Bible Studies/2 Samuel ch 24


Hi Teacher Scott, Guesss Who?  In vs 1, David was told to take what amounted to a census of the people. Im vs 10 David realizes he did wrong?
My question: what did he do that ws so wrong? The Lord had told him to count the people,right?

Hi Joyce!

Admittedly, this is a difficult passage. Having studied the original languages in seminary, I have learned that the English translation can sometimes miss a detail in a difficult passage. 2 Samuel 24:1 is one such example. Joseph Benson, in his Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, says it well:

(Joseph Benson (1749Ė1821) was an early English Methodist minister, one of the leaders of the movement during the time of Methodism's founder John Wesley.)

Benson Commentary
2 Samuel 24:1. And again ó After the former tokens of his anger, such as the three yearsí famine, mentioned chap. 21. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel ó For their sins, and on account of the following action of David. The anger of the Lord, it must be well observed, was not the cause of Davidís sin, nor of the sins of the people; for God cannot be the author of sin; but Davidís sin and the sins of Israel were the cause of Godís anger. And he moved David against them ó The reader must observe that, as there is no nominative case before the verb here, in the original, to express who moved David, the most strict rendering of the clause would be, There was who moved David against them, &c. By our version, the reader is led to suppose that the Lord, mentioned in the foregoing part of the sentence, moved David to commit this sin of numbering the people. But this is not only quite contrary to the nature and attributes of God, but to what we are expressly told 1 Chronicles 21:1, where we learn that it was Satan, and not the Lord, that moved David to do this. Here then we have a very remarkable instance, which cannot be too much regarded, to warn us against building any particular doctrine, or belief, on certain particular, detached expressions or passages of Scripture, not in harmony with the general tenor of Godís oracles; especially such doctrines as are entirely opposite to the essential nature or attributes of God. For had not this fact of Davidís numbering the people been related, through the care of divine providence, by another sacred writer, who entirely clears God from having any concern in moving David to sin, it might have been concluded from the passage before us that God impelled David to this act; and, consequently, that it is consistent with the nature and government of God to excite the human mind to sinful acts: than which there can scarce be any thing more impious imagined. And therefore we may plainly see from hence, that we are not to form our notions from particular passages or expressions of the Holy Scriptures, but from the general tenor of them.


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Scott Talbot


I have studied the Bible and Bible-related topics since the time I was very young. My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Bible, and a Master of Divinity degree. I enjoy delving into deep theological issues and always enjoy a healthy debate. But more importantly, I like working with people and helping them to find the answers that they are looking for. And I am convinced that these answers are available in the Bible.


By the grace and mercy of God, I have been saved, born again, adopted into the family of God. God has given me a love for the Bible, and for Bible-related subjects. In addition, He has blessed me with ongoing training in the Scriptures, from my youth on up. The more I learn about God through His Word, the more I want to share!

Campus Crusade for Christ, Grace Church at Willow Valley

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College - B.S. Bible & Pastorology; Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary - M.Div.

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