Uzzah Meets Disaster
1 David consulted with his military officers, including those who led groups of a thousand and those who led groups of a hundred.#tn Heb “and David consulted with the officers of thousands and hundreds, to every ruler.” 2 David said to the whole Israelite assembly, “If you so desire and the Lord our God approves,#tn Heb “If to you [it is] good and from the Lord our God.” let’s spread the word#tn Heb “let us spread and let us send.” The words “the word” are supplied in the translation for clarification. to our brothers who remain in all the regions of Israel, and to the priests and Levites in their cities,#tn Heb “in the cities of their pasturelands.” so they may join us. 3 Let’s move the ark of our God back here,#tn Heb “to us.” for we did not seek his will#tn Heb “him.” In this case, seeking God’s will is what is implied. throughout Saul’s reign.”#tn Heb “in the days of Saul.” 4 The whole assembly agreed to do this,#tn Heb “all the assembly said to do so.” for the proposal seemed right to all the people.#tn Heb “for right was the word in the eyes of all the people.” 5 So David assembled all Israel from the Shihor River#tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied for clarity.sn The Shihor River was a river on the border of Egypt, probably the eastern branch of the Nile. in Egypt to Lebo Hamath,#tn Or “the entrance to Hamath.” to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim. 6 David and all Israel went up to Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim) in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, who sits enthroned between the cherubim – the ark that is called by his name.#tn Heb “the ark of God the Lord who sits [between] the cherubim which is called [by his] name.”
7 They transported the ark on a new cart from the house of Abinadab; Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart, 8 while David and all Israel were energetically#tn Heb “with all strength.” celebrating before God, singing and playing various stringed instruments,#tn Heb “with songs and with zithers [meaning uncertain] and with harps.” Due to the collocation with “harps,” some type of stringed instrument is probably in view. tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets. 9 When they arrived at the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to take hold of#tn Or “to steady.” the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The Lord was so furious with Uzzah,#tn Heb “and the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah.” he killed him, because he reached out his hand and touched the ark.#tn Heb “because he stretched out his hand over the ark.” He died right there before God.#sn The modern reader might think God seemed to overreact here, but Israel needed a vivid object lesson of God’s holiness. By loading the ark on a cart, David had violated the instructions in God’s law (Exod 25:12-14; Num 4:5-6, 15). Uzzah’s action, however innocent it may seem, betrayed a certain lack of reverence for God’s presence. God had to remind his people that his holiness could not under any circumstances be violated.
11 David was angry because the Lord attacked Uzzah;#tn Heb “because the Lord broke out [with] breaking out [i.e., an outburst] against Uzzah.” so he called that place Perez Uzzah,#sn The name Perez Uzzah means in Hebrew “the outburst [against] Uzzah.” which remains its name to this very day. 12 David was afraid of God that day and said, “How will I ever be able to bring the ark of God up here?” 13 So David did not move the ark to the City of David;#sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7. he left it in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 14 The ark of God remained in Obed-Edom’s house for three months; the Lord blessed Obed-Edom’s family and everything that belonged to him.