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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 21

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-30

David’s numbering of the People and his Punishment

This chapter is parallel to 2 Samuel 24, but includes a few additions: see 1 Chronicles 21:6, 1 Chronicles 21:26.

1. Satan] In 2 Samuel 24:1 the Lord is said to have been angry with Israel, and to have moved David to number the people; for the Hebrews in early times did not hesitate to describe God as prompting to evil as well as to good, men being punished for one sin by being led to commit another. But in later ages the idea that God tempted men to wrong was felt to conflict with His absolute holiness; and this created the belief that temptation was the work of a spirit of malevolent character, who, though subordinate to, and attendant upon, God, was yet an adversary (lit. the ’Satan’) of men, and sought to bring about their ruin (see on 1 Kings 22:21-22; Job 1:6.; Zechariah 3:1). In Job and Zechariah the name is still only a title; but in Chronicles it has become a proper name (being used without the article).

5. A thousand thousand, etc.] 2 Samuel 24:9 represents Israel as 800,000 and Judah 500,000. According to 1 Chronicles 27:24 the numbers were not entered in the official records, and they have probably undergone corruption in the course of transmission.

6. But Levi, etc.] This is not mentioned in 2 S. If the numbering of the people was due to a presumptuous reliance upon material resources, or some specific command connected with the taking of a census (e.g. Exodus 30:11-16) had been neglected, the non-inclusion of two tribes by Joab was perhaps a device to prevent the full completion of the king’s purpose, in the hope of averting the evil consequences that were feared.

12. Three years’ famine] This harmonises better than the ’seven years’ of 2 Samuel 24:13 with the three months and three days.

15. Ornan] in 2 Samuel 24:16; ’Araunah’ or ’Ornah.’

18. The angel.. Gad] For divine communications made to prophets through angels cp. 1 Kings 13:18; 1 Kings 19:5, 1 Kings 19:7; Zechariah 1:11, etc.

23. Meat offering] RV ’Meal offering’: and so elsewhere.

25. Six hundred shekels of gold] in 2 Samuel 24:24; ’fifty shekels of silver.’

26. Answered.. by fire] Other instances of sacrifices consumed by fire from heaven occur in Leviticus 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Chronicles 7:1. This fact is not recorded by the writer of Samuel, but is specially mentioned by the Chronicler because the acceptance of the sacrifice was taken by David to indicate where he was to build his intended Temple, the preparations for which are described in the next chapter.

30. He was afraid] In his alarm David was loath to leave the spot where God’s favour had just been renewed to him.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 21". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-chronicles-21.html. 1909.
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