2 Samuel 6:9-12, 1 Chronicles 13:12-14: God Blesses The Sons Of Korah For Taking Care Of The Ark Of The Covenant

Before the Ark of the Covenant could be successfully brought to Jerusalem [1] [2], there was a false start in which the people of Israel neglected to properly carry the Ark of Covenant with poles and instead adopted the old Philistine expedient of using ox-carts, leading to the death of Uzza, who had put his hand out and touched the Ark of the Covenant, being struck down by God. It is not the purpose of this entry to discuss this much-discussed incident and its connection of divine judgment with the breaking of even seemingly obscure laws of God.

However, at the end of this story there is a comment about a particularly notable Son of Korah who received a blessing from God while keeping the Ark of the Covenant safe, when David was afraid about divine judgment after God’s judgment of Uzza. We find Obed-Edom the Gittite, who happened to also be a member of the Sons of Korah [3], hosting the Ark of the Covenant for three months, and provoking David’s jealousy (perhaps) by the blessings he received from God for doing so in a respectful manner.

This part of the story is written in two passages of the Bible: 2 Samuel 6:9-12 and 1 Chronicles 13:12-14. Let us look at both of them and then provide some comment. 2 Samuel 6:9-12 reads: “David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David would not move the ark of the Lord with him into to the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household. Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness.” 1 Chronicles 13:12-14 reads similarly: “David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?” So David would not move the ark with him into the City of David, but took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had.”

Here we see something rather curious. The superficial reader of these accounts would not be aware that Obed-Edom was an Israelite at all (since the adjective Gittite is normally associated with the city of Gath, though there was a city of Judah, Moreseth Gath, that was itself associated with servants of God like the minor prophet Micah). It is only with a knowledge of the genealogies of 1 Chronicles [3] that one understands that Obed-Edom was a gatekeeper of the Sons of Korah, and it makes perfect sense why a king concerned about taking the ark of the covenant into his city would turn aside to Obed Edom’s house, because he was a gatekeeper and his house would have presumably been close to the gate.

Let us also comment a little on the fact that God conspicuously blessed the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in the household of Obed-Edom. It took about three months for the blessings to become noticeable to King David, at which point he promptly had the Ark of the Covenant moved into the City of David so that God could bless him instead of his Levite gatekeeper. Nonetheless, it is remarkable to note that the blessing of God for this faithful Levite whose family must have treated the Ark of the Covenant with considerable respect serves as a counterpoint to the judgment on those who did not treat the ark with such respect. The function of the tale serves to remind us that God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience, sometimes in this world in ways that are obvious for others to see.

Obed-Edom was a servant of the temple and tabernacle establishment of God, and seems to have been highly motivated by love and obedience for God’s laws and ways. Therefore, unlike Uzza and the Philistines, the Ark of the Covenant became a blessing for him while it was a cursing to those who did not respect God’s ways. What is a curse to the disobedience can be a blessing to the people of God. Some objects and situations (such as this one) are important because they help to distinguish between the godly and the ungodly, as well as to teach leaders (like David) a lesson in obedience as well as in avoiding superstitious beliefs like the Ark of the Covenant being a curse. Clearly, the ark of the Covenant was not a curse to Obed-Edom and his family, and once David understood that the Ark of the Covenant was brought according to God’s law into the City of David with singing and rejoicing. And we can thank the Sons of Korah for an important role in teaching that lesson to King David, even if they remain obscure today. We also ought to be open to seeing what situations in our own lives may not be curses as we might initially think, but might be used by God to distinguish between the ungodly and godly around us.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/1-chronicles-15-1-29-the-sons-of-korah-sing-at-the-placement-of-the-ark-of-the-covenant-in-the-tabernacle-part-one/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/1-chronicles-16-1-6-37-43-the-sons-of-korah-sing-at-the-placement-of-the-ark-of-the-covenant-in-the-tabernacle-part-two/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/1-chronicles-26-1-19-the-levite-gatekeepers-of-the-sons-of-korah/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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44 Responses to 2 Samuel 6:9-12, 1 Chronicles 13:12-14: God Blesses The Sons Of Korah For Taking Care Of The Ark Of The Covenant

  1. Pingback: An Introduction To The Sons of Korah Project | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Luzer says:

    What was (is) inside of the Ark?

    • What is? God only knows. According to Revelation 11:9 it is seen in heaven at some point. As far as what was, the Bible gives some indications. It was acacia wood about three feet long, a foot and a half wide, and a little over two feet tall, overlaid with pure gold, with four rings on four corners to be carried by poles on the shoulders of priests. Inside it was some of the manna, two copies of the ten commandments, possibly a copy of Deuteronomy (or even the whole Torah), and Aaron’s rod.

  3. Luzer says:

    “Inside it was some of the manna, two copies of the ten commandments, possibly a copy of Deuteronomy (or even the whole Torah), and Aaron’s rod.”

    This makes me wonder about what this might mean in anology to be inside of a person..

    • There are definitely some analogies that could be made. The manna is bread from God (and there is certainly a lot of symbolic meaning there), the law is to be written in our hearts and minds, and we are to rule over ourselves so that we can be free of external coercion. There are certainly some implications there.

  4. Luzer says:

    “rule over ourselves so that we can be free of external coercion”

    Is it that we might rule over ourselves with the rod of Aaron as this might also mean to defeat them who desire to make us slaves. This would mean to demand of our selves to become and remain autonomous among men, to live by the rules and statutes of God not men, and to have a healthy daily diet of Gods word. Not complicated.

    • That’s not complicated either. Nonetheless, the belief that we ourselves may bear Aaron’s rod ourselves as royal priests strikes many as a heretical belief (mind you, I myself believe in the priesthood of believers), and therefore those who would be inclined to make us slaves would automatically recognize those who believed that way as enemies and likely rebels against their tyrannical authority.

  5. Luzer says:

    All truth can be lost in translation and it does say in scripture that God will make people “priests” and I can only believe that is an invitation for the extremely faithfull and courageous. Perhaps the rod of Aaron is a solid backbone (courage)

    • Indeed, it could mean that. When one enters into the slippery realm of symbolism one has to deal with the possibility that there are many potential layers of relevance and meaning.

  6. Luzer says:

    I speak to you, in riddle and rhyme, fear none to foretell the appointed time
    Lust only for me and desire my presence, and I will reveal mine only essence
    Speaking mere words to the ear is not true, as you are to me and I am to you
    Only they cannot hear, what have we in mind, and so you speak to me, in riddle and rhyme

    by
    me just now 🙂

    • Indeed, I gather the gist of your riddle. So long has a good dictionary in hand it is generally fairly comprehensible what I say, as I’m rather straightforward and open in laying out my thoughts. However, there are plenty of people who adopt, as your poem suggests, a more ambiguous and oracular and indirect approach, similar to the codes and allegories of the alchemists and others engaged in secret arts. I’m not someone who tends to enjoy engaging in such arts myself.

  7. Luzer says:

    I was only having some fun, and to make a point, what I am suggesting by the poem is that scripture I believe is designed to make us “think” as this is a sure way to weed out the lazy and the ones who are weak or have no real desire to know the truth but who only appear on the surfaceto be sincere in their belief.

    The ones who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” are the ones who will find Him.
    Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

    • This quickly goes into very dark ground, trying to identify and understand the 144,000, those who are chosen of God, and all of that. I do agree, though, that the Bible is written in such a way that it discourages those who are lazy and have no desire to know the truth, by placing barriers in the way of easy comprehension. Those who are chosen by God keep matters in mind and ruminate (albeit not obsessively) over them.

  8. Luzer says:

    I understand what you mean by dark ground but I have always wiondered what it meant to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”. This always made me think

    • Indeed, and I do the same, but at the same time I don’t like the main and essential central points to be distracted by endless twiggy matters, to be dealt with in their own time.

  9. Luzer says:

    RE “This quickly goes into very dark ground, trying to identify and understand the 144,000, those who are chosen of God”

    I havwealways believed this to be an invitation and was available to everyone who was willing to “follow the Lamb”, and by this I mean that there are no dark places that one should be afraid to venture into to seek the truth and find the Lamb. Some people (secret keepers and the like of mystery ,makers) use dark theater to frighten others from finding the truth and they imagine they only will hold it. The 144 000 is again like the philosopher kings, it is not good to assume that one is but it is other people that recognize something in a person identifying him/her as such.

    Also these persons would never come outright and announce such a thing, they are too wise and discreet for that.

    • That’s certainly the truth, and that was my point. Not surprisingly, I make the same point in my latest post about the problem of the consent of the governed, where I explicitly comment upon Plato’s Philosopher kings, at least as they are conceived in The Republic. At any rate, I enjoy dealing with minor issues sometimes (comments are good for these tangential issues), but when I’m writing a post I prefer to stay somewhat close to a main point.

  10. Luzer says:

    In the days of old there were many fierce fighting men of God with strong backbones perfect vision and the courage of a lion, and the strength of ten men and this is pure tenacity. It is hard to find such men in these soft times where convenience has made our young men into weaklings who are too lazy to open a book and they do not have the strength to turn the heavey pages so they jusy push their fingers into an ipod or pad whatever it is. They are also frightened by conspiracy theories which is yet another tactic of them who falsely believe themselves the keepers of dark and light secrets. Which by they way if they are listening they must be warned that they will be exposed not by mere mortal men but by the supernatural hand of God.

    • Every age has had its own barriers. In days of old there were many superstitions, and did not the people of Israel in the days of Samuel wish for a king because they were unwilling to be men capable of defending themselves? Surely our time has its own encouragement of sloth and mental idleness, but so has every other generation in its own way. Our strength and wisdom is constantly tested in different ways, and the threats are ever-changing; we therefore ought to accept whatever it is our lot to face as bravely and as wisely as possible.

  11. Luzer says:

    Good point and so now I must journey into the wilderness and go build houses for them who Lord over me for a mere pittence. Good day sir and we will chat in the morrow , 🙂

  12. Luzer says:

    I beg your pardon! Shat? Tis the evening once again and here I am after a day indeed of laboring under the sun, present your case and position and fill this void of confuion and concern about the man and his usefullness in this day. What say you to make him think, decide, and move about freely?

    • I do not think there are any one size fits all solutions. The barriers to freedom are many. Many people, indeed, do not want to be free and responsible. People cannot be forced to be free, and so there is a critical and thorny question of motivation.

  13. What are you saying that “many people indeed, do not want to be free”? I cannot think of one person who does not want to be free. Free from responsibility yes I can agree with that, but for one to “not” want to be free? I have a hard time with this.

    • You made my point for me. Perhaps it would be better to say we want many kinds of freedom, some of which are incompatible. We want freedom from consequences, and freedom from responsibility, and these things tend to lead us into anarchical or escapist cures for the burden of responsibility. These types of “freedom” though are contrary to the sort of mature competence and self-discipline that marks someone who is free in the sense of not needing any external coercion. To be free from oppression requires a great deal of responsibility and self-control, but if you wish to be free of both you cannot help but be a slave of something. The question is–what kind of freedom do people really want. We must choose what we really want to be free from.

  14. I want to be free to be an “ist”, and to practice my “isms” without judgement or ridicuel as I feel this is my legal right to life and liberty, regardless what some may believe about me and what i think, or do. I earnestly try to treat others as I would like them to treat me and I leave it at that.

    • I must say that I’m not an ideological person myself, so I’m not really an “ist” at all. The problem is that if you want to be free of ridicule then other people cannot be free to ridicule. And that is a freedom that is particularly and nearly universally treasured among humanity. It is good that you practice the golden rule, but many people get a large amount of their pleasure from mocking others.

  15. Okay so personally I am free from ridicuel and I can actually practice my isms and be whatever type of ist that i want to but there are many people who appear to care too much to be truly free. for one to be truly free this one must learn not to care too much about material things and must retrain oneslef to appreciate the simple things in life that we know we take for granted every day.

    • That’s a different type of freedom entirely. And that sort of freedom from caring is what drives people into escapism and a refusal to accept their proper responsibilities, as well as makes them less willing to fight to be free of oppression. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You’ve got to serve somebody.” We cannot be free of everything at once. We have to choose who or what to serve, and who or what to be free from. Our freedom is therefore always bounded and limited by our choices, the result of our free will being the defense of some type of order.

  16. What do you think that it means to truly be an absurd sentient being of essence and inference, expalain that one and you will have your answer to why I “know” that I am free regardless of how my circumstance may appear to others.

    • I think that to be an absurd sentient being is to be in a constant state of tension and trying to find internal and external balance between competing ideals like freedom and equality, independence and relationships, excitement and stability, and so on. In a sense we are all free because we can all think and reason and imagine. What is inside of our own minds no one else can control, and it is our ability to dream and plan and hope that makes us free regardless of our circumstances.

  17. What do you mean exactly by “tension”?

  18. All living organisms are constantly seeking equilibrium, balance, or homeostasis. To be otherwise would mean that you were dead. Life is a combination of and sustained by two opposing forces, as cognitive living organisms we can recognize the negative force and learn ways to displace the weight so to speak. As an engineer you must know about opposing forces or tensions. Without opposition, what would stand ?

    • Indeed, but even though this is certainly easy to know, if we understand how life works, as human beings we forget that these same physical truths also work on the plane of our lives and our principles, so we tend to pit them against each other rather than seeking the proper balance between them.

    • There are many ways of expressing the same truth; some of us prefer different ways of handling with the tension. Some prefer to deny it altogether, some thing that the tension absolves us of needing to do anything about it, and others see an active balancing required that may mean pushing against the tide if the larger society goes out of equilibrium. After all, it is not only our own personal balance that matters but the larger systems of which we are part.

  19. I don’t understand “expressing the same truth”, I have always been taught that there was -is only one truth. If you meant to say there are many ways of expressing the one truth I could agree.

    • How many languages are there? How many levels of reality? How many applications for the truth? How many tongues or pens or keyboards are there seeking to describe and explain the truth? Many of our conflicts come about because others have different interests and foci and ways of expression, even where there is an agreement on truth and belief. But that is a subject for another time.

  20. I mean to say that there is really only one truth to a matter and them who fail to recognize it or accept it is what costitutes opposition or force. Not the truth in a religios note.

    As an engineer, how much force is pressing down on the human body per suare in?

    • One cannot distinguish between truth in a religious sense and other senses. Those who oppose the truth–in whatever variety or field it comes in–are an opposing force to reality that create distortions in the lives of others and in the picture we have of the world. It hardly matters whether we are dealing with science or politics or art or any other aspect of truth.

      Concerning your second question, at sea level there is about 14.7 psi of air pressure. Of course, there will be more if you are underground or at the Dead Sea or less if you are at higher elevations.

  21. Pingback: And Will No Longer Call Me Baali | Edge Induced Cohesion

  22. Pingback: Profane Fire | Edge Induced Cohesion

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