1 CHRONICLES 21
1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
Strictly speaking, we ought to look, before it, at the covenant communicated to David, through the prophet Nathan, concerning the perpetual stability of his throne in the hands of a Son who should reign for ever. This was the visible hand of God in the life of David, in its most important form in one sense; as also was the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit with him, which made his glowing psalms the effusions of prophecy, and which exalted to the dignity and authority of an oracle, his "last words" concerning the
"everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure."
But these most precious exhibitions of the visible hand of God are all in the nature of revelation by inspiration, to which attention has already been given early in these chapters. They do not, therefore, now call for that specific consideration which the miraculous destruction of nearly a hundred thousand men naturally challenges.
David, in a moment of human complacency, had the number of his fighting men enumerated.*
2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
Concerning this also, the remark so frequently suggested by these narratives has to be made, that the occurrence of such a passage in the national archives of the house of Israel is inexplicable on any other hypothesis than its truth.
If God were not in the matter, it is inconceivable that the numbering of the people should have come to be considered an offence: for on no principle natural to men left to their own thoughts would such a thing be regarded in that light.
To glory in one's greatness is universal among natural men-a thing done and accepted as the right thing to be done in all countries, and in all ages of which history furnishes any record.
Even boasting is not viewed as a crime; and as to ascertaining the exact extent of your resources, the idea of its being a censurable thing would be scouted in every land-in every age. A mere affair of innocent statistics! But here it is put down on record as a crime against God.
That the king should be represented at all in the national records as falling into error is conclusive evidence of truth, in view of the universal disposition of courtiers of all sorts to be flatterers, and, at least, to be smooth spoken, and say nothing about the king's faults. But that such a thing should be represented as a punishable offence is not at all to be accounted for on the notion that we are dealing with an invented narrative. No man could suggest even a plausible notion of how such a narrative could come to be put on record if it were not true. Its truth admitted, all is clear as noonday.*
*Visible hand of God Ch 23
13 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of Yahweh; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.
Is not this evidence of a very practical discrimination on the part of David? He had experience of man, as we all may have; and he found, as we may all have found, that man in power is unmerciful and false. Here is no roseate idealising of human nature-so common to human books, but so foreign to the one divine book on earth...
"Let me fall now," exclaims David, "into the hands of Yahweh."
He gives his reason:
"Very great are Yahweh's mercies."
How came he to make such a choice for such a reason if he had had no practical experience of the thing lamented by Jonah on a certain occasion, that Yahweh is
"gracious and merciful, and slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth of the evil?" (Jonah 4: 2).
Ah, but he had had practical experience of it, and Israel before him for hundreds of years, and, therefore, he chose as he did-and wisely.*
*Visible hand of God Ch 23
16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of Yahweh stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
Type :Rev 14: 6 the angel proclamation in Midheaven
... it is stated that David saw the Angel of Yahweh standing between the earth and the heaven - in midheaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out, as he was just going to afflict Jerusalem with an impending judicial visitation.
His position there was exhibited to David, that he might have time and occasion for obtaining the deliverance of the city from the wrath to come; so that the hovering of the Angel was to show, that there was room for escape on terms to be proposed, just as the Deity was going to inflict the punishment.
So with the great host in midheaven on their proclamation of the good . The destruction of Babylon, and the overthrow of the governments of the world, are decreed. Nothing can save them from abrogation and obliteration. The proclamation invites mankind to abandon these spiritual and temporal institutions, in commanding them to
"Fear the Deity, and give glory to Him".
It affords them time and opportunity for saving themselves from the impending calamities of the Hour of Divine judgment. If any transfer their allegiance from their clerical and civil rulers to the Lamb-Power, they will doubtless be exempted from the fire and brimstone torment, which is to destroy the Beast and his False Prophet (ch. 19:20; 14:9,10): but if they refuse to abjure these authorities, the plagues written in this prophecy for their destruction will assuredly consume the rebellious.