Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Second Samuel-Part 6

Rabbi Kaplan goes on to explain that once the city was in David’s hands, the site of the Temple and the Altar had to be found. He goes on to explain this in his book on p. 66-67, “Even though the place of the Temple ultimately had to be revealed prophetically, there was still an obligation for the one designated to found the royal line to attempt to find it logically. All his life, David sought this most sacred place, and thus we find (Psalms 132.2-5, ‘(David) swore to God, made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: I will not come in a tent as my house, I will not climb into my made up bed, I will not allow my eyes to sleep, I will not let my eyelids rest until I find the place of God, the dwelling of the Mighty One of Jacob.'”

“David called God ‘The Mighty One of Jacob’ in this psalm. This alludes to the fact that the place he sought was that of the Holy of Holies, which had been revealed to Jacob. Saul was still king over Israel at this time, and being jealous of David, he sought to kill him. David escaped to Ramah, where he stayed with the prophet Samuel. Earlier, Samuel had already anointed David as the future king, but there was still the requirement that the king find the place of the Altar. David and Samuel carefully went over all the traditions in order to ascertain logically the precise spot. Although Samuel was the greatest prophet of the time, he did not make use of his paranormal powers, but guided David so that the latter would find the promised place.”

“They knew the tradition that the Sanhedrin would have to be in the portion of Judah, near the Altar, and the Holy of Holies was to be in the portion of Benjamin. It was therefore obvious that they would have to search along the border between Judah and Benjamin. They also knew that it would have to be the highest place on this border, since with regard to the Sanhedrin the Torah states, ‘You shall rise and go up to the place that the Lord your God shall choose’ (Deut 17.8). Samuel also knew that the secret of the chosen place had been revealed to Joshua, so they carefully looked at the description of the border between Judah and Benjamin as described in the Book of Joshua. Here they saw that the border ‘went upward’ as far as the ‘mountain overlooking the valley of Ben-Hinnom’ (Josh 15.8), which was the highest place on the border. It was thus ascertained that the mountain upon which the Temple would be built was in Jerusalem, and all that was needed now was to determine the precise place of the Altar.”

“Saul was later killed in battle, and at the age of thirty, David was crowned king of his tribe Judah in Hebron. There he remained for seven years until the time became ripe for him to take Jerusalem. There was a tradition that the one who would conquer the chosen city would inherit the royal house of Israel for all time. David had already determined the place, and before he went forth to Jerusalem, he was anointed by all Israel as king.”

“By force, David occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem where the Philistines originally lived, and which had earlier been captured and destroyed by the Tribe of Judah. Since the place of the Altar could not be tainted by blood, he did not attack the western half in the portion of Benjamin, but he did remove the monuments containing Abraham’s treaty, which had been erected by the Hittite sons of Ephron. This was enough to indicate that David was in control of the city and thus had established himself in the hereditary role of king. David also reunited the two parts of the city and built a wall around it.”

“There was no state of war between David and the Hittites; we later find that the Israelites dwelt together with them in peace. David’s conquest of the Philistine portion of Jerusalem, however, was seen as an act of war, and soon after this we find that they began to wage war against David in the Valley of Rephaim, which was to the south of Jerusalem.”

“After all these wars, David finally brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem, knowing that it was the chosen city. He set aside a special place for the Ark, as we find, ‘They brought the Ark of God and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had made for it’ (2 Sam 6.17). A place for the Altar had not been determined, however, and they still sacrificed in Gibeon, outside of Jerusalem. Whenever David acquired gold or other precious things in his conquests, he brought them to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the House of God that would be built there.”

“The commandment to build the Temple became an obligation as soon as peace was attained by the king. Such peace was achieved in the time of David. David very much wanted to build the House of God, and the scripture states, ‘When the king dwelt in his palace and God gave him rest from all his enemies round about, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I live in a house of cedar, but God’s Ark dwells in a curtain tent”‘ (2 Sam 7.2). David was informed that he could not be the one to build the Temple since his hands were sullied with blood, as he later told his son Solomon, ‘God’s word came to me saying, “You have shed much blood and have made great wars, you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed much blood in my sight”‘ (1 Chr 22.8). If even lifting iron against a stone renders it unfit for the Altar, how much more so was a king who had shed human blood unfit to build the Temple of God. Still, because David had been the one to occupy the chosen city, he was the one to earn the hereditary royal house of Israel for all time, as told him through the prophet Nathan, ‘Your throne shall be established forever’ (2 Sam 7.16).” We will discuss the revelation of the site of the Altar, but first we need to pick up some information.

2 Sam 6.1-23 describes David’s ill-fated revival and a classic example of the definition of “keep and observe.” David gathers all of his chosen men to go to Baal-Judah (“master of Judah”) to bring up the Ark from there (Kiriat-Jearim-Josh 15.9). We last saw the Ark when it came back from the Philistines in 1 Sam 7.1. We have gone over the basic definition of “keep and observe” before but we need to touch on it again. It basically means “to incorporate the things of God into our lives and to stay true to the blueprint (tavnit/pattern) of God’s word by doing specific things, at a specific place, at a specific time, by specific people.”

David makes a deadly mistake in 2 Sam 6.3. They placed the Ark of God on a “new cart” but it is supposed to be carried by Levites (Num 7.9). What is strange about this is there were many priests and Levites around who were supposed to know better because they knew the Torah, and they did nothing to stop this. Evidently, they were following the example of the Philistines in 1 Sam 6.7 when they sent the Ark back to Israel. David did not follow the blueprint (keep and observe) in the Torah, but followed what the non-Jews, who didn’t know any better, did. Yehovah was very specific about how to handle the Ark (1 Chr 15.2).

They brought the Ark out of the house of Abinadab, which was on a hill. Uzzah (“man’s strength”) and Ahio (“brotherly”) where Abinadab’s sons and they drew the cart. The oldest son Eleazar (1 Sam 7.1) who was set apart to care for it is not mentioned, so the duty fell to Uzzah. Ahio goes before the Ark, leading the oxen and Uzzah was with the Ark. Meanwhile David and the people were celebrating with music and when Ahio came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out toward the Ark to steady it because the Ark was on a rough road, and he was struck dead. The Ark should have been carried by Levites with poles, and as a result, Uzzah died.

The lesson is this. If they had “kept and observed the Torah” this would have never happened. But they followed the blueprint of the non-Jews and people died. The work of the Messiah does not need the help of man (the meaning of the name Uzzah) because God is going to protect the validity of his word and what the Ark (or any commandment) teaches. David did not like what happened to Uzzah and called that place “Perez Uzzah” or “the breach of Uzzah.” Of course, this caused David to be afraid of Yehovah for what he might do to him, but he got the message and wondered how the Ark could be moved. He wanted to do the right thing.

In Part 7 we will pick up here with what David did after this.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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