Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 6

Uzzah touches the ark

2 Samuel 6:6

David’s great procession for God’s sacred box, called the ark, was to go from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem. By a direct route, that journey is 8 miles or 15 kilometres. However, the ark was going on poor, rough paths through the hills. David had given to Uzzah and Ahio the responsibility to watch the ark on its journey. They had placed it on a cart, a simple vehicle with wheels, which oxen, strong farm animals, pulled.

After a time, the procession left the steep, difficult paths to cross a farmer’s threshing-floor. A threshing-floor was the place where a farmer cleaned the wheat to make it ready to store. It was a hard task, and needed a completely flat, level yard near the top of a hill. So, it should have been easy to lead the oxen across the threshing-floor.

In that place, the oxen began to shake so badly that they fell. It seems strange that this should happen here, at the safest place on their journey. We do not know why it happened. However, sometimes animals can be more aware of God, and of holy things, than people are (Numbers 22:21-33; Isaiah 1:3). Those oxen were carrying out a task that God had not given them to do. It was the duty of the men from the family of Kohath, son of Levi, to carry the ark (Numbers 7:9).

When the oxen fell, Uzzah decided to act. The ark was such a holy object that nobody must ever touch it (Numbers 4:15). However, it seemed to Uzzah that the ark was in danger. He would have considered it terrible if it had fallen to the ground. So, Uzzah reached out his hand to hold it.

Next part: Why Uzzah died (2 Samuel 6:7)


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