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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 24

Verses 1-25

These chapters contain six appendices, which have been placed at the end of the book in order not to interrupt the history of the reign. These appendices are (1) the account of a famine (2 Samuel 21:1-14); (2) exploits against the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:15-22); (3) a psalm of David (2 Samuel 22); (4) David’s last words (2 Samuel 23:1-7); (5) further exploits against the Philistines and a list of David’s heroes (2 Samuel 23:8-29); (6) the census of the people (2 Samuel 24). Of these six, the first and sixth are closely connected (2 Samuel 24:1 refers to 2 Samuel 21:1), while the account of exploits against the Philistines has been cut in two by two psalms. But these psalms, though placed side by side, have no connexion with one another. 2 Samuel 22 is identical with Psalms 18, and is best explained under that title.

Verses 1-25


The Numbering of the People, and its Penalty

In punishment for David’s sin in numbering the people, God sends a pestilence, which slays 70,000 men. In gratitude for the stay of the plague, David erects an altar in the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

1. Again] This refers to the former occasion mentioned in 2 Samuel 21. He moved] Chronicles states that ’Satan.. provoked David.’ The older account does not enter into the distinction between what God permits and what God causes. This distinction is the result of later reflection and more subtle theology.

5-8. Their course is easy to follow, though several of the names are corrupt. They started from the city of Aroer on the Arnon, and passed through eastern Palestine. They next crossed to Zidon, and traversed western Palestine to Beersheba in the extreme south.

5. On the right side (i.e. on the south) of the city that lieth in the midst of the river (RV ’valley’)] Perhaps this city was Ar of Moab (Isaiah 15:1).

6. Tahtim-hodshi] Thenius conjectures that this is a mistake for ’Kadesh,’ a town on the Orontes marking the extreme northern limit of Israel. Dan-jaan] read ’Dan.’

10. David’s sin consisted in pride in his own strength and forgetfulness of his dependence on God. It was the very sin which ruined Saul.

13. Seven years] LXX and Chronicles read ’three years.’

15. From the morning even to the time appointed] These words occasion some difficulty as the pestilence was stayed before the appointed time. They are omitted in Chronicles.

22. Instruments of the oxen] i.e. the wooden yoke: cp. 1 Kings 19:21.

23. This v. continues Araunah’s speech: RV ’all this, O king, doth Araunah give.’

Verses 1-25


The Numbering of the People, and its Penalty

In punishment for David’s sin in numbering the people, God sends a pestilence, which slays 70,000 men. In gratitude for the stay of the plague, David erects an altar in the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

1. Again] This refers to the former occasion mentioned in 2 Samuel 21. He moved] Chronicles states that ’Satan.. provoked David.’ The older account does not enter into the distinction between what God permits and what God causes. This distinction is the result of later reflection and more subtle theology.

5-8. Their course is easy to follow, though several of the names are corrupt. They started from the city of Aroer on the Arnon, and passed through eastern Palestine. They next crossed to Zidon, and traversed western Palestine to Beersheba in the extreme south.

5. On the right side (i.e. on the south) of the city that lieth in the midst of the river (RV ’valley’)] Perhaps this city was Ar of Moab (Isaiah 15:1).

6. Tahtim-hodshi] Thenius conjectures that this is a mistake for ’Kadesh,’ a town on the Orontes marking the extreme northern limit of Israel. Dan-jaan] read ’Dan.’

10. David’s sin consisted in pride in his own strength and forgetfulness of his dependence on God. It was the very sin which ruined Saul.

13. Seven years] LXX and Chronicles read ’three years.’

15. From the morning even to the time appointed] These words occasion some difficulty as the pestilence was stayed before the appointed time. They are omitted in Chronicles.

22. Instruments of the oxen] i.e. the wooden yoke: cp. 1 Kings 19:21.

23. This v. continues Araunah’s speech: RV ’all this, O king, doth Araunah give.’

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 24". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-samuel-24.html. 1909.