by Alfred Edersheim
Philologos Religious Online Books
The History of Israel Under Samuel, Saul, and David,
to the Birth of Solomon
David anointed King over all Israel - Taking of Fort Zion - Philistine Defeat - The Ark brought to Jerusalem - Liturgical arrangements and Institutions.
(2 SAMUEL 5, 6; 1 CHRONICLES 11-16)
THE cessation of the long-pending rivalry and the prospect of a strong monarchy under David must have afforded sincere relief and satisfaction to all the well-disposed in Israel. Even during the time when his fortunes were at the lowest, David had had constant accessions of valiant and true men from all tribes, not excluding Saul's tribe of Benjamin and the country east of the Jordan. Yet it implied no ordinary courage to face the dangers and difficulties of the life of an outlaw; no common determination to leave home and country in such a cause. The Book of Chronicles furnishes in this as in other instances most welcome notices supplemental to the other historical writings of the Old Testament.*
* Without here entering on a detailed analysis of the Books of Chronicles (for which see the Table at the beginning of this Volume), we may remark that their position in the canon appropriately indicates their character relatively to the Books of Samuel and of the Kings. These latter are prophetic, while the Books of Chronicles are hagiographic. In the one series all is viewed from the prophetic standpoint; in the other, from that of the "sacred writer." In the one case, it is the theocracy, with its grand world-wide principles, which dominates the view; in the other, it is rather the sanctuary which is in Judah - God-appointed in its location, ordinances, priesthood, and law, allegiance to which brings blessing, while unfaithfulness entails judgments. Accordingly, after general genealogical tables (in which the work abounds), the kingdom of David is traced to the Babylonish captivity, while the history of the kingdom of Israel is wholly omitted. Even in the history of the kingdom of David and of his successors - especially in that of David and Solomon - all the merely personal parts are passed over, and the narrative is, if one may use the expression, rather objective than subjective. The reader will easily find for himself what parts of history are omitted, although the plan is not always consistently carried out, especially in regard to the later reigns.
Thus it gives us (1 Chronicles 12:1-22) the names of the leading men who joined David at different periods, with their tribal connection, and even helps us to guess what motives may have actuated at least some of their number. From these notices we learn that considerable accessions had taken place on four different occasions. When David was at Ziklag (vers. 1-7), he was joined by certain tribes-men ("brothers") of Saul (vers. 1-8), and by some men from Judah (vers. 4, 6, 7). While in the mountain-fastnesses, in the wilderness of Judah (1 Samuel 22-24), certain of the Gadites separated themselves unto him, "men of the army for war" - soldiers trained for war (ver. 8), "chief of the host" (not "captains of the host," ver. 14), "one to a hundred the least, and the greatest one to a thousand," who when breaking away from the army of Saul had not only crossed Jordan in the dangerous floodtime of early spring, but cut their way through those who would have barred it (ver. 15). A third contingent from Benjamin and Judah came during the same period (vers. 16-18). Their names are not mentioned; but they were headed by Amasai, probably another nephew of David - the son of Abigail, David's younger sister (1 Chronicles 2:16, 17). When challenged by David as to their intentions, Amasai had, under the influence of the Spirit, broken forth in language which showed the character of their motives (ver. 18). The last and perhaps most important contingent joined David on his road back to Ziklag, when dismissed from the armies of the Philistines. It consisted of seven chieftains of thousands of Manasseh, who gave David most valuable aid against the Amalekites.
If such had been David's position and influence in Israel even during Saul's lifetime, we can readily understand the rush of enthusiasm at his accession to the throne of a people once more united, now that there was no longer any rival claimant left. As they afterwards told David at Hebron, they all felt that he was their own, - just as Israel will feel when at last in repentant faith they will turn to their Messiah King; that in the past, even in Saul's life-time, he alone had been the victorious leader and chief of all; and that to him had pointed the express Divine promise as spoken through Samuel (1 Chronicles 11:3). And while the "elders of Israel" made a regular "covenant" with David, and anointed him king over Israel, hundreds and thousands of the men of war marched down to Hebron from the most remote parts of the country (1 Chronicles 12:23-40). Such enthusiasm had never before been witnessed. Not bidden to the war, but voluntarily they came, some bringing with them even from the northernmost parts of the land - from Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali - contributions in kind for the three days' popular feast which David's former subjects of Judah, and especially those around Hebron, were preparing in honor of this great and most joyous event. From both banks of the Jordan they came. Of course, we do not look for a large representation from Judah and Simeon (the latter being enclosed in the territory of Judah), since they were already David's, nor from the Levites, many of whom may previously have been in David's territory (1 Chronicles 12:24-26). Issachar was represented by two hundred of its most prominent public leaders, "knowing (possessing) understanding of the times, to know what Israel should do." * Only the contingents from Ephraim and Benjamin were comparatively small, the former, owing either to the old tribal jealousy between Ephraim and Judah, or else from a real diminution in their number, such as had appeared even in the second census taken by Moses,** while in the case of Benjamin it is sufficiently accounted for by the circumstance that "even till then the greatest part of them were keeping their allegiance to the house of Saul" (ver. 29).
* The expression refers, of course, to these two hundred representative men, and not to the tribe as a whole.
** Comp. Vol. 2 of this Bible History.
Taking all these circumstances into account, the grand total of warriors that appeared in Hebron - 339,600 men, with 1222 chiefs, and so many of them from the other side Jordan, - afforded a truly marvelous exhibition of national unanimity and enthusiasm. And the king who was surrounded by such a splendid array was in the prime of his vigor, having just reached the age of thirty-seven and a half years (2 Samuel 5:5).
What a prospect before the nation! Well might they joy at the national feast which David gave in Hebron! Viewing this history in its higher bearing, and remembering the grounds on which the elders of Israel in Hebron based the royal claims of David, we venture to regard it as typical of Israel at last returning to their Savior-King. And surely it is not to strain the application, if thoughts of this feast at Hebron carry us forward to that other and better feast in the "latter days," which is destined to be so full of richest joy alike to Israel and to the world (Isaiah 25:6-10).
Surrounded by a force of such magnitude and enthusiasm, David must have felt that this was the proper moment for the greatest undertaking in Jewish history since the conquest of the land under Joshua. The first act of David's government must appropriately be the conquest of Israel's capital.*
* This might have been inferred from the circumstance that both in 2 Samuel 5 and in 1 Chronicles 11 the capture of Jerusalem is recorded immediately after David's coronation. But the wording of 2 Samuel 5:5 places it beyond doubt.
The city of the Jebusites must become truly Jerusalem - "the inheritance," "the abode" "of peace:" the peace of the house of David. The town itself had indeed already been taken immediately upon Joshua's death (Judges 1:8). But "the stronghold" on Mount Zion, which dominated the city, still continued to be held by "the Jebusites." Yet Jerusalem was almost marked out by nature to be Israel's capital, from its strength, its central position, and its situation between Benjamin and Judah. Far more than this, it was the place of which the Lord had made choice: to be, as it were, a guarded sanctuary within the holy land. So long as Zion was in possession of the Jebusites, as the original Canaanite "inhabitants of the land," the land itself could not be said to have been wholly won. Thither accordingly David now directed the united forces of his people. Yet such was the natural and artificial strength of Zion that "to say (express), David shall not come hither" (ver. 5), the Jebusites taunted him with what afterwards became a proverb, perpetuating among the people the fact that no conquest is too difficult for God and with God: "He will not come in hither, for even the blind and the lame shall drive thee away!"* It was wise and right in David to take up this defiant taunt of the heathen, when he gave his men charge - perhaps directing them to scale the bare rock by the water-course,** which may at that time have come down the brow of Zion: "Whoever smiteth Jebusites - let him throw (them) down the water-course: both 'the blind and the lame' who are hated of David's soul!"***
* So the words in the original, and not as in our Authorised Version.
** The expression rendered in the Authorised Version "gutter," occurs only again in the plural in Psalm 42:7, where it undoubtedly means "cataracts" or "waterfalls." Accordingly we translate the singular of the noun by "watercourse down a steep brow." Keil, Ewald, and Erdmann render it "abyss." The interpretation of this difficult verse (ver. 8) in The Speaker's Bible seems to us not warranted by the language of the text.
*** This is the best rendering of this somewhat difficult verse.
At the same time no means were neglected of encouraging the leaders in the attack. As we learn from the Book of Chronicles (1 Chronicles 11:6), the leader who first scaled the walls was to be made general-in-chief. This honor was won by Joab, who had commanded David's separate army, before his elevation to the throne had united the whole host of Israel. And so, in face of the Jebusite boast, the impregnable fort was taken, and called "the City of David," - a lesson this full of encouragement to the people of God at all times. Henceforth David made it his residence. To render it more secure, "he built," or rather fortified, "round about from (fort) Millo and inwards,"* or, as in 1 Chronicles 11:8: "From the surrounding (wall) and to the surrounding," - that is, as we understand it: Zion, which had hitherto been surrounded by three walls, had now a fourth added on the north, reaching from Castle Millo (either at the north-eastern or at the north-western angle) to where the other wall ended. Similarly, Joab repaired the rest of the city walls (1 Chronicles 11:8).
* Mr. Lewin's theory (Siege of Jerusalem, pp. 256, etc.) that Millo was the Temple-area is wholly untenable. There was, for example, another Millo in Shechem (Judges 9:6), which is also designated as the migdal, or tower of Shechem (vers. 46, 49).
What we have just related must, of course, not be taken as indicating a strict chronological succession of events. The building of these walls no doubt occupied some time, and many things occurred in the interval, which are related afterwards. Apparently the intention of the sacred historian was to complete his sketch of all connected with David's conquest of Zion and his making it the royal residence, not to write in chronological order. Hence we have also here notices of the palace which David built on Mount Zion, and of the help which Hiram, king of Tyre, gave him both in men and materials, and even of David's fresh alliances and of their issues, although the children were born at a much later period than this.* As we understand it, soon after his accession, probably after the capture of Jerusalem and the final defeat of the Philistines, Hiram sent an embassy of congratulation to David, which led to an interchange of courtesies and to the aid which the king of Tyre gave in David's architectural undertakings.**
* So, notably, the four sons of Bathsheba or Bathshua (comp. 1 Chronicles 3:5), and, of course, the others also. In 1 Chronicles 3:6, 7, two names (Eliphelet and Nogah) are mentioned, which do not occur in 2 Samuel These two must have died.
** The building of David's palace must have taken place in the first years of his reign in Jerusalem. This is evident from many allusions to this palace. We must, therefore, in this, as in so many other instances, consider the dates given by Josephus as incorrect (Ant. 8. 3, 1; Ag. Ap. 1. 18).
Different feelings from those in Israel were awakened in Philistia by the tidings of David's elevation to the throne of united Israel, and of his conquest of the Jebusite fort. The danger to their supremacy was too real to be overlooked. On their approach, David retired to the stronghold of Zion. While the Philistines advanced unopposed as far as the valley of Rephaim, which is only separated by a mountain-ridge from that of Ben-Hinnom, David "inquired of Jehovah." So near had danger come, and so strongly did the king feel that he must take no step without Divine direction to avert it. For, placing ourselves on the standpoint of those times, this was the best, if not the only way of manifesting entire dependence on God's guidance - even to the incurring of what seemed near danger in so doing, and also the best if not the only way of teaching his followers much-needed lessons of allegiance to Jehovah, with all that religiously and morally followed from it.
The answer of the Lord conveyed promised assurance of help, and hence of victory. And in this light David afterwards described his triumph, exclaiming, "Broken in hath Jehovah upon mine enemies before me." To perpetuate this higher bearing of the victory, the spot was ever afterwards called "Baal-perazim" ("possessor of breaches"), - and from Isaiah 28:21, we know that the solemn import of the name never passed from memory. The victory and its meaning were the more notable that the Philistines had brought their gods with them to the battle, as Israel the Ark on a former occasion. Their idols were now burned by command of David, in accordance with Deuteronomy 7:5, 25. Yet a second time did the Philistines come up to Rephaim to retrieve their disaster. On this occasion also David was divinely directed - no doubt the more clearly to mark the Divine interposition: "Thou shalt not go up (viz., against them in front); turn thyself upon their rear, and come upon them from opposite the Bacha-trees.* And when thou hearest the sound of marching in the tops of the Bacha-trees, then be quick, for then shall Jehovah go forth before thee to smite in the host of the Philistines." It was as David had been told; and the rout of the Philistines extended from Gibeon** to the Gazer road, which runs from Nether Bethhoron to the sea.
* I have left the word untranslated. The guess of the Rabbis, who render it by mulberry-trees, is as unsupported as that of the LXX. who translate: pear-trees. The word is derived from bacha, to flow, then to weep. Ewald and Keil suggest with much probability that it was a balsam-tree (as in the Arabic), of which the sap dropped like tears.
** So in 1 Chronicles 14:16. The word Geba, in 2 Samuel 5:25, is evidently a clerical error, since Geba lay in quite another direction.
Thus far for the political results of David's elevation, which are placed first in the "Book of Samuel," as dealing primarily with the political aspect of his kingdom, while in the Book of Chronicles, which views events primarily in their theocratic bearing, they are recorded after another of greatest importance for the religious welfare of the new kingdom.* For the same reason also, the Book of Chronicles adds details not recorded in that of Samuel, about David's consultation with his chiefs, and the participation of the priests and Levites in what related to the removal of the ark of the Lord.
* If the reader will keep in view this fundamental difference in the object of the two histories, he will readily understand not only why events are differently arranged in them, but also the reason why some events are left unrecorded, or more briefly narrated in one or the other of these works.
About seventy years had passed since the ark of Jehovah had stood in the Tabernacle,* according to the express ordinance of God.
* Keil reckons about twenty years to the victory of Ebenezer, forty years in the time of Samuel and Saul, and about ten in that of David.
And now that Israel was once more united, not only in a political, but in the best and highest sense, and its God, appointed capital had at last been won, it was surely time to restore the ancient worship which had been so sadly disturbed. Nor could there be any question as to the location of the Ark. No other place fit for it but the capital of the land. For was it not the "ark of God" over which the Lord specially manifested His Presence and His glory to His people? - or, in the language of Holy Scripture* (2 Samuel 6:2): "over which is called the Name, the NAME of Jehovah Zevaoth, Who throneth upon the cherubim." Much, indeed, had still to be left in a merely provisional state.
* We have translated the verse correctly, as our Authorised Version is manifestly in error.
We cannot doubt that David from the first contemplated a time when the Lord would no longer dwell, so to speak, in tents, but when a stable form would be given to the national worship by the erection of a central sanctuary. But for the present it must remain - if in Jerusalem - yet in a "tabernacle." Nay, more than that, the tent which David would prepare would not be the tabernacle which Moses had made. This was in Gibeah, and there, since the murder of the priests at Nob, Zadok officiated, while Abiathar acted as high-priest with David. Neither of these two could be deposed; and so there must be two tabernacles, till God Himself should set right what the sin of men had made wrong. And for this, as we believe, David looked forward to the building of a house for the God of Israel. An undertaking of such solemn national importance as the transference of the Ark to Jerusalem must be that of the whole people, and not of David alone. Accordingly representatives from the whole land assembled to the number of thirty thousand, with whom he went to bring in solemn procession the Ark from* Baalah of Judah, as Kirjath-Jearim ("the city of the woods.") also used to be called** (Joshua 15:9; 1 Chronicles 13:6; comp. also Psalm 132:6).
* In our text (2 Samuel 6:2) we have it: "David arose and went.... from Baale" - probably a clerical error instead of "to Baale" (comp. 1 Chronicles 13:6).
** Baalah "of Jehudah," to distinguish it from others of that name (Joshua 19:8, 44), or also Kirjath-Baal (Joshua 15:60; 18:14) was the same as Kirjath-Jearim. Comp. also Delitzsch Com. 2. d., Ps. vol. 2 p. 264.
One thing only David had omitted, but its consequences proved fatal. The act of David and of Israel was evidently intended as a return to the Lord, and as submission to His revealed ordinances. But if so, the obedience must be complete in every particular. Viewed symbolically and typically, all these ordinances formed one complete whole, of which not the smallest detail could be altered without disturbing the symmetry of all, and destroying their meaning. Viewed legally, and, so far as Israel was concerned, even morally, the neglect of any single ordinance involved a breach of all, and indeed, in principle, that of obedience and absolute submission to Jehovah, in consequence of which the people had already so terribly suffered. Once more we must here place ourselves on the stand-point of the stage of religious development then attained. For only thus can we understand either the grave fault committed by David, or the severity of the punishment by which it was followed. The arrangements which David had made for the transport of the Ark differed in one most important particular from those which God had originally prescribed. According to God's ordinance (Numbers 6) the Ark was only to be handled by the Levites - for symbolical reasons on which we need not now enter - nor was any other even to touch it (Numbers 4:15). Moreover the Levites were to carry it on their shoulders, and not to place it in a wagon. But the arrangements which David had made for the transport of the Ark were those of the heathen Philistines when they had restored it to Israel (1 Samuel 6:7, etc.), not those of the Divine ordinance. If such was the case on the part of the king, we can scarcely wonder at the want of reverence on the part of the people. It was a question of the safe transport of a sacred vessel, not of the reverent handling of the very symbol of the Divine Presence. It had been placed in a new cart, driven by the sons of Abinadab,* in whose house the Ark had been these many years, while David and all Israel followed with every demonstration of joy,** and with praise.
* By a copyist's mistake the first two clauses of 2 Samuel 6:3, are repeated in ver. 4. The text of ver. 3 should continue in ver. 4 with these words: "with the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark."
** A clerical error, similar to that just mentioned, occasion the wording of ver. 5, "on all manner of instruments made of cypress wood." The expression should read as in 1 Chronicles 13:8: "with all their might and with singing." The instruments translated in the Authorised Version (2 Samuel 6:5) "cornets," are the sistra, consisting of two iron rods furnished with little bells.
At a certain part of the road, by the threshing-floor of "the stroke" (Nachon, 2 Samuel 6:6; or, as in 1 Chronicles 13:9, Chidon, "accident"), the oxen slipped, when Uzzah, one of Abinadab's sons, took hold of the Ark. It scarcely needs the comment on this act, so frequently made, that Uzzah was a type of those who honestly but with unhallowed hands try to steady the ark of God when, as they think, it is in danger, to show us that some lesson was needed alike by the king and his people to remind them that this was not merely a piece of sacred furniture, but the very emblem of God's Presence among His people. It was a sudden and terrible judgment which struck down Uzzah in his very act before all the people; and though David was "displeased" at the unexpected check to his cherished undertaking, the more so that he must have felt that the blame lay with himself, he seems also to have learnt its lesson at least thus far, to realize, more than ever before, that holiness befitted every contact with God (2 Samuel 6:9).
The meaning of this judgment was understood by David. When three months later the Ark was fetched from where it had been temporarily deposited in the house of Obed-Edom, a Levite of Gath-Rimmon (Joshua 21:24; 19:45), and of that family of that Korahites (1 Chronicles 26:4; comp. Exodus 6:21), to whom the custody of the Ark was specially entrusted (1 Chronicles 15:18, 24), David closely observed the Divine ordinance. Of this, as indeed of all the preparations made by David on this occasion, we have, as might be expected, a very full account in 1 Chronicles 15:1-25. As the procession set forward a sacrifice of an ox and a fatling* was offered (2 Samuel 6:13); and again when the Levites had accomplished their task in safety, a thank-offering of seven bullocks and seven rams was brought (1 Chronicles 15:26).
* The text uses the singular, and not, as in our Authorised Version, the plural.
David himself, dressed as the representative of the priestly nation, in an ephod, took part in the festivities, like one of the people. It is a sad sign of the decay into which the public services of the sanctuary had fallen in the time of Saul, that Michal saw in this nothing but needless humiliation of the royal dignity. She had loved the warrior, and she could honor the king, but "the daughter of Saul"* could neither understand nor sympathize with such a demonstration as that in which David now took part.
* Thus Michal is here significantly designated, and not as the wife of David.
As she looked from her window upon the scene below, and mentally contrasted the proud grandeur of her father's court with what she regarded as the triumph of the despicable priesthood at the cost of royalty, other thoughts than before came into her mind alike as to the past and the present, and "she despised David in her heart."
The lengthened services of that happy day were past. David had prepared for the reception of the Ark a "tabernacle," no doubt on the model of that which Moses had made. The introduction of the Ark into its "most holy place"* was made the feast of the dedication of the new sanctuary which had been reared for its reception, when burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were brought. But there was more than this to mark the commencement of a new religious era. For the first time the service of praise was now introduced in the public worship of Israel.**
* The Hebrew expression implies the innermost part.
** This is expressly stated in 1 Chronicles 16:7, omitting, of course, the words in italics.
Shortly after it was fully organized, as also the other ritual of the sanctuary (1 Chronicles 16). The introduction of fixed hymns of praise, with definite responses by the people (as in 1 Chronicles 16:34-36), marks the commencement of that liturgy which, as we know, was continued in the Temple, and afterwards in the Synagogues throughout the land. The grand hymn composed for this occasion was no doubt Psalm 24, as its contents sufficiently indicate. But besides we have in the Book of Chronicles (16:8-36), what must be considered either as a liturgical arrangement and combination of parts from other Psalms introduced at that time into the public worship, or else as a separate Psalm, parts of which were afterwards inserted into others. This question is, however, of little practical importance. In favor of the first view is the undoubted fact that the successive parts of the hymn in the Book of Chronicles occur in Psalm 55 (1-15), 46, 57 (1), and 56 (47, 48), and the circumstance that the expressions (1 Chronicles 16:4) "to record, and to thank, and to praise," mark a liturgical division and arrangement of the Psalms. The first of the three classes indicated, the Ascharah or "memorial" Psalms, were sung when meat-offerings were brought* (Leviticus 2:2).
* At the time of our Lord the Psalms for the day were chanted when the drink-offering was poured out. Comp. my Temple: its Ministry and Services at the time of Jesus Christ, pp. 143, 144. But the arrangement then prevailing may not date further back than the time of the Maccabees - at any rate, it forms no criterion for the order of the services in the time of David.
Psalm 38 and 70 in our Psalter may be mentioned as examples of this class. As to the second and third classes, we need only remark that Psalm 55 is the first of the Hodim, or Thank-Psalms, and Psalm 56 of the "Hallelujah," or "Praise" Psalms. Nor is it said that the hymn in Chronicles was actually sung in the form there indicated, the inference to that effect being derived from the words in italics in our Authorised Version (1 Chronicles 16:7). These are, of course, not in the Hebrew text, which has it: "On that day then gave" (appointed) "David first" (for the first time) "to thank Jehovah" (i.e. the service of song) "by the hand of Asaph and his brethren." On the other hand, however, the hymn in the Book of Chronicles is so closely and beautifully connected in its various parts, as to give the impression of one whole, parts of which may afterwards have been inserted in different Psalms, just as similar adaptations are found in other parts of the Psalter (comp., for example, Psalm 40:17, etc., with Psalm 70).
But, whatever may be thought of its original form, this "Psalm" of eight stanzas,* as given in the Book of Chronicles, is one of the grandest hymns in Holy Scripture.
* Stanza 1 (vers. 8-11): Eulogy of God and of His wonders; stanza 2 (vers. 12-14): Memorial of God's great doings; stanza 3 (vers. 15-18): Memorial of the covenant and its promises; stanza 4 (ver. 19-22): Record of gracious fulfillment; stanza 5 (vers. 23-27): Missionary; stanza 6 (vers. 28-30): The Universal Kingdom of God; stanza 7 (vers. 31-33): The reign of God upon earth; stanza 8 (vers. 34-36): Eucharistic, with doxology and liturgical close.
If the expression might be allowed, it is New Testament praise in Old Testament language. Only we must beware of separating the two dispensations, as if the faith and joy of the one had differed from that of the other except in development and form. From first to last the hymn breathes a missionary spirit, far beyond any narrow and merely national aspirations. Thus, in the fifth stanza (vs. 23-27), we have anticipation of the time when God's promise to Abraham would be made good, and all nations share in his spiritual blessing, - a hope which, in the sixth (28-30) and seventh stanzas (31-33), rises to the joyous assurance of Jehovah's reign over all men and over ransomed earth itself.
That this hymn is deeply Messianic, not only in its character but in its basis, needs no proof. In truth, we regard it and the earlier hymns of the same spirit, as that by the Red Sea (Exodus 15) and that of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10), as forming links connecting the earlier with the later (prophetic) portions of the Old Testament, showing that, however gradually the knowledge may have come of the precise manner in which the promise would ultimately be fulfilled, the faith and hope of believers were, in substance, always the same. Nor, to pass from this to what to some may seem a comparatively secondary point, ought we to neglect noticing as an important advance, marked even by this Psalm, the establishment of a liturgical worship, apparent even in the introduction of a fixed hymnody, instead of occasional outbursts of sacred poetry, and by very distinct though brief liturgical formulas - the whole last stanza being, in fact, of that character.*
* If the reader will compare the last stanza of this hymn with corresponding parts in Psalm 106, 107, 118, 136 - not to speak of the liturgical close of each of the five books of which the Psalter consists, - and consider such passages as 2 Chronicles 5:13; 7:3; 20:21, or Jeremiah 33:11, he will understand what is meant in the text.
The solemn services of the consecration ended, David dismissed the people, giving to each individual, probably for the journey homewards, needful provisions.*
* Of the three expressions in 2 Samuel 6:19, there can be no doubt as to the meaning of the first and the last: "a cake of bread... and a cake of raisins" (not "flagon of wine," as in our Authorised Version). Much doubt prevails about what the Rabbis and our Authorised Version render by "a good piece of flesh" - probably on the assumption that it had formed part of the "peace-offerings." But such a distribution of "peace-offerings" would have been quite contrary to custom - nor does the gift of "cakes of raisins" accord with it. The most probable rendering of the word in question is: "measure," viz., of wine. We venture to think that our explanation of these gifts as provisions for the journey will commend itself to the reader.
But in that most joyous hour David had once more to experience, how little sympathy he could expect, even in his own household. Although we can understand the motives which influenced Michal's "contempt" of David's bearing, we would scarcely have been prepared for the language in which she addressed him when, in the fullness of his heart, he came to bless his assembled household, nor yet for the odious representation she gave of the scene. Such public conduct on her part deserved and, in the circumstances, required the almost harsh rebuke of the king. The humiliation of the proud woman before man was ratified by her humiliation on the part of God: "Therefore Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child unto the day of her death."
The placing of the Ark in the capital of Israel, thus making it "the city of God," was an event not only of deep national but of such typical importance, that it is frequently referred to in the sacred songs of the sanctuary. No one will have any difficulty in recognizing Psalm 24 as the hymn composed for this occasion. But other Psalms also refer to it, amongst which, without entering on details that may be profitably studied by each reader, we may mention Psalm 15, 68, 78, and especially Psalm 101, as indicating, so to speak, the moral bearing of the nearness of God's ark upon the king and his kingdom.