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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 24

Verse 1

And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel - This sentence is the heading of the whole chapter, which goes on to describe the sin which kindled this anger, namely, the numbering of the people 1 Chronicles 21:7-8; 1 Chronicles 27:24. There is no note of time, except that the word “again” shows that these events happened “after” those of 2 Samuel 21:0. (Compare also 2Sa 24:25; 2 Samuel 21:14.)

And he moved David - In 1 Chronicles 21:1 the statement is, “and an adversary” (not “Satan,” as the King James Version, since there is no article prefixed, as in Job 1:6; Job 2:1, etc.) “stood up against Israel and moved David,” just as 1Ki 11:14, 1 Kings 11:23, 1 Kings 11:25 first Hadad, and then Rezon, is said to have been “an adversary” (Satan) to Solomon and to Israel. Hence, our text should be rendered, “For one moved David against them.” We are not told whose advice it was, but some one, who proved himself an enemy to the best interests of David and Israel, urged the king to number the people.

Verse 2

1 Chronicles 21:2, supplies some missing words. This passage should run, as at 2 Samuel 24:4, “And the king said to Joab and to the princes of the host who were with him,” etc. (compare 1 Chronicles 27:22). They were employed “with Joab” as his assistants in the numbering, exactly as in the previous numbering Numbers 1:4 when a prince was appointed from each tribe to be “with” Moses and Aaron.

Verse 5

Aroer - Aroer on the Arnon (Deuteronomy 2:36 note). Aroer itself stood on the very edge of the precipitous cliff of the valley; and in the valley beneath, possibly in an island in the stream, stood another city which is here alluded to.

River - Rather, “the valley” (margin). They passed from Aroer, northward to Gad, and so pitched at Jazer (see the marginal references), which is on the frontier of Gad and Reuben.

Verse 6

To Gilead - Jazer was in the plain. They passed from there to the mountain district of Gilead.

The land of Tahtim-hodshi - The text here is corrupt, as no such land is known. Possibly the right reading is “the land of the Hittites” Judges 1:26; “hodshi” may be a fragment of a sentence which mentioned in what month חדשׁ chôdesh they arrived there, just as 2 Samuel 24:8 relates that they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine “months.”

Dan-jaan - The versions read “Dan-jaar,” i. e., Dan in the wood. Whatever is the meaning of “Jaan,” there can be little doubt that Dan (the ancient Laish) is meant (marginal references), both from its position and importance as the northern boundary of Israel, and from its connection with Zidon.

Verse 7

The strong hold of Tyre - “The fenced city,” as it is generally rendered throughout the historical books.

The cities of the Hivites - Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim, and perhaps Shechem, besides those at the foot of Hermon and Lebanon, of which we do not know the names. This continuance of distinct communities of Hivites so late as the end of David’s reign is remarkable.

Verse 9

1 Chronicles 27:23 indicates sufficiently why the numbering was sinful. It is also stated in 1 Chronicles 21:6, that Joab purposely omitted Levi and Benjamin from the reckoning.

Eight hundred thousand ... five hundred thousand - In Chronicles the numbers are differently given. It is probable therefore that the Chronicler has included in his statement of the sum total some numbers which are not included here.

Verse 11

David’s seer - Margin, references. From the latter passage it is probable that we have here Gad’s narrative.

Verse 13

Compare Ezekiel 14:13-21. The “seven” years of famine correspond with the “seven” years of famine in Genesis 41:27, Genesis 41:30, and with the same number of years in 2 Kings 8:1. But in Chronicles, it is “three years,” which agrees better with the “three” months and “three” days. The whole passage is amplified in Chronicles, which has less the aspect of an original text than this.

Verse 15

The time appointed - Perhaps “the time of the assembly,” meaning the time of the evening sacrifice, at three o’clock, when the people assembled for prayer, more commonly described as “the time of the evening oblation” Daniel 9:21; 1Ki 18:29, 1 Kings 18:36; Acts 3:1; Luke 1:10.

Seventy thousand - It is the most destructive plague recorded as having fallen upon the Israelites. In the plague that followed the rebellion of Korah there died 14,700 Numbers 16:49; in the plague, on account of Baal-Peor, 24,000 Numbers 25:9; 1 Corinthians 10:8.

Verse 17

Compare the passage in Chronicles. The account here is abridged; and 2 Samuel 24:18 has the appearance of being the original statement.

Verse 20

And his servants - In Chronicles “his four sons,” namely, David’s. It is very possible that David may have taken his sons with him, as well as his elders, and Gad’s original narrative may have mentioned the circumstance, which the compiler of this chapter did not care to specify, and so used the general term “his servants.”

Verse 22

Here be oxen - Those, namely, which were at that very time threshing out the grain in Araunah’s threshing-floor 1 Chronicles 21:20; Deuteronomy 25:4.

Threshing-instruments - This was a kind of sledge with iron teeth Isaiah 41:15. It was drawn by two or four oxen over the grain on the floor.

Other instruments of the oxen - “i. e., the harness of the oxen,” of which the yoke, and perhaps some other parts, would be made of wood (marginal references; 1 Samuel 6:14).

Verse 23

Either, “the whole O king does Araunah give unto the king;” or (2) “the whole did king Araunah give to the king.” The former is preferable.

Verse 24

Fifty shekels of silver - In Chronicles, “six hundred shekels of gold by weight.” In explanation, it is supposed - that the fifty shekels here mentioned were gold shekels, each worth twelve silver shekels, so that the fifty gold shekels are equal to the 600 silver; that our text should be rendered, “David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for money,” namely, “fifty shekels;” and that the passage in Chronicles should be rendered, “David qave to Ornan gold shekels of the value” (or weight) “of 600 shekels.” What is certain is that our text represents the fifty shekels as the price of the threshing-floor and the oxen.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 24". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/2-samuel-24.html. 1870.