Church of God, New World Ministries

Difficult Scriptures

I Chronicles 13:9-10 - Why did God kill Uzza?
  1. David wanted to bring the ark back from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem. In doing so, he had the ark carried on a new cart. As they were going, the oxen stumbled and Uzza put his hand on the ark to steady it – to keep it from falling. Because Uzza touched the ark, God killed him (I Chron. 13:1-10).

  2. This is an example of disobedience which ended in disaster. The ark should have been carried on the shoulders of the Levites, not on a new cart (Num. 79; Deut. 10:8). Secondly, Numbers 4:15 warned the Levites when carrying the holy things they were not to touch any of it lest they die.

The parallel account in II Samuel 6:6-7 explains that God smote Uzza for “his error.” The word error is rendered rashness in the margin. It was a rash act to touch the ark of God that even the Levites were forbidden to touch. The ark was so holy that at one time God killed over 50,000 Israelites for profaning it by opening and looking inside of it (I Samuel 6:19).

  1. I Chronicles 15:2 shows us that David later realized what he had done wrong. He learned after the death of Uzza how the ark should be transported – by being carried on the shoulders of the Levites.

  2. David told the Levites to sanctify themselves so that they could carry the ark. Because they hadn’t carried the ark at first, God made a breach upon them. David said that they hadn’t sought God after “the due order” (I Chron. 15:12-13).

When they did everything according to God’s instructions, they were able to bring up the ark with joy (I Chron. 15:15, 25-26). The principle to learn is that we must do exactly as God commands – not “reason” or water down His instructions. Also, we must deeply respect anything He has made holy – i.e. the Sabbath, Holy Days, etc.

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