Your Friday Firestorm #56

And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

(2 Samuel 6:6-7)



  1. uzzah got worked, son!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I think the firestorm really comes from what the CES manual has to say about Uzzah:

    Yet in our own time we see those who fear the ark is tottering and presume to steady its course. We hear of those who are sure that women are not being treated fairly in the Church, of those who would extend some unauthorized blessing to those not yet ready, or of those who would change the established doctrines of the Church. Are these not ark-steadiers? The best intentions do not justify such interference with the Lord’s plan. President David O. McKay applied this lesson to modern Saints:

    “It is a little dangerous for us to go out of our own sphere and try unauthoritatively to direct the efforts of a brother. You remember the case of Uzzah who stretched forth his hand to steady the ark. [See 1 Chron. 13:7–10.] He seemed justified when the oxen stumbled in putting forth his hand to steady that symbol of the covenant. We today think his punishment was very severe. Be that as it may, the incident conveys a lesson of life. Let us look around us and see how quickly men who attempt unauthoritatively to steady the ark die spiritually. Their souls become embittered, their minds distorted, their judgment faulty, and their spirit depressed. Such is the pitiable condition of men who, neglecting their own responsibilities, spend their time in finding fault with others.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1936, p. 60.)

    President John Taylor taught:

    “We have more or less of the principles of insubordination among us. But there is a principle associated with the kingdom of God that recognizes God in all things, and that recognizes the priesthood in all things, and those who do not do it had better repent or they will come to a stand very quickly; I tell you that in the name of the Lord. Do not think you are wise and that you can manage and manipulate the priesthood, for you cannot do it. God must manage, regulate, dictate, and stand at the head, and every man in his place. The ark of God does not need steadying, especially by incompetent men without revelation and without knowledge of the kingdom of God and its laws. It is a great work that we are engaged in, and it is for us to prepare ourselves for the labor before us, and to acknowledge God, his authority, his law and his priesthood in all things.” (Gospel Kingdom, p. 166.)


  3. it's a series of tubes says:

    Obviously God would have preferred that Uzzah first bust a little toprock on Nachon’s threshing floor. Getting to the signature move early is poor form.

  4. Come on, haven’t you seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. He should have just kept his eyes closed.

  5. Isn’t the real firestorm verse 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.

    Was David angry at the Lord for striking Uzzah?

  6. Daniel, I thought the place was called Perez Hilton. No?

  7. (1) – I really think the church needs to change the CES manuals.

  8. Is this really about people who complain that Brandon Davies was suspended from BYU right before the NCAA Tournament?

  9. do we believe this story literally happened?

  10. Steve Evans says:

    Daniel, read the commentary in the link you provided.

  11. B. Russ,
    Are you trying to steady the ark?

  12. Uzzah got it and the oxen didn’t. That’s cause oxen are dumb.

    One can apply this lesson anywhere, from the foundational history of the church to answer the simple, timeless question “why me?” Or explain why the bloggernacle still exists.

  13. What? No. Thats ridiculous.

  14. Steve Evans says:

    Martin, get lost.

  15. Their souls become embittered, their minds distorted, their judgment faulty, and their spirit depressed.

    Strangely, these are also symptoms of abusing the street drug “Charlie Sheen”

  16. Martin is a tireless bloggernark steady-er.

  17. Expelled for silliness. Not my usual egress.

  18. Steve, you have the sinking principle. Or maybe Uzzah did.

  19. WVS,
    Sinking refers to water, and Noah’s ark needed no steadying, so you’re mixing metaphors or something.

  20. Now I know who the top men are who were studying the Ark at the end of Raiders. Or is there a proscription on studying the ark?

  21. Big fan of FPR’s take on it. Uzzah Killed for Blind Obedience

  22. So if David was guilty of not following scriptural directions in transporting the ark, and Uzzah is guilty of blindly obeying his leaders in spite of his apparent knowledge of those same scriptures, who does it seem to indicate was guilty of the greater sin, David or Uzzah?

  23. Mark Brown says:

    Ben, (19), thanks for that. I was just going to go look for that post, but you saved me the trouble.

    Everybody, go read the post from Ben’s link in comment # 19.

  24. Steve,

    Daniel, read the commentary in the link you provided.

    Thanks Mr. Condescension. I did. It seems to me that David was indeed angry with the Lord. He was also probably angry at himself, for as indicated in the commentaries and in the FPR piece, he later transported the Ark correctly.

  25. Steve Evans says:

    Thanks Mr. Reading Comprehension. Maybe next time you’ll see there is clear commentary in the link you provided that says otherwise. As usual you ask questions when you presume to know the answers already. Go away.

  26. great FPR article

  27. Steve,

    And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah,…. He could not easily submit, and be reconciled to the providence; his heart was ready to rise up against God, and murmur at him for striking him dead in such an awful manner, for so small a matter as this might seem to be; and the rather, as this put a stop to the procession, and cast a damp upon their joy and mirth on this occasion, and might seem to be an ill omen to David, and be improved by his enemies against him:

    Maybe you missed that part in your reading from the commentary.

  28. I am a well-known metaphor mixer. A useful technique among the unwashed.

  29. observer (fka eric s) says:

    Damn straight. Don’t mess with the oxen. Every time somebody messes with oxen, they end up dead.

  30. Steve Evans says:

    Maybe you missed this part of the commentary, bunghole:

    The burning of David’s anger was not directed against God, but referred to the calamity which had befallen Uzzah, or speaking more correctly, to the cause of this calamity, which David attributed to himself or to his undertaking. As he had not only resolved upon the removal of the ark, but had also planned the way in which it should be taken to Jerusalem, he could not trace the occasion of Uzzah’s death to any other cause than his own plans. He was therefore angry that such misfortune had attended his undertaking.

    Now go away.

  31. (1) – I really think the church needs to change the CES manuals.

    The CES manuals were considered bad and out of date when I was young. That they are largely the same manuals is amazing to me.

  32. Wes Brown says:

    Phssst. Why would the church ever need to update the manuals when you can find great truths like, ““We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question”.

    in 2011.

  33. Steve,

    I didn’t miss that part. One person noted his interpretation. Another added his. I didn’t start my comments here with disdain for your post, Steve. I would ask that you treat me equally.

  34. Daniel, not sure why I should treat you equally. I thought my disdain for all of your comments, past, present and future, was clear.

  35. Capozaino says:

    This thread makes me unsure what exactly the “firestorm” in the title is referring to.

  36. One thing the church considered doing to save money is to put temples into the back of semi trailers and then take the temple to the people. These verses have served to make the brethren reconsider. Any people getting struck down would cause liability issues for the church and thus the traveling sanctuary idea couldn’t get past the legal department.

  37. Jacob M says:

    This story is significanly less awesome than Onan.

  38. I’m afraid of incurring Steve’s wrath by making a joke (since he appears to be holding court today), so I’ll temper my forthcoming joke by stating truthfully that BCC is the BEST spot in the Bloggernacle, and thanks Steve for making it happen!

    Now the joke about Uzzah: I hate when this happens!

    But I did re-read those verses in both KJT and NRSV, and studied some notes on them from the Oxford Study Bible. One explanation is that Uzzah bought the farm not because God reached out to smite him in his wrath, but because he touched the very powerful Ark without being ritually prepared to do so. In other words, it was a natural consequence, an unfortunate one at that, of a well-meaning but impulsive act. We do these things all the time, and sometimes they blow up on us (albeit not to this level).

  39. Steve Evans says:

    Ken, knowest thou not the condescension of Steve? No worries.

    Though I disagree with your analysis on Uzzah — it wasn’t just a question of preparation. Only the Levites were allowed to carry the Ark, and even then they were not to touch it on pain of death. Uzzah was doubly wrong to steady it. But I loves me some Oxford Study Bible.

  40. Didn’t you guys see Mythbusters? If you touch to steady the Ark you get struck as a natural occurrence. It’s a big giant capacitor with spooky ghosts who eat Nazis.

  41. Jacob M says:

    15 – Speakin’ of : He knew about the Ark, too?

  42. I was under the impression Uzzah was struck down for constantly bellowing “Uzzah in the hizzle!” or “Huzzah to Uzzah, my Hebrews!” every time he walked into a room.

    Now that I think of it, that may be in the Apocrypha, rather than in the KJV.

  43. I have been spared the wrath of Steve and one-upped, all in the same post. I am truly humbled. Yes, upon further reflection my Uzzah analysis has swiss cheese holes in it. I knoweth not exactly why he got zapped, save it be written in the Good Book. But I am still pondering who got the worse zapping: Uzzah or Onan?

    BTW Steve, I recommend a cool indie movie from a few years ago, called “The Tao of Steve.” Look it up. The guy who plays Steve hails from my fair city of Eugene, Oregon.

  44. Steve,

    Daniel, not sure why I should treat you equally.

    Because I asked nicely. :)

  45. Ken–you’re in Eugene? Have you known many of the LDS graduate students at Oregon over the past 10 years? My brother spent 5 years or so there.

  46. Jacob M says:

    But I am still pondering who got the worse zapping: Uzzah or Onan?

    Duh! Uzzah! At least he was, uh, finished!

  47. Jacob M says:

    Sorry, meant to say that Onan was, uh, finished!

  48. This very scripture came up last Sunday when I tried to explain to a YM counselor that unless they actually go to the trouble of calling parents to be members of the troop committee, that they shouldn’t expect the parents to show up to meetings. He was of the opinion that people needed to just know and show up. I countered with the “if we steady the ark without authority, we get struck down…” argument.

  49. The CES manual. God will strike whomever and whenever, for a reason and not for a reason. Obviously this was done with forethought four thousand years ago so that it could be written about in the CES manual.

    How would we know, without this important lesson, that it is OK to burst upon the idiots with different ideas?

    (Hay, wait a minute. What about the Mormon Chauvinists who constantly steady the arc? Is is just different ideas that are bad? What kind of steadying should we burst on?)

  50. Oooohhhh. The oxen were not burst on. Thank you Martin #12. Thinking is a trap.

  51. I suspect writing commentary manuals about scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, is a) a massive task and b) a thankless task. Maybe that’s why the same manuals have been around awhile? Just guessing.

  52. Before this awesome thread runs its course, one more thing. I still don’t quite understand the nuances of the Uzzah story, but I think it was in one of the Nag Hamadi document translations where there is a variation that gives some insight. Apparently, Uzzah would continually make an annoyance of himself by walking around using a heavy fake Italian accent and saying boisterously, “Uzzah yo daddy?” He may have worn out his welcome.

  53. StillConfused says:

    I think that the ark was nuclear and without the right uniform, touching it would nuke you.

  54. Nuke-u-ler Lisa, its pronounced nuke-u-ler.

  55. I wish this were facebook and I could like your comment, B.Russ. Nuke-u-ler!

  56. MarkinPNW says:

    I remember reading somewhere that the the ark, being made of layers of wood and metal foil, would act as an electrical capacitor capable of holding an electrical charge strong enough to electrocute a man, and that touching it directly posed a great danger of receiving such a lethal jolt. The proper way of carrying it was to use wooden (thus insulated) poles slipped through attached rings, and if you were not an authorized priest or levite assigned to carry the ark you would not have received the proper instruction on safely carrying it with the poles, and thus in danger of touching it at the wrong spot and receiveing the lethal jolt.

  57. MarkinPNW says:

    I see #40 beat me to it!

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