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Deeper Commentary

1Ch 13:1 David consulted with the captains of thousands and of hundreds, even with every leader-
2 Sam. 6:1 says thirty thousand attended. "Thousand" may refer to families or squadrons. They were "chosen" or 'shown as tested / approved'. It was a reunion gathering of all those who had been faithful to David over the years. This was a huge number of people to gather together, given the problem of providing food and lodging for them. This was why battles were fought swiftly in those days, for the men were needed on their farms, and the supply of food was difficult to arrange over longer periods. So this huge effort reflects the importance David attached to bringing up the ark.

1Ch 13:2 David said to all the assembly of Israel, If it seems good to you, and if it is of Yahweh our God, let us send abroad everywhere to our brothers who are left in all the land of Israel, with whom the priests and Levites are in their cities that have suburbs, that they may gather themselves to us-
It seems the invitation was particularly to the Levites and priests wherever they were. We note that there had been obedience to the idea of the Levites not having inheritance but living in allotments from the other tribes. This was really an appeal for all the priests and Levites to assemble.

1Ch 13:3 Let us bring again the ark of our God to us; for we didn’t seek it in the days of Saul-
This was hardly David's fault, as he had spent the majority of the "days of Saul" on the run from in exile. But he graciously speaks of "we" being at fault. We wonder at the unspirituality of the priesthood in Saul's time, and wonder why Samuel had not emphasized the need to have the ark in worship. Perhaps it had been kept somewhere out of sight, at Saul's command. It may even have become badly thought of, or feared.  

1Ch 13:4 All the assembly said that they would do so; for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people-
We sense as discussed on 1 Chron. 12:38 that the people were of one mind with David, sharing his spirit and he theirs.

1Ch 13:5 So David assembled all Israel together, from Shihor the brook of Egypt even to the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim-
This widespread support continues the impression we get from 1 Chron. 12:39,40, where people from even the far north sent large numbers of men and much food to be consumed at the feast which celebrated a declaration of loyalty to David. The entering in of Hamath is a technical term for the Orontes river. The definition of the land between two rivers would be an appeal to the promises to Abraham, of a land with rivers as boundaries.

1Ch 13:6 David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath Jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of Yahweh God who dwells between the cherubim, that is called by the Name-
Baalah, or Kirjath-Baal, "the city of Baal" was the old Canaanite name of Kirjath-jearim (Josh. 15:9,60). David's bringing up / going up / ascending of the ark (2 Sam. 6:2) recalls how the ark did not go up into Canaan in Num. 14:44 (s.w.); for the land was not to be given to Israel. But when the time came, the ark was brought up into Canaan (Josh. 4:16,18 s.w.). And so now, the land was being given to them again. David felt as if he was as Joshua reconquering Canaan in fulfilment of the promises. This may explain why Paul in Acts 13:21 parallels the 40 years wandering of Israel with the 40 year reign of Saul; and he may speak of Saul reigning 40 years because of this, even if it was not literally true. It creates big chronological problems if we read that 40 year reign of Saul literally. Solomon imitated David's bringing up of the ark to Zion in 1 Kings 8:1,4. He lived out his father's faith and devotion, but only on an external level. He in due course was to turn away from Yahweh to idols, and descend into the nihilism of Ecclesiastes. 

"David went up…  to bring thence the ark of God the LORD that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it" (AV). The unusual phrase 'God the LORD' may imply 'the Angel the Yahweh', as if recognizing that the Angel had God's Name, as we know the Angel which lead Israel was given by God. Thus in this context David goes on to say about the ark of the Lord "whose Name is called on it". When Uzzah died it is stated "there he died before God" (:10), as if he died in the presence of an Angel- i. e. the Angel present inside the ark which he touched. See on Ps. 78:60

1Ch 13:7 They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart-
There were very specific laws about the transportation of the ark. It was to be carried on poles on the shoulders of not just Levites but specifically the sons of Kohath (Num. 4:15); and Abinadab's family were not the right people to carry it. David claims in Ps. 119 to have studied God's law all the day whilst on the run from Saul, reciting it to himself. Perhaps he forgot these details. But I suggest because he came to see that God wanted the spirit and not letter of the law to be followed, he came to totally place himself above Divine law. We face the same temptation. And it was this which led David into his sin with Bathsheba. Shaving off bits and pieces of God's laws and principles, on the basis that we are above His law, leads to the final catastrophe of David's sin with Bathsheba. Instead of following God's laws about the transportation of the ark, it seems David instead followed the pattern of the Philistines, who also transported the captured ark on a cart (s.w. 1 Sam. 6:10,11). And considered that having built a new cart, never used before, he was in his own way showing respect to it. Uzzah walked at the side, whilst Ahio went before the oxen to guide them. The Divine cameraman is zoomed in close upon the scene.

1Ch 13:8 David and all Israel played before God with all their might, even with songs, harps, stringed instruments, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets-
The actual fact of making music and praise to God doesn't necessarily mean our acceptability before Him; the very experience of music and its effect can lead us to think that our participation means our acceptability before God. But all this praise was made whilst God was extremely angry with them for how they were treating the ark.

1Ch 13:9 When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon-
1 Chron. 13:9 has "the threshing floor of Chidon" and 2 Sam. 6:6 has "of Nacon". I suggest Nacon was the name of the owner, and Chidon was the location. A threshing floor has associations with Divine judgment, and this is what happened.

Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark-
We wonder if Paul has this in mind when he praises the Lord Jesus for not trying to grasp hold of equality with God (Phil. 2:6). In this case, Uzzah is being accused of playing God by what he did. And yet this appears to be a very harsh reading of motives into a quite simple and natural, well meaning reaction. But this is the point; we cannot judge or know human motivations or thoughts. Who knows what was really in Uzzah's mind. For all we know he was cussing the ark as it wobbled on the cart. Only God knows, and we should respect His judgment and our own inability to judge. The other possible issue which arises from this is that we are to accept that there are huge implications to our apparently harmless, surface level sins. Only God can judge them. But He does extrapolate the implications of human thoughts and actions. The whole incident is a test of our humility before God, a test David initially failed.

For the oxen stumbled-
Stumbled" is s.w. "threw down" (2 Kings 9:33; Ps. 141:6). It seems the ark itself was thrown down onto the ground, despite Uzzah trying to stop it.

1Ch 13:10 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Uzza, and He struck him, because he put forth his hand to the ark; and there he died before God-
Yahweh had likewise struck down (s.w.) those who had earlier failed to respect the ark (1 Sam. 5:6,9; 6:19). And they had imitated the transport of the ark upon a cart. The failure of man to learn from Biblical history is one of the greatest tragedies. We may consider this incident as parallel with the sin of Adam and Eve in Eden, whereby an apparently small failure lead to huge consequences. But these incidents are placed in Biblical history to help us humble ourselves before God, and not to fall into the assumption that God is not serious about His principles. Yahweh's anger being kindled is a phrase used multiple times about His anger with Israel for breaking the covenant. The sin of Uzzah personified all that was wrong with Israel. They had assumed that they could serve Yahweh on their terms and not His, and that this was just a mere surface level failure which He should overlook. All this is so challenging for us, who are tempted to think in just the same way.

1Ch 13:11 David was displeased, because Yahweh had broken forth on Uzza; and he called that place Perez Uzza, to this day-
David was “displeased” with God because He had slain a man who was trying to assist David’s pet project of bringing the ark to Zion (2 Sam. 6:8,9). Do we not again see the anger and irrational emotion of David flaring up? For the Hebrew for "displeased" really means "anger", and is the same word used of Yahweh's anger in :7. God was fiercely angry, and David was likewise fiercely angry with God for being angry. Whilst on one level this is a terrible example of human pride, David's response could be argued to reflect a closeness with God which enabled him to feel like this. The exiles were warned that all who are "incensed" against God must be humbled and ashamed before the ark could, as it were, come to Zion and Israel be restored (s.w. Is. 41:11; 45:24). The exiles, who were also angry with God for His anger with them, were to go through the humbling process David went through over the next three months.

The Old Testament body of Christ was based around Israel, and thus when the Lord made a breach upon Uzzah, David could say that the Lord “made a breach upon us” (1 Chron. 13:11; 15:13). Just as Saul's persecution of the body of Christ was persecuting the Lord Jesus personally.

1Ch 13:12 David was afraid of God that day saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?-
There is a similarity, surely intentional, with the situation in 1 Sam. 6:20: "The men of Beth Shemesh said, Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God?". These were now David's feelings when Uzzah was slain for also not being respectful to the ark. Circumstances repeated, and David failed to learn the lesson. We wonder if indeed David consciously repeated the words of the men of Beth Shemesh. I suspect he didn't, but rather his words are recorded in a similar way, to show to us readers the similarity. We are intended to learn from history, even though so few do. This is why so much of the Bible is history. 

1Ch 13:13 So David didn’t move the ark to him into the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite-
This was a huge showdown, for David had assembled a huge number of people to this ceremony; see on :1-5. And now he was revealed as a man who had not paid due attention to the requirements of the God whom he had invited all Israel to come to worship. It was very humbling for him. We note he "carried it aside", having it carried on poles as the law required and not on a cart.

1Ch 13:14 The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months; and Yahweh blessed the house of Obed-Edom, and all that he had
It took David three months to humble himself before God, and to perceive that His blessing is related to obedience and respect of Him, and not assuming we can serve Him on our terms and ride roughshod over His principles. David and his house had also been promised blessings, but he was being taught that these blessings were related to obedience and respect of God. And the fact a Philistine from Gath, perhaps an Edomite, indeed an Edomite servant [for so his name means] received these blessings... was to teach him that his pedigree counted for nothing compared to humble respect of Israel's God.