2 Samuel 6:17-19
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the middle of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it…
The ascent of the ark into "the city of David" may be regarded as:
1. A termination of a state of things that had long prevailed, in which the relation of the people of Israel to their Divine King was interrupted, his service neglected, their power impaired. Even the early military successes of Saul were followed by disaster, dissension, and civil strife, which had been only recently healed. Once more there was rest (1 Chronicles 23:25).
2. An inauguration of a new era: the more manifest and abiding presence of Jehovah among his people, the more general recognition of his sovereignty, the organization of a worthier and more attractive form of worship, the more complete union of the tribes under the Lord's Anointed (Messiah), and the victorious expansion of his kingdom. "It was the greatest day of David's life .... It was felt to be the turning point in the history of the nation. It recalled the great epoch of the passage through the wilderness. David was on that day the founder, not of freedom only, not of religion only, but of a Church, a commonwealth" (Stanley).
3. A representation (a type, or at least an emblem) of the coming of "Messiah the Prince" in his kingdom; either, more generally, in his whole mediatorial course from his first advent to his final triumph, or, more specially, at his ascension "far above all, the heavens, that he might fill all things" (Ephesians 4:8-10).
"Thou hast ascended up on high,
Thou hast led captives captive," etc.
I. A GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION. "And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place," etc. "This is my rest forever," etc. (Psalm 132:13, 14). To this occasion may be referred Psalm 24., 'The King of glory entering his sanctuary.'
"The earth is Jehovah's, and the fulness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein ....
Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah?
And who shall stand in his holy place?"
(Psalm 24:1-6.) It is here declared that the proper preparation for communion with God is moral purity, not merely external pomp (vers. 9, 11; Psalm 15.; Isaiah 33:15, 16). The former part of this grand choral hymn was probably sung on the way to Zion; the latter on entering the gates of the venerable fortress and city of Melchizedek.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,
That the King of glory may come in.
Who is, then, the King of glory
Jehovah strong and mighty,
Jehovah mighty in battle.
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates...
Who is, then, that King of glory?
Jehovah of hosts;
He is the King of glory."
(Psalm 24:7-10.) Amidst the glorious wave of song and praise, the ark was placed in the tabernacle. So Christ (in whom the Divine and human king are one) has entered the heavenly Zion, dwells with men, and prepares those who receive him, in faith and love, to dwelt with him forever (Hebrews 10:12, 22).
II. AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE. "And David" (as head and representative of priestly nation, Exodus 19:6) "offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Jehovah;" the former expressive of self-dedication, the latter of thanksgiving, praise, and joyous fellowship with God and one another. At the close of the service of dedication he instituted a regular "service of song in the house of the Lord" (see Hengstenberg, 'On the History of the Psalmodic Poetry'), due in part to the influence of Samuel and his prophet associates (1 Samuel 19:20), but having him for its real author, and, receiving its mightiest impulse from his sublime compositions. He was a prophet as truly as Samuel or Moses (Acts 2:30). "David, as well as Moses, was made like to Christ the Son of David in this respect, that by him God gave a new ecclesiastical establishment and new ordinances of worship" (Jon. Edwards). "On that day then David ordered for the first time to thank the Lord by Asaph and his brethren" (1 Chronicles 16:7).
"Thank ye the Lord, call on his Name,
Make known his deeds among the people," etc.
(1 Chronicles 16:8-22; Psalm 105:1-15.)
"Sing ye to the Lord, all the earth,
Proclaim from day today his salvation," etc.
(1 Chronicles 16:23-36; Psalm 96:2-13; Psalm 106:1, 47, 48.) A day to be remembered for all time! Then 'the sweet singer of Israel' first gave the suggestions of his inspiration, and the product of his pen, to embody and guide the praises of the Church. What effects have followed that first hymn! What streams of praise... what clouds of incense have gushed and risen and are ever rising and gushing the world over at this moment, from the immortal impulse of that Divine act! (Binney). Yet it is Christ himself "in the midst of the Church" (Hebrews 2:12) who inspires its noblest praises, and by whom the sacrifice is rendered acceptable to God (Hebrews 13:15).
III. A GRACIOUS BENEDICTION. "And he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts;" recognizing him as "the God of omnipotent power in heaven, who victoriously accomplishes his work of salvation" (1 Samuel 1:3), and solemnly invoking a blessing on his people in accordance with his Name and covenant. His act, although not strictly an assumption of the office of the Levitical priesthood, was of a priestly character (even more so than the patriarchal blessing); "and thus, though but in a passing and temporary manner, he prefigured in his own person the union of the kingly and priestly offices (Perowne), alluded to in Psalm 110. (written after this event), 'The victorious king and priest.'
"Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent:
Thou art a priest forever
After the order of Melchizedek."
(Psalm 110:4) It was while the Lord Jesus "lifted up his hands and blessed them" that "he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:51) - a sign of his continual intercession and benediction. "Wherefore also he is able to save," etc. (Hebrews 7:25).
IV. A GENEROUS BENEFACTION. "And he distributed to all the people, even to the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as to the men, to every one a cake of Dread, and a measure [of wine], and a raisin cake," that they might feast together before the Lord (according to custom in the case of peace offerings, 1 Samuel 1:4; 1 Samuel 9:13) as a nation, with thankfulness, gladness, and charity. "It is a good thing when benedicere and benefacere go together, and when in a prince is seen, not only piety toward God, but love and liberality toward his people" (Guild). How much greater are the benefits bestowed by the exalted Redeemer than those conferred by any earthly monarch (Mark 16:20; Acts 2:33) I "Christ has risen bodily into heaven that he may be spiritually present in the earthly heaven of the Church; the bodily ascension and the spiritual indwelling are two aspects of the same act The mystical David, from his own high home, dispenses his own flesh for the life of the world, and that spiritual bread which he that hungers after righteousness shall eat of and be satisfied, and that 'fruit of the vine' which is even now to be drunk in the earthly 'kingdom of the Father'" (W. Archer Butler). - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.