2 Samuel
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Dwindling in Unbelief
-2 Samuel




SAB: 2 Samuel

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2 Samuel 24

24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. (24:1) "Go, number Israel and Judah."
God tempts David to take census, though  1 Chr.21:1 says that Satan tempted David, and James 1:13 says that God never tempts anyone. Why did God and/or Satan tempt David to take the census? And what the heck is wrong with a census anyway?
Who tempted David?
Has God ever tempted anyone?
Is it OK to take a census?

God Kills 70,000 Israelites

24:2 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.
24:3 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?
24:4 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.
24:5 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:
24:6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon,
24:7 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. (24:9)
"There were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men."
Of course, this is a ridiculously high number for a battle between two tribal armies in 1000 BCE. (The United States had about 1.46 million active duty soldiers in 2010.)
How many soldiers did Israel have?

(24:10) "I have sinned greatly in that I have done."
Did David sin?

(24:12-13)
"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?"
How many years of famine?

(24:14) "Let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great:"
After God threatens to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people for a census that he inspired, David says, "let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great."
Is God merciful?

(24:15)
"So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel ... and there died of the people ... seventy thousand men."
God's 85th Killing

(24:16) "The LORD repented."
Finally, when the angel is about to destroy Jerusalem, "the Lord repented."
Does God repent?

(24:17) "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?"
Even David can see the injustice of God's punishment (killing hundreds of thousands of people because David took a census). He pleads with God saying, "I have sinned ... but these sheep, what have they done?" But God ignores the question.

24:8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
24:9 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.
24:10 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.
24:11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,
24:12 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.
24:13 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 sent me.
24:14 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.
24:15 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.
24:16 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.
24:17 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.
24:18 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.
24:19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.
24:20 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.
24:21 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.
24:22 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.
24:23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.
24:24 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 of silver. (24:24) "So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver."
For how much did David buy the threshing floor?
24:25 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.

Previous Chapter

Dwindling in Unbelief
King David's amazing census (2 Samuel 24:1-15)
The Top Ten Biblical Plagues (24:1-13)
Top 50 Bible stories for kids (24:1-15)
God's 85th Killing: God kills 200,000 people because David did a census that God told him to do

Slate Blogs the Bible by David Plotz
Who's the Bible's Donald Rumsfeld?
Remember David: Don't fill out Satan's 2010 Census form (24:1)

Christian Response
SAB Author Answered