1 Chronicles 20-22
The Reign of King David, cont’d. 1 Chronicles 9-29:21
1 Chronicles 20:1-8-Joab fights against the Ammonites and wins. It sounds terribly gruesome that they, “cut them with saws and with sharp instruments and with axes.” This was probably the manner in which the Ammonites had treated those that they had previously defeated and now they are being punished in a like manner. Three times there is war with the Philistines...and each time Israel wins.
1 Chronicles 21:1-30-Satan tempts David to take a census.
21:1-4 Actually God permitted Satan to prompt David to take a census of the people, and David insisted on doing it, contrary to Joab’s advice…Though not inherently wrong, the action demonstrated David’s reliance on number of warriors rather than on God. The census took about ten months to complete (2 Sam. 24:5-8).
The Ryrie Study Bible, 1 Chronicles 21:1-4 footnote, p. 628
- Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel: In 2 Samuel 24:1, it tells us that this was initially prompted because the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. So we see that Satan moved David yet the LORD expressly allowed it as a chastisement against David.
- There is quite a gap in the historical record that the Chronicler passes over, including many family problems and a civil war. "His reasons for a gap of this length are not difficult to surmise: little of what transpired during those two decades would encourage a postexilic Judah, before whom Ezra was seeking to portray a piety that characterized David as his best." (Payne)
- "For the first time in Scripture, the word 'Satan' appears without the definite article as a proper noun." (Payne)
iii. "When Satan incites, he is interested merely in his own ends. He neither cares for righteous punishment nor looks for possible repentance, since they are as foreign to his nature as temptation to sin is to God's." (Selman)
- Go, number Israel: This was dangerous because of a principle stated in Exodus 30:12: 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.
- The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks to God's ownership of His people. In the thinking of these ancient cultures, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn't belong to David; Israel belonged to God. It was up to the LORD to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God's command and receiving ransom money to "atone" for the counting.
- "Numbering the hosts of Jehovah is not essentially or necessarily wrong; everything depends on the motive.... When it is born of pride, it is the subtlest of perils, inclining us to trust in the multitude of a host, and thus to cease to depend upon God." (Morgan)
iii. "When we are moved to number the people, we may rest assured that the impulse is Divine or Satanic, and we may determine which by the motive. If the motive is service, it is God. If the motive is pride, it is Satanic." (Morgan)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 1 Chronicles 21,
When David did so, it showed how dependent he felt he had become on having a large army, instead of depending on God.
There appears to be a discrepancy concerning how many people were numbered between here (Israel-1,100,00 and Judah-470,000) and 2 Samuel 24:9 (800,000)…both tell of the same numbering.
21:5 The 800,000 from Israel in 2 Sam. 24:9 may not have included the 300,000 listen in 1 Chron. 27, which would make the total (as here) 1,100,000. The 470,000 in Judah may not have included the 30,000 of 2 Sam. 6:1, which would bring the total (as here) to 500,000. Or perhaps the Chronicles figure represents a round number.
The Ryrie Study Bible, 1 Chronicles 21:5 footnote, p. 629
God was displeased with what David had done and struck Israel (:7). David repented and God gave him a choice of one of three punishments. David chose a pestilence from the LORD. David saw the angel of the LORD standing with his sword drawn. The angel tells the prophet Gad to instruct David to go to the “threshing floor of Ornan” and to build an altar there.
- "Threshing floors were usually on a height, in order to catch every breeze; some area to the north of David's city is indicated" (Baldwin)
- The threshing floor of Ornan had both rich history and a rich future. 2 Chronicles 3:1 tells us that the threshing floor of Ornan was on Mount Moriah; the same hill where Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and the same set of hills where Jesus died on the cross (Genesis 22:14).
iii. "In fact, David's altar was the only one in pre-exilic times which God explicitly commanded to be built." (Selman)
- "The decision of God to establish his altar and temple at Moriah in Jerusalem has affected all history (cf. Revelation 11:1); for this mountain became the focus of the Holy City, where His Son was crucified. And it will continue to affect history; for from this 'city he loves', he will some day rule the nations of the earth (Isaiah 2:2-4)." (Payne)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 1 Chronicles 22,
David does as he was instructed. God answered David’s prayer. However, because of the presence of the angel with his sword drawn…David was afraid to continue addressing the Lord.
The tabernacle was still in Gibeon, at that time. That is why David had to build an altar.
1 Chronicles 22:1-19-David begins to store up the supplies necessary for the Temple to be built...and then he tells his son Solomon that he will be the one to build it.
Prayer: Lord, David did something that was not inherently wrong…but he did it for the wrong reason. Sometimes life can be confusing. Please give me discernment. So that not only do I know what it is that You want done…but, I also know how You want me to do it. Please don’t ever let me launch out on my own…without You, or even without consulting with You. Lord, thank You so much that I can call on You and know that You will answer.