6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
2 Samuel 6:5 - 15
ESV - 5 And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.
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In the case of Uzzah, it appears that God was too harsh with someone who wanted to be helpful. However, as we read in 1 Chronicles 15:15 the ark should have never been transported on a cart. The Philistines returned the ark to the Israel camp on a cart and God did not strike any of them dead for their ignorance (2 Samuel 6:3). God did not hold them responsible for something they did not know (Acts 17:30). However, Uzzah knew better than to move the ark on a cart. The Israelites knew it was to be carried on two poles by the Levites. God gave very precise instructions on how to handle the ark and Uzzah ignored them - unfortunately, it cost him his life.
Although Uzzah's violation was not intentional, the mistake cost him his life. God had warned that no one could touch holy objects or the Ark of God. Only the Levites could touch them. A death penalty had been specified for violators. No one could touch the holy objects of the tabernacle, only Levites. Numbers 4:15, "And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die." See Numbers chapter 3. This is a reminder of the seriousness of obeying God's rules. If you are careless in small things, bigger mistakes are sure to follow. Certainly you may endanger your eternity!
The only ones allowed to touch the Ark of the Covenant were priests who were ritually clean. SMM The family of Kehath [Kohath], of the tribe of Levi, would carry the Ark on their shoulders using these poles. (Numbers 4:15). https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ark-of-the-convenant These Kohathites were a special branch of the tribe of Levi, so these guys, and these guys only, were allowed to carry the Ark—and even they could not touch it directly or they would die (Numbers 4:15). 15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation. When Uzzah touched the Ark, God acted fast and furious to save His holiness before the people. And I like what the Quest Study Bible has to say about one possibility: "It is possible that Uzzah, having grown up in the house of Abinadab, where the Ark had been kept for many years, had grown too familiar with the sacred object and consequently lacked the appropriate reverence for it." Uzzah and Ahio, his brother, were leading the Ark, guiding the new cart upon which the Ark sat. HCSB "Then the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence, and he died there next to the ark of God."
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