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09 June 2024 // 2 Samuel 6

Background: 1 Samuel 4, 5, 6

The Rules – OT
The right way – Numbers 4
The wrong way  - 2 Samuel 6:1-3; 1 Sam 6:1-3; 7-9

The Response –
Good intentions vs. 5-6
Unfortunate results vs. 7

The Reaction –
Anger of the Lord – vs. 7
Anger of David – vs. 8
Fear – vs. 9
Reverence – vs. 10
Blessing – vs. 11

The Rules - NT
One way to Salvation

The Response -
We are sinners with good intentions

The Reaction -
Submit to the Lordship of Jesus
You do or you don’t.

  • What did the message teach me about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit?
  • What did the message teach me about the human condition?
  • Is there anything I need to confess, repent, or be grateful for, because of this passage?
  • How do I need help in believing and applying this scripture to my life?
  • How can I encourage others with this passage?

Moving the Ark:
The chapter begins with David engaged in preparations for a major event. Although we are given little by way of direct explanation, the great importance of this project becomes clear when we recall certain things that had happened previously.
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. (vv. 1, 2)

The defeat of the Philistines, and particularly their pursuit “from Geba to Gezer” (5:25), had made it possible for David to undertake this venture, the full and historic significance of which even he could not have been completely aware. David’s great victory over the occupying foe had freed him to act without Philistine interference in parts of his kingdom that had, since the battle of Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), been dominated by the enemy presence.

Indeed the double defeat of the Philistines in the Valley of Rephaim, and the capture of their idols (5:17–25), was a striking reversal of the double defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines at Aphek about seventy years previously, when the ark of the covenant had been taken by the enemy (1 Samuel 4:1–11). Then it was said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured” (1 Samuel 4:22). Those troubles had led to Israel demanding to have a king (1 Samuel 8:5). King David was now acting to return “the glory” (1 Samuel 4:22) to Israel.[1]

The Ark of God
The ark is frequently, as here, called simply “the ark of God” (1 Samuel 3:3; 4:11; etc.). However it had a number of other names, which pointed to its astonishing significance. It was “called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim” (v. 2b). There are at least four important points here.

First, the ark bore God’s “name” (v. 2). This indicates that God was the owner of the ark. More that that, God’s “name” is his self-revelation. God’s people have the privilege and responsibility of knowing God “by … name” (see Exodus 6:3). The fact that God is known by a number of names (“Yahweh,” “God,” “Father,” and more) is less important than the fact that God has made known his “name,” by which his people may know him and call upon him. The place where the people were to meet with God was the “place where I cause my name to be remembered” (Exodus 20:24), or “the place that the Lord your God will … make his name dwell there” (Deuteronomy 12:11). Furthermore God’s “name” is his honor and reputation (see Joshua 7:9; 1 Samuel 12:22; Psalm 106:8; Jeremiah 14:21; Ezekiel 20:9, 14, 22; Matthew 6:9). The name of God in both these senses (revelation and reputation) was closely associated with the ark. Symbolically David had set out to bring up from obscurity in Baale-judah the name of God.

Second, the name mentioned here is “the Lord of hosts” (v. 2). This reminds us that “David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him” (5:10). David’s journey to the throne had begun when he defeated Goliath “in the name of the Lord of hosts” (1 Samuel 17:45). The God of the heavenly armies was the one whose name David intended to bring up from Baale-judah.

Third, the ark represented God’s kingship. He “sits enthroned on the cherubim” (v. 2, see Exodus 25:22; Psalm 80:1; 99:1). The idea appears to be that the Lord is enthroned in Heaven, and on earth the ark is his footstool (1 Chronicles 28:2; cf. Psalm 132:7). The ark was therefore closely associated with the heavenly King who had made David king over his people Israel.

Fourth, the description of the ark here is strongly reminiscent of the very similar description in 1 Samuel 4:4. This is another link between what David was about to do and the events of 1 Samuel 4–7, which had resulted in the ark being put in the place up from which David now intended to bring it. In 1 Samuel 4 the text of Scripture alerted readers to the profound importance of “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim” (1 Samuel 4:4). The elders of Israel, who were then about to bring it from Shiloh, did not fully understand what they were doing. In a similar way the text in 6:2 points us to the awesome significance of the ark, which David may not yet have fully comprehended.[2]

The Oak of Moreh:
The Oak of Moreh is mentioned only here. However, ‘Oaks of Moreh’ (plural) associated with the same general area are mentioned at Deuteronomy 11:30. The specific type of tree denoted by the Hebrew term is disputed, but most modern versions understand it to be an oak tree, either the Tabor oak (Quercus ithaburensis) or the common evergreen oak (Quercus calliprinos). However, many commentaries take it to be a terebinth (Pistacia palaestina). The name Oak of Moreh means ‘Oak of the Teacher’, which may imply that the peoples of the land used this tree for divination. If that is the case, then this tree may also be mentioned at Judges 9:6, 37, where it is called ‘the Oak of the Pillar at Shechem’ and ‘the Diviners’ Oak’. In any case, it seems that the Oak of Moreh is probably referenced again at Genesis 35:4 and Joshua 24:26, though the name Oak of Moreh is not used in either passage.[2]
      1.  What does the story of Uzzah teach us about God's holiness and how we should approach Him?
      2.  In what ways did David show his respect and reverence for God during the transport of the Ark?
      3.  How can we apply the lessons of Uzzah's story to our everyday life?
      4.  Discuss the significance of David's decision to leave the Ark at the house of Obed-edom.

[1] John Woodhouse, 2 Samuel: Your Kingdom Come, ed. R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 174–175.
[2] John Woodhouse, 2 Samuel: Your Kingdom Come, ed. R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 177–178.