Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 6

The cart that carried the ark

2 Samuel 6:3-4

The ark was a heavy, wooden box; the gold that covered the wood increased its weight still further. In the ancient world, without modern transport, people usually used carts to move such heavy objects. The cart was a simple vehicle with wheels, that animals pulled. On this occasion, oxen pulled the cart (6:6). Oxen were the strongest farm animals, rather like small cows; people often used them for these heavy tasks.

King David wanted to give special honour to the ark, which acted as evidence of God’s relationship with Israel. So, the cart was a new cart that David ordered for the occasion - and probably, very beautiful.

Perhaps the oxen wore flowers and ribbons. We know that there was a great procession of 30,000 men (6:1). We could compare this to the procession for the royal wedding in Song of Solomon 3:6-11. We can be sure that this was a splendid event.

The sons of Abinadab, who had looked after the ark in his home for many years, guided the cart. David gave them the responsibility to look after the ark on this great occasion.

God had given to Israel’s people clear instructions about how they should move the ark. It was a very sacred object, and nobody must ever touch it (Numbers 4:15). Instead, there were rings on each corner of the ark, through which went long poles (Exodus 25:12-15). Men from the family of Kohath, son of Levi carried these poles on their shoulders to move the ark (Numbers 7:9). However, David did not follow these instructions.

Next part: When beautiful music and sincere attitudes do not please God (2 Samuel 6:5)


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