|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:12-19 It became evident, that happy was the man who had the ark near him. Christ is indeed a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, to those that are disobedient; but to those that believe, he is a Corner-stone, elect, precious, 1Pe 2:6-8. Let us be religious. Is the ark a blessing to others' houses? We may have it, and the blessing of it, without fetching it away from our neighbours. David, at first setting out, offered sacrifices to God. We are likely to speed in our enterprises, when we begin with God, and give diligence to seek peace with him. And we are so unworthy, and our services are so defiled, that all our joy in God must be connected with repentance and faith in the Redeemer's atoning blood. David attended with high expressions of joy. We ought to serve God with our whole body and soul, and with every endowment and power we possess. On this occasion David laid aside his royal robes, and put on a plain linen dress. David prayed with and for the people, and as a prophet, solemnly blessed them in the name of the Lord.
Verse 14. - And David danced. The word used means the springing round in half circles to the sound of music. Conder has given a very interesting account of the dancing of the Malawiyeh, which consisted in turning round in whole circles, resting on the heel of the left foot ('Herb and Moab,' p. 65, etc.). As David danced with all his might, he was evidently strongly excited with religious fervour. We have the expression of his feelings in the psalm composed for this occasion (1 Chronicles 16:7-36); subsequently it seems to have been rearranged for the temple service, as it is broken up into Psalm 96. and Psalms 105:1-15. Dancing was usually the office of the women (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:35; Judges 21:21; 1 Samuel 18:6); but men may also have often taken part in it, as Michal's objection was that it was unbefitting a king. David was girded with a linen ephod. David wore this as a tightly fitting garment, which left him free to exert himself in the dance. So far from the use of it being an assumption of the priestly office, it was regarded by Michal as an act of humiliation, as it was a dress worn even by a child when admitted to service in a priest's family (1 Samuel 2:18). Probably David did mean to rank himself for the time among the inferior servitors of the ark. He might have claimed more. In the theocracy he was the representative of Jehovah, and his anointing was a solemn consecration to a religious office. To have burned incense or offered sacrifice would have been to invade the priestly office, an office parallel to "the administration of the Word and the sacraments," denied, in the Thirty-Seventh Article of the Church of England, to princes. To wear the garb of a servitor was to do honour both to Jehovah and to his priests.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And David danced before the Lord with all his might,.... That is, before the ark of the Lord; not a set dance, or along with others; but he leaped and skipped as "car", a lamb, does, and that for joy that the ark was like to be brought home to his house, without any token of the divine displeasure, as before; the Targum is,"he praised before the Lord with all his might;''exerted himself to the uttermost in singing the praises of God vocally, or by playing on an instrument; to which sense are the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, which is approved of by Castel (p); who observes, it nowhere appears to have been a custom to dance before the ark; but it might be now done, though not usual, and therefore was observed by Michal with contempt, 2 Samuel 6:16; a later writer (q) shows that dancing is the proper sense of the word:
and David was girded with a linen ephod; which others, besides priests, sometimes wore, as Samuel did, and which David might choose to appear in, rather than in his royal robes, as being more agreeable to the service of God, and lighter for him both to walk and dance in on this occasion.
(p) Lexic. col. 1793. (q) Hackman. Praecidan. Sacr. p. 156, 157.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. David danced before the Lord—The Hebrews, like other ancient people, had their sacred dances, which were performed on their solemn anniversaries and other great occasions of commemorating some special token of the divine goodness and favor.
with all his might—intimating violent efforts of leaping, and divested of his royal mantle (in a state of undress), conduct apparently unsuitable to the gravity of age or the dignity of a king. But it was unquestionably done as an act of religious homage, his attitudes and dress being symbolic, as they have always been in Oriental countries, of penitence, joy, thankfulness, and devotion. [See on 1Ch 15:27.]
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