Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 6

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 2 Samuel 6)

Verse 2

[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.

On which, … — That is, 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.

Verse 3

[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.

They set, … — 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 have known the law of God, which commanded the priests to bear it upon their shoulders. But their present transports of joy of the happy change of their affairs, and their greedy desire of having the ark of God removed, made them inconsiderate.

In Gibeah — Or, on the hill, as 1 Samuel 7:1.

Verse 5

[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.

Played before the Lord — Public joy should always be as before the Lord, with an eye to him, and terminating in him. Otherwise it is no better than public madness, and the source of all manner of wickedness.

Verse 7

[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.

He died — This may seem very severe, considering his intention was pious, and his transgression not great. But, besides that, men are improper judges of the actions of God; and that God's judgments are always just, though sometimes obscure: it is reasonable, God should make some present examples of his high displeasure against sins, seemingly small; partly, for the demonstration of his own exact and impartial holiness; partly, for the establishment of discipline, 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 benefit of it common to mankind in that, and all future ages.

Verse 8

[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.

Displeased — Or, grieved, both for the sin, and for God's heavy judgment; whereby their hopes were dashed, and their joys interrupted.

Perez-uzzah — That is, the breach of Uzzah.

Verse 10

[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.

House of Obed-edom — Obed-edom knew what slaughter the ark had made among the Philistines and the Bethshemites. He saw Uzzah struck dead; yet invites it to his house, and opens his doors without fear, knowing it was a savour of death, only to them that treated it ill. "O the courage, says Bishop Hall, of an honest and faithful heart! Nothing can make God otherwise than amiable to him: even his justice is lovely."

Verse 11

[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.

The Lord blessed, … — The same hand that punished Uzzah's presumption, rewarded Obed-edom's humble boldness. None ever had, or ever shall have reason to say, that it is in vain to serve God. Piety is the best friend to prosperity. His household too shared in the blessing. It is good living in a family that entertains the ark; for all about it will fare the better for it.

Verse 14

[14] And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

Danced — To express his thankfulness to God by his outward carriage, according to the manner of those times.

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; and so David, who laid by his royal robes, and put on this robe to declare, that although he was king of Israel, yet he willingly owned himself to be the Lord's minister and servant.

Verse 16

[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.

Despised — As one of a base and mean spirit, that knew not how to carry himself with that majesty which became his place.

Verse 17

[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.

David had pitched — For Moses 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.

Verse 18

[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.

He blessed — That is, he heartily and solemnly prayed to God for his blessing upon them: which he did both as a prophet, and as their king, to whom by office it belongs, by all means, to seek his people's welfare.

Verse 20

[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 to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

Bless his household — Ministers must not think, that their public performances will excuse them from family worship: but when they have blessed the public assembly, they are to return and bless their own household. And none is too great to do this. It is the work of angels to worship God; and therefore certainly can be no disparagement to the greatest of men.

Who uncovered — By stripping himself of his royal robes, that he might put on a Levitical ephod.

Verse 21

[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.

Before the Lord — In his presence and service, which though contemptible to thee, is, and ever shall be honourable in mine eyes.

Who chose — Who took away the honour from him and his, and transferred it unto me, whereby he hath obliged me to love and serve him with all my might.

Verse 22

[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.

More vile than thus — The more we are vilified for well doing, the more resolute therein we should be, binding our religion the closer to us, for the endeavours of Satan's agents to shame us out of it.

Be base — I will always be ready to abase myself before God, and think nothing to mean to stoop to for his honour.

Be had in honour — So far will they be from despising me on this account, that they will honour me the more.

Verse 23

[23] Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

Therefore — Because of her proud and petulant speech and carriage to David, which God justly punished with barrenness.

No child — After this time.

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