Archive for June 18th, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

1 Chronicles 13


Philistine Ox Cart

Philistine Ox Cart

The Ark of the Covenant was an itinerant house for Yahweh. It was the traveling temple which housed the God who dwelt with his chosen people. In today’s reading we see something happen which can be frightening to us . . . if we see ourselves as Uzzah.

One week in our scripture class we held a lively discussion about this reading. After studying commentaries and listening to scholars, we decided that we understood what had happened to Uzzah, but that it seemed to be a harsh consequence. Perhaps the real lessons here are that sometimes our well-intended actions miss the mark, that we must be prepared to be misunderstood, that sometimes the consequences of our actions will be the reverse of what we expected and that ultimately, these consequences may be brutal and irredeemable.

Footnotes will point out that this unsuccessful transfer is balanced by the successful one in 15:1-16:6. They will also tell us that the Chronicler (the writer of this Book) wishes to describe this event as a religious one in order to contrast it with its description in 2 Samuel 6:1-11 where it is seen as a military incident. In either case, one thing is clear: Uzzah intends one goal. The outcome, for him, is another and it is a stark outcome. Even the brave king David is shaken, and the ark goes not to its intended place but to a temporary stop on its journey.

We have no way of knowing what ripples our actions set into motion, ripples that bound and rebound off of countless obstacles. Sometimes these ripples come back to disturb us and to lift our little boats a bit to knock against the pier where we are harbored. Other times they go off into what seems like a limitless universe. But one thing is certain, each time we speak, each time we move toward another our words and our gestures are open to interpretation. And for this interpretation, we will want to prepare.

First written on July 22, 2008.

For more information on transport in ancient times, click on the image above or go to: http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/philistines-ox-cart.html

For more about Uzzah, go to: http://legacy.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/Matthew-Henry/2Sam/Uzzah-Smitten-Touching-Ark

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