We have here the second attempt to bring the ark home to the city of David; and this succeeded, though the former miscarried.
I. It should seem the blessing with which the house of Obed-edom was blessed for the ark’s sake was a great inducement to David to bring it forward; for when that was told him (2 Sam. 6:12) he hastened to fetch it to him. For, 1. It was an evidence that God was reconciled to them, and his anger was turned away. As David could read God’s frowns upon them all in Uzzah’s stroke, so he could read God’s favour to them all in Obed-edom’s prosperity; and, if God be at peace with them, they can cheerfully go on with their design. 2. It was an evidence that the ark was not such a burdensome stone as it was taken to be, but, on the contrary, happy was the man that had it near him. Christ is indeed a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, to those that are disobedient; but to those who believe he is a corner-stone, elect, precious, 1 Pet. 2:6-8. When David heard that Obed-edom had such joy of the ark, then he would have it in his own city. Note, The experience others have had of the gains of godliness should encourage us to be religious. Isa. the ark a blessing to others’ houses? let us bid it welcome to ours; we may have it, and the blessing of it, without fetching it from our neighbours.
II. Let us see how David managed the matter now. 1. He rectified the former error. He did not put the ark in a cart now, but ordered those whose business it was to carry it on their shoulders. This is implied here (2 Sam. 6:13) and expressed 1 Chron. 15:15. Then we make a good use of the judgments of God on ourselves and others when we are awakened by them to reform and amend whatever has been amiss. 2. At their first setting out he offered sacrifices to God (2 Sam. 6:13) by way of atonement for their former errors and in a thankful acknowledgment of the blessings bestowed on the house of Obed-edom. Then we are likely to speed in our enterprises when we begin with God and give diligence to make our peace with him, When we attend upon God in holy ordinances our eye must be to the great sacrifice, to which we owe it that we are taken into covenant and communion with God, Ps. 50:5. 3. He himself attended the solemnity with the highest expressions of joy that could be (2 Sam. 6:14): He danced before the Lord with all his might; he leaped for joy, as one transported with the occasion, and the more because of the disappointment he met with the last time. It is a pleasure to a good man to see his errors rectified and himself in the way of his duty. His dancing, I suppose, was not artificial, by any certain rule or measure, nor do we find that any danced with him; but it was a natural expression of his great joy and exultation of mind. He did it with all his might; so we should perform all our religious services, as those that are intent upon them and desire to do them in the best manner. All our might is little enough to be employed in holy duties: the work deserves it all. On this occasion David laid aside his imperial purple, and put on a plain linen ephod, which was light and convenient for dancing, and was used in religious exercises by those who were no priests, for Samuel wore one, 1 Sam. 2:18. That great prince thought it no disparagement to him to appear in the habit of a minister to the ark. 4. All the people triumphed in this advancement of the ark (2 Sam. 6:15): They brought it up into the royal city with shouting, and with sound of trumpet, so expressing their own joy in loud acclamations, and giving notice to all about them to rejoice with them. The public and free administration of ordinances, not only under the protection, but under the smiles, of the civil powers, is just matter of rejoicing to any people. 5. the ark was safely brought to, and honourably deposited in, the place prepare 3be3 d for it, 2 Sam. 6:17. They set it in the midst of the tabernacle, or tent, which David had pitched for it; not the tabernacle which Moses reared, for that was at Gibeon (2 Chron. 1:13), and, we may suppose, being made of cloth, in so many hundred years it had gone to decay and was not fit to be removed; but this was a tent set up on purpose to receive the ark. He would not bring it into a private house, no, not his own, lest it should seem to be too much engrossed, and people’s resort to it, to pray before it, should be less free; yet he would not build a house for it, lest that should supersede the building of a more stately temple in due time, and therefore, for the present, he placed it within curtains, under a canopy, in imitation of Moses’s tabernacle. As soon as ever it was lodged, he offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, in thankfulness to God that the business was now done without any more errors or breaches, and in supplication to God for the continuance of his favour. Note, All our joys must be sanctified both with praises and prayers; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Now, it should seem, he penned the Ps. 132:1-8. 6. The people were then dismissed with great satisfaction. He sent them away, (1.) With a gracious prayer: He blessed them in the name of the Lord of hosts (2 Sam. 6:18), having not only a particular interest in heaven as a prophet, but an authority over them as a prince; for the less is blessed of the better, Heb. 7:7. He prayed to God to bless them, and particularly to reward them for the honour and respect they had now shown to his ark, assuring them they should be no losers by their journey, but the blessing of God upon their affairs at home would more than bear their charges. He testified his desire for their welfare by this prayer for them, and let them know they had a king that loved them. (2.) With a generous treat; for so it was, rather than a distribution of alms. The great men, it is probable, he entertained at his own house, but to the multitude of Israel, men and women (and children, says Josephus), he dealt to every one a cake of bread (a spice-cake, so some), a good piece of flesh—a handsome decent piece (so some)--a part of the peace-offerings (so Josephus), that they might feast with him upon the sacrifice, and a flagon, or bottle, of wine, 2 Sam. 6:19. Probably he ordered this provision to be made for them at their respective quarters, and this he did, [1.] In token of his joy and gratitude to God. When the heart is enlarged in cheerfulness the hand should be opened in liberality. The feast of Purim was observed with sending portions one to another, Est. 9:22. As those to whom God is merciful ought to show mercy in forgiving, so those to whom God is bountiful ought to exercise bounty in giving. [2.] To recommend himself to the people, and confirm his interest in them; for every one is a friend to him that giveth gifts. Those that cared not for his prayers would love him for his generosity; and this would encourage them to attend him another time if he saw cause to call them together.