Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
2 Samuel 6
This is an interesting Chapter, and considered as typically, in some points, referring to Jesus, demands our attention the more. We are here informed of David's intention of bringing up the ark from where it had long been in obscurity, during the troubles of Saul's reign, to David's new city. In the accomplishment of this purpose, David meets with an humbling, and most distressing providence. - His behaviour upon it, - the attempt afterwards renewed, and succeeds, - the joy of David and the people on the occasion, - the behaviour of Michal, David's wife, - his displeasure. These are the principal things contained in this Chapter.
(1) ¶ Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. (2) 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.
It is remarkable that we have met with nothing in relation to the Ark, from the time of its return out of the Philistines' territories, (as recorded 1 Samuel 6:1 to the end) excepting, that Saul is once said to have called for it, until this which is now mentioned. See 1 Samuel 14:10. Twenty years it was lodged in Kirjath-jearim. 1 Samuel 7:1-2. But do observe, with what honourable terms it is spoken of; the Ark of God; whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts, that dwelleth between the cherubims. Was not this most clearly typical of Christ? Is not Jesus both the Mercy-seat, the Propitiatory, the Propitiation, and the sole manifestation of the divine presence? Do not all petitions go up on him? And are not all communications made from him? How sweetly doth one pray to this effect; Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou and the ark of thy strength. Psalms 130:8. I refer the reader, on this most interesting subject, to what hath been already advanced upon it in the commentary on these passages; Ex 40; De 10; Jos 3. The design of David in fetching the ark, is more particularly mentioned, 1Ch 13 where a whole chapter is filled in relating it, how David conferred with the leading men of his nation on the subject; to which I refer the Reader.
(3) 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. (4) 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.
I always feel concern, when David undertakes anything without first consulting the Lord. We read of his conferring with his captains on the removal of the ark, but nothing is said of his communion with the Lord of hosts. Here seems also another error in the first commencement of this weighty business. If the Reader will turn back to Numbers 4:15, with Numbers 7:9, and compare both with Exodus 25:14, he will then discover how sacred the removal of the ark was to be considered, and only to be borne on the shoulders of the priests. How then could they dare to put the ark of God upon a cart?
(5) 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.
Some have thought that David composed Ps 68 for this occasion. If so, there is much of Christ in it, which plainly proves how well informed the mind of David must have been concerning Jesus. It is remarkable that David opens the subject in words similar to those of Moses upon the like occasion. See Numbers 10:35-36. And from hence, it is as evident, the mind of Moses had the same views. I cannot stay in this place to particularize: but, if the Reader will turn to Ps 68 and to notice no more, will compare only Psalms 68:18 with the triumphal ascension of Jesus, and call to mind what those ascension gifts Of our Jesus are, and how they have been bestowed, and still are bestowing; I think his mind will be led to admire the faith of the patriarchs, equal to that of the highest modern Christians. See Hebrews 11:24-28.
(6) ¶ 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. (7) 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.
It is not very easy to account for this awful judgment, any further than that Uzzah's touching the ark had been expressly forbidden by the Lord, and the punishment was said to be death. See Numbers 4:15. The sons of Kohath were to bear it, but not to touch any holy thing. Whereas Uzzah did not bear it; but touched it thus reversing the commandment. But, it will be said, perhaps, in extenuation of his sin: was not, the ark in danger of falling, had he not done as he did? To this it must be answered, that is nothing to the softening Uzzah's positive disobedience of the Lord's command. The ark of God needs not an arm of flesh to keep it from falling. But, Reader, let the offence beside be what it may, Uzzah dies for his presumption. And let it teach us this solemn lesson: how awful the Lord is, and how dreadful to offend. Oh! thou blessed Jesus! what eternal thanks are due to thee for thy gracious interposing in salvation work, that thy people die not everlastingly.
(8) 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.
Is not this an awful account of David? Was he displeased with God? Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? How different was Aaron's behaviour at the death of his two sons, Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:3. David had other thoughts under the humbling providence afterwards, when driven from his throne by his ungodly son. Here I am (said David) let the Lord do to me as seemeth good unto him, 2 Samuel 15:26. But poor man, like another Jonah, when grace was not in exercise, he ventured to arraign God's proceedings. But how gently did the Lord deal with David; and how graciously did he expostulate with Jonah! See Jonah 4:9. Perez-uzzah, means the breach of Uzzah.
(9) And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me? (10) 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. (11) 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.
David's humbleness and holy fear was proper on this occasion; but his want of faith was again reprehensible. This is but a short character given of Obed-edom, but it is a sweet one. Reader! the ark evidently typified Christ. Whoever presumes to think, like Uzzah, that the Ark of God is in danger; that this poor arm of flesh can help Jesus; like Uzzah, presumes, and like Uzzah, will die. But, whoever like Obed-edom, receives a whole Christ into his house, into his heart; the Lord Jehovah will bless that man, that house, that family, for Jesus's sake. Oh! precious Redeemer! come thou and make thy abode in my house, my heart, and all that belong to me.
(12) ¶ 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. (13) And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.
No doubt the blessing of Obed-edom's house and family led David to conclude that the Lord's displeasure was removed. If the Reader will compare what is here said with 1Ch 15 he will discover the sense David had of the cause of God's displeasure concerning Uzzah: we sought him not in due order. David, it should seem, had not asked counsel of God about the removal; and that removal was done, not only lightly and indifferently, but presumptuously; observe how the solemn service now commenced, with sacrifices. Yes! dearest Jesus! thy one all-sufficient sacrifice is the grand restorer of peace and reconciliation. Thou! Thou hast made our peace in the blood of thy cross. And David's, and the people's eye, were to thee in those sacrifices, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
(14) And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (15) So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpeter
I hope the Reader will have grace to distinguish the holy joy and fervor of David's mind which gave birth to this action of his body in dancing before the Lord; from modern dancing, which is frivolous, sinful, and has a tendency to provoke lustful affections. It is impossible, I should conceive, that anyone who beholds David engaged in so sacred a solemnity as this; and, especially, after the awful event of Uzzah's death, can for a moment be led to suppose that the dancing of David before the Lord hath the smallest affinity to the Stage, or Assembly-dancing of poor, sinful, unawakened, vain, and frivolous creatures, that consume their precious time, and dance away their immortal souls, too frequently, from the card-room, and the midnight assembly, to the awful silence of the grave. The dancing of David in this place formed a part of sacred worship. It was the gesture of the body, and the manifestation of rapture which filled the whole soul, by way of testifying praise and thankfulness to God. Reader! should it be your case to meet with any idle or disorderly person, that from this account of David's dancing before the Lord presumes to bring it forward as an apology for dancing: state this circumstance, I beseech you, in its proper light, give them to see the mighty difference here shown. And let them learn that nothing upon earth differs more than what is here mentioned of the holy joy of a devout soul, which, like the heavenly bodies, move round in their several orbits with harmony to the praise of the Great Maker; from that sensual folly of a corrupt mind, which moves only to the sound of unmeaning music, dissipating everything that is serious in themselves or others, at once reproachful to man and sinful before God.
(16) 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. (17) 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. (18) 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. (19) And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to everyone a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed everyone to his house.
It should seem that the Ark of the Lord at this time had no fixed spot for its abode. Moses had, in his days, prepared a tabernacle at Gibeon for it. But so many years had passed since that period, and moreover, the Ark was so long in Kirjath-jearim, that as the Ark itself seems to have been overlooked (except, no doubt, by the faithful few) it is not to be wondered at the place was lost. David therefore pitched upon a spot for it, and no doubt hallowed it; for those burnt-offerings, and peace-offerings, imply as much, as well as thanksgiving. And some have thought that it was at this time David composed that beautiful Ps 132. Though others ascribe it to Solomon, who is said to have written it at the dedication of the Temple, because he closes his prayer on that occasion with some of the words of this Psalm. Compare 2 Chronicles 6:41-42 with Psalms 132:8-10. But this is no certain conclusion. For this might be accounted for by supposing that the son quoted the words of his father. Be this however as it may, the Psalm itself is so precious, and contains in it so much in allusion to the Lord Jesus Christ, which the Ark typified, that I beg to refer the Reader to a diligent review of it upon the present occasion. The feasting with, and the presents David made to the people upon this service, serve to show us what ground there is for holy joy in all our religious ordinances. Paul beautifully observes, upon this subject, the kingdom of God, that is, the kingdom of grace in this life, leading to the kingdom of glory in another, is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17. And Reader! if it was so in the days of David in their holy solemnities and sacrifices, which at the best were but a shadow of good things to come; with what holy joy ought believers in Christ, who is the whole sum and substance of all the offerings under the law, to rejoice before God; and especially, in the celebration of the supper, that glorious soul-reviving, soul-strengthening, soul-comforting feast, which is a feast upon the sacrifice the Son of God once offered, and by which he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14.
(20) ¶ 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 today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! (21) 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. (22) 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. (23) Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
I did not notice, in its place, the conduct of Saul's daughter, because the subject is again reviewed and enlarged upon in these verses. The Reader of discernment, who is a partaker of grace, will not fail to observe, I hope, in this conduct of Michal, the real cause from whence it sprung. It certainly was from the same sad stock of the enmity in the seed of the serpent to the seed of the woman, which gave rise at the first, and hath run through the whole race ever since, to all the conflicts between grace and corruption. Hence Cain was wroth and his countenance fell. Genesis 4:5. Hence Esau hated Jacob, because of the blessing. Genesis 27:41. Hence Michal disliked the Ark, and her husband's love to it was hateful. In the conduct of David towards his wife, on this occasion, we see how his natural temper got the better of grace. Surely it was neither generous nor becoming to upbraid a daughter with the gracelessness of her father; much less to vaunt himself upon the Lord's predilection of him to her father. But we see in this instance a renewed example of human infirmity. Where shall we turn our eyes to see a perfect pattern of unsinning obedience, holiness, and grace, but to thee, thou blessed Jesus, who in all the revilings thou didst receive, reviledst not again, See Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23.
READER! think how wretched and low must have been the state of Israel all the while they were without the Ark, the symbol of God's presence. No doubt many a pious Israelite sighed in secret on the occasion. Oh! my Brother! think what a sorrowful heart-breaking event would it be to this happy land of ours, if for the sins of the people the Lord should be pleased to remove the golden candlestick out of place! Even in the bare prospect of it, the heart trembles! Our sweet sabbaths, our solemn feasts, our gospel privileges, and ordinances; once over! And yet, is not the sin of the land enough to call for these tokens of divine displeasure? Who can consider the God of all grace, and the Father of all mercies, so continually affronted as he is, but must tremble for the consequences. if the soul of Lot was vexed from day today by the filthy conversation of the wicked; well may rivers of water run down the eyes of the faithful, because men keep not God's law.
But Reader! amidst the awful contemplation of such an event may it be your comfort and mine, that should the Lord lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; though we lose the Ark, God's people cannot lose him whose symbol the Ark was. Oh! let you and I fetch up the Ark of God, even Jesus, to our hearts and to our houses: It is his presence alone which gives a real blessing to ordinances; and without his presence the best of ordinances are nothing. And, O Lord God, grant, that neither of us, like Uzzah, may presumptuously give a wrong touch unto the Ark, nor vainly think that the Ark of God needs our feeble hand to its support. Do thou, Lord God, direct all our approaches unto thee, and direct them that they may be after the due order which thou hast enjoined. And then, if the Michals of the present hour despise our joy, and contemn our raptures, let them; it will only serve to manifest yet more whose we are, by the persecutions of the ungodly. And oh! for grace in full exercise, not like David, on this occasion to return railing for railing, but contrarywise blessing. May we pass on through evil report as well as good report; and in all our lesser trials, seek, dearest Jesus, a portion of thy Spirit, that we may go forth unto thee, without the camp, bearing thy reproach; rejoicing that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for thy name.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 6 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/2-samuel-6.html. 1828.
the Last Week after Epiphany