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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 24

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-25

The census and its outcome (24:1-25)

Israel’s increasing power and prosperity under David may have given David and his people feelings of self-praise, as if they, and not God, had been the cause of this growth. God saw that the time had come to awaken Israel to this sin. Therefore, God allowed Satan to suggest to David that he take a census of the people. David’s pride in his growing nation was apparently what made the suggestion seem such a good idea, but God was going to use the event to reveal that pride and punish it (24:1-4; 1 Chronicles 21:1). The officials carried out the census first in the territory east of Jordan, then in the north of Canaan, and finally in the south (5-9).

Even before God acted in judgment, David’s conscience told him he had sinned. Through a prophet, God offered David a choice of one of three calamities as a punishment, but David chose rather to leave the decision with God and trust in his mercy (10-14). A plague broke out in Israel, physically weakening the nation that David thought was strong. Even Jerusalem, the city that David was so proud of, would have been destroyed had not God in his mercy stopped the plague (15-17).

To show his repentance, David was told to offer sacrifices to God, but in view of the recent events he feared to go to the tabernacle at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 21:29-30). God therefore allowed him to remain in Jerusalem, but directed him to the hilltop farm of a man named Araunah (or Ornan). David was to buy the piece of hard ground that Araunah used as his threshing floor, and build on it an altar to offer the sacrifices (18-20). Araunah wanted to give the piece of ground to David for nothing, but David insisted that he buy it. If his offering was to be a genuine sacrifice, it had to cost him something (21-25).

Later David bought the surrounding land as well, and declared that this was the place where the temple of God would be built (1 Chronicles 21:25; 1 Chronicles 22:1). It was apparently the place where Abraham had offered up Isaac (2 Chronicles 3:1; cf. Genesis 22:2).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 24". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/2-samuel-24.html. 2005.
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