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2 Samuel 6:1-19 – David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem


David brings the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God's presence among them, to Jerusalem. This has the effect of making Jerusalem the Holy City, Israel's religious center, as well as David's political capitol.


With the conquest of the Jebusites and the defeat of the Philistines, Jerusalem is now under David's control. These military victories have paved the way for the establishment of Jerusalem as the Holy City. This is accomplished by bringing the ark of the covenant from its resting place in the house of Abinadab to Jerusalem.

A David moves the ark from Gibeah (vv. 1-4)
B Rejoicing (v. 5)
C Uzzah offends God (vv. 6-8)
D David brings ark to house of Obed-edom (vv. 9-11a)
E The Lord blesses Obed-edom (vv. 11b-12a)
A′ David moves the ark from the house of Obed-edom (vv. 12b-13)
B′ Rejoicing (vv. 14-15)
C′ David offends Michal (v. 16)
D′ David brings the ark to the tent (v. 17)
E′ Blessing (vv. 18-23)

Joy and sorrow are intermingled in the poignant episode in which Uzzah loses his life for simply preventing the ark from tipping (vv. 6-8). The point is the absolute holiness of the ark, which symbolizes the presence of the Lord. As the structural diagram above indicates, the ark is brought to Jerusalem only after David is assured of its safe transport as seen in the blessing it brings to the house of Obed-edom (vv. 9-12a). Once again, joy mixes with strong negative emotion as David's extroverted dancing offends his wife (Saul's daughter) Michal (vv. 14-16). All ends well, however, as David places the ark in the tent (v. 17) and asks God's blessing (vv. 17-20). The narrator's comment that Michal remained childless is a subtle indication of God's rejection of her father, Saul (v. 23).

2 Samuel 6:1-19

David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

6David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. 3They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio,* the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart 4with the ark of God;* and Ahio* went in front of the ark. 5David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs* and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing-floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen shook it. 7The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there because he reached out his hand to the ark;* and he died there beside the ark of God. 8David was angry because the Lord had burst forth with an outburst upon Uzzah; so that place is called Perez-uzzah* to this day. 9David was afraid of the Lord that day; he said, ‘How can the ark of the Lord come into my care?’ 10So David was unwilling to take the ark of the Lord into his care in the city of David; instead David took it to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months; and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.

12 It was told King David, ‘The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.’ So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat,* and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.

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