Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
ε. The Removal of the Ark from Kiriath-jearim: 1 Chronicles 13
1 Chronicles 13:1.And David consulted with the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader. 2And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good to you, and it be of the LORD our God, let us send quickly unto our brethren remaining in all lands of Israel, and with them the priests and Levites in the cities of their suburbs, that they gather unto us. 3And let us bring again the ark of our God to us; for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. 4And all the congregation said, We must do so; for the thing was right in the eyes of 5all the people. And David gathered all Israel, from Shihor of Egypt even unto Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim.
6And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, unto Kiriath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that sitteth over the cherubim, as He is called by name. 7And they carried the ark of God on a new waggon from the house of Abinadab; and Uzza and Ahio drove the waggon. 8And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with songs and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and cymbals, and trumpets.
9And they came to the threshing-floor of Chidon; and Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen shook it. 10And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and He smote him, because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before the Lord. 11And David was angry, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza; and that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. 12And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God to 13me? And David removed not the ark to him to the city of David, but placed it in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14And the ark of God remained in the house of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the LORD blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had.
PRELIMINARY REMARK.—In the second book of Samuel, where 1 Chronicles 6:1–11 corresponds to the present section, the history of the transference of the ark from Kiriath-jearim to the Louse of Obed-edom (which is there related, irrespective of the somewhat shorter introduction, almost word for word as here; comp. 2 Sam. 6:2–11 with 1 Chronicles 13:6–14 of our chapter) is immediately followed by the account of the removal three months later of the ark from that house to Zion. Our author, on the contrary, inserted (1 Chronicles 14) an account of David’s house-building, his family, and his victory over the Philistines, which in 2 Sam. 5:11–25 follows the narrative of the taking of Zion, between the history of the removal of the ark to the house of Obed-edom and its introduction into Zion, and, moreover, on the ground of an old Levitical document, has treated this latter part of the history with vastly greater detail and fulness (see 1 Chronicles 15, and 16). The more circumstantial introduction of our chapter, 1 Chronicles 13:1–5, to which there is only one verse parallel in 2 Sam. 6, may spring from the same source as the following full detail in 1 Chronicles 15, 16.
1. Description of the Assembly in which the Removal of the Ark from Kiriath-jearim was resolved upon: 1 Chronicles 13:1–5.—And David consulted (comp. 2 Chron. 10:6, 30:2) with the captains of thousands and of hundreds (comp. 15:25), with every leader. לְ before כָּל־נַגִיד serves here for the brief recapitulation of the fore-mentioned, thus, “in short, namely;” comp. Gen. 23:10.
1 Chronicles 13:2. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, that is, to those princes as the representatives of the community (to the ecclesia reprœsentativa); comp. קהל in Lev. 14:3; Deut. 31:30, etc.—If it seem good to you, properly, “if it be good with you;” comp. Neh. 2:5, 7; Esth. 1:19, 3:9. For the following: “and it be of the Lord our God,” comp. Gen. 24:50; Acts 5:39.—Let us send quickly, properly, “let us break through (פרץ) and send,” that is, with all diligence, and instant suppressing of all hesitation; comp. 1 Sam. 28:23. Less certain is the interpretation, flowing from the notion of spreading out (so פרץ, for example, Isa. 54:3): “send far and wide.”—Unto our brethren remaining in all lands of Israel, in all lands of the several tribes; comp. כָּל־אֲרָצוֹת in Gen. 26:3, 4; 2 Chron. 11:23, 34:33. The preposition עַל before אַחֵינוּ, because in the sending is implied at the same time the commanding (comp. צִוָּה עַל). After עִמָּהֶם (“with them,” that is, here, “likewise, besides”), this עַל, or even נִשְׁלְחָה עַל, is to be repeated.
1 Chronicles 13:4. We must do so, literally, “to do so;” לַֽעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן, the infin, with לְ, as in 5:1, 9:25.
1 Chronicles 13:5. All Israel, from Shihor of Egypt even unto Hamath, that is, not all the individuals, but a large representation of the whole people (according to 2 Sam. 6:1, a select number of 30,000). “From Shihor of Egypt even unto Hamath” means essentially the same as “from Dan to Beersheba,” namely, Palestine from the south to the north border; comp. Judg. 20:1; 2 Sam. 3:10, 17:11. שִׁיחוֹר מִצְרַיִם is abbreviated for שִׁיחוֹר אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי מִצְרַיִם, Josh. 13:3. It means the small stream between Palestine and Egypt, which is otherwise called the river of Egypt (נחל מצ׳, Josh. 15:4, 47; 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Chron. 7:8, etc.), the Rhinokorura of old, and the Wady el Arisli of the present. The Nile certainly bears the name שִׁהֹר, that is, “black water” (Isa. 23:3; Jer. 2:18); yet smaller waters are also so named, as Josh. 19:26, the Shihor Libnath, in the tribe of Asher, which, however, casts no doubt on our interpretation. On לְבוֹא הֲמָת, to denote the northern border of Palestine, comp. Num. 34:5, 8; 2 Kings 14:25. Hamath, on the river Orontes, on the southern slope of Antilibanus or Hermon, an old Canaanitish colony (Gen. 10:8), which the prophet Amos (6:2), in the 9th century B.C., designated “the great” (חֲמָת רַבָּה ), and which still, in the Seleucidic and Roman times, when it was called ’Επιφάνεια, belonged to the most considerable Syrian cities, was in David’s time the seat of a king friendly to David, but independent of him, and tolerably powerful; see 18:9 f.; 2 Sam. 8:9 ff.
2. The Execution of this Resolve: 1 Chronicles 13:6–14.—And David went up, and all Israel. By “all Israel” is undoubtedly to be understood here, as well as in the foregoing verse, that assembly of select representatives of the people from every tribe, which amounted, 1 Sam. 6:1, to 30,000 men. Neither the assumption that here, in the fetching of the ark, the participation of a much greater number is presupposed than in that preparatory assembly, nor the hypothesis that 2 Sam. 6:1 originally conveyed the sense: “And David multiplied all the men of war in Israel, the Sheloshim and the captains of thousands” (instead of 30,000), is necessary (against Berth.), as the indefinite “all Israel” would suit even a smaller number of representatives than 30,000.—To Baalah, unto Kiriath-jearim. For בַּֽעֲלָתָה אֶל קִרְיַת י׳ might be expected, from Josh. 15:9, perhaps בַּֽעֲלָתָה הִיא ק׳ י׳; for Baalah is the older Canaanitish name for Kiriath-jearim, which is also called Kiriath-baal (Josh. 15:60, 18:14). Yet the thing is expressed intelligibly enough; the “to Baalah” is sufficiently explained by the addition, “unto Kiriath-jearim.” For the addition, “which belonged to Judah, comp. on Judg. 18:12, and for the situation of Kiriath-jearim, the present Kureyet el Enab, on the way from Jerusalem to Ramleh and Lydda (three hours from Jerusalem), comp. Rob. Pal. ii. 589.—That sitteth over the cherubim, as He is called by name. אֲשֶׁר, here ὡς, “as” (comp. Ew Lehrb. § 333, a); the acc, of reference שֵׁם belongs not merely to יהוה, but to יהוה ישב הכרובים, and designates the whole phrase as a usual epithet of God in religious worship; comp. Isa. 37:16; Ps. 80:2. Others would refer אֲשֶׁר to אֲרוֹן, and change שֵׁם into בְּשֵׁם (Kamph.: “which is called by the name”), or even change שֵׁם into שָׁם (with reference to 2 Sam. 6:2, where also שָׁם is once to be read), and so get the sense: “who was there, at the ark, addressed” (Berth.; comp. Then, on 2 Sam. 6). See, on the contrary, and in favour of our interp., Keil, p. 144.
1 Chronicles 13:7. And they carried . . . from the house of Abinadab. This house lay on a hill in Kiriath-jearim (בְּגִבְעָה, 1 Sam. 7:1), not in a place Gibeah, near Kiriath-jearim, as the passage 1 Sam. 7:1 seems to say in the faulty translation of the Vulg, and Luther (comp. C. Hoffmann, Blicke in die früh. Gesch. d. gelobten Landes, i. p. 156). Uzza and Ahio, the drivers of the waggon with the ark, are, 2 Sam. 6, expressly called the sons of Abinadab.
1 Chronicles 13:8. With all their might, and with songs, and with harps, etc. The parallel: “with all woods of cypresses,” in 2 Sam. 6:5, rests on a corruption of the text, and is, as ἐν ἰσχύϊ of the Sept, there shows, to be amended by our passage (בְּכָל־עֹז) comp. 2 Sam. 6:14. For the instruments here named, particularly the harps, psalteries, and cymbals, see on 15:16.—Cymbals and trumpets. The words presented instead of במצלתים ובחצצרות in 2 Sam. 6:5: וּבִמְנַעַנְעִים וּבְצִלְצְלִים, “and with rattles and with cymbals,” are perhaps more original; at least the מנענעים (Vulg. sistra), occurring nowhere else, might easily have been suppressed by the alleviating correction of a later hand (comp. Wellh. p. 167 f.).
3. Uzza’s Fall, and the Placing of the Ark in the House of Obed-edom: 1 Chronicles 13:9–14.—And they came to the threshing-floor of Chidon. The name כִּידֹן is written, in 2 Sam. 6:6, נָכוֹן (Sept. Ναχώρ), a reading scarcely preferable to our own.—For the oxen shook it, were on the point of upsetting it (Sept. ἐξέκλινεν αὐτήν; Vulg. paululum inclinaverant eam); the ark of itself supplies the subject to שָֽׁמְטוּ. Others give “the oxen let go” (Berth.), or “stept aside” (Luther and many ancients), or “flung on every side,” Ew., etc.
1 Chronicles 13:10. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, whose error might lie less in the accidental and involuntary touching of the ark, as in his conveying this sacred thing on an ox waggon, instead of having it borne according to the law (Num. 7:9, 10:17); comp, what David afterwards did, 15:2. For the parallel text of Samuel to be amended by our passage, comp. Thenius and Wellhausen.
1 Chronicles 13:13. In the house of Obededom the Gittite; according to 15:18, 24, this Obed-edom was one of the Levitical porters; whence we are not to think of the Philistine Gath, but the Levitical city Gath-rimmon (Josh. 19:45, 21:24), as his birth-place.
1 Chronicles 13:14. In the house of Obed-edom in his house, in his own tent, which was spread over it in the court of this Levite (thus, in his dwelling-house, עִמ־בֵּיתוֹ). This text appears more correct than that in 2 Sam. 6, which only states that the ark remained “in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.”—And all that he had. For this 2 Sam. 6. has: “and all his house.” The various reading of our passage “is well chosen, because, just before, בֵּיתוֹ was used of the tent of the ark” (Berth.). That the blessing which God gave to Obed-edom consisted chiefly in numerous offspring, appears from 26:4–8. Yet, even during the three months mentioned in our passage, David must have clearly perceived that the Lord’s anger was sufficiently appeased by the death of Uzza, and that the removal of the ark to Jerusalem involved no danger, but would be attended with blessed effects.
And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.