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The Retrieval of the Ark of God

II Samuel 6:1-11

Victor M. Eskew


1.     Outline the text


i.                    AN ASSEMBLY FORMED TO RETRIEVE THE ARK (II Sam. 6:1-2)

ii.                  THE ARK IS PUT ON A NEW CART (II Sam. 6:3-5)

iii.                THE ANGER OF GOD AGAINST UZZAH (II Sam. 6:6-7)

iv.                THE ACTIONS OF DAVID TOWARD GOD (II Sam 6:8-10)

v.                  THE ARK IN THE HOUSE OF OBED-EDOM (II Sam 6:11)


2.    How many chosen men did David gather together?  (II Sam. 6:1)


Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.


A.    Thirty thousand


B.      I Chronicles 13:1-4 gives a more detailed account of David’s deliberations with Israel before bringing the ark to Jerusalem.


And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.  And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in the cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us.  And let us bring again the ark of our God to us:  for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.  And all the congregation said that they would do so:  for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.


3.    From what place did David leave to take the ark of God to Jerusalem? (II Sam. 6:2)


And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah…


A.    Baale of Judah


B.      When the ark was returned to Israel by the Philistines, it first came to Beth-shemesh (I Sam. 6:13-14).  The men of Beth-shemesh looked into the ark and the Lord smote them with a great slaughter (I Sam. 6:19).  They sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim to come get the ark (I Sam. 6:21). 


C.     The ark came to rest in the house of Abinadab for many years.

1.        Twenty years during the judgeship of Samuel (I Sam. 7:1-2).  NOTE:  The 20 years could refer also the remainder of the life of Abinadab.


And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord.  And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years:  and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.


2.       Forty years during the reign of Saul.

3.       Seven and a half years during the reign of David.

4.       Baale-Judah is another name for Kirhathjearim.  It is also called Kirjath-baal (Josh. 15:60) and Baalah (Josh. 15:9).


Raiders of the Lost Ark


4.    Whose name dwells between the cherubims? (II Sam. 6:2)


...to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.


A.    The name of the Lord of hosts


B.      K&D:  “The name of God denotes all the operations of God through which He attests His personal presence in that relation into which He has entered to man, i.e., the whole of the divine self-manifestation, or of that side of the divine nature which is turned towards men” (Oehler, Herzog's Real-Encycl. x. p. 197).  (as quoted by K&D, e-sword).


C.   The Most Holy Placed housed the ark of the covenant upon which were the cherubims (Exo. 25:18-22).  When the tabernacle was erected by Moses, the presence of God descended upon that place (Exo. 40:34-35).


Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.


5.    Upon what did they set the ark? (II Sam. 6:3)


And they set the ark of God upon a new cart…


A.    They set the ark upon a new cart.  Notice the word “new.”  It was a cart that had never carried anything else.  It was an ark that was sanctified just for this purpose.


B.      The ark of God was supposed to be carried upon the shoulders of the priests (Num. 7:9).


C.     Why, then, would they chose to carry the ark on a new cart?

1.        Other aspects of the tabernacle were transported on carts (Num. 7:1-8, esp. 6-8)


And Moses took the wagons and the oxen and gave them unto the Levites.  Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the son of Gershon, according to their service:  and four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto Merari, according to their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.


2.       When the Philistines allow the ark to return to Israel, it was transported upon a cart (I Sam. 6:7-9a).

Now therefore make a new cart and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:  And take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.  And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-shemesh…


3.       The reasoning:  Other articles of the tabernacle are transported by carts.  The ark has been transported by means of a cart by the Philistines.  Thus, we should be safe in carrying the ark into the city of Jerusalem on a cart.

4.       Important point:  God never made this statement:  “Thou shalt not carry the ark of the covenant upon a cart.”  He only authorized “how” it was to be carried, on the shoulders of the priests.


6.    Out of whose house did they bring the ark? (II Sam. 6:3)


...and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah…


A.    Abinadab


B.      Can you imagine how Abinadab’s house must have felt to see the ark leave his possession?

1.        It had been in his home for 20 years.

2.       His son, Eleazar had kept the ark of the Lord during that time (I Sam. 7:2).

3.       He may have felt very safe with the ark in his immediate possession.


C.     Interesting thoughts: 

1.        The tabernacle of God was in Shiloh (I Sam. 3:15).  The ark was taken into battle against the Philistines.  It never returned to Shiloh.  For over 20 years, it was not in the tabernacle.

2.       The ark was not reunited with the tabernacle during the reign of Saul, a forty year period.

3.       David had reigned 7-1/2 years in Hebron.  Neither the tabernacle nor the ark were in that city.

4.       When David brings the ark into the city of Jerusalem, where is he going to put it?


7.    What two men drove the new cart? (II Sam. 6:3)


…and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.


A.    Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab


B.      NOTE:  Some believe that these men could have been the grandsons of Abinadab.  This would make them the sons of Eleazar who had been caring for the ark.


8.    Where was Abinadab’s house located? (II Sam. 6:4)


And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God…


A.    Gibeah

The Bible Journey | The Ark of the Covenant is captured at Aphek

9.    Who went before the ark? (II Sam. 6:4)


…and Ahio went before the ark.


A.    Ahio


10.  Who played on all manner of instruments before the Lord” (II Sam. 6:5)


So David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments…


A.    David and all the house of Israel


11.   Out of what type of material were the instruments constructed? (II Sam. 6:5)


...on all manner of instruments made of fir wood…


A.    Fir wood


B.      Some translations have cedar wood.


C.     NOTE:  Many believe that the text has been corrupted here.  They believe that the rendering of the text found in I Chronicles 13:8 is the correct rendition.


And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing…


12.  Name the five instruments that were played. (I Sam. 6:5)


…even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.


A.        Harps

B.         Psaltries

C.        Timbrels

D.        Cornets

E.         Cymbals

F.         NOTE:  I Chronicles 13:8 leaves off cornets and includes trumpets.


13.  Where were they when the oxen shook the cart? (II Sam. 6:6)


And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor,


A.    Nachon’s threshingfloor


B.      We do not know exactly how the oxen shook the cart.

1.        They could have slipped.

2.       They could have taken a quick turn to the side in order to eat some of the grain at the threshingfloor.


14.  Who put forth his hand and touched the ark? (II Sam. 6:6)


…Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook the ark.


A.    Uzzah


B.      Some thoughts:

1.        This would have been a reflex action.

2.       This would have been a normal reaction.

3.       This would have been a sincere reaction.

4.       This would have been an innocent reaction.

5.       This would have been a smart reaction

6.       But, it was a forbidden reaction (Num. 4:15).


And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it:  but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.  These are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.


15.  “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah…” (II Sam. 6:7)


A.    Anger: 

1.        Strong (639):  properly the nose or the nostril, ire

2.       BDB:  nostril, nose, anger


B.      LESSON:  Here we see one of God’s reactions when His law is violated by man.  It causes Him to be extremely angry.  His law is holy and is meant to be obeyed.


16.  “…and he smote him there for his error...” (II Sam. 6:7)


A.    Error

1.        Strong (7944):  fault

2.       BDB:  error, fault


B.      As a priest of God, he should have known the law of God.  It was he who was in error.


17.  T – F  Uzzah died by the ark of God. (II Sam. 6:7)


…and there he died by the ark of God.


A.    True



1.        God’s retribution against sin is strong.

2.       God’s retribution against sin can be quick (See Acts 5:5, 10).

3.       A good heart, that is, one’s sincerity will NEVER replace obedience to God’s will.


18.  David was ( pleased      displeased ) because God made a breach upon Uzzah. (II Sam. 6:8)


And David was displeased, because the Lord made a breach upon Uzzah…


A.    Displeased


19.  Define:  displeased (II Sam. 6:8)


A.    Strong (2734):  to glow or grow warm, to blaze up of anger


B.      BDB:  to be hot, furious, burn, to be angry with, to be incensed


C.     QUESTION:  At what was David displeased?

1.        Was he displeased with God?

2.       Was he displeased with the situation?  A celebration burned into mourning

3.       Was he displeased with himself for the manner in which this had been handled?



20.  Define:  breach (II Sam. 6:8)


A.    Strong (6556):  a break


B.      BDB:  breach, gap, bursting forth, outburst (figuratively of God’s wrath)


C.     The Lord allowed a sudden outburst of His anger to be poured out on Uzzah.  Even though it was sudden, it was not out of control.  The degree of God’s anger was proper and right for the occasion.


21.  What did David call the name of the place? (II Sam. 6:8)


…and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day.


A.    Perez-uzzah


B.      Definition

1.        Strong (6560):  the break of Uzzah

2.       BDB:  breach of Uzzah


C.     LESSON:  Names are often given to places in order to remind future generations about events that transpired at various locations.


22.  T – F  David was not afraid of the Lord that day. (II Sam. 6:9)


And David was afraid of the Lord that day…


A.    True


B.      Afraid

1.        Strong (3372):  to fear; morally to revere; causatively to frighten

2.       BDB:  to fear, revere, be afraid, to stand in awe, to terrify, to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe



1.        God is aware of what is happening in the lives of His people.

2.       God expects His people to obey His commandments.

3.       God’s anger should strike deep “fear” in our heart, a fear that causes us to respect and honor Him deeply.


23.  What question did David ask after the events of that day? (II Sam. 6:9)


…and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?


A.    How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?


B.      David understood the severity of what had happened that day. 

1.        It was a day of disobedience.

2.       It was a day of God’s wrath.

3.       It was a day of death.

4.       It was a day of sorrow and grief.

5.       It was a day of deep reflection.

6.       It was a day to fear the Lord.

7.       NOTE:  It was not a day to bring the ark into the city of Jerusalem.



24.  T – F  David continued to bring the ark to Jerusalem that day. (II Sam. 6:10)


So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David…


A.    False


B.      LESSON:  There are times that right actions (taking the ark into Jerusalem) are not appropriate at a given time (a day when God sent a breach upon Uzzah).


25.  Where did David take the ark? (II Sam. 6:10)


…but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.


A.    Into the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite

1.        He was a Levite from the lineage of Merari.

2.       He was one of the musicians (I Chron. 15:18-24).


B.      Gittite:  this indicates that Obed-edom was an inhabitant of Gath-rimmon in the tribe of Manasseh.


26.  How long was the ark in the home of Obed-edom? (II Sam. 6:11)


And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months…


A.    Three months


B.      Why was it there so long?

1.        There was a period of grieving.

2.       David may have feared to make another attempt.

3.       Events like moving the ark of God took a lot of planning in order to execute.


27.  “…and the Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.”  (II Sam. 6:11)


A.    God’s wrath had been poured out because of the disobedience of David and the priests when they attempted to bring the ark to Jerusalem.


B.      God’s blessings come upon those who faithfully perform the services that God has decreed. 


C.     God may have blessed Obed-edom’s house in order to encourage David to bring the ark to Jerusalem, but to do it according to the Lord’s divine instructions.



















The Recovery of the Ark from Obed-edom

II Samuel 6:12-23


Victor M. Eskew


1.     Outline the text


vi.                II SAMUEL 6:12a

vii.              II SAMUEL 6:12b-17

viii.            II SAMUEL 6:18-19

ix.                II SAMUEL 6:20-23


  1. What did David hear about the house of Obed-edom? (II Sam. 6:12)


  1. What did David do when he received this news? (II Sam. 6:12)


  1. How was the ark transported this time? (II Sam. 6:13)


  1. What did David do when the ark had gone six paces? (II Sam. 6:13)


  1. What did David do before the ark? (II Sam. 6:14).


  1. “…and David was girded with a ________________ _______________” (II Sam. 6:14).


  1. “So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with ______________ and with the sound of the _________________” (II Sam. 6:15).


  1. What did Michal see David doing when she looked through a window? (II Sam. 6:16).


  1. What was Michal’s reaction to David’s behavior? (II Sam. 6:16)


  1. Define:  despised (II Sam. 6:16)


  1. Where did David set the ark? (II Sam. 6:17)


  1. What type of offerings did David offer once the ark was set in place? (II Sam. 6:17)






  1. What did David do to the people after the offerings were made? (II Sam. 6:18)


  1. What three things did David give to both the men and women of Israel? (II Sam. 6:19)








  1. “So all the people _________________ every one to his _______________” (II Sam. 6:19)


  1. What was David’s purpose in returning to his household? (II Sam. 6:20)
  2. What did Michal say David had done in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants? (II Sam. 6:20).


  1. To whom did she liken David? (II Sam. 6:20)


  1. How did David justify his behavior that day? (II Sam. 6:21)


  1. “And I will yet be more ______________ than thus, and will be __________ in mine own sight” (II Sam. 6:22).


  1. Who would honor David? (II Sam. 6:22)


  1. T- F   Michal never bore any children.  (II Sam. 6:23)