2 Samuel 6:14
And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) David danced.—The religious dances on occasions of great national blessing were usually performed by women only (Exodus 15:20-21; Judges 11:34; 1Samuel 18:6). The king, by now taking part in them himself, marked his strong sense of the importance of the occasion, and his readiness to do his utmost in God’s honour.

Girded with a linen ephod.—This is usually spoken of as if David were arrayed in a distinctively priestly dress; but it is remarkable that the ephod was not prescribed as a part of the priestly dress—the ephod of the high-priest (Exodus 25:7, &c.) being quite a different thing—and was worn by others, as Samuel (1Samuel 2:18). The wearing of the ephod, however, is spoken of in 1Samuel 22:18 as characteristic of the priests, and in Judges 8:27; Judges 17:5; Judges 18:14-20, it is connected with idolatrous worship. It is also to be noted that the high priest’s ephod (Exodus 28:6; Exodus 28:8, &c.) was made of shesh, while the garments of the ordinary priests, as well as the ephods of Samuel and David, were of bad. The explanation seems to be that the ephod of bad was simply a garment worn by any one engaged in a religious service, and it is used in 1Samuel 22:18 to describe the priests, because such service constituted their ordinary life. It was not, therefore, a peculiarly priestly dress, though naturally more worn by them than by any one else.

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.Danced - The Hebrew word is found only here and in 2 Samuel 6:16. It means "to dance in a circle," hence, simply to dance. The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 15:27 gives a widely different sense. 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 [265]1Ch 15:27.]

David danced before the Lord, to express his inward joy and thankfulness to God by his outward carriage, according to the manner of these times. See Exodus 15:20 Judges 11:34 21:21 1 Samuel 18:6 Psalm 149:3.

A 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, 1 Samuel 2:18, before he was come to those years in which the Levites were allowed to minister; and so hereby David, who laid by his royal robes, and put on this robe, to signify and declare, that although he was king of Israel, yet he willingly owned himself to be the Lord’s minister and servant. 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.

And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen {g} ephod.

(g) With a garment like the priest's garment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. David danced] The dances which were the usual expression of rejoicing on occasions of national thanksgiving (Exodus 15:20-21; Jdg 11:34) and religious festivals (Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4) were generally performed by women only. David’s enthusiasm did not fear to transgress the limits of conventional propriety.

before the Lord] For the Ark was the symbol of Jehovah’s presence.

a linen ephod] David laid aside his royal robes and appeared in the distinctive dress of a priest. As the head and representative of “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6), the king possessed a priestly character; and David on this occasion exercised priestly functions in directing the sacrifices, even if he did not offer them himself (2 Samuel 6:17-18), and in blessing the people (2 Samuel 6:18). See Introd. ch. VII. p. 43.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. "And David was angry, because Jehovah had made a rent on Uzzah, and called the place Perez-uzzah" (rent of Uzzah). פּרץ פּרץ, to tear a rent, is here applied to a sudden tearing away from life. ל יחר is understood by many in the sense of "he troubled himself;" but this meaning cannot be grammatically sustained, whilst it is quite possible to become angry, or fall into a state of violent excitement, at an unexpected calamity. The burning of David's anger was not directed against God, but referred to the calamity which had befallen Uzzah, or speaking more correctly, to the cause of this calamity, which David attributed to himself or to his undertaking. As he had not only resolved upon the removal of the ark, but had also planned the way in which it should be taken to Jerusalem, he could not trace the occasion of Uzzah's death to any other cause than his own plans. He was therefore angry that such misfortune had attended his undertaking. In his first excitement and dismay, David may not have perceived the real and deeper ground of this divine judgment. Uzzah's offence consisted in the fact that he had touched the ark with profane feelings, although with good intentions, namely to prevent its rolling over and falling from the cart. Touching the ark, the throne of the divine glory and visible pledge of the invisible presence of the Lord, was a violation of the majesty of the holy God. "Uzzah was therefore a type of all who with good intentions, humanly speaking, yet with unsanctified minds, interfere in the affairs of the kingdom of God, from the notion that they are in danger, and with the hope of saving them" (O. v. Gerlach). On further reflection, David could not fail to discover where the cause of Uzzah's offence, which he had atoned for with his life, really had lain, and that it had actually arisen from the fact that he (David) and those about him had decided to disregard the distinct instructions of the law with regard to the handling of the ark. According to Numbers 4 the ark was not only to be moved by none but Levites, but it was to be carried on the shoulders, not in a carriage; and in Numbers 4:15, even the Levites were expressly forbidden to touch it on pain of death. But instead of taking these instructions as their rule, they had followed the example of the Philistines when they sent back the ark (1 Samuel 6:7.), and had placed it upon a new cart, and directed Uzzah to drive it, whilst, as his conduct on the occasion clearly shows, he had no idea of the unapproachable holiness of the ark of God, and had to expiate his offence with his life, as a warning to all the Israelites.
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