24 September, 2023
So, this week we continue in the story of now King David, hearing of his anointing as king and the re-location of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
Today’s readings also reflect a turning point in the narrative of Israel as a nation:
2 Samuel 5 notes the moment when David becomes king over all the tribes of Israel and Judah.
The transfer of the ark of Yahweh in 2 Samuel 6 prompts reflection on God’s place in this new political landscape.
2 Samuel 5:3 marks the culmination of David’s rise from shepherd boy to shepherd-king. It also completes Israel’s transition from a federation of tribes to a united monarchy with a capital city.
Even though David became Saul’s son-in-law, and was loved by both Saul’s daughter, Michal, and his son, Jonathan, Saul was jealous of David and relentlessly pursued David intending to kill him. As he dodged Saul, David acquired followers, resources, fighting experience, wives, and even a Philistine city to use as a base (Ziklag).
David had already been anointed king over Judah, and today we hear of the elders of Israel coming to Hebron where, “King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:3).
Jerusalem is captured and designated by King David as the capital of the newly united kingdom. Jerusalem was conveniently located between the northern and southern territories, so it offers the prospect of aiding in unification.
In the second half of today’s reading (2 Samuel 6:1-5), David leads a massive procession to accompany the transfer of the ark of God to the new capital, Jerusalem.
As the kingdom is united under David and the ark of God arrives in Jerusalem, the monarchy assumes a new role in protecting and promoting Israel’s religious life. Subsequent royal households will be judged on how well they fulfill that responsibility.
The ark procession is a form of religious pageantry; a noisy and joyous profession of God’s protection and blessing, and of God’s residing in the midst of God’s people.
The opening verse of Psalm 150 complements the celebration of the immanence of God in 2 Samuel 6 with praise for God’s protecting and blessing presence in the very structures of creation. God’s holy space is the “mighty firmament” that shapes the world and gives life to “everything that breathes” (Psalm 150:6).
Jay Robinson – informed by reading a commentary by Elna K Sovang