Lectionary Year B
July 13, 2003
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

Step IV: Cross-Section

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) The New Testament Church revered the ark of the covenant's history to which Hebrews 9:4 might refer, as a "the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were the golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; . . ." Jerusalem, of course remained a venerated center of culture, civilization and faith developed through Christianity's earliest years. They certainly celebrated in worship with singing (I Corinthians 14:15, Revelation 4:8 and 14:3) and dancing (Mark 6:22, Matthew 11:17-19 and I Corinthians 10:7). They made offerings as David did and they shared meals/food as he did at the end of our lection at hand.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) I Chronicles 13:5-14 and16:1-3 are abbreviated parallel versions of our text's story. I Samuel 6:21-7:2 names the place where the ark was left as Kiriath-jeriam rather than Baale-judah, according to NRSV footnotes. An ark of the covenant is mentioned as early in the Old Testament as Exodus 25:10 and through Joshua 3:14 and 6:11 and as late as II Chronicles 5:4 and 35:3. Rejoicing was a part of the Old Testament people, e.g., Genesis 31:27, where Laban claims to have intended to plan a celebrative party for Jacob; Numbers 10:10 where the ancients' festivals call for such celebrative occasions; and Psalms 4:8, 21:7, 45:16 and 106:5; Isaiah 9:2 and 22:13 express gaiety in pleasures. Singing particularly, also, to praise God in those ages was popular, e.g., Exodus 15:21, II Samuel 22:50, Psalm 5:11, 33:3 and 137:4 as well as Isaiah 49:13. See also Jeremiah 30:19 and 31:4 anticipating celebrating the restoration of Israel. Psalms 24 and 132 are said, by Roland de Vaux' Ancient Israel, to commemorate the entry/ies of the Ark into Jerusalem. R. E. Clements writes in Old Testament Theology, that the Old Testament "develops a distinctive theological view of the chosen status of Mount Zion (Pss.84.5-7; 87.1-3; 132,13-14)." Furthermore, Brueggemann (Interpretation commentary) says of the City of David, "recently acquired from the Canaanites, is now authorized as the seat of Israel's precious tradition, the locus of Yahweh's presence, and the place of appeal to Yahweh in time of need (cf. I Kings 8:31-54)." And Psalm 150 classically calls worshippers to rejoice greatly with musical instruments aplenty.

C. Hellenistic World

(JFC) These thinkers would probably approve of David's bringing together a large number of people to move the ark from one place to another. But, to Jerusalem? These philosophers had mostly left Jerusalem to scatter about Asia Minor and all the way to Greece. The idea that the ark represented figuratively the presence of God could have occupied many of their dialogues. The procession's celebrations might have appealed to their nature of enjoying life as it is lived in the time allotted. The throngs engaging together in these celebrations would have arrested their attention, too.

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