When we last left off, David had tried to get the ארון to Jerusalem but failed. For three months, it sits in the house of עבד אדם.
The story as presented in דברי הימים has a very different emphasis:
דברי הימים goes into a lot more detail about the ceremony and the ritual associated with the ארון, and this continues for another two chapters. ספר שמואל doesn’t deal with the משכן/מקדש at all. From שמואל's point of view, once the משכן is destroyed in chapter 4, it never comes back. ספר שמואל is more about David as person and as king. I’m interested in the religious side (as seen in תהילים) and we’ll spend several shiurim looking at דברי הימים and the corresponding תהילים.
One detail that דברי הימים adds is ויעש לו בתים בעיר דויד; ויכן מקום לארון האלקים ויט לו אהל. That phrase, ויעש לו בתים, is unusual (the usual verb is ויבן) and it’s unclear what it means here. David has already built the residential area of Jerusalem (שמואל ב ה:ט) ויבן דוד סביב מן המלוא וביתה, and he already has a palace: (שמואל ב ה:יא)וישלח חירם מלך צר מלאכים…ויבנו בית לדוד. Rabbi Eisemann suggests it’s a hint to the earlier use of the phrase:
So this is David establishing not literal houses but the institutions of בתי כהונה ומלכות. On a more literal level, David builds a government complex, with his palace, offices and now a place for the ארון, anticipating that he will build the בית המקדש. Metzudot understands ויכן מקום as just setting aside the place:
But Malbim (following the Gra) says that David actually built a replacement משכן, like the one that was destroyed. It was a real building, just with a curtain roof:
Because what they had now, in Givon, was just a tent of curtains like the משכן in the desert:
So what David is doing is rebuilding the משכן שילה. Just as when he tried to bring the ארון to Jerusalem, he is symbolically undoing the חורבן שילה from 20 years before. He will reset the clock, then move forward turning it into the eternal בית המקדש.
But David doesn’t use that building yet. He is too scared after the death of Uzza and leaves the ארון with עבד אדם, who is “blessed”. What was the nature of that blessing? There’s a hint later in דברי הימים:
While having 62 grandchildren sounds like a wonderful ברכה, it’s hard to see how David could have recognized that blessing in only 3 months. The Midrash has a more extreme version:
The משבצות זהב cites the גר״א (which I cannot find) that if there was an open miracle like the midrash, it’s possible to David to have recognized that ויברך ה׳ את עבד אדם ואת כל ביתו. But if the ברכה was having multiple births, how could he recognize that in three months? He answers, “שכיוון שהם היו ששה עוברים , היה העיבור גדול כל כך, עד שאפילו בשלשה חדשים היה ניכר”.
Some other notes on this story:
The procession carrying the ארון anticipates David’s plans for the משכן and the future בית המקדש. He calls on צדוק ואביתר הכהנים to lead them. אביתר was the כהן who took the אורים ותומים to David when he ran from Saul, and has been at his side evey since. He will be appointed to be the כהן גדול with the ארון in Jerusalem. צדוק was mentioned as one of the leaders of the כהנים (he is called in דברי הימים א יב:כט נער גבור חיל) who came to David in Hebron. He didn’t have a formal position then, but will be appointed to be the כהן גדול at the משכן in Givon. The current כהן גדול, יהוידע (called in דברי הימים א יב:כח הנגיד לאהרן) will be appointed to David’s cabinet of advisors.
The expression ואשפר אחד ואשישה אחת is unclear; I agree with the King James translation (which is from Rashi):
שמואל describes David as wearing an אפוד, which is sometimes taken meaning that he was wearing only and אפוד, and that is what Michal was complaining about. He was literally exposing himself by spinning so hard. But דברי הימים tells us that’s not so (evidently the rumors existed in Ezra’s time). He had a robe; the אפוד was a decorative sign of honor, like a tie today.
We’ve dealt with Michal and her relationship with David and her lack of children in the past. So I won’t go into that again.
But it’s worth looking at Michal’s reaction to David’s “antics”. Her modesty reflects her father’s:
And this modesty of Saul’s was his strength and his downfall:
This literally means, “Saul sinned once and it affected him; David sinned twice and it did not affect him”. But the משבצות זהב cites Rav David Friedman with a more “chassishe” interpretation:
And there’s an interesting connection to the well known fact that Michal wore tefillin:
But David here has the right balance of שמחה and שחוק. We have to serve ה׳ with all our מידות. And part of what David sets up is to assign the Levites as שערים and המשררים. We’ll look at that in more detail next time.