And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.
Verse 1. - There can be little doubt that the captains of thousands and hundreds... with every leader, here spoken of, represented what had become by this time a confirmed institution, although in embryo, dating from the time of Moses at least (Numbers 31:14; Deuteronomy 1:15; Judges 20:7; 2 Chronicles 20:21).
And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:
Verse 2. - Left in all the land. Some think that this phrase points to the destruction that had been widespread by the Philistines.
And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul.
Verse 3. - Let us bring again the ark. It had been removed from Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) at the instance of "the elders of Israel" to their camp, when they were hard pressed and smitten by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:1-4); there it was taken by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:11, 22), and hurried from Ashdod to Ekron and on to Bethshemesh (1 Samuel 5:1, 5, 8, 10; 1 Samuel 6:9-13). For we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. The allusion may be considered delicately worded, but an inexpressible pathos and unmeasured condemnation must be imagined as clinging to this sentence, illustrated further by 1 Samuel 7:2; 1 Samuel 28:6, 15, 16; 1 Chronicles 10:14.
And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim.
Verse 5. - All Israel. The parallel gives the number as thirty thousand men (2 Samuel 6:1, 2). Shihor of Egypt. According to Gesenius, this Shihor is from root שָׁחֲר meaning "to be turbid" or "black" (so Latin melo, from the Greek; Virgil, 'Georg.,' 4:278, 291; Catullus, 67:33). There can surely be little doubt that it is the river Nile which is here spoken of, after comparison of the following passages: - Joshua 13:3; Isaiah 23:3; Jeremiah 2:18. Though others, quoting Joshua 13:3 and Joshua 19:26, and interpreting Shihor generically as applicable to any dark, turbid stream, make it the modern Wady el-Arish, However, the parallel, 1 Kings 8:65, does not necessarily dissever the נַחַל from נָהַר of Egypt (Genesis 15:18), but rather tends to identify them. The entering of Hemath; i.e. the way to Hamath (Hebrew, חְמָת; Numbers 34:7, 8). Hamath was one of the great cities of the Orontes valley, in Upper Syria, which formed the boundary in especial of the empire of Solomon. This valley is watered by the Orontes, the river of Antioch, a river remarkable for its abundant spring (situate immediately north of the source of the Leontes), which won for it the name, among all the other springs of Syria, of "The Spring," and remarkable for "the length of its course, the volume of its waters, and the rich vegetation of its banks." It is the one of the four rivers which take their rise beneath the heights of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon which becomes really worthy of the name of river, the other three, viz. the Jordan, the Leontes or modern Litany of Phoeicia, and the Abana or modern Barada of Damascus, more resembling the nature of the mountain stream. This river was to the ancient Romans "the representative of Syria, as the Timings might be said to be of England, and in later times the region formed the chief point of contact between this part of Asia and the West" (Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 414, e,f, edit. 1866). The kingdom of Hamath comprised the tract of this valley of the Orontes, skirted by the hills separating the Leontes from the Orontes, and extending to the Pass of Daphne below Antioch. Riblah (Numbers 34:11; 2 Kings 23:33) lies on the east bank of the Orontes, thirty-five miles north-east of Baal-bek, or Baal-gad. The people of Hamath were of the race of Ham, of the descendants of Canaan (Genesis 10:18), and are not to be reckoned as of Phoenician origin.
And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjathjearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.
Verse 6. - To Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim (see Joshua 15:9-11; 1 Samuel 4:7; 2 Samuel 6:2; where the name is spelt with a final yod instead of he). A third name of this same place, Kirjath-baal, is found in Joshua 15:60; Joshua 18:14. Probably the present 'Arms, a ruin (i.q. Kirjath-arim, Ezra 2:25) on the brink of the valley of Sorek, may be the place (see Conder's 'Bible Handbook,' p. 419, 2nd edit.). We read in Joshua 9:17-27 how the men of Kirjath-jearim had been made by Joshua "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord." Hither to this Kirjath-jearim the ark had been conveyed from Bethshemesh (1 Samuel 7:1, 2), and here it "abode" long time, "for it was twenty years." Perhaps the word "abode" in this passage may be equivalent to abode unmoved (1 Samuel 14.18, 19). For though the chronology from the death of Eli, through the remainder of Samuel's career and of Saul's, seems almost hopelessly uncertain, yet it would appear certain that the interval exceeded twenty years, to the time that David now takes in hand to bring home, as it were, the ark. The ark of God, the Lord. Though the Authorized Version of this passage is better and cleverer than that of the parallel (2 Samuel 6:2), yet it is left somewhat obscure. The comma should follow the name God. Jehovah sitting upon the cherubim then follows as a clause in apposition, while the last three words (as the name is called, rather than whose name) state that clause to contain "the Name of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 10:8; Deuteronomy 31:9; 1 Samuel 4:4; 1 Samuel 5:3; 1 Samuel 6:8). Bertheau, following Thenius, proposes to change the Hebrew ֵשם into שָׁם. But there are abundant objections to this.
And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
Verse 7. - They carried; the Authorized Version of the parallel "they set" But the verb is the Hiph. of רָכַב, a word carrying more of majesty in its use (Deuteronomy 33:26; Job 30:22; Psalm 18:11; 68:38; Isaiah 19:1). A new cart. The stress laid on the newness of this cart, the term being twice repeated in the parallel passage, may justly remind of Mark 11:2; Matthew 27:60 (see 'Speaker's Commentary' on 2 Samuel 6:3). The house of Abinadab. There is no mention of Abinadab that would indicate that he still lived, even when twenty years before, the ark was placed in his house. Eleazar was his eldest son (1 Samuel 7:1), and was "sanctified to keep the ark of the Lord." Uzza and Ahio were possibly sons of Eleazar, and not sons of Abinadab, and Eleazar's younger brothers. The Septuagint translates Ahio, and accordingly reads, "Uzza and his brethren drave the cart."
And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
Verse 8. - Played before God. The Hebrew word is the Piel of שׂחק, the root of which, from the simplest meaning of "to laugh" (and with the two appropriate prepositions used for laughing with an expression of derision or contempt), through the two further meanings of "sporting" and "jesting," passes to the signification of dancing" (1 Samuel 18:7; Jeremiah 31:4). Its deepest idea seems to be "to make merry," and to savour of the very same ambiguity attaching to that idiom with ourselves. The parallel of this passage exhibits "before the Lord." With all their might. See the evident mistake of the parallel ("on all manner of instruments made of firwood," literally, with all firwoods) through similarity of the Hebrew characters. Cymbals and... trumpets. Of the five names of musical instruments, the same in number in both passages, the first three are the same in the Hebrew, but these last two are different words, וּבִמְצִלְתַּיִם וּבַחֲלֺצצְרות here for וּבִמנַענִעים וּבְצלְצליִם A variation of this particular kind again indicates with some decisiveness the different character and the number of the sources from which the writers of the Books of Samuel and those of Chronicles took.
And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
Verse 9. - The threshingfloor of Chidon. For Chidon, the parallel place has Nachon; possibly these are two names of the same place, or one form is a corruption of the ether; but there is nothing to determine for us which. Owing to the meaning of Nachon being "prepared," the version of Aquila is "to the prepared threshingfloor," with which the Jonathan Targum agrees, and (for this Chronicles passage) the Joseph Targum gives אֲתַר מְתַקַּן. The threshing-floor was a circular plot of hard ground, from fifty to one hundred feet in diameter, on which the oxen trampled out the grain. Threshingfloors evidently often became landmarks, and helped to designate places (Genesis 50:10; 2 Samuel 24:16). The oxen stumbled. In the parallel place the Authorized Version renders "shook it." The Hebrew verb is the same (שָׁמַט) in both places. Its elementary meanings are "to strike" and "to throw down." Perhaps the meaning is near the Vulgate rendering, calcitrabant, and equivalent to the rendering, became restive.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.
Verse 10. - There seems some little uncertainty as to why Uzza was to blame in a desire that would appear both praiseworthy and instinctive, to steady the ark or save it from actually falling. Uzza was probably not a priest or Levite, and it is so distinctly said his sin consisted in putting his hand to the ark, that perhaps the direction of Numbers 4:15 may be sufficient account of the matter. Special injunction had been given (Exodus 25:14, 15) that the poles with which to bear it should not be taken out of the rings, but be always stationary there. If we suppose that it was not a question of the ark being absolutely overthrown, but simply of its riding unsteadily, his presumptuousness would not have the further defence of an instinctive impulse.
And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day.
Verse 11. - Displeased. The Hebrew root. (חָרָה) betokens a mixture of anger and grief. It is the word used of Jonah (Jonah 4:1, 9), and perhaps our English word "vexed" or "hurt," would convey its meaning. Had made a breach; literally, had broken forth a breaking forth on Uzza; i.e. had fiercely broken forth on Uzza. There are many exactly analogous uses of both verb and noun in the Hebrew. To this day. This phrase, also found in the parallel place, indicates the lapse of time from the historical point of time to the point of record.
And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.
Verse 13. - Obed-edom the Gittite. That Obed-edom is called "the Gittite," i.e. of Gath-rimmon, a Levite city of Dan (Joshua 21:24), might probably indicate that there was another Obed-edom, from whom to distinguish him. Such a one would appear readily to offer in the name of Obed-edom, son of Jeduthun, a "Merarite Levite" (ch. 15:18-24; 16:5, 38; 26:4-15). But the difficulty occurs that an expression in this last quotation seems to identify him with the Obed-edom of 2 Samuel 6:11; and the last sentence of our next verse. If they are one and the same, it has been suggested that marriage might account for the Merarite living in a Kohathite city (see 'Speaker's Commentary' on 2 Samuel 6:10).
And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.