David's first effort after defeating the Philistines and driving them out of Israel was to restore in its true form the worship of the One God, almost forgotten of the people. Ever since the days of Samuel, the Holy Ark of God had remained as if half-forgotten, in the little town of Kirjath-jearim where it had been placed when the Philistines returned it from its captivity. David summoned all the land to a great religious festival. The Holy Ark was to be established in high honor within the walls of the new capital. At the head of thirty thousand armed men to prevent all possibility of interruption, and accompanied by dancers and singers, the king marched in procession to Kirjath-jearim, and securing the Holy Ark, set out to escort it to Jerusalem.
Yet all David's thirty thousand men proved insufficient to bring the ark up to Jerusalem. Its progress was not barred by hostile men, but by the hand of God. The ancient Law of Moses had given special directions for the carriage of this ark. It was to be handled only by certain men of the Levites, and only in a certain way. David had apparently forgotten these laws, or had never known them. The Holy Ark was placed upon an ox-cart, when it should have been carried by hand. Moreover, when at a rough place in the road the oxen stumbled, the man Uzzah, who was not a Levite, caught hold of the ark to guard it from falling. He imediately sank down dead.
The splendid procession halted in dismay. David himself was awed and frightened; his purpose was shaken. So David brought the ark not to Jerusalem, but into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
This series of images of David leading the Holy Ark back to Jerusalem and the death of Uzzah are from my collection of antique Bible books. Feel free to use these pictures of the Holy Ark in your projects. Click on the Holy Ark illustrations below to see more details about saving a free Holy Ark image or about purchasing the images of the Holy Ark at a higher resolution.