King David and the Ark of the Covenant

The second book of Samuel is mainly about the reign of King David. David is anointed king after Saul’s death. David established his palace in Jerusalem. The entire Chapter 6 of the second book of Samuel shows how much we should reverence the Holiness of God.
2 Samuel 6:2 Then David and all the people who were with him set out for Baala of Judah to bring up from there the Ark of God, which bears the Name of the LORD of hosts enthroned above the cherubim.

(When transporting the Ark of the covenant, they transported it on a cart (instead of Levite priests carrying it with poles) and when it began to tip, the attendant Uzzah touched it to steady it, but was struck dead.

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This event caused David to pause his plans for the Ark. However, a family housed the Ark for three months and the family was blessed so after hearing that David sent word to bring the Ark into Jerusalem with a festive procession in which David danced and leapt for joy in front of the Ark.)    2 Samuel 6:17-18 The Ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place within the tent David had pitched for it. Then David offered holocausts and peace offerings before the LORD. When he finished making these offerings, he blessed the people in the Name of the LORD of hosts.
2 Samuel 7:12-13 (God gave this prophecy to Nathan to tell David about David’s lineage and the words Jesus and Christianity are not in the text, but in the footnotes. )
And when the time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up an Heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make His kingdom firm. It is He (Jesus) who will build a house for My Name. And I will make His royal throne firm forever (Christianity).

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2 Samuel 7:26-29 (David responded to God) ” Your Name will be forever great, when men say, ‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’ and the house of your servant David stands firm before you. It is You, LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who said in a revelation to your servant. ‘I will build a house for you.’ Therefore, your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to You. And now, LORD God, you are God and Your words are truth; You have made this generous promise to Your servant. Do, then, bless the house of Your servant that it may be before You forever; for You, LORD God, have promised, and by Your blessing the house of Your servant shall be blessed forever.”
Near the end of his life, King David made this beautiful song of thanksgiving to  God.  2 Samuel 22:50-51 part of David’s song of Thanksgiving “Therefore will I proclaim You, O LORD, among the nations, and I will sing praise to Your Name, You who gave great victories to Your king and showed kindness to Your anointed, to David and his posterity forever.”

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David anointed by the LORD


David is gigantic in terms of his impact on the praise of the holy Name of the Lord, but we need to start from when he was called by God to serve. 1 Samuel 16:1-13 tells how the Lord chose David from among Jesse’s eight sons. He said, “Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I Myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for Me the one I point out to you.” Samuel met Eliab and thought he would be the LORD’s choice but the LORD said, “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” After rejecting several more of Jesse’s sons, Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.” …Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, “There–anoint him, for this is he!” Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
The battle of David and Goliath shows how unlikely David would be in conquering the giant Philistine were it not for the help of the Lord by invoking His holy and powerful Name. David had pure faith in the Lord’s protection and was able to answer the taunts of the giant as he said, “You come against me with sword, spear, and scimitar, but I come against you in the Name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. …David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground. When they saw that their hero was dead, the Philistines took to flight. The Philistines retreated and David was a hero, but David still had many more battles to fight.

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Following this wondrous victory, the primary battle David had to fight was to preserve his life from King Saul’s jealousy.  However, the Spirit of the LORD was upon David and so almost everyone except King Saul and the pagan peoples liked David and wanted to be friends with him.  David became friends with the son of Saul, Jonathan.  Jonathan confided to David the schemes of his father to kill David.  At one point David had to leave and live as a refugee.  We read in 1 Samuel 20:42   At length Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, in keeping with what we two have sworn by the Name of the LORD. ‘The LORD shall be between you and me, and between your posterity and mine forever.'”  After this exile, Saul died and David became the King of Israel.

Clamoring for a king

I have skipped over the book of Judges and the book of Ruth because there are no passages that make reference to the Holy Name.  The time of Judges was about 400 years where the generation of Joshua, a Godly generation, passed and as time went on, the people grew away from God and His commandments.  Increasing idolatry and immorality led to so much lawlessness, that the people were pleading in prayer for God to appoint a king over the land, rather than the judges who were often military leaders.  Also Israel’s enemies, especially the Philistines, started to gain strength against the Hebrews.

After Israel was divided into regions for the twelve tribes of Israel, the Ark of the Covenant was moved to Shiloh for nearly 400 years where the 12 tribes of Israel offered prayer and sacrifices to the Lord. However, the Lord saw that His people were breaking covenant with Him. When they slipped and were seduced into the worship of false gods with concomitant breaking of the other commandments, things went from bad to worse. The Lord withdrew His protection and the suffering of the people increased, enemies took over and they suffered famine and hunger. The Philistines and other enemies were invading Israel for land, treasure and slaves. Philistine pillaging went as far as removing the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh to take to their demon temple of dagon. The Philistines had the audacity to place the Ark next to the demon statue of dagon. 1 Samuel 5: 7-11 states: When the people of Ashod rose early the next morning, dagon was lying pone on the ground before the Ark of the LORD. So they picked dagon up and replaced him. But the next morning early, when they arose, dagon lay pone on the ground before the Ark of the LORD, his head and hands broken off and lying on the threshold, his trunk alone intact…Now the LORD dealt severely with the people of Ashod. He ravaged and afflicted the city and its vicinity with hemorrhoids (pestilential tumors, maybe the bubonic plague); He brought upon the city a great and deadly plague of mice that swarmed in the ships and overran their fields…The people cried, “Send away the Ark of the God of Israel. Let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our kindred.”
Usually God would tell a prophet to call the people back to repentance and if they did, the LORD would return His blessings of protection and abundance. Such a man was Samuel, an accredited prophet of Israel and a Judge. Samuel cried out to the Israelites, “If you wish with your whole heart to return to the LORD, put away your foreign gods … devote yourselves to the LORD, and worship Him alone. Then He will deliver you from the power of the Philistines.”   1 Samuel 12:20-23 “Do not fear,” Samuel answered the people. “It is true you have committed all this evil; still you must not turn from the LORD, but must worship Him with your whole heart. Do not turn to meaningless idols which can neither profit not save; they are nothing. For the sake of His own great Name the LORD will not abandon His people, since the LORD Himself chose to make you His people. As for me, far be it from me to sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you and to teach you the good and right way.”

Called by the LORD, Samuel established the monarchy in Israel that ushered in King Saul and eventually King David, the one who would crush the Philistines.

Entering the promised land

When the people crossed the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, the River Jordan stopped flowing so they could cross on dry land.  This wondrous event manifested to the people already in Canaan the power of God.   Joshua 3:14-17 The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan, with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them. No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan, which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest, than the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed, from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan; while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Aragah disappeared entirely. Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.

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Joshua was the leader of the people now. The Book of Joshua described his time of leading the Israelites. There is just one reference to the Name of the LORD in the Book of Joshua.
The Ark of the Covenant was taken in procession around Jericho and on the seventh day, that settlement fell to the Hebrews. The LORD banned the Israelites from removing any artifacts from Jericho. One person violated the ban. The LORD’s favor was removed because of this disobedience. During the next battle at Ai (the next settlement that the Hebrews were going to overtake), they were defeated and had to retreat in humiliation. Joshua cried out to the LORD Joshua 7:9-13 “When the Canaanites and the other inhabitants of the land hear of it, they will close in around us and efface our name from the earth. What will you do for your great Name?”
The LORD replied to Joshua: “Stand up. Why are you lying prostrate? Israel has sinned: they have violated the covenant which I enjoined on them. They have stealthily taken goods subject to the ban, and have deceitfully put them in their baggage. If the Israelites cannot stand up to their enemies, but must turn their back to them, it is because they are under the ban. I will not remain with you unless you remove from among you whoever has incurred the ban. Rise, sanctify the people. Tell them to sanctify themselves before tomorrow, for the LORD, the God of Israel, says: You are under the ban, O Israel. You cannot stand up to your enemies until you remove from among you whoever has incurred the ban.

Discernment and Moses’ last words

With regards to what would happen after Moses passed away, the LORD told Moses there would be prophets after him. Deuteronomy 18:18-22 (The LORD speaking) “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen, and will put My words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him. If any man will not listen to My words which he speaks in My Name, I Myself will make him answer for it. But if a prophet presumes to speak in My Name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die. If you say to yourselves, ‘How can we recognize an oracle which the LORD has spoken?’, know that, even though a prophet speaks in the Name of the LORD, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously, and you shall have no fear of him.”

Deuteronomy 21:5 (expiation of the shedding of innocent blood:murder) The priests, the descendants of Levi, shall also be present (in the expiation ceremony), for the LORD, your God, has chosen them to minister to Him and to give blessings in His Name, and every case of dispute or violence must be settled by their decision.

The last remarks of Moses to his community of God’s people before they part ways is noteworthy.  Deuteronomy 28:9, 28: 58-59 (part of the final exhortation of Moses before his death and before the Israelites crossed the River Jordan into the Promised Land) ‘Provided that you keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and walk in His ways, He will establish you as a people sacred to Himself, as He swore to you; so that, when all the nations of the earth see you bearing the Name of the LORD, they will stand in awe of you.’ 28:58-59 ‘If you are not careful to observe every word of the law which is written in this book, and to revere the glorious and awesome Name of the LORD, your God, He will smite you and your descendants with severe and constant blows, malignant and lasting maladies.’



In honor of His Divine Name
I pledge myself against perjury,
Blasphemy, profanity and obscene speech.  Amen.


Priests and their livelihood; Priests could not be landowners or farmers, but each community had a Levite priest within it to minister to the Name of the LORD Deuteronomy 18:1-7 The whole priestly tribe of Levi shall have no share in the heritage with Israel; they shall live on the oblations of the LORD and the portions due to Him. Levi shall have no heritage among his brothers; the LORD Himself is his heritage, as He has told him. The priests shall have a right to the following things from the people: from those who are offering a sacrifice, whether the victim is from the herd or from the flock, the priest shall receive the shoulder, the jowls and the stomach. You shall also give him the first fruits of your grain and wine and oil, as well as the first fruits of the shearing of your flock; for the LORD, your God, has chosen him and his sons out of all your tribes to be always in attendance to minister in the Name of the LORD. When a Levite goes from one of your communities anywhere in Israel in which he ordinarily resides, to visit, as his heart may desire, the place which the LORD chooses, he may minister there in the Name of the LORD, his God, like all his fellow Levites who are in attendance there before the LORD. He shall then receive the same portions to eat as the rest, along with his monetary offerings and heirlooms.

The LORD expected offerings, the best of the produce to be offered to Him.  Deuteronomy 14: 22-23  Each year you shall tithe all the produce that grows in the field you have sown; then in the place which the LORD, your God, chooses as the dwelling place of His Name you shall eat in His presence your tithe of the grain, wine and oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, that you may learn always to fear the LORD, your God. …you shall take some first fruits of the various products of the soil which you harvest from the land which the LORD, your God, gives you, and putting them in a basket, you shall go to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses for the dwelling place of His Name;

As Catholics, we still tithe and offer the LORD our donations.  The priests also strive to live a vow of poverty in keeping with their sacred office.  One of the precepts of the Church is to provide financial support for the Church according to one’s ability.  These obligations have been in place since the time of Moses for more than three thousand years.

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A Dwelling Place for His Name

Before they parted ways, Moses gave the nation of Israel specific instructions for worshiping God.  It is informative to read through these to note the tender love and care that our LORD has for us and His teachings to us.

Deuteronomy 12:10-14 But after you have crossed the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage, when He has given you rest from all your enemies round about and you live there in security, then to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses as a dwelling place for His Name you shall bring all the offerings I command you: your holocausts and sacrifices, your tithes and personal contributions, and every special offering you have vowed to the LORD. You shall make merry before the LORD, your God, with your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, as well as with the Levite who belongs to your community but has no share of his own in your heritage. Take care not to offer up your holocausts in any place you fancy, but offer them up in the place which the LORD chooses from among your tribes; there you shall make whatever offerings I enjoin upon you.

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Deuteronomy 12:20-21 After the LORD, your God, has enlarged your territory, as He promised you, when you wish meat for food, you may eat it at will, to your heart’s desire; and if the place which the LORD, your God, chooses for the abode of His Name is too far, you may slaughter in the manner I have told you any of your herd or flock that the LORD has given you, and eat it to your heart’s desire in your own community.

Certain specific instructions were given for Passover remembrance ceremonies.  Deuteronomy 16:2, 16:5-6, and 16:11 You shall offer the Passover sacrifice from your flock or your herd to the LORD, your God, in the place which He chooses as the dwelling place of His Name. 16:5-6 You may not sacrifice the Passover in any of the communities which the LORD, your God gives you; only at the place which He chooses as the dwelling place of His Name, and in the evening at sunset, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt, shall you sacrifice the Passover. 16:11 In the place which the LORD, your God, chooses as the dwelling place of His Name, you shall make merry in His presence together with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, and the Levite who belongs to your community, as well as the alien, the orphan and the widow among you.

Know that from all time our loving God has always wanted His people to love Him, worship Him, and give Him all due respect.  Notice in these passages that He wishes us to ‘make merry in His Presence’ with our families and communities.  We do this today in our parishes when we celebrate baptisms, Holy Communions, Easter, Christmas, anniversaries, and all beautiful occasions to come before Him in our finest apparel, with gifts for Him.

Hold fast to Him

Moses’s last exhortations to the Israelites include this one:  Deuteronomy 10: 20-22 The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and Him shall you serve; hold fast to Him and swear by His Name.  He is your glory, He, your God, Who has done for you those great and terrible things which your own eyes have seen.  Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong, and now the LORD, your God, has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.

People often ask, ‘What is fear of the LORD?’  The seventy-two books of the bible include the phrase ‘Fear of the LORD’ 186 times.  You will see this phrase over and over again in nearly every book so obviously it is of prime importance.  Essentially, ‘fear of the LORD,’ which is also a gift of the Holy Spirit is to fear offending God in any way.  The website Catholic Straight Answers  provides some good insights into the meaning of the fear of the LORD.

This gift of the fear of the LORD enables a person “to avoid sin and attachment to created things out of reverence and love of God.” Primarily, this gift entails a profound respect for the majesty of God who is the supreme being. Here, a person realizes his “creatureliness” and dependency upon God, has a true “poverty of spirit,” and never would want to be separated from God, who is love. As such, this gift arouses in the soul a vibrant sense of adoration and reverence for God and a sense of horror and sorrow for sin.

This gift of fear of the Lord is sometimes misunderstood because of the word “fear.” “Fear of the Lord” is not a servile fear whereby a person serves God simply because he fears punishment, whether some sort of temporal punishment in this life or the eternal punishment of hell. A genuine relationship with God is based on love, not fear. Therefore, this “fear of the Lord” is a filial or reverential fear that moves a person to do God’s will and avoid sin because of love for God, who is all good and deserving of all of our love. In a similar way, a child should not be motivated to obey a parent simply because of fear of punishment, but because of love and respect; a person who loves someone does not want to disappoint or to break the other person’s heart. One should fear hurting a loved one and violating that person’s trust more than one should fear punishment. Nevertheless, one should have a healthy sense of fear for the punishment due to sin, including the fires of hell, even though this should not be the motivating factor for loving God.

Therefore, this gift motivates the person in three ways: first, to have a vivid sense of God’s infinite greatness; second, to have a real sorrow for sin, even venial sins, and to do penance to atone for sins committed; and third, to be vigilant to avoid the near occasions of sin, to struggle against personal weakness and fight temptation.

Psalm 111: 10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it.  His praise endures forever.


Before the people entered Canaan, they set camp.  Moses was busy writing final exhortations for the people, as he would not be traveling with them into Canaan.  The last writings of Moses were a reiteration of the law that the LORD had given.  This review of everything that the LORD had imparted to Moses is called Deuteronomy, or ‘second law’.  Some passages that refer to the the Holy Name are reiterations of what we have read in the book of Exodus.  Here they are:

Deuteronomy 5: 11  ‘You shall not take the Name of the LORD, your God, in vain.  For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes His Name in vain.’

Deuteronomy 6: 13  The LORD, your God, shall you fear; Him shall you serve, and by His Name shall you swear.

Deuteronomy 10: 8 “At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD and minister to Him, and to give blessings in His Name, as they have done to this day.

The Promised Land postponed for forty years

The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Bible and the fourth of five books called the Pentateuch, that are believed to have been written by Moses.  The book of Numbers gets its name from the census that was taken to ‘number’ the men in each of the tribes of Israel.  This book covers the almost forty years that the Israelites wandered in the desert before reaching the promised land.

The book of Numbers contains one passage with respect to the Holy Name and it is the priestly blessing that the LORD taught Moses.  It is Numbers 6: 24-27, “The LORD bless you and keep you!  The LORD let His Face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!  So shall they invoke My Name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

It is instructive to ask why the Israelites wandered for forty years in the desert.  Chapters 13 and 14 lay out the details.  To summarize events, the LORD told Moses to appoint one person from each of the twelve tribes to go into Canaan, the promised land, to scout out the land.  The scouts were to see what kind of land it was, what the people were like and to bring back some of the fruits from the land.  They scouted for 40 days taking note of the people and they brought back some figs, pomegranates, and grapes.  Upon their return, many of the scouts spread a disheartening account to the Israelites.  They doubted their ability to claim the lands from the giant races of people that were currently inhabiting the land.  The people became so discouraged at the news of the new land that they became angry with Moses and Aaron.  The people wanted to rebel against the plans of the LORD and go back to Egypt instead of going to Canaan.  Two of the scouts, Joshua and Caleb tried to encourage the people saying, “The country which we went through and explored is a fine, rich land.  If the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us in and give us that land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  But do not rebel against the LORD!  You need not be afraid of the people of that land; they are but food for us!  Their defense has left them, but the LORD is with us.  Therefore, do not be afraid of them.”

The LORD responded to the threats of rebellion, “How long will this people spurn Me? How long will they refuse to believe in Me, despite all the signs I have performed among them?”  Moses tried to mitigate the LORD’s anger.  In the end the LORD’s judgement came upon the Israelites. He said, “Of all your men of twenty years or more, registered in the census, who grumbled against Me, not one shall enter the land where I solemnly swore to settle you, except Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Nun. Your little ones, however, who you said would be taken as booty, I will bring in, and they shall appreciate the land you spurned.  But as for you, your bodies shall fall here in the desert, here where your children must wander for forty years, suffering for your faithlessness, till the last of you lies dead in the desert.  Forty days you spent in scouting the land; forty years shall you suffer for your crimes; one year for each day.  Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.” 

Let us try to be more faithful to the LORD.  He provides us with so much.  Let us encourage each other to be faithful to Him.  He will notice that we turn a new heart to Him full of thankfulness and gratitude for His kindness and generosity.