For 100 long years the ark of the covenant had been separated from the tabernacle and other places of worship. Now David had taken Jerusalem, a neutral place, and made it the political capital of the kingdom. All that remained was to retrieve the ark, place it in the tabernacle he would erect on Mount Zion, and declare Jerusalem the religious center of the nation as well.
Because of this unusual demonstration of God’s holiness and wrath, David learned to fear the Lord. He showed special homage by sacrificing a burnt offering after the ark had been carried six paces.
As the ark was carried along, David offered sacrifice, dressed in priestly attire (a linen ephod), and dancing and shouting for joy with the Israelites.
As the procession made its way into Jerusalem itself. Michal, David’s first wife and Saul’s daughter, saw the king … dancing excitedly before the Lord and, chagrined and embarrassed by his celebrating, later rebuked him for it (v. 20). David defended his actions, affirming that he had done nothing wrong (2 Samuel 6:21–22).
David apparently separated from her and she never had any children. Michal had impugned his holy zeal to be nothing but exhibitionism, a charge which hurt him deeply. (See comments on 21:8.) The ark had been placed in a tabernacle which David had prepared (6:17). There the king continued his burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord and climaxed the festivities with food gifts, a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins to each person in the assembled crowd.
The ark entered the city without incident only when the priests carried it properly. When David brought the ark into Jerusalem, he celebrated with dance and dressed humbly before the Lord.