2 Samuel 24:1 says, “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah,” and 1 Chronicles 21:1 says “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
These 2 verses sound like very contradictory statements; let me try to explain what I’ve discovered without confusing it more. In 2 Samuel 24:1, where it says “he moved David,” the word “he” isn’t necessarily referring to God; in fact, the Hebrew can be translated “it.” In 1 Chronicles 21:1, the name “Satan” should probably be translated “an adversary;” it’s true that Satan was behind the scenes motivating, but this was most probably a person/people that incited David to number Israel. So, 1 Chronicles lets us know that an adversary stood up to Israel (in some fashion) and David then decided it would be good to number the soldiers in Israel. 2 Samuel starts with a heading or title of sorts: “the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel,” then it states an unnamed “he” or “it” moved David to number Israel. This may not completely clarify the verses, but I wanted to share what I did to show the LORD did not contradict Himself in His Word.
Now, let’s try to answer two more questions someone may have.
What was so wrong with numbering the soldiers of Israel? First off, God never said to do it. Second, this was an action that revealed trust in their army instead of the strength of the LORD; in a word this was pride.
Why was God angry with Israel?
It don’t know that it specifically says, but it may have been because of how the people followed Absalom when he asserted himself into power.
If you have thoughts or questions on these chapters, please include them in the comments
David had men that were “mighty” (See 2 Sam. 23:8) because they followed his his faith, the one who took on Goliath with a sling shot and the Name of the LORD. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:7 that we are to follow the faith of the leadership in the body of Christ. We should take note of those who are truly living their life by faith and follow their example. David had men that followed his faith in the LORD and became mighty like him.
While David was weeping and mourning because of the death of his son Absalom, Joab came to him and said in 2 Samuel 19:5-6, "Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well.” Let me give a word about perspective. It’s in these types of situations that everyone needs to try and understand the perspective and emotions of those involved. I can’t blame David for his reaction, but Joab came with a valid point also. To David, Absolom was his son, but to all of them, he was the one who attempted to overthrow them and desired to kill them.
2 Samuel 21:15 says, “When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint.”
· David had made the mistake of becoming complacent in the past (See 2 Samuel 11:1). Now, it appears that David is ready to fight in his older age even when maybe he shouldn’t be.
Why did Absalom need to die? Consider this; as long as he was alive, there is a good chance many would desire him to be King, creating instability for Israel. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), and He gives them time to repent, but there comes a time when He must save His people and fulfill His promises to the righteous.
David says it well in Psalms 58:10-11 (Amplified version), “The [unyieldingly] righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. Men will say, Surely there is a reward for the [uncompromisingly] righteous; surely there is a God Who judges on the earth.”
- - - - - - - - -
Psalms 62:5 says, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.”
· This shows the place of faith David had come to; his soul was waiting with great expectation for God to come through for him and his soul was silent.
David was instantly forgiven for adultery and murder when he repented, but he opened the door to much pain in his life. The same sins he committed are now being committed by his family; Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar and Absalom her brother ends up killing him for what he does.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
It looked like everyone had left David and no one was standing up for what was right. In Psalms 12:1, David says “Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.” In the middle of his prayer, David receives a prophetic word: "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise," says the LORD; "I will set him in the safety for which he yearns” (verse 5). David’s response is to instantly proclaim and remind himself of the faithfulness of God’s word, even when things look hopeless. He says, “The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever (Verses 6-7)."
Before David came to a place of trusting God, he said in verse 5, “Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.” David stayed in the place of prayer (vs. 17), and he was able to cast his care upon the LORD and come to a place of faith (vs. 22).
2 Samuel 11-12 records David’s lowest moments up until this time. I don’t think it is a coincidence how the account starts. It says, “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1). David had achieved much success and it appears that he had become somewhat complacent. The LORD speaks powerful words to David through Nathon; in 2 Samuel 12:8 He says, “I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!” God had blessed him like no other and He says “I would have given you much more!” That is an amazing statement; He lets him know how happy He would have been to give him more if what he had wasn’t enough; just don’t take what belongs to another man. We see in 2 Samuel 12:13 that God’s forgiveness comes the very moment he confesses the sin; it says, “So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” He was forgiven but finds out that he opened the door to hardships that God never intended for him or his family because of his foolishness. 2 Samuel 12 ends with a bit of a warning from Joab to David that he better get back to fighting the LORD’s battles. It says in verse 27-28 “Joab sent messengers to David, and said, "I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city's water supply. Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name.’" We cannot rest on our past successes; there is more land to conquer; more victories to win, and God wants to give us more.
- - - -
David knew he needed more than forgiveness of his sin; he needed a changed heart. He prays in Psalms 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” If we error, we need to do more than receive forgiveness; we need to ask God to help change in us what needs to be changed. David said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). There was nothing David could do to “undo” what he did, but God would forgive because He saw the real remorse and repentance.
David prayed a powerful prayer in Psalms 86:11. He said, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.” Notice the words, “unite my heart;” we need God’s grace to keep our heart from wandering; David knew this all too well now. The LORD’s testimony of David in the beginning was that he was a man after His heart, but David had saw how His heart wandered from his devotion and love of God. As we seek the LORD, He will teach us His way, and He will unite our heart to fear Him. Everyone should make Psalm 86:11 their prayer also.
Psalms 20:6-7 says, “Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
· Faith comes when we esteem His word more than what we see. David basically said, “no horses, no chariots, no problem; we have God on our side.” It’s one thing to say, but David proved his faith continually by acting on the truth he knew from Gods word.
Psalms 67:5-6 says, “Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.”
· Real praise that magnifies God is one key to seeing the harvest God has for us come forth. The harvest could be souls into the kingdom, or the manifestation of any promise He has given us. It’s as simple as lifting Him up instead of magnifying the problem or the current condition of something.
David says in 2 Samuel 9:1, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"
This word translated “kindness” in this verse is a Hebrew word with one of the richest meanings. The Hebrew word is, “chêsêd” and implies much more than emotion. Let me give an example; the word is translated as “mercy” in Deuteronomy 7:9.
It says "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
So, Deuteronomy 7:9 says chesed is something He “keeps.” Chesed has to do with covenant and not emotions that can change. Remember how David and Jonathan had made a covenant (See 1 Sam. 18:3-4), and how David swore to Jonathan and his decedents. Jonathan said to David in 1 Samuel 20:14-15 “You shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I still live, that I may not die; but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth." So we see that because of love, David made a commitment to always show chesed to the family of Jonathan.
What David does for Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9 is a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for us. His love caused him to make a covenant for us! Though we were “lame” and an outcast, the one who “keeps covenant and mercy” brought us to His table
David wanted to build God a house; a place for the ark of the covenant to reside. God let David know that his heart was right in one sense, but he reminded David that He had not asked for a house yet. Then God said that He was going to build David a “house” instead. This house wasn’t to be made of brick and wood, but would be a royal lineage. This is why Jesus Christ’s lineage on Joseph’s side was of the line of David. Jesus last statement in Revelation 22:16 contain these words, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." Jesus Christ is coming back and will reign over all the earth.
David said in 2 Samuel 7:18-19, "Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; and You have also spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to come.” It is amazing how David praises God for the great favor He gave to him and then says, “This was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD.” Nothing is impossible for God, so I guess it’s all a “small thing” to Him. Next time you’re facing any problem, remember: It’s a small thing to God.
The following are a few scriptures and comments from today's reading:
2 Samuel 5:12 says, “So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.”
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan