BIBLE: II Samuel Chapter 24 – Headline “A Senseless Census”

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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II Samuel 24:

David’s Census of Israel and Judah

II Samuel 24:1 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number (take a census of) Israel and Judah.”
II Samuel 24: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.”
II Samuel 24: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?”
  • What was David’s sin for taking a census?
  • Is it because David did not get a ransom from the people?
  • Exodus 30:11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

    Exodus 30:12-16 “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.

    This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the Lord.

    Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the Lord.

    The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.

    And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.”
  • Or was it because David wasn’t trusting in God but rather in the number of men who could fight? Or both?
II Samuel 24:Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed (overruled) 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.
II Samuel 24: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.
II Samuel 24:Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; they came to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon;
II Samuel 24: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.
II Samuel 24:So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
  • The Angel of Death took the same route as Joab when he took the census.
    (Joab ended up at Jerusalem where the angel of death stopped)
  • The timing of the census is similar to a woman’s time for carrying a child: 280 days, or 40 weeks. On a Jewish calendar it is 9.33 months.
    See Topic: On the Birth of Jesus and John the Baptizer
  • Taking the census gave birth to a plague, as Moses had warned, which took the lives of 70,000 men.
II Samuel 24: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.

800,000 men of Israel and 500,000 men of Judah (not including the priests or the tribe of Benjamin) which would be 1,300,000.

If they had collected a ransom for the service of the tabernacle it would have been: 650,000 shekels. [David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver]

The Judgment on David’s Sin

II Samuel 24:10 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.”
II Samuel 24:11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
II Samuel 24:12 “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.” ’ ”
II Samuel 24:13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven (three cf. 1 Chr. 21:12) 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.”
II Samuel 24:14 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.”
II Samuel 24:15 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.
II Samuel 24:16 And when the angel (Or 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 (Ornan, 1 Chr. 21:15).
II Samuel 24:17 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.”

The Altar on the Threshing Floor

II Samuel 24:18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
II Samuel 24:19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
II Samuel 24:20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.
II Samuel 24:21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”
And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”
II Samuel 24:22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood.
II Samuel 24:23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”
And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”
II Samuel 24:24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
  • A threshing floor is used to “beat the wheat” to separate the chaff from the wheat.
  • A synonym for threshing is “tribulation”
  • Jerusalem began in tribulation and will end in a seven year tribulation until the millennium when Jesus sets up His reign on earth in Jerusalem.
  • The tribulation is a time of plagues. The bowls in Revelation are plagues.
    • Revelation 21:9 The New Jerusalem – Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me
  • David bought the threshing floor (Jerusalem) in order to stop the plague.
  • One of the options given to David was a seven year famine, like the seven year famine in Joseph’s time. (II Samuel 24:13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land?) Seven years of famine also describes the seven year tribulation, a time of a famine of God’s Word.
    • Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord.
  • Jerusalem was the place Abraham offered to sacrifice Isaac, his son of promise…
    • on the same day as the Passover of Egypt
    • and on the same day of the week as the Passover of Egypt in spite of a difference of 430 years
    • when God provided a male sheep whose horns were caught in thorns (like Jesus with His crown of thorns) as a sacrifice. That male sheep with the “crown of thorns” was sacrificed on “Passover”.
II Samuel 24:25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

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