Torah Study Notes 4-6-13

April 6, 2013
p. 729 Second Samuel
The analogous Torah portion deals with the incineration of Aaron’s sons for making an improper sacrifice at the altar.
6:1 The Ark had been carried off from its shrine site in Shiloh by the Philistines and David has successfully recaptured it. Now there is a parade. Note that David does not appear in the Torah – only in the prophetic books. Also, there is no reference to the Ark in the Torah segment.
6:6 The oxen stumbles. Uzzah touches the ark and is struck down by God. Or at least this is the chroniclers explanation of this otherwise inexplicable event. This may also be a difficult translation. Could Uzzah have been crushed under the wheels of the cart? Or did he fall off a cliff in his urgency to save the cart. Any action which is not a matter of negligence is considered “an act of God.” It could also be argued that Uzzah sacrificed himself to save the Ark. But God got “furious” which suggests a direct action. How is this different from the actions of Aaron’s sons – who were also punished for sacrilige?
6: 9 David is terrified to take the Ark. It could be dangerous. He wonders if the Ark should go to Jerusalem or be returned to Shiloh. But the family he leaves the Ark with is blessed. How were they blessed? Perhaps a good crop or the birth of sheep. AF: How do the people know God’s feelings – that he is angry or is happy/blessing? PG: This is more reflective of the views of the author that is creating the text – if it were to be fiction. For non-fiction it is more difficult to ascertain internal states. Here, the author himself is divinely inspired to know the mind of God. LL: Compare the last scene in Raiders of The Lost Ark – where only the righteous were safe from the wrath of God.
6:12 David takes custody of the Ark and skips/dances before it. PG: This story was likely told in a variety of ways but the redactor has selected this version. Or combined two or more versions.
6:16 Saul’s daughter, David’s wife, sees him skipping/dancing and comes to despise him for his un-kingly behavior. Note that Michal is the only woman in scripture who is identified as loving her husband. Until know.
6:17 David passes out “goodie bags” to the people in celebration.
6:20 Michal takes David to task for his behavior. Here it says she had no children – suggested as punishment – but elsewhere it is suggested she had five children perhaps by a previous spouse.
7:1 David is in a cedar palace and the Ark is in a tent. What does this comparison mean? David must build an elaborate palace for the Ark – which is eventually achieved by Solomon in the construction of the first Temple.
7:4 God wants a cedar temple for the Ark and tells Nathan that in a dream. But God also suggests that he really doesn’t need it – that He is everywhere.
7:8 “I have been with you wherever you have gone…” Nathan learns that David will be able to establish a dynasty.
7:13 “He is the one who shall build a temple for me…” PG: This Haftarah portion is the story of three frustrations. The Sephardic version only tells the first two: Uzzah and Michal and leaves out the failure of David to build the temple. Note that David does not represent the settling of the people from their erstwhile nomadic lives – that happens during the time of his progeny. Note also that all of the punishments here seem harsh but all of the set-backs are temporary and eventually overcome. LL: This could also be viewed as a microcosm of the entire sweep of the Torah leading up to the still small voice – after which God disappears from the narrative. PG: Yes. Compare Kafka’s Parables and Paradoxes where he re-imagines some of the sotries of Ancient Israel – particularly the building of the Temple.

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