Scriptural text: 2 Samuel 6:1-5; 14-19
Introduction to the Lesson:
As you may recall, the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant when Samuel was a child. “The glory had departed from Israel (1 Samuel 4:21-22).” The Philistines had paraded the ark as a trophy of war in Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron, but as long as they kept the ark, sickness followed (1 Samuel 5). No Philistine city wanted it. Finally, after seven months, they returned the ark to Israelite territory on a new cart pulled by two cows. Initially, it was in the priestly city of Beth-shemesh, but because they were judged for treating the ark carelessly (1 Samuel 6), the ark was finally moved to the city of Kiriath Jearim (also known as Baalah), a town about nine miles West of Jerusalem. The obscurity of the ark, during the reign of Saul, had been as great a grievance to Israel as the insults and defeat at the hands of the Philistines. David, having humbled the Philistines by defeating them on two different occasions now felt the need to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the city of David, Jerusalem, so that it would be near him, and also be a ornament and strength to his new capital city.
David Assembles the Chosen Men of Israel (2 Samuel 6:1-2).
David assembled “thirty thousand” of all “the chosen men of Israel” undoubtedly if they had to fight to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant. Since Abinadab lived in Kirjath -Jearim, that would be mean that Baalee of Judah was another name for Kirjath-Jearim. So after assembling the thirty thousand chosen thousands chosen soldiers, “David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah. Accompanied by ‘all the people who were with him,” which was a reference to the thirty thousand chosen soldiers, “David” went to Baale of Judah” or Kirjath -Jearim “to bring up from thence the ark of God” or the Ark of the Covenant. It is called the “ark of God” because it carried the “name” as “the LORD of hosts.”
David Retrieves the Ark (2 Samuel 6:3-4).
“So they set the Ark of God on a new cart,” Transporting the ark of God on a cart was against God’s specific command. The ark was designed to be carried (Exodus 25:12-15) and it was only to be carried by Levites of the family of Koath (Numbers 4:15).
Uzzah and Ahio, the sons Abinadab, drove the new cart. Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark. When they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark and took hold of it. God struck him there for his error.
God fulfilled ominous promise of Numbers 4:15 and struck Uzzah.
David Dances Before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14).
David leads his people in worship in the procession. David is personally absorbed in joyful worship of his God. This is not some formal exercise, but worship from his heart – and with the arms, legs, and feet. David is dancing, and doesn’t seem to care that it might seem undignified. When David’s wife Michal questions him about his behavior before the dignity of a king he responds: “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (2 Samuel 6:22).
References: International Sunday Commentary; Enduring Word Commentary; KJV