2 Samuel 24

The events of 2 Samuel 24 more than likely occurred towards the end of David’s reign.  David commands that a census should be performed.  Although, Joab advises against this; David insists on it being performed.  God moves against Israel because of the census.  The resultant plague will end at David’s repentance.  These events are also recorded in 1 Chronicles 21; however, there are several differences.

2 Samuel 24:1

1 And again the anger of Yehovah was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

  • It states that Yehovah’s anger was increased against Israel and it was Yehovah that caused David to perform the census.
  • However, 1 Chronicles 21 is slightly different, 1 Chronicles 21:1.

1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

  • So who was it, Yehovah or Satan?
  • Or is it just another contradiction in the Bible, and critics are correct.
  • One would think that the writers of the Bible would have avoided the contradiction altogether by correcting text to reflect a consistent story.
  • However, that is not the case.
  • Possibly the writers really were not that smart and did not realize their error, until it was too late. Such that too many copies were out and it became impossible to correct their error.
  • Some have changed the words of the Bible to correct seemingly apparent contradictions.
  • For example, the one between 2 Kings 8:26

26 Two and twenty years old Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.

  • And 2 Chronicles 22:2.

2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

  • 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2 disagree on the age of Ahaziah.
  • Some modern translations will change 2 Chronicles 22:2 to agree with 2 Kings 8:26, based on the Septuagint Translation.
  • However, the Hebrew clearly indicates the error.
  • Additionally, most Hebrew Bibles have the error as well.
  • More than likely, the 22 is correct and 42 is wrong. If Ahaziah was 22, then he was born when Jehoram was 18.
  • If Ahaziah was 42, then he was born 2 years prior to Jehoram’s birth.
  • However, I personally would not be too quick to make changes to the original scroll; as has been done in a number of cases unbeknownst to the reader.
  • The real answer lies in the reader’s perspective.
  • Too many believe that the Bible was written by multiple writers over a time period of at least 1500 years.
  • However, that too may be an incorrect assumption.
  • As for me, I know that the Bible is the word of God. As stated by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

14 But you continue in the things which learned and assured of, knowing of what you did learn; 15 And that from a child known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith in Messiah Yeshua. 16 All scripture is given by God’s breath, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.

  • To think that there is more than one writer and that each wrote based on their own understanding or perspective is heresy in its worst form.
  • The writers of the Bible will confirm in the future to come, that they were merely amanuenses.
  • They merely recorded the words that God told them to and Yehovah Himself is the only author of the Bible.
  • To think otherwise will consistently challenge one’s faith and they will eventually be lacking in righteousness.
  • When one sees a seemingly apparent contradiction, they should ask why?
  • There is several reasons why there could be a contradiction:
    • There are translation errors.
    • The reader has the wrong perspective and is reading into the Bible.
    • Possibly God is trying to tell us something.
  • But with all seemingly apparent contradictions, there is always this question from God:
    • What are you going to do with it?
  • This is an important question, because there actually may be contradictions in the Bible.
  • However, in all cases; part of the answers should be, I have total unwavering faith in Yehovah. In His time, He will reveal to me what is necessary for my growth as a footstep follower of Yehovah.
  • This is hard for some to comprehend, because their faith is not quite there yet.
  • Too many are unwilling to wait on God. As a result, their faith will eventually wane and in many cases, evaporates away.
  • So what is the answer for this seemingly apparent contradiction?
  • In this case, I believe God is trying to tell us something.
  • For one to think that God caused the census and then punished Israel is completely ridiculous.
  • The answer is found in another part of the Bible, in the Book of Job.
  • The following is a summary of what happened, for a detailed discussion refer to Job.
  • The Book of Job starts off with a discussion between God and Satan.
  • God enquires of Satan what has he been doing of late.
  • Satan replies in typical Satan fashion.  He has been going around looking for victims.
  • God asks Satan if he has seen Job.  Satan knows of Job, but he is not someone that Satan will go after.
  • It seems that Satan is prevented from approaching Job, because there is a hedge of protection surrounding Job.
  • This is when Satan challenges God regarding Job.  From here, Job’s life will never be the same.
  • God allows Satan to take whatever action against Job he desires, except Satan cannot touch Job.  Satan will inflict suffering upon Job in an attempt to cause him to curse God.  Initially, Job will lose all he had monetarily and his ten children.
  • Yet rather than cursing God as Satan had declared, Job responds by worshiping God.
  • God and Satan have a second conversation.  Again Satan challenges God.
  • God allows Satan to move against Job physically; however, Satan is not allowed to kill Job.  Satan afflicts Job with an unknown ailment that results in boils covering his entire body.
  • Eventually, Job’s wife has had enough and tells Job to curse God and die.
  • Job does not take the bait and corrects her.
  • The real key to understanding what occurred is Job 1:10.

10 Have You not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

  • The truth was Satan could not touch Job, because Yehovah had put a hedge of protection around Job.
  • The question we need answer to is why would Yehovah do this?
  • Quite simply, it has to do with God’s appraisal of Job, Job 1:8.

8 And Yehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God, and abstain from evil?

  • This is quite an evaluation from Yehovah.
  • Few of us will ever obtain such an appraisal from Yehovah.
  • The hedge that Yehovah put around Job was because Job was overtly righteous in almost all ways.
  • God allowed Satan to move against Job within certain limitations.
  • Satan knew he would not be able to change Job, but he sure knew many would be confused.
  • As history has proven this to be correct.
  • Many have accused Job of various sins.
  • Some have even stated that Elihu was the true righteous one and even interceded for Job. Elihu in fact was another scheme by Satan to cause Job to curse God.  Job knew better and did not take the bait.
  • What people miss is that Job’s hedge was not solely because of God, it was mostly because of Job’s works righteousness.
  • This is something not even imagined in most Christian’s minds.
  • So what happened in 1 Samuel 24, once again Yehovah allowed Satan to move.
  • However, in this case it was not to teach, as much as David or Israel had committed a sin against Yehovah.
  • When it states “again the anger of Yehovah was kindled”.
  • Anger comes from the Hebrew word אַף ʾaph (H0639).
  • Although over 75% of the time is translated wrath or anger, it is neither.
  • There is not a simply equivalent English word for the meaning of אַף ʾaph (H0639).
  • In the case of Yehovah, it refers to a partial look by God, such that only the nose would be visible as opposed to His entire face.
  • When this occurs, typically there is a reason related to man’s disobedience. As a result, man has translated אַף ʾaph (H0639) to fit their perspective rather than God’s.
  • What sin did they do, it is unknown.
  • God would not knowingly chastise an entire nation to merely teach a lesson as in the case of Job. As a matter of fact, there is no other recorded situation in the Bible where this has occurred, with the exception of Yeshua.
  • So the hedge was removed. Then Satan could provoke David to order a census to occur.

2 Samuel 24:2

2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number you the people, that I may know the number of the people.

  • David directed Joab to perform the census.
  • Which actually makes sense.
  • No one else besides Joab had the resources available to accomplish such a task.
  • Joab had the entire army of Israel at His disposal.
  • And for the most part, Joab was extremely loyal to David with a few exceptions.

2 Samuel 24:3

3 And Joab said to the king, Now Yehovah your God add to the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?

  • However, this is one time; when Joab took a stand against David.
  • Joab with all his faults could recognize when something should be done and not be done.
  • Joab knew that this was an offense against God.
  • It was not David’s people to count, it was God’s people.
  • David was merely to be a shepherd.

2 Samuel 24:4

 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.

  • It was not just Joab who recommended not doing this.
  • It states captains; however, captains comes from the Hebrew word שַׂר sar (H8269) in construct form.
  • More than likely, it was princes that stood with Joab.
  • But they to submitted to David’s command against their best interest.
  • We should not be too quick to follow what is wrong, Exodus 23:2.

2 You shall not follow a multitude to evil; neither shall you speak in a cause to decline after many to turn aside:

  • We must do what is right regardless of the consequences and who we may offend.
  • We must learn to follow Yehovah with all our heart, our mind and our strength.

2 Samuel 24:5-8

5 And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lies in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer: 6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, 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 Beer-sheba. 8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.

  • The census took Joab 9 months and 20 days.

2 Samuel 24:9

9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people to 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.

  • The final count was:
    • 800,000 in Israel
    • 500,000 in Judah
  • They only counted the ones that drew the sword.
  • In 1 Chronicles 21, the count is slightly different, 1 Chronicles 21:5-6.

5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. 6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.

  • In Israel, there were 1,100,000 and Judah there were 470,000 that drew the sword.
  • The difference in the numbers for Judah could be that in 2 Samuel the number was rounded up.
  • However, why there is such a discrepancy for Israel is unknown.
  • It should be noted that Joab did not count every individual.
  • This was one task Joab found repulsive.

2 Samuel 24:10

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said to Yehovah, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech You, Yehovah, take away the iniquity of Your servant; for I have done very foolishly.

  • After the count was completed David realizes his foolishness.
  • A census should only be done when it is directed by Yehovah.
  • David did the census for reasons not explained.
  • We should check the intents of our hearts in all we do. We should ask ourselves,  is it for Him or is it really for our glory?
  • In this case, it was for David’s glory.

2 Samuel 24:11-13

11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of Yehovah came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 Go and say to David, Thus says Yehovah, I offer you three; choose one of them, that I may do it to you. 13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said to him, Shall seven years of famine come to you in thy land? or will you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? or that there be three days’ pestilence in your land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him that sent me.

  • Although David had repented, it did not mean he was free of any penalty.
  • Because of David’s foolishness, Yehovah directs Gad to offer David to choose His punishment.
  • David’s choices are:
    • 7 year famine in the land.
    • 3 months David would be pursued by his enemies as he flees.
    • 3 day pestilence in the land.
  • In 1 Chronicles 21:12, one of the choices is slightly different.

12 Either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before your foes, while that the sword of your enemies overtake; or else three days the sword of Yehovah, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of Yehovah destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise yourself what word I shall bring again to Him that sent me.

  • Instead of 7 years of famine, it would be 3 years.
  • The rest are essentially the same, except there is more details for the third choice.
  • It would not just be pestilence, it would be executed by the angel of Yehovah.
  • Although it would only be 3 days, it could possibly be more destructive than the first two choices.

2 Samuel 24:14

14 And David said to Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of Yehovah; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

  • It was not an easy decision to make.
  • Picking the shortest interval was not necessarily the easiest.
  • David stated, he would rather fall into the hands of Yehovah than man.
  • His reason, because Yehovah’s mercies are great.
  • Often man is much less forgiving that Yehovah.
  • God often overlooks our discretion; thereby, giving us a chance to repent. His mercy is abundant.
  • Just as He told Moses in Exodus 34:6-7.

6 And Yehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Yehovah, Yehovah God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth.

2 Samuel 24:15

15 So Yehovah sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.

  • The pestilence resulted in the death of 70,000. This number is consistent with 1 Chronicles 21:14.
  • Often people state that this was unfair to those that died.
  • Possibly, but in the Restitution of All Things any possible injustice would be rectified.
  • Additionally, the ones that died may not have been the most righteous.
  • God has a tendency to protect the righteous. The ones that actually walk in His ways consistently.
  • The righteous have a hedge of protection for such situations.

2 Samuel 24:16

16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, Yehovah repented of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now your hand. And the Angel of Yehovah was by the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite.

  • When the Angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, Yehovah stopped Him and said it was enough.
  • The angel of Yehovah was by the threshing place of Araunah when it was stopped.

2 Samuel 24:17

17 And David spoke to Yehovah 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 your hand, I pray You, be against me, and against my father’s house.

  • These were not feigned words by David.
  • With one exception, David consistently put the people before him.
  • He never had anyone do something he would not do.
  • The army of Israel had to prevent David from fighting at one point, 2 Samuel 21:16–17.

16 And Ishbi-benob, which of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear  three hundred of brass in weight, he being girded with a new,  thought to have slain David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, You shall go no more out with us to battle, that quench not the light of Israel.

  • David seeing what had happened, asked God to punish his house and not the people.

2 Samuel 24:18-19

18 And Gad came that day to David, and said to him, Go up, rear an altar to Yehovah in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as Yehovah commanded.

  • To end the pestilence completely, God told David to build an altar on Araunah’s threshingfloor.
  • David complied.

2 Samuel 24:20-23

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. 21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of you, to build an altar to Yehovah, that the plague may be stayed from the people. 22 And Araunah said to David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to 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 to the king. And Araunah said to the king, Yehovah your God accept you.

  • When Araunah saw David, he bowed down.
  • When David’s purpose was revealed, Araunah was more than willing to give up the threshing floor, the oxen and whatever else was necessary.

2 Samuel 24:24

24 And the king said to Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of you at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings to Yehovah my God of that which does cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

  • David was unwilling to take it without paying.
  • Had David not paid for it, it would have been Araunah’s sacrifice and offering rather than David’s
  • David bought the threshing floor and oxen for 50 shekels.
  • 1 Chronicles 24:25 states differently.

25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.

  • The account in 1 Chronicles has a much higher price.
  • Possibly it was for other things in addition not mentioned in 2 Samuel 24.
  • Either way, this cannot be determined.

2 Samuel 24:25

25 And David built there an altar to Yehovah, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So Yehovah was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

  • Once the threshing floor was David’s, he built an altar.
  • He offered offerings and peace offerings.
  • This ended the plague.
  • When comparing 2 Samuel 24 with 1 Chronicles 21, there are some significant differences one cannot simply ignore.
  • The question is, should they be considered contradictions?
  • If so what does this mean to the one that believes the Bible is without error?
  • Or are there reasonable explanations, just not apparent?
  • The question is, what is one’s faith based on?
  • If one’s faith is based on a book with no contradictions, then their faith may well be misplaced.
  • Our faith should be based on a relationship with Yehovah and not a book.
  • The Bible helps us to grow our faith. However, without the Spirit in right relationship, it is just words on a page.

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