The Ark Led Forth with Devout Enthusiasm
2 Samuel 6:12-15
And it was told king David, saying, The LORD has blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertains to him, because of the ark of God…

A man's ruling passion, although repressed for a season, surely reappears. It was thus with David's affection for the ark of God, and his desire to bring it up to Zion, where he had prepared a new tent, tabernacle, or pavilion (Psalm 27:5), for its reception (ver. 17), in or adjoining his own palace (1 Chronicles 14:1; 1 Chronicles 15:1). His zeal, which had been checked by fear, now revived

"As florets, by the frosty air of night
Bent down and closed, when day has blanched their leaves,
Rise all unfolded on their spiry stems."



1. Incited by the example of another, and the manifest success attending his conduct. "And it was told King David," etc. (ver. 12); "And David said, I will go and bring back the ark with blessing to my house" (Vulgate). To this also his study of the Law, meditation and prayer, during the preceding three months contributed.

2. Accompanied with the conviction and confession of the cause of previous failure (ver. 13; 1 Chronicles 15:2, 13, 15). "Pious men will profit by their own errors, stand the stronger for their falls, and not abate in their zeal and affections, but learn to connect them with humility, and to regulate them according to the precepts of the sacred Scripture" (Scott).

3. Carried out with more careful and diligent preparation than before. "David gathered all Israel together" - the priests (Abiathar, 1 Samuel 30:7; Zadok, 1 Chronicles 12:28) and the Levites (mentioned only once in 2 Samuel, viz. ch. 15:24); charged them to sanctify themselves to bring up the ark, and directed the chiefs of the latter to appoint singers with musical instruments for the procession (1 Chronicles 15:12-16), among whom he seems to have "found a faculty of song and music already in existence" (Hengstenberg).

II. AN AUSPICIOUS COMMENCEMENT. "When they had. gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings" ("seven bullocks and seven rams," 1 Chronicles 15:26) - "a thank offering for the happy beginning, and a petition for the prosperous continuation of the undertaking" (Bottcher).

1. The first steps of an enterprise are of high importance, and, until they are actually taken, even the best prepared are seldom without misgiving.

2. When taken with the manifest approval of Heaven, they afford strong confidence and hope of a successful issue.

3. The gladness (ver. 12) of successful effort is all the greater because of previous anxiety and grief (Psalm 126:6). The procession was led by eight hundred and sixty-two Levites clad in white, in three choirs, playing respectively on cymbals, psalteries, and harps; over the first of which were Heman (grandson of Samuel), Asaph, and Ethan, or Jeduthun. Then followed Chenaiah, "chief" or marshal "of the Levites for bearing;" two doorkeepers; the ark, attended by seven priests blowing silver trumpets (Numbers 10:1-10); and two other doorkeepers (of whom Obed-Edom was one). Last of all came the king, with the elders and captains of thousands, and the whole body of the people.

"Before went the singers, behind the players on stringed instruments;
In the midst of damsels striking timbrels.
There is Benjamin the youngest, their ruler;
The princes of Judah - their motley band,
The princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali."

(Psalm 68:26, 28.)

III. A FESTAL AND TRIUMPHAL PROGRESS. "With shouting and sound of trumpet" (ver. 15). Again arose the well-known shout, "Let God arise," etc.! (Psalm 68; Psalm 132:8). The king may have composed the hymns sung by the Levites, and himself carried a harp in his hand. His clothing "had a priestly character, and not only the ephod of white, but also the meil of white byssos, distinguished him as the head of a priestly people" (Keil, on 1 Chronicles 15:27). And David, having laid aside his royal garment, which would impede his movements, "danced before Jehovah with all his might" (ver. 14).

"The same who sang
The Holy Spirit's song, and bare about
The ark from town to town; now doth he know
The merit of his soul-impassioned strains
By their well-fitted guerdon."

(Dante, 'Par.,' 20.) Simonides used to say of dancing that it was silent poetry, and of poetry that it was eloquent dancing (Delany, from Plutarch). There is "a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:4). David's dancing was a religious act (ver. 21); customary among a people of simple and demonstrative habits, on a return from victory and in public worship (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6); rendered familiar to him in the school of the prophets (1 Samuel 19:24); practised only on an extraordinary occasion; a natural expression of personal gratitude and joy (Psalm 30:11) in a man of ardent temperament; a sign of humble, avowed, and unreserved devotion to Jehovah (Psalm 150:4); a means of identifying himself with the people, and of infusing his own spirit into them. Those persons who condemn him as deficient in modesty and dignity should remember these things: those who commend dancing as a social amusement or recreation by his example must find other grounds for their commendation; and these who justify the unseasonable, vain, and indelicate manner in which it is ordinarily performed, by his conduct, either misunderstand or shamelessly pervert it (Job 21:7-15). Of religious excitement it may be said that:

1. It does not prevail to such an extent as might have been expected from the glorious truths set forth in the Word of God.

2. It is of great value in inducing the performance of duty, overcoming obstacles, and leading to a decisive course of action. Reason and conscience are often insufficient of themselves to influence the will effectually.

3. It is fraught with serious danger - of not being properly regulated by intelligence, of running into imprudence and excess, of being superficial and transient, and perverted to an unworthy and sinful end.

4. It requires to be controlled by an enlightened conscience, transformed into fixed principles, and translated into holy and useful deeds. Unless it be immediately acted upon it is injurious rather than beneficial. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.

WEB: It was told king David, saying, "Yahweh has blessed the house of Obed-Edom, and all that pertains to him, because of the ark of God." David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom into the city of David with joy.

The Ark Brought to Zion
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