David Dances Before The Ark Samuel 6:1-5, 14-19

I. David’s Decision

to Retrieve the Ark

(2 Samuel 6:1-4) By way of a brief description, you may recall that the Ark of the Covenant (Numbers 10:33), or Ark of God (verse 3), or Ark of the Testimony (Exodus 25:16, 21-22) was a wooden chest containing the tablets of the Mosaic law, resting in the tabernacle and later in the temple. God directed Moses (Exodus 25:10-22; Deuteronomy 10:2-5) to make the ark of acacia (shittim) wood, of precise dimensions, and to overlay it with pure gold within and without, with a crown of gold about it. Rings of gold at the corners, as well as gold-covered staves to put through the rings, were made to carry the ark. Other memorable and certainly sacred contents of the ark included a pot of manna and the rod of Aaron. The Ark of the Covenant (as it is ideally written to signify distinction) was one of the most instrumental symbols of faith and God’s presence for the people of God, Israel. (Zondervan)

So much more could be said about “the ark” for which time nor space will not allow with the writing of this column. And yet, I invite and strongly encourage you to read more about this divine symbol of God’s physical presence among His people.

Now then, relative to the text, we should observe that David desired to make Jerusalem Israel’s religious center in addition to its being her political capital. Thusly, David recognized the great significance of the ark as the earthly throne of Israel’s God. Therefore, as a true theocratic king, he wished to acknowledge the Lord’s kingship and rule over both himself and the people by restoring the ark to a place of prominence in the nation.

II. David and Israel’s Celebration (2 Samuel 6:5, 14-15)

In his “Thru the Bible” commentary series, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee explained that David was a musician. And as such, he believed in having lots of music. Thusly, one should expect that he, King David, was going to bring the ark to Jerusalem with a great deal of it (music). And that he did (author emphasis]!

McGee further described this scene by stating, “I know there are going to be many arched eyebrows at the fact that David danced, but God is the One who put it in His Word. David danced by himself. It had nothing in the world to do with sex. Any kind of a dance today (and I do not care how you try to cover it up with culture and refinement) is a sex dance. David’s dance was one of worship. Now if you could have a worshipful dance, I would be all for it, but I don’t think you can, my friend. I do not find people in love with God like this man David was. David is rejoicing before God. Personally, I would like to see more people rejoicing and praising God today. I am concerned when I see believers with long faces. God doesn’t like it, my friend. We are to come into His presence with joy. David did, you may be sure of that.” (Thru the Bible)

III. Michal Despised David (2 Samuel 6:16)

Michal looked through a window and saw him dressed in an ephod acting in a manner which she considered unworthy of a king. When he returned home, she falsely accused him of indecently dancing in public. (“Uncovering” in a forthcoming verse 20 must be understood in the light of a prior verse 14.) He answered that his dancing was an expression of his joy in the Lord and intimated that he did not intend to stifle his enthusiasm for the things of God. He would let himself be even more despised by men and humble in his own sight, but he would be held in honor by the “slave girls” Michal had spoken of. Because of her critical attitude, Michal suffered the reproach of bearing no children to the day of her death. This is a needed reminder that a critical spirit stifles fruitfulness. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

IV. The Ark is Placed

in the Tabernacle

(2 Samuel 6:17-19)

Interestingly, David is here portrayed as a priest-king. He offers burnt offerings and fellowship offerings (reference Leviticus 6:5–12). Like a priest, David “blesses the people” and also distributes the bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins to the people (2 Samuel 6:18–19; note Deuteronomy 10:8; 21:5). David’s actions recall the actions of Melchizedek, another important priest-king in the Bible (see Genesis 14:17–24). (NIV Grace and Truth)

Notably, Solomon, David’s son, would later do the same, “bless the people,” at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:55–61). (NIV Study Bible) Fathers, never think that you are not being watched and may well one day be mimicked by your “watchers” (children)!

Recall that it was this same Solomon who would later inscribe, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Central Text: And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. — 2 Samuel 6:5

Dr. Wayne M. Williams and his wife of 40 years, Lita, reside in Athens.

Dr. Wayne M. Williams and his wife of 40 years, Lita, reside in Athens.

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