The name Obed-Edom appears in 2 Samuel 6:10 and 1 Chronicles 15:18, 21; 26:4, 8, 15. 2 Samuel 6 tells the story of David wanting to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. The ark was the symbol of the presence of God and thus was called by His holy name. After Eli’s death, the ark was placed in the house of Abinadab at least for two or three generations (1 Samuel 4:15–18; 6:1; 7:1).
The law of Moses instructed that the Ark should be carried by the sons of Kohath (Numbers 4:4–15; 7:9). David should have paid attention to this instruction, but he perhaps thought that the conveying of the ark on a new cart drawn by oxen would be a sign of special respect. He probably remembered that when the Philistines returned the ark to Israel, they brought it on a new cart (1 Samuel 6:7–14). But the philistines did not know of God’s instruction. And God didn’t punish them for something they didn’t know. When the ark reached Israel, it was taken from the cart by Levites (1 Samuel 6:15) according to the Mosaic instructions.
Since Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, had taken care of the ark while it was in their home, they should have followed the divine instruction concerning its transfer. There was no proper excuse for their disregard in this matter. Ahio walked before the cart (2 Samuel 6: 4) and Uzzah probably walked beside or behind the ark, where he could watch it (2 Samuel 6: 6). The transfer of the ark to Jerusalem was to be made a joyous event. Instrumental of music accompanied the crowds, who rejoiced in God’s presence (1 Chronicles13:8).
The Bible tells us that when the Ark reached Nachon’s threshing floor, “Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:6,7).
Some may assume that Uzzah’s intentions were honorable—he was only trying to help when he touched the ark. But God looks in the heart of men and Uzzah’s heart was not right with God. His act of touching the ark was one of irreverence and presumption. If Uzzah’s sins had been allowed to go unpunished, his guilt might have involved many others. Uzzah’s death served as a warning to many that the Lord is a righteous God, who requires strict obedience.
Then, King David was afraid of the Lord that day and would not move the ark of the Lord with him into the City of David; but he took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. This man was likely a member of the family especially appointed to bear the ark (Numbers 4:15; 7:9).
The Blessing of the Ark
The presence of the ark in the home of Obed-Edom brought a blessing, not a curse. Obed-Edom knew how fearfully the Lord had punished irreverence when the ark had been dishonored. Yet, despite all this, he welcomed the ark to his house. The blessing that came upon Obed-Edom and his family was great. The experience that came to Obed-Edom demonstrated that although God is a holy God, He need not be feared by one who is humble and obedient to Him.
So, when David saw that the house of Obed-Edom was blessed, he went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. He learned the lesson of complete obedience to God’s requirements. The ark was not now carried on a cart but, in harmony with the command of God (1 Chronicles 15:2, 15), it was carried by Levites. The ark was at first moved only six paces, and when no sign of God’s displeasure appeared, sacrifices were made showing the people’s gratefulness to His presence (2 Samuel 6:13).
In His service,