2 Samuel 6:3
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.
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(3) Upon a new cart.—The new cart, one which had been used for no other purpose, was doubtless intended as a mark of respect (comp. 1Samuel 6:7); yet it was a violation of the law (Numbers 7:9), requiring that the ark should be borne by the Levites. It is not necessary to suppose that David intended to violate the law; but the ark having been left neglected for more than two generations, the exact requirements in regard to it may easily have passed out of mind.

Abinadab that was in Gibeah.—Rather, in the hill, as the same word is translated in 1Samuel 7:1. Abinadab himself may have been long since dead, and Uzzah and Ahio may have been either his sons, now advanced in life, or his grandsons.

2 Samuel 6:3. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart — Which ought to have been carried upon the shoulders of the Kohathites, Numbers 7:9; for which reason, no wagons, were allowed to them, as there were to the rest of the Levites, to carry several parts of the tabernacle. “It is matter of astonishment to me,” says Delaney, “how David and all the priests and people could fall into so great an error, and deviate so strangely from the plain precepts of the law of God in this point, which expressly prohibited any but the priest to touch the ark, upon pain of death, Numbers 4:5; Numbers 4:15; and any but the Levites to carry it. The best apology that can be made for them is, that David now succeeded to the throne after a long irreligious reign, in which the ark, and every thing relating to it, were utterly neglected; especially after the massacre of all those priests whose peculiar business it was to attend the tabernacle, (all but one young man,) and who were, in all probability, the only priests of that realm that had ever seen it, or knew any thing of its rituals; and there was not then, probably, any one priest or Levite alive who had ever seen it removed. In short, the public worship of God had long been discouraged and neglected in Israel; and with that the study of the Scriptures, except so much as was absolutely necessary for the administration of the civil affairs of the state. Would to God Israel were the only nation upon which this sad truth could at any time be pronounced! Add to all this, that David and his people had now been for many years immersed in wars; and the voice of religion, as well as reason, is often drowned in the din of arms. It is true, the Philistines had, about ninety years before, removed the ark with impunity, 1 Samuel 6:17, in the same manner as the Israelites did now; but they forgot, that what was pardonable in the Philistines might be highly criminal in the Israelites;” because the Philistines were ignorant of God’s laws; but the Israelites knew, or might have known, that the Lord commanded that the Levites should bear the ark upon their shoulders. But their present transports of joy, on account 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.

6:1-5 God is present with the souls of his people, when they want the outward tokens of his presence; but now David is settled in the throne, the honour of the ark begins to revive. Let us learn hence, to think and to speak highly of God; and to think and speak honourably of holy ordinances, which are to us as the ark was unto Israel, the tokens of God's presence, Mt 28:20. Christ is our Ark; in and by him God manifests his favour, and accepts our prayers and praises. The ark especially typified Christ and his mediation, in which the name of Jehovah and all his glories are displayed. The priests should have carried the ark upon their shoulders. Philistines may carry the ark in a cart without suffering for it; but if Israelites do so, it is at their peril, because this was not what God appointed.The house of Abinadab in Gibeah - . Rather, on the hill (as in margin and 1 Samuel 7:1). It does not at all follow that Abinadab was still alive, nor can we conclude from Uzzah and Ahio being called sons of Abinadab, that they were literally his children. They may well have been sons of Eleazar and grandsons of Abinadab, or yet more remote descendants; since there is no distinct evidence that Abinadab was alive even when the ark was brought to Kirjath-jearim. The house may have retained the name of "the house of Abinadab" long after his death. 3. they set the ark of God upon a new cart—or a covered wagon (see on [262]1Sa 6:7). This was a hasty and inconsiderate procedure, in violation of an express statute (see on [263]Nu 4:15 and see Nu 7:9; 18:3). They set the ark upon a new cart; 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 and should have known, the law of God, which commanded the priests to bear it upon their shoulders, Numbers 4:14,15 7:9. But their present transports of joy at, the happy change of their affairs, and their greedy desire of having the ark removed, make them hasty and inconsiderate.

In Gibeah; or, on the hill, as 1 Samuel 7:1.

Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab; for Abinadab himself seems now to have been dead, or at least detained at home through infirmity or indispensable occasions.

And they set the ark of God upon a new cart,.... Which was a great mistake, since it ought not to have been put upon a cart, old or new; it was to be borne upon men's shoulders, and carried by Levites only, and those of the family of Kohath, to whom no wagons were given, when others had them, for the above reason, Numbers 7:9; it is strange that so many priests and Levites, and of the people of Israel gathered together on that account, and David also, so well versed in the law of God, should not refer to it; perhaps they were led by the example of the Philistines, who put it in a new cart, and set it forward towards Bethshemesh, and were not punished for it; but it should have been considered they were an ignorant Heathen people, and who had no proper persons among them to bear it, and so might be dispensed with. This mistake was afterwards seen by David, and rectified, 1 Chronicles 15:2; wherefore there is no reason to charge the text with an error or escape, and that the word "Kirjathjearim" is wanting, and to be supplied, as Spinosa (d) suggests:

and brought it out, or "after they had brought it out" (e):

of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah; or which was on the hill in Kirjathjearim, 1 Samuel 7:1,

and Uzzah and Ahio the sons of Abinadab drew the new cart; perhaps not only Abinadab himself was dead, but Eleazar also, his eldest son, who was sanctified to keep the ark, as in 1 Samuel 7:1; and these might be his younger sons who at this time had the care of it, and it may be especially Uzzah.

(d) Tractat. Theol. Politic. c. 9. p. 176. (e) "quum extulissent", Piscator.

And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in {b} Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

(b) which was a high place in the city of Baale.

3. set the ark] Lit. made the ark to ride.

upon a new cart] Not desecrated by common uses. Cp. 1 Samuel 6:7. This was however a breach of the Levitical law, which prescribed that the Ark should be borne upon the shoulders of the Levites (Numbers 3:29-31; Numbers 7:9).

in Gibeah] Rather, on the hill, as the same word is correctly translated in 1 Samuel 7:1. Some eminence in or near Kirjath-jearim is meant.

Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab] The Ark had been in the house of Abinadab for seventy or eighty years—twenty during the Philistine oppression, forty or fifty under Samuel and Saul, and perhaps ten of David’s reign. See the Chronological Table in the Introd. to 1 Sam. p. 24.

As Eleazar the son of Abinadab was old enough to be entrusted with the charge of the Ark when it was placed in his father’s house, we must clearly understand “sons” here in the wider sense of “descendants,” grandsons or great-grandsons. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 9:9.

3, 4. The text of these verses is corrupt. Some words have been accidentally repeated by a scribe in copying the Hebrew, and should be struck out, on the authority of the LXX., and the end of 2 Samuel 6:3 and 2 Samuel 6:4 read thus: “Now Uzzah and Ahio the sons of Abinadab were driving the cart with the Ark of God, and Ahio was going before he Ark.” 2 Samuel 6:4 is omitted altogether in 1 Chr. It is doubtful moreover whether Ahio is a proper name at all. The same consonants with different vowels would mean his brethren, as the Sept. renders the word here, or his brother, as the Vulg. renders it in 1 Chronicles 13:7.

Verse 3. - And they set the ark of God (Hebrew, made it ride) upon a new cart. This was contrary to the Levitical Law, which required that only Levites should bear the ark, and that it should be veiled even from their eyes (Numbers 4:15). But this mistake is not surprising. It is easy enough for us to turn to our Bibles, and see what the exact letter of a command was. But such reference was no easy matter when the Law was contained in manuscripts which were rare and costly. We cannot imagine that David or even Abiathar carried a manuscript about with them in their wanderings. David very probably had a considerable knowledge of the Pentateuch, gained in Samuel's schools, and stored up in his memory, as was the custom in old days when books were scarce. But this knowledge would be chiefly of its narratives and doctrines, and would comprise such portions as Samuel thought most fitting to influence the lives of his scholars. Abiathar probably added to this a knowledge of all such ritual as was in daily use in the sanctuary at Nob. He had fled thence in terror, escaping alone from the cruel destruction of the priests by Saul's decree; but even there the restoration of the Levitical services had been too recent to have given time for much study of the old Law. We can quite believe that the murder of the priests at Nob, following upon the catastrophe at Shiloh, had reduced the knowledge of the priests to a very low ebb. Now, the exact way of bearing the ark was a matter that had long been dismissed from their memories, but they would call to mind that it had been brought to Abinadab's house in a new cart drawn by oxen; and they would take this as a precedent, which would justify them in acting in the same manner a second time. But in so solemn a matter the priests ought to have made diligent search, and have gone for instruction to the copies which they possessed of the Divine Law. David did so subsequently (1 Chronicles 15:2), but possibly there was no such copy at present in Jerusalem, and they would have to go to Ramah, where Samuel would deposit whatever records he had saved from the ruin of Shiloh, and where the great work of the prophets was to study the sacred books, and even copy them. But this want of inquiry and easy assumption, that as the ark was brought in a cart to Abinadab's house, so in a cart it should be carried away, was an act of great irreverence, and all the guilty were punished. The heaviest blow fell on the house of Abinadab, which lost a dear son. Entrusted for seventy years with the care of so sacred a symbol of Jehovah's presence, Abinadab and his family ought to have made a special study of the taws concerning it. Apparently they left it very much to itself; for it is never said that God blessed them for their care of it as he did Obed-Edom. And David also was in fault; for he ought to have commanded the priests to make diligent search. His punishment was the breaking out of the Divine wrath, terrifying the people, and turning the joy of the day to mourning. The house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah; really, that was upon the hill. Uzzah and Able, the sons of Abinadab. "Sons" in Hebrew is used in a large sense, and these two men were probably the grandsons of Eleazar, the son of Abinadab, who had been set apart to keep the ark. For seventy years, as it seems, lind passed since the ark was hurriedly put in Abinadab's house, namely, twenty during the Philistine supremacy up to the battle of Ebenezer, forty during the reign of Saul, and about ten since. As Eleazar must have been thirty years of age for his consecration to be legal, he must have died long ago, and his sons would be old and decrepit men. His grandsons would be in the prime of life. 2 Samuel 6:3"They set the ark of God upon a new cart, and took it away from the house of Abinadab." הרכּיב means here "to put (load) upon a cart," and נשׂא dn to take away, i.e., drive off: for there are grammatical (or syntactical) reasons which make it impossible to render וישּׂאהוּ as a pluperfect ("they had taken"), on account of the previous וירכבו.

The ark of the covenant had been standing in the house of Abinadab from the time when the Philistines had sent it back into the land of Israel, i.e., about seventy years (viz., twenty years to the victory at Ebenezer mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:1., forty years under Samuel and Saul, and about ten years under David: see the chronological table). The further statement, that "Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, drove the cart," may easily be reconciled with this. These two sons were either born about the time when the ark was first taken to Abinadab's house, or at a subsequent period; or else the term sons is used, as is frequently the case, in the sense of grandsons. The words from חדשׁה (the last word in 2 Samuel 6:3) to Gibeah in 2 Samuel 6:4 are wanting in the Septuagint, and can only have been introduced through the error of a copyist, whose eye wandered back to the first עגלה in 2 Samuel 6:3, so that he copied a whole line twice over; for they not only contain a pure tautology, a merely verbal and altogether superfluous and purposeless repetition, but they are altogether unsuitable to the connection in which they stand. Not only is there something very strange in the repetition of the חדשׁה without an article after העגלה; but the words which follow, ארון ה עם (with the ark of God), cannot be made to fit on to the repeated clause, for there is no sense whatever in such a sentence as this: "They brought it (the ark) out of the house of Abinadab, which is upon the hill, with the ark of God." The only way in which the words "with the ark" can be made to acquire any meaning at all, is by omitting the repetition referred to, and connecting them with the new cart in 2 Samuel 6:3 : "Uzzah and Ahio ... drove the cart with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark." נהג, to drive (a carriage), is construed here with an accusative, in 1 Chronicles 13:7 with בּ, as in Isaiah 11:6.

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