Why was the man who touched the ark to keep it from falling
killed by God? Wouldn't it just be a instinctive response
to grasp something that was about to fall? It seems to cruel
that God would do this.
The event that you are referring to is found in 2 Samuel 6:3-8
and in 1 Chronicles 13:6-12.
And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is,
to Kiriath-jearim, which belongs to Judah, to bring
up from there the ark of God, the LORD who is enthroned
above the cherubim, where His name is called. And
they carried the ark of God on a new cart from the
house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart.
And David and all Israel were celebrating before
God with all their might, even with songs and with
lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and with trumpets.
When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon,
Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, because the
oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of the LORD burned
against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put
out his hand to the ark; and he died there before
God. Then David became angry because of the LORD’S
outburst against Uzza; and he called that place Perez-uzza
to this day. And David was afraid of God that day,
saying, “How can I bring the ark of God home
to me?” (NASB) 1 Chronicles 13:6-12
In 2 Samuel 6 we find some more details since it records the
Here is a portion of the passage.
But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah
reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of
it, for the oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of
the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down
there for his irreverence; and he died there by the
ark of God. (NASB) 2 Samuel 6:6-7
Here we discover that Uzza's name can also be spelled as Uzzah
and that the threshing floor of Chidon was also referred
to as Nacon (2 Sam. 6:6). Why did this happen?
Do Not See or Touch!
The ark of God was one of the holy
. God had made it clear to the Israelites during the time of
Moses that they were not to touch the holy objects associated
with the tabernacle worship (Numbers 4:4-6, 15-20).
And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the
holy objects and all the furnishings of the sanctuary,
when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of
Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they may not
touch the holy objects and die. These are the things
in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are
to carry . . . But do this to them that they may live
and not die when they approach the most holy objects:
Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them
to his work and to his load; but they shall not go
in to see the holy objects even for a moment, lest
they die.” (NASB) Numbers 4:15, 19-20