David sins in taking a census and many die as a result
¶ And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and
he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
.2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
- Anger The reason for this anger may be seen in the context.
David presumed to take a census. The fact that David didn't feel his need
to follow the Lord's order not to take a census and Joab's plea against
it, is evidence that king and the people who probably were beginning to
adore him needed an opportunity to feel their dependence on the Lord. Compare
He moved David The parallel account says that "Satan stood up against Israel" 1ch2101.
| 3 And Joab said
unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever
they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see
it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
4 Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.
|3 - Delight in this thing Joab could see David's motivation. The terrible lesson from this incident is resolved before God at the end of the chapter v25.|
And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of
the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon,
7 And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beersheba.
8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
- Passed over Thus they covered the land beginning
in the South. At Arorer which was on the banks of the Jordan de0236,
Today the ruins of the city are seen in Transjordan.
5 - River Rather "wadi." See jos1309. A Wadi is a usually-dry gulley where water runs down. These appear along the banks of the Jordan.
5 - Of Gad Or "toward Gad." Jazer borders Gad jos1324,5.
6 - Gilead Southeast of the Sea of Galillee and included the tribes of Gad and Manasseh. A version of the Septuagint reads "Kadesh in the land of the Hittites."
6 - Dan-jaan Probably simply "Dan." See verses 2 and 15
7 - Strong hold of Tyre Perhaps a fortress held by Tyre in the past. The city was, at this time, ruled by Hiram who was a friend of both David and Solomon 2sa0511, 1ch1401, 1ki0501.
7 - Hivites Thsese were to have been destroyed. See de0701, jg0305.
¶ And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people.
And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done:
and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant;
for I have done very foolishly.
.11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,
12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
|10 - David's heart "The act of numbering the people was not in itself sinful; for Moses did it by the express authority of God. But David acted not only independently of such order of sanction, but from motives unworthy of the delegated king of Israel; from pride and vainglory; from self-confidence and distrust of God; and, above all, from ambitious designs of conquest, in furtherance of which he was determined to force the people into military service, and to ascertain whether he could muster an army sufficient for the magnitude of the enterprises he contemplated. It was a breach of the constitution, an infringement of the liberties of the people, and opposed to that divine policy which required that Israel should continue a separate people. His eyes were not opened to the heinousness of his sin till God had spoken unto him by His commissioned prophet." (JFB Commentary)|
So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years
of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before
thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence
in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the
time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba
seventy thousand men.
.16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house.
|15 - Time appointed Three days. This was a terrible loss of human life but necessary to help people, including us, to take seriously the protection and affliction of the Lord. We may look beyond our problems to our eternal salvation.|
¶ And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an
altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.
20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
|18 - The Jebusite He was a descendant of the people who built the city replaced by Jerusalem jos1508 and who David had finally conquered 2sa0506. The Lord must have sent David this man to practice the humility he had been learning.|
And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And
David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the
LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.
|23 - These things The verse should be translated, "All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king." . . . (NKJV).|
| 24 And the king
said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither
will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost
me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels
.25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
- Nay ... I will buy. As we support the work of the Lord,
we, too, must be generous according to our abilities 2co0907.
24 - Neither ... offer The animal sacrifice was valuable because it was so to David and to Araunah. Compare the sacrifice of Saul 1sa1522. And see 1ch2124.