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Summary: Gleaning lessons from King David's gaffe over the transportation of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem on an Ox cart instead of letting it be carried by the Priests!!!

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When a moralistic mission misfired!!!

Heard of anecdotes when something done with an apparently good intention but in a wrong way went haywire? Here’s one for starters...

Who can forget a school time story told often to emphasize the importance of proper usage of punctuation marks? It is said that on account of a last-minute Presidential pardon, a convict’s death sentence by hanging was slashed. But unfortunately due to improper usage of a comma, the wired message (sent in a hurry with a life at stake) to the Prison where this convict was to be executed read “Hang him, not release him”. instead of the supposed “Hang him not, release him”.

Coming to the spiritual realm...St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators, studied Hebrew so he could translate the Old Testament into Latin from the original, instead of from the third century Greek version that everyone else had used. The resulting Latin version known as The Vulgate, which became the basis for hundreds of subsequent translations, contained a famous mistake. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai his head has "radiance" or, in Hebrew, "karan." But Hebrew is written without the vowels, and St. Jerome had read "karan" as "keren" or "horned." From this error came centuries of paintings and sculptures of Moses with horns (even the great renaissance artist Michael Angelo sculpted Moses with a horn) and the odd offensive stereotype of the “horned Jew”.

While at best (or worst...Sic) the resultant damage may have been limited to some Jewish sentiments getting rubbed the wrong way courtesy this semantic error of that great Saint, there was nothing catastrophic such as loss of life nor was any incumbent King left with an egg on his face, so to say. Now welcome to the Biblical story which resulted in just that!!! Consider David’s gaffe over transporting the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chro 13:1-14) from Kiriath-Jearim to Jerusalem in an ox- cart instead of on the shoulders of Priestly Kohathites!!! It is an altogether different story as to why the Ark which symbolized both God’s presence and His Covenantal relationship with Israel landed in Kiriath-Jearim in the first place when it ought to have been in the “The Most Holy Place” (a separate Chamber) of the Tabernacle which was at Gibeon. Incidentally the story of Tabernacle itself moving to Gibeon from its original place of erection in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) is a gargantuan subject in itself. Amongst others’, the subject would lead us to a topic culminating in a fascinating time in Israel’s history, when they had two High Priests’ simultaneously for the first and final time (one in Gibeon and the other at Jerusalem-1 Kings 4:4). Yours truly would endeavour to throw light on both the subjects’ some other time but in this message, he aims to glean some lessons only from a moralistic mission of David gone awry using some alliteration (sub-headings beginning with “M”... what else?) in order we of this generation are better served in paying proper attention to our Lord’s instructions (1 Cor 10:11)...


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