Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Removal of the Ark to Jerusalem - 2 Samuel 6
After David had selected the citadel of Zion, or rather Jerusalem, as the capital of the kingdom, he directed his attention to the organization and improvement of the legally established worship of the congregation, which had fallen grievously into decay since the death of Eli, in consequence of the separation of the ark from the tabernacle. He therefore resolved first of all to fetch out the ark of the covenant, as the true centre of the Mosaic sanctuary, from its obscurity and bring it up to Zion; and having deposited it in a tent previously prepared to receive it, to make this a place of worship where the regular worship of God might be carried on in accordance with the instructions of the law. That he should make the capital of his kingdom the central point of the worship of the whole congregation of Israel, followed so naturally from the nature of the kingdom of God, and the relation in which David stood, as the earthly monarch of that kingdom, towards Jehovah the God-king, that there is no necessity whatever to seek for even a partial explanation in the fact that David felt it desirable to have the high priest with the Urim and Thummim always close at hand. But why did not David remove the Mosaic tabernacle to Mount Zion at Jerusalem at the same time as the ark of the covenant, and so restore the divinely established sanctuary in its integrity? This question can only be answered by conjectures. One of the principal motives for allowing the existing separation of the ark from the tabernacle to continue, may have been that, during the time the two sanctuaries had been separated, two high priests had arisen, one of whom officiated at the tabernacle at Gibeon, whilst the other, namely Abiathar, who escaped the massacre of the priests at Nob and fled at once to David, had been the channel of all divine communications to David during the time of his persecution by Saul, and had also officiated as high priest in his camp; so that he could no more think of deposing him from the office which he had hitherto filled, in consequence of the reorganization of the legal worship, than he could of deposing Zadok, of the line of Eleazar, the officiating high priest at Gibeon. Moreover, David may from the very first have regarded the service which he instituted in connection with the ark upon Zion as merely a provisional arrangement, which was to continue till his kingdom was more thoroughly consolidated, and the way had been thereby prepared for erecting a fixed house of God, and so establishing the worship of the nation of Jehovah upon a more durable foundation. David may also have cherished the firm belief that in the meantime the Lord would put an end to the double priesthood which had grown out of the necessities of the times, or at any rate give him some direct revelation as to the arrangements which he ought to make.
We have a parallel account of the removal of the ark of the covenant to Zion in 1 Chronicles 13:5 and 1 Chronicles 13:6, which agrees for the most part verbatim, at all events in all essential points, with the account before us; but the liturgical side of this solemn act is very elaborately described, especially the part taken by the Levites, whereas the account given here is very condensed, and is restricted in fact to an account of the work of removing the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem as carried out by David. David composed the 24th Psalm for the religious ceremonies connected with the removal of the ark to Mount Zion.
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.The ark fetched from Kirjath-jearim. - 2 Samuel 6:1. "David assembled together again all the chosen men in Israel, thirty thousand." יסף for יאסף is the Kal of אסף, as in 1 Samuel 15:6; Psalm 104:29. עוד, again, once more, points back to 2 Samuel 5:1, 2 Samuel 5:3, where all Israel is said to have assembled for the first time in Hebron to anoint David king. It is true that that assembly was not convened directly by David himself; but this was not the point in question, but merely their assembling a second time (see Bertheau on 1 Chronicles 13:5). בּחוּר does not mean "the young men" here (νεάνια, lxx), or "the fighting men," but, according to the etymology of the word, "the picked men." Instead of thirty thousand, the lxx have seventy chiliads, probably with an intentional exaggeration, because the number of men in Israel who were capable of bearing arms amounted to more than thirty thousand. The whole nation, through a very considerable body of representatives, was to take part in the removal of the ark. The writer of the Chronicles gives a more elaborate account of the preparations for these festivities (1 Chronicles 13:1-5); namely, that David took counsel with the heads of thousands and hundreds, and all the leaders, i.e., all the heads of families and households, and then with their consent collected together the whole nation from the brook of Egypt to Hamath, of course not every individual, but a large number of heads of households as representatives of the whole. This account in the Chronicles is not an expansion of the brief notice given here; but the account before us is a condensation of the fuller description given in the sources that were employed by both authors.
And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims."David went with all the people that were with him to Baale-Jehuda, to fetch up the ark of God from thence." The words והוּדה מבּעליcause some difficulty on account of the מן, which is used instead of the accusative with ה loc., like בּעלתה in the Chronicles; yet the translators of the Septuagint, Chaldee, Vulgate, and other versions, all had the reading מן in their text, and בּעלי has therefore been taken as an appellative and rendered ἀπὸ τῶν ἀρχότων Ἰουδά ("from the rulers of Judah"), or as Luther renders it, "from the citizens of Judah." This is decidedly incorrect, as the word "thence" which follows is perfectly unintelligible on any other supposition than that Baale-Jehudah is the name of a place. Baale-Jehudah is another name of the city of Kirjath-jearim (Joshua 15:60; Joshua 18:14), which is called Baalah in Joshua 15:9 and 1 Chronicles 13:6, according to its Canaanitish name, instead of which the name Kirjath-jearim (city of the woods) was adopted by the Israelites, though without entirely supplanting the old name. The epithet "of Judah" is a contraction of the fuller expression "city of the children of Judah" in Joshua 18:14, and is added to distinguish this Baal city, which was situated upon the border of the tribe of Judah, from other cities that were also named after Baal, such as Baal or Baalath-beer in the tribe of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:33; Joshua 19:8), Baalath in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:44), the present Kuryet el Enab (see at Joshua 9:17). The מן (from) is either a very ancient error of the pen that crept by accident into the text, or, if genuine and original, it is to be explained on the supposition that the historian dropped the construction with which he started, and instead of mentioning Baale-Jehudah as the place to which David went, gave it at once as the place from which he fetched the ark; so that the passage is to be understood in this way: "And David went, and all the people who were with him, out of Baale-Jehudah, to which they had gone up to fetch the ark of God" (Kimchi). In the sentence which follows, a difficulty is also occasioned by the repetition of the word שׁם in the clause עליו ... נקרא עשׁר, "upon which the name is called, the name of Jehovah of hosts, who is enthroned above the cherubim." The difficulty cannot be solved by altering the first שׁם into שׁם, as Clericus, Thenius, and Bertheau suggest: for if this alteration were adopted, we should have to render the passage "where the name of Jehovah of hosts is invoked, who is enthroned above the cherubim (which are) upon it (i.e., upon the ark);" and this would not only introduce an unscriptural thought into the passage, but it would be impossible to find any suitable meaning for the word עליו, except by making very arbitrary interpolations. Throughout the whole of the Old Testament we never meet with the idea that the name of Jehovah was invoked at the ark of the covenant, because no one was allowed to approach the ark for the purpose of invoking the name of the Lord there; and upon the great day of atonement the high priest was only allowed to enter the most holy place with the cloud of incense, to sprinkle the blood of the atoning sacrifice upon the ark. Moreover, the standing expression for "call upon the name of the Lord" is יי בשׁם קרא; whereas פּ על יי שׁם נקרא signifies "the name of Jehovah is called above a person or thing." Lastly, even if עליו belonged to הכּרבים ישׁב, it would not only be a superfluous addition, occurring nowhere else in connection with הך ישׁב, not even in 1 Chronicles 13:6 (vid., 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Kings 19:15; Isaiah 37:16; Psalm 99:1), but such an addition if made at all would necessarily require עליו אשׁר ע (vid., Exodus 25:22). The only way in which we can obtain a biblical thought and grammatical sense is by connecting עליו with the אשׁר before נקרא: "above which (ark) the name of Jehovah-Zebaoth is named," i.e., above which Jehovah reveals His glory or His divine nature to His people, or manifests His gracious presence in Israel. "The name of God denotes all the operations of God through which He attests His personal presence in that relation into which He has entered to man, i.e., the whole of the divine self-manifestation, or of that side of the divine nature which is turned towards men" (Oehler, Herzog's Real-Encycl. x. p. 197). From this deeper meaning of "the name of God" we may probably explain the repetition of the word שׁם, which is first of all written absolutely (as at the close of Leviticus 24:16), and then more fully defined as "the name of the Lord of hosts."
And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart."They set the ark of God upon a new cart, and took it away from the house of Abinadab." הרכּיב means here "to put (load) upon a cart," and נשׂא dn to take away, i.e., drive off: for there are grammatical (or syntactical) reasons which make it impossible to render וישּׂאהוּ as a pluperfect ("they had taken"), on account of the previous וירכבו.
The ark of the covenant had been standing in the house of Abinadab from the time when the Philistines had sent it back into the land of Israel, i.e., about seventy years (viz., twenty years to the victory at Ebenezer mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:1., forty years under Samuel and Saul, and about ten years under David: see the chronological table). The further statement, that "Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, drove the cart," may easily be reconciled with this. These two sons were either born about the time when the ark was first taken to Abinadab's house, or at a subsequent period; or else the term sons is used, as is frequently the case, in the sense of grandsons. The words from חדשׁה (the last word in 2 Samuel 6:3) to Gibeah in 2 Samuel 6:4 are wanting in the Septuagint, and can only have been introduced through the error of a copyist, whose eye wandered back to the first עגלה in 2 Samuel 6:3, so that he copied a whole line twice over; for they not only contain a pure tautology, a merely verbal and altogether superfluous and purposeless repetition, but they are altogether unsuitable to the connection in which they stand. Not only is there something very strange in the repetition of the חדשׁה without an article after העגלה; but the words which follow, ארון ה עם (with the ark of God), cannot be made to fit on to the repeated clause, for there is no sense whatever in such a sentence as this: "They brought it (the ark) out of the house of Abinadab, which is upon the hill, with the ark of God." The only way in which the words "with the ark" can be made to acquire any meaning at all, is by omitting the repetition referred to, and connecting them with the new cart in 2 Samuel 6:3 : "Uzzah and Ahio ... drove the cart with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark." נהג, to drive (a carriage), is construed here with an accusative, in 1 Chronicles 13:7 with בּ, as in Isaiah 11:6.
And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.And David and all the house (people) of Israel were משׂחקים, sporting, i.e., they danced and played, before Jehovah. ברושׁים עצי בּכל, "with all kinds of woods of cypresses." This could only mean, with all kinds of instruments made of cypress wood; but this mode of expression would be a very strange one even if the reading were correct. In the Chronicles, however (2 Samuel 6:8), instead of this strange expression, we find וּבשׁירים בּכל־עז, "with all their might and with songs." This is evidently the correct reading, from which our text has sprung, although the latter is found in all the old versions, and even in the Septuagint, which really combines the two readings thus: ἐν ὀργάνοις ἡρμοσμένοις ἐν ισχύΐ καὶ ἐν ᾠδαῖς, where ἐν ὀργάνοις ἡρμοσμένοις is evidently the interpretation of ברושׁים עצי בּכל; for the text of the Chronicles cannot be regarded as an explanation of Samuel. Moreover, songs would not be omitted on such a festive occasion; and two of the instruments mentioned, viz., the kinnor and nebel (see at 1 Samuel 10:5), were generally played as accompaniments to singing. The vav before בּשׁירים, and before the different instruments, corresponds to the Latin et ... et, both ... and. תּף, the timbrel. וּבצלצלים בּמנענעים, sistris et cymbalis (Vulg., Syr.), "with bells and cymbals" (Luther). מנענעים, from נוּע, are instruments that are shaken, the σεῖστρα, sistra, of the ancients, which consisted of two iron rods fastened together at one end, either in a semicircle or at right angels, upon which rings were hung loosely, so as to make a tinkling sound when they were shaken. צלצלים equals מצלתּים are cymbals or castanets. Instead of מנענעים, we find חצצרות, trumpets, mentioned in the Chronicles in the last rank after the cymbals. It is possible that sistra were played and trumpets blown, so that the two accounts complete each other.
And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.When the procession had reached the threshing-floor of Nachon, Uzzah stretched out his hand to lay hold of the ark, i.e., to keep it from falling over with the cart, because the oxen slipped. And the wrath of the Lord was kindled, and God slew Uzzah upon the spot. Goren nachon means "the threshing-floor of the stroke" (nachon from נכה, not from כּוּן); in the Chronicles we have goren chidon, i.e., the threshing-floor of destruction or disaster (כּידון equals כּיד, Job 21:20). Chidon is probably only an explanation of nachon, so that the name may have been given to the threshing-floor, not from its owner, but from the incident connected with the ark which took place there. Eventually, however, this name was supplanted by the name Perez-uzzah (2 Samuel 6:8). The situation of the threshing-floor cannot be determined, as all that we can gather from this account is that the house of Obed-edom the Gathite was somewhere near it; but no village, hamlet, or town is mentioned.
(Note: If it were possible to discover the situation of Gath-rimmon, the home of Obed-edom (see at 2 Samuel 6:10), we might probably decide the question whether Obed-edom was still living in the town where he was born or not. But according to the Onom., Kirjath-jearim was ten miles from Jerusalem, and Gath-rimmon twelve, that is to say, farther off. Now, if these statements are correct, Obed-edom's house cannot have been in Gath-rimmon.)
Jerome paraphrases הבּקר שׁמטוּ כּי thus: "Because the oxen kicked and turned it (the ark over." But שׁמט does not mean to kick; its true meaning is to let go, or let lie (Exodus 23:11; Deuteronomy 15:2-3), hence to slip or stumble. The stumbling of the animals might easily have turned the cart over, and this was what Uzzah tried to prevent by laying hold of the ark. God smote him there "on account of the offence" (שׁל, ἁπ. λεγ. from שׁלה, in the sense of erring, or committing a fault). The writer of the Chronicles gives it thus: "Because he had stretched out his hand to the ark," though of course the text before us is not to be altered to this, as Thenius and Bertheau suggest.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day."And David was angry, because Jehovah had made a rent on Uzzah, and called the place Perez-uzzah" (rent of Uzzah). פּרץ פּרץ, to tear a rent, is here applied to a sudden tearing away from life. ל יחר is understood by many in the sense of "he troubled himself;" but this meaning cannot be grammatically sustained, whilst it is quite possible to become angry, or fall into a state of violent excitement, at an unexpected calamity. The burning of David's anger was not directed against God, but referred to the calamity which had befallen Uzzah, or speaking more correctly, to the cause of this calamity, which David attributed to himself or to his undertaking. As he had not only resolved upon the removal of the ark, but had also planned the way in which it should be taken to Jerusalem, he could not trace the occasion of Uzzah's death to any other cause than his own plans. He was therefore angry that such misfortune had attended his undertaking. In his first excitement and dismay, David may not have perceived the real and deeper ground of this divine judgment. Uzzah's offence consisted in the fact that he had touched the ark with profane feelings, although with good intentions, namely to prevent its rolling over and falling from the cart. Touching the ark, the throne of the divine glory and visible pledge of the invisible presence of the Lord, was a violation of the majesty of the holy God. "Uzzah was therefore 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. v. Gerlach). On further reflection, David could not fail to discover where the cause of Uzzah's offence, which he had atoned for with his life, really had lain, and that it had actually arisen from the fact that he (David) and those about him had decided to disregard the distinct instructions of the law with regard to the handling of the ark. According to Numbers 4 the ark was not only to be moved by none but Levites, but it was to be carried on the shoulders, not in a carriage; and in Numbers 4:15, even the Levites were expressly forbidden to touch it on pain of death. But instead of taking these instructions as their rule, they had followed the example of the Philistines when they sent back the ark (1 Samuel 6:7.), and had placed it upon a new cart, and directed Uzzah to drive it, whilst, as his conduct on the occasion clearly shows, he had no idea of the unapproachable holiness of the ark of God, and had to expiate his offence with his life, as a warning to all the Israelites.
And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?David's excitement at what had occurred was soon changed into fear of the Lord, so that he said, "How shall the ark of Jehovah come to me?" If merely touching the ark of God is punished in this way, how can I have it brought near me, up to the citadel of Zion? He therefore relinquished his intention of bringing it into the city of David, and placed it in the house of Obed-edom the Gathite. Obed-edom was a Levite of the family of the Korahites, who sprang from Kohath (compare Exodus 6:21; Exodus 18:16, and 1 Chronicles 26:4), and belonged to the class of Levitical doorkeepers, whose duty it was, in connection with other Levites, to watch over the ark in the sacred tent (1 Chronicles 15:18, 1 Chronicles 15:24). He is called the Gittite or Gathite from his birthplace, the Levitical city of Gath-rimmon in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 21:24; Joshua 19:45).
So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.
And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.Removal of the ark of God to the city of David (cf. 1 Chronicles 15). - 2 Samuel 6:11, 2 Samuel 6:12. When the ark had been in the house of Obed-edom for three months, and David heard that the Lord had blessed his house for the sake of the ark of God, he went thither and brought it up to the city of David with gladness i.e., with festal rejoicing, or a solemn procession. (For שׂמהה, in the sense of festal rejoicing, or a joyous fte, see Genesis 31:27; Nehemiah 12:43, etc.) On this occasion, however, David adhered strictly to the instructions of the law, as the more elaborate account given in the Chronicles clearly shows. He not only gathered together all Israel at Jerusalem to join in this solemn act, but summoned the priests and Levites, and commanded them to sanctify themselves, and carry the ark "according to the right," i.e., as the Lord had commanded in the law of Moses, and to offer sacrifices during the procession, and sin songs, i.e., psalms, with musical accompaniment. In the very condensed account before us, all that is mentioned is the carrying of the ark, the sacrificing during the march, and the festivities of the king and people. But even from these few facts we see that David had discovered his former mistake, and had given up the idea of removing the ark upon a carriage as a transgression of the law.
And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.
And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.The bearers of the ark are not particularly mentioned in this account; but it is very evident that they were Levites, as the Chronicles affirm, from the fact that the ark was carried this time, and not driven, as before. "And it came to pass, when the bearers of the ark of Jehovah had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatted calf" (i.e., had them sacrificed). These words are generally understood as meaning, that sacrifices of this kind were offered along the whole way, at the distance of six paces apart. This would certainly have been a possible thing, and there would be no necessity to assume that the procession halted every six paces, until the sacrificial ceremony was completed, but the ark might have continued in progress, whilst sacrifices were being offered at the distances mentioned. And even the immense number of sacrificial animals that would have been required is no valid objection to such an assumption. We do not know what the distance really was: all that we know is, that it was not so much as ten miles, as Kirjath-jearim was only about twelve miles from Jerusalem, so that a few thousand oxen, and the same number of fatted calves, would have been quite sufficient. But the words of the text do not distinctly affirm that sacrifices were offered whenever the bearers advanced six paces, but only that this was done was soon as the bearers had taken the first six steps. So that, strictly speaking, all that is stated is, that when the procession had started and gone six paces, the sacrifice was offered, namely, for the purpose of inaugurating or consecrating the solemn procession. In 1 Chronicles 15 this fact is omitted; and it is stated instead (1 Chronicles 15:26), that "when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they offered seven bullocks and seven rams," i.e., at the close of the procession, when the journey was ended, to praise God for the fact that the Levites had been enabled to carry the ark of God to the place appointed for it, without suffering the slightest harm.
(Note: There is no discrepancy, therefore, between the two different accounts; but the one supplements the other in a manner perfectly in harmony with the whole affair, - at the outset, a sacrifice consisting of one ox and one fatted calf; and at the close, one of seven oxen and seven rams. Consequently there is no reason for altering the text of the verse before us, as Thenius proposes, according to the senseless rendering of the lxx, καὶ ἦσαν μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ αἴροντες τὴν κιβωτὸν ἑπτὰ χοροί, καὶ θῦμα μόσχος καὶ ἄρνες ("with David there were bearers of the ark, seven choirs, and sacrifices of a calf and lambs"), which has also found its way into the Vulgate, though Jerome has rendered our Hebrew text faithfully afterwards (i.e., after the gloss, which was probably taken from the Itala, and inserted in his translation).)
And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod."And David danced with all his might before the Lord (i.e., before the ark), and was girded with a white ephod (shoulder-dress)." Dancing, as an expression of holy enthusiasm, was a customary thing from time immemorial: we meet with it as early as at the festival of thanksgiving at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20); but there, and also at subsequent celebrations of the different victories gained by the Israelites, none but women are described as taking part in it (Judges 11:34; Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 18:6). The white ephod was, strictly speaking, a priestly costume, although in the law it is not prescribed as the dress to be worn by them when performing their official duties, but rather as the dress which denoted the priestly character of the wearer (see at 1 Samuel 22:18); and for this reason it was worn by David in connection with these festivities in honour of the Lord, as the head of the priestly nation of Israel (see at 1 Samuel 2:18). In 2 Samuel 6:15 it is still further related, that David and all the house (nation) of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with jubilee and trumpet-blast. תּרוּעה is used here to signify the song of jubilee and the joyous shouting of the people. In the Chronicles (1 Chronicles 15:28) the musical instruments played on the occasion are also severally mentioned.
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.When the ark came (i.e., was carried) into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and there she saw king David leaping and dancing before Jehovah, and despised him in her heart. והיה, "and it came to pass," for ויהי, because there is no progress made, but only another element introduced. בּא is a perfect: "the ark had come, ... and Michal looked through the window, ... there she saw," etc. Michal is intentionally designated the daughter of Saul here, instead of the wife of David, because on this occasion she manifested her father's disposition rather than her husband's. In Saul's time people did not trouble themselves about the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 13:3); public worship was neglected, and the soul for vital religion had died out in the family of the king. Michal possessed teraphim, and in David she only loved the brave hero and exalted king: she therefore took offence at the humility with which the king, in his pious enthusiasm, placed himself on an equality with all the rest of the nation before the Lord.
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.When the ark was brought to the place appointed for it upon Mount Zion, and was deposited in the tent which David had prepared for it, he offered burnt-offerings and thank-offerings before the Lord. "In its place" is still further defined as "in the midst of the tent which David," etc., i.e., in the Most Holy Place; for the tent would certainly be constructed according to the type of the Mosaic tabernacle. The burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were offered to consecrate the newly erected house of God.
And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.When the offering of sacrifice was over, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord, as Solomon did afterwards at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:55), and gave to all the (assembled) people, both men and women, to every one a slice of bread, a measure (of wine), and a cake for a festal meal, i.e., for the sacrificial meal, which was celebrated with the shelamim after the offering of the sacrifices, and after the king had concluded the liturgical festival with a benediction. לחם חלּת is a round cake of bread, baked for sacrificial meals, and synonymous with כּכּר־לחם (1 Chronicles 16:3), as we may see from a comparison of Exodus 29:23 with Leviticus 8:26 (see the commentary on Leviticus 8:2). But the meaning of the ἁπ. λεγ. אשׁפּר is uncertain, and has been much disputed. Most of the Rabbins understand it as signifying a piece of flesh or roast meat, deriving the word from אשׁ and פּר; but this is certainly false. There is more to be said in favour of the derivation proposed by L. de Dieu, viz., from the Ethiopic שׁפר, netiri, from which Gesenius and Roediger (Ges. Thes. p. 1470) have drawn their explanation of the word as signifying a measure of wine or other beverage. For אשׁישׁה, the meaning grape-cake or raisin-cake is established by Son of Sol 2:5 and Hosea 3:1 (vid., Hengstenberg, Christol. on Hosea 3:1). The people returned home after the festal meal.
And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.
Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!When David returned home to bless his house, as he had previously blessed the people, Michal came to meet him with scornful words, saying, "How has the king of Israel glorified himself to-day, when he stripped himself before the eyes of the maids of his servants, as only one of the loose people strips himself!" The unusual combination נגלות כּהגּלות is explained by Ewald (240, e., p. 607) in this manner, that whilst, so far as the sense of the clause is concerned, the second verb ought to be in the infinitive absolute, they were both written with a very slight change of form in the infinitive construct; whereas others regard נגלות as an unusual form of the infinitive absolute (Ges. Lehrgeb. p. 430), or a copyist's error for נגלה (Thenius, Olsh. Gr. p. 600). The proud daughter of Saul was offended at the fact, that the king had let himself down on this occasion to the level of the people. She availed herself of the shortness of the priests' shoulder-dress, to make a contemptuous remark concerning David's dancing, as an impropriety that was unbecoming in a king. "Who knows whether the proud woman did not intend to sneer at the rank of the Levites, as one that was contemptible in her eyes, since their humble service may have looked very trivial to her?" (Berleb. Bible.)
And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.David replied, "Before Jehovah, who chose me before thy father and all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of Jehovah, over Israel, before Jehovah have I played (lit. joked, given utterance to my joy). And I will be still more despised, and become base in my eyes: and with the maidens of whom thou hast spoken, with them will I be honoured." The copula vav before שׂהקתּי serves to introduce the apodosis, and may be explained in this way, that the relative clause appended to "before Jehovah" acquired the power of a protasis on account of its length; so that, strictly speaking, there is an anakolouthon, as if the protasis read thus: "Before Jehovah, as He hath chosen me over Israel, I have humbled myself before Jehovah" (for "before him"). With the words "who chose me before thy father and all his house," David humbles the pride of the king's daughter. His playing and dancing referred to the Lord, who had chosen him, and had rejected Saul on account of his pride. He would therefore let himself be still further despised before the Lord, i.e., would bear still greater contempt from men than that which he had just received, and be humbled in his own eyes (vid., Psalm 131:1): then would he also with the maidens attain to honour before the Lord. For whoso humbleth himself, him will God exalt (Matthew 23:12). בּעיני is not to be altered into בּעיניך, as in the lxx. This alteration has arisen from a total misconception of the nature of true humility, which is of no worth in its own eyes. The rendering given by De Wette is at variance with both the grammar and the sense ("with the maidens, ... with them will I magnify myself"); and so also is that of Thenius ("with them will I be honoured, i.e., indemnify myself for thy foolish contempt!").
And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.Michael was humbled by God for her pride, and remained childless to the time of her death.