10 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. ... 13 He did not take the ark to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
1 Chronicles 13:1 - 14
ESV - 1 David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader. 2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, "If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us.
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The ark contained (among other things) the stone tablets on which God Himself had written the Ten Commandments. Because of its sacred nature, and by God's directive, the ark was designed to be carried by the use of poles inserted through rings mounted on the ark (so that the ark itself would not have to be directly touched by human hands). The ark also was to be transported or carried only by members of the priestly tribe of Levi. The movement of the ark as described in the cited passage did not comply with or observe these precautions, and this casual, unceremonious treatment was the basis for the severe punishment visited upon Uzzah in the cited passage. I would say that the ark did not have power in and of itself, but its treatment (as well as mis-treatment) was the basis for actions taken by God. (This would apply also to the blessings conferred by God upon the household of Obed-Edom during the period that the ark was placed in his residence, as noted in 1 Chronicles 13:13-14.)
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