The Ark Brought to Jerusalem. 1a David again assembled all the picked men of Israel, thirty thousand in number. 2Then David and all the people who were with him set out for Baala of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which bears the name “the LORD of hosts enthroned above the cherubim.”b 3They transported the ark of God on a new cart and took it away from the house of Abinadab on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the cart,c 4with Ahio walking before it, 5while David and all the house of Israel danced before the LORD with all their might, with singing, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, sistrums, and cymbals.d 6As they reached the threshing floor of Nodan, Uzzah stretched out his hand to the ark of God and steadied it, for the oxen were tipping it. 7Then the LORD became angry with Uzzah; God struck him on that spot, and he died there in God’s presence. 8David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah. Therefore that place has been called Perez-uzzah* even to this day. 9David became frightened of the LORD that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” 10So David was unwilling to take the ark of the LORD with him into the City of David. David deposited it instead at the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
11The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household.e 12f When it was reported to King David that the LORD had blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he possessed because of the ark of God, David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David with joy.g 13As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14Then David came dancing before the LORD with abandon, girt with a linen ephod.* h 15David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts of joy and sound of horn. 16As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal, daughter of Saul, looked down from her window, and when she saw King David jumping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. 17i They brought in the ark of the LORD and set it in its place within the tent which David had pitched for it. Then David sacrificed burnt offerings and communion offerings before the LORD. 18When David had finished sacrificing burnt offerings and communion offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts, 19and distributed among all the people, the entire multitude of Israel, to every man and every woman, one loaf of bread, one piece of meat, and one raisin cake. Then all the people returned to their homes.
20* When David went home to bless his own house,j Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him and said, “How well the king of Israel has honored himself today, exposing himself to the view of the slave girls of his followers, as a commoner might expose himself!” 21But David replied to Michal: “I was dancing before the LORD. As the LORD lives, who chose me over your father and all his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people, Israel, not only will I make merry before the LORD,k 22but I will demean myself even more. I will be lowly in your eyes, but in the eyes of the slave girls you spoke of I will be somebody.” 23Saul’s daughter Michal was childless to the day she died.
* [6:14] Girt with a linen ephod: the ephod was some sort of priestly vestment (probably like an apron); cf. Ex 28:4; Jgs 17:5; 1 Sm 2:18, 28; 14:3; 22:18; 23:6. The cultic procession that accompanies the ark to the holy mountain, Zion, is led by King David, dancing ecstatically and wearing a priestly vestment.
* [6:20–23] Michal’s reaction to David’s dancing comes from her conception of how a king should comport himself. David rejects this understanding, saying he needs no instruction from the house of the failed king, Saul.