|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:6-11 Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark. God saw presumption and irreverence in Uzzah's heart. Familiarity, even with that which is most awful, is apt to breed contempt. If it were so great a crime for one to lay hold on the ark of the covenant who had no right to do so, what is it for those to lay claim to the privileges of the covenant that come not up to the terms of it? Obed-edom opened his doors without fear, knowing the ark was a savour of death unto death to those only who treated it wrong. The same hand that punished Uzzah's proud presumption, rewarded Obed-edom's humble boldness. Let none think the worse of the gospel for the judgments on those that reject it, but consider the blessings it brings to all who receive it. Let masters of families be encouraged to keep up religion in their families. It is good to live in a family that entertains the ark, for all about it will fare the better.
Verse 7. - Error. The word so translated is one quite unknown, and Ewald renders it "unexpectedly." The Revised Version puts "rashness" in the margin. But all three alike are mere guesses, of which "error" is that approved by Keil and others. The Syriac has the same reading here as that found in 1 Chronicles 13:10, namely, "because he put his hand to the ark." This would require the insertion of four or five letters in the Hebrew. By the ark. The word translated "accompanying the ark" in ver. 4.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah,.... And which was manifest by smiting him:
and God smote him there for his error; committed at this time, which was complicated; as that the ark was put upon a cart, to which he might be the chief adviser, as Procopius Gazaeus notes, when it should have been carried on the shoulders of the Levites; and that be touched it with his hand, which none but priests might do, supposing him to be a Levite, which it is not clear he was, however not a Kohathite; and he took hold of it in order to carry it in his arms, which even Levites, and those Kohathites, might not do, but with staves put into it, which only they were to hold; and besides, as Abarbinel observes, he showed little faith in the power and providence of God, as if he could not take care of the ark without him:
and there he died by the ark of God; directly, upon the spot, by the side of it; whether he was struck by lightning, or in what way, cannot be said; however, he died by the immediate hand of God, in token of his displeasure: and this shows that it is dangerous in matters of worship to act contrary to the command of God, even in things that may seem small and trivial; and though what may be done may be done with a good intention, as this was, yet that will not excuse the sin; nor are those who are the most forward and zealous in religious matters exempted from marks of God's displeasure when they go wrong.
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