Jan 30, 2022. II Samuel 24:1-17

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PLAGUE OF PROVOCATION. II Samuel 24:1-17. Jan 30, 2022.  #56.

2 Samuel 24:1-17 [New King James Version]

1 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2 So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.” 3 And Joab said to the king, “Now may the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?” 4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel. 5 And they crossed over the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the town which is in the midst of the ravine of Gad, and toward Jazer. 6 Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; they came to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon; 7 and they came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to South Judah as far as 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 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. 10 And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” 11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’ ” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.” 14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the [d]angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

  1. Provocation from on high
    1. This is one of the strangest narratives in the Bible
    1. Many questions are raised by this passage:
      1. a1. Since God does not tempt man to sin (James 1), in what manner do we take God moving David to number the people so he could punish them?
      1. a2. Was the sin of numbering the people a matter of pride, self-dependency, or something else?
      1. a3. Do we view God moving David to number the people the same as God hardening Pharaoh?
      1. a4. If God moved David to this action, did he sin by following this impulse or was he already tempted to do this act?
      1. a5. Why did God seek an occasion against Israel?
    1. We have more questions than answers
      1. a1. God sought to move against Israel, presumably for either sin or for lack of proper worship
      1. a2. God decides to move David to number the people
  2. The census
    1. David tells Joab to take of census to Israel and Judah
    1. 2 Sam. 24 says that God moved David to do this
      1. a1. I Chronicles 21 states that Satan moved David to do it
      1. a2. Apparently, like with Job, Satan had been asking permission to tempt David, and now God allows it
      1. a3. God, at times, uses Satan to do his will (I Kings 22)
    1. Joab tries to talk David out of numbering the people
      1. a1. I Chronicles 21:3 this will bring guilt upon Israel
      1. a2. David prevails and it takes nearly 10 months to complete
    1. The numbers differ in the 2 accounts
      1. a1. The count was from Dan to Beersheba and from the Mediterranean to Gilead
      1. a2. Israel had 800,000 fighting men (I Chronicles 21 = 1,100,00, which probably included Gilead)
      1. a3. Judah had 500,000 (rounded up from 470,000)
  3. Guilt and punishment
    1. Immediately, David’s heart convicts him
      1. a1. He realizes that his pride had led him to do this
      1. a2. He begs for forgiveness from Lord, proclaiming his own foolishness
    1. God sends David Gad, the prophet (Nathan is probably deceased), to give David 3 options:
      1. a1. 7 years of famine in the land
      1. a2. 3 months running from his enemies
      1. a3. 3 days in hands of the Lord
    1. David decides to fall into the hands of the Lord
      1. a1. Pride prevents him from being subject to enemies
      1. a2. David states that the Lord is merciful
      1. a3. David discovers that the Lord is also holy as God sends a plague that kills 70,000 people
      1. a4. Finally, God stops the angel of death at Jerusalem
    1. David asks why the people should suffer for his folly
      1. a1. Many die when leaders act foolishly
      1. a2. God punishes Israel for an unspecified sin
      1. a3. David sees the angel of death from Araunah, the threshing floor of Ornan on Mt. Moriah
    1. I Chronicles 15:30 David is so afraid that he stays away from the Tabernacle for an extended time (God’s wrath is terror)