Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:1
Again - It should be, "and David again gathered," etc., i. e. after the previous gathering, either for his election to the kingdom Sa2 5:1-3 or for the Philistine war Sa2 5:17-25, he assembled them again for the peaceful purpose of bringing up the ark to Mount Zion (see marginal reference). The whole narrative indicates the progressive consolidation of David's power, and the settlement of his monarchy on strong foundations.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:2
From Baale of Judah - See the margin and Sa1 6:21 note.
Whose name ... - The literal rendering is, "Upon which is called the Name, the Name of Yahweh of Hosts, who sits upon the cherubim," i. e. the ark which is called after the Lord of Hosts and bears His Name (see Deu 28:10; Kg1 8:43; Isa 4:1).
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:3
The house of Abinadab in Gibeah - . Rather, on the hill (as in margin and Sa1 7:1). It does not at all follow that Abinadab was still alive, nor can we conclude from Uzzah and Ahio being called sons of Abinadab, that they were literally his children. They may well have been sons of Eleazar and grandsons of Abinadab, or yet more remote descendants; since there is no distinct evidence that Abinadab was alive even when the ark was brought to Kirjath-jearim. The house may have retained the name of "the house of Abinadab" long after his death.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:5
Played - i. e. danced to music vocal and instrumental (see Jdg 16:25 note).
Cornets - Rather, from the etymology of the Hebrew word (to shake), and their being coupled with the cymbals, and being rendered sistra in the Vulgate, some kind of instrument with bells or rings, which gave a sound by being shaken.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:6
Shook it - The use of the Heb. word here is unusual. Some take the word as in Kg2 9:33, and render the passage: "The oxen were throwing, or had thrown it down," very likely by turning aside to eat what grain there might be on the threshing-floor.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:7
For his error - The Hebrew is difficult, and some prefer the reading of the parallel passage, "because ... ask" Ch1 13:10.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:8
Displeased - Grief allied to anger seems to be intended. Compare Sa1 15:11 note. On the name of the place, compare Sa2 5:20.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:10
Obed-edom was a Levite of the family of Merari, being Ch1 15:18-24; Ch1 16:38 a son of Jeduthun, who was a Merarite. He was a porter, a player on the harp, and was one of the Levites especially designated to take part in the musical services on the occasion of bringing up the ark to Zion, and to minister before it when brought up. He is called a Gittite perhaps from Gath-Rimmon, in Manasseh, which belonged to the Kohathites Jos 21:25. Marriage with a Kohathite, or some other cause, would account for his dwelling in a Kohathite city.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:12
With gladness - Especially with joyful music and song (Ch1 15:16, etc.).
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:13
The meaning is, not that they sacrificed oxen and fatlings every six steps, which would have been impossible, but that when - after the arrangement made by David for the Levites to carry the ark Ch1 15:2, Ch1 15:12, Ch1 15:15 they had borne it successfully and with visible tokens of God's favor, out of the house of Obed-edom and six "steps" on the road to the city of David to the sound of the musical instruments - then they stopped and offered solemn sacrifices. Possibly "the step" may have had a technical sense, and denoted a certain distance, say a stadium. Six such distances would have been nearly a mile, and if the ground was difficult and steep, the successful progress of "those that bare the ark," so far, would have been a fit cause for a thanksgiving sacrifice.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:14
Danced - The Hebrew word is found only here and in Sa2 6:16. It means "to dance in a circle," hence, simply to dance. The parallel passage in Ch1 15:27 gives a widely different sense.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:16
She despised him in her heart - In the days of Saul the ark had been neglected Ch1 13:3, and Saul had in everything shown himself to be an irreligious king. Michal seems to have been of a like spirit.
The whole section, 2Sa. 6:16-36, should be compared with Ch1 15:29; Ch1 16:43.
The peace offerings were with a special view to feasting the people. (Compare Kg1 8:63-66.)
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:18
He blessed the people - So did Solomon Kg1 8:14.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:19
A good piece of flesh - The word thus paraphrased is only found here and in marginal reference A piece of meat from the peace offerings is probably meant. From the fact that the chronicler explains the preceding cake by the more common word loaf, but leaves this obscure word unexplained, one might infer that it was already obsolete and unknown in his time. The Septuagint translates it: "a cake baked on the hearth;" the Vulgate "a piece of roast beef."
A flagon of wine - Rather, "a cake" of grapes or raisins Hos 3:1; Sol 2:5, or made with oil or mead.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:20
Then David returned ... - He had passed his house to accompany the ark to the tabernacle he had pitched for it, when Michal saw him dancing. He now returns to bless his household. He had blessed the people Sa2 6:18, but there were the inmates of his own house whom the customs of the age did not allow to be present, and so, with his usual considerate kindness and affection, David came to bless them also on this solemn occasion.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:21
Play - See Sa2 6:5 note. The speech might be paraphrased, Before the Lord which chose me, etc., yea, before the Lord have I danced. He humbles Michal's pride by the allusion to her father's rejection, and shows by Saul's example how little pride contributes to the stability of greatness. Therefore, for his part, he will not think anything done for the glory of God too mean for him; and if he cannot have honor from Saul's daughter, he will be content to be honored by the maid-servants.