligion, with or without knowledge. Unbelief or disbelief. The absence of religious faith and feeling. Possibly a settled hatred of religion and goodness. Men of this class cannot possibly understand or appreciate the operations of religion in the heart. The sincerely religious may disapprove of certain forms in which others display their zeal, but they will not indulge contempt of them.

(3) Formalism or superficiality in religion. To which ardent devotion and self-consecration are unintelligible.

(4) Pride of intellect, taste, or station. "Hath any of the rulers believed on him, or of the Pharisees? But this multitude which knoweth not the Law are accursed" (John 7:48, 49, Revised Version).

(5) Sometimes would be found secret uneasiness. Zeal in others awakens conscience, which utters condemnation; and conscience is relieved (or attempted to be) by fixing attention on what is regarded as objectionable in the religious zeal of others, and cherishing contempt for them.

(6) Religious bigotry, which has no tolerance for forms of religion, however sincere and good those who adopt them may be, that differ from those of the bigot himself. The piety of many good men is sadly marred by this spirit, and its earnestness feeds something very like hatred of fellow Christians. In this case also contempt springs largely from ignorance, as well as from a lack of that principle of religion which is supereminent, viz. love.


1. It is in harmony with right reason. In view of the nature and works of God and our obligations to him, especially the redeeming love of God in Christ, the evils from which we are redeemed, the blessings which are brought within our reach, the cost of our redemption. It is not zeal, but indifference and coldness, which are irrational. Nothing but the willing devotement of heart and life to Christ is suitable as a return for his love. Devotion without warmth, service which is ever measured and stinted, are absurd.

2. It is required by Holy Scripture. The great duties of Christianity, love to God and man, necessarily include warmth and earnestness. And the terms in which we are exhorted to seek our own salvation and the good of others all imply zeal; the production of which is represented as one great end of the offering of himself by Christ (Titus 2:14).

3. It is countenanced by the highest and best society. By cherubim and seraphim, angels and archangels, apostles, prophets, martyrs, saints in heaven and on earth, and him who is higher than them all, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whose burning zeal we owe everything. The grandest intellects in the universe may be appealed to by the zealous Christian.

4. It is productive of the greatest good. Christianity has conferred and is conferring the greatest blessings on mankind, and is ever extending the area of its beneficial influence. But it is its zealous, not its cold-hearted, adherents to whom men owe its extension and powerful operation.

5. It secures the approbation of God, and final acceptance and reward. He who zealously uses his talents is to be received into the joy of his Lord, while the slothful servant is rejected 'rod punished. The highly respectable and self-complacent Church at Laodicea is severely reproved and threatened on account of its lukewarmness (Revelation 3:15, 16). Only religion in earnest fits for heaven. There are no lukewarm Christians there. Finally:

1. Let despisers of zealous Christians beware lest they be found despising Christ and God (Luke 10:16).

2. Let zealous Christians take heed of needlessly exposing their religion to contempt. As by associating it with things unworthy of it, such as narrowness of mind, cant, eccentricity, worldly policy, excessive ceremonialism, great ardour about small matters, little ardour about great matters, uncharitableness.

3. Some zeal in religion deserves to be despised. That, in particular, which is dissociated from truth, uprightness, holiness, or love. True religious zeal includes zeal for these; and no ardour of professed religion can be a substitute for them. - G.W.

The ascent of the ark into "the city of David" may be regarded as:

1. A termination of a state of things that had long prevailed, in which the relation of the people of Israel to their Divine King was interrupted, his service neglected, their power impaired. Even the early military successes of Saul were followed by disaster, dissension, and civil strife, which had been only recently healed. Once more there was rest (1 Chronicles 23:25).

2. An inauguration of a new era: the more manifest and abiding presence of Jehovah among his people, the more general recognition of his sovereignty, the organization of a worthier and more attractive form of worship, the more complete union of the tribes under the Lord's Anointed (Messiah), and the victorious expansion of his kingdom. "It was the greatest day of David's life .... It was felt to be the turning point in the history of the nation. It recalled the great epoch of the passage through the wilderness. David was on that day the founder, not of freedom only, not of religion only, but of a Church, a commonwealth" (Stanley).

3. A representation (a type, or at least an emblem) of the coming of "Messiah the Prince" in his kingdom; either, more generally, in his whole mediatorial course from his first advent to his final triumph, or, more specially, at his ascension "far above all, the heavens, that he might fill all things" (Ephesians 4:8-10).

"Thou hast ascended up on high,
Thou hast led captives captive," etc.

(Psalm 68:18.)

I. A GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION. "And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place," etc. "This is my rest forever," etc. (Psalm 132:13, 14). To this occasion may be referred Psalm 24., 'The King of glory entering his sanctuary.'

"The earth is Jehovah's, and the fulness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein ....
Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah?
And who shall stand in his holy place?"

(Psalm 24:1-6.) It is here declared that the proper preparation for communion with God is moral purity, not merely external pomp (vers. 9, 11; Psalm 15.; Isaiah 33:15, 16). The former part of this grand choral hymn was probably sung on the way to Zion; the latter on entering the gates of the venerable fortress and city of Melchizedek.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,
That the King of glory may come in.
Who is, then, the King of glory
Jehovah strong and mighty,
Jehovah mighty in battle.

"Lift up your heads, O ye gates...
Who is, then, that King of glory?
Jehovah of hosts;
He is the King of glory."

(Psalm 24:7-10.) Amidst the glorious wave of song and praise, the ark was placed in the tabernacle. So Christ (in whom the Divine and human king are one) has entered the heavenly Zion, dwells with men, and prepares those who receive him, in faith and love, to dwelt with him forever (Hebrews 10:12, 22).

II. AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE. "And David" (as head and representative of priestly nation, Exodus 19:6) "offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Jehovah;" the former expressive of self-dedication, the latter of thanksgiving, praise, and joyous fellowship with God and one another. At the close of the service of dedication he instituted a regular "service of song in the house of the Lord" (see Hengstenberg, 'On the History of the Psalmodic Poetry'), due in part to the influence of Samuel and his prophet associates (1 Samuel 19:20), but having him for its real author, and, receiving its mightiest impulse from his sublime compositions. He was a prophet as truly as Samuel or Moses (Acts 2:30). "David, as well as Moses, was made like to Christ the Son of David in this respect, that by him God gave a new ecclesiastical establishment and new ordinances of worship" (Jon. Edwards). "On that day then David ordered for the first time to thank the Lord by Asaph and his brethren" (1 Chronicles 16:7).

"Thank ye the Lord, call on his Name,
Make known his deeds among the people," etc.

(1 Chronicles 16:8-22; Psalm 105:1-15.)

"Sing ye to the Lord, all the earth,
Proclaim from day today his salvation," etc.

(1 Chronicles 16:23-36; Psalm 96:2-13; Psalm 106:1, 47, 48.) A day to be remembered for all time! Then 'the sweet singer of Israel' first gave the suggestions of his inspiration, and the product of his pen, to embody and guide the praises of the Church. What effects have followed that first hymn! What streams of praise... what clouds of incense have gushed and risen and are ever rising and gushing the world over at this moment, from the immortal impulse of that Divine act! (Binney). Yet it is Christ himself "in the midst of the Church" (Hebrews 2:12) who inspires its noblest praises, and by whom the sacrifice is rendered acceptable to God (Hebrews 13:15).

III. A GRACIOUS BENEDICTION. "And he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts;" recognizing him as "the God of omnipotent power in heaven, who victoriously accomplishes his work of salvation" (1 Samuel 1:3), and solemnly invoking a blessing on his people in accordance with his Name and covenant. His act, although not strictly an assumption of the office of the Levitical priesthood, was of a priestly character (even more so than the patriarchal blessing); "and thus, though but in a passing and temporary manner, he prefigured in his own person the union of the kingly and priestly offices (Perowne), alluded to in Psalm 110. (written after this event), 'The victorious king and priest.'

"Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent:
Thou art a priest forever
After the order of Melchizedek."

(Psalm 110:4) It was while the Lord Jesus "lifted up his hands and blessed them" that "he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:51) - a sign of his continual intercession and benediction. "Wherefore also he is able to save," etc. (Hebrews 7:25).

IV. A GENEROUS BENEFACTION. "And he distributed to all the people, even to the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as to the men, to every one a cake of Dread, and a measure [of wine], and a raisin cake," that they might feast together before the Lord (according to custom in the case of peace offerings, 1 Samuel 1:4; 1 Samuel 9:13) as a nation, with thankfulness, gladness, and charity. "It is a good thing when benedicere and benefacere go together, and when in a prince is seen, not only piety toward God, but love and liberality toward his people" (Guild). How much greater are the benefits bestowed by the exalted Redeemer than those conferred by any earthly monarch (Mark 16:20; Acts 2:33) I "Christ has risen bodily into heaven that he may be spiritually present in the earthly heaven of the Church; the bodily ascension and the spiritual indwelling are two aspects of the same act The mystical David, from his own high home, dispenses his own flesh for the life of the world, and that spiritual bread which he that hungers after righteousness shall eat of and be satisfied, and that 'fruit of the vine' which is even now to be drunk in the earthly 'kingdom of the Father'" (W. Archer Butler). - D.

The ark of the covenant has been taken as representative of religion, of Christ, of the Church, or of the sacraments and means of grace. It may also be compared with the Bible (or Scriptures of the old and new covenants), which is of even greater value to us than the ark was to Israel. The resemblance appears in their:

1. Supernatural origin. The ark was made according to the pattern shown (in vision) by God to Moses in the mount (Exodus 25:9), by Bezaleel, who was "filled with the Spirit of God" (Exodus 31:3), and other wise-hearted men; and the tables of stone which, it contained were "written with the finger of God" (Exodus 34:1). The Bible is the product of Divine inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16), though, like the ark, in connection with the (literary) skill of man. "It is a Divine-human book."

2. External characteristics, such as choice and precious materials (acacia wood and pure gold), durability, painstaking workmanship ("beaten work"), simplicity, compactness, beauty ("a crown of gold round about"), practical utility (rings and staves), which are all apparent in the Scriptures.

3. Spiritual significance - the presence of God, the Law (as a testimony against sin and a rule of life), atoning mercy, Divine fellowship and favour. "In the words of God we have the heart of God." The ark was a sign of these sublime realities, "not the very things themselves." With the Bible, wherein they are so much more clearly and fully set forth, it is the same.

4. Wondrous achievements; not, indeed, by their inherent virtue, but by the Divine might of which they were appointed instruments; in blessing or bane according to the diverse moral relationships of men. By the ark the Israelites were led through the wilderness, their enemies scattered, the waves of the Jordan arrested, the walls of Jericho demolished, the land subdued, Dagon destroyed, the rebellious punished, the irreverent smitten, the obedient blessed. Who shall describe the achievements of the Word of God? What enemies it has overcome! what reformations effected! what blessings conferred!

5. Varied fortunes: after long wanderings finding rest; misunderstood and superstitiously perverted, lost for a season to its appointed guardians, persistently striven against, treated with irreverent curiosity, buried in obscurity and neglect, eagerly sought after and found, cherished in private dwellings, exalted to the highest honour.

6. Transcendent claims on human regard - attention, reverence, faith, love, and obedience.

7. Preparatory purpose and temporary duration. At the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians the ark perished or was lost beyond recovery; in the new dispensation there is no place for it (Jeremiah 3:16); but the mercy and judgment which it symbolized cannot fail (Revelation 11:19). The Bible is necessary only in a state where" we see by means of a mirror obscurely" (1 Corinthians 13:12, 13), not where we see "face to face." But, though in its outward form it vanish away, yet in the spiritual realities of which it testifies, the efforts which it produces, the fulfilment of its promises and threatenings, "the Word of the Lord endureth forever." - D.

And David returned to bless his household. A benediction or blessing is essentially a prayer to God that his blessing may be bestowed upon others; and, being uttered in their presence by one who (like the head of a household) holds a position of authority in relation to them, it is also, to some extent, an assurance of the blessing. Of family worship notice -

I. ITS OBLIGATION; which (although it is not expressly enjoined) is evident from:

1. The relation of the family to God: its Founder, Preserver, Ruler, Benefactor, "the God of all the families of the earth" (Psalm 68:6; Jeremiah 31:1; Ephesians 3:15). Out of this relation arises the duty of honouring him (Malachi 1:6); acknowledging the dependence of the family, confessing its sins, seeking his mercy, and praising him for his benefits; nor, without family worship, can its spiritual end be fulfilled (Malachi 2:15).

2. The responsibility of the head of the household to order it in the fear of God (Genesis 18:18; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4), which involves this obligation.

3. Precepts, promises, etc., with reference to prayer, which have a manifest application to social worship in the family (1 Chronicles 16:11; Jeremiah 10:25; Matthew 6:9; Romans 16:5; 1 Timothy 2:8; 1 Timothy 4:5).

4. The conduct of good men, approved of God, and therefore indicative of his will and recorded for imitation. Abraham (Genesis 12:7, 8), Jacob (Genesis 35:2, 3), Job (`:5), Joshua (Joshua 24:15), David, Daniel (Daniel 6:10), Cornelius (Acts 10:1), and others. "Wherever I have a tent, there God shall have an altar" (John Howard).

II. ITS MANNER. It should be performed:

1. With regularity and constancy; other family duties being arranged with reference to it, and public worship made, not a substitute, but a preparation for it or an adjunct to it.

2. In such a way as is suitable and profitable to those who take part in it.

3. Always with thoughtfulness, reverence, and cheerfulness.

4. Accompanied by the reading of the Scriptures, by instruction, discipline, and consistent practice, and by holy purposes, such as are expressed in Psalm 101. (written shortly before this time),'David's mirror of a monarch' (Luther).

"Of mercy and judgment will I sing,
Unto thee, O Jehovah, will I harp.
I will give heed to a perfect way -
When wilt thou come unto me? -
I will walk with a perfect heart within my house," etc.


1. The sure approbation and rich blessing of God (Proverbs 10:22), temporal and spiritual. By its means, perchance, a parent effects "the saving of his house" (Hebrews 11:7; Luke 19:9).

2. The 'worthy performance of all the duties of life.

3. Abounding affection, harmony, peace, happiness, and hope that

"When soon or late they reach that coast
O'er life's rough ocean driven,
They may rejoice, no wand'rer lost,
A family in heaven!"

4. Holy influences, not only on all the household - parents, children, domestics - but also on the neighbourhood and society. What a mighty reformation would be implied in the general adoption of family worship! And to what a moral and spiritual height would it exalt our land! - D.

The greatest day of David's life did not end without a cloud. His wife Michal, "Saul's daughter" (ver. 16; 2 Samuel 3:13; 1 Samuel 19:11-17), had not, from whatever cause, gone forth to meet him with the other women (ver. 19)on his return to Jerusalem with the sacred ark; on beholding from a window of the palace, as the procession swept past, the enthusiasm which he displayed, "she despised him in her heart;" and when, after he had blessed the people, he returned to bless his household, she met him with sarcastic reproaches. "When at a distance she scorned him, when he came home she scolded him" (Matthew Henry). "Whereas David came to bless his house, she, through her foolishness, turneth his blessing into a curse" (Willet). Her scorn (like that of others) was -


1. Without adequate cause; and even on account of what should have had an opposite effect. Fervent piety is not understood by those who do not possess it, and is therefore wrongly and uncharitably judged of by them (1 Samuel 1:13-18). "In Saul's time public worship was neglected, and the soul for vital religion had died out of the family of the king" (Keil).

2. From want of spiritual sympathy; in love to God and joy in his service. Her religion (like her father's) was marked by superstition, formality, and cold conventional propriety. She "knew nothing of the impulse of Divine love" (Theodoret). "The life from and in God remains a mystery to every one until, through the Spirit of God himself, it is unsealed to his experience" (Krummacher).

3. With a sinful mind - vain, proud, discontented, unwifely, irreverent (Ephesians 5:33), and resentful. "Probably she bitterly resented her violent separation from the household joys that had grown up around him in her second home. Probably the woman who had teraphim among her furniture cared nothing for the ark of God. Probably, as she grew older, her character had hardened in its lines, and become like her father's in its measureless pride, and in its half-dread, half-hatred, of David. And all these motives together pour their venom into her "sarcasm" (Maclaren). She had not "a meek and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4).

II. EXPRESSED OFfENSiVELY. "How glorious the King of Israel made himself today," etc.!

1. At an unseasonable time; when, full of devotional feeling, he was returning from public worship "to bless his household," and when such language was calculated to be a cause of pain and of stumbling. But scoffers are inconsiderate, and reckless of the mischief their words may occasion.

2. With exaggerated statements and misrepresentation of motives. David had neither committed any impropriety, nor been desirous of vain display in the eyes of others, nor careless of affording occasion for their contempt. Mockers often ridicule in others what is really the creation of their own imagination or suspicion, and the reflection of the evil that is in their own hearts.

3. With bitter irony and derision. How keenly it was felt by the sensitive spirit of David may be learnt from what he says of an evil tongue (Psalm 52:2; Psalm 57:4; Psalm 120:3). "Scoffing at religion is irrational; rude and uncivil; a most cruel and unhuman sin; a most hardening vice; its impiety in the sight of God surpasses all description; it is a contagious and injurious vice" (J. A. James).


1. A sufficient explanation and defence. "It was before Jehovah" that he had "played;" conscious of his presence and desirous of giving him honour. He was not insensible to his own royal dignity; but recognized the surpassing greatness and goodness of Jehovah, from whom it was derived, and acted only in accordance therewith by giving free expression to his humble gratitude and abounding joy. His language was restrained (Psalm 39:1; Psalm 141:3); though not without rebuke of the proud daughter of the king in preference to whom, and all his house, himself had been chosen.

2. An expression of his resolve to proceed still further in his course of self-humiliation (Psalm 131:1).

3. And of his expectation of finding honour instead of reproach among others. In the affectionate regard of those who sympathize with fervent piety, there is abundant compensation for the contempt of those who despise it. "In this incident we have the clue to that spiritual conception of his duties and position which distinguished David from Saul. It was, in fact, his spiritual conception of the true Israel, of the high privileges and duties of worshippers in the holy place, and above all of the privileges and duties of a king, as one who should carry out Jehovah's counsels upon earth, which distinguished David's reign, not only from that of Saul, but from that of any subsequent Jewish monarch" ('The Psalms chronologically arranged,' by Four Friends).

IV. PUNISHED DESERVEDLY. "Michal's childlessness is specially mentioned as a punishment of her pride. This was the deepest humiliation for an Oriental woman" (Erdmann). The scorner:

1. Inflicts a self-injury, by hardening the heart and rendering it less capable of faith, love, hope, sympathy, and joy; more solitary, discontented, useless, and unhappy.

2. Becomes unamiable and odious in the sight of others.

3. Incurs the displeasure of God; for "surely he scorneth the scorners" (Proverbs 3:34). "Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong" (Isaiah 28:22).


1. Expect to meet with opposition and contempt in your zeal for God. Even Christ himself was despised and mocked.

2. Count it no strange thing, if in your household, which you desire to bless, there should be those who deprive themselves of the blessing and dislike your devotion.

3. Suffer not their scorn to quench your zeal for God and your love for their souls.

4. Seek in Divine fellowship consolation amidst human reproach. - D.

Then David returned to bless his household. An interesting contrast with what precedes. Would have been a pleasing close of the narrative but for what follows. Presents David in an attractive light. His piety did not shine merely in public before a crowd; it illuminated and blessed his home. He did not regard his high station and the weight of the cares of state as raising him above, or releasing him from, his duties as head of a household. Nor did he, after that busy and exciting day, think himself excused from family duty. He had blessed the people in the name of the Lord; he now returns to bless his household, i.e. to invoke God's blessing on them.


1. By maintaining and conducting family worship. Praising God with his family. Praying with and for them. Giving the worship a family character by the mention of family blessings, needs, sorrows, joys; the especial mention of special circumstances and events which affect the family, as they arise. Doing this regularly and perseveringly.

2. By the religious instruction of his family. Reading the Word of God as part of the daily worship. Teaching the children the truths and duties of Christianity, formally and informally. The latter as important, to say the least, as the former. Let the New Testament be the recognized guide of the house, to which every, thing is brought for judgment. Let its teaching be instilled insensibly as occasions arise in family life.

3. By family discipline. "Ruling well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity" (1 Timothy 3:4); encouraging right, forbidding and suppressing wrong conduct; regulating the companionships and occupations of his children. Family government on Christian principles and in a Christian spirit is itself a mode of instruction, and blesses a household.

4. By leading and accompanying his family to the house of God.

5. By setting a good example. The head of a household cannot perform his duties aright without personal piety. He cannot teach what he does not value and practise; his instructions and prayers will lack the reality which impresses; his character will deprive his words of their proper force. But a good life is a constant lesson. Children will learn from the spirit and conduct of a good father how to think of their Father in heaven, and how they may serve and please him. The unconscious influence of the parent's life will be a perpetually operating power for good.


1. It is his manifest duty. Seen as we contemplate:

(1) The relation of the family to God, as its Founder, the Originator of each household, the Lord of family life, the Source of all its peculiar affections, the Bestower of all its blessings, the Guardian of its weaker members (Christ's "little ones").

(2) The relation to God of the head of a household. His servant, his representative, appointed for this very service.

(3) The promptings of parental affection and godly principles, which are from God.

(4) The express injunctions of Holy Writ.

(5) The just claims of society, which has a right to expect that in the household good citizens should be trained and good members of the Church. The character and welfare of a people depend more on family life than on public law and force; and most fathers can best serve their country by training well their children. Let them render more public services if they are capable of them, but ever let them "return to bless their households."

2. He will thus best promote the welfare and happiness of his household. (See division III. of homily on ver. 11.)

3. His own happiness in his family will be greatly increased. If his desires for their good are granted, he will be a necessary partaker of their happiness, will rejoice that he has so largely contributed to it, and will receive a constant reward for his endeavours in their love and gratitude. If, through untoward circumstances, or counteracting influences against which he had no power to defend them, or through their own perversity, his efforts should fail, he will at least have the satisfaction of a good conscience. In conclusion, what has been said of the duty of fathers applies equally to mothers, who have more influence than fathers over the younger children, and often over the elder also, and always have most to do with the order and comfort and moral atmosphere of the home. - G.W.

The history of Michal is rather an unhappy one. In early life she became enamoured of David, to whom she was reluctantly given by her father. Afterwards, when Saul became the enemy of David, she was given to another, from whom, after many years, she was torn by her first husband, more, probably, from policy than affection. It is likely she had no warm affection for him now. She may have resented his succeeding to her father's throne. She had no sympathy with his religious zeal. Probably she originally admired the hero rather than loved the saint; and now that his fervour in religion has so strangely displayed itself, she can contain herself no longer. She felt herself - a king's daughter - disgraced by his vulgar conduct; and she resolves to tell him her mind about it; and so, as he returns to his house in joyous religious excitement, eager to bless his family, as he had just blessed the people, she meets him with bitter reproaches, to which he, surprised and mortified, returns a bitter answer, in which are, nevertheless, good reasons for his conduct.

I. HER REPROACH. It was in substance that his conduct had been undignified and indecent. The charge was plausible, but unjust. Her anger and want of sympathy with her husband's zeal led her to misrepresentation of proceedings which were innocent and praiseworthy. Similar lack of sympathy with ardent piety often leads to similar unjust judgment. Many are ready to condemn modes of expressing or promoting religion which are foreign to their own habits. But what would be unsuitable and unprofitable to one class of persons may be the reverse to another; and what would not be suitable as an ordinary practice may be allowable and commendable under special circumstances. In times of general excitement men will do what would be ridiculous at other times. Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a good view of Jesus, regardless of dignity and the possible ridicule of the crowd; and he was rewarded for it. David would not have displayed his zeal by leading the multitude in music and singing and dancing under ordinary circumstances. Reproach and condemnation are to be estimated partly according to the persons who utter them. Many who are ready to do so are incapable of passing just judgment, on account of a total or partial want of religion. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). And some who are not destitute of religion are so contracted in their views and feelings that they are unable to estimate rightly the religion of others. John the Baptist practised abstinence, and was said to have a demon. Jesus lived as ordinary men, and was condemned as a glutton and winebibber. The apostles on the Day of Pentecost were said to be "full of new wine." Those who are fond of orderliness and dignity in religion are prone to condemn all kinds of excitement and the freedom of form and expression which it favours. Bat it is possible to sacrifice efficiency to order. While the lovers of order and good taste are exclusively indulging their preferences, multitudes may be left uncared for and untouched. When, therefore, by means which are thought objectionable, they are attracted and benefited, the objectors may properly be asked to find and employ better methods which shall answer the same end; and meanwhile to bear with, yea, thank God for, those who are doing a good work in a manner which they cannot wholly approve. On the other hand, those who love and employ excitement and freedom may well be warned lest they frustrate their aim to save men by using means inconsistent with that reverence and thoughtfulness which are essential to true religion, and lest they unjustly condemn their fellow Christians who pursue their ends by calmer methods. There are room and need for variety of modes of worship and activity with one spirit and aim. Let us not condemn those who, in the Name of Jesus, are really casting out evil spirits, and bringing men to a right mind, though they do not follow with us (Luke 9:49, 50).

II. DAVID'S REPLY. It was severe, and likely, as it was doubtless meant, to sting. Notice:

1. His defence. That what he had done he had done for Jehovah.

(1) Him who in himself was worthy of all possible honour and public praise and confession.

(2) Him who had chosen and exalted him, in the place of Saul and his house, to be ruler over his people. Piety and gratitude combined to impel him to rejoice before the Lord on an occasion so remarkable and auspicious. All of us have similar reasons for honouring God to the utmost of our power. In view of them, the most ardent zeal for the worship of God and the promotion of his kingdom is justified, and cold and measured service stands condemned.

2. His determined resolve. To do as he had done. Yea, to surpass his recent displays of zeal for the Lord. If this was accounted vile, he would be viler still; if this were to lower himself, he would sink lower still. Similar should be the effect upon us of the reproach which fervent piety may subject us to. If, indeed, objection be made to some of the ways by which we show it, we should reconsider them, especially when the objection comes from Christian brethren; but undeserved reproach should stimulate us to greater devotedness and more resolute determination.

3. His assurance of honor. From "the maidservants" of whom Michal had spoken so disparagingly. He virtually appealed from her judgment to theirs. What just foundation is there for satisfaction in the approval of the humbler classes?

(1) They may be more capable of right judgment in matters of religion than many who are above them in worldly condition, and even in general education and intelligence. They may have more spiritual susceptibility and fewer prejudices. They may feel more their ignorance, and be more humble and teachable. They at least know what does them good, which is the end of all religious ministrations. Hence they are often right when their scorners are wrong. Our Lord was accepted and listened to gladly by many of the common people, while few of the upper and the learned classes received him; and he rejoiced and thanked his Father that, while the truths he taught were hidden from "the wise and understanding," they were revealed unto "babes" (Luke 10:21). And in the early Churches St. Paul tells us that there were "not many wise after the flesh, or mighty, or noble;" but that these were put to shame by the weak and despised (1 Corinthians 1:26-28).

(2) The good of the humbler classes is to be sought. To secure this end they must be interested, and their approval won; and he who can, without unworthy arts, succeed in winning them so as to lead them to Christ, may well rejoice and he thankful. David's language may be in substance adopted by preachers who are despised because approved and followed by the common people; while the ministry or Church which fails to lay hold of them ought to mourn and reconsider its spirit and methods. To conclude:

1. It is an unhappy thing when man and wife differ radically in matters of religion. It deprives them of the unspeakable benefits of mutual sympathy and helpfulness. It is the occasion of dispute and unhappiness, if not settled alienation. It hinders very seriously the religious and moral education of the Children. Let these things be thought of before the irrevocable steps are taken which bind two lives together.

2. There are worse faults in relation to religion than vulgarity, undue excitement, or eccentricity. These may be in some degree injurious, but indifference or hostility is fatal. - G.W.

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