2 Samuel 24

2 Samuel 24 has God angry with David and the people.  He tells David to count the people, which is no small task.  So he calls Joab and his commanders together to give them the assignment. They are not all that interested. “Joab said to the king, May the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see it, but why does my lord the king delight in this thing”.  Joab doesn’t really want to do this work.  But it isn’t optional and David sends them out.

This was a huge task – it took them “nine months and twenty days” to complete.  And they came back with a total of “in Israel there were 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000”.  That is a lot of counting.  And this was just the men.  But they got a number and brought it back to David.  When David sees the enormity of the people, he is struck with guilt and confesses his sin.  “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly”.

David was right – he had sinned and there was punishment coming.  God sends His prophet Gad to David with this: “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you”.  And the choices were:

  1. “three years of famine
  2. flee three months before your foes while they pursue you
  3. three days’ pestilence in your land

There are no good answers there, so David let’s God make the choice and the pestilence begins.

It’s a bloody mess.  God takes the life of 70,000 men. And as the “angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity”.  He called of the angel of death and stopped the killing.  David recognizes that this is God’s grace.  And he confesses again:  “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father’s house”.  It reminds me of the intercession Moses did for the people much earlier.  A strong leader stands in the gap for his people.  David buys the threshing floor and sacrifices in praise to God for his grace and mercy.  But not before a lot of blood had been shed.

One response to this post.

  1. I love your words: “A strong leader stands in the gap for his people.”


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