II Samuel Chapter 24

"David's Sin in Numbering [1-10]."
"Jehovah's Judgment [11-16]."
"Expiation of the Sin [16-25]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

II Samuel 24:1 "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah."

The numbering of the men of Israel and Judah was given in a military sense, however who is this "he" that moved David to go and take this numbering or censes of all the men of Judah? Remember it has always been God that gave the victory, so why are these censes being taken. Before, David had taken only the number of people that he needed, and God prepared the way for the victory. Some times it only took a few men to destroy an entire army. We saw in the prior chapters that one man would kill hundreds of men in one place, for God over powered that person, and gave him the strength and wisdom to overcome his enemies. This "he" was not God, but in I Chronicles 21 we are told who that "he" was, he was Satan.

I Chronicles 21:1 "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."

II Chronicles 21:2 "And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the People, "Go number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it."  

You want to be very careful as to who you are listening to, and to the direction that that person is giving you. Satan likes nothing better than whisper sweet things that sound so good into your ears and mind, to deceive you into going against God's instructions. Satan will play mind games with you if you allow him to, just as he was doing here with David.

Pride caused Satan's fall, and Satan will use your pride to try to give you the big head and cause your fall also. Satan was trying to tell David that he doesn't need God, for he has the great number of men to do the job himself. David listened to Satan, and his pride built to the point of doing exactly as Satan instructed him to do. David was not relying on God for his protection here, but he is mustering up an army of hundreds of thousands, and turning to that army for his strength. If David should have learned by this time that it was God that gave the victory, but he mess up again.

So it was this censes taking that brought the last great sin by David. It was also through a censes taking by Caesar that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem to fulfill another promise of God, and there the Christ child was born to the Virgin Mary.

II Samuel 24:2 "For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, "God now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the People, that I may know the number of the People." "

David by this time had reinstated Joab to be the captain over the host of David's army, and Joab was the one that did the censes taking. God did not ask for this censes taking, but when Satan put the idea in David's mind, he just went and had it done.

II Samuel 24:3 "And Joab said unto the king, "Now the Lord thy God add unto the People, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?" "

When David called for the numbering of the people, Joab saw that this was not a good thing to do. Joab let his opinion be know to the David again. Remember the last time that Joab shook David was after Absalom was killed, and David sat crying like a baby in the corner. Joab was more righteous in this matter than was David. Joab is telling David that in the past, you know that God has given us the right number of men we needed, and the men that came could fight and stand their ground. So why go number the men for a army that is not needed. This is not something that we have to worry about or even think about. So Joab has implied that the numbering was an insult to the Almighty God?

II Samuel 24:4 "Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the People of Israel."

Naturally, the king's word is law and David's desires became law. Joab and the leaders of the tribes numbered the People of all Israel, all the tribes of both houses, Israel and Judah alike. This process of drafting men was a process that was done by the military, and for the military. All the time Joab and all the captains of David's army were protesting that it just was not needed. Remember that it was Satan that put the idea in David's mind, and the numbering was for the use of Satan's work, that work being the undermining the position and protection that God was giving to Israel. The purpose was that the people would turn to themselves for their protection and away from God.

II Samuel 24:5 "And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:"

II Samuel 24:6 "Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, and about to Zidon,"

It is interesting that Zidon is named here, for it was near the capital city of the Kenites Tyre.

II Samuel 24:7 "And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Cannanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba."

Tyre is Satan's town, the headquarters of the Kenites, the merchandisers of the world. We can see that Satan is leaving his fingerprints all over his work. Tyre is brought in, and to the unsuspecting mind, would be included, right along with Zidon, as being of Israel. The Army measured all the land, and added the heathen, the Hivites, the Cannanites, and Kenites as being part of David's strength. The censes was completed, and it is time to report to the king.

II Samuel 24:8 "So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. "

II Samuel 24:9 "And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the People unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men."

Remember that Israel included ten tribes, while the house of Judah included only two tribes. The house of Judah included only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, however part of the tribe of Levi was included, however they were the priests, not fit for battle. His is the number of men that could draw the sword and go into battle. It is not as the censes of our day, where women, children and the elderly are included, for the sake of choosing our leaders under a democratic process. David now knows how many fighting men he has.

I hope you can see why this made our Father mad, for it shows that David is no longer depending of God for the victory, and is taking the odds of Satan's systems for determining whether to go to battle or not. David did all this after God had been so good to him.

II Samuel 24:10 "And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the People. And David said unto the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Thy servant; for I have done very foolishly."

This is the exact thing that you want to do, after it registers in your mind that you have sinned against God. Then is time to confess those sins before the Father. David now knows that he has messed up, and that he had been listening to Satan. By doing what he had done he had insulted God. Notice that David went directly to God and he did not try to cover over the sin. He confessed the sin exactly as it was done, and he begged for forgiveness. That is the only thing that can make things right before the Father, for nothing is hid from the eyes of God. We are living in a real world, and when you fall, face up to it, and accept the correction that comes your way. We repent because we have a merciful Father, and you can count on it.

II Samuel 24:11 "For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,"

The "seer" is a prophet of God.

II Samuel 24:12 " "Go and say unto David, `Thus saith the Lord, `I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.' " "

God is not going to let David off the hook so easily. There is a price that has to be paid for this sin that David has committed. God is going to give David a choice of three things that will be payment for this sin that David has committed. It is up to David which one it shall be.

This is the correcting that comes about in the real world. You know that the head ache comes after the drunken binge; and the fine is issued after the writing of the speeding ticket, and so forth. When a sin has been committed, there is a correction that takes place afterwards. If you partake in the perversions of sodomy, their comes the sickness and aids. Sure God forgives, but God also allows for the natural process to take it's course. David's sin was not trusting in God for the protection of his people, and this was an insult to our heavenly Father.

II Samuel 24:13 "So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, "Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him That sent me." "

"Seven years of famine" would cause many deaths within the land. "Fleeing three months from thine enemies" would mean that David was a coward and on the run, and that just didn't set well with David. David did not want to show himself to be a coward before his people. So the third choice seemed to the the better choice of the three.

II Samuel 24:14 "And David said unto Gad, "I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man."

These three choices tore David up, for in any of them, innocent people are going to be harmed, or even killed. David told this prophet of God, that I love my Father enough, and I trust on his great mercies and wisdom, that I am going to let God make the choice of what shall happen to me. This is stated also in I Chronicles 21:13; "And David said unto Gad, "I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are His mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man." The only condition was that any man not be allow to pass the judgment for this sin upon him. David loved God and trusted that much on the Father.

The point that is made here, is that no matter what has happened nor what the correction on the matter is; Don't cease loving and trusting God. You are always better off when God deals out the judgment for you know that the exact measure of punishment will be given, for God is a just, and merciful God.

II Samuel 24:15 "So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the People from David even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men."

God took that censes of the men that can lift and swing a sword and shattered the records. More men died from the cause of this censes, than any battle that David ever fought in. This angel that passed amongst the people claiming lives, and now he is turning to Jerusalem, to strike a blow on Jerusalem itself.

II Samuel 24:16 "And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the People, "It is enough: stay now thine hand." And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite."

By David putting the decision on the Lord, it became the Lord that made the decision where the end would be. When the right time came, the Father said, that is enough, stop the slaughter.

This "Araunah the Jebusite", is the same man as "Ornan the Jebusite" of I Chronicles 21:15. Remember that Jerusalem was called "Jebus" before David had taken it. It was a unclean city with many heathen wicked religious practices being done. The heathen that lived in Jerusalem, when it was called Jebus, were called the Jebusites. The position of the "threshing floor" of Araunah was exactly where the "Dome of the Rock" is today, in Jerusalem, and it was where the temple was build. It was on Mount Moriah where so many religious events had taken place.

The Islamic faith believes that Mohammad rose to heaven from there, and Christians believe that this is where Christ ascended into heaven. This is the place where Abraham offered up Isaac to be a sacrifice, and like here in David's time, God stepped in and said, "That's enough" as He withheld Abraham's hand from sacrificing his son Isaac. It all happened here, right in the same spot of Araunah's threshing floor. There was no accident that this location was selected for the sacrifice that David would give, for in Ezekiel 16 God made an everlasting covenant with this same location in Jerusalem. God said that this spot was His most favorite spot in the entire universe.

It is from this same spot that God is going to build his eternal temple, and rule the world through all eternity, and that is why God made David do what He is ordering here. Mount Moriah has another name also, for it the New Testament it is also called Mount Zion, for many Christian songs have been written of our marching to Zion, in the eternity, and we will approach mount Zion for one purpose, and that is to worship and give our praise and honor to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; Jesus the Christ.

II Samuel 24:17 "And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the People, and said, "Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done: let Thine hand, I pray Thee, be against me, and against my father's house." "

David is pleading on behalf of his people, the sheep of Israel. He knew that it was on his decision that the words of Satan were acted upon, yet the people suffered greatly for David's sin.

Many times we sin, and others that are innocent take the punishment for our sin. How could this happen? Well God has his reasons and His ways, and many times man's understanding and reason just is unable to make sense out of it. David is seeing that his people are being punished for his deeds, and he is asking this angel that has revealed himself to David to punish him and not the people.

II Samuel 24:18 "And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, "Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite." "

So here comes the prophet again. Instructions are now given by God directly to David through Gad the prophet. Once again this place was a special place and not chosen by accident. It is the same place where Abraham was instructed by God to take Isaac and offer him a sacrifice.

II Samuel 24:19 "And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded."

From this point on, David was going to do everything that he does by the book, exactly as God instructed that sacrifices were to be offered. This is important to the key of David, that we pay attention to all the details of the entire Scripture.

II Samuel 24:20 "And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground."

This Jebusite loved David and honored and respected his king. There is nothing that Araunah would not do or give gladly to David. He was a loyal servant to David.

II Samuel 24:21 "And Araunah said, "Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said "To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the People."

God has ordered David to buy His most favorite spot, and build an alter there to Him. That, of course, was also the spot where the temple of God would be built later in king Solomon's day.

II Samuel 24:22 "And Araunah said unto David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood." "

My friend, this is also a trap from Satan, just like the trap that David fell into when he listened to Satan and had the censes taken. You don't have to buy it, it is yours for the taking. Not only will I give it all to you, but here are your sacrifices free and clear of all debt. This sounds so good, so what could be wrong with with Araunah wanted to Do?

It wasn't David's to give to the Lord. It would have been Araunah's sacrifice, for Araunah paid for the oxen, he owned the threshing floor, and the wood was off his land. God in a sense was giving David another test to see if David was paying attention the the instructions that are laid out in His Word. Has God ever tested you? What good is a sacrifice if it wasn't yours in the first place to give. A sacrifice is something of value that you give up, without expecting anything in return. You simply cannot sacrifice anything that is not yours. You must sacrifice and tithe and give to God that which is yours, and it doesn't matter what the size, large or small, but it has to be something of your possession. If it is not your, it is not your sacrifice, and it becomes worthless before the Father.

II Samuel 24:23 "All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king, "The Lord thy God accept thee."

This leader of the Jebusites is going to give to David all of the things that are needed to fulfill the sacrifice, and there are not strings attached to the gifts. So now David is going to give us some of the best advice that you will ever hear in your life, as far as God's blessings go.

II Samuel 24:24 "And the king said unto Araunah, "Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing." So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver."

Once David paid the price for the threshing floor, and the oxen, and the wood, and the instruments, then they belong to David and God would accept the sacrifice. The number "fifty" in biblical numerics stood for Jubilee, Pentecost, and it is all wrapped into the amount paid for this sacrifice. God would not enter into the sacrifice on borrowed possessions, because David understood that God meant business when it came to the holy things of God. You don't fool around with God's things and God's ways and get away with it. God does not like free loaders, and that is why true Christians pay their own way. The tend to God's house, and they pay the price for the pasture that they are fed at, and they know the value of the ways and the Word of God.

You simply cannot take from God, and sacrifice back to him with something that is not yours. Don't make that mistake!

II Samuel 24:25 "And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel."

This is the same way that the plagues are stayed from each of us today. This then ends the two books of Samuel, for there are many lessons that we can learn and apply to our lives. So lets review these last few chapter just briefly.

First , it was God that gave the victory; It was God that accomplished all those things that David's armies won, and it was God that gave all things into David hand. Then it was the champions of God that brought about their defeats when they were strengthened by God's hand. These men did things that man in the flesh under his own power could not hope to do. It is always God that gives us the strength, and through the strength the victory.

Then in the final chapter, after all the blessings and help that God placed in an through him, David allowed Satan to get to him. Once you have become successful, Satan will attack you through your price, and he will attack you in ways that you can't imagine. That is why we must stay focused on the instructions in His Word, and be willing to be faithful in obedience to His Word. When you are successful, then that is the time to be careful, for Satan will take your success celebration and turn it into a tool for his own work. Don't forget to give God the credit for the things done with and through the gifts that God placed in you and for your care.

Thank God, David got it all together and went up on that hill and followed God's instructions to the letter. David was obedient in the end, and in the end he left judgment in God's hand. If you sin, repent and leave the judgment and correction in God's hands.

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