Hell is full of good intentions …”
— St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1091-1153
Part 1: Uzzah dies by the hand of God (2 Sam 6:6-7)
Part II Aaron’s sons are burned alive when trying to honor God (Lev 10:1-7)
Part III: The Parable of the Two Sons (Matt 21:28-32)
Even though Uzzah’s intention was to protect the Ark from defilement, he was punished because he failed to live up to his priestly obligations (He was a Levite after his father, Abinadab in whose house God had commanded the Ark to rest). More specifically, Uzzah could have prevented his own death by reminding David of God’s very specific protocol for moving the Ark. He failed to do so. In other words, Uzzah could have prevented all of this had he been faithful to God’s instructions.
He allowed King David to commit two transgressions: First, David had the Ark moved on his own authority. Second, he had theArk moved using an ox-cart in direct violation of God’s command that only Levites may move the Ark and then only on their shoulders. David later admits his errors. As a member of the priestly tribe (a Levite) and as a caretaker of the Ark for twenty or so years, Uzzah should have reminded David of the correct protocols. Under no circumstances should Uzzah have complied with David’s wishes. Uzzah’s core error was elevating his respect for David’s wishes above that of God’s.
Let’s look at the specifics that support this.
- In 1 Chronicles 13 (and 15) David is recorded as admitting his error. Further, when he decides a second time to move the Ark, he is careful to follow the prescribed formula. (So, by the way, did Solomon when he moves the ark even later in 1 Kings 8).↩