2 Samuel 6:1 MEANING

2 Samuel 6:1
(1) Again, David gathered.--The word "again" should be transposed: "David gathered together again"--referring to the former military musters. In 1 Chronicles 13:1-4, mention is made of the consultations with the leaders of Israel which preceded this gathering, and the gathering itself is there (2 Samuel 6:5) said to be of "all Israel." But "all Israel" was evidently represented by the thirty thousand (the LXX. reads seventy thousand) of its more prominent men.

Verse 1. - And David gathered together. The long subjection to the Philistines was at an end, and David's first care is to bring the ark of Jehovah from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem. In this he had a twofold object. For, first, it was an act of piety, testifying David's gratitude to God, who had so quickly raised him from the condition of a despairing fugitive hiding away in the cave of Adullam to that of a victorious king reigning over an independent and free people. But David had also a political purpose. The weakness of Israel in the past was the result of its divisions, he would heal this by giving it a capital, whither the tribes would come up for worship, and where they would feel that they formed one nation. David had seen the evils of a divided sovereignty, when he and Ishbosheth were wasting the strength of Israel in civil war. For more than half a century he remedied this, but before there had been time for the union of the tribes to be cemented by the gradual influence of religion. Solomon's oppressive levies of unpaid workmen, forced to labour in his costly buildings, and the despotic stupidity of Rehoboam, broke up united Israel into two feeble states, which henceforward had to struggle hard for a mere existence. The condition of Israel was very similar to that of the United States of North America before their great civil war; except that their president, elected by all the people, and their Congress at Washington, were far stronger bonds of union than any that were possessed by the Israelites. But when there was danger of even these failing to keep them together as one people, the statesmen of the north put forth their utmost powers, and spared neither life nor treasure, because they saw clearly that the victory of the south meant the breaking up of their empire into a multitude of feeble governments, which, by their mutual jealousies, would paralyze and thwart one another. With equal discernment David endeavoured to counteract the jealousy and separate action of the tribes, which was bringing about the disintegration of Israel, by giving them a point of union. Had he gone further north for his capital, he might, perhaps, have overawed the stubborn tribe of Ephraim, which was always the most unmanageable of the sections of Israel. But the situation of Jerusalem upon the borders of Benjamin and Judah, on a hill-top which neither had really possessed, and which was marked out for noble use by its wonderful natural conformation, fully justified David's choice; and it has had the assent of mankind ever since. David then made this unrivalled spot his capital, and placed there, first of all, his royal residence, whereby it became the centre of all public business and of the administration of law; and, secondly, as a matter of still higher importance, he made it the headquarters of their national religion and the abode oF their God. We see the weight of this religious influence in the anxiety of Jeroboam to counteract it, and in the strength given to Rehoboam by the migration into Judah of those who valued the temple services more than their worldly prosperity. Even Saul had valued the national religion, and had established its headquarters at Nob; but, giving way to the ungoverned anger of a despot, he had destroyed his own work. It was left to one who to the bravery of a soldier added the discernment of a statesman to consolidate the tribes into a nation by establishing their religion upon a sure and influential basis. For this reason also he made their services full of delight and enjoyment by the institution of choral chants and the use of instruments of music; while the psalms which his singers recited were so spiritual and ennobling that we to this day use them in our solemn worship. Granting that there are expressions in them harsher and more intolerant than a disciple of the loving Jesus would now apply to any earthly enemy, yet, as a whole, the Psalms, written in these rough far off times, still form our best book of devotion! In the parallel place in the First Book of Chronicles we have the narrative of this re-establishment of the Mosaic Law given as looked at on the Levitical side, and with many interesting additions. Here the narrator looks at it with the eye of a statesman. We must not, however, suppose that the history there given is arranged in chronological order, as, if so, the two victories in the Valley of Rephaim would have both taken place in the three months during which the ark was resting in the house of Obed-Edom. If this were so, then David would first have had more than three hundred and forty thousand warriors with him at Hebron to anoint him, and with their aid would have captured Jerusalem. lie would next have assembled thirty thousand picked men to bring the ark up to Zion; and yet would have had only his body guard of "mighty men" wherewith to fight Israel's battles and win its independence. Most probably the order, both here and in Chronicles, is not chronological, and the course of events was as follows. With the help of the men gathered at Hebron David captures Jerusalem. As soon as it is made safe they withdraw, and leave him occupied with planning out and building his city. Alarmed at the vast concourse at Hebron, and made angry by David's seizure of a strong fortress, the Philistines hastily pounce upon him in numbers too vast for him to resist. He escapes, leaving but a few men to defend Jerusalem, and hides in his old fastness. Encouraged there by finding three of his mighties more than a match for the garrison at Bethlehem, he gathers the mere valiant spirits, and makes a sudden attack upon the Philistines, who were engaged in ravaging the country as a punishment for its rebellion. They are defeated, but with no great loss; and so with uubroken strength they again invade the country, and march up once more to Jerusalem, prepared to fight a pitched battle, and seize that fortress as the prize of victory. Again, David, with far larger forces, surprises them, and, driving them from ridge to ridge, so utterly vanquishes them that the power of Philistia was destroyed forever. It was after this double victory that Hiram, King of Tyre, whose dominions bordered upon the Philistines, and who had found them disagreeable neighbours, made a close alliance with David; and so at length, free from all fear at home, and honoured abroad, he was able to turn his thoughts to the consolidation of his kingdom and the establishment of Jehovah's worship. And in the Book of Chronicles we have the details of that spiritual service of psalmody which David added to the Levitical routine of sacrifice, and which bears the significant name of "prophecy," as being the expression of the moral and spiritual side of the Mosaic Law (1 Chronicles 25:1). Instead of "Again David gathered," the words of the Hebrew are" And David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel." The first gathering was at Hebron (2 Samuel 5:1), and before they came David must have given his consent to their wishes, and invited their presence at his anointing. They soon gather together a second time to endow their new kingdom with the safeguards necessary for their spiritual welfare, and the maintenance among them of morality and virtue and the fear of God. Chosen men. This usually means picked men fit for war. But doubtless on this occasion the eiders and all good men possessed of power and influence would be present to strengthen the king's hand. Thirty thousand. A large number, but not too large. David probably chose one of the great feasts for the occasion, and by the presence of a large number of warriors, and the display of much military pomp, he would impress upon the minds of the people the value of religion. They would thus learn also to respect their new capital as being the place where was the presence of their Deity, and where they were to come to worship him.

6:1-5 God is present with the souls of his people, when they want the outward tokens of his presence; but now David is settled in the throne, the honour of the ark begins to revive. Let us learn hence, to think and to speak highly of God; and to think and speak honourably of holy ordinances, which are to us as the ark was unto Israel, the tokens of God's presence, Mt 28:20. Christ is our Ark; in and by him God manifests his favour, and accepts our prayers and praises. The ark especially typified Christ and his mediation, in which the name of Jehovah and all his glories are displayed. The priests should have carried the ark upon their shoulders. Philistines may carry the ark in a cart without suffering for it; but if Israelites do so, it is at their peril, because this was not what God appointed.Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. Which was done by the advice of his officers, 1 Chronicles 13:1; the word "again" refers either to the gathering of them when they made him king in Hebron, as the Jewish writers generally observe; but then they gathered themselves, and not David: or rather to his gathering them to fight the Philistines a little while ago; and as they were the choice and young men that were gathered for war, as being the fittest, so now to fetch up the ark with dancing and singing, and to protect it; the Septuagint version says they were about seventy thousand; but the Targum, Syriac, and Arabic versions, have thirty thousand, agreeably to the Hebrew text.
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