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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Chronicles 21

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 21:1. Satan stood up An adversary stood up. Le Clerc. See the note on 2 Samuel 24:1; 2 Samuel 24:25. Bishop Warburton observes (perhaps the reader will think with rather too much refinement) upon this passage as follows: "This evil Being [Satan] was little known to the Jewish people till about this time: their great lawgiver, where he so frequently enumerates and warns them of the snares and temptations which would draw them to transgress the law of God, never once mentions this capital enemy of heaven: but as the fulness of time drew near, they were made more and more acquainted with this their capital enemy. When Ahab was suffered to be infatuated, (see on 1 Kings 22:19; 1 Kings 22:53.) Satan is not recorded by name. On the return from the captivity we find him better known, and things are then ascribed to him as the immediate and proper author, which were before given in an improper sense to the first and ultimate cause of all things. Thus in 2Sa 24:1 it seems to be said that God moved David to number the people: the anger of the Lord was kindled—and he moved, &c. But in the passage before us, which was written after the captivity, Satan is said to have moved David to this folly: for his history having an inseparable connection with the redemption of mankind, the knowledge of them was to be conveyed together; and now their later prophets had given very lively descriptions of the Redeemer, and the other attendant truths." Div. Leg.

Verse 5

1 Chronicles 21:5. All—Israel were a thousand thousand See on 2 Samuel 24:9.

Verse 15

1 Chronicles 21:15. Ornan the Jebusite In Samuel, Araunah: there is no great difference between the words in the Hebrew.

Verse 20

1 Chronicles 21:20. And saw the angel And saw the king. Houbigant. See the LXX, and 2 Samuel 24:20.

Verse 30

1 Chronicles 21:30. But David could not go before it, &c.— 1:e. David could not delay so long as to go to Gibeon, because he was convinced that God had consecrated the present spot, and that it was necessary to offer sacrifice there immediately.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Observe,

1. The greatest saints of God upon earth are but men, against whom Satan despairs not of prevailing; and they have need to take heed lest they fall, as David did here.
2. Pride of heart was the corruption on which the devil wrought in David, and deep it lies in the bosom of man. If once he can strike a spark on this tinder, it easily kindles. O that we may all be delivered from it!
2nd, Observe,
1. God's love to the sinner's soul will not spare the rod of chastisement.
2. Gad's reproof brought David to his knees; but this could not save him from the threatened judgment. We shall suffer in the flesh for our sins, though our spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
3. Our folly usually brings us into our greatest straits, and we have nobody but ourselves to blame.
4. If God's mercy was not infinite, verily we should be utterly consumed.
5. The only resource which we have left is that God whom we have offended; when, humbled in the dust, we fly to him, he will lay the uplifted thunderbolt aside.

3rdly, David is relieved from his terrible distress: Gad, the messenger of his plague, brings him notice of reconciliation, and directs him what to do, in which David makes no delay.
1. He purchases the threshing-floor of Ornan, or Araunah, where the angel appeared, to rear an altar for sacrifice.
2. He offers there the blood of atonement, and God testifies his acceptance by fire from heaven on the sacrifice. There is one sacrifice in which God is well pleased; if his blood be upon us, then the sword of judgment shall not hurt us.
3. David continued ever after to sacrifice on this altar. At first, he was afraid to stir from Jerusalem (where he had seen the terrible angel) till the judgment was removed; but afterwards God's gracious acceptance of his offering encouraged him to continue his attendance at the same place. Note; Where we have found especial blessings to our souls, it is our wisdom there to continue our attendance upon God.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 21". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/1-chronicles-21.html. 1801-1803.