2 Samuel 6


‘David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.’ 2 Samuel 6:1-5

The Ark Brought To Jerusalem

In the last chapter, we saw all the men of Israel go to David and anointed him as king of Israel, 2 Samuel 5:1-3. This chapter begins with David gathering thirty thousand young able men to go and collect the ark of God from Baalah, Joshua 15:9 / Joshua 15:60 / 1 Chronicles 13:6. The ark had been there for around twenty years, following the removal of it to that place at the request of the men of Beth Shemesh, 1 Samuel 6:19-7:2.

David wanted Jerusalem not only to be a political and military centre for Israel but a religious centre too. This is the reason why he wants the ark of God to go to Jerusalem, where it can be the focus of Israel’s faith.

This becomes clearer later when he decided he wants to build a temple in Jerusalem as a home for the ark. David’s plan was to bring everything and everyone together in one place, but this wasn’t God’s original plan for Israel, 2 Samuel

The text tells us that they set the Ark of God on a new cart, the problem with this was it was only the priests who were allowed to carry the Ark on poles which they carried on their shoulders, Exodus. 25:12-15 / Exodus 37:1-5 / Numbers 7:9.

The priests weren’t even allowed to touch the Ark and if they did touch it, they would die, Numbers 4:15. Another problem is the Ark was always to be covered in goatskin, Numbers 4:6.

David knew exactly what he was doing here, he sinned by moving the Ark on a cart, and he was fully aware that what he was doing was wrong, 1 Chronicles 15:12-13. David and all of Israel began celebrating before the Lord, which is ironic because they had disobeyed God’s law concerning moving the Ark.

‘When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, ‘How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?’ He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.’ 2 Samuel 6:6-11

When they reached Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the Ark of God to stop it from falling as the oxen stumbled. This again was another mistake the Israelites made, because it was only the Levitical priest who could move the Ark, using only poles, Exodus 25:14-15 / Numbers 4:15 / Numbers 4:20.

As a result of touching the Ark, God became angry and struck Uzzah down dead, 1 Chronicles 13:1-14, even the Levitical priests couldn’t touch the Ark or they would die, Numbers 7:9. Uzzah must have known he wasn’t allowed to touch the Ark, or God wouldn’t have killed him for doing so.

This act of God would certainly send shockwaves throughout Israel, as they were reminded that they can’t just do things any way they want and ignore God’s commands. We could also say that this act of God would also remind all of Israel that God was still in their presence.

David asks how the Ark of the Lord ever come to him, on the surface, it appears that David may have acted in ignorance about how the Ark was to be moved, or the Levitical priests didn’t inform him of how the Ark was to be moved. But the truth is David was fully aware of God’s command concerning moving the Ark, 1 Chronicles 15:12-13.

It’s possible that Abinadab, 2 Samuel 6:3, knew nothing about what God said concerning moving the Ark, and so he and his household, wasn’t blessed, and when David took the Ark to the house of Obed-Edom, God blessed him and his household. Obed-Edom may have been a priest and must have treated the Ark of God with respect, knowing that it symbolised God’s presence and because of this, the Lord blessed him and his household, 2 Samuel 6:12.

‘Now King David was told, ‘The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.’ So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.’ 2 Samuel 6:12-15

After being told that the Lord has blessed Obed-Edom and his household, he decides he wants to move the Ark of God again to the city of David, that is Jerusalem. Those who carried the Ark took six steps then David sacrifices a bull and fattened calf, 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:43.

It appears he’s learned the lesson from what happened to Uzzah. This time when he moved the Ark, although the text doesn’t tell us, he moves it properly. The Levitical priests must have moved it on poles, Exodus 25:14-15 / Numbers 4:15 / Numbers 4:20.

This was obviously a religious ceremony because David danced before the Lord when the Ark arrived safely. The dancing was basically moving around in circles in an out of control fashion. Notice he was wearing an ephod, 1 Chronicles 15:27 tells us he was also wearing a robe. The ephod was a made of linen and was worn by a priest, it was a small apron used on ceremonial occasions.

Some believe at some point in David’s dancing he must have become naked, they believe that this is made clear from Michal’s reaction later, 2 Samuel 6:20. He ‘exposed’ himself as some translations have it, because of his dancing, and because God had already commanded the proper attire to wear, Exodus 28:40-43. Because of this, they believed David once again broke God’s law in his excitement.

However, the text tells us David was wearing an ephod, 1 Chronicles 15:27 tells us he was also wearing a robe and I find no reason to believe otherwise. There’s nothing in the text which suggests he was naked, the N.I.V. uses the word ‘half-naked’ in 2 Samuel 6:20, the K.J.V. uses the word ‘uncovered’, and other translations use the word, ‘exposed’. None of these suggests that he was naked.

‘As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.’ 2 Samuel 6:16-19

As everyone is celebrating Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s wife, 2 Samuel 3:13-14, is far from being pleased. Her displeasure comes not only because of her husband’s behaviour, but also because her heart was far from God, she didn’t think that the Ark of God being brought to Jerusalem was worth celebrating. As we shall see in a moment, she is very sarcastic with David when he goes to her, 2 Samuel 6:20.

The priests take the Ark and place it inside the tent, this isn’t the original tabernacle, which was made at Mount Sinai, that was made around 400 years before what’s happening here, 1 Chronicles 17:4-6. What David did here was made another tent so that God’s Ark could dwell in it, 1 Chronicles 15:25-16:3.

The problem here was that David wanted a permanent house for the Ark in Jerusalem but the tabernacle was never left in one place, it was to be portable and continually moved around the different territories of Israel under the direction of God, so all the Israelites could get access to it.

‘When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, ‘How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!’ David said to Michal, ‘It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honour.’ And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.’ 2 Samuel 6:20-23

It’s clear that Michal doesn’t love David as she did in the beginning, 1 Samuel 18:20, she’s upset with him because he danced around in front of other women and we must also remember that David had no right to take her back in the first place as his wife, Deuteronomy 17:17. She was probably struggling to forgive David for taking her away from her husband, Paltiel, 2 Samuel 3:15-16.

David tells Michal that what he did wasn’t for his own pleasure or because he was trying to win people over, his motives were pure, he was simply excited about the Ark coming to Jerusalem because that meant God was with them again, and he did was glorify God.

David tells her that the Lord chose him before He chose Saul, her father, and as a result of Michal’s resentment towards David, she was punished by not being able to have any children, which was shameful for an Israelite, 1 Samuel 1:5-7.

Go To 2 Samuel 7