Matthew Poole's Commentary
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.David fetcheth the ark with much people and great joy out of the house of Abinadab, 2 Samuel 6:1-5. Uzzah laying hold of the ark is slain of God: David is grieved; carries the ark into the house of Obed-edom, whom God blesseth for its sake, 2 Samuel 6:6-11. David bringeth the ark into Zion with sacrifices; danceth before it; for which Michal despiseth him, 2 Samuel 6:12-16. They place it in a tabernacle: he offereth to God; blesseth the people; giveth them presets, 2 Samuel 6:17-19. Michal reproving David, he answereth her: she is childless to her death, 2 Samuel 6:20-23.
The stoutest and valiantest in his army and land, lest the Philistines should attempt to disturb them in this work.
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.With all the people that were with him; with the whole body of the people; for these seem to be a differing party from the thirty thousand now mentioned. See 1 Chronicles 13:1,2.
From Baale of Judah.
Quest. How from it, when they went to it; as is evident, both from 1 Chronicles 13:6, and because the ark was there, and to be fetched thence?
Answ. Some affirm that the Hebrew preposition mem sometimes signifies to, as Genesis 13:11. But there is no need of that; for 1 Chronicles 13:6 mentions their going to Baalah, and this place mentions their going from it; and the one of these doth manifestly suppose the other; for they went thither, that they might return thence. So the sense is plain,
They went from Baale of Judah, to bring (or rather to carry, for the word signifies either)
up from thence the ark; whereby it is supposed that they first went thither, which is related 1 Chronicles 13:6. Moreover, this place is commonly called Kirjath-jearim, 1 Samuel 7:1 1 Chronicles 12:5, and formerly Kirjath-baal, Joshua 15:60, and Baalah, Joshua 15:9, and here Baale of Judah; so called because it was in the tribe of Judah, as is evident from Joshua 15:1, &c.
To bring up from thence the ark of God unto Jerusalem, which, in many respects, was fitter for it than Baalah; because this was a more public place, where it would be more observed and regarded; and in the centre of the kingdom, to which they might more easily come from all parts; and the royal city, where it might be always at hand for David to inquire at, as occasion required; and the place which God had allotted for it.
Whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts: thus whose belongs not to the ark, but to God; for what follows is not the name of the ark, but of God. The place may well be, and is by some, rendered thus, Upon (or at, or beside, or before) which (ark) the name, even the name of
the Lord of hosts, that dwelleth between the cherubims, is called upon; i. e. by or before which they were to present their prayers to God for counsel and succour upon all occasions. And this is mentioned here as the reason why David put himself and his people to so great trouble and charge, because it was to fetch up the choicest treasure which they had, and so the benefit would abundantly recompense the inconvenience.
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 upon a new cart; being taught and encouraged to do so by the example of the Philistines, who did so without any token of God’s displeasure upon them for so doing. But they did not sufficiently consider that God might wink at the Philistines, because they were ignorant of God’s laws; and yet be angry with them for the same thing, because they knew, or might and should have known, the law of God, which commanded the priests to bear it upon their shoulders, Numbers 4:14,15 7:9. But their present transports of joy at, the happy change of their affairs, and their greedy desire of having the ark removed, make them hasty and inconsiderate.
In Gibeah; or, on the hill, as 1 Samuel 7:1.
Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab; for Abinadab himself seems now to have been dead, or at least detained at home through infirmity or indispensable occasions.
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.To lead the oxen that drew it.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Nachon, otherwise called Chidon, 1 Chronicles 13:9.
The oxen shook it; for they stumbled. 1 Chronicles 13:9.
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.God smote him with some deadly disease or stroke, as it follows.
For his error; either,
1. For his touching the ark, when he was no Levite, as Josephus reports; nor indeed was Kirjath-jearim a Levitical city; or, that being but a Levite, he touched the bare ark, which only the priests might do, Numbers 4:15 18:3. And though the ark was ordinarily covered, yet it is not impossible but the covering might be either loose, and so blown aside by the wind; or worn out, and so he might touch the ark itself. Or,
2. Because he put the ark into a cart, and thereby exposed it to the danger of falling, which would have been a great disencouragement to the Israelites, and a reproach to, the ark. And though Ahio also might have a hand in putting it into the cart, yet Uzzah only is smitten; either because he was the elder brother, and the person to whose care the ark was more especially committed; or because he was the chief author of this counsel of putting it into a cart; or because he added a new fault of touching the ark, and that out of distrust of God’s care over it.
There he died: this may seem very severe, considering that his intention was pious, and his transgression not great. But, besides that men are very improper judges of the actions of God, and that God’s judgments are always just, though sometimes obscure, there are many things to be said of this and suchlike cases.
1. That it is fit and reasonable that God should make some persons examples of his just and high displeasure against sins seemingly small; partly for the demonstration of his own exact and impartial holiness; partly for the establishment of discipline, (for which very reason even earthly princes have ofttimes inflicted great punishments for small offences,) and for the greater terror and caution of mankind, who are very prone to have slight thoughts of sin, and to give way to small sins, and thereby to be led on to greater; all which is or may be prevented by such instances of severity; and consequently, there is more of God’s mercy than of his justice in such actions, because the justice is confined to one particular person, but the mercy and benefit of it public and common to mankind of that and all future ages.
2. That God is justly most severe in those things which immediately concern his worship and service; and against those persons who have the nearest relation to him, and the greatest opportunities of knowing, and the highest obligation of careful practicing, those duties which they neglect: see Leviticus 10:3.
3. That this punishment possibly was not so great as it may seem to be; for as for his body, the disease, though dangerous, might not be exceedingly painful; and for his soul, the stroke probably was not so sudden as not to give him space of repentance.
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.David was displeased, or, grieved, both for the sin, which he acknowledgeth, 1 Chronicles 15:2,13, and for God’s heavy judgment; whereby their hopes were dashed, and their joys interrupted, and a good subject struck dead for the circumstantial error of a pious mind, which he might possibly think harsh and very severe, and therefore be displeased or offended at this sharp providence.
And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?Afraid of the Lord; either that God was displeased with him for removing the ark, and bringing it to his city; or lest God should proceed further in the way of his judgments upon him and his people; or lest the ark being brought to his house, might be the occasion of inconveniencics and great calamities, for some neglects or errors which they might easily and frequently commit.
How shall the ark of the Lord come unto me? how may I presume, or how shall I dare do it, when God hath showed his displeasure for my attempting it? I will therefore wait further upon God for his direction in the case, and at present forbear. But why did not David consult God presently by the Urim, as he used to do? This therefore seems to have been his infirmity and neglect.
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.Which doubtless was done by the consent and desire of the owner of it, who for the enjoyment of so great a privilege, was willing to expose himself to some hazard; and wisely considered that the late judgment was not to be imputed to the ark, but to Uzzah’s carelessness in managing it.
The Gittite: he was certainly a Levite, 1 Chronicles 15:18,21,21 16:5 26:4, and here called a Gittite, either, first, from Gath of the Philistines, where he or his father might be born or have sojourned, which might be upon divers occasions; or, secondly, from Gath-rimmon, which was a Levitical city, Joshua 21:24,25.
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.With happy success in all their affairs and actions.
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.David brought up the ark of God; understanding that the ark was entertained without danger or inconvenience, and with great advantage, he apprehended his former mistake, and brought it to himself.
From the house of Obed-edom, which is thought to have been either in Jerusalem, or very near it.
And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.Had gone six paces with safety and comfort. He sacrificed oxen and fatlings, upon an altar suddenly erected, as was usual in such cases. See Exodus 20:24. This he did either to appease God for the former miscarriage; or to praise him for his present mercy, that he had not made another breach upon them; or to implore his favour and gracious presence with them in this great affair.
And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.David danced before the Lord, to express his inward joy and thankfulness to God by his outward carriage, according to the manner of these times. See Exodus 15:20 Judges 11:34 21:21 1 Samuel 18:6 Psalm 149:3.
A linen ephod; the usual habit of the priests and Levites in their sacred ministrations, yet sometimes worn by others, as it was by the young child Samuel, 1 Samuel 2:18, before he was come to those years in which the Levites were allowed to minister; and so hereby David, who laid by his royal robes, and put on this robe, to signify and declare, that although he was king of Israel, yet he willingly owned himself to be the Lord’s minister and servant.
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.As one of a base and mean spirit, that knew not how to carry himself with that majesty which became his place, but behaved himself like one of the fools or vain persons in Israel.
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.In the tabernacle that David had pitched for it; for Moses’s tabernacle was still at Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 16:39 21:29 2 Chronicles 1:3, which David left there, because he designed to build a temple at Jerusalem with all speed, though he was countermanded therein by God himself.
And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.He blessed the people, i.e. he heartily and solemnly prayed to God for his blessing upon them; which he did both as prophet and as their king, to whom by office it belongs, by all means, to seek his people’s welfare.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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!Who uncovered himself; either, first, by stripping himself of his royal robes, that he might put on a Levitical ephod; or by discovering some part of his thighs or legs, as might possibly happen whilst he
danced with all his might, as is said above, 2 Samuel 6:14, considering that the men did then wear loose garments; or she speaks thus, not that he did so, but only by way of aggravation of his fault, and to vilify him the more, as is usual with persons in such cases.
The handmaids of his servants; who either bore a part in the solemnity, as women sometimes did, Exodus 15:20; or at least were spectators of it, and of David’s carriage in it.
As one of the vain fellows; as idle and light persons use to do.
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.It was before the Lord; in his presence and service, which though contemptible to thee, is, and ever shall be, honourable in mine eyes.
Which chose me before thy father, and before all his house; which took away the honour from him and his, and transferred it upon me, whereby he hath obliged me to love and serve him with all my might.
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.I will be base in mine own sight; I will always be ready to humble and abase myself before God.
Of them shall I be had in honour; I shall rather choose to get honour from the meanest of my people, in serving and praising God, than to gain esteem from thee by my lukewarmness in God’s service.
Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.Therefore; not because of David’s words to her, which have nothing in them to this purpose; but because of her proud, and petulant, and ungodly speech and carriage to David, which God justly punished with sterility.
Michal had no child, to wit, by David, and after this time, which these words evidently respect; which was true, although those five children ascribed to Michal, 2 Samuel 21:8, were hers by birth, and not by adoption only.
Unto the day of her death, i.e. never; for if she ever had any, it must be before her death. Compare 1 Samuel 15:35 Matthew 1:25.