Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary


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II Samuel 24

Chapter 24:


v. 1: This event seems to have been in the early part of David’s reign since Gad is mentioned.  Gad was active early in David’s life, following Samuel and preceding Nathan.  (1st Samuel 22:5).

It is interesting that the text here reads that the LORD incited David against them, whereas 1st Chronicles 21:1 says that Satan was responsible for it.[1]  I suppose one way to explain it would be to argue that God was displeased with Israel, so he allowed Satan to tempt David to evil so that God would then have felt free to punish Israel as he did.  However, I do not understand the need to incite David to do this.  I do not know what the people’s initial offence might have been, but if God was mad at Israel before the census, it seems he would have been justified in punishing them before the census for whatever their offence was.[2] On the other hand, since the sin of the census was David’s, it seems right that he, rather than his people, should have been held responsible for it (as was the case concerning his sin with Bath-Sheba).

Regarding the census itself, it should be noted that at least one census, which was justified in the eyes of God (Numbers1: 1-3), had been taken before.  The fault of this one seems to have been a lack of faith that God would make the people flourish and be plentiful enough for any task required of them.  Note 1st Chronicles 27:23.


v. 3:  Joab is the one to question David on this point.  Time and time again, Joab is the one who supports the decision that most pragmatically strengthens David’s kingship, though the decision may not always be motivated by pure devotion to David or God.  It makes me wonder about his support for Adonijah.


v. 10:  I wonder if this repentance is why David is not punished directly.  Perhaps David’s ability to choose his own punishment is an answer to his prayer.


v. 14:  The statement “do not let me fall into the hands of men” may mean that the only request David makes is that the punishment not be “fleeing from your enemies.”

[1] The “again” of “Again the anger of the LORD was kindled,” may refer to the last time God’s anger was mentioned in the narrative (chapter 21).  It might be paraphrased like “And on another occasion…” without any specific reference to time.

[2] Perhaps he wanted a more immediate and visible reason to punish them so that they could clearly associate the punishment with the sin.


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