[Shmuel Bais 24 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]


1 And again the anger [ Af] of Yahweh was kindled against Israel [Yisroel], and He moved David [ incited Dovid] against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah [Yisroel and Yehudah].

'Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.'

James's words amount to the assertion that in the ordinary course God influences no man in an evil direction; that good and not evil is the object of all He does. There is no contradiction between this and the fact illustrated in the quotation from 2 Sam. 24:1, that when men are obnoxious to Him. He works against them in a sense opposite to "delivering them from evil."

"The hearts of all men are in His hands, and (as occasion serves) He turneth them whithersoever he will."

In special cases, He puts things into the hearts of men for the development of special situations. In the case recorded, David was drawn into a course which brought judgment upon Israel, whose condition was such as to have kindled the Divine anger against them.

‭The Christadelphian, ‬ Sept 1871

Why was it sin just to take a census? Because it was of the flesh and contrary to the will of God.

There is much to be learned from this. God did not tempt David, nor move him against his own inclination. How then did He "move" him to do what otherwise he possibly would not have done?

Here lies the deep lesson. If we toy with sin, if we allow our minds to dwell on the desire for that which is sinful, then God may judicially contrive that our footing may give way, and we may find it impossible to scramble back to safety. God is not mocked. He knows the hearts, and He typically causes the sinner to punish himself.

If we choose evil, even in a small degree, God can and well may blind and confuse us that we go deeper and deeper into the evil, for our own fitting punishment and training, as when Israel lusted for flesh, and God gave them flesh until it nauseated them and caused a plague, and thousands died, and the place was called the Graves of Lust.

This is doubtless the explanation of many of the apparently inexplicable and stupid sins that men stumble into to their own distress. There is no more fitting punishment than to be forced to accept in full and sickening abundance that which we planned to just dabble lightly with, and then pull back--

"As a man sows, so shall he reap."

If only we had the plain, simple common-sense to really believe it!

If we have any part in God's purpose at all, then whatever we do wrong, be it large or small, we shall inevitably pay for it in some very unpleasant and appropriate way, usually -- as we see in David's case -- in the way that hurts us most, and that mocks us with our sin. 

Bro Growcott - BYT 1.18 & 4.7.

3 And Joab said unto the king [Yoav said unto HaMelech], Now Yahweh thy Elohim add unto the people [HaAm], how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king [adoni HaMelech] may see it: but why doth my lord the king [adoni HaMelech]delight in this thing?

Joab was very strongly against the numbering. This was one time where, strangely, the fleshly Joab was right, and the godly David was wrong. We can at times learn wisdom from anyone, however more spiritually-minded than they we think ourselves to be. The practical Joab could see no sense in sinning unnecessarily, with no gain from it. 

Bro Growcott - BYT 1.18 & 4.7.

10 And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto Yahweh, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Yahweh, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

David's sin in numbering Israel lay in its being an attempt to estimate the military strength of the nation, as something to rely upon in case of war. This was displeasing to God. It was doing what other nations did, whose trust was only in chariots and horses (Ps. 20:7); whereas Israel was invited to trust in God alone, who could save either by many or few (1 Sam. 14:7; 17:47).

The Christadelphian, Mar 1888

12 Go and say unto David [Dovid], Thus saith Yahweh, I offer thee three things [shalosh]; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

13 So Gad came to David [Dovid], and told him, and said unto him, Shall 7 years [shalosh] of famine [ra'av ] come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee 3 months [shloshah chodashim] before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be 3 days' pestilence [shloshet yamim dever] in thy land? Now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

Three choices were given to him. Had he chosen war, his own personal safety would have been in no danger, for he no longer went forth to battle. Had he chosen famine, his position and wealth would have guaranteed his own immunity, and that of his family. In choosing pestilence, he deliberately shared the risks that fell on the whole nation without respect of persons. GEM


13 So Gad came to David [Dovid], and told him, and said unto him, Shall 7 years [shalosh] of famine [ra'av ] come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee 3 months [shloshah chodashim] before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be 3 days' pestilence [shloshet yamim dever] in thy land? Now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

The Three Years' Famine 

-What is called "three years' famine," 2 Sam. 24:12, and "seven years' famine" in 1 Chron. 21:12, is reconciled by the Septuagint (or Greek version of the O. T.), which reads "three" in both cases. That three is the correct number, is suggested by the uniformity of description "three years," "three months," "three days."

The only conclusion that can be come to is, that something has happened to the text in the case where it reads "seven." Seven, and three, might more easily be taken the one for the other in Hebrew than in English; the initial and terminating syllables being exactly alike, save an extra little dot in the case of the "three." Both words begin with sh and end with oh.

The Christadelphian, Mar 1888

15 So Yahweh sent a pestilence [dever ] upon Israel from the morning [Yisroel from the boker] even to the time appointed [es mo'ed]: and there died of the people [HaAm] from Dan even to Beersheba 70 000 men [Beer Sheva shiv'im elef ish].

While in the largest sense,‭ ‬the Bible teaches that all things are of God‭ (‬in the sense that he made and sustains heaven and earth‭)‬,‭ ‬it is also true that it recognises the arena of established creation as a platform on which there are things He does not do,‭ ‬and things that He does,‭ ‬by what might be called a supplementary volition.‭

Examples of the former:‭-"‬They shall surely gather together,‭ ‬but‭ ‬not by Me‭" (‬Isa.‭ liv. ‬15.‭) "‬Time and chance happeneth unto all‭" (‬Ecc.‭ ix. ‬11‭)‬.‭ "‬I have not sent them‭" (‬Jer.‭ xxiii. ‬21‭)‬.‭ "‬The Lord is not with them‭" (‬2‭ ‬Chron.‭ xxv. ‬7‭)‬.‭

Example‭' ‬of the latter:‭-"‬This is the finger of God‭' (‬Ex.‭ viii. ‬19‭)‬.‭ "‬This thing is of me‭" (‬1‭ ‬Kings‭ xii. ‬24‭)‬.‭ "‬There is wrath gone out from the Lord:‭ ‬the plague is begun‭" (‬Num.‭ xvi. ‬46‭)‬.‭ "‬The Lord of Hosts hath purposed:‭ ‬who shall disannul it‭" (‬Is.‭ xiv. ‬27‭)‬.‭

When therefore the Bible says,‭ "‬The Lord sent a pestilence‭" (‬2‭ ‬Sam.‭ xxiv. ‬15‭)‬,‭ ‬it means that a pestilence was sent that would not have come in the order of nature if He had not sent it.‭ ‬It does not mean that a pestilence sprung up from natural causes...‭ ‬The affair was the subject of communication between God and David:

‭ "‬Thus saith the Lord,‭ ‬I offer thee three things:‭ ‬choose thee one of them that I may do it unto thee.‭"

Pestilence was one of the three,‭ ‬and David chose this:‭ ‬and‭ "‬the Lord sent‭" ‬what David chose.‭ ‬When the writer said‭ "‬the Lord sent it,‭" ‬he meant it.

The Christadelphian, Jan 1887. p27-29

23 All these things did Araunah [Aravnah], as a king, give unto the king [hamelech lamelech]. And [Aravnah] said unto the king [HaMelech], Yahweh thy Elohim accept thee [yirtzecha].

24 And the king said unto Araunah [HaMelech said unto Aravnah], Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price [mekhir]: neither will I offer burnt offerings [ olot] unto Yahweh my Elohim of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor [Dovid bought the goren] and the oxen [bakar] for 50 shekels of silver [kesef].

25 And David built there an altar [Dovid built there a Mizbe'ach] unto Yahweh, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings [olot and shelamim]. So Yahweh was intreated for the land, and the plague [magefah] was stayed from Israel [withdrawn from Yisroel].

The scene of the plague, in God's marvellous transmutation, becomes the scene of forgiveness and mercy. The plague was halted when the avenging angel was at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, about to destroy the city. David, in thanksgiving and for an atoning sacrifice of reconciliation, bought the threshing floor, built an altar, and offered a burnt offering. And God answered by fire from heaven, and the plague was stayed.

This, by all-foreseeing divine providence, happened to be on Mt. Moriah, where Abraham had typically offered his only son, where the Temple was later built, and finally where the one great sacrificial offering for all time was made, that was to halt the raging plague of sin and death, and deliver the Holy City. In the fulness of the appointed time of God's wisdom and purpose, the avenging Death-Angel's hand was turned back, on behalf of all mankind. 

Bro Growcott - BYT 1.18 & 4.7.