Down For the Count – 1 Chronicles 21

This chapter begins with Satan inciting David to number Israel. The parallel account in 2 Samuel 24 reads “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them.” Obviously, God in His anger with the Israelites allowed Satan to do this, but He did not Himself authorize or initiate it. Otherwise, He would have no reason to be angry about it.

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagoni...

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagonist of John Milton’s Paradise Lost c. 1866 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is unclear why the act of taking this census was sinful and angered God. In all other cases, the census was taken at God’s command for a specific purpose God had in mind.  Perhaps this unauthorized census came from a heart filled with the pride of life and an unworthy heart on David’s part. At any rate, Joab knew that it was wrong because he asked David “why should it (the census) be a cause of guilt for Israel?”

God was displeased, and David was quick to repent. But God gave him his choice of punishments for the people. Three years of famine, three months of “devastation” by foes, or three days of pestilence, with the angel of the Lord causing destruction throughout the land. David, saying that he would rather be at the mercy of God than of man, chose the latter. 70,0000 men died in the pestilence, but God stayed the hand of the angel before it destroyed Jerusalem. David and the elders gazed upon the visage of the angel and fell on their faces.

At the behest of the angel, David went to Ornan the Jebusite to build an altar on his threshing floor. Ornan offered to give David the animals for sacrifice for free, but David would not make a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. So he paid Ornan, and he saw that God would accept his sacrifice there. He was grateful for that because “the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon.” David did not want to go there because he was afraid of the sword of the angel. Sometimes fearing the Lord can mean just that.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  

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